26/01/2021

Inside Mar-a-Lago: The Secret History of Trump’s Florida Retreat

Human Wrongs Watch

By Seth Thévoz*

For many years, the elite private members’ club has sustained the outgoing US president. But is it all about to fall apart?

Donald Trump greets supporters at an airport in Lansing, Michigan, during the 2020 presidential election campaign | Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal/USA Today Network/Sipa USA/PA Images

21 January 2021 (openDemocracy)*— As Donald Trump leaves office, the place that has come to symbolise Brand Trump is Mar-a-Lago – his 20-acre, 128-room private members’ club in Palm Beach, Florida. With much of the Trump business empire heavily indebted and losing money, Mar-a-Lago is one of its few genuine cash cows.

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26/01/2021

Poor Lives Matter, But Less

Human Wrongs Watch

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jan 26 2021 (IPS)* – Current development fads fetishize data, ostensibly for ‘evidence-based policy-making’: if not measured, it will not matter. So, forget about getting financial resources for your work, programmes and projects, no matter how beneficial, significant or desperately needed.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Measure for measure
Agencies, funds, programmes and others lobby and fight for attention by showcasing their own policy agendas, ostensible achievements and potential. Many believe that the more indicators they get endorsed by the ‘international community’, the more financial support they can expect to secure.

Collecting enough national data to properly monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals is expensive. Data collection costs, typically borne by the countries themselves, have been estimated at minimally over three times total official development assistance (ODA).

Remember aid declined after the US-Soviet Cold War, and again following the 2008-9 global financial crisis. More recently, much more ODA is earmarked to ‘support’ private investments from donor countries. Continue reading

26/01/2021

Uncertain and Uneven Recovery Expected Following Unprecedented Labour Market Crisis – International Labour Organization

Human Wrongs Watch

The latest analysis of the labour market impact of COVID-19 by the ILO, records massive damage to working time and income, with prospects for a recovery in 2021 slow, uneven and uncertain unless early improvements are supported by human-centred recovery policies.

© Fahad Abdullah Kaizer / UN Women

GENEVA, 25 January 2021 (ILO)* – Tentative signs of recovery are emerging in global labour markets, following unprecedented disruption in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic , according to the latest report from the International Labour Organization.

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26/01/2021

Is There an American ‘Deep State’?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Richard Falk | Global Justice in the 21st Century – TRANSCEND Media Service*

When a society is deeply troubled, and governed in ways that seem under the influence of dark forces and disinformation becomes part of everyday life, it seems natural that all sorts of explanations will flourish.

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Richard Falk

Few of us can handle uncertainty, and so many affirm falsehoods for the sake of achieving a specious clarity about the unknowable, or at least convert uncertainty into congenial forms of certainty, a dynamic that explains the rise of cultist thinking in our time and the spread of extremist versions of religious teachings.

One variant of this phenomenon that has gained salience during the Trump presidency was supposedly pernicious role of the American ‘deep state.’

Trumpists complaining that unelected bureaucrats were subverting the great leader’s agenda while anti-Trumpists were disappointed that this source of influence didn’t find ways to remove such a political imposter given the damage he was doing national self-confidence and to the international rendering of the previously high end American brand. Some asked in exasperated tones ‘why is the deep state asleep?’ Continue reading

26/01/2021

In Battle against Climate Change, Courts Become a New Frontier

Human Wrongs Watch

26 January 2021 (UNEP)*  — People, including children and indigenous communities, are increasingly turning to the courts to compel governments and businesses to respect and accelerate commitments on climate change.

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REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis / 26 Jan 2021

According to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), published today [26 January 2021], the number of climate change litigation cases has surged in the last four years and now stands at 1,550 in 38 countries (39 including the courts of the European Union).

As of 1 July 2020, some 1,200 of these cases were filed in the United States and 350 in all other countries combined.

