Archive for August 15th, 2015

15/08/2015

The Island Nation Rising Up to Be a Hero for Climate Action

Human Wrongs Watch

By Kumi Naidoo*

13 August 2015 – Out in the central Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator and the International Date Line, lies an island group in Micronesia called Kiribati (pronounced ‘Kiri-bas’). It’s not “famous” like Hawaii, Bali or Tahiti but its scenery is just as, or even more magnificent. Its flag – a bird flying over the sun as it sets on the ocean horizon – is testament to its peace, beauty and tranquility: stunning lagoons, white sandy beaches and a thriving traditional culture.

Credit: Christian Astund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Astund/Greenpeace

But unfortunately, due to climate change, this entire island nation with a population of over 100,000 could disappear.

After spending a few short days here I’ve been both inspired by the spirit of the people and concerned with the enormity of the problems they are facing. 

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15/08/2015

Five Trillion Pieces of Plastic Floating in World’s Oceans

Human Wrongs Watch

Rome, 11 August 2015 – The Dr Fridtjof  Nansen is plying the waves of the southern Indian Ocean, trawling for trash.*

Photo: Courtesy of the EAF-Nansen project

Crew on the vessel descend on a raft to deploy floating sensors in the Indian Ocean. | Source: FAO

Every time the ship’s scientific crew threw down special nets, they hauled in pieces of plastics, underscoring the risk of dramatic upheavals in marine ecosystems even in one of the world’s least-known and least-visited environments.

An estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently float in the world’s oceans, up from none in 1950 and posing a question about their potential impact on a food supply chain that stretches from plankton – which have been filmed eating plastic pellets – up through shellfish, salmon, tuna and eventually humans, not to mention whales.

Laboratory tests have shown that fish fed such plastics suffer poisoned livers and consequent metabolic problems.

Yet little is known about just how much rubbish is being eaten in wild marine ecosystems, nor whether toxic chemicals remain in plastics after long exposure to sea water and pounding waves.

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15/08/2015

“Even the Hills Couldn’t Save Us” – Escape From Nigeria

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mark Doyle*

MINAWAO REFUGEE CAMP, Cameroon, 14 August 2015 (UNHCR)*  The UN refugee agency is working with the authorities in countries neighboring Nigeria to maintain a shrinking humanitarian space as Nigerian insurgents have extended attacks in recent months to Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

© UNHCR/A. Bahaddou | Minawao refugee camp, northern Cameroon. It is the largest formal refugee camp in the region for Nigerian asylum-seekers.

Much of the activity has been focused on the UNHCR-managed camp of Minawao, the largest formal refugee camp in the region for Nigerian asylum-seekers.

Minawao camp in northern Cameroon was built for 30,000 people but is now home to nearly 45,000 and growing by the day. UNHCR Representative in Cameroon Khassim Diagne said overcrowding there is “unsustainable”.

“The insurgents call themselves Boko Haram”, said Nigerian refugee Kulkwa Tatu, who was a teacher in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State, bordering Cameroon, but has now sought refuge in Minawao.

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15/08/2015

Church v State: a Worrying Dynamic for Burundi

Human Wrongs Watch

By Jessica Hatcher*
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BUJUMBURA, 4 August 2015 (IRIN)*The growing schism between the Catholic Church and Burundi’s political leadership is a particularly worrisome aspect of the fallout from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, which has already seen dozens killed in protests and 175,000 people, mostly women and children, flee the country since April.
.

More recent signs of violent instability a decade after the end of a 13-year civil war include the weekend assassination of Adolphe Nshimirimana, an army general and intelligence chief said to be the second most powerful man in the country, and the serious wounding in a shooting incident of Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a leading human rights activist.

The Catholic Church has played a key role during years of talks between opposition groups and the government, dialogue designed to shore up peace since the end of the war, which claimed some 300,000 lives.

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15/08/2015

Burundi Situation ‘Spiraling Out of Control’

Human Wrongs Watch

The situation in Burundi continues to deteriorate amid ongoing killings, arrests and detentions in the latest post-election turmoil to afflict the country, the United Nations human rights office on 14 August 2015 reported.*

**Photo: People demonstrate in Bujumbura against a decision by Burundi’s ruling party to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term (April 2015). Photo: Desire Nimubona/IRIN

“We urge all sides to resume dialogue before the situation spirals completely out of control,” warned Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as she addressed reporters today in Geneva.

“Burundi has been slipping closer to the edge with every high-profile attack and killing, and we call on leaders on all sides to take concrete steps to renounce the use of violence and to resolve differences peacefully,” she continued.

“Where violations and abuses have occurred, there need to be prompt investigations with a view to bringing the perpetrators to account and justice for victims.”

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15/08/2015

The Need for a New Economic System – PART V: The Threats and Costs of War

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

The direct and indirect costs of war

15 August 2015 – The costs of war, both direct and indirect, are so enormous that they are almost beyond comprehension. Globally, the institution of war interferes seriously with the use of tax money for constructive and peaceful purposes.

**The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | oil on canvas | Source/photographer: CD-ROM

**The Apotheosis of War (1871) by Vasily Vereshchagin | oil on canvas | Source/photographer: CD-ROM “Государственная Третьяковская галерея”. Издание 2-е; Допол. Издательство: AlexSoft, 2004 | Current location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Link back to Institution infobox template wikidata:Q183334| Wikimedia Commons

Today, despite the end of the Cold War, the world spends roughly 1.7 trillion (i.e. 1.7 million million) US dollars each year on armaments. This colossal flood of money could have been used instead for education, famine relief, development of infrastructure, or on urgently needed public health measures.

The World Health Organization lacks funds to carry through an antimalarial program on as large a scale as would be desirable, but the entire program could be financed for less that our military establishments spend in a single day.

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