Archive for ‘Latin America & Caribbean’

18/07/2014

UN: Can You Spare 67 Minutes to Take Action on Nelson Mandela Day?

Human Wrongs Watch

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be among citizens around the world who will be volunteering 67 minutes of their time on Friday 18 July 2014, Nelson Mandela Day, to make a small gesture in solidarity with humanity – one minute for every year of the South African leader’s public service.*

Source of image: UN

Source of image: UN

The UN General Assembly declared 18 July Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009 in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to democracy, justice and reconciliation.
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The overall campaign slogan is: “Take Action, Inspire Change.” And this year is the first commemoration after Mr. Mandela’s passing last December at the age of 95.
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18/07/2014

Lead in Infant Formula, Arsenic in Rice — UN Sets New Food Safety Standards

Human Wrongs Watch

17 July 2014, Geneva – UN food standards body the Codex Alimentarius Commission this week adopted new standards to protect consumer health worldwide, including setting out maximum acceptable levels of lead in infant formula and of arsenic in rice.

Rice for sale at a vendor's stall in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. | Source of photo: FAO

Rice for sale at a vendor’s stall in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. | Source of photo: FAO

Jointly run by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Codex Alimentarius Commission sets international food safety and quality standards to promote safer and more nutritious food for consumers worldwide.*

17/07/2014

Grandmothers Raped in Front of Their Grandchildren; Children in Front of Their Parents

Human Wrongs Watch

BANGUI, 15 July 2014 (IRIN)* - The presence of armed groups and continued fighting causing displacement across the Central African Republic (CAR) has led to an escalation of insecurity leaving women and girls vulnerable to forced marriage and extreme violence, including rape.

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN There are few protections for rape survivors in CAR (file photo)

**Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN | There are few protections for rape survivors in CAR (file photo)

Despite recent commitments from governments, UN agencies and NGOs to prioritize protecting women and girls from sexual and physical violence, current efforts in CAR remain underfunded. In the capital Bangui less than one third of clinics and health centres in internally displaced sites have the means to assist survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

“There are almost no protection mechanisms in place and basic services such as medical assistance and counselling are limited in the spontaneous sites where displaced women and girls have gathered,” said Elisabeth Roesch, emergency coordinator for women’s protection and empowerment with NGO International Rescue Committee (IRC).

15/07/2014

With Annual $36 Billion, Human Trafficking Ranks as World’s Third Most Profitable Crime

Human Wrongs Watch

“Not only is human trafficking one of the most grotesque violations of human rights, it is a lucrative crime for perpetrators… With annual profits as high as $36 billion per year, it ranks as the world’s third most profitable crime after illicit drug and arms trafficking’” according to the president of UN General Assembly John Ashe.

Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka

Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka

Human trafficking has no place in the modern world, Ashe on 14 July 2014 declared at a special event at United Nations Headquarters ahead of the observance of the first ever World Day against Trafficking in Persons.*

15/07/2014

Cooperatives’ Economy –Worth US$2.5 Trillion– Helps to Eliminate Child Labour

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, 14 July 2014, (ILO News)* – Around 60 per cent of all child laborers work in farming or a related industry, a sector where cooperatives hold a significant market share.

Photo: ILO/Joseph Fortin 2014

Photo: ILO/Joseph Fortin 2014

“Given that the total size of the cooperative economy worldwide is something over two and half trillion US dollars, cooperatives have considerable clout when it comes to making a difference,” says Simel Esim, head of the Cooperatives Unit for the ILO.
Simel Esim, head of the Cooperatives Unit for the ILO

Simel Esim, head of the Cooperatives Unit for the ILO

Cooperatives, as democratic member-led businesses, can help bring about changes in the way work is organized and how wealth is distributed — both important steps in helping bring about an end to child labour.

