Archive for ‘War Lords’

29/10/2014

Israelis Picking Palestinian Olives

Jerusalem, 28 October 2014 (IRIN)* — It is still dark when the minibus rolls into Jerusalem, picking up Israelis bound for occupied Palestinian land. Their leader, a rabbi, dons a shawl and quietly prays in the back seat. 
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During the autumn olive harvest, Palestinian villagers are especially nervous about visits from Israelis: Last year the UN recorded 38,532 trees destroyed or damaged incidents linked to Israeli settlers between 2009 and the end of August 2013.

These are part of a strategy of so called “price tag” attacks carried out by settlers, often coming after actions by the government seen as counter to the settlers’ agenda, or following perceived violence from Palestinians.

But armed with sun-hats and bottles of water, these Israelis have come to help not destroy.

28/10/2014

An “Immense” Humanitarian Emergency Unfolding in Iraq on the Eve of Harsh Winter

Senior officials from the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 27 October 2014 warned today that an “immense” humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Iraq and called for greater resources from the international community to help with the upcoming winter season, as they concluded a four-day mission to conflict-riven areas in the country.

With rainy season started, and winter on doorstep, UNHCR, together with partners, and support from Kuwait, hurries finishing construction of Khanke camp for displaced people from Sinjar area. Photo: UNHCR Iraq

“We were able to see for ourselves the magnitude of the crisis,” said Rashid Khalikov, Director in Geneva of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a press briefing at the end of a 20 to 23 October mission to Iraq. “An immense humanitarian emergency is unfolding in front of our eyes,” he added.*

27/10/2014

Initiative on Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons Takes Centre Stage at UN General Assembly

Human Wrongs Watch

It took a full 5 minutes for New Zealand’s Ambassador for Disarmament, Dell Higgie, to read out the list of the 155 co-sponsors of the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.*

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

The overwhelming support for the statement demonstrates concretely the momentum that in the period since the second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons hosted by Mexico in Nayarit, there has been no waning of support for the humanitarian initiative. Indeed, non-nuclear weapon states are starting to speak openly and with confidence about the next steps.

The New Zealand Joint Statement is the latest and strongest in a series of statements delivered at Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) meetings and in the UN General Assembly and two multilateral conferences, in Norway and Mexico, aimed at highlighting the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

25/10/2014

Mobile Training Van Makes a Difference to Street Children in Thailand

Human Wrongs Watch

A bright colored van filled with educational materials and staffed by trained outreach workers is beginning to make a difference in the lives of street children in Pattaya, Thailand. The van – a mobile training unit donated by UNODC to the NGO Child Protection and Development Centre – provides support and basic school lessons that include sex education to street children living in slum areas of Pattaya, a popular tourist destination.*

Source: UNODC

The mobile training unit is also being used to educate parents and raise awareness of the dangers of families living on the streets.

“Street children are highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation” said Margaret Akullo, UNODC Programme Coordinator in Thailand. “In three months, one van equipped with training materials and videos has helped close to a 1,000 children become more aware of the dangers of living in the street – and what they can do about it, and who can help them,” said Akullo.

24/10/2014

Right to Online Privacy at Risk as Governments Engage in Mass Surveillance – Counter-terrorism Expert

Human Wrongs Watch

States must be transparent about the nature of their electronic mass surveillance programmes, an independent United Nations counter-terrorism expert said on 23 October 2014 as he warned about the impact such measures might have on individuals’ right to privacy.

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Author: (US) National Security Agency | Wikimedia Commons

**Slide from an NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a world map with the locations of XKeyscore servers | Date: 29 January 2014 | Author: National Security Agency | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

“States need to squarely confront the fact that mass surveillance programmes effectively do away with the right to online privacy altogether,” Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, told the General Assembly body dealing with cultural, social and humanitarian issues (Third Committee) during the presentation his latest report.*

22/10/2014

The “Complex Web” of Violations of Economic, Social, Cultural and Political Rights Requires Human Rights-based Solutions

Human Wrongs Watch

At the root of crises confronted by the United Nations usually lies a “complex web” of violations of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights requiring solutions that can only come from more emphatic and comprehensive protections, the Organization’s top human rights official said on 22 October 2014.

