Archive for ‘The Peoples’

01/08/2014

Arrest of Forest Rights Activists ‘Symbolic of What’s Wrong in India’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Aaron Gray-Block*, Greenpeace, 31 July, 2014 — It was just past midnight when Indian police hauled two Greenpeace India activists out of their sleep and arrested them this week as a crackdown on protests against a planned coal mine in the Mahan forest intensified. 

Photo: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

The arrests are the latest example of intimidation tactics used in India to quell unrest over the plans by Indian conglomerate Essar to turn the Mahan forest into a climate-wrecking coal mine.

The timing of the arrests is far from coincidental. The local community was due to hold a Gram Sabha, or village council, sometime between 16-22 August to vote on the proposed coal mine development by partners Essar and Hindalco.

The police also seized a mobile signal booster and solar panels that Greenpeace India had set up in Amelia village to help spread the news from the community meeting to more than a million people who have signed a petition opposing the coal mine.

31/07/2014

Interview with Johan Galtung, Founder of The International Peace Research Association

Human Wrongs Watch

By Antonio C. S. Rosa**, editor, TRANSCEND Media Service – Interview conducted on the occasion of IPRA’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Istanbul Conference, Turkey, August 11-15, 2014.

IPRA-logo1

Q: Prof. Galtung, please compare IPRA’s relevance, impact and consequence in 1964 and 50 years later in 2014. What have been its influence and concrete achievements?

JG: I do not think IPRA as such has impact, but it has impact on participants from all over the world, and they may have impact, academically, in NGOs, in some case in foreign offices.

Q: What are the affinities between Peace Research and Conflict Resolution theories and practices? Their impact on the world both as a whole, upon leaders and people?

JG: There are many roads to peace, like to health; better travel all of them!  Conflict resolution is one, so is reconciliation, so is a peace culture and many others. But conflict resolution has the advantage that if well done it can have immediate impact:  conflict solved, less frustration, less aggression, less violence, more peace; from one day to the other. At the marital level, from one minute to the next.

31/07/2014

Do You Know Where Water Goes?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Earth Policy Institute, July 2014 — Water scarcity may be the most underrated resource issue the world is facing today.
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Seventy percent of world fresh water use is for irrigation.

Each day we drink nearly 4 liters of water, but it takes some 2,000 liters of water—500 times as much—to produce the food we consume.

1,000 tons of water is used to produce 1 ton of grain.

Between 1950 and 2000, the world’s irrigated area tripled to roughly 700 million acres.

Source: Earth Policy Instiute

After several decades of rapid increase, however, the growth has slowed dramatically, expanding only 9 percent from 2000 to 2009. Given that governments are much more likely to report increases than decreases, the recent net growth may be even smaller.

30/07/2014

“Dearest Mother…”

Human Wrongs Watch

By Oxfam* – July 2014 — Syrian refugees in Northern Lebanon, reminisce on how they celebrated Eid – the festivity that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan – back home. They reflect on how much they’ve lost, but also how lucky they feel compared to other refugees living in even more dire circumstances, who are, for example, forced to send young children out to work in order to survive.

eid-dress-maya-hautefeuille-oxfam-220_0

eid-dress-maya-hautefeuille-oxfam-220_0

Dearest mother,

As I write this letter, I don’t know where you are in Syria or how you are doing.

Last time we spoke was seven months ago. You’ve been on my mind every day, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

I’m sitting in our small room in Northern Lebanon.

On the wall, my daughter Amal’s new dress hangs next to my only two shirts. Its ruffled sleeves and colorful print are the only reminder that it is the festival of Eid and that we are about to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

What is there to celebrate?

Nothing.

I lost you, my sweet mother, and I lost my homeland. My heart is heavy with sorrow and my eyes well with tears when I lie at night under the hot corrugated steel roof and dream of the Eids we have celebrated back home.

Remember mother the smell of freshly baked maamul and karabeej (traditional Middle Eastern sweets) that filled the house on the eve of Eid?

30/07/2014

Who Aids Whom? Exposing the True Story of Africa’s $192 Billion Losses

Human Wrongs Watch

By Judith Cavanagh, Think Africa Press*, July 2014 — Research released by a coalition of African and UK partners reveals that Africa loses almost six and a half times the amount of money that it receives in aid. 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Bill Gates at an aid conference in London. Photograph by Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Bill Gates at an aid conference in London. Photograph by Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance.

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“It says something about this country. It says something about our standing in the world and our sense of duty in helping others… in short – it says something about the kind of people we are… And that makes me proud to be British.”
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As exhibited by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who made the above comment on 8 June 2013, governments of wealthy countries like to tell tales of generous aid spending and a common responsibility to help those less fortunate in the world.
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But there is another story to tell.

30/07/2014

World Day against Trafficking in Persons: a Crime that Generates US$ 150 Billion in Illegal Profits per Year

Human Wrongs Watch

Today, on 30 July 2014, the international community commemorates the first World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Trafficking in persons is a grave human rights violation and a serious crime affecting societies worldwide. It victimizes millions of women, men, and children, including those most vulnerable amongst migrant communities, asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons, and is commonly associated with many other forms of exploitation, such as sexual exploitation, forced and bonded labour, forced marriages and all practices similar to slavery.*

*Photo: Afghan girl begging in Kabul. Credit:Evstafiev | Wikimedia Commons

**Photo: Afghan girl begging in Kabul. Credit:Evstafiev | Wikimedia Commons

The brutality and injustice associated with trafficking in persons is immeasurable for each and every victim. Their lives, dreams and expectations are shattered. Trafficking in persons is a very lucrative business.

