Archive for ‘Africa’

01/04/2015

‘Roots of Conflict’ Must Be Addressed to Defeat Boko Haram’

Human Wrongs Watch

Expansive economic, social and political opportunities are key to reducing Nigeria’s smoldering ethnic and sectarian tensions and countering the growing threat posed by Boko Haram, the top United Nations human rights official on 1 April 2015 declared.

Nigerian refugees fleeing attacks by insurgents on Baga town and surrounding villages, wait to be registered by UNHCR in Ngouboua, western Chad. Photo: Chadian Red Cross/Hachim Abdoulaye | Source: UN

Nigerian refugees fleeing attacks by insurgents on Baga town and surrounding villages, wait to be registered by UNHCR in Ngouboua, western Chad. Photo: Chadian Red Cross/Hachim Abdoulaye | Source: UN

“Profound inequalities, corruption, and resulting marginalization, naturally generate discontent. And the more marginalized and desperate the people, the more likely they are to turn to radical and violent movements,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.*

In opening remarks to the Council’s 23rd special session, on terrorist attacks, abuses and violations committed by Boko Haram, Zeid warned that the increasingly appalling atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist group had spawned “a critical human rights situation” in northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region that could only be tempered through development initiatives.

31/03/2015

Dangerous Disintegration of Yemen

Human Wrongs Watch

‘The Somalia “solution” may not be a model desired for Yemen. There have been calls for “negotiations” and “political solutions” in the Yemeni conflict, though it is unclear what there is to negotiate or what political solutions mean. The further disintegration of an already highly fractured Yemen is dangerous.’

**Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia. Nearby bodies of water include the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. | Author: NormanEinstein | Wikimedia Commons

**Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia. Nearby bodies of water include the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. | Author: NormanEinstein | Wikimedia Commons

By Rene Wadlow*

31 March 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service — Taking a page from the Soviet script of 1968 Czechoslovakia, Saudi Arabia has come to the fraternal aid of Yemeni President Rabbo Mansour Hadi by starting to bomb Sana and massing 150,000 troops on the frontier and war ships off the coast.

On the eve of what should be called Saudi aggression, a letter of President Hadi asking for the brotherly help of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council and others was written.

31/03/2015

‘Causing genocide to protect us from terror’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Neil Clark*

30 March 2015 (RT)* – A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.

**Image: Iraq War montage.png| Author: Futuretrillionaire | Wikimedia Commons

**Image: Iraq War montage.png| Author: Futuretrillionaire | Wikimedia Commons

In the comprehensive 101 page document ‘Body Count,’ Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.

The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan.

As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen – and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.

“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says.

30/03/2015

“‘Hydro-Diplomacy’ Needed as World Faces Growing Water Shortages”

Human Wrongs Watch

The international community must gear up for a new era of “hydro-diplomacy” as the threat of water scarcity risks plunging the world into a period of geopolitical tension and stunted development, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on 30 March 2015 told delegates gathered at the General Assembly.

Photo: UNICEF/Wathiq Khuzaie

“Water is one of the highest priorities for development and lives in dignity, as well as a serious factor in maintaining peace and security,” the Deputy Secretary-General said in remarks to open the High-Level Interactive Dialogue on the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life,’ 2005-2015.*

“The lack of water causes individual tragedies,” he continued. “And it also, growingly, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. There is a need for ‘hydro-diplomacy’ – making scarce water a reason for cooperation, rather than a reason for conflict.”

30/03/2015

Battle Hots Up to Curb ‘Vulture Funds’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Martin Khor*

Many countries are facing a worsening debt situation, and thus feel urgency to curb ‘vulture funds’ and to set up a global debt restructuring mechanism. Recent resolutions adopted by the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly are moving this process forward but the battle will be an uphill one.

**Photo: A wake (group of feeding vultures) of white-backed vultures eating the carcass of a wildebeest | Author: Magnus Kjaergaard | Wikimedia Commons

**A wake (group of feeding vultures) of white-backed vultures eating the carcass of a wildebeest | Author: Magnus Kjaergaard | Wikimedia Commons

External debt is rearing its ugly head again. With the global economic slowdown, lower commodity prices and less tourism, many developing countries are facing reduced export earnings and foreign reserves.

No country would like to have to seek the help of the International Monetary Fund to avoid default. That could lead to years of austerity, high unemployment, cuts in social development and at the end of it, still no light at the end of the tunnel.

30/03/2015

Beijing Calling: Australia and Denmark Defy US by Applying to join China-led Bank

Human Wrongs Watch

30 March 2015 (RT)* - Australia and Denmark, despite previous American objections to the move, say they will join a new Beijing-backed investment bank that some in Washington say could supplant the US-dominated International Monetary Fund.

