A United Nations human rights panel has voiced concerns about issues related to the deprivation of liberty in New Zealand, including the “disproportionate incarceration rates” of the Māori population, despite legal safeguards against arbitrary detention. The members of indigenous group make up for more than 50 per cent of the prison population while they comprise some 15 per cent of the country’s population, the UN reported on 8 April 2014.*
Māoris singing and chanting at UN Headquarters in 2009. Photo: UNDP
Speaking in Auckland on 7 April 2014 at the end of their first official visit to the country, members of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention noted that, overall, legislation and policy concerning deprivation of liberty in New Zealand is well-developed and generally consistent with international human rights law and standards.
At the same time, they urged the authorities to address a number of concerns. “If a prisoner has fully served the sentence imposed at the time of conviction, equivalent detention cannot be imposed under the label of civil preventive detention,” said expert Mads Andenas, who currently heads the Working Group.
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By John Scales Avery* – TRANSCEND Media Service – As everyone knows, Adam Smith invented the theory that individual self-interest is, and ought to be, the main motivating force of human economic activity, and that, in effect, it serves the wider social interest. He put forward a detailed description of this concept in an immense book, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776).
Adam Smith statue in Edinburgh’s High Street with St. Giles High Kirk behind | Author: Kim Traynor | Wikimedia Commons
Adam Smith (1723-1790) had been Professor of Logic at the University of Glasgow, but in 1764 he withdrew from his position at the university to become the tutor of the young Duke of Buccleuch. In those days a Grand Tour of Europe was considered to be an important part of the education of a young nobleman, and Smith accompanied Buccleuch to the Continent.
To while away the occasional dull intervals of the tour, Adam Smith began to write an enormous book on economics which he finally completed twelve years later. He began his “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by praising division of labor.
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From the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest, the ominous signs of climate change are profoundly visible, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for transformative collective action to tackle the phenomenon now – on all fronts– before it is too late.*
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Greenland at the end of March 2014 to see first-hand the impacts of climate change. UN Photo/Mark Garten
“My objective has been to impress on Member States, the world of business and the public at large that climate change is an obstacle to the future security, prosperity and sustainable development of humankind,” Ban on 3 April 2014 told the Friends of Europe Policy Spotlight, held in Brussels, where he has been much of this week holding talks with European Union (EU) officials on a host of pressing global issues.
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By Tom Ganderton, Greenpeace 31 March 2014 – The Government of Japan has officially cancelled plans to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean this coming year. Whales everywhere will be jumping for joy today. Why?
Japan’s sham ‘scientific whaling’ program me has just been declared ILLEGAL in an international court! At 10am, the judges of the International Court of Justice handed down its long-anticipated decision on whether Japan’s government-subsidised whaling program me in the Southern Ocean should be allowed to continue.
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The effects of climate change are already occurring in all continents and across the oceans, and the world, for the most part, is ill-prepared for their risks, says a United Nations report issued on 31 March 2014, which also warns that while action can be taken, managing the phenomenon’s impacts will be difficult on a rapidly warming planet.* “Nobody will be untouched.”
The melting of ice sheets is accelerating in Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten
The report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.
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Domestic and sexual violence, sexual bullying and harassment, forced and early marriages, and female genital mutilation – all these issues and more will be on the docket as the United Nations expert tasked with monitoring violence against women launched her first mission in the United Kingdom.*
**Photo credit: Sherkashmiri | Wikimedia Commons.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, 31 March 2014 began a two week investigative mission to the United Kingdom to study the manifestations of violence perpetrated in the family and in the community.
“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every country in the world,” Manjoo said.*
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By Prof. James Petras - TRANSCEND* – Protest, dissent and terrorist wars are obviously very distinct forms of expressing opposition and bringing about change.
The Obama-Kerry regime claim that the opposition in Venezuela is a “protest movement” a “peaceful democratic opposition” expressing discontent with economic conditions and that the democratically elected Maduro Administration is an ‘authoritarian regime’ violently repressing dissent.
Washington claims to play no part in the action of the opposition and that its pronouncements are directed at furthering democratic freedoms.
**John Kerry departs the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in a U.S. military Blackhawk helicopter on March 26, 2013. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]
The overwhelming evidence speaks to the contrary. By every measure, the opposition has engaged in prolonged and extensive violent activity, including terrorist acts, assassinations, arson, destruction of public property including the murder of military officials and civilian supporters of the government.
Widely circulated photographs, even in media outlets backing Washington, show opposition activists throwing Molotov cocktails and building barracades for street warfare.
The Obama-Kerry Administration is in total denial of each and every violent act by the opposition; it unconditionally defends the opposition; it forcibly attacks and demonizes each and every effort by the Government to defend the rights of its citizens, uphold the Constitution and enforce law and order.
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“The production of opium increased by 102% and cocaine by 20% from 1998 to 2007, despite efforts to destroy crops around the world; in the US close to 500,000 people are in jail for drug offenses, compared with 41,000 in 1980; the US spent 93% of its resources on cocaine for law enforcement and only 7% on treatment programmes; more than 30 countries impose the death penalty for drug-related crimes; over 70%of HIV infections in Russia are due to injecting drugs… The list goes on and the casualties of the drug wars mount.”
Photo: Obinna Anyadike. The war on drugs isn’t working: 10am, Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town | Source: IRIN
These are some of the figures and data provided by the Open Society Foundation’s (OSF) Global Drug Policy Program, which hosted a panel discussion in New York on 25 March.
Humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs IRIN* on 28 March 2014 reported from New York, “Despite growing acknowledgement that the war on drugs has failed, global consensus on the way forward remains elusive. Nevertheless, some detect a “paradigm shift” among many players at the forefront of the debate.”
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By Human Rights Watch*, 25 March 2014 – The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.
Source: Flickr: Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 | Author: World Economic Forum | Wikimedia Commons
The 100-page report, “‘They Know Everything We Do’: Telecom and Internet Surveillance in Ethiopia,” details the technologies the Ethiopian government has acquired from several countries and uses to facilitate surveillance of perceived political opponents inside the country and among the diaspora.
The government’s surveillance practices violate the rights to freedom of expression, association, and access to information.
The government’s monopoly over all mobile and Internet services through its sole, state-owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, facilitates abuse of surveillance powers.
“The Ethiopian government is using control of its telecom system as a tool to silence dissenting voices,” said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch.
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