Archive for ‘Africa’

24/10/2014

Right to Online Privacy at Risk as Governments Engage in Mass Surveillance – Counter-terrorism Expert

Human Wrongs Watch

States must be transparent about the nature of their electronic mass surveillance programmes, an independent United Nations counter-terrorism expert said on 23 October 2014 as he warned about the impact such measures might have on individuals’ right to privacy.

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Author: (US) National Security Agency | Wikimedia Commons

**Slide from an NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Date: 29 January 2014 | Author: National Security Agency | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

“States need to squarely confront the fact that mass surveillance programmes effectively do away with the right to online privacy altogether,” Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, told the General Assembly body dealing with cultural, social and humanitarian issues (Third Committee) during the presentation his latest report.*

24/10/2014

Primary Emphasis Must Be to Halt Spread of Ebola in West Africa — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

As the international community mobilizes on all fronts to combat the unfolding Ebola outbreak, the primary emphasis must continue to be on stopping the transmission of the virus within Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three hardest-hit countries, United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) experts on 23 October 2014 said.

Source: UNICEF, WHO

Reporting on the outcome of the third meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which wrapped up yesterday in Geneva, the experts stressed that focusing on the countries at the epicenter of the outbreak, including through reinforcing high-quality exit screening procedures at airports, “is the most important step for preventing international spread.”*

24/10/2014

#YouthPolicyMatters: Stepping Up Global Debate on Youth Policies

Human Wrongs Watch

23 October 2014 (UNESCO) — From 28 to 30 October 2014, the first Global Forum on Youth Policies is organized with the aim of advancing the debate on youth policy development and its full and effective implementation at all levels. Hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan, by the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan, the Forum is co-convened by the Office of UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Council of Europe, with the support of ‘Youthpolicy.org’.**

© World Bank / Roxana Bravo | Source: UNESCO

“… as of April 2014, of 198 countries, 122 countries (62%) have a national youth policy, up from 99 (50%) in 2013. Across all continents, 37 states (19%) are either developing a new or revising their current youth policy, down from 56 (28%) in 2013. 31 countries have no national youth policy at the moment (16%), down from 43 (22%) in 2013. Of those, 14 are in Africa, 9 in Asia, 5 in the Americas, and 3 in Europe.” *

24/10/2014

The Growing Menace of Desertification to World’s Agriculture, Eco-systems

Human Wrongs Watch

The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency on 22 October 2014 warned, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change.

 

Recent successes show that problems related to desertification and land degradation are not insurmountable. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

The program me, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty.*

24/10/2014

Mediterranean, North Atlantic Preparing for UN-backed Tsunami Warning System Test

Human Wrongs Watch

Some 20 nations with coastlines on the North Atlantic, and Mediterranean and Black Seas are set to participate in a United Nations-supervised tsunami warning exercise to improve their ability to respond to an alert and enhance regional coordination in the event of a disaster.

A view of the destruction caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004 in Point Pedro, a small fishing village in northern Sri Lanka. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

In a press statement released on 23 October 2014 , the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – the body coordinating the warning test since its first implementation in 2005 – reported that four tsunami simulations will be carried out between 28 and 30 October in an effort to assess the overall reactivity of countries participating in the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System for the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAMTWS).*

23/10/2014

Fishing for a Living in the Desert Wastes of Northern Kenya

Human Wrongs Watch

By Cathy Wachiaya in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 22 October 2014 (UNHCR)* Noah Ilambona has been a fisherman all his life, so the refugee from Burundi felt completely lost when he ended up in the arid reaches of north-west Kenya after fleeing home in 2010 with his wife and first child.
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© UNHCR/C.Wachiaya | Noah and a partner harvest fish from one of their aquaculture ponds in Kakuma.

© UNHCR/C.Wachiaya | Noah and a partner harvest fish from one of their aquaculture ponds in Kakuma.

“I was happy to have found safety. The fighting was terrible back home,” admitted the 30-year-old, who fled to Kakuma Refugee Camp from his village on the banks of Mulembwe River, which feeds into Lake Tanganyika.

But the environment in north-west Kenya was completely different from his lush village and the father of two got a shock on arrival in Kakuma, which is located in a mostly arid region that experiences searing temperatures and very little rainfall.

The locals are pastoralists who live a nomadic lifestyle in constant search of water and pasture for their livestock.

22/10/2014

The “Complex Web” of Violations of Economic, Social, Cultural and Political Rights Requires Human Rights-based Solutions

Human Wrongs Watch

At the root of crises confronted by the United Nations usually lies a “complex web” of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights requiring solutions that can only come from more emphatic and comprehensive protections, the Organization’s top human rights official said on 22 October 2014.

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

Addressing the General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues (Third Committee), UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the world is currently facing “deepening turmoil” amid “biting constraints” of funding.

22/10/2014

Migrant Detention “Abuse” Can Scar Children for Life

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok, 21 October 2014 (IRIN)* - An increasing number of migrant children are being detained in countries where they are seeking asylum despite a growing body of scientific evidence that such incarceration leads to long-term psychological and developmental difficulties.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013 declared detaining migrant children is “never in [children's] best interests and is not justifiable” and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says it should be conducted with an “ethic of care – and not enforcement”.

However, according to a June 2014 article in The Lancet, more than 60 countries detain migrant children, which causes “deleterious effects on children’s mental, developmental, and physical health”.

22/10/2014

Maternity Leave: Women’s Survival vs. Family Responsibilities in Rwanda

Human Wrongs Watch

Kigali, 22 October 2014 (ILO)* – Kanyange’s (not her real name) baby is crying intermittently as they wait to meet a doctor at a health care centre in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. 

Source: ILO

Source: ILO

“My baby has been like this over the last two days. This started just after I had returned to work after my six-week maternity leave had expired.”
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The doctor’s instructions brought more concerns to the 35-year old mother who was told she needs to get more time to breastfeed the baby.
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In charge of social affairs at the Rwandese local government, she had just reported back to work after six weeks of maternity leave because she feared losing 80 per cent of her salary.
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The current labour law in Rwanda, adopted in 2009, stipulates that a mother is entitled to a maternity leave of 12 weeks. The first six weeks are automatic with full salary pay.
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When a mother extends her leave by another six weeks she earns only 20 per cent of her salary. The employer covers the full cost of these maternity leave cash benefits.
22/10/2014

In Sierra Leone, Getting Back to School – on the Airwaves

Human Wrongs Watch 

With schools closed throughout the country as a result of the Ebola epidemic, Sierra Leone is bringing the classroom into students’ homes through the use of educational radio broadcasts.

© UNICEF Sierra Leone/2014/Romero |  Moalem Siseh, 17, writes on a blackboard to help teach Uleymatu Conteh, 13, who is taking her school lessons by radio. The project aims to reach more than 1.7 million children in Sierra Leone who have no access to education because of the Ebola outbreak.

© UNICEF Sierra Leone/2014/Romero | Moalem Siseh, 17, writes on a blackboard to help teach Uleymatu Conteh, 13, who is taking her school lessons by radio. The project aims to reach more than 1.7 million children in Sierra Leone who have no access to education because of the Ebola outbreak.

By Yolanda Romero*, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 21 October 2014 — At the end of a labyrinth of small streets in Freetown’s New England neighborhood lies the home of 13-year-old Uleymatu Conteh.

Normally this morning she would have made her way to school dodging the motorbike taxis and the market women selling fruits, sweets and bread. Instead, she is sitting on the floor of her home, listening to the radio and taking notes while leaning against a wooden stool.

She’s listening to a science lesson about non-living and living things, with the help of an older relative, Moalem Siseh, 17.

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