Archive for ‘Africa’

26/11/2014

The Steady Decline of Social Europe

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio* 

Rome, November 2014 — After the Italian sea search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum at a cost of nine million euros a month, through which the Italian Navy has rescued nearly 100,000 migrants – although perhaps up to 3,000 have died – from the Mediterranean since October 2013, Europe is now presenting its new face in the Mediterranean.

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

The European Union is launching Joint Operation Triton with a monthly budget of 2.9 million euros and funds secured until the end of the year. Its function is to enforce border controls – not to save “boat people” – and it will patrol just thirty nautical miles from the coast, which pales in comparison with Italy’s Mare Nostrum operation which saw patrols being sent close to the Libyan coast.

Even with this very limited operation, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the United Kingdom will not contribute because operations that save migrants make them more willing to try to cross the Mediterranean. Of course, there is a perverted logic in this: the more migrants that die, the greater will be the discouragement for others to try.

26/11/2014

UN Human Rights Chief ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over ‘Disproportionate’ Killings of African-Americans by US Police

 Human Wrongs Watch

The decision by a Grand Jury in Missouri to absolve a police officer for the fatal shooting of an African-American teenager has spotlighted broader concerns about institutionalized discrimination across the United States, the top United Nations human rights official on 25 November 2014  said.

Protestors gather in New York City to demonstrate against the police shooting of Michael Brown (August 2014). Photo: Loey Felipe | Source: UN News Centre

“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a statement issued by his office in Geneva this morning [25 November 2014].

“It is clear that, at least among some sectors of the population, there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems,” Zeid continued. “I urge the US authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”

26/11/2014

Violence against Women, Girls Is a ‘Global Pandemic’ that Destroys Lives, Fractures Communities – UN

Human Wrongs Watch

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that destroys lives, fractures communities and holds back development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the world body on 25 November 2014 marked the International Day to End Violence against Women.*

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (left) and Chirlane McCray, New York City’s First Lady, after signing an agreement to work together in order to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. Photo: UN Women/Jennifer S. Altman

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that destroys lives, fractures communities and holds back development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as the world body on 25 November 2014 marked the International Day to End Violence against Women.

“But violence against women and girls does not emerge from nowhere. It is simply the most extreme example of the political, financial, social and economic oppression of women and girls worldwide,” Ban said at an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) event at Headquarters.

25/11/2014

#OrangeUrHood Campaign Kicks Off UN-led Effort to End Violence against Women

Human Wrongs Watch

New York, 24 November 2014 – Tonight, for the first time ever, both the iconic United Nations Headquarters complex and the Empire State Building in New York are bathed in orange light to kick off the “Orange YOUR Neighbourhood” campaign ahead of the International Day to End Violence Against Women. 

UN Secretariat shines in orange light kicking off Orange YOUR Neighbourhood anti-violence campaign for the International Day to End Violence against Women. November 2014. UN Photo/E. Debebe

“Together, we must end this global disgrace,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a special pre-lighting ceremony at the Empire State Building this morning where he “flipped the switch” ahead of the Building’s illumination tonight.*

“It is up to everyone to play their part; women’s rights are not only women’s business. Men and boys are finally taking their place as partners in this battle,” Ban explained in midtown New York where he was joined by American actress Teri Hatcher, Yoo Soon-taek, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

25/11/2014

The Power of 1.8 Billion Youth

Human Wrongs Watch

‘Young people matter. They matter because an unprecedented 1.8 billion youth are alive today, and because they are the shapers and leaders of our global future. They matter because they have inherent human rights that must be fulfilled,’ according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) report State of World Population 2014.* 
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Photo source: UNFPA

Photo source: UNFPA

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“Yet, in a world of adult concerns, young people are often overlooked. This tendency cries out for urgent correction, because it imperils youth as well as economies and societies at large.”
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Youth in today’s large numbers may be improperly seen as a daunting challenge, a drain on scarce resources, or properly seen as the potential architects of a historic transformation in human well-being, says the report, which was released on 18 November 2014.
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“The largest global youth population in human history will have a profound effect on every aspect of our common future and can create a better world for all.”

24/11/2014

The “Incestuous Relations” Between Governments and Energy Corporations

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, November 2014 (IPS) Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2 emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal has declared: “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate change many years in the future. The West will have to recognise we have the needs of the poor”.

