Geneva, 28 April 2015 – Today, 865 000 people will either die or be injured doing their job. Every year, 2.8 trillion US$ dollars are taken up by lost working time, treatment, compensation and rehabilitation of occupational injuries and diseases. Ensuring decent, safe, and healthy working conditions and environments is the responsibility of us all, warns the International Labour Organization (ILO) marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Rana Plaza, Two Years On | Source: ILO
The news is punctuated periodically by intense coverage of dramatic, heartbreaking stories that capture global attention: health workers infected while caring for patients with deadly diseases, trapped miners who may or may not resurface, factory building collapses, plane crashes, explosions of oil rigs and nuclear accidents, ILO Director-Generals Guy Ryde stated.*
While the media eventually move on to other topics, working in hazardous conditions is actually a daily, routine and unseen affair for many workers. The numbers are striking. Over 313 million workers suffer non-fatal occupational injuries each year, equating to 860,000 people injured on the job daily.
By John Scales Avery*
The beautiful red-haired American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), is known for her lyric poetry, but she also wrote some of the finest sonnets in the English language, combining classic form with modern imagery.
**Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) | Author; Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q312851 | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
Many of these sonnets are based on the emotions that she experienced in her love affairs with both men and women.
However, my own favorite is a serious sequence of eighteen sonnets, “Epitaph for the Race of Man”, published in 1934, just as the catastrophe of World War II was about to engulf our planet.
The basic premise of Millay’s “Epitaph” is that we know from the evolutionary history of life on earth, that no species survives forever.
She speculates on what will be the final cause of the extinction of the human race, and concludes that Man will die by his own hand, since none the innumerable disasters that nature has thrown at us over the millennia has persuaded humankind “to lay aside the lever and the spade, and be as dust among the dusts that blow”.
Here are a few of the sonnets from the sequence:
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OXFORD, 24 April 2015 (IRIN)* – A closer look at the list of commitments from Europe’s leaders after their hastily-arranged migrant crisis summit in Brussels reveals no substantial change in response and few measures likely to have any major impact on the flows of migrants and asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe.
**Photo: Mathieu Galtier/IRIN | Women at a migrant detention centre in Surnam, Libya
The outcome had already been sketched out in a draft plan released on Monday, making Thursday’s meeting seem like little more than a public relations exercise.
Leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the cameras, promising ships and helicopters to boost search-and-rescue capacity, while the European Council pledged to triple funding for the European Union’s Operation Triton.
But what new plans, if any, came out of the meeting, and are they likely to stem the growing crisis?
With the help of migration and refugee experts, IRIN has unpacked the main resolutions and analysed what effect they might have:
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London, 24 April 2015 (IRIN)* – Anthropologist and author of “Illegality, Inc.” Ruben Andersson of the London School of Economics explains why an EU plan to destroy migrant smugglers’ boats is doomed to fail.
Migration loot lined the wall of the Red Cross hangar on Gran Canaria. It was springtime five years ago when my humanitarian host showed off row after row of gleaming red 40-horsepower Yamahas, confiscated from the large wooden fishing canoes that once brought willing workers from faraway West Africa to the Canary Islands.
Looking back from our death-stricken present, I now see these migrant motors as souvenirs from a more innocent era in Europe’s futile “fight against illegal migration” – and as keys to understanding why the latest desperate bid to stop it is doomed to fail.
Stop the boats; destroy them and attack the smugglers; and so halt the refugees for their own good – this is now one of our politicians’ main messages, faced with the mass deaths resulting from their refusal to continue Italy’s sea rescue campaign of 2014.
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The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 24 April 2015 condemned the “successive horrific incidents” in Libya this past week – ranging from the appalling loss of life in the Mediterranean of those escaping violence, the execution of Christians and the killings of several members of a prominent family by the so-called ‘Islamic State in Libya.’
**Migrants at a detention centre in the city of Zawiya, Libya. Photo: Mathieu Galtier/IRIN
“We have been shocked by the appalling loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea, following the reported deaths of several hundred individuals seeking to escape the violence in Libya,” OHCHR Spokesman Rupert Colville told the bi-weekly UN press briefing in Geneva.
“Many of those fleeing Libya are migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in an extremely vulnerable situation in Libya. Amidst the violence and breakdown in law and order, they are at risk of killings, torture, abduction, and physical assault,” he explained.
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23 April 2015 – The most senior United Nations officials dealing respectively with refugees, human rights, and migration and development, have appealed strongly to European leaders to put human life, rights, and dignity first when agreeing today a common response to what they called the “tragedy of epic proportions” unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea, where some 1,600 people have died this year trying to flee their strife-torn homelands.
Onboard an Italian ship, a Syrian father holds his one-year-old son as they wait to be checked by doctors. They were rescued in the middle of the Mediterranean. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato
A statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN Special Representative for International Migration and Development, Peter Sutherland, and the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, comes as European Union (EU) leaders grappled to find ways to stem the number of people risking their lives while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe after hundreds of refugees and migrants lost their lives on the high seas.*
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As men try to find work in the big cities of Morocco, women are traditionally destined to do the hard work.