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25/01/2021

Q&A: Why Survivors Should Be at the Centre of Discussions on Genocide and Gender Violence

Human Wrongs Watch

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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 25 2021 (IPS)* – Women and young girls are disproportionately affected by conflict and genocide, and that is why they should be a central part of conversations on the issue, according to Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and founder and President of the Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF).

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Remains of some of the over 800,000 victims of Rwanda’s genocide, which will soon be relocated to a new memorial site to preserve them. Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and founder and President of the Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF). highlighted the importance of centring these discussions on genocide around survivors. Credit: Edwin Musoni/IPS

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25/01/2021

‘Trafficked and Sexually Exploited Women and Girls Can Find Themselves Facing Prosecution and Conviction for Those Very Same Crimes’

25 January 2021 (UN News)* — Trafficked and sexually exploited woman and girls can find themselves facing prosecution and conviction for those very same crimes, in some countries, a new UN report shows. The study aims to help prosecutors to better handle these complex cases, and protect the genuine victims.
 
© UNICEF/Noorani | UN human rights experts are warning of a direct link between the pandemic, socio-economic vulnerability and the risk of exploitation, including forced labour or being sold, trafficked and sexually exploited.
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A 2017 criminal case in Canada, to take one example from the report, involved an 18-year-old woman defendant was charged with the forced prostitution of two female minors, aged 14 and 16.
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She had instructed one of them on how to dress, and what to do with clients, and taken away the cell phone of the other, to prevent her from escaping.
24/01/2021

Remembrance Forests in Brazil: 200,000 Trees for 200,000 COVID-19 Victims

Human Wrongs Watch

21 January 2021 (UNEP)* — As Brazil grapples with the COVID-19 crisis and rising rates of deforestation, some are fighting back to restore the natural environment while honouring the memory of their lost loved ones.

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Photo: RBMA / 18 Jan 2021

Bereaved families and civil society organizations, with the support of the Atlantic Forest Biosphere Reserve and the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact, which include some of Brazil’s most respected restoration scientists, launched a tree-planting, wildlife conservation and restoration drive on 12 December 2020 to honour the memories of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and to thank health workers.

The Pact is helping restoration efforts across 17 states in Brazil.

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24/01/2021

Broaden Your Knowledge of Food, Agriculture and Rural Development in 2021

Human Wrongs Watch

Let these six FAO e-learning courses shape a new you in this new year

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With e-learning, you can learn what you want, when and where you want – check out FAO’s courses for some inspiration! © JenJ_Payless /shutterstock.com

22 January 2021 (FAO)* —  2020 was a particular year, and one in which we spent more time online than ever. From virtual meetings to e-birthday parties, our participation in online activities soared – including internet learning. The benefits are many: you can study what you like, when you like, wherever you like. And if you are looking for new courses to get those brain synapses going, you should check out FAO’s extensive catalogue of online, completely free, courses! Continue reading
24/01/2021

Wage Theft: The Missing Middle in Exploitation of Migrant Workers

Human Wrongs Watch

By Benjamin Harkins*

Ensuring that migrants are paid properly for their work would do more good than anti-trafficking ever will.

Migrant workers in Kathmandu, Nepal. | Marcel Crozet/ILO/Flickr. Creative Commons (by-nc-nd).

21 January 2021 (openDemocracy)* —  Since the adoption of the UN Trafficking Protocol, most efforts to eliminate exploitation of migrant workers have focused on human trafficking. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on counter-trafficking initiatives, particularly on trainings to ‘raise awareness’, criminal investigation and prosecution, and shelter and ‘rehabilitation’ services.

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24/01/2021

Sahel Internal Displacement Tops 2 Million as Violence Surges

Human Wrongs Watch

By Moussa Bougma in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso*

Grim milestone reached in world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis as fighting uproots 11,400 within Burkina Faso. Español   |  Français

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Aguiratou Diallo (right) and her family pictured in Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso. © UNHCR/Moussa Bougma

“They threatened to hurt us if we were still there when they returned the next day. Then they fired into the air to scare us,” said Aguiratou, whose husband was away at work at the time.

