Archive for ‘Latin America & Caribbean’

25/10/2014

More Respect, Less Criminalization for Migrant Workers, UN Human Rights Expert Urges

The lack of political will to stand up for migrant workers’ rights remains the greatest challenge to the protection of this “very vulnerable” group of human beings, an independent United Nations expert affirmed on 24 October 2014.

Migrant workers in India cook a meal. Photo: World Bank/Curt Carnemark | Source: UN News Centre

Speaking before the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which reviews the work accomplished by the UN’s independent human rights experts, Francisco Carrion Mena, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (CMW), warned that some Member States “mistakenly consider border areas as exempt from human rights obligations.”*

25/10/2014

The World Wastes Enough Food to Feed Two Billion People!

Human Wrongs Watch

The world wastes enough food to feed an estimated two billion people, the United Nations on 24 October 2014 said, as its three Rome-based food agencies announced the launch of a digital platform designed to take aim at the growing problem of “food loss.”

FAO, IFAD and WFP joint project “Mainstreaming food loss reduction initiatives for smallholders in food deficit areas” aims to improve food security and income generation through reduction of food losses in food grains and pulses value chains. Photo: FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

The new online program me, called the Global Community of Practice (CoP) on Food Loss Reduction, was jointly launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), with the goal of becoming “a global reference point” in the facilitation of information sharing between stakeholders such as public entities, civil society and the private sector.*

24/10/2014

Right to Online Privacy at Risk as Governments Engage in Mass Surveillance – Counter-terrorism Expert

Human Wrongs Watch

States must be transparent about the nature of their electronic mass surveillance programmes, an independent United Nations counter-terrorism expert said on 23 October 2014 as he warned about the impact such measures might have on individuals’ right to privacy.

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Author: (US) National Security Agency | Wikimedia Commons

**Slide from an NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Date: 29 January 2014 | Author: National Security Agency | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

“States need to squarely confront the fact that mass surveillance programmes effectively do away with the right to online privacy altogether,” Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, told the General Assembly body dealing with cultural, social and humanitarian issues (Third Committee) during the presentation his latest report.*

24/10/2014

Primary Emphasis Must Be to Halt Spread of Ebola in West Africa — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

As the international community mobilizes on all fronts to combat the unfolding Ebola outbreak, the primary emphasis must continue to be on stopping the transmission of the virus within Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three hardest-hit countries, United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) experts on 23 October 2014 said.

Source: UNICEF, WHO

Reporting on the outcome of the third meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which wrapped up yesterday in Geneva, the experts stressed that focusing on the countries at the epicenter of the outbreak, including through reinforcing high-quality exit screening procedures at airports, “is the most important step for preventing international spread.”*

24/10/2014

#YouthPolicyMatters: Stepping Up Global Debate on Youth Policies

Human Wrongs Watch

23 October 2014 (UNESCO) — From 28 to 30 October 2014, the first Global Forum on Youth Policies is organized with the aim of advancing the debate on youth policy development and its full and effective implementation at all levels. Hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan, by the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan, the Forum is co-convened by the Office of UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Council of Europe, with the support of ‘Youthpolicy.org’.**

© World Bank / Roxana Bravo | Source: UNESCO

“… as of April 2014, of 198 countries, 122 countries (62%) have a national youth policy, up from 99 (50%) in 2013. Across all continents, 37 states (19%) are either developing a new or revising their current youth policy, down from 56 (28%) in 2013. 31 countries have no national youth policy at the moment (16%), down from 43 (22%) in 2013. Of those, 14 are in Africa, 9 in Asia, 5 in the Americas, and 3 in Europe.” *

24/10/2014

The Growing Menace of Desertification to World’s Agriculture, Eco-systems

Human Wrongs Watch

The growing menace of desertification poses a distinct threat to the world’s agriculture and eco-systems, the United Nations agriculture agency on 22 October 2014 warned, as it announced a new initiative aimed at curbing the spread of land degradation and building resilience to climate change.

 

Recent successes show that problems related to desertification and land degradation are not insurmountable. Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano

The program me, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty.*

22/10/2014

Neck & Neck Brazil Presidential Race Casts Doubts on Mercosur, BRICS

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mauricio Savarese*, 21 October  2014 (RT) — About a year ago everyone expected an easy ride for President Dilma Rousseff in her reelection campaign. Now, in the final week of Brazil’s election season, she is technically tied with opposition’s Aécio Neves.

Dilma Rousseff in Brasília, March 2009 | Roosewelt Pinheiro/ABr | Wikimedia Commons

Dilma Rousseff | Roosewelt Pinheiro /ABr | Wikimedia Commons

About 20 percent of voters, who reject both candidates or seem too tired of politics to show up on October 26, are hearing desperate claims from the incumbent and her antagonist. It is likely Brazilians only know what will happen after the last vote is counted.

That uncertainty makes the country’s future a big mystery. And that includes a big chunk of South America’s powerhouse foreign policy. Neither Rousseff nor Neves want to give away much of what they intend to do if victorious.

Aécio Neves | Author: PSDB MG | Wikimedia Commons

Aécio Neves | Author: PSDB MG | Wikimedia Commons

But the president’s closest allies have given hints. Rousseff’s foreign advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia says “South America is a big asset” and insists Mercosur – the region’s free trade zone – must be strong to keep Brazil’s position as a Latin American spokesman.

Neves’ aide Rubens Barbosa, a former ambassador to Washington, says Brazil does better by imploding Mercosur (which includes Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), so there is a deal with the European Union and diplomacy that is friendlier to the US.

22/10/2014

The “Complex Web” of Violations of Economic, Social, Cultural and Political Rights Requires Human Rights-based Solutions

Human Wrongs Watch

At the root of crises confronted by the United Nations usually lies a “complex web” of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights requiring solutions that can only come from more emphatic and comprehensive protections, the Organization’s top human rights official said on 22 October 2014.

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

Addressing the General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues (Third Committee), UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the world is currently facing “deepening turmoil” amid “biting constraints” of funding.

22/10/2014

Migrant Detention “Abuse” Can Scar Children for Life

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok, 21 October 2014 (IRIN)* - An increasing number of migrant children are being detained in countries where they are seeking asylum despite a growing body of scientific evidence that such incarceration leads to long-term psychological and developmental difficulties.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013 declared detaining migrant children is “never in [children's] best interests and is not justifiable” and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says it should be conducted with an “ethic of care – and not enforcement”.

However, according to a June 2014 article in The Lancet, more than 60 countries detain migrant children, which causes “deleterious effects on children’s mental, developmental, and physical health”.

22/10/2014

Maternity Leave: Women’s Survival vs. Family Responsibilities in Rwanda

Human Wrongs Watch

Kigali, 22 October 2014 (ILO)* – Kanyange’s (not her real name) baby is crying intermittently as they wait to meet a doctor at a health care centre in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. 

Source: ILO

Source: ILO

“My baby has been like this over the last two days. This started just after I had returned to work after my six-week maternity leave had expired.”
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The doctor’s instructions brought more concerns to the 35-year old mother who was told she needs to get more time to breastfeed the baby.
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In charge of social affairs at the Rwandese local government, she had just reported back to work after six weeks of maternity leave because she feared losing 80 per cent of her salary.
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The current labour law in Rwanda, adopted in 2009, stipulates that a mother is entitled to a maternity leave of 12 weeks. The first six weeks are automatic with full salary pay.
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When a mother extends her leave by another six weeks she earns only 20 per cent of her salary. The employer covers the full cost of these maternity leave cash benefits.
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