Archive for November 6th, 2014

06/11/2014

Climate Change: Afghans on the Front Line

Human Wrongs Watch

By Joe Dyke, Mazar-i-Sharif, 4 November 2014 (IRIN)* – In northern Afghanistan, the residents don’t often use the phrase – most don’t even know it. But as they describe how increasingly extreme weather patterns are making their lives harder every year, they map out many of the symptoms of climate change. As a new UN report warns that “irreversible” climate change is affecting more people than ever, these Afghans are on the front line.
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Naim Korbon says he is 90 years old, though he admits he does not really know. Either way he is too old to be carrying cement. Yet in the northern Afghan village of Rozi Bay in Balkh Province, he and his extended family are rebuilding their homes.

Earlier this year his life’s work was destroyed as vicious floods cascaded through the area. It was, local experts say, the worst to hit the region in 42 years.

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06/11/2014

Humanitarian System ‘Scrambling’ to Meet Skyrocketing Needs, Warns UN Refugee Agency

Human Wrongs Watch

The global humanitarian system has reached its limits in dealing with the upward trend in forced displacement due to mounting pressures from conflicts and persecution around the world, the head of the United Nations refugee agency on 5 November 2014 warned, calling on the humanitarian community to “think out of the box” when it comes to funding emergency response.

Source: UNHCR

South Sudanese seek a chance to get on with life without fear | Source: UNHCR

In a briefing to the UN General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee), António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that at the end of 2013, more than 51 million people were in displacement due to multiplying conflicts, climate change, population growth, urbanization, food insecurity and water scarcity, and events indicate that this number will be even higher by December of this year.

“The humanitarian community is scrambling to respond, but every new crisis clearly shows that the system has reached its limits,” he stressed.

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06/11/2014

'States Obliged to Prevent and Eliminate Harmful Practices Inflicted on Women, Girls'

Human Wrongs Watch

For the first time, two United Nations human rights committees have joined forces to issue a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls, such as female genital mutilation, crimes committed in the name of so-called honour, forced and child marriage, and polygamy.

Ruth Dureng (second left, with friends in Monrovia, Liberia) was abused at home and had to leave after refusing a forced marriage. Photo: UNICEF/Glenna Gordon

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 5 November 2014 released the Joint General Recommendation/General Comment, which also highlights other harmful practices such as virginity testing, binding, widowhood practices, infanticide, and body modifications including fattening, neck elongation and breast ironing.*

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06/11/2014

A Conference on Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services

Human Wrongs Watch

Aiming to develop more gender-sensitive services, a United Nations-led conference kicking off on 5 November 2014  in Geneva is spearheading a drive to ensure that weather and climate services reduce women’s vulnerability to disasters and climate change, and help them realize their potential as champions of community resilience.

The impact of disasters is different for women and men due to social constructs. Empowering women builds important capacities for disaster response and climate resilience. Photo: WMO

Hosted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Conference on Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services, which takes place from 5 to 7 November 2014, hopes to produce concrete actions to empower women to produce and use weather and climate services.*

Women, especially in developing countries, are often more exposed to the risks of extreme weather because they can be less mobile than men, lack access to traditional means of communication, and are more vulnerable to associated risks such as under-nutrition and water-borne diseases, according to the WMO.

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06/11/2014

In Guatemala, Indigenous Communities Prevail against Monsanto

Human Wrongs Watch

Waging Nonviolence/Pressenza*05 November 2014 — Late in the afternoon of September 4, after nearly 10 days of protests by a coalition of labor, indigenous rights groups and farmers, the indigenous peoples and campesinos of Guatemala won a rare victory. 

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilized to oppose the “Monsanto Law,” which would have opened Guatemala to the privatization of seed. (WNV/Jeff Abbott)

In Sololá, hundreds of campesinos mobilized to oppose the “Monsanto Law,” which would have opened Guatemala to the privatization of seed. (WNV/Jeff Abbott)

Under the pressure of massive mobilizations, the Guatemala legislature repealed Decree 19-2014, commonly referred to as the “Monsanto Law,” which would have given the transnational chemical and seed producer a foot hold into the country’s seed market.

“The law would have affected all indigenous people of Guatemala,” said Edgar René Cojtín Acetún of the indigenous municipality of the department of Sololá. “The law would have privatized the seed to benefit only the multinational corporations. If we didn’t do anything now, then our children and grandchildren would suffer the consequences.”

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