Archive for ‘Market Lords’

27/04/2015

Today, 865000 People Will Either Die or Be Injured Doing their Job

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

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

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.

27/04/2015

Millay's "Epitaph for the Race of Man"

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

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

**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:

25/04/2015

The EU’s ‘Disappointing’ Response to the Migration Crisis

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

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

**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:

25/04/2015

Why an EU Plan to Destroy Migrant Smugglers' Boats Is Doomed to Fail

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

By Ruben Andersson*
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.
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**Photo: L.Boldrini/UNHCR | Destroyed Libyan ships will be replaced by even more precarious vessels

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.

25/04/2015

UN Human Rights Chief Urges UK to Curb Tabloid Hate Speech, End ‘Decades of Abuse’ Targeting Migrants

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

After decades of “sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse,” and in the wake of a recent article in the Sun newspaper calling migrants ‘cockroaches,’ the United Nations human rights chief on 24 April 2015 urged British authorities and media to take steps to curb incitement to hatred by tabloid newspapers, in line with the country’s obligations under national and international law.

Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni

Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, also called a firmer line on racism to be taken by European countries, which, he said, “under the guise of freedom of expression, are being allowed to feed a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants, as well as of marginalized European minorities such as the Roma.”

“The nasty underbelly of racism that is characterizing the migration debate in an increasing number of European Union countries, has skewed the EU response to the crisis,” Zeid said in a statement released by OHCHR.

25/04/2015

‘Horrific’ Week of Human Rights Violations in Libya

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

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.’

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Migrants at a detention centre in the city of Zawiya, Libya. Photo: Mathieu Galtier/IRIN

**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.

24/04/2015

27 Million Latin America and Caribbean Youth in the Informal Economy

by Baher Kamal
Lima, 23 April 2015 (ILO)* – There are at least 27 million youth in Latin America and the Caribbean who work in conditions of informality, said the International Labour Organization (ILO).
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Source: ILO

Source: ILO

“Youth unemployment is very high in the region, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg that hides the wider problem of a lack of opportunities for those who are just starting their productive lives,” said Elizabeth Tinoco, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at a regional meeting in the Peruvian capital.*

Informality refers to economic activities that operate outside the formal reach of the law or those that, while operating within the formal reach of the law, are not subject to application or enforcement of the law in practice.

The informal economy also results from laws which discourage compliance because they are inappropriate, burdensome or impose excessive costs.

24/04/2015

NGOs: Migration Summit Fell Short of Expectations

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

24 April 2015 (EurActiv)* — EU leaders have missed a real opportunity to make a serious difference in the lives and deaths of the people suffering daily in the Mediterranean, say NGOs.

Operation Triton, 2014. [Frontex]  | Source: EurActiv

Operation Triton, 2014. [Frontex] | Source: EurActiv

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Meeting on short notice for an extraordinary summit on Thursday (23 April), EU leaders decided to treble annual funding to €120 million to the Operation Triton, an EU frontier operation off of the coast of Italy, putting it at the same level of funding as the defunct Italian Mare Nostrum mission.

Among 17 proposals in a summit communiqué, leaders agreed to “undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they are used by traffickers”. It is unclear how that may be achieved, and several leaders said they would need a UN mandate in the absence of a viable Libyan government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country, along with Sweden, takes in a large proportion of asylum-seekers, called for a change in the EU’s system of managing asylum claims to better distribute the pressures across the bloc.

24/04/2015

UN Strongly Urges Europe to ‘Put Human Life, Rights and Dignity First’ in Response to Mediterranean Crisis

by Baher Kamal

Human Wrongs Watch

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

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.*

23/04/2015

In Morocco, It’s the Women Who Carry the Atlas

by Baher Kamal
As men try to find work in the big cities of Morocco, women are traditionally destined to do the hard work.
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22 April 2015, TIZI OUSSEM, Morocco ((Middle East Eye) – Every day after lunch, the women of the village of Tizi Oussem walk down a steep rocky path to the valley. They work the fields, herd the cattle, do the laundry by the river and gather wood for the fire. Even before that all starts they will inevitably have already worked for half a day doing household chores and taking care of the children. 

A woman in Tizi Essoume carrying a heavy load on her back, up the hill to her house (MEE/Rik Goverde)

At the end of the day they gather the wood or crops into bundles which they hoist onto their shoulders and carry back up to the village. Then they start preparing dinner and beginning their chores for the evening.

In this Amazigh region, the women take care of pretty much everything. That includes the carrying of very heavy loads. Whenever you see a bundle of wood or hay being transported by a human here, it’s women’s legs carrying it.

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