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

In Khanke village, Iraq Kurdistan Region, children from the Yazidi minority eat a meal of rice and tomato stew for lunch. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt

Addressing the General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues (Third Committee), UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said the world is currently facing “deepening turmoil” amid “biting constraints” of funding.

22/10/2014

‘Growing Use of Drones in Law Enforcement Risks Infringing Upon Human Rights’

Human Wrongs Watch

The increasing use of armed drones within domestic law enforcement risks depersonalizing the use of force and infringing upon the rights of individual citizens, a United Nations independent human rights expert warned on 22 October 2014.

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

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

In presenting his report on the use of armed drones within law enforcement to the General Assembly body that deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues (Third Committee), Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, stressed that such mechanized systems, controlled by a human from a distance, “can hardly do what police officers are supposed to do” such as using the minimum force required by the circumstances and assisting those who need help.*

22/10/2014

‘There Is a Clear Connection between Torture, Ill-treatment and Corruption’ – UN Rights Expert

Human Wrongs Watch

The incidences of torture and ill-treatment around the world have not been diminishing and the need for effective prevention is “as great as it ever has been,” a United Nations human rights expert on 21 October 2014 said as he urged Member States to do more to tackle domestic corruption in order to prevent such episodes of abuses.

A mother and her children at a detention centre in Greece. Photo: UNHCR/J.Björgvinsson

A mother and her children at a detention centre in Greece. Photo: UNHCR/J.Björgvinsson

“There is a clear connection between torture, ill-treatment and corrupt practices,” the chairperson of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT), Malcolm Evans said as he presented the SPT’s annual report to the General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues (Third Committee) in New York.

“Effective torture prevention must tackle corrupt practices too,” he added.

22/10/2014

‘Clock Is Ticking’ for War-Ravaged Gaza; Promises on Rebuilding Must ‘Quickly Materialize’

Human Wrongs Watch

On the heels of last week’s visit to Gaza, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 21 October 2014 told the Security Council today that promises made at a recent donor conference on rebuilding the war-ravaged enclave must “quickly materialize” into concrete assistance on the ground, especially as winter approaches.

UNRWA estimates around 17,000 destroyed or damaged homes, rendering 100,000 people homeless in Gaza. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarhan

UNRWA estimates around 17,000 destroyed or damaged homes, rendering 100,000 people homeless in Gaza. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Shareef Sarah

“Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in Gaza. I saw mile after mile of wholesale destruction,” Ban recalled as he briefed the 15-member body on his first visit to Gaza since this past summer’s conflict.*

18/10/2014

Syria — Life Through a Lens: Photography Workshop Helps Young Refugees See Their World with Fresh Eyes

In Syria, they witnessed humanity at its worst. Now, through photography, young refugees look at their world with fresh eyes.

Written by Charlie Dunmore, Friday 17 October 2014 (UNHCR)* 

credit="UNHCR" tweet="Photography workshops at Za'atari camp give young Syria'n refugees a way to share their world. #SeeWhatISee"

Khaled, 17, photographed another young refugee taking a photograph.

More than half of the 3 million people driven into exile by the conflict in Syria are children. Haunted by violence and loss, they have also been deprived of a voice.

At Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, a UNHCR workshop entitled “Do You See What I See” has been giving young refugees the chance to explore their world through photography and share it with others.

Equipped with digital cameras and the boundless energy of youth, they have been producing images that reveal the fears and hopes, loss and longing of their lives in exile.

In this short video, Waleed, 14, and other students in the workshop say what photography means to them. UNHCR/W.Al-Jawahiry

Photojournalist and workshop leader Brendan Bannon says at the heart of the project are stories, conjured from memory or imagination and recorded in pictures and captions. Five of the students share their stories here, providing a glimpse of the world as seen through their eyes.

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