By Ray Downs*, Vice –TRANSCEND Media Service — When most Westerners think of Buddhism, they think of smiling men with potbellies and inspirational quotes from Phil Jackson. “Buddhist neo-Nazi” sounds like a contradiction in terms.
The logo of the 969 group.
But in Burma, vicious anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the rise, and Buddhist extremists are responsible for attacking Muslims and burning down their houses and mosques, a state of affairs that was largely ignored until Anonymous launched a Twitter campaign to teach the world about the genocide against the Rohingya people, the officially stateless Muslims who many believe will be massacred if the world does not respond. Continue reading
31 August 2014 — According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2014, there are approximately 180,000 drug related deaths each year, most of them due to preventable overdoses.
Opioid overdose makes up the largest category, affecting mainly young people: 13 per cent of overdose deaths reported in Europe occur among those aged under 25 years. Additionally, in countries with low HIV prevalence, drug overdose is the main cause of death among problem drug users, accounting for up to 50 to 60 per cent of deaths among people who inject drugs.
International Overdose Awareness Day (31 August) was initiated in 2001 by the Penington Institute, an Australian civil society organisation.
This day is an opportunity to raise awareness and call for action to save lives and reduce the stigma associated with drug-related deaths. On this 31 August, UNODC highlights that death by overdose is preventable. Continue reading
30 August 2014 – Stressing that the enforced disappearance of individuals by States constitutes an unacceptable violation of human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared that the time has come for the end to this “abhorrent” practice.
A mother tells her story about her son, one of the victims known as “desaparecidos” of the military government that ruled Argentina in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. UN Photo/E. Schneider (file photo)
“Enforced disappearance is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the twenty-first century,” Ban said in a message to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which is observed annually on 30 August*.
“This abhorrent practice places people outside the protection of the law, and thus, potentially in great danger of physical violence and sometimes barbaric execution. In addition to causing unimaginable worry and anguish for the victims and their loved ones, this creates a generalized climate of fear and terror across entire societies.”
Ban noted that enforced disappearance was once employed mainly by military dictatorships. “Increasingly, it has become a tool of many States around the world, some operating under counter-terror strategies, or fighting organized crime, and others seeking to quash dissent and human rights activism. Continue reading
Human Wrongs Watch
30 August 2014
AFTER 50 DAYS, the war is over. Hallelujah.
On the Israeli side: 71 dead, among them 66 soldiers, 1 child.
On the Palestinian side: 2,143 dead, 577 of them children, 263 women, 102 elderly. 11,230 injured. 10,800 buildings destroyed. 8,000 partially destroyed. About 40,000 damaged homes. Among the damaged buildings: 277 schools, 10 hospitals, 70 mosques, 2 churches. Also, 12 West Bank demonstrators, mostly children, who were shot.
So what was it all about?
The honest answer is: About nothing.
Neither side wanted it. Neither side started it. It just so happened.
LET US recapitulate the events, before they are forgotten.
29 August 2014 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has identified six countries at risk for spread of the Ebola virus disease, adding that it is working with them to ensure that full surveillance, preparedness and response plans are in place.
A WFP convoy with needed food supplies entering West Point in Monrovia, Liberia, a community quarantined to prevent the spread of Ebola. Photo: UNMIL/Emmanuel Tobey
“The following countries share land borders or major transportation connections with the affected countries and are therefore at risk for spread of the Ebola outbreak: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal,” the agency said in the first in a series of regular updates on the Ebola response roadmap that was issued yesterday 28 gust 2014.*
29 August 2014 – Three million Syrians will have registered as refugees outside of their country today, the UN refugee agency reported, amid accounts of increasingly horrifying conditions inside their homeland – cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.
The parents and children of this Syrian family sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin
A news release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that a further 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria, bringing to almost half of all Syrians who have been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives.
One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million people more than a year ago. Over half of those uprooted are children. Continue reading
Nearly half a million children in Gaza will not be able to return to primary and secondary schools on Sunday as the new academic year starts, UNESCO, Save the Children and UNICEF said on 25 August 2014*.
**Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after summer break but faces overcrowding in classroom and shortages of supplies. | Girls lining up for class | Author: Al Jazeera English | Wikimedia Commons
More than one million Palestinian students were expected to return to school on 24 August, but classes will remain closed in the conflict-stricken coastal enclave, denying these nearly 500,000 children their right to education.
“Going back to school means bringing back normalcy to children. For this we need a durable ceasefire, and we must meet the most pressing needs for the rapid recovery of the education system,” said Lodovico Folin Calabi, Acting Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah.
Since the beginning of the conflict on 8 July, at least 219 schools have been damaged, 22 of which so severely that they can no longer be used.
Among those still standing, 103 have been turned into collective shelters for some 330,000 displaced people, half of whom are children.