Archive for October 10th, 2012

10/10/2012

India: Saying No to Child Marriage

The inaugural International Day of the Girl Child will take place on 11 October 2012. For its first observance, this year’s Day focuses on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and has an impact on all aspects of a girl’s life, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

**© UNICEF Varanasi/2012/Madhok

“Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal and the development of healthy communities.” For more information about child marriage, click here.

By Rajat Madhok*Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, India – Pratigya hears that Chandra Devi is planning to marry off her daughter Basanti. She picks up her shoulder bag and calls on Chandra Devi.

What follows is a friendly, but uncomfortable, discussion. Basanti is barely 15 years old. Pratigya has come to discuss child marriage.

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10/10/2012

Burma: Did the Government Incite the Racial Violence Targeting the Rohingy?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Dr. Maung Zarni*,  TRANSCEND – Following this summer’s [2012] rioting in western Burma, all eyes have been fixed on the government’s handling of the unrest in Rakhine state. With external pressure mounting, most specifically from the Islamic world, Burmese officials – from President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw to local security troops in western Burma – have been playing ostensibly the “humanist and humanitarian” card with the Rohingya.

**Mae La camp for Burmese refugees, Tak, Thailand. Photo: Mikhail Esteves from Bangalore, India

If the findings from various investigative missions turn out to be little more than public relations white-wash for Naypyidaw, more than a few Rohingya have expressed their concerns to me that their communities – the bulk of whom are barely surviving under the recently imposed martial law – will explode again.

When an oppressed and downtrodden people feel they have absolutely nothing more to lose but their captive lives in the iron cage of refugee camps set up by the predatory and repressive state, radicalism and violence are just a step away.

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10/10/2012

Women Primary Victims of Violence in Mali

Human Wrongs Watch

Concluding a four-day visit to Mali, a top United Nations human rights official cited ongoing abuses in the northern part of the country, and highlighted the plight of women, whose rights have been particularly restricted.

Women artisans in Mali making bracelets for sale to tourists using recycled plastic materials | United Nations

“Women are the primary victims of the current crisis and have been disproportionately affected by the situation in the north,” Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic said on 9 October in a news release. “Their human rights to employment, education and access to basic social services have been seriously curtailed.”

Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali in January.

The instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d’état in March, have led over 250,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries, with 174,000 Malians estimated to be internally displaced, the UN reports.

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10/10/2012

Sweden: Greenpeace Exposes Lax Security at Nuclear Plants

Human Wrongs Watch

By Brian Blomme*, Greenpeace – They poured onto the sites of two nuclear reactor plants in Sweden this morning with minimal problems: more than 70 Greenpeace activists, from five countries, conducted peaceful stress tests of the sites. The goal: to show how weak security arrangements are at the two plants.

(Images © Greenpeace)

At the Forsmark nuclear site, on the east coast of Sweden, 50 activists put ladders up against a chain link fence, scaled over the so-called ‘barrier’ and got up close to the reactor buildings. One activist was on the site for four hours before she was discovered!

Apparently a Forsmark spokesperson told the media: “We can confirm that GP came in over the fence, as usual.” Yes … today wasn’t the first time Greenpeace Sweden got on to the site.

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