Archive for ‘Asia’

03/09/2015

‘Liberated’ Iraq: Over 1,300 People Killed and 1,800 Injured in August Only in Baghdad

Human Wrongs Watch

Terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq killed more than 1,300 people and injured over 1,800 others last month, reflecting a “steadily increasing number of casualties,” according to casualty figures released on 2 September 2015 by the United Nations Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMI).

Two small children who fled the escalating violence in Iraq (file photo). UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade

Two small children who fled the escalating violence in Iraq (file photo). UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade

The number of civilians killed was 585, and the number of civilians injured was 1,103 in August 2015, the Mission reported.

“Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 1,069 civilian casualties (318 killed, 751 injured),” according to the report. “Diyala suffered 108 killed and 162 injured; Ninewa 69 killed and 3 injured; Salah al-Din 23 killed and 13 injured and Kirkuk 17 killed and 15 injured.”

02/09/2015

The Korean Peninsula: A View of the Future

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*

Seoul, 2 September 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service – There was a big conference in 1972 in Kyoto, well over 40 years ago; that was my first effort, with thousands, millions of others. On the agendas for these countless encounters the U-word, “unification”, loomed high.

north south korea map asia

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In Kyoto, I made a distinction between unifying the Korean nation by opening the border for projects beyond unifying families, and unifying the two states. Which one are we talking about?

The second is problematic if it means one state–and one president!–less. Could wait; from a human point of view unifying the nation has priority.

02/09/2015

Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims Barred from Voting

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kayleigh Long*
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BUTHIDAUNG, Myanmar, 1 September 2015 (IRIN)* – In the 2010 general elections, about 150,000 Muslims in this isolated township in western Myanmar were able to cast ballots. When the country returns to the polls in November the number of Muslim voters here is likely to be about a dozen.
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There’s a simple explanation for the dramatic decline: the government has disenfranchised almost all of Myanmar’s approximately one million minority ethnic Rohingya Muslims.

02/09/2015

Number of Women and Children Crossing Macedonia to Seek Refuge in Europe Triples in Three Months

Human Wrongs Watch

GENEVA/SKOPJE (UNICEF)* – The number of women and children fleeing violence in their countries of origin and passing through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia seeking refuge in Europe has tripled in the past three months, UNICEF on 1 September, 2015 said.

Source: UNICEF

Source: UNICEF

An estimated 3,000 people are transiting through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia daily. A third of them are women and children – up from 10 per cent in June. Some 12 per cent of the women are pregnant.

According to figures from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Ministry of Interior, 80 per cent originate from Syria, while 5 per cent are from Afghanistan and another 5 per cent are from Iraq.

02/09/2015

The Orphanage in the Rubble

Human Wrongs Watch

By Almigdad Mojalli*

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SANA’A, 1 September 2015 (IRIN)* – Amongst the rubble of ruined Sana’a, the shutters of a once-proud orphanage hang loosely from their hinges. Huddling below smashed windows, a few dozen children, dirty-faced and hungry, wait for food.
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Before the war, the orphanage – commonly referred to as just Dar al-Aytam – was known for turning Yemen’s street children into soldiers, business leaders and politicians.

Now, it struggles even to get by. Many children have fled the relentless bombing and run off to track down relatives.

Those who stay get little food and even less education. It is becoming a sad relic, just another victim of the conflict.

02/09/2015

‘Refugee’ or ‘Migrant’ – Which Is Right?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Adrian Edwards*

GENEVA, August 2015 (UNHCR)*  With almost 60 million people forcibly displaced globally and boat crossings of the Mediterranean in the headlines almost daily, it is becoming increasingly common to see the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ being used interchangeably in media and public discourse. But is there a difference between the two, and does it matter?

© UNHCR | Refugee or Migrant – word choice matters.

Yes, there is a difference, and it does matter. The two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations. Here’s why:

Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution.

There were 19.5 million of them worldwide at the end of 2014.

Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as “refugees” with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations.

31/08/2015

Survivors Tell Harrowing Tales of Fight for Air on “Boat of Death” Off Libya

Human Wrongs Watch

By Alice Philipson*

PALERMO, Italy, 28 August 2015  (UNHCR)*  Abdel pushed his face up to the cracks between the wooden floorboards, gasping for air.

© UNHCR/A. Penso | Hsna, 45 , cradles her two-year-old son Abdu as they wait for a bus to take them to a reception centre.

Next to him between 200 and 300 migrants and refugees who departed Zuwarah, Libya in the early hours of Tuesday morning on a rickety wooden boat were suffocating in the pitch-black hold.

“We didn’t want to go down there but they beat us with sticks to force us,” said Abdel, 25, from Sudan. “We had no air so we were trying to get back up through the hatch and to breathe through the cracks in the ceiling. But the other passengers were scared the boat would capsize so they pushed us back down and beat us too.

“Some were stamping on our hands.”

31/08/2015

Confessions of a Frustrated “Soil-hugger”

Human Wrongs Watch

By Professor David Powlson*

29 August 2015 (Greenpeace)* – As a soil scientist you would expect me to be enthusiastic about the benefits that soil gives to humanity and very happy that the United Nations designated 2015 as International Year of Soils.

Photo credit: Emile Loreaux/Greenpeace

Photo credit: Emile Loreaux/Greenpeace

During this year there have been numerous activities throughout the world to draw attention of a wider public to the value of soil. In the UK, the British Society of Soil Science has been active in organising events in schools – recognising the need to enthuse future generations.

The properties of natural soils under forest or grassland are especially impressive; by “natural” I mean soils largely unaltered by humans by processes such as ploughing.

In these soils the interactions between physical, chemical and biological processes are particularly amazing.

31/08/2015

So Much for Sanctuary: How an EU Asylum Rule ‘Results in Death’

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OXFORD, 28 August 2015 (IRIN)* – On Thursday, Austrian police opened the back of a truck abandoned on the side of a motorway to find the bodies of 71 migrants. They had suffocated after paying smugglers to transport them across the border from neighbouring Hungary. The bodies were so decomposed it took a day to determine the number of dead.
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Some, perhaps all, were Syrian refugees, most likely trying to reach Germany. Despite having made it into the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone, they still felt the need to travel clandestinely to avoid being fingerprinted and registered for asylum in Hungary, which would have offered them few opportunities to work or integrate.

“This tragedy comes as a cruel reminder that the Dublin Regulation results in death,” commented Hungarian NGO Migszol in a blog posted shortly after the news broke.

31/08/2015

More than 300,000 Make Perilous Mediterranean Crossing in 2015

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations refugee agency on 28 August 2015 said that the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe has surpassed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 during the whole of 2014.

A group of Afghans arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey to Greece. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants used the dangerous sea route across the Mediterranean in 2015. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell

“Some 2,500 refugees and migrants are estimated to have died or gone missing this year while attempting the crossing to Europe – compared to 3,500 who died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2014” said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at a press briefing

This number, which includes almost 200,000 people landing in Greece and 110,000 in Italy, represents a substantial increase from last year. “In the last few days,” Fleming continued, “more people have lost their lives in three separate incidents.”

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