Archive for March 20th, 2013

20/03/2013

Hugo Chávez’s legacy to Latin America

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, March 2013 – What is Hugo Chávez’s legacy to Latin America? The best way to evaluate a head of state is to examine what is left behind after his or her death. In the case of Chávez, his image is obscured by a series of ideological and cultural prejudices that hide a clear perception of who he was.

**Photo: Jean-Marc /Jo BeLo/Jhon-John

**Photo: Jean-Marc /Jo BeLo/Jhon-John

Chávez’s obvious faults have been exaggerated out of proportion by the ideological radicalisation that accompanied him. He was provocative to the point of using Iran, Libya and Syria to symbolise his independence from the United States.

However, his goal was not to find legitimacy as an international leader, but as a regional one. For this reason, he tried to highlight everything that could show up Washington’s impotence and decline.

His foreign policy, focused essentially on Latin America, was very simple: let us recover the message of our liberator, Simón Bolívar, to unite our peoples and free ourselves from the historic domination of the United States.

The arrival of former U.S. president George W. Bush was providential for Chávez: as the worst face of the United States, he was a useful confirmation of the Venezuelan president’s denunciations. With President Barack Obama, in contrast, he had to tone down his criticism.

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20/03/2013

More Than Half a Million Palestinians in Syria Need Priority Humanitarian Attention

Human Wrongs Watch

The plight of Palestinian refugees spans several decades dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict and resulting in a 65 year-old diaspora which has seen the Palestinians scattered across the Middle East – from blockaded Gaza to the West Bank to Jordan and Lebanon, where they are provided basic services and humanitarian relief by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA),” says a top UN official.

As the violence in Syria has intensified, the Palestinian community in the country has become extremely vulnerable and profoundly traumatised. Photo: UNRWA

As the violence in Syria has intensified, the Palestinian community in the country has become extremely vulnerable and profoundly traumatised. Photo: UNRWA

But it is the 525,000 Palestinian refugees residing in Syria,who are now in need of priority attention as the escalating violence threatens to entrap them in the midst of a bloody conflict with no end in sight, adds UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi in an interview* with the UN News Centre.

With the conflict steadily eroding all semblance of normalcy and destroying the economy, jobs and food in Syria are becoming increasingly scarce., he stressed.

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20/03/2013

Israeli Settler Violence Must Be Prosecuted, UN Human Rights Chief

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations human rights chief urged Israel to prosecute settlers who carry out violent acts against Palestinians, while also calling on Government forces to refrain from using excessive force and to guarantee adequate handling of child detainees, following reports of ill-treatment.

Ofer military court and prison in the West Bank. Photo: UNICEF-oPt/Ennaimi

Ofer military court and prison in the West Bank. Photo: UNICEF-oPt/Ennaimi

“On the Israeli side, settler violence continues to be perpetrated with impunity,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “And Israel needs to hold perpetrators accountable. While investigations are not opened into most incidents of settler violence, between 2005 and 2011, only 9 per cent of the investigations opened resulted in an indictment.”

In her presentation on 18 March 2013 of the report on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, she noted that, during the reporting period, 383 acts of settler violence resulted in injury to 169 Palestinians, damage to more than 8,000 of their olive trees – which represent a significant part of their livelihoods – and damage to other properties such as churches and mosques.

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20/03/2013

Remember Mali?.. And the Sahel?

Human Wrongs Watch

The international community must continue its efforts to help feed people in the Sahel, the head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said, following a visit to the West African region marred by high levels of food and nutrition insecurity, as well as the effects of the conflict in Mali*.

Displaced children in the Mali capital, Bamako, eat a welcome meal. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

Displaced children in the Mali capital, Bamako, eat a welcome meal. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

“The Sahel is facing a double threat: instability, caused by a conflict that has sent refugees across its borders, and chronic hunger, caused by cycles of drought and poor harvests. Last year the international community helped avert a crisis in the Sahel, but our work is not over,” WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said in a news release

She spent five days in Burkina Faso and Mali, which along with Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, comprise the Sahel. Last year the international community provided $1.2 billion in assistance to feed around 10 million people in the region.

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