Archive for May 24th, 2015

24/05/2015

“The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger

Human Wrongs Watch

Book Review by John Scales Avery*

This book ought to be required reading for college students everywhere in the world, and also for decision-makers. It shakes us out of our complacency and makes us realize that widespread, immediate and dedicated public action is urgently needed if we are to save human civilization and the biosphere from a thermonuclear catastrophe. 

Richard Falk

Richard Falk

David Krieger

David Krieger

 

The book is published by Paradigm Publishers, 2845 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301, USA. (www.paradigmpublishers.com).

On the back cover there are endorsements, with which I entirely agree, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and David Ellsberg.

“We are greatly privileged, like flies on the wall, to join this conversation between two remarkable stalwarts. Richard Falk and David Krieger, in the campaign for a nuclear-free world. It is unconscionable that so many of us seem to accept the prospect of our ‘mutually assured destruction’, the immoral massacre of millions of civilians, and to view with equanimity such a gross violation of international law…

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24/05/2015

After the Earthquake, Nepal Braces for Monsoons

Human Wrongs Watch

Millions lost their homes when the earthquake rocked Nepal last month. As rainy season nears, UNHCR and its partners race to provide shelter

Dhan Bahadur Tamang sits amid the ruins of his home in Jhankridanda village, which collapsed during the earthquake last month in Nepal. UNHCR/Brian Sokol

By Donatella Lorch*

Dhan Bahadur Tamang, 66, built his two-storey house 35 years ago on a ledge just above a winding dirt road. It is only three hours by car from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, but so isolated by the nearly vertical mountains that it feels like another world.

From the front rooms, his view spread out over a steep terraced valley of wheat and potato fields encircled by layers of even steeper mountains. Travellers who stopped at the local teahouse often commented on the spectacular location. Today only three door frames remain upright, keeping watch over piles of stone and brick rubble like a trio of ghosts.

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24/05/2015

‘Time Running Out for Stranded Boat People’

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva (UNHCR)*  The UN refugee agency on 19 May 2015 warned that time was running out for thousands of people in distress at sea and urged governments in the South-east Asia region to urgently rescue and disembark these vulnerable people.

© UNHCR | Indonesian fishermen have rescued hundreds of Bangladeshis and Rohingya from Myanmar this month, including these children.

“We estimate that nearly 4,000 people from Myanmar and Bangladesh remain stranded at sea with dwindling supplies on board.

This includes some 2,000 men, women and children stranded on at least five boats near the Myanmar-Bangladesh coasts for more than 40 days. Unconfirmed reports suggest the number could be higher,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva on 19 May 2015.

In Myanmar, several hundred people have abandoned their journeys and returned to Rakhine state after paying smugglers on board an average of 200,000 to 300,000 kyat (US$182-US$273) each for re-entry.

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24/05/2015

The Endless Odyssey of the (Muslim) Rohingya

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kate Mayberry*

KUALA LUMPAR, May 2015 (IRIN)* Faizal Ahmad (1) has just spent six months at sea, in an open boat crammed with 450 people, praying that Allah would deliver him to safety and a future free of persecution.

**Photo: S.H.Omi/UNHCR | A day or two before departing on a smuggler's boat, a group of Rohingya gather at a safe house.

**Photo: S.H.Omi/UNHCR | A day or two before departing on a smuggler’s boat, a group of Rohingya gather at a safe house.

“The boat was very crowded,” the 29-year-old Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar explained through an interpreter. “It was hard to sleep or take exercise. Our legs were swollen; we were very weak. We prayed to Allah. We thought we would die at sea.”

A thin man with bushy, black hair, Ahmad rubs his legs as he talks; his muscles wasted away. “I can’t sit for very long,” he says as he shifts in his chair.

Ahmad has only been in Malaysia a week, but he knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

Thousands of people – many of them Rohingya – are thought to be adrift in the Andaman Sea and pressure is growing on the region’s governments to allow the boats to come ashore and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

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24/05/2015

The Fog of Empire

Human Wrongs Watch

By Vithal Rajan*

23 May 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service – The British election results have been a surprise to everyone, especially to David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

**Central photo: David Cameron in India | Author: Harry Metcalfe | Wikimedia Commons

**David Cameron in India | Author: Harry Metcalfe | Wikimedia Commons

He was quite prepared to put a brave face on it if he lost, but was hoping against hope that he might be given a second chance in another minority government, his Conservative party shored up by unflinching support from even more diehard Tories, the Ulster Protestant factions in Northern Ireland, and his new friends the Liberal Democrats.

Having secured an unexpected clear majority on his own, Cameron made an extravagant victory speech in front of No: 10 Downing Street, in which he promised everything to everyone.

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24/05/2015

No Way to Free Middle East from Nuclear Weapons – UN Warns of ‘Dangerous Return to Cold War’

Human Wrongs Watch

New York – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed disappointment at the inability of Member States to reach consensus on a “substantive outcome” on a non-proliferation treaty key for global nuclear disarmament, according to a United Nations spokesperson.

An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Source: UN

In a statement issued on 23 May 2015 regarding the conclusion of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the UN spokesperson said the Secretary-General particularly regretted that States parties were “unable to narrow their differences on the future of nuclear disarmament or to arrive at a new collective vision on how to achieve a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.”*

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