‘A rebel attack six years ago drove Célestine from her home. Last month she was uprooted again, when hundreds of shelters were set ablaze. This is Célestine’s story.’
By Céline Schmitt*
Rain pours down on the scorched ruins of what was, until just a few weeks ago, a refuge for thousands of people displaced inside the volatile North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dozens of former inhabitants, mainly women and children, gather around us to recount their latest experience of fear and flight.
Congolese women return to see what little is left of Kiwanja settlement. | UNHCR/Frederic Noy
Among them is a woman I’ll call Célestine, a 48-year-old mother of three. Seeking respite from the rain here in Rutshuru, a 70-kilometre drive north of Goma, she holds a small piece of plastic tarpaulin above her head.
Célestine tells us she lived here at the Kiwanja site for six years – ever since the FDLR, a Rwandan rebel group operating out of eastern Congo, forced her from her home in Nyamitwitwi, across the mountains to the west. “The FDLR were raping women, beating up men,” she says. “People fled, and the village was abandoned.”
A few weeks ago she had to flee again. On 2 December, all 2,300 residents of the Kiwanja settlement in Rutshuru were suddenly told to leave and go home. Within a day, their makeshift shelters were burnt to the ground.
“On India’s Republic Day, Jan 26 2015, Barack Obama will be in Delhi. What is his agenda? As America’s salesman-in-chief he needs to get rid of inventories of defence material, nuclear technology, and other build-ups hurting profit. He will return from India half satisfied with what he achieves, but he has never aimed, nor has been permitted to aim, for much more.”
On India’s Republic Day, Jan 26 2015, Barack Obama will be in Delhi. He is simultaneously a visionary black American leader, and the President of the United States of America, and hence the most powerful man on earth. What can India expect from this last visit of his before he demits office in two years time?
Well, the world looked up to him with moist eyes after he published The Audacity of Hope and wished him all success. He did better than many had hoped for and became the American President. His very success turned him into a two-faced man.
By Tom Westcott, Bin Jawad, 27 January 2015 (IRIN)*
Six weeks ago, Bin Jawad was a sleepy coastal town, home to a community of oil workers, shepherds and fishermen.
**Photo: Tom Westcott/IRIN | Two soldiers from forces operating under Libya’s Tripoli-based government walking through the deserted streets of Bin Jawad.
Today there is no fishing. The town’s entire population – over 11,000 according to a 2006 census – has left. Houses stand deserted and the streets of this ghost town are littered with the spent shells of anti-aircraft guns. The residents have sought refuge in remote desert encampments or cramped village accommodation nearby.
The town is on the front line between Libya’s two rival governments. The internationally recognised one – the winner of last year’s elections – was forced out of the capital Tripoli in August 2014 and is now based over 1,000 kilometres away in the eastern town of Beida. Many of its supporters are pushing for greater autonomy in the east.
The other, which continues to control Tripoli, is run by the Libya Dawn political military movement and its allies and has resurrected the country’s former parliament, the General National Congress – a rival to the internationally recognised House of Representatives.
Myanmar’s slow Rohingya genocide is a brilliant strategy that kills several birds with a single stone – as far as the country’s ruling military Bama regimes.
**Mae La camp, Tak, Thailand, one of the largest of nine UNHCR camps in Thailand where over 700,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons have fled | Author: Mikhail Esteves from Bangalore, India | Wikimedia Commons
Myanmar’s great commercial opening, talked up as “reforms”, triggered Rakhine nationalists and democrats’ loud demands and agitations for 3 things – up until the state’s manufacturing of the Rohingya-raped-Rakhine woman story (the body of the victim Ma Thida Htwe had absolutely no trace of having been assaulted sexually – according to the medical doctor who performed the medical examination of her body – ask Mr Maung Thura (a.k.a Zargana. He is not telling the country or world, the real truth he knows for a fact because he interviewed the medical examiner on video camera)
Bonn, Germany – The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which was created to provide policymakers with reliable, independent and credible information on the status of biodiversity, on 19 January 2015 agreed to initiate a set of regional assessments in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia. These assessments will be a vital contribution for a planned global assessment to be completed by 2019.
Around 700 delegates from over 270 governments, scientific organizations, civil society and the private sector attended the Platform’s third meeting, which was held from 12 to 17 January in Bonn, Germany.
IPBES Member States present at the meeting adopted a conflict of interest policy and a stakeholder engagement strategy that will support the implementation of the Platform’s work programme and approved the guidance on strategic partnerships and other collaborative arrangements.
Agriculture and food security must be treated as essential components of peace building and conflict resolution, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said during a special meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission held at Headquarters on 26 January 2015.
Quinoa – a highly nutritious crop from the Andes has become popular globally. Photo: FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico
“Food security is an important foundation for peace, political stability and sustainable development. In the history of humanity, time and time again we have seen vicious circles linking violence and hunger – and these are conflicts that are not restricted by national borders,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said to participants.
New York — China has launched a UN-supported social protection scheme for 250 of its most vulnerable people, according to the United Nations.
The United Nations main development programme on 26 January 2015 spotlighted its string of successes in 36 countries and territories in the Asia and Pacific region in the areas of poverty reduction, conservation of natural resources, democratic governance, and crisis resilience.*
Rome, 24 January 2015 -- Every day we receive striking data on major issues which should create tumult and action, but life goes on as if those data had nothing to do with people’s lives.
A good example concerns climate change. We know well that we are running out of time. It is nothing less than our planet that is at stake … but a few large energy companies are able to get away with their practices surrounded by the deafening silence of humankind.
Another example comes from the world of finance. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2009, banks have paid the staggering amount of 178 billion dollars in fines – U.S. banks have paid 115 billion, while European banks 63 billion.
But, as analyst Sital Patel of Market Watch writes, these fines are now seen as a cost of doing business. In fact, no banker has yet been incriminated in a personal capacity.
Now we have other astonishing data from Oxfam – if nothing is done, in two years’ time the richest one percent of the world´s population will have a greater share of its wealth than the remaining 99 percent.
THERE USED to be a joke about a sadist and a masochist.”
Hit me! Beat me! Kick me!” the masochist pleads with the sadist.
The sadist smiles a cruel smile and slowly answers: “No!”
THAT, MORE or less, reflects the situation on our northern border at this moment.
Two Israeli drones have bombed (or missiled) a small Hezbollah convoy, a few miles beyond the border with Syria on the Golan heights. 12 people were killed. One was an Iranian general. One was a very young Hezbollah officer, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a very high-ranking Hezbollah officer who was also killed by Israel, some seven years ago, in a Damascus car explosion.
The killing of the Iranian general was perhaps unintended. Seems that Israeli intelligence did not know that he, and five other Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, were in the convoy. An Israeli army officer admitted this in a roundabout way. A second officer denied the statement of the first.