Archive for September 20th, 2012

20/09/2012

South Sudan: Water Shortages Hit Crisis Point in Refugee Camps

Human Wrongs Watch

Severe water shortages in refugee camps close to the Sudanese border have contributed to a rise in mortality and malnutrition rates to alarming levels, in what is a major humanitarian crisis, says a new report.

©Tom Stoddart / Getty Images / ICRC / ss-e-00067

Fleeing armed conflict, many thousands of Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state in Sudan have flooded into South Sudan’s Maban county, Upper Nile state, since September 2011. Their numbers have been increasing since May. Living in remote areas at home, most arrive exhausted after an arduous journey on foot that can last weeks,” says the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 

“They have found shelter in isolated camps whose stretched resources are often insufficient to cover peoples’ basic needs,” it adds. 

 “The humanitarian situation in Yusuf Batil camp in particular is extremely worrying. Conditions are dire and survival remains a struggle. Owing to the lack of clean water, people are drinking contaminated surface water. Children are especially vulnerable to death from water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea,” said Melker Mabeck, head of the ICRC delegation in South Sudan.

“The ICRC is tackling this emergency by expanding the camp’s water infrastructure and distributing jerrycans and buckets so people are better able to collect and store water.”

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20/09/2012

Cyprus Gives EU Ministers Three Minutes to Square the Circle on Budget

By EurActiv*, 20 September – Cyprus tabled yesterday (19 September) a ‘negotiating box’ for the European Union budget for 2014-2020, to be discussed by European affairs ministers on Monday. According to the paper, ministers are requested to limit their presentations to three minutes.

Logo of Cyprus Presidency

The European Commission presented on 29 June 2011 its proposals for the EU’s 2014-2020 budget – the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

The Commission proposed raising the next budget to €1.025 trillion, up from the current €976 billion. This represents a 4.8% increase, which is beyond the average 2% inflation recorded in the last decade.

The goal of the Cypriot presidency is to reach an agreement by the end of 2012, in line with the European Council conclusions of June 2012.

The revised, 48-page ‘negotiating box’ from Cyprus, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, develops in more detail a similar paper left behind by the Danish presidency.

In the meantime, Cyprus has conducted bilateral consultations with the remaining 26 EU members and Croatia, which is expected to join on 1 July 2013, collecting their “wish lists” for the next long-term budget, called the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) in EU jargon.

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20/09/2012

Freedoms Deteriorate in Algeria

Human Wrongs Watch

The rights to freedom of association and freedom of assembly for various other sectors of society – such as civil society organizations, human rights defenders and trade unions – is cause for concern and may even have deteriorated over the past year in Algeria, according to United Nations human rights chief.

*Algeria slashes food prices amid riots. Photo: {{{1}}} | Wikimedia Commons.

The  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay urged the Government of Algeria to reconsider restrictions and impediments being placed in the way of civil society organizations in the North African nation.

“While recognizing that the driving force behind this state of affairs is rooted in security concerns, I encourage the Government to review the laws and practices relating to civil society organizations and freedom of assembly, and also to order all security forces to refrain from violating internationally recognized instruments guaranteeing the right to freedom of association,” Pillay said on Sept. 19 at the end of a three-day visit.

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