22/08/2014

Join the Human Chain to Fight an Environmental Crime in Europe

Human Wrongs Watch

By Meri Pukarinen*, 20 August 2014, Greenpeace — Who wants to dig up entire villages, destroy livelihoods and lock in emissions making climate catastrophe a certainty? Surely some corrupted failed state in the developing world? Think again. This is the aim of the self-proclaimed global climate leader: Europe.

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Photo: Greenpeace

Massive lignite deposits lie at the border of Germany and Poland in the Lusatia region. This brown coal haven is being eyed by Vattenfall – a company owned by the Swedish state, and the Polish Energy Group PGE which has the ear of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. 

Dozens of villages are threatened by bulldozing with some 6000 people losing their homes and livelihoods to make way for these lignite mines.  Continue reading

22/08/2014

Clashes in Chile as Thousands of Students Protest Lagging Education Reform

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today* (RT), 22 August 2014 — Police in Chile used water cannons and tear gas in Santiago as they clashed with outraged students demanding the government to speed up the process of national education reform. Tens of thousands took to the streets to join the largely peaceful protest.
2011–13 Chilean student protests | Uploaded by Flickr upload bot | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

2011–13 Chilean student protests | Uploaded by Flickr upload bot | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Throngs of students flooded the streets of Chile’s capital and other cities on Thursday to protest the slow-moving reform of the country’s education system. Tensions have boiled over for expanded free education and more public universities in recent years, changes to a system largely unchanged since the end of General Augusto Pinochet’s authoritarian rule.

Branded as the “National March for Education,” the action was called for by numerous student and teacher groups, and was spread on social media under such hashtags as #PorLosQueVienen and #YoMarchoEl21.

There are conflicting reports as to the exact number of students that came out, with police estimating around 25,000 people in Santiago, while student organizers round the number to 80,000 people. On Twitter, some boasted of a 300,000-strong turnout. Other marches took place around Chile as well. Continue reading

22/08/2014

Stop Attacks on Environmental Campaigners!

Human Wrongs Watch

BALI, 20 August 2014 (IRIN)* – Amid increasing documentation of attacks on people engaged in environmental activism, experts are calling for a global protection regime to defend and support campaigners subjected to harassment and abuse.

 

During the first week of August activists, donors and researchers gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for the world’s first international summit on climate and women; a large part of the discussion was centered on attacks on people campaigning to protect the environment.

Continue reading

22/08/2014

Gaza: Over 370,000 Palestinian Children in Need of ‘Psycho-social First Aid’ — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

The top UNICEF field officer in Gaza on 21 August 2014 reported today that at least nine more Palestinian children have been killed there in the last 48 hours, bringing the total to 469 since early July, saying that there is not a single family in the tiny enclave that has not been touched by the current violence.

On 12 August, Mohamed Badran, 8, lies on a cot in an ambulance in Gaza. He lost one eye and lost sight in the other during a blast that reportedly killed his father and eight members of his family. Doctors say that Mohamed continues to ask why they “switched the lights off.” Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1157/El Baba
On 12 August, Mohamed Badran, 8, lies on a cot in an ambulance in Gaza. He lost one eye and lost sight in the other during a blast that reportedly killed his father and eight members of his family. Doctors say that Mohamed continues to ask why they “switched the lights off.” Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2014-1157/El Baba

“The impact is has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that’s been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Pernilla Ironside, Chief of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Gaza field office told a press conference today at UN Headquarters.

“Children need to have that sense of security,” she added.

Continue reading

21/08/2014

Eyeless in Gaza

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*, 18 August 2014,  TRANSCEND Media Service

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

THE TROUBLE with war is that it has two sides.

Everything would be so much easier if war had only one side. Ours, of course.

There you are, drawing up a wonderful plan for the next war, preparing it, training for it, until everything is perfect.

And then the war starts, and to your utmost surprise it appears that there is another side, too, which also has a wonderful plan, and has prepared it and trained for it.

When the two plans meet, everything goes wrong. Both plans break down. You don’t know what’s going to happen. How to go on. You do things you have not planned for. And when you have had enough of it and want to get out, you don’t know how. It’s so much more difficult to end a war than to start a war, especially when both sides need to declare victory.

That’s where we are now.