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24/01/2021

The School under a Bridge in New Delhi

Human Wrongs Watch

By Sébastien Farcis, French journalist based in New Delhi*

For the past nine years, Rajesh Kumar Sharma has been operating a makeshift school between two pillars of the aerial metro that runs across India’s capital. More than 200  children from the surrounding slums attend this open-air classroom every day.

A primary school student attends a Hindi class at the makeshift school under a bridge in New Delhi. Rajesh Kumar Sharma, who started the school, can be seen in the background, teaching other students. cou_04_19_wide_angle_inde_internet_site.jpg

(UNESCO)* — This school does not appear on any map. It does not have whole walls or a complete roof, let alone tables or chairs. Like the small street shops that keep the Indian capital alive, the “Free school under the bridge” has simply merged into New Delhi’s sprawling urban space. It nestles between the massive number five and number six pillars of the aerial metro of this megalopolis of over 20 million inhabitants.

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24/01/2021

The Microscopic Creatures Helping Build Africa’s Great Green Wall

Human Wrongs Watch

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30-year-old Barkissa Fofana studies the relationship between acacia trees, and they way they interact with different fungi and bacteria, in the hope that it will help to explain how they resist drought. This kind of research is an important way to build resilience against climate change, and make land in the Sahel green and productive.
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Ms. Fofana’s work is part of Action Against Desertification (AAD), a programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has restored over 7,000 hectares in Burkina Faso. You can find out more about her projects, the impact of AAD, and the Great Green Wall initiative, here.
24/01/2021

Malnutrition Contributes to 45% of Deaths of Children under Age Five in Developing Countries, While Consumption of Highly Processed Foods Is Pushing Obesity Rates Ever Higher

Human Wrongs Watch

Serving up sustainable food

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Sheldon Cooper/ SOPA Images/Sipa USA via Reuters / 20 Jan 2021

22 January 2021 (UNEP)* — Along with a vow to return to exercise, upping personal intake of fruit and vegetables tops the list of New Year’s resolutions for many. But what if this year’s resolution didn’t end with the eating – and extended to reducing the amount of healthy, nutritious produce that gets trashed?

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23/01/2021

Martin Luther King: The Saint Honored by the Government That Shot Him in the Face … A “Forgotten” Extrajudicial Political Assassination [?]

Human Wrongs Watch

By Prof. Graeme MacQueen – TRANSCEND Media Service*

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed into law as a federal holiday in 1983. I do not wish to trivialize this accomplishment: it took great persistence by civil society groups and it had to conquer serious opposition. Yet what it has established is an indigestible paradox in the nation’s list of saints and heroes.

Recall that the jury in the 1999 civil trial examining the assassination reached a startling conclusion on December 8, 1999: US government agencies had conspired successfully to kill Dr. King.

Mainstream media carried little about this trial and verdict in 1999 and they persist in ignoring it to this day.

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23/01/2021

The System Isn’t Broken, ‘Davos Man’ Built It This Way. So Let’s Change It

Coronavirus shows vulnerabilities of the existing economic models that have to be challenged and turned into new thinking. To keep us safe and resilient we have to put people and nature beyond monetary profits. © Max Zielinski / Greenpeace

Due to Covid, the World Economic Forum will be virtual this January – and its elite audience will only meet in person in May – in Singapore. A symbolic move showing how geopolitics are shifting, especially as many countries in Asia deal so much more competently with Covid-19 than Europe or North America.

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23/01/2021

Solar Power Charges Pandemic Recovery for Indigenous Farmers in Viet Nam

Human Wrongs Watch

22 January 2021 (UNEP)* — Overcoming adversity has long been the stock in trade of Do Thi Phuong, a 42-year-old mother of two living in a small village in Viet Nam’s lush Lao Cai province. As the primary breadwinner in her family of six, Phuong is accustomed to being a rock for her family in hard times. Years ago, landslides wiped out all but four out of 42 household rice fields in the village, yet Phuong managed to provide.

But COVID-19 has tested her resolve like nothing else.

