Archive for May 9th, 2013

09/05/2013

Swedish FM Attacks Signatories of Humanitarian Initiative: ”Not Serious States”

Human Wrongs Watch

The Swedish Foreign Minister (and former Prime Minister) Carl Bildt has found himself in hot water after his curious comments on a radio show in response to questions over Sweden’s refusal to recognize the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons at the committee of state parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty this past April (NPT PrepCom), the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANreports*.

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN.

Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Swedish government has been criticized for neglecting to join 80 other countries – including its Scandinavian neighbours Norway, Denmark and Iceland – in signing a joint statement put forth by South Africa which recognized and called for an increased focus on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons in nuclear disarmament discussions.

In an impromptu call to a morning radio show, Bildt fanned the flames by dismissing the statement as “no big deal” and the 80 co-sponsors as “not really serious states”, even going so far as to label the humanitarian arguments in favour of nuclear disarmament as a “side-track” that “no serious states engage in”.

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09/05/2013

Coffee and Patience: a Day in the Life of a Family Hosting Syrian Refugees

Human Wrongs Watch

Saadnayel, Bekaa Valley, 8 May 2013 (IRIN*) – Two years ago, as Syrian refugees began streaming across borders, Lebanese families opened up their homes. Unlike in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of refugees are being housed in camps, at the beginning of the influx into Lebanon, the majority of refugees were hosted by families. Some Lebanese households took in as many as six refugee families.

**Photo: Anaïs Renevier/IRIN | Syrian refugees sit down for lunch in the home of their Lebanese hosts

**Photo: Anaïs Renevier/IRIN | Syrian refugees sit down for lunch in the home of their Lebanese hosts

But as the conflict next-door has dragged on and the number of refugees in Lebanon has grown, so too has the burden on their Lebanese hosts.

Today, most of the 425,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon are renting homes or apartments; with only 6 percent hosted by families, according to a survey by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). IRIN spent a day with some Lebanese hosts, bringing you this portrait of a family trying to balance obligation and sacrifice.

It was a series of twists of fate that brought together two families – one Lebanese, one Syrian – that did not know one another.

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09/05/2013

A Generation At Risk of Suffering Decent Work Deficits Throughout Their Lives

Geneva, 8 May 2013 – The long-term impact of the youth employment crisis could be felt for decades, creating a generation at risk of suffering decent work deficits throughout their lives, says the International Labour Organization (ILO) in its new report Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013.

An unemployed youth. Photo: ILO

An unemployed youth. Photo: ILO

Despite some regional differences, the global youth unemployment rate continues to rise and is projected to reach 12.8 per cent by 2018 – wiping out the gains made at the start of the economic recovery, adds ILO release.

Behind this worsening figure is an even more worrying picture, revealing persistent unemployment, a proliferation of temporary jobs and growing youth discouragement in advanced economies; and poor quality, informal, subsistence jobs in developing countries.

According to the ILO’s Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report, an estimated 73.4 million young people – 12.6 per cent – are expected to be out of work in 2013, close to the levels reached at the peak of the economic crisis in 2009. This is an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013.

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09/05/2013

The 'European Dream' Going the Way of the 'American Dream'

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, May 2013 — The European Union has asked its citizens to brace for further economic misery. In a report on European economic prospects released on May 3, the European Commission said that further deterioration is expected to last at least until 2015. But, as every such report says, things will then get better!

Roberto Savio | Photo: montsess/flickr

Roberto Savio | Photo: montsess/flickr

Unemployment in the euro area is expected to climb to 12.2 percent this year, up from 11.4 percent last year.

In Spain, unemployment will rise to 27 percent, up from the 25 percent of last year; in Portugal it will rise from 15.9 to 18.9 percent; and after three brutal years of suffering, in Greece it will climb by 2.7 percent to 27 percent.

The trend will become devastating for young people: in Spain alone, it is estimated that 52 percent of young people will be without a job. We are creating a generation that will probably never get back on track.

The same trend is happening also in the rich countries of northern Europe, which are being brought down by the reaction of imports from impoverished southern Europe.

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09/05/2013

Egypt 'At Risk Of Drifting Away from Ideals That Ignited Revolution' – UN Rights Chief Warns

Human Wrongs Watch

Expressing concern about key legislative measures being considered by Egyptian authorities, the United Nations human rights chief urged the Government to take steps to ensure it does not drift further away from the ideals that drove the 2011 revolution in the country.

Wall art in France depicting President Mohamed Morsi Abode of Chaos/flickr | IFEX

Wall art in France depicting President Mohamed Morsi
Abode of Chaos/flickr | IFEX

In particular, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pointed to a draft law that would constrain the activities of civil society organizations, as well as efforts to limit the authority of the judiciary, as measures that should be carefully examined and brought into line with international standards before they are adopted.

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09/05/2013

‘Brazilian Atlantis’: Scientists Discover Traces of Sunken Continent Under Atlantic Ocean

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today*, 9 May 2013 – Granite formed on dry land has been discovered beneath the ocean off the coast of Brazil. Scientists suggest that it might be part of a sunken continent which disappeared millions of years ago and already branded it ‘Brazilian Atlantis’.

Credit: Image from atlantis.haktanir.org Source: Russia Today

Credit: Image from atlantis.haktanir.org | Source: Russia Today

A Japanese-manned submersible discovered a large mass of granite and a large amount of quartz sand 900 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, according to the announcement made by The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM).

These materials, normally found on dry land, suggest that a continent once existed in the region and then sank.

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09/05/2013

In Egypt, Religious Violence Casts Pall Over Ortodox Christians Easter

Human Wrongs Watch

By Shahira Amin*,  RIA Novosti, Cairo, 7 May 2013 – Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter on May 5, and crowds thronged the streets near the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo’s Abbassiya district. Traditionally, Easter is a time of celebration and joy here, as Coptic Christians mark the resurrection of Christ, and end their forty day fast. But the mood this year was somber, marred by the memory of a brutal attack on the Cathedral by security forces a month ago.

**Morsi | Photo: Stefan Rousseau | Source: http://www.number10.gov.uk | Wikimedia Commons

Morsi | Photo: Stefan Rousseau | Source: http://www.number10.gov.uk | Wikimedia Commons

Although the country has witnessed a spate of attacks on Christian places of worship since the January 2011 mass uprising, last month’s targeting of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbassiya served reminded the country’s Coptic Christian community (they comprise 12 percent of Egypt’s population) of their vulnerability as Islamists continue to consolidate power, post revolution.

The assault on the Cathedral in April came as Christian mourners were leaving the building after a funeral mass for five Christians killed in sectarian clashes that took place days earlier in the village of El-Khosous, Qalyubia governorate, which lies to the north of Cairo.

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