Archive for February 20th, 2015

20/02/2015

Two Charts Showing that 'Deterring' Migrant Boats Is Failing

Human Wrongs Watch

LONDON, 20 February 2015 (1) (IRIN)* – Late last year the Italian government scrapped its Mediterranean search and rescue operation the Mare Nostrum after funding shortages. The project was partially replaced by Operation Triton – but the service is far more restricted than its predecessor, both in geography (the patrols only go up to 30 miles off the Italian coast) and budget (roughly a third of Mare Nostrum). Critics have said it could leave tens of thousands of migrants at far greater risk.

The most common argument for the shift was deterrence. Previously, proponents argued, the migrants in the boats and their smugglers could be fairly certain that they would be rescued by one of Mare Nostrum’s ships.

Baroness Anelay, British Foreign Office minister, argued at the time that such rescue missions only encouraged more people to make the treacherous journey.

Yet if the ending of Mare Nostrum was intended to be a deterrent, so far it has failed. There has been a spike in the numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean; to around 7,000 so far in 2015 from 3,338 in the same period in 2014, according to the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR (see chart below).

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20/02/2015

On Social Justice Day, UN Spotlights Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations Secretary-General on 20 February 2015 said that the World Day for Social Justice comes at a pivotal moment for people and the planet, adding that this year’s commemoration focuses on the scourge of human trafficking and the plight of approximately 21 million women, men and children in various forms of modern slavery.

Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka

“New instruments such as the ILO (International Labour Organization) Protocol and Recommendation on forced labour and human trafficking are helping to strengthen global efforts to punish perpetrators and end impunity,” said Ban Ki-moon in a message marking the Day.

“We must continue to do more. We simply cannot achieve development for all if we leave behind those who are socially and economically exploited.”

In what he described as a crucial year for global development, he said more needed to be done to eradicate all forms of human exploitation.

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20/02/2015

“There is no inevitability, no excuse: forced labour can be stopped”

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, 20 February 2015 — In 2013, 939 million workers – 26.7 per cent of total employment, were still coping on US$2 a day or less. Millions of young people facing a future of unemployment or working poverty are losing hope in promises of economic and social progress,  ILO Director-General said on this year’s World Day of Social Justice on 20 February 2015. 

Source: ILO

Source: ILO

The situation is aggravated by the widespread absence of basic social protection. Millions of people are subjected to unacceptable conditions of work and the denial of fundamental rights, according to ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.*

World Day of Social Justice should galvanize action against poverty and social exclusion. Work done in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity – decent work – is a key to inclusion and it is a conduit of social justice. Yet the global situation gives cause for grave concern.

The economic gap continues to widen, with the richest 10 per cent earning 30 to 40 per cent of total income while the poorest 10 per cent earn between 2 and 7 per cent.
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In 2013, 939 million workers – 26.7 per cent of total employment, were still coping on US$2 a day or less. Millions of young people facing a future of unemployment or working poverty are losing hope in promises of economic and social progress.
20/02/2015

World Press Freedom Index 2015: Decline on All Fronts

Human Wrongs Watch

19 February 2015 — The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.*

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2015 World Press Freedom Index | Reporters Without Borders

2015 World Press Freedom Index | Reporters Without Borders

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Top of the list, as so often, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark.At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers.
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France is ranked 38th (up one place), the United States 49th (down three places), Japan 61st (down two places), Brazil 99 (up 12 places), Russia 152 (down four places), Iran 173rd (unchanged) and China 176th (down one place).
20/02/2015

New Software Keys in on Fins to Save Sharks

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome, 19 February 2015 – Sharks may be able to swim more serenely one day thanks to a handy new digital technique developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that allows for the quick identification of species of the iconic fish.*

Photo: "Scalloped hammerhead cocos" by Barry Peters` - 637943300305. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scalloped_hammerhead_cocos.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Scalloped_hammerhead_cocos.jpg

A scalloped hammerhead shark, one of the species recognizable by FAO’s new software. | FAO

The new iSharkFin software will help protect endangered shark species and combat illegal trade in shark fins.

It is a tool for custom officers and inspectors at fish markets as well as for fishermen keen on avoiding the capture of protected species, said Monica Barone, who led a team in FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in the development of the software.

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20/02/2015

Moroccan Tribes Resist Eviction by Real Estate Corporations

Human Wrongs Watch

The Guicheloudaya are one of two tribes who have been expelled from their traditional homelands by the two biggest real estate corporations in Morocco (MEE/Nadir Bouhmouch)

“They are treating us like Israel treats Palestinians,” exclaims one of the women, as another waves her outdated identity card. “They won’t even accept this address anymore, I can’t even renew my identity card.” Others chime in, pointing to their bruises and recalling how they were beaten with police truncheons earlier that day.

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