**Pudong in Shanghai in January 2014 | Author: Yhz1221 | Wikimedia Commons

**Pudong in Shanghai in January 2014 | Author: Yhz1221 | Wikimedia Commons

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey expressed their country’s willingness to join AIIB as a founding member, but have attached tough conditions to their membership.

“The government has discussed the AIIB extensively with China and other key partners inside and outside the region,” Abbott and Hockey said in a joint statement.

“Key matters to be resolved before Australia considers joining the AIIB include the Bank’s Board of Directors having authority over key investment decisions, and that no one country control the bank,” they said.

29/03/2015

Arabs Set to Create Their Own NATO, Urge a Nuclear-free Middle East

Human Wrongs Watch

Cairo, 29 March 2015 (Human Wrongs Watch) – The creation of an Arab, NATO-style joint military force, the urgency of freeing the Middle East from nuclear weapons and a future inter-Arab common market are some of the key decisions adopted by the Arab leaders in their 26th Summit held Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt ton 28, 29 March 2015.
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Arab_World_Green

The Arab region | Author: kobe bryant | Wikimedia Commons

The summit declaration emphasises the need to free the Middle East from nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction and calls on Israel to join the NPT (Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty), as well as to submit all its nuclear facilities, and those of Iran, to the comprehensive safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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Israel is the sole nuclear military power in the region. According to military experts, its arsenal amounts to 230 nuclear bombs. This figure would exceed the combined nuclear arsenal of India, with 80-90 atomic heads, and Pakistan with similar numbers. (1).

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According to the final declaration of the Arab summit, Arab states will join the new joint military force on a voluntary basis. 
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The joint force is set to intervene military to face eventual challenges threatening the security and safety of any member state at the official request of its authorities.
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Diplomatic sources close to the summit stressed that Iraq expressed strong opposition to this resolution and renewed its rejection of any military intervention of any state in the affairs of any other country.
28/03/2015

A Home for Mercy

Human Wrongs Watch

‘When last we met Mercy, she was arriving in her foster home, the child of a woman who had died of Ebola infection. See how Mercy’s getting on, in school for the first time, a child embraced by a family joined by love, if not blood.'(UNICEF)*

© UNICEF/NYHQ2014–3132/Nesbitt

After Mercy Kennady, 9, lost her mother to Ebola, she made international news when she was found crying, scared and alone, wandering the streets of Liberia. Her journey has taken her from being orphaned, facing stigma and undergoing quarantine to starting anew in the loving home of a foster family.

In November 2014, Mercy waved farewell as she left a UNICEF-supported interim care centre in Monrovia. Children exposed to Ebola stay at the centre for the duration of the virus’s 21-day maximum incubation period, receiving support while waiting to make sure they have not contracted the disease.

28/03/2015

The Boy Who Was Buried Alive and Survived

Human Wrongs Watch

When his village in Nigeria was attacked, 10-year-old Ibrahim witnessed his father’s brutal murder. Then the insurgents came after him. Ibrahim’s story.

(03252015)_Featured_TheBoyNigeria

The crescent-shaped scar on Ibrahim’s head is a visible reminder of his ordeal. UNHCR/Hélène Caux

By Hélène Caux*

25 March 2015 — Thirty-three-year-old Sarratou will never forget the day when dozens of heavily armed men ambushed her village in Nigeria’s Borno State. It was 10 o’clock in the morning and she was at home with three of her four children. The gunshots rang in their ears as they hastily embarked on a 12-kilometre trip on foot towards the Cameroon border.

At the time, her husband and their eldest son, 10-year-old Ibrahim, were caring for their cattle on the outskirts of the village. Although they tried to flee, there was no escape. “My husband got too tired. He was exhausted and could not continue running,” Sarratou says. “Boko Haram caught up with them, and they cut the throat of my husband, in front of our son.”

27/03/2015

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery, Ph.D. & Danish Pugwash Group – TRANSCEND Media Service

26 March 2015 — Let us first consider the urgent reasons why all nuclear weapons must be eliminated. Although the Cold War has ended, the danger of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than ever before.

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN-International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

There are 16,300 nuclear weapons in the world today, of which 15,300 are in the hands of Russia and the United States.

Several thousand of these weapons are on hair-trigger alert, meaning that whoever is in charge of them has only a few minutes to decide whether the signal indicating an attack is real, or an error.

The most important single step in reducing the danger of a disaster would be to take all weapons off hair-trigger alert.

Bruce G. Blair, Brookings Institute, has remarked that “It is obvious that the rushed nature of the process, from warning to decision to action, risks causing a catastrophic mistake… This system is an accident waiting to happen.”

Fred Ikle of the Rand Corporation has written, “But nobody can predict that the fatal accident or unauthorized act will never happen. Given the huge and far-flung missile forces, ready to be launched from land and sea on both sides, the scope for disaster by accident is immense… In a matter of seconds, through technical accident or human failure, mutual deterrence might thus collapse.”

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