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This is illustrated by the most recent estimates published this spring by the International Labour Organization which suggest that forced labour in the private economy alone generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.
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Two thirds of this figure (US$ 99 billion) comes from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion are a result of forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.
read more »

29/07/2014

Young Refugee Sisters Survive on Wild Grass, Leaves

Human Wrongs Watch

Gambella, Ethiopia, July 2014, (UNHCR) — Twelve-year-old Nyawech Chuol can barely stop sobbing long enough to tell the story of the night South Sudan’s civil war came to her home. She and her eight-year-old sister, Nyalouk, traumatized into silence, lost their family after a gun battle and now they are completely alone n a foreign land.

©UNHCR/K.Gebreegziabher. |Two sisters who fled South Sudan alone (in yellow and red on left) pose with their "foster family" inside a UNHCR communal shelter on the border inside Ethiopia.

©UNHCR/K.Gebreegziabher | Two sisters who fled South Sudan alone (in yellow and red on left) pose with their “foster family” inside a UNHCR communal shelter on the border inside Ethiopia.

Nyawech says they were fast asleep some weeks ago when the conflict that has swept South Sudan for the last seven months reached her village, Matiang, in Upper Nile State.

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“It was very dark in the night and we were all sleeping when we heard heavy gun shots,” she says, speaking through an interpreter at a crowded reception centre on the Pagak border crossing just inside Ethiopia. “I only remember putting on my dress, grabbing my younger sister by the hand and running out of the house in the darkness.” The family ran in different directions, and she hasn’t seen any relatives since.
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“When day light came and I saw only Nyalouk with me, I realized that my father, my mother and my two elder sisters were not with me and I cried a lot,” she says, as the tears flow again.

28/07/2014

‘The permanent members of the UN Security Council are certifiably sick entities suffering from bouts of psychoses’

Human Wrongs Watch 

By Maung Zarni*, 28 July 2014, TRANSCEND Media Service — The permanent members of the UN Security Council are certifiably sick entities suffering from bouts of psychoses.

English: United Nations Security Council on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City | Date: 6 January 2014 | Source: Own work | Author:Neptuul | Wikimedia Commons

United Nations Security Council on the UN Headquarters in New York City | Date: 6 January 2014 | Source: Own work | Author: Neptuul | Wikimedia Commons

Their discernible inability or lack of will to really promote the collective well-being of us humans and protect our own habitat (the eco-system – not that self-destructive and life-negating Capitalist economic system with no happy ending in sight) can be explained psychologically – in addition to through other lenses. They are all suffering from imperial syndrome of various versions.

1) Loss of Empire (not so great Britain) – The Sun has long set in the genocidal, racist British – actually only English – Raj, and British officials suffer from the delusions that Britain still matters in post-WWII.

28/07/2014

Tracing Dead Migrants in Europe

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kristy Siegfried , Johannesburg, 28 July 2014 (IRIN)* – As the number of migrants and asylum seekers reaching southern Europe’s shores this year continues to climb – to about 75,000 at last count – so too does the death toll from attempts to cross the Mediterranean in over-crowded, unseaworthy boats.

**Photo: Sara Prestianni/Flickr Many bodies of migrants recovered from shipwrecks are never identified

**Photo: Sara Prestianni/Flickr. Many bodies of migrants recovered from shipwrecks are never identified

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 800 migrants have died trying to make the treacherous crossing from North Africa since the beginning of the year. Last week alone, the bodies of 29 migrants were found in the packed hold of a fishing boat where they are thought to have been overcome by engine fumes.

According to survivor accounts, 60 others who tried to escape from the suffocating hold were stabbed and thrown overboard by five fellow passengers. A day earlier, the Italian navy rescued 12 people after their rubber dinghy capsized off the coast of Libya.
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Another 109 who were on the boat are missing. An unknown number of other migrants who attempt the journey disappear without a trace, their bodies presumably claimed by the sea, leaving families back home desperate for news of their loved ones that never comes.
read more »

28/07/2014

They Know Full Well It Is Dangerous, But They Have Little Other Choice

Despite knowing full well the dangers of mercury, millions of small-scale gold miners across the globe continue to use the metal to separate gold from ore – usually because they have little other choice.*
An Indonesian woman pans for gold while her family looks on, credit: Usman Tariq, UNEP

An Indonesian woman pans for gold while her family looks on, credit: Usman Tariq, UNEP

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The mercury is mixed into ore and combines with the gold in a compound that can easily be scooped out and squeezed into a small bar of amalgam.
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This is then burned so that the mercury evaporates, leaving behind the gold. The dangerously toxic mercury vapour is often inhaled by the miners and their families, since these activities are usually conducted in their homes, or by the owners of gold shops who will process the amalgam for the miners before buying.
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“When you burn off the amalgam – your head will feel like it’s going to explode and you’ll find it hard to breathe,” says Bapak Amit, a gold miner from Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. However, introducing miners to simple recycling technologies can dramatically reduce the impact of mercury on human health and the environment.

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