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REUTERS/Carlos Barria / 22 Jan 2021

Phuong’s village has traditionally been home to indigenous groups that farm the land. Many in the community raise chicken and pigs – each household maintains between 1,000-5,000 chickens, from which they derive their primary income.

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23/01/2021

Tropical Cyclone Eloise Intensifying, Expected to Make Landfall on 23 January in Mozambique. ‘It Will Bring Hurricane-Force Winds, Heavy Rainfall and Risk of Coastal Flooding, Widespread Humanitarian Impacts

23/01/2021

Pandemic Will Not End for Anyone, ‘Until It Ends for Everyone’ 

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)*The COVID-19 pandemic “will not end for anyone, until it ends for everyone”, an independent UN human rights expert said on Friday [22 January 2021], advocating for an equitable and globally-coordinated vaccine distribution programme. 

© UNICEF/Ruhani Kaur | India has begun the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme.
 

“The virus can still travel from the vastly unvaccinated massive population of the Global South to the Global North, including in its increasingly mutating forms”, Obiora Okafor, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international solidarity, said in a statement

He explained that with mutations constantly evolving, only inoculating rich countries would likely “complicate or delay” the eradication of the virus. 

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22/01/2021

Xenophobia Threatens the Danish Welfare Model

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kristian Laubjerg*

With an intensive information campaign the Danes would learn to see themselves as members of a multi-cultural society

Denmark is still better known for H.C. Andersen, The Little Mermaid
Denmark is still better known for H.C. Andersen, The Little Mermaid | Image from Wall Street International.

Bernie Sanders points to Denmark

22 January 2021 | Wall Street International*Denmark is known as a country where social justice prevails and where everyone has secured a daily life without having to live in worry about tomorrow, even if sickness and unemployment knock on the door. I was born in Denmark, two generations ago, and couldn’t help but feeling a bit proud, when the Democratic candidate for the US presidency, Bernie Sanders, pointed to Denmark as a model to be emulated by the USA. What is it worth to be big and mighty, if it does not contribute to give better living conditions to people, asked Sanders.

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22/01/2021

UN Ozone Secretariat Launches ‘Reset Earth’: Animation Film & Mobile Game Bring Gen Z into Protecting Ozone Layer

Human Wrongs Watch

Nairobi, 22 January 2021 (UNEP)* – ‘Reset Earth’ is an innovative educational platform for adolescents about the fundamental role of the ozone layer in protecting the planet. The platform launches on World Education Day (January 24th) with an original animation film that explores options for collective positive action. The film’s plot continues in a challenging mobile game for Android and IOS (February 10th). The platform is initiated by United Nations Ozone Secretariat to sustain the protection of the ozone layer through the sensitization and engagement of Gen Z.

learn

New to ozone? Or perhaps you’re familiar and just want to learn more. The Ozone and You section is the place to start.

Ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) like CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs have been widely used throughout the 20th century, mostly for refrigeration, in air conditioners and aerosol sprays. ODSs threaten the earth’s upper atmosphere, drive up temperatures and account for close to 11 per cent of total warming emissions to date.

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22/01/2021

With a War-Mongering President Gone, Is the World Safe from Nuclear Brinkmanship?

Human Wrongs Watch

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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 22 2021 (IPS)* – A war-mongering president, with his finger on the nuclear trigger— and who threatened to attack North Korea and Iran– was unceremoniously drummed out of office on January 20.

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Launching of “Reverse the Trend” and welcoming the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Credit: Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

And two days later, the world rejoiced the historic entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) – a landmark event greeted by peace activists and anti-nuclear campaigners worldwide.

But still there are two lingering questions: Does the TPNW, along with the inglorious departure of an irrational Donald Trump from the White House, make chances of a nuclear war only a remote possibility? Continue reading

22/01/2021

Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Comes into Force

Human Wrongs Watch

22 January 2021 (UN News)*The first multilateral nuclear disarmament treaty in more than two decades, came into force just after midnight on Friday [22 January 2021], hailed by the UN Secretary-General as “an important step towards a world free of nuclear weapons”.

