Archive for March 23rd, 2015

23/03/2015

What if Youth Now Fight for Social Change, But From the Right?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, 23 March 2015 — The “surprise” re-election of incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 17 March 2015 elections has been met with a flood of media comment on the implications for the region and the rest of the world.

Roberto Savio

Roberto Savio

However, one of the reasons for Netanyahu’s victory has dramatically slipped the attention of most – the support he received from young Israelis.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, 200,000 last-minute voters decided to switch their vote to Netanyahu’s Likud party due to the “fear factor” and most of these were voters under the age of 35.

Perhaps the “fear factor” was actually an expression of the “Masada factor”. Masada is a strong element in Israeli history and collective imagination. The inhabitants of the mountain fortress of Masada, besieged by Roman legions at the time of Emperor Tito’s conquest of the Israeli state, preferred collective suicide to surrender.

Israelis today feel besieged by hostile neighbouring countries (first of all Iran), the continuous onslaught by the Caliphate and the Islamic State, overwhelming negative international opinion and growing abandonment by the United States.

Netanyahu played a number of cards to bring about his last-minute election success, including his speech to the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress on 3 March, which was seen by many Israelis as an act of defiance and dignity, not a weakening of fundamental relations with the United States.

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23/03/2015

Outsourcing Asylum!

Human Wrongs Watch

As the European Union considers outsourcing asylum screening to North Africa, IRIN‘s Migration Editor looks at what lessons can be learned from Australia’s use of offshore processing for asylum seekers.

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN

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London, March 2015 (IRIN)* – As Europe braces for a summer of record maritime migrant arrivals, the EU has revived plans to establish processing centers beyond the borders of the Union.

All indications are that the onset of calmer waters on the Mediterranean will lead even more people to attempt the crossing this year than did in 2014, when over 170,000 reached Italy’s shores alone.

As conflicts in Syria, Libya and elsewhere rage on, over 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived by sea in the first two months of 2015 compared to 5,500 during the same period last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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23/03/2015

Nuclear Weapons Abolition – 'US Attempts to Bully Allies into Inaction'

Human Wrongs Watch 

22 March 2015 (ICAN)* — The Norwegian Under Secretary of State, Bård Glad Pedersen, admitted on TV that Norway has been ‘demarcated‘ by the United States to not sign the pledge to fill the legal gap on nuclear weapons launched by Austria at the conclusion of the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.*

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

This revelation follows a recent story by Kyodo news exposing similar pressures directed towards Japan to prevent them from supporting the pledge.

According to the Japanese newspaper, a U.S. State Department official admitted that Washington will not back the pledge, citing the need to pursue “a more pragmatic approach that represents a consensus view” of the states parties to the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], demanding the same commitment from its allies.

This is a curious statement, which implies that article VI of the NPT does not take a pragmatic approach to nuclear disarmament.

The Austrian pledge is indeed a call to all states parties to the NPT to renew their commitment to the urgent and full implementation of existing obligations under Article VI, and to this end, identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

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23/03/2015

“Tanks? No, thanks!” – Czechs Object to US Military Show of Strength

Human Wrongs Watch

By Tony Robinson*
Prague, 22 March 2015 (Pressenza) – Czech anti-war campaigners have launched a new campaign to focus opposition to the proposed procession of US military equipment through the country having completed military exercises in the Baltic as part of “Operation Atlantic Resolve”.
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Czechs object to US military show of strength: “Tanks?  No, thanks!”

Map showing the route of the US convoy through the Czech Republic | Source: Pressenza

The US is building up its military capacity by upgrading its hardware and increasing numbers of personnel in a direct display of force to Russia which has been conducting its own military exercises near the Ukraine border.

The Nato exercises, led by the US have taken place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and are due to be extended to Romania and Bulgaria over the coming weeks.

As the Baltic exercises come to an end the hardware will be transported to the Vilseck base in Germany and in order to get there, the quickest route from Poland is via the Czech Republic.

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23/03/2015

Yemen on 'Rapid Downward Spiral' amid Uptick in Sectarian Violence

Human Wrongs Watch

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on 22 March 2015 warned as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.*

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situation in Yemen. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday [22 March] session, Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”

“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”

The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy.

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23/03/2015

'Onset of Climate Change, Growing Demand, and Increasing Pollution Are Hastening a Water Crisis'

Human Wrongs Watch

As the perils of climate change increasingly threaten the planet, the international community must unite in “a spirit of urgent cooperation” to address the many water-related challenges facing humanity, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 March 2015 declared.

Photo: UNICEF/Wathiq Khuzaie

In his message marking the 2015 edition of World Water Day, observed annually on 22 March, the Secretary-General warned that access to safe drinking water and sanitation was among “the most urgent issues” affecting populations across the globe.

“The onset of climate change, growing demand on finite water resources from agriculture, industry and cities, and increasing pollution in many areas are hastening a water crisis that can only be addressed by cross-sectoral, holistic planning and policies – internationally, regionally and globally,” Ban affirmed.

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