Archive for ‘Middle East’

28/08/2014

UN Climate Summit 2014 — Change Is In The Air!

New York, 27 August 2014 — Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies, the UN reports
Carbon Emission | Photo: UN

Carbon Emission | Photo: UN

There is a sense that change is in the air. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action.

He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.

The Climate Summit is to be attended by more than 100 heads of state and government along with leaders from business, finance and civil society.

27/08/2014

Gaza: 500,000 Children Unable to Return to School

Human Wrongs Watch

Nearly half a million children in Gaza will not be able to return to primary and secondary schools on Sunday as the new academic year starts, UNESCO, Save the Children and UNICEF said on 25 August 2014*.

 

Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after summer break but faces overcrowding in classroom and shortages of supplies. | Girls lining up for class | Author: Al Jazeera English | Wikimedia Commons

**Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip have returned to school after summer break but faces overcrowding in classroom and shortages of supplies. | Girls lining up for class | Author: Al Jazeera English | Wikimedia Commons

More than one million Palestinian students were expected to return to school on 24 August, but classes will remain closed in the conflict-stricken coastal enclave, denying these nearly 500,000 children their right to education.

“Going back to school means bringing back normalcy to children. For this we need a durable ceasefire, and we must meet the most pressing needs for the rapid recovery of the education system,” said Lodovico Folin Calabi, Acting Head of the UNESCO Office in Ramallah.

Since the beginning of the conflict on 8 July, at least 219 schools have been damaged, 22 of which so severely that they can no longer be used.

Among those still standing, 103 have been turned into collective shelters for some 330,000 displaced people, half of whom are children.

27/08/2014

Stop Violence Against the Girl Child

Human Wrongs Watch

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day” – a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.

Photo from UN Women

Photo from UN Women

Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

2014 Orange Day themes

25 August – Eliminating violence against the girl child
25 July – Addressing violence against women and girls in the informal economy
25 June – Engaging sport communities and addressing violence against women and girls in sport
25 May – Working with the corporate sector to end violence against women and girls
25 April – End conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls
25 March – End female genital mutilation
25 February – Ending violence against women and girls must be part of new development framework
25 January – Access to justice for survivors

Sign up for news and action alerts here! Follow @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter. Like https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE on Facebook.

27/08/2014

UN Health Agency Calls for Regulation of ‘e-cigarettes,’ Curbs on Advertising, Sales to Minors

Human Wrongs Watch

Electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes, represent an “evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control,” a new United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) report said on 26 August 2014, urging regulations to impede their promotion to non-smokers and young people.*

E-cigarette. Photo: WHO

E-cigarette. Photo: WHO

“Evidence shows that while they are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes use poses threats to adolescents and fetuses of pregnant mothers using these devices,” said Douglas Bettcher, WHO Director of Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases in an interview with UN Radio.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which electronic cigarettes are the most common prototype, are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise a solution the user then inhales. The report says existing evidence shows that e-cigarette aerosol is not merely “water vapour” as is often claimed in the marketing of these products.

27/08/2014

Year’s Deadliest Week: More than 300 Die in Boat Tragedies on Mediterranean

Human Wrongs Watch

26 August 2014 – The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe, with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reporting that at least 300 people have died in successive boat tragedies.

Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni

Photo: UNHCR/M. Sibiloni

“In all, we now believe 1,889 people have perished this year while making such journeys, 1,600 of these since the start of June,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR spokesperson, telling reporters in Geneva on 26 August 2014 that over the past few days, at least three vessels having overturned or sunk.*

The first and largest of these incidents occurred on Friday when a boat reportedly carrying at least 270 people overturned near Garibouli to the east of Tripoli. Nineteen people, one of them a woman, survived.

“The Libyan coastguard has since recovered the bodies of 100 others, including five children under the age of five and seven women, but the remaining passengers are feared drowned,” said Fleming.

26/08/2014

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*, 25 August 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service –  In the follow-up to the 2013 high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in which it declared 26 September the International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. The first ever event will take place a month from now on 26 September, 2014.

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

What can you, as an individual, do? You can plan an action to commemorate the day. You can write to your Prime Minister/President and/or Foreign Minister, to ask what your government plans to do to commemorate the day. You can ask your local parliamentarian, mayor and city council the same question. You can tell http://www.unfoldzero.org about your activities.

The Inter-parliamentary Union, with 167 members, passed a resolution in March, 2014, calling on its members to support the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Why is the total elimination of nuclear weapons so urgent? Although somewhat reduced in numbers from the insane heights of the Cold War, the power of today’s nuclear weapons is more than sufficient to destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere.