UN Photo/DB | The remains of the Prefectural Industry Promotion Building, after the dropping of the atomic bomb, in Hiroshima, Japan. This site was later preserved as a monument.

António Guterres said that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) also represents a “strong demonstration of support for multilateral approaches to nuclear disarmament” overall.

In a video message and statement, the UN chief commended the States that have ratified the Treaty and welcomed the “instrumental role of civil society in advancing the TPNW’s negotiation and entry into force”.

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20/01/2021

COVID-19 and Worsening Inequalities Will Fuel Malnutrition for Billions in Asia and the Pacific, Warn FAO, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO

Human Wrongs Watch

Child and maternal diets particularly vulnerable

Photo: ©WFP/Mehedi RahmanThe report stresses how social protection systems and transfers can promote the affordability of healthy diets for the poor and most vulnerable.

20 January 2021, Bangkok/Rome – The economic impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most populous region is threatening to further undermine efforts to improve diets and nutrition of nearly two billion people in Asia and the Pacific who were already unable to afford healthy diets prior to the pandemic, says a new report published today [20 January 2021] by four specialized agencies of the United Nations.

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20/01/2021

‘All I want is a doctor for my brother and a school for me’

More than 2,200 asylum seekers and refugees have now been relocated from reception centres on Greek islands and elsewhere in Greece to other European countries.

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Somali refugee, Nasro, 18, waits in a hotel room in Athens with her mother and brother before their relocation flight to Germany. © UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis

 20 January 2021 (UNHCR)*Nasro Mohamed was desperate for a fresh beginning when she and her family were flown from Greece to start lives in Germany under a programme organized by the European Union.

The 18-year-old from Somalia landed in Germany on 10 December on a humanitarian flight along with her mother, Hindi Adan, 41, and her brother who suffers a severe form of epilepsy.

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20/01/2021

“In Zimbabwe there Is Freedom of Speech, but No Freedom After the Speech”

Human Wrongs Watch

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BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Jan 19 2021 (IPS)* – A long-running gag says “in Zimbabwe there is freedom of speech, but no freedom after the speech”. But for journalists and activists who have been forced to endure nights in the country’s overcrowded and filthy holding cells, this is no laughing matter as prison inmates have no personal protective equipment to guard against COVID-19.

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Working as a journalist in Zimbabwe has been particularly hazardous for investigative journalists in a country that makes regular appearances in global top rankings of corruption. Zimbabwe’s press freedom remains fragile. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS

And when government spokesperson Nick Mangwana warned ominously last year that, “No one is above the law,” it only confirmed what many here have always feared: that the ruling Zanu PF party will not hesitate to arbitrary apply the law to silence critics. Continue reading

20/01/2021

Israel: ‘Halt and Reverse’ New Settlement Construction – UN Chief 

Human Wrongs Watch

19 January 2021 (UN News)*Israel’s decision to advance plans for some 800 new settlement units, most of which are located deep inside the occupied West Bank, has sparked the concern of UN Secretary-General António Guterres. 

UNRWA/Lara Jonasdottir | A little boy stands on the remains of his family’s demolished home in the West Bank. (File)
 
In a statement issued on Monday [18 January 2021] by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief urged the Israeli Government to “halt and reverse such decisions”, calling them “a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution, and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”.

 

‘No legal validity’ 

Mr. Guterres reiterated that Israel’s establishing of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”. 

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20/01/2021

Spectre of Unrest, Violent Repression Looming over Haiti, Warns UN Human Rights Office

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)*– Increasing political tensions in Haiti coupled with insecurity and structural inequalities could result in protests followed by violent crackdowns by authorities, the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) warned on Tuesday [19 January 2021].

MINUJUSTH/Leonora Baumann | Fire residues and debris at a protest site in Port-au-Prince in July 2018.

According to the office, criminal activities, such as kidnappings, gang fights and widespread insecurity have increased, with “almost total” impunity.

