Archive for April, 2015

30/04/2015

A Guide to the Religious Conflict in the Arab World

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

Rome, 30 April 2015 — Any decision by Italy to intervene in the Libyan crisis, while politically convenient, would create more problems than solutions.

Roberto Savio

Roberto Savio

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced recently (April 20) his government was studying the possibility of mounting “targeted interventions” against the Libya-based people smugglers behind the huge surge in numbers of migrants attempting to flee North Africa. But he made clear that Italy would not be intervening militarily.

His statement that “attacks on death rackets, attacks against slave traders (traffickers) are in our thinking” was a timely political manoeuvre, geared toward undermining the growth of anti-immigrant forces in Italy – particularly the extreme right-wing Lega Nord.

It also was a convenient way for Italy to hide its inability to take a real commitment on the issue of immigration.

Likewise, it was also convenient for the United States, as President Barak Obama made clear to Renzi in his recent meeting, that he had no intention of putting American troops on the ground in Libya.

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30/04/2015

Lack of Systems to Combat Antibiotic Resistance Poses ‘Major Threat’ to Public Health

Human Wrongs Watch

Antibiotic resistance – when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections – is now a major threat to public health, says a new United Nations report released on 30 April 2014.

Photo: WHO

The study, produced by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), is the first to look at antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, globally, and provides the most comprehensive picture to date, incorporating data from 114 countries.*

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28/04/2015

Iran Insists Israel ‘Give up the Bomb’ as Tehran Seeks Nuclear-free Middle East

Human Wrongs Watch

27 April 2015 (RT)* – Iran has demanded that Israel give up its “nuclear weapons”, as it spoke on behalf of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the bloc also wants a nuclear free-zone in the Middle East.
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Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking at the United Nations for the non-aligned group of countries.

Israel has never admitted or denied the widespread assumption it has nuclear weapons. However, Zarif says Israel’s assumed nuclear arsenal was a threat to regional security.

The Iranian Foreign Minister said the non-aligned movement regards Israel’s nuclear program as, “a serious and continuing threat to the security of neighboring and other states, and condemned Israel for continuing to develop and stockpile nuclear arsenals,” according to Reuters.

Israel has not signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though it has sent an observer to the month long conference for the first time in 20 years.

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28/04/2015

‘Persisting Risk of Nuclear Weapons; Dangerous Return to Cold War Mentalities’

Human Wrongs Watch

Progress in working towards global nuclear non-proliferation has stalled and the trend towards “nuclear zero” is reversing, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 27 April 2015 warned as he called on Member States to urgently ramp up efforts in tackling nuclear disarmament.

Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon. The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and United States Pershing nuclear missiles. UN Photo/Milton Grant

“Eliminating nuclear weapons is a top priority for the United Nations,” said Ban in remarks delivered on his behalf by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to the opening plenary meeting of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) earlier this morning.

“No other weapon has the potential to inflict such wanton destruction on our world.” 

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28/04/2015

Building Global Support for Palestine Women Human Rights Defenders

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate*

27 April 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service

Mairead Maguire

Breaking the silence on Israel’s human rights abuse of Palestinians is the best way to help Palestinian women human rights defenders and peacemakers.

About 10 years ago Doctor Mona El-Farra, one of Palestine’s greatest woman human rights defenders, visited N. Ireland.

Dr. Mona lives in the occupied Gaza Strip, and she came to share with us the story of occupied Gaza and its people.

Many people in the audience were moved to tears on listening to the painful stories of ongoing collective punishment of war and bombardment by the Israeli military upon the civilian population of Gaza. The majority of Gaza’s Palestinians are children and under 21.

Collective punishment of a civilian population breaks the Geneva Conventions and is a war crime. What struck me was Dr. Mona’s comment that ‘every single person in Gaza is completely traumatized by so much violence and war.’

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28/04/2015

Majority of World’s Rural Populations Excluded from Healthcare Services

Human Wrongs Watch

The majority of the world’s rural populations continue to live and work without essential healthcare services, in stark contrast to their urban-dwelling counterparts, according to a new report released on 27 April 2015 by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mobile health education van in rural Sri Lanka. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Sansoni | Source: UN

The ILO’s findings – published in the Global evidence on inequities in rural health protection report – show that 56 per cent of people living in rural areas worldwide remain bereft of critical healthcare access, with the most acute instances being in Africa where an overwhelming 83 per cent of rural inhabitants are uncovered.*

The most affected countries are also those which face the highest levels of poverty, the report observes.

