Archive for ‘Asia’


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.


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.”


5 Facts You Need to Know about Yemen and its Conflicts

Human Wrongs Watch

27 March 2015 (RT)* – One of the poorest and most violent countries in the Middle East, Yemen is also an area of strategic importance for regional players – and some of the world’s most dangerous terror groups. RT explains the underlying reasons behind the nation’s conflicts.

**Large areas of Yemen are controlled by armed rebel groups rather than the national government. | Author: GeoEvan | Wikimedia Commons

Strategic location

The territory that lies within Yemen’s borders is one of the most ancient cradles of civilization in the Middle East, once known as ‘Arabia Felix’ – Latin for “happy” or “fortunate” – in ancient times. The lands of Yemen were more fertile than most on the Arabian Peninsula, as they received more rain due to high mountains.

But because of declining natural resources, including oil, Yemen and its population of about 26 million are now very poor.


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.”


Record-breaking Year for Asylum Claims: 8 Key Trends

OXFORD, 26 March 2015 (IRIN)* – 2014 was a year of records for asylum claims, according to an annual round-up released today by UNHCR, which noted that 866,000 claims were made in the world’s industrialized nations, double the figure for 2013.

That figure will undoubtedly grab headlines, but the report reveals many other important trends. IRIN has highlighted a few of them:

• For the fourth year running, Germany was the largest recipient of new asylum claims (with 434,000) among this group of industrialised countries.

Over the same period, Sweden registered the largest number relative to its population size – 24.4 applicants per 1,000 inhabitants.

The United States, although the second largest recipient of new asylum seekers, averaged only 1.3 applicants per 1,000 nationals.


SHERLOC against Organized Crime

Human Wrongs Watch

25 March 2015 – With criminal groups transforming into ever more sophisticated networks, and their ability to operate across borders increasing, the need for greater information sharing and cooperation is urgent.*

Photo: UNODC

Source: UNODC

To meet this need, UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) has developed SHERLOC: an online knowledge management portal for Sharing Electronic Resources and Laws on Crime and disseminating information on how States implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

SHERLOC aims to promote communication between States, police enforcement agencies, civil society and other organizations, and has been developed to easily provide access to legal cases related to countries’ implementation of the Convention.

Since its creation a year ago, SHERLOC has grown to include information on over 1,800 individual cases and 2,100 instances of legislation concerning national laws.

SHERLOC has been developed with a wide user base in mind: Governments, judicial agencies, law enforcement officials, legal practitioners, academics and more.

It includes information on a range of criminal activities such as cybercrime, human trafficking, money laundering, piracy, and wildlife and forest crime.


Photo Feature: Bulgaria Repels Asylum Seekers

The pattern of systematic pushbacks and beatings was highlighted by a Human Rights Watch report in 2014, but evidence that they have continued came to light this month with the deaths of two Yazidi Iraqis who attempted to cross the border.

Click here to see IRIN’s photo feature on how they died and evidence that a Bulgarian government policy introduced in 2013 may be behind the numerous documented cases of pushbacks and abuse of asylum seekers at the Turkish border.


As Yemen Crumbles, Civilians Brace for the Worst

Human Wrongs Watch

By Almigdad Mojalli*
SANA’A, 25 March 2015 (IRIN)* - Abdu Hasan Dabwan is not willing to let it happen again. Twice before, the 54 year-old says, he waited too long, refusing to flee in the hope that the tensions in his home country would not tip over into chaos. Twice he was wrong.

The first time was 1994. Four short years after North and South Yemen had unified, the initial optimism had faded and a civil war broke out in which president Ali Abdullah Saleh brutally crushed the southern leadership.

Trapped in their houses, the Dabwans were forced to watch the three-months of carnage play out around them.

The second time was in 2011 when a wave of popular protests against Saleh began. While he eventually stepped down to be replaced by his deputy Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, it was not before months of intermittent clashes.

“We had terrible experiences [before] when we waited until the war broke out [and] were besieged for many days. Some of our neighbors were killed, and we [had to abandon] much of our furniture and properties.”


Vykom: Strategic Nonviolent Action Against Untouchability

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

25 March 2014 — Why does nonviolent action work? And how good was Mohandas K. Gandhi as a nonviolent strategist?

**Memorial at the former en:Birla House, en:New Delhi, en:India where en:Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial. | Author: Fowler&fowler | Wikimedia Commons

**Memorial at the former en:Birla House, en:New Delhi, en:India where en:Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial. | Author: Fowler&fowler | Wikimedia Commons

If you want high quality evidence in your search for answers to these two questions then I encourage you to read Professor Mary E. King’s latest book on the struggle against untouchability, unapproachability and unseeability in the south Indian village of Vykom during the 1920s.

See ‘Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change‘.

History is not always considered instructive and yet the major achievements, and failures, of nonviolent activists throughout the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries can be better understood if we understand what happened at Vykom.


Outsourcing Asylum!

Human Wrongs Watch

As the European Union considers outsourcing asylum screening to North Africa, IRIN‘s Migration Editor looks at what lessons can be learned from Australia’s use of offshore processing for asylum seekers.

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN


London, March 2015 (IRIN)* – As Europe braces for a summer of record maritime migrant arrivals, the EU has revived plans to establish processing centers beyond the borders of the Union.

All indications are that the onset of calmer waters on the Mediterranean will lead even more people to attempt the crossing this year than did in 2014, when over 170,000 reached Italy’s shores alone.

As conflicts in Syria, Libya and elsewhere rage on, over 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived by sea in the first two months of 2015 compared to 5,500 during the same period last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.


Yemen on ‘Rapid Downward Spiral’ amid Uptick in Sectarian Violence

Human Wrongs Watch

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on 22 March 2015 warned as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.*

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situation in Yemen. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday [22 March] session, Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”

“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”

The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy.


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