Archive for May 7th, 2015

07/05/2015

My meeting with El Che

Human Wrongs Watch

By Roberto Savio*

In 1963 I took a trip to Venezuela. I was a young reporter then working for the Italian magazine Rinascita. During an interview with President Bentancourt he spoke about how very worried he was as a social-democrat about the rise of guerrillas in Venezuela.

Guevara's face on a flag above the words

Guevara’s face on a flag above the words “El Che Vive!” (Che Lives!) | Wikimedia Commons

I then set out to find its leader by the name of Teodoro Petkoff, but I could not find him. Nevertheless I was able to talk to some of his sympathisers. From this a report took shape with the peasant farmers that Petkoff wanted to enlist following the Cuban model.

I came to the conclusion that the facts were completely different to what Petkoff thought. And that the guerrillas would not succeed.

From Venezuela I went to Cuba where I talked to several Cubans stating that the revolution would not be repeated in Venezuela, which was not very well received by a few of the interviewed.

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07/05/2015

‘US wants to use the Iraqi government as carrot and stick against Kurds’

Human Wrongs Watch

7 May 2015 (RT)* — Providing Kurds with weapons through the Iraqi central government lets the US maintain its influence over it while direct weapon supplies to the Kurds serves none of the US strategic interests, former US diplomat Peter Mark Van Buren told RT.

**Iraqi Kurdish smugglers near the border of Iraq | Author: James Gordon | Wikimedia Commons

**Iraqi Kurdish smugglers near the border of Iraq | Author: James Gordon | Wikimedia Commons

US senators are pushing for a bill allowing direct military aid to the Iraqi Kurds fighting the Islamic State terrorists. The bill has been sharply criticized by the Iraqi government.

RT: We’ve heard that Baghdad is against this bill. Why would the US risk losing the support of the Iraqi government?

Peter Mark Van Buren: It’s important to understand that this bill is being put forward by a select group of individuals in the US Congress, not by the US government. The White House obviously opposes it and the chances of this bill changing any American policy on the ground are exactly zero.

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07/05/2015

“Please stop this war” –  Yemeni Children 

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mohammed Al-Asaadi and Ansar Rasheed*

Fighting in Yemen has closed numerous schools and left children in a desperate struggle to survive. Without emergency relief and an end to the conflict, their situation will only become worse.

© UNICEF Yemen/2015 | Ibn Sina School in Sana’a, Yemen, was heavily damaged in an air strike. The school, now closed indefinitely, provided primary and secondary education to 1,500 girls.

© UNICEF Yemen/2015 | Ibn Sina School in Sana’a, Yemen, was heavily damaged in an air strike. The school, now closed indefinitely, provided primary and secondary education to 1,500 girls.

Sana’a, Yemen, 6 May 2015 – Seven-year-old Nada Nussir will not be going to school tomorrow. Or the day after. Or the day after that.

And her 4-year old friend, Abdul Rahman, will never return to school at all.

“Abdul was 4 years old, and he was killed by a sniper,” Nada says. “I do not want to die like him.”

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07/05/2015

10 Key Trends in Record Year for Internal Displacement

Human Wrongs Watch

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Oxford, 6 May 2015 (IRIN)* – Those trying to escape conflict and violence often only make headlines when they cross an international border and become refugees, but the majority of people forced to flee their homes seek refuge within the borders of their own country. They are “internally displaced persons,” or IDPs. By the end of 2014 there were 38 million of them, more than twice the number of refugees.
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Today, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) released its annual overview of global trends. Here are the key figures and issues from its 99-page report:

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07/05/2015

Germany Ranked 5th in Global Human Rights Violations Business Index

Human Wrongs Watch

By EurActiv*

6 May 2015 – Hardly any country in the world hosts as many companies accused of severe human rights violations as Germany, according to a recent survey by the University of Maastricht. EurActiv Germany reports.

Hardly any country in the world hosts as many companies accused of severe human rights violations as Germany, according to a recent survey by the University of Maastricht. EurActiv Germany reports. [Robert Scoble]

**[Robert Scoble]

Of 1,800 human rights violations analysed by the University of Maastricht, 87 can be traced to German companies.

This places Germany in fifth position, according to the number of such cases, behind the United States (511 cases reported), the United Kingdom (198), Canada (110) and China (94).

The list of potential human rights violations is long and includes cases such as water pollution in Peru, due to copper mining for car manufacturing, land expulsions in Uganda for a coffee plantation, villages flooded by a dam in Sudan, and exploitation of workers in the apparel industry.

