Archive for April 18th, 2015

18/04/2015

Should 'Killer Robots' Be Banned?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Imogen Foulkes*

Geneva, 14 April 2015 (IRIN) – Drones are already doing a lot of killing on behalf of certain governments, but a human being still has to make a conscious decision somewhere and press a button. What if killing machines were programmed to take such decisions all by themselves?

**Photo: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots | The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has support from a number of British MPs | Source: IRIN

**Photo: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots | The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has support from a number of British MPs | Source: IRIN

“Killer robots” may sound like fodder for dystopian fiction, but they are exactly what weapons technology experts, human rights groups and United Nations’ member states are meeting in Geneva this week to discuss.

The five-day gathering, taking place within the context of the UN’s Convention on Conventional Weapons, is looking at the legal and moral implications of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, LAWS for short, and assessing how advanced their development already is.

IRIN examines the key issues.

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18/04/2015

Organized Crime in Wildlife, Gold and Timber Worth Over One Billion USD, Further Fuels Conflict in DR Congo

Human Wrongs Watch

‘Experts estimate that 10-30 per cent of this illegal trade (around US$ 72-426 million per annum) goes to transnational organized criminal networks based outside eastern DR Congo.’

Photo by MONUSCO | Source: UNEP

Nairobi, 16 April 2015 — Organized crime and the illegal trade in natural resources continues to increasingly fuel the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners.*

The Government of DRC, supported by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – the largest UN peacekeeping mission with 20,000 uniformed personnel – is confronting not only a political insurgency but an increasing number of illegal operations conducted by militarized criminal groups with transnational links involved in large-scale smuggling and laundering of natural resources.

Every year gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory, valued between US$ 0.7-1.3 billion annually, are exploited and smuggled illegally out of the conflict zone and surrounding areas in eastern DRC.

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18/04/2015

Burns Victims Rush for Treatment in Lampedusa after High Seas Ordeal

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kate Bond*

Lampedusa Island, Italy, 17 April 2015 (UNHCR) A baby as young as six months, with severe burns across half of her face, was among traumatized survivors of the latest sea rescue off the coast of southern Italy’s Lampedusa Island.

© UNHCR/F. Malavolta | Italian rescue workers rush an injured person, hands swathed in bloodied bandages, off a rescue vessel in Lampedusa.

The infant was one of 70 refugees and migrants on board a half-inflated rubber dinghy that had set sail from Libya and been rescued by the Italian coastguard after two days on the Mediterranean Sea. Many people had been badly burned before even setting foot on the vessel, after a gas canister exploded while they were being held by smugglers on land.

Among the island’s newest arrivals on Thursday [16 April 2015] night were 20 women, 47 men and two children. One 25-year-old woman did not survive the hazardous journey, and lay in a black body bag before being placed in a coffin.

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18/04/2015

$30 Million Badly Needed to Help 18,000 Palestinians Besieged in Yarmouk Camp

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations agency tasked with the ensuring the well-being of Palestinian refugees is appealing for $30 million to carry out life-sustaining assistance to 18,000 civilians from besieged Yarmouk refugee camp, including 3,500 children.

UNRWA distributing aid in Yalda, an area adjacent to Yarmouk, Syria, hosting displaced civilians. Photo: UNRWA

UNRWA distributing aid in Yalda, an area adjacent to Yarmouk, Syria, hosting displaced civilians. Photo: UNRWA

Over the past days, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has significantly expanded its response in areas neighbouring Yarmouk, on the southern edge of Damascus, where civilians have sought shelter amid a deteriorating security situation since armed groups began fighting in and around the camp.

“This remains a volatile, rapidly changing environment of armed conflict and we must be prepared to respond to those in need, wherever they are,” on 17 April 2015 said Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, UNRWA Director in Syria, in a statement to the media.

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18/04/2015

Fast Growing Cybercrime, an Established Threat to Security of States and Individuals

Human Wrongs Watch

Efforts to tame the fast-growing cybercrime threat took centre stage at the United Nations Crime Congress under way in Doha, Qatar, as a diverse group of experts in the field urged strong partnerships between the public and private sectors to create a safer digital landscape.

UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

“Cybercrime has become an established threat to the security of States and individuals alike,” Loide Lungameni, Chief of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on 17 April 2015 told a high-level event on the topic.*

Continuing, she warned those gathered for the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that in the near future, due to ever-increasing global connectivity, it will become hard to imagine a form of cybercrime – or perhaps any crime – that does not involve electronic evidence.

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