Many of the weapons are on hair-trigger alert, meaning that those in charge of them have only minutes to decide whether a radar signal is a true or false report of an attack. Most of us alive today owe our existence to Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, who correctly reported such a warning as a computer error.

26/08/2014

USA-Israel vs. Arab-Muslim Worlds: What Happens?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*, 25 August 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service

Nothing good. But let us have a look at it in the standard peace studies way: Diagnosis-analyzing, Prognosis- forecasting, and Therapy–remedies, even solutions.

**Image: Jewish Wedding in Morocco by Eugène Delacroix, Louvre, Paris | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

**Image: Jewish Wedding in Morocco by Eugène Delacroix, Louvre, Paris | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

“Israel-Palestine” is the discourse Tel Aviv-Washington prefers. They have all the strong cards: overwhelming military power, political veto in the United Nations Security Council, the economic upper hand in interlocking economies–not just oil cash from Saudi Arabia-Qatar–and the idea of working for a solution with Washington as “mediator”–only USA can bring the two together, gently or roughly–toward a sustainable peace.

It is needed a great distance from reality to believe in that spin.

23/08/2014

OP-ED: International Relations, the U.N. and Inter Press Service

 **180 degree rotated map of the world| Released into the public domain by its author, Vardion.  | Wikimedia Commons

**180 degree rotated map of the world| Released into the public domain by its author, Vardion. | Wikimedia Commons


By Roberto Savio*

Roberto Savio

Roberto Savio

Rome, 24 August 2014 – In 1980, I had a debate at the United Nations with the late Stan Swinton, then the very powerful and brilliant director of Associated Press (AP). At one point, I furnished the following figures (which had been slow to change), as an example of Western bias in the media:

In 1964, four transnational news agencies – AP, United Press International (UPI), Agence France Presse (AFP) and Reuters – handled 92 percent of world information flow. The other agencies from industrialised countries, including the Soviet news agency TASS, handled a further 7 percent. That left the rest of the world with a mere 1 percent.

Why, I asked, was the entire world obliged to receive information from the likes of AP in which the United States was always the main actor? Swinton’s reply was brief and to the point: “Roberto, the U.S. media account for 99 percent of our revenues. Do you think they are more interested in our secretary of state, or in an African minister?”

23/08/2014

The Measure of “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” — Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour

Human Wrongs Watch

I had not then learned the measure of “man’s inhumanity to man,” nor to what limitless extent of wickedness he will go for the love of gain.” Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave (1853).

Those words were written by Solomon Northup in “Twe lve Years a Slave” more than 150 years ago, but they ring as true today as they did then.*

Shackles used to bind slaves. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Shackles used to bind slaves. UN Photo/Mark Garten

“More than a century after being banned in the developed world, and decades after being outlawed in the newly emerging developing world, modern forms of slavery—forced labour, human trafficking, forced sexual exploitation—still exist, and unfortunately risk growing in extent and profitability in the world today.”

These statements are part of chapter “Conclusions” of the International Labour Organization (ILOReport Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour. The Chapter is here reproduced.

23/08/2014

Over 20,000 People Risked Their Lives in Indian Ocean Sea Crossings in Half a Year — Many Are Muslims Fleeing Terror in Myanmar

Human Wrongs Watch

Over 20,000 people risked their lives in sea crossings in the Indian Ocean in the first half of this year, many of them Rohingya who fled Myanmar, according to a new report released on 22 August 2014 by the United Nations refugee agency.

Fishermen manoeuvre a boat in a waterway near Sittwe in Mynamar. People risking their lives to leave Myanmar and cross the Bay of Bengal board boats in locations like this. Photo: UNHCR/V. Tan

Fishermen manoeuvre a boat in a waterway near Sittwe in Mynamar. People risking their lives to leave Myanmar and cross the Bay of Bengal board boats in locations like this. Photo: UNHCR/V. Tan

The report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on irregular maritime movements in South-east Asia also notes that several hundred people were intercepted on boats heading to Australia.*

Produced by a newly-established Maritime Movements Monitoring Unit at UNHCR’s Regional Office in Bangkok, the report focuses on departures from the Bay of Bengal and elsewhere passing through South-east Asia, and highlights the abuses people are facing on their journeys, and developments related to Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy.

It shows that more than 7,000 asylum-seekers and refugees who have travelled by sea are at present held in detention facilities in the region, including over 5,000 in Australia or its offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

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