Added to the volatile mix is resurging political tensions over the timing and scope of elections and a constitutional referendum proposed by the Government, OHCHR spokesperson Marta Hurtado told journalists at a regular briefing in Geneva.

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19/01/2021

“They Left Us Starving”: How the Fashion Industry Abandoned Its Workers

Human Wrongs Watch

By Tansy Hoskins*

Fashion brands must end exploitation in supply chains and offer fair salaries and working conditions, say industry experts.
Women wearing face masks work at Liz Fashion Industry Limited, a garment manufacturer, in Gazipur on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh on Jan. 3, 2021 | Salim/Xinhua News Agency/PA Image

18 January 2021 (openDemocracy)* — In 2019 the fashion industry generated $2.5trn in global revenues, making it one of the largest industries in the world. But when COVID-19 struck in 2020, it virtually collapsed.

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19/01/2021

As Climate Change Hits Harder, World Must Increase Efforts to Adapt

17 January 2021 (UNEP)* — 2020 was not only the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the year of intensifying climate change: high temperatures, floods, droughts, storms, wildfires and even locust plagues. Even more worryingly, the world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century.

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Image by UNEP / 14 Jan 2021

We need strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C. This would limit the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

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19/01/2021

Destroying the Web of Life: The Destruction of Earth’s Biodiversity Is Accelerating

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

In August 2010, the secretary-general of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity,  Ahmed Djoghlaf, warned that ‘We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate.’ According to the UN Environment Program, ‘the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life’ with scientists estimating that ‘150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours’ which is nearly 1,000 times the ‘natural’ or ‘background’ rate.

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Robert J. Burrowes

Moreover, it ‘is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago.’ See ‘Protect nature for world economic security, warns UN biodiversity chief’.

Two months later, at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held from 18 to 29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in Japan, a revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, for the 2011-2020 period was adopted. See ‘Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including Aichi Biodiversity Targets’.

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19/01/2021

Why Are People Going Hungry in India Despite a Massive Grain Surplus?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Prabhat Patnaik | Indepedent Media Institute – TRANSCEND Media Service*

Since late November, braving the bitter cold, hundreds of thousands of farmers have set up protest camps at various points on the borders of India’s capital, New Delhi. Their main demand is the withdrawal of the three farm laws rammed through parliament by the right-wing Narendra Modi government in September. Farmers fear these laws will drive down the prices they get for their produce and pave the way for greater corporatization of agriculture. Noted economist Prabhat Patnaik analyzes some of the key arguments being made in this context.

A farmer looks skyward as he sits amid his wheat crop in the Indian state of Rajasthan. (AP / Deepak Sharma)

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16/01/2021

Child Labour Harms Children Mentally, Physically and Morally – It May Involve Them Being Enslaved and Exposed to Serious Hazards and Illnesses

What is child labour? (*)

Child labour is defined by international standards as work that is hazardous, demands too many hours, or is performed by children who are too young.

  • It harms children mentally, physically, socially, and morally
  • It interferes with their schooling, preventing them from attending or concentrating
  • It may involve them being enslaved, separated from their families, and exposed to serious hazards and illnesses

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15/01/2021

‘As Temperatures Rise and Climate Change Impacts Intensify, Nations Must Urgently Step Up Action to Adapt to the New Climate Reality or Face Serious Costs, Damages and Losses’

Human Wrongs Watch

Nairobi, 14 January 2021 (UNEP)*As temperatures rise and climate change impacts intensify, nations must urgently step up action to adapt to the new climate reality or face serious costs, damages and losses, a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report finds.

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Pixabay / 14 Jan 2021

Adaptation – reducing countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate change by increasing their ability to absorb impacts – is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement requires its signatories to implement adaptation measures through national plans, climate information systems, early warning, protective measures and investments in a green future.

