09/04/2014

“Disproportionate Incarceration Rates” of the Māoris in New Zeland

Human Wrongs Watch

A United Nations human rights panel has voiced concerns about issues related to the deprivation of liberty in New Zealand, including the “disproportionate incarceration rates” of the Māori population, despite legal safeguards against arbitrary detention. The members of indigenous group make up for more than 50 per cent of the prison population while they comprise some 15 per cent of the country’s population, the UN reported on 8 April 2014.*

Māoris singing and chanting at UN Headquarters in 2009. Photo: UNDP

Māoris singing and chanting at UN Headquarters in 2009. Photo: UNDP

Speaking in Auckland on 7 April 2014 at the end of their first official visit to the country, members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that, overall, legislation and policy concerning deprivation of liberty in New Zealand is well-developed and generally consistent with international human rights law and standards.

At the same time, they urged the authorities to address a number of concerns. “If a prisoner has fully served the sentence imposed at the time of conviction, equivalent detention cannot be imposed under the label of civil preventive detention,” said expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the Working Group.

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07/04/2014

UN Expert ‘Alarmed’ at Worsening Human Rights Situation’ in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Human Wrongs Watch

An independent United Nations expert on 7 April 2014  sounded the alarm on the deteriorating human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, adding that the evacuation of aid workers following recent attacks on the humanitarian community would have severe consequences for life-saving work in the area.*

A Rohingya woman and her child at a makeshift camp outside Sittwe in Myanmar's western Rakhine State. Photo: IRIN

A Rohingya woman and her child at a makeshift camp outside Sittwe in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State. Photo: IRIN

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“Recent developments in Rakhine state are the latest in a long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya [Muslim majority] community which could amount to crimes against humanity,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana.

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04/04/2014

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery* – TRANSCEND Media Service – As everyone knows, Adam Smith invented the theory that individual self-interest is, and ought to be, the main motivating force of human economic activity, and that, in effect, it serves the wider social interest. He put forward a detailed description of this concept in an immense book, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776).

Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh's High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind | Author: Kim Traynor | Wikimedia Commons

Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh’s High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind | Author: Kim Traynor | Wikimedia Commons

Adam Smith (1723-1790) had been Professor of Logic at the University of Glasgow, but in 1764 he withdrew from his position at the university to become the tutor of the young Duke of Buccleuch. In those days a Grand Tour of Europe was considered to be an important part of the education of a young nobleman, and Smith accompanied Buccleuch to the Continent.

To while away the occasional dull intervals of the tour, Adam Smith began to write an enormous book on economics which he finally completed twelve years later. He began his “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by praising division of labor. Continue reading

04/04/2014

Ominous Signs of Climate Change, Visible Everywhere… Act Now Before It Is Too Late!

Human Wrongs Watch

From the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest, the ominous signs of climate change are profoundly visible, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for transformative collective action to tackle the phenomenon now – on all fronts– before it is too late.*

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten

“My objective has been to impress on Member States, the world of business and the public at large that climate change is an obstacle to the future security, prosperity and sustainable development of humankind,” Ban on 3 April 2014 told the Friends of Europe Policy Spotlight, held in Brussels, where he has been much of this week holding talks with European Union (EU) officials on a host of pressing global issues. Continue reading

03/04/2014

UN Confirms Receipt of Palestinian Applications to Join Global Conventions, Treaties

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations confirmed on 2 April 2014 that Palestinian Authority officials have presented letters for accession to 15 international conventions and treaties.*

the Palestinian flag | Own work. Based on Law No. 5 for the year 2006 amending some provisions of Law No. 22 for the year 2005 on the Sanctity of the Palestinian Flag | Author: Orionist, previous versions by Makaristos, Mysid, etc.| Wikimedia Commons

The Palestinian flag | Author: Orionist, previous versions by Makaristos, Mysid, etc.| Wikimedia Commons

UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that the documents had been presented to Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

“Once we receive the letters at Headquarters, we will be reviewing them to consider the appropriate next steps.”

Haq added that the Palestinian leadership, including President Mahmoud Abbas upon signing the accession letters on Monday night, has repeatedly emphasized that it wants to continue the negotiations with Israel that resumed in July 2013 under United States auspices.

“We hope that a way can be found to see negotiations through until the scheduled end of the nine-month timeframe set to expire on 29 April. The goal remains to arrive at a substantive basis for negotiations towards a comprehensive peace agreement on all final status issues.”

Haq went on to say that the UN is in contact with the sides to emphasize the need to manage current developments responsibly and act with restraint. In that regard, Serry met with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad Malki, this morning. He also met with Israeli negotiator and Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni.

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02/04/2014

Europe, Central Asia Face Nutritional Deficits

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) paints a picture of persistent nutrition problems due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and stunted growth in its latest snapshot of the Europe and Central Asia.*

A man sells potatoes in the street outside the central market in Yerevan, Armenia. Photo: FAO/Johan Spanner

A man sells potatoes in the street outside the central market in Yerevan, Armenia. Photo: FAO/Johan Spanner

On the eve of its biennial Regional Conference for Europe – in Bucharest, Romania – FAO concludes that although caloric intake in the 53-country region should see hunger fall to less than 1 per cent by 2050, nutrition problems continue in some of the countries today. “Caloric intake as a measure of undernourishment is currently not the major problem,” reveals the document.

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01/04/2014

Japan’s ‘Research Whaling’ Ruled Illegal by International Court of Justice

Human Wrongs Watch

By Tom Ganderton, Greenpeace 31 March 2014  The Government of Japan has officially cancelled plans to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean this coming year. Whales everywhere will be jumping for joy today. Why?

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Japan’s sham ‘scientific whaling’ program me has just been declared ILLEGAL in an international court! At 10am, the judges of the International Court of Justice handed down its long-anticipated decision on whether Japan’s government-subsidised whaling program me in the Southern Ocean should be allowed to continue. Continue reading

01/04/2014

Climate Change Impacting Entire Planet, Raising Risk of Hunger, Floods, Conflict – UN Report

Human Wrongs Watch

The effects of climate change are already occurring in all continents and across the oceans, and the world, for the most part, is ill-prepared for their risks, says a United Nations report issued on 31 March 2014, which also warns that while action can be taken, managing the phenomenon’s impacts will be difficult on a rapidly warming planet.* “Nobody will be untouched.”

The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten

The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks. Continue reading

01/04/2014

UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women Heads to UK to Investigate Abuse

Human Wrongs Watch

Domestic and sexual violence, sexual bullying and harassment, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation – all these issues and more will be on the docket as the United Nations expert tasked with monitoring violence against women launched her first mission in the United Kingdom.*

**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.

**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, 31 March 2014 began a two week investigative mission to the United Kingdom to study the manifestations of violence perpetrated in the family and in the community.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Manjoo said.* Continue reading

31/03/2014

UK: Migrant Domestic Workers Face Serious Abuse

 Human Wrongs Watch

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