Archive for ‘War Lords’

31/08/2014

World Day of ‘Desaparecidos’ — Over 43,000 Cases the Majority Dating Back Decades

Human Wrongs Watch

30 August 2014 – Stressing that the enforced disappearance of individuals by States constitutes an unacceptable violation of human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared that the time has come for the end to this “abhorrent” practice.

A mother tells her story about her son, one of the victims known as "desaparecidos" of the military government that ruled Argentina in the late 1970's and early 1980's. UN Photo/E. Schneider (file photo)

A mother tells her story about her son, one of the victims known as “desaparecidos” of the military government that ruled Argentina in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. UN Photo/E. Schneider (file photo)

“Enforced disappearance is a practice that cannot be tolerated in the twenty-first century,” Ban said in a message to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which is observed annually on 30 August*.

“This abhorrent practice places people outside the protection of the law, and thus, potentially in great danger of physical violence and sometimes barbaric execution. In addition to causing unimaginable worry and anguish for the victims and their loved ones, this creates a generalized climate of fear and terror across entire societies.”

Ban noted that enforced disappearance was once employed mainly by military dictatorships. “Increasingly, it has become a tool of many States around the world, some operating under counter-terror strategies, or fighting organized crime, and others seeking to quash dissent and human rights activism.

30/08/2014

The War for Nothing

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*,

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

30 August 2014

AFTER 50 DAYS, the war is over. Hallelujah.

On the Israeli side: 71 dead, among them 66 soldiers, 1 child.

On the Palestinian side: 2,143 dead, 577 of them children, 263 women, 102 elderly. 11,230 injured. 10,800 buildings destroyed. 8,000 partially destroyed. About 40,000 damaged homes. Among the damaged buildings: 277 schools, 10 hospitals, 70 mosques, 2 churches. Also, 12 West Bank demonstrators, mostly children, who were shot.

So what was it all about?

The honest answer is: About nothing.

Neither side wanted it. Neither side started it. It just so happened.

LET US recapitulate the events, before they are forgotten.

30/08/2014

Half of all Syrians Forced to Abandon their Homes, Flee for their Lives

Human Wrongs Watch

29 August 2014 – Three million Syrians will have registered as refugees outside of their country today, the UN refugee agency reported, amid accounts of increasingly horrifying conditions inside their homeland – cities where populations are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.

The parents and children of this Syrian family sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin

The parents and children of this Syrian family sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. Photo: UNHCR/S. Baldwin

A news release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that a further 6.5 million people are displaced within Syria, bringing to almost half of all Syrians who have been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives.

One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million people more than a year ago. Over half of those uprooted are children.

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

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

South Sudan – Child Soldiers… Again

NAIROBI, 25 August 2014 (IRIN)* – The government of South Sudan signed an Action Plan with the UN in 2012 to end the use of child soldiers but there is evidence the ongoing conflict is eroding any gains achieved.
Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN Education or arms?

**Photo: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Education or arms?

“The current conflict is threatening to erode all the gains so far made in ending the use of child soldiers in South Sudan. The use of child soldiers in South Sudan is something we will raise in our next meeting at the highest levels of the UN,” Leila Zerrougui, The UN special representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, told IRIN.

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.

26/08/2014

A Lifetime of Waiting

Sarah was born and raised in Hagadera refugee camp. Now 21, she’s become a wife and mother without ever setting foot outside the camp. Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, is just 100 kilometers from the Somali border. For Sarah, it might as well be a million.*

Photo from UNHCR

Photo from UNHCR

Like so many others living here, she was born a refugee and raised in the camp after her mother fled war-torn Somalia a quarter of a century ago. In her tent, which she shares with her husband, Mohammed, she is still living out of the suitcases that her mother first arrived with.

Sarah has become a wife and now a mother without ever stepping foot outside the camp.

Her baby daughter, Somaya, is the second generation of her family to have been born in exile. Although Sarah has never visited her home country, she hopes to go there one day. “I feel like I am Somali,” she says, rocking her child tenderly. “My parents are Somali. I believe that someday Somalia will be peaceful and I will go there.”

Today, over 1 million Somalis remain displaced outside their country. With the crisis well into its third decade, UNHCR launched a Global Initiative on Somali Refugees last year in a bid to find solutions.

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