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27/04/2015

Today, 865000 People Will Either Die or Be Injured Doing their Job

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, 28 April 2015 – Today, 865 000 people will either die or be injured doing their job. Every year, 2.8 trillion US$ dollars are taken up by lost working time, treatment, compensation and rehabilitation of occupational injuries and diseases. Ensuring decent, safe, and healthy working conditions and environments is the responsibility of us all, warns the International Labour Organization (ILO) marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Rana Plaza, Two Years On | Source: ILO

Rana Plaza, Two Years On | Source: ILO

The news is punctuated periodically by intense coverage of dramatic, heartbreaking stories that capture global attention: health workers infected while caring for patients with deadly diseases, trapped miners who may or may not resurface, factory building collapses, plane crashes, explosions of oil rigs and nuclear accidents, ILO Director-Generals Guy Ryde stated.*

While the media eventually move on to other topics, working in hazardous conditions is actually a daily, routine and unseen affair for many workers. The numbers are striking. Over 313 million workers suffer non-fatal occupational injuries each year, equating to 860,000 people injured on the job daily.

27/04/2015

The West against Itself

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*

27 Apr 2015, Jondal, Bergen, Kristiansund, Norway – TRANSCEND Media Service – The West–North America and Europe to somewhere in Mexico and Ukraine– declines, outcompeted economically, defeated militarily, confronted politically, contested culturally. But still strong on all four, with much to offer in a more egalitarian world. No need to fall further by working against itself.

Johan Galtung

Johan Galtung

Take the 70th anniversary demarcation of the victory over nazism, take thousands of Africans drowning in the waters around Lampedusa, Italy, take the Islamic State, take Ukraine–and a country up there in the high North of Europe, Norway.

Elections have moved the country from “red-green” to “blue-blue” coloring of the same color blind foreign policy: follow Washington, Our Father, lest Satan should come.

Yes, the Red Army came and liberated Kirkenes 25 October 1944, the northernmost city.

Everybody knows Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s three-pronged attack toward Leningrad (the siege), Moscow (to beat–Napoleon?) and Caucasus (oil); but not the war for the ice-free harbor of Murmask, from Kirkenes. King Haakon VII, a Dane elected king in 1905, made a remarkable speech in London, distributed in leaflets through the air:

          “Fear of Russians is not a recent phenomenon.–New was the fear of bolshevism, added after the Russian revolution. But up till this date we are missing the slightest proof that Russia has had aggressive designs on Norway.

          What we are not missing are the proofs that the fear of Russians and bolshevism is propagated by powers and groups that themselves had aggressive designs on Russia. The proofs are abundant in the political history from 1918 till today.”

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27/04/2015

Millay's "Epitaph for the Race of Man"

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

The beautiful red-haired American poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), is known for her lyric poetry, but she also wrote some of the finest sonnets in the English language, combining classic form with modern imagery.

**Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) | Author; Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q312851 | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

**Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) | Author; Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q312851 | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons

Many of these sonnets are based on the emotions that she experienced in her love affairs with both men and women.

However, my own favorite is a serious sequence of eighteen sonnets, “Epitaph for the Race of Man”, published in 1934, just as the catastrophe of World War II was about to engulf our planet.

The basic premise of Millay’s “Epitaph” is that we know from the evolutionary history of life on earth, that no species survives forever.

She speculates on what will be the final cause of the extinction of the human race, and concludes that Man will die by his own hand, since none the innumerable disasters that nature has thrown at us over the millennia has persuaded humankind “to lay aside the lever and the spade, and be as dust among the dusts that blow”.

Here are a few of the sonnets from the sequence:

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25/04/2015

Cats in a Sack

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

25 April 2015

It is a rather disgusting spectacle.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

The Israeli Right has won a crushing election victory. (On closer examination, the victory was not quite so crushing. Indeed, there was no victory at all.

The crushing victory of Likud was achieved only at the expense of other rightist parties.) The Rightist bloc together has not advanced at all.

To form a majority coalition, it needs the party of Moshe Kahlon, the majority of whose voters are more leftist than rightist.

Kahlon could easily have been persuaded to join a leftist coalition, if the leader of the Labor Party, Yitzhak Herzog, had been a more resolute personality.

Be that as it may, Binyamin Netanyahu is now busy trying to construct his government. That’s where the disgust comes in.

A FIGHT is going on. A fight of all against all. A fight without rules or limits. Everyone wants to be a minister. Everybody in Likud and the other prospective coalition parties. Politicians galore.

And not just any minister. Ministries are not equal. Some are more prestigious, some less. One cannot compare the all-important Ministry of the Treasury (already promised to Kahlon) with the Ministry of the Environment, despised by each and all.

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