This is also a blow to the Asia policy of U.S. President Barack Obama, who came back home from signing the CO2 emissions agreement in Beijing, touting his success on establishing U.S. policy in the region.

But, more importantly, will give plenty of ammunition to the Republican Congress, which has been fighting climate control on the grounds that the United States cannot engage on climate control unless other major polluters make similar commitments.

This was always directed to China, which had refuse to make any such commitment until President Xi, to the surprise of everybody, did so by signing an agreement with Obama.

24/11/2014

1 in 3 Victims of Human Trafficking Is a Child — Girls, Women Account for 70% of the Total

Human Wrongs Watch

The 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons released on 24 November 2014 in Vienna by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that one in three known victims of human trafficking is a child – a 5 per cent increase compared to the 2007-2010 period. Girls make up 2 out of every 3 child victims, and together with women, account for 70 per cent of overall trafficking victims worldwide.*

Source: UNODC

Source: UNODC

“Unfortunately, the report shows there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking,” said UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov.

“Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse.”

No country is immune – there are at least 152 countries of origin and 124 countries of destination affected by trafficking in persons, and over 510 trafficking flows criss-crossing the world.

Trafficking mostly occurs within national borders or within the same region, with transcontinental trafficking mainly affecting rich countries.

In some regions – such as Africa and the Middle East – child trafficking is a major concern, with children constituting 62 per cent of victims.

23/11/2014

In 2013, World ‘War Lords’ Spent on Killing Machines $1747 Billion — $248 for Each Person Alive Today

Human Wrongs Watch

World military expenditure in 2013 is estimated to have been $1747 billion, representing 2.4 per cent of global gross domestic product or $248 for each person alive today, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI)‘s Yearbook 2014, Armaments, Disarmament and International Security*, issued earlier this month.

The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin

**The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | Artist: Vasily Vereshchagin (1842–1904) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q127017 | Current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Link back to Institution infobox template wikidata:Q183334 | Wikimedia Commons

The total is about 1.9 per cent lower in real terms than in 2012. The pattern of increases and decreases in military spending in 2012 continued in 2013, with falls in Western countries (North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania) and increases in the rest of the world.

There were particularly large increases in Africa and the Middle East, while the impact of austerity policies continued to be felt in Europe.

The United States remained the largest military spender in 2013, followed at some distance by China and Russia.

23/11/2014

How to Make Cooking Safe for 10 Million People by 2020

Human Wrongs Watch

21 November 2014 – Every year, household air pollution from cooking kills over four million people and sickens millions more, the United Nations spotlighted at a New York conference on cookstoves, as it urged Governments to take action to accelerate the adoption of clean cooking solutions.

In many parts of rural Nepal, women spend on average of five hours a day in smoke-filled kitchens such as these, underming their health. Photo: IRIN/Naresh Newar

In many parts of rural Nepal, women spend on average of five hours a day in smoke-filled kitchens such as these, underming their health. Photo: IRIN/Naresh Newar

The first-ever Cookstoves Future Summit, “Fueling Markets, Catalyzing Action, Changing Lives,” is intending through the financial and political commitments of Member States to improve the health of women living in poverty, who are disproportionately burdened with poor health and unpaid care work in the absence of goods and services such as clean cookstoves.

As it stands now, nearly three billion people worldwide continue to rely on solid fuels to cook, causing serious environmental and health impacts, “according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

An estimated 4.3 million people die each year from indoor pollution. They die from strokes, and heart and pulmonary diseases, such as childhood pneumonia and lung cancer.

23/11/2014

Mauritania Cracks Down on Prominent Anti-Slavery Activists

Human Wrongs Watch

NOUAKCHOTT, 21 November 2014 (IRIN)* - The latest arrest of a group of prominent anti-slavery activists in Mauritania has once again brought to the fore the country’s struggle with slavery and discrimination based on colour.

The Global Slavery Index classifies Mauritania as the most egregious offender when it comes to modern slavery, with 155,600 people still living in enslavement or about 4 percent of the population.

The index defines slavery as the status of a person who is owned by another, which could also include practices similar to debt-bondage, forced marriage, and slavery based on descent.

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