In all of these cases, German companies were involved either directly or indirectly, according to complaints from NGOs, which were recently backed up by the University of Maastricht’s global comparative study.

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07/05/2015

The West and Its Self-Assumed Right to Intervene

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome, 7 May 2015 – The ‘West’ is a concept that flourished during the Cold War. Then it was West against East in the form of the Soviet empire. The East was evil against which all democratic countries – read West – were called on to fight.

Roberto Savio

Roberto Savio

I recall meeting Elliot Abrams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State during the Ronald Reagan administration, in 1982.

He told me that at the point in history, the real West was the United States, with Europe a wavering ally, not really ready to go up to the point of entering into war with the  Soviet Union.

When I tried to explain to him that the East-West denomination dated back to Roman times, long before the United States even existed, he brushed this aside, saying that the contemporary concept was that of those standing against the Soviet Empire, and the United States was the only power willing to do so.

The Reagan presidency changed the course of history, because he was against multilateralism, the United Nations and anything that could oblige the United States to accept what was not primarily in the interests of Washington.

The fact that United States had a manifest destiny and was therefore a spokesperson for humankind and the idea that God was American were the bases of his rhetoric.

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07/05/2015

Forest Help End Hunger, Improve Food Security

Human Wrongs Watch

A new United Nations-backed report on the link between forests and food production and nutrition says that woodlands could be the key to ending hunger and will be intimately linked to the global fight against climate change.

Upland women weed their rice fields, an integrated method of agro-forestry in Mokpon Village, Laos. UN Photo/Lamphay Inthakoun

Launched on  6 May 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York, where the 11th session of the UN Forum on Forests, the Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition report outlines the potential of forests to improve food security and nutrition, and to ensure the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people.

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07/05/2015

Human Trafficking: Dozens of Bodies Found in Smuggler’s Camp in Thailand

Human Wrongs Watch

The United Nations refugee agency on 6 May 2015 expressed its deep concern over the discovery of dozens of bodies in smugglers’ camps in Thailand, appealing for a regional effort to end human trafficking and protect those who escape difficult conditions from “the hands of ruthless smugglers.”

Locals in Myanmar’s Rakhine state say this waterway near the town of Sittwe is used by people smugglers to load passengers before heading out into the Bay of Bengal. Photo: UNHCR/V.Tan

“It’s distressing to hear that people who escaped difficult conditions back home have had to put their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers, only to be killed before they could reach safety,” said James Lynch, Regional Representative and Regional Coordinator for South-East Asia for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).*

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07/05/2015

38 Million Forcibly Displaced People – As Many as the Combined Populations of London, New York and Beijing

Human Wrongs Watch

By the end of 2014, a record-breaking 38 million people had been forced to flee their homes within their own country because of conflict or violence, prompting the United Nations refugee agency to appeal on 6 May 2015 for “an all-out effort to bring about peace in war-ravaged countries.”

Iraqis displaced from Ramadi District in Anbar Governorate. Photo: UN Iraq

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) along with one of its partners, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), released these alarming figures at a joint press conference in Geneva to launch the report, Global Overview 2015: people internally displaced by conflict and violence.*

The report, compiled by the NRC’s the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), revealed that 38 million people have been internally displaced by conflict or violence, the equivalent of the total populations of London, New York and Beijing combined, representing a 4.7 million increase compared to 2013.

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07/05/2015

Peace Lessons: How to Reduce Violence

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

If you are interested in learning more about the meaning of, and the relationships among, direct, structural and cultural violence and how one peace studies scholar suggests we use the integrative power of nonviolence to address violence constructively, then I suggest you read the new book by historian, playwright and novelist Professor Timothy Braatz called ‘Peace Lessons’.

**Image: The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of French Protestants, 1572 | Artist: François Dubois (1529–1584) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q369663| Wikimedia Commons

**The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants, 1572 | Artist: François Dubois (1529–1584) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q369663| Wikimedia Commons

This book is impressive because it explains important aspects of peace and conflict theory, particularly that developed by Professor Johan Galtung.

It then applies key peace studies concepts to select historical events that are normally perceived as violent – John Brown’s struggle to end slavery in the United States, the battle at Little Bighorn in 1876, ‘World Slaughter II’, as Braatz calls it – as well as some key nonviolent resistance movements of the twentieth century: the toppling of various dictators and the US Civil Rights movement.

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