Archive for ‘Middle East’


Mr. Ban Has a Dream: that the World Eradicates Poverty, Protects the Planet and Ensures Dignity for All

Human Wrongs Watch

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked Human Solidarity Day on 20 December 2014 by calling for joint action to craft and take forward a new, inclusive development agenda that eradicates poverty, protects the planet and ensures dignity for all.

Two children in a Bronx, New York, school solidifying their friendship with a spontaneous expression of mutual understanding. UN Photo/Marcia Weistein

In his message on the International Day, Ban said this year’s observance comes as the world shapes a new sustainable development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the largest anti-poverty campaign in history, by 2015.


Splendid Isolation

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

20 December 2014 — Almost a thousand Israeli personalities have already signed an appeal to European parliaments for their governments to recognize the State of Palestine.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

I am honored to be among the signatories, which include former ministers and members of the Knesset, diplomats and generals, artists and businessmen, writers and poets, including Israel’s three outstanding writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A. B. Yehoshua.

We believe that the independence of the Palestinian people in a state of their own, next to the State of Israel, is the basis for peace, and therefore as important for Israelis as it is for Palestinians. This, by the way, has been my firm conviction ever since the 1948 war.

The extreme right wing, which has ruled Israel in recent years, holds the opposite belief. Since it wants to turn the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River into the “nation-state of the Jewish people”, it totally rejects the setting up of a Palestinian state.

These, then, are the battle lines:


90% of World’s Cargo Shipped Every Year Uninspected, Allowing Narcotics, Weapons to Enter Countries Undetected.

Human Wrongs Watch

An estimated 500 million containers accounting for 90 per cent  of the world’s cargo are shipped around the world every year virtually uninspected, allowing consignments of narcotics, weapons and other illegal goods to enter countries undetected, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).*



UNODC has also informed that most containers carry licit goods, but some are being used to smuggle drugs, weapons, even people.

The sheer volume of this international maritime container traffic, the sophisticated and often ingenious concealment methods, along with the diverse routings adopted by illicit drug traffickers and other smugglers, invariably makes successful interdiction difficult.


Recovery of Ozone Layer Would Come Sooner If…

The Vienna Convention on Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol achieved universal ratification in 2009 and remain the first and only treaties to realize that aspiration | Source: UNEP

Additionally, earlier phase out of relatively small remaining uses of ODSs, which are currently exempted for reasons of essentiality and criticality to society, would hasten ozone recovery, the report says. Altogether, preventing those emissions can speed up the recovery of the ozone layer by about 11 years.


Middle East — 8.6 Million Lives Torn Apart

Human Wrongs Watch

Amman, 19 December 2014 - “The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times. By the end of 2015, the lives of over 8.6 million children across the region will have been torn apart by violence and forced displacement. That compares to a figure of 7 million just one month ago.*

Source: UNICEF

Source: UNICEF

“Since the outset, and in spite of the enormous security and other challenges posed by a conflict of such scale and brutality, UNICEF and its partners have been delivering clean water, sanitation, education, health and immunization services, and psychosocial care to millions of children and their families.

“This year, as part of the 2015 Syria appeal, UNICEF is renewing its commitment to the survival and protection of children, including those living under the harshest conditions of siege.


‘Save the Lives of Migrants; Stop Smugglers from Exploiting their Desperation’

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva — On International Migrants Day 2014, December 18th, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General William Lacy Swing calls for urgent action to save the lives of migrants and stop smugglers from exploiting their desperation to extort huge sums of money.

IOM Calls for Action to Save Migrants’ Lives On December 18th – International Migrants Day

IOM data show that the number of migrants dying on dangerous journeys in the hope of finding better lives for themselves and their families, is rising.

Some 5,000 migrants (4,868) lost their lives this year at sea or in remote deserts or mountains. This makes 2014 the deadliest year on record, with double the number of last year’s deaths.


Australia’s New Migration Bill Shifts Task to Security

Human Wrongs Watch

Bangkok, 18 December 2014 (IRIN)* – This week’s passing into law of Australia’s Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment Act, which comes on the heels of a year of tightened border controls and refugee intake policy changes, could chill regional cooperation. 

Experts say it reflects global trends of treating migration as a security problem, and acknowledge that might be an important avenue for Southeast Asian regional policy development.

Since September 2013 Australia has run Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB), a military-led initiative the government describes as an effort to “to combat people-smuggling and protect Australia’s borders”.

Navy ships intercept boats carrying asylum seekers, who are then detained in off-shore processing centres, the conditions of which have been criticized repeatedly, including by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).


On International Day, UN Urges Greater Attention to ‘Precarious’ Situation of World’s 232 MillionMigrants

Human Wrongs Watch

Far too many migrants still live and work in precarious and unjust conditions, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 18 December 2014 said in a message to mark International Migrants Day.

A scene at the Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. Thousands of women leave their homes in Indonesia to work as domestic workers each year. Photo: IRIN/David Swanson

“We call for the fulfillment and protection of the human rights of the world’s 232 million migrants,” said Ban.*


World Bank safeguards ‘go out of their way’ to avoid references to human rights – UN Expert

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, on 17 December 2014 urged the World Bank to recognize the central importance of human rights to its draft environmental and social policies, also known as safeguard policies, which apply to its investment project financing.

**Image: Lord Keynes (right) and Harry Dexter White, the "founding fathers" of both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). | Author: International Monetary Fund

**Lord Keynes (right) and Harry Dexter White, the “founding fathers” of both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). | Author: International Monetary Fund

In a joint letter to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Alston and 27 other rights experts highlighted specific concerns with the proposed new safeguards policies, which were released by the Bank in July for public consultation, as part of the multi-stage review.

“The draft safeguards seem to go out of their way to avoid any meaningful references to human rights,” Alston stressed in a news release.

“The Bank’s position is effectively a sleight of hand,” he noted.



The Sad Future of Our Planet

Human Wrongs Watch 

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, 17 December 2014 — It is now official: today’s inter-governmental system is not able to act in the interest of humankind.

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima – which ended on 14 December 2014, two days after it was scheduled to close – was the last step before the next Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, where a global agreement must be found.

In Lima, 196 countries with several thousand delegates negotiated for two weeks to find a common position on which to convene in Paris in one year’s time.

Lima was preceded by an historical meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which the world’s two main polluters agreed on a course of action to reduce pollution.

Well, Lima has produced a draft climate pact, adopted by everybody, simply because it carries no obligation. It is a kind of global gentlemen’s agreement, where it is supposed that the world is inhabited only by gentlemen, including the energy corporations.


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