Archive for ‘The Peoples’

25/04/2015

Cats in a Sack

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

25 April 2015

It is a rather disgusting spectacle.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

The Israeli Right has won a crushing election victory. (On closer examination, the victory was not quite so crushing. Indeed, there was no victory at all.

The crushing victory of Likud was achieved only at the expense of other rightist parties.) The Rightist bloc together has not advanced at all.

To form a majority coalition, it needs the party of Moshe Kahlon, the majority of whose voters are more leftist than rightist.

Kahlon could easily have been persuaded to join a leftist coalition, if the leader of the Labor Party, Yitzhak Herzog, had been a more resolute personality.

Be that as it may, Binyamin Netanyahu is now busy trying to construct his government. That’s where the disgust comes in.

A FIGHT is going on. A fight of all against all. A fight without rules or limits. Everyone wants to be a minister. Everybody in Likud and the other prospective coalition parties. Politicians galore.

And not just any minister. Ministries are not equal. Some are more prestigious, some less. One cannot compare the all-important Ministry of the Treasury (already promised to Kahlon) with the Ministry of the Environment, despised by each and all.

25/04/2015

Obama’s Drone Warfare: Assassination Made Routine

Human Wrongs Watch

By Patrick Martin*

25 April 2015 (WSWS) – Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of President Obama’s announcement Thursday [23 April] that two hostages of Al Qaeda, an American and an Italian, were killed in a US drone missile strike in Pakistan is the lack of any significant reaction from official political circles or the media.

A US Air Force RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: US Department of Defense/James L. Harper Jr. | Source: UN News Centre

**Photo: A US Air Force RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: US Department of Defense/James L. Harper Jr. | Source: UN News Centre

There was a certain amount of tut-tutting in the press and expressions of sympathy for the family of Dr. Warren Weinstein, the longtime aid worker in Pakistan who was kidnapped by Al Qaeda in 2011 and killed by the US government in January 2015.

But there was no challenge to the basic premise of the drone missile program: that the CIA and Pentagon have the right to kill any individual, in any country, on the mere say-so of the president. Drone murder by the US government has become routine and is accepted as normal and legitimate by the official shapers of public opinion.

25/04/2015

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

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

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

‘The more civilians US drones kill in the Mideast, the more radicals they create’

Human Wrongs Watch

24 April 2015 (RT)*– American drone-strike strategy in the Middle East is counterproductive because killing civilians, even if it’s accidentally, breeds more al-Qaeda or other radical militants, defense analyst Ivan Eland told RT.
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**Photo: Predator launching a Hellfire missile | Author: Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre | Wikimedia Commons.

**Photo: Predator launching a Hellfire missile | Author: Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre | Wikimedia Commons.

Two al-Qaeda hostages, an American and an Italian, were killed in one of January’s many air strikes. A former drone operator and USAF veteran Brandon Bryant said the drone operations and even distance operations are probably the most dishonorable type of warfare we can create…”

RT: Hundreds of civilians have been killed by US drone attacks, but it took the killing of Westerners for Obama to express his regret. Doesn’t he care about the Pakistani civilians who died in his drone strikes?

Ivan Eland: The accidental killing of an American has a political problem in the US. Often times US military kills people whether it is via drone strikes in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries. The military doesn’t keep track of civilians, or it says it doesn’t. It keeps meticulous track of its own people getting killed or other armed forces that are allied with it.

25/04/2015

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

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

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

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

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

The Future of International Law (Part III)

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

After the invention of agriculture, roughly 10,000 years ago, humans began to live in progressively larger groups, which were sometimes multi-ethnic. In order to make towns, cities and finally nations function without excessive injustice and violence, both ethical and legal systems were needed. Today, in an era of global economic interdependence, instantaneous worldwide communication and all-destroying thermonuclear weapons, we urgently need new global ethical principles and a just and enforcible system of international laws.

Photo: Andux | Source: UN

Photo: Andux | Source: UN

Part I dealt with: What is law?, Magna Carta, 1215, The English Bill of Rights, 1689, The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, 1789, Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928, and United Nations Charter, 1945.  

Part II dealt with: International Court of Justice, 1946, Nuremberg Principles, 1947, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, The Geneva Conventions, 1949, and The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1968. 

Part III: The Biological Weapons Convention, 1972

During World War II, British and American scientists investigated the possibility of using smallpox as a biological weapon.

However, it was never used, and in 1969 President Nixon officially ended the American biological weapons program, bowing to the pressure of outraged public opinion.

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