Archive for April 21st, 2013

21/04/2013

Whither Egypt (II) – Economic Bankruptcy

Human Wrongs Watch

By Baher Kamal*

Cairo, 21 April 2013 – Egyptians are frustrated, feel lost and do not know where they are heading to. This short, dramatic conclusion has lastly been the most reiterated sentence by all opposition movements, and –more importantly– by the overwhelming majority of people here.

**Mass protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo | Credit: Lilian Wagdy | Source: The Egyptian Liberal | Wikimedia Commons.

**Mass protests in Tahrir Square, Cairo | Credit: Lilian Wagdy | Source: The Egyptian Liberal | Wikimedia Commons.

Foreign currency reserves are reported to be nearly finished; exchange rates have been lastly as high in favour of foreign currencies as law is the value of national currency, the Egyptian pound.

Railways workers, university students, hotel staffs, among many other sectors, have declared strikes. Elderly people, specially women, do not dare going out nor walking in the streets by themselves as they fear being assaulted by criminal gangs.

It has been estimated that more than 50 percent of all Egyptians –who total over 90 million- are now poor. And that up to 16 percent of Egyptian families live each one in one single room, where they sleep, cook, wash and cover their “sanitation” needs.

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21/04/2013

Journalists Defiant Despite Fears of Return to Egypt’s Bad Old Days

By Shahira Amin*

Cairo, 29 March 2013 — A recent crackdown on journalists and opposition activists has increased fears that Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi will use tactics similar to his ousted predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, to silence dissent.

A bus on fire during clashes in Cairo last week | UNCUT Index on Censhorship

A bus on fire during clashes in Cairo last week | UNCUT Index on Censorship

Earlier this month, a group of activists spraying anti-Muslim Brotherhood graffiti on the ground outside the headquarters of the Islamist group’s political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), were attacked by plain clothes security guards and Muslim Brotherhood supporters with sticks and chains.

Journalists who were at the scene, covering a meeting between Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Hamas officials were also assaulted by the guards.

A journalist working for independent newspaper Yom El Sabe’ was arrested and detained for several hours, and one cameraman sustained head injuries, and had his equipment confiscated.

The assault provoked outrage from Egypt’s liberal opposition and journalists alike. Opposition groups and political parties called for a “million people rally” to protest the attacks.

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21/04/2013

"As Long as There Is One of Us Standing, There Will Be a Fight to Protect the Forests"

Human Wrongs Watch

By Jess Miller, Greenpeace*, 19 April 2013 – Today, Brazil celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day. However, on a day that is supposed to celebrate their ancestors, culture and stories, many of Indigenous Peoples are instead fighting for their lands and their rights.

Xavante indigenous people from Maraiãwatsede with traditional body paint for war. Due to conflicts over land ownership, this traditional painting is now a daily ritual in their lives. | Credit: Rodrigo Baleia - Greenpeace

Xavante indigenous people from Maraiãwatsede with traditional body paint for war. Due to conflicts over land ownership, this traditional painting is now a daily ritual in their lives. | Credit: Rodrigo Baleia – Greenpeace

According to a survey by CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council), there are no less than 452 government development projects currently underway in Brazil, 201 of which directly impact Indigenous Lands.

Illegal logging and ranching continues to encroach on Indigenous Lands and conflict and violence is prevalent in the Amazon region.

Accorind to CIMI, an average of 50 murders of Indigenous Peoples occur annually in Brazil. Even more shocking, in the state of Mato Grosso, a leading state for deforestation, there is an average of four deaths per month. From 2003 to 2012, 315 Indigenous Leaders were murdered in connection to forest destruction.

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21/04/2013

1.6 Billion People Depend on Forests, But…

Human Wrongs Watch

New York, 21 April 2013 – Forests cover one-third of the Earth’s landmass and about 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. Three-fourths of freshwater comes from forested catchment areas and forests stabilize slopes, prevent landslides and protect coastal communities against tsunamis and storms. More than three billion people depend on forests for wood for cooking and heating.

Photo: UN Forum on Forests/Fendi Aspara

Photo: UN Forum on Forests/Fendi Aspara

With this background, the United Nations Forum on Forests concluded its tenth session in Istanbul in the early hours of Saturday [20 April 2013] after agreeing on a series of measures to improve the sustainable management of forests, and deciding to consider setting up a voluntary global fund to support this endeavour.

The Forum*, which met for the first time away from UN Headquarters in New York, adopted two resolutions as it wrapped up its two-week session, one on forests and economic development ­– the main theme of the session – and the other on financing.

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