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15/01/2021

2020, One of Three Warmest Years on Record – World Meteorological Organization

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, 14 January 2021 (WMO)* – The year 2020 was one of the three warmest on record, and rivalled 2016 for the top spot, according to a consolidation of five leading international datasets by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). A naturally occurring cooling climate phenomenon, La Niña, put a brake on the heat only at the very end of the year.

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15/01/2021

UN Steps Up Support for Thousands Left Homeless after Devastating Fire at Rohingya Refugee Camp

15 January 2021 (UN News)* — UN agencies have stepped up efforts to help thousands of Rohingya refugees left without shelter after a devastating fire tore through a crowded refugee camp in south-eastern Bangladesh on Thursday [14 January 2021].
 
WFP Bangladesh | A devastating fire broke out on 14 January in Nayapara refugee camp, southern Bangladesh, destroying over 500 shelters.

The fire erupted shortly after midnight on Thursday (local time) in the Nayapara refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, gutting about 550 shelters and 150 shops. A community centre is also said to have been destroyed.

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15/01/2021

Israel: Ensure Equal COVID-19 Vaccine Access to Palestinians – UN Independent Human Rights Experts

Human Wrongs Watch

14 January 2021 (UN News)* — Israel’s “impressive” vaccination programme against the COVID-19 pandemic must include Palestinians under occupation, UN independent human rights experts stressed on Wednesday [13 January 2021].

UNRWA/Louise Wateridge | A health worker provides COVID-19 information to a patient visiting the Jerusalem Health Center.

“In this early stage of the worldwide inoculation programme, Israel has delivered the vaccines to a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country”, said Special Rapporteurs Michael Lynk and Tlaleng Mofokeng.

While noting that Israel has offered Palestinians with resident status in occupied East Jerusalem the vaccines, they noted however, that  it has not ensured that those under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza will have any near-future access to the vaccine.

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14/01/2021

Fewer Protections, Lower Wages, and Higher Health Risks: Homeworking in the COVID Era

(UN News)* — The UN’s labour agency (ILO) on 13 January 2021 called for greater recognition and protection for the hundreds of millions of people who work from home, accounting for almost eight per cent of the global workforce even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Since movement restrictions linked to the global spread of the virus were implement in many countries, the number of people working from home has increased sharply, and that trend is expected to continue in coming years, despite the rollout of vaccines that began in late 2020.

13/01/2021

EU: Respect Rights Amid Pandemic, Economic Downturn

Human Wrongs Watch

By Human Rights Watch*

Tackle Inequality, Abuses against Migrants, Autocratic Backsliding

(Brussels) – The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the lives and rights of people across the European Union, Human Rights Watch on 13 January 2021 said in its World Report 2021 

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13/01/2021

India: Growing Crackdown on Activists, Critics

Human Wrongs Watch

By Human Rights Watch*

Attacks on Muslims, Marginalized Groups; Abuses Persist in Kashmir

(New York) – The Indian government increasingly harassed, detained, and prosecuted activists, journalists, and others critical of the government or its policies, Human Rights Watch o 11 January 2021 said in its World Report 2021.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government brought politically motivated cases, including under broadly worded sedition and counterterrorism laws, against human rights defenders, student activists, academics, opposition members, and other critics.

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13/01/2021

Small Towns Are Bigger than We Think

Human Wrongs Watch

Innovative FAO study maps urban-rural catchment areas and points to ways to optimize policy and planning coordination for agriculture, services and agri-food systems

Source: ©FAO

 

Southern Africa’s rural-urban pattern.

ROME, 12 January 2021 (FAO)* Fewer than one percent of the global population live in truly remote hinterlands, sharpening the need for better understanding of how urban forms impact food systems as well as social and economic development, according to ground-breaking new research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the University of Twente.

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13/01/2021

Learning From Indigenous Peoples: My Morocco Diary

Human Wrongs Watch

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BONN, Jan 11 2021 (IPS)* – Once a year, on 9 August, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated, celebrating their unique culture and knowledge. This is done mostly from a distance, from our homes in (nominally) developed countries. But are we as developed as we pretend to be? On this question, I reflected for a while, still remembering a special and personal experience of having spent several days with an indigenous Berber family in Morocco.