15/07/2014

Ever Wondered Why the World is a Mess?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, July 2014 – The latest figures from UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, show that in 2013 the total number of refugees worldwide had reached the staggering figure of 51 million people – we are close to the trauma of the Second World War, when the number of refugees was estimated at 55 million.
180 degree rotated map of the world Date 6 June 2008 Source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Blank-map-world-reversed.png Author CaseyPenk, Vardion Permission (Reusing this file)  Released into the public domain by original author Other versions  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Blank-map-world-reversed.png | Wikimedia Commons

**180 degree rotated map of the world |Date 6 June 2008 | Source: Wikimedia Commons | Author: CaseyPenk, Vardion

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Now, while the Third World War has not been formally declared, this means that conflicts throughout the world are reaching levels unseen since 1944.
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Of course, for the large majority of people throughout the world, news about these conflicts is just part of our daily news, even though it should be insane to ignore the increasing spending on arms everywhere.
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Another share of our daily news is about the mess in our countries, but this is so complex and confusing that many people have given up the effort to attempt any form of deep understanding.

14/07/2014

The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War on Palestine, Ukraine and the Truth

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Pilger*TRANSCEND Media Service14 July 2014 – The other night, I saw George Orwells’s ’1984′ performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

orwell pilger

Source of image: TRANSCEND Media Service

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone. As advanced societies are de-politicised, the changes are both subtle and spectacular. In everyday discourse, political language is turned on its head, as Orwell prophesised in ’1984′.

11/07/2014

Half the World Is Under 25, and Half of Those Employed Are “Stuck in Low-wage, Dead-end jobs”

Human Wrongs Watch

11 July 2014 – Half the world is under 25 years of age – nearly 90 per cent of them in developing countries, according to UN figures. However, half of those employed from the group are either unemployed or in UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s words, “stuck in low-wage, dead-end jobs.”
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Young people contributing to a workshop on climate change in Iguiwaz, Morocco. Photo: UNDP/CBA Baptiste de Ville d’Avray

Young people contributing to a workshop on climate change in Iguiwaz, Morocco. Photo: UNDP/CBA Baptiste de Ville d’Avray

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With 1.8 billion young people around the world – the largest generation of youth in history – senior United Nations officials marked World Population Day with calls for a renewed commitment to helping young people improve their lives and the common future.*
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“Action is urgently needed,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, stressing that too many young people are denied a right to a quality education, a decent job, and participation in the political life of their societies.

10/07/2014

“Washington’s War Crimes Spread from Africa and the Middle East to Ukraine”

Human Wrongs Watch

By Paul Craig Roberts*TRANSCEND Media Service, July 2014 – A person might think that revulsion in “the world community” against Washington’s wanton slaughter of civilians in eight countries would have led to War Crimes Tribunal warrants issued for the arrest of presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and many officials in their regimes.

The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | Wikimedia Commons

The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | Wikimedia Commons

But the vocal part of “the world community”–the West–has become inured to Washington’s crimes against humanity and doesn’t bother to protest. Indeed, many of these governments are complicit in Washington’s crimes, and there could just as well be arrest warrants for members of European governments.

The one exception is Russia.

09/07/2014

Political Forums of the “Highest Level”!

Human Wrongs Watch

By Daniel Mittler*, Greenpeace - 9 July, 2014 – You may have heard about a new roadmap to prevent climate catastrophe that was launched at the United Nations yesterday [8 July 2014].
 Climate Protest at COP 17. 12/03/2011 © Shayne Robinson / Greenpeace

Climate Protest at COP 17. 12/03/2011 © Shayne Robinson / Greenpeace

After the launch, Jeffrey Sachs, one of the people behind the report, came into the “High Level Segment of the High Level Political Forum” (yes, that really is the name) meeting that I am currently at to present the report.
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And he got the attention of the audience, because he showed personal photographs taken all over the world. His pictures and stories described a world in crisis, from air pollution in Beijing to water scarcity in Turkey. They did make the case for urgent action.
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It’s a shame therefore, that the report — though right about the urgency to act — is endorsing some technologies that are not sustainable, fast to deploy, or safe. It’s simply not possible to produce the amount of bioenergy the report calls for in a sustainable way, for example.
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