HOW DID it all start? Depends where you want to begin. Continue reading

21/08/2014

Ebola Rap Song: “Take away the fear, don’t hide yourself. People can still survive from Ebola”

Human Wrongs Watch

August 2014 — “Take away the fear, don’t hide yourself. People can still survive from Ebola,” so say the lyrics of the Ebola Rap, a song written by Charles Yegba, a Liberian artist seeking to raise awareness about the virus in his community.

Liberian rap artist Charles Yegba has written a song to spread the word about ebola

WHO/M. Seeger

But Charles did not always think that way. He is one of the many Liberians who, at the beginning of the outbreak, did not believe that the disease existed.

“I thought it was a lie (invented) to collect money because at that moment I hadn´t seen people affected in my community,” the singer says.

His opinion changed some weeks ago when a group of people blocked a street in Monrovia because a man was lying on the ground with symptoms of Ebola.

“At that moment, I started to believe. I began to see that other countries were being affected, that many people were starting to change their minds,” he says. Continue reading

21/08/2014

East and Southeast Asia, World’s Largest Markets for Synthetic Drugs — Major Drag on Development

20 August 2014 – East and Southeast Asia remain the world’s largest markets for synthetic drugs, and the methamphetamine problem is showing signs of accelerating, according to senior policy, law enforcement and justice delegates at a special regional conference organized by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global SMART Programme which started today in Yangon, Myanmar.

Image: UNODC

Image: UNODC

Growing demand in East and Southeast Asia for methamphetamine is being met by large-scale production in China, Myanmar and several other countries in the region. Information presented at the conference confirms continued high, and rising, demand and supply of methamphetamine.

“Organized crime groups are well positioned to take advantage of regional integration agreements to expand the trafficking of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals” said Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“Capacities to ensure the rule of law vary greatly across the region, and this evolving and growing threat diverts increasing amounts of scarce state resources away from efforts to develop and improve governance. It can’t be ignored that the billions generated for organized crime exceed the size of several national economies in the region. Where is the money going?” added Douglas. 

Continue reading

21/08/2014

Food Security Is Still “Touch-and-Go” in Arid, Conflict-torn Somalia

Thanks to a decent harvest and a strong response from the international humanitarian community, the United Nations declared an end to famine in southern Somalia in early 2012. More than two million people are currently food insecure, down by about 17 percent from early 2012 estimates, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports*

franknyakairu/FAO

franknyakairu/FAO

But conditions are still touch-and-go in this arid, conflict-torn country – one of the poorest in the world. If people cannot produce and sell their own food and have the wherewithal to withstand shocks, gains made in improving their food and nutrition security could slip away with the next disaster.

Continue reading

21/08/2014

Restoring Dignity, Ensuring ‘Safe Space’ for Returning Nigerian Schoolgirls Critical – UN

Human Wrongs Watch

A United Nations official for Nigeria on 20 August 2014 said that restoring the dignity and integrity of returning schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in Chibok is instrumental in reintegrating the girls back into a “safe space” in society.

Photo: UNESCO

Photo: UNESCO

“The UN family has not forgotten the girls,” said Rati Ndhlovu, the representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria at a Headquarters press conference.

Some 200 girls were abducted by Boko Haram militants as they attended school on 14 April. Despite efforts by the Nigerian Government and international outcry, most of the girls remain missing, while some who have managed to flee their perpetrators have been raped by lone men they meet on their way home.

Calling it a “double tragedy,” Ndhlovu stressed that the issue of sexual violence is very serious because the girls are threatened both by insurgents and by other men who will take advantage of a vulnerable situation.

Continue reading

20/08/2014

Uniting for Peace, Criminalizing War

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*, 18 August 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service

We have come of age, at 50; and I am the only surviving founder from 1964 in London, capital of a foggy island in the North Sea. Now we meet in the sunny capital of another empire; bridging three continents. One cloned itself all over; the other was more an Islamic umma, a community of togetherness-and-sharing, with millet islands of tolerance. And now: the superb IPRA program.

Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Uniting for peace. But we differ, disagree?

Incredible how far we can come if we identify and focus on the good and the positive in Kiev, Donetsk and Moscow, or husband and wife in broken marriages rather than what is wrong, and build new relations on that.

Peace is a relation, not attributes of the parties. So also for conferences: focus on the best in paper, praise it; not on the dubious and missing. Continue reading

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