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Credit: Heike Kuhn

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13/01/2021

UN Refugee Agency Calls on European Union for ‘New Chapter for Refugee Protection’ across Europe and Beyond

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — As Portugal assumes the presidency of the European Union (EU), to be followed by Slovenia later this year, the UN refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday [12 January 2021] called on them to lead the effort to forge a better protection system for those seeking refuge across the continent and beyond.

© UNHCR/José Ventura | A UNHCR staffer welcomes resettled refugees originally from Syria and South Sudan at Lisbon airport in Portugal. (file)

Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, UNHCR’s Representative for EU Affairs, also called for reform to be central during negotiations over a new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, and highlighted the importance of “an EU that saves lives, protects refugees in Europe and globally, and finds solutions to end forced displacement and build resilient societies is needed more than ever”.  

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13/01/2021

Humanitarians Seek $1.3 Billion to Help Millions of People in Need of Life-Saving Assistance in War-Weary Afghanistan

Human Wrongs Watch

12 January 2021 (UN News)*The UN and humanitarian partners in Afghanistan are seeking $1.3 billion to assist almost 16 million people in need of life-saving assistance as a result of decades of conflict, recurrent natural disasters, and the added impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

OCHA Afghanistan/Fariba Housaini | A woman walks in front of tents at an internally displaced persons (IDP) site in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan.
The number of people targeted for assistance is over a six-fold increase compared to four years ago, when 2.3 million people were targeted for assistance, according to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General. 

The situation of children is particularly worrying.

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12/01/2021

Nomination of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Human Wrongs Watch

By The Peace People | Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

Ms. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, has today [4 January 2021] nominated Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Mairead Maguire

In her nomination letter to Nobel Committee in Oslo (copy attached) Ms. Maguire wrote:

“My reasons for nominating them together are simple.   Individually each has given countless examples of courage exposing governments’ illegal actions that caused millions of deaths – putting their own freedom and lives on the line.

“Collectively, their lives of self-sacrifice and selflessness constitute remarkable demonstrations of the magnificence of the human spirit.   They are indeed breathtaking testimonies to the goodness inherent in the human heart.

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12/01/2021

Close ‘Disgraceful’ Guantánamo Camp – UN Independent Human Rights Experts Urge Incoming US Administration 

Human Wrongs Watch

(UN News)* — Exactly 19 years after the Guantánamo Bay detention centre first opened, UN independent human rights experts on Monday [11 January 2021] urged the incoming United States administration of Joe Biden, to close the notorious military prison as soon as possible.

Unsplash/Hédi Benyounes | Barbed wire fencing surrounds a detention centre.
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Citing the rapidly deteriorating health of detainees who remain, along with the mental and physical harm inflicted on them in cruel and inhuman conditions, eight right experts warned that the aging inmates are at increasing risk. 
12/01/2021

For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Report on the State of Planet Earth at Year’s End 2020

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

In 1624, English poet John Donne penned his famous poem ‘No Man Is an Island’, sublimely evoking the reality of human unity: ‘Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.’ Therefore, he concluded his poem, ‘never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.’

Robert-J.-Burrowes1

Robert j. Burrowes

This report does two things.

First, in the hope of generating greater consideration of the human condition and the state of the planet, I have presented in straightforward language and point form, a reasonable summary of the nature and extent of our predicament as well as citing the relevant scientific and/or other evidence that explains each problem in more detail.

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11/01/2021

Libya: Militia Terrorized Town, Leaving Mass Graves

Human Wrongs Watch

By Human Rights Watch*

Hundreds in Tarhouna Reported Missing From 2014 to 2020

(Beirut) – Hundreds of residents of the Libyan town Tarhouna were abducted or reported missing between 2014 and 2020, Human Rights Watch on 7 January 2021 said. Authorities of the country’s Government of National Accord (GNA) say that they have discovered 27 mass graves in Tarhouna since June, but that they have yet to identify the bodies.

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