21/11/2017

Desperate Need to Halt ‘World’s Largest Killer’ — Pollution

Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, Nov 20 2017 (IPS) – Now that the lights of the UN climate change summit’s meeting rooms have been turned off in Bonn, after a week of intense negotiations and some partial results, another major environmental event is now scheduled in Nairobi, this time to search for ways to halt the world’s major killer – pollution.

Birds scavenging for food amidst the debris at the landfill in Danbury, Connecticut in the United States. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The argument is clear: every part of the planet and every person is affected by pollution, “the world’s largest killer,” and while solutions are within reach, new policies, enhanced public and private sector leadership, redirected investments and massive funding are all “desperately” needed, a major UN report has warned. Continue reading

22/11/2017

Situation on Australian ‘Offshore Processing’ Centre Deteriorates by the Day – UN 

Human Wrongs Watch

21 November 2017 – Three weeks following the closure of the Manus Island regional processing centre, the situation on the ground is very serious and deteriorates by the day, a senior United Nations official on protection of refugees has said.

Offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Australian Government DIBP |Source: UN News Centre

“Without distribution of food and clean water over the last three weeks [and] significant accumulation of waste and rubbish in the hot and humid weather, the health and sanitation is becoming a very significant issue,” Nai Jit Lam, Deputy Regional Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), currently on Manus Island, told journalists in Geneva over the phone.

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22/11/2017

White Elephants and the Urban Challenges of Brasilia

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mario Osava

BRASILIA, Nov 21 2017 (IPS) – Two white elephants – a huge football stadium that draws almost no fans and an empty 16-building complex that was to be the new headquarters of the district government – reflect Brasília’s challenges as a metropolis, beyond its role as the capital of Brazil.

Part of the Administrative Centre built by two private companies between 2013 and 2014, to be the new seat of the government of the Federal District, in Brasilia. The 16-building complex with 3,000 parking spaces is not being used, due to an order by the courts, which are investigating allegations of corruption. Credit: Mario Osava / IPS

Part of the Administrative Centre built by two private companies between 2013 and 2014, to be the new seat of the government of the Federal District, in Brasilia. The 16-building complex with 3,000 parking spaces is not being used, due to an order by the courts, which are investigating allegations of corruption. Credit: Mario Osava / IPS

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21/11/2017

A History of Idiocy

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

18/11/2017

I am furious. And I have good reason to be furious.

397px-UriAvnery

Uri Avnery

I was going to write an article about a subject I have been thinking about for a long time.

This week I opened the New York Times and lo, my yet unwritten article appeared on its opinion pages in full, argument after argument.

How come? I have only one explanation: the author – I have forgotten the name – has stolen the ideas from my head by some magical means, which surely must be branded as criminal. A person once tried to kill me for doing the same thing to him.

So I have decided to write this article in spite of everything.

THE SUBJECT is idiocy. Particularly, the role of idiocy in history.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations.

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21/11/2017

An Escalating Afghan Crisis of ‘Profit’ over ‘Life’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Hakim Young, MD*

20 November 2017 – TRANSCEND Media Service – “My family’s water well has dried up,” 18-year-old Surkh Gul said.

Surkh Gul with her daughter.
Photo by Dr Hakim

“Ours too,” echoed 13-year-old Inaam.

A distressed Surkh Gul lamented, “We have to fetch water from the public well along the main road, but that water is muddy, not fit for drinking. I get bottled water for my two-year-old daughter. At least someone in the family should stay healthy.”

Inaam chipped in, “Fortunately, for now, the water that we fetch from a nearby mosque is clean.”

A U.S. and Afghan Geological Survey of Kabul Basin’s water resources found that about half of the shallow groundwater supply wells could become dry by 2050 due to declining recharge and stream-flows under projected climate change.

For years, the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees has also highlighted this water crisis to the Afghan government.

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21/11/2017

World Toilet Day: Focus on Sanitation, Wastewater Treatment

Human Wrongs Watch

Even in wealthier countries, where people have access to toilets and faecal material is contained, treatment and final disposal of wastewater can be far from perfect, leading to polluted rivers and coastlines, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a World Toilet Day event on 20 November 2017.

The French Red Cross provides water, sanitation and toilets for 11,000 IDPs at the Centre d’Hebergement Provisoire Automica Dahaitsu in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: MINUSTAH

 “Where does our poo go? […] This year’s Toilet Day observance encourages people to think about the sanitation chain,” said Mohammed in her remarks at a panel discussion on toilets and wastewater, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Singapore, UN-Water and the International Chamber of Commerce.
18/11/2017

Desperate Rohingya Refugees Use Home-Made Rafts to Get to Bangladesh 

Human Wrongs Watch

Over the past 10 days, dozens of makeshift rafts carrying more than a thousand people have floated into Bangladesh, proof that Rohingya refugees are resorting to increasingly desperate means to flee to Myanmar, the UN refugee agency on 17 November 2017 said.

Rohingya refugees are resorting to increasingly desperate measures such as makeshift rafts to cross the Naf River to Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

“Unable to pay for the crossing, refugees are building rafts from whatever material they can get their hands on – mostly bamboo poles and empty jerry cans tied together with rope and covered with plastic sheets,” William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.
18/11/2017

Famine May Be Unfolding ‘Right Now’ in Yemen — UN

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations relief wing on 17 November 2017 warned of famine-like conditions unfolding in Yemen, as a blockade on aid and other essential goods by a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels there enters its 12th day.

People queue to fill containers with water from a tank provided by UNICEF in Sana’a, Yemen. Some 14.5 million people in the country have no access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Photo: UNICEF/Algabal2017

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), sounded the alarm during a news briefing in Geneva.

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17/11/2017

Two Meetings

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

11/11/17

DURING THE last few days, I met with two old friends: Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

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Uri Avnery

Well, the term “friends” may not quite be appropriate. Certainly, Arafat called me “my friend” in a recorded message for my 70th birthday, but Rabin called nobody “friend”. That was not his character.

I am glad that I knew both from close up. Without them, my life would have been poorer.

I DON’T think I ever met two more different people than these two.

Arafat was a warm person. An emotional person. His embraces and kisses were ceremonial, but they also expressed real sentiment. I brought many Israelis to meetings with him, and they all recounted that after ten minutes in his company they felt as if they had known him for years. Continue reading

17/11/2017

From Bangladesh: Bearing Witness to My Country’s Genocide and Meeting the Survivors

Human Wrongs Watch

By Dr. Maung Zarni*

13 November 2017 – TRANSCEND Media Service – We just got home in UK last night.  This is my little reflection on what we witnessed.  I came home with a long list of “To-Do’s”.

My wife Natalie and I work as a two-person team of researchers and writers.  We use each other as a sounding board and we teach each other on the Rohingya. She is the one who initially helped me overcome my own anti-Muslim racism and my own ignorance about Rohingyas.

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