Archive for September, 2015

30/09/2015

Colombia on ‘Final Path’ to End 50-year Conflict, President Santos Tells UN

Human Wrongs Watch

President Juan Manuel Santos on 30 September 2015 told the United Nations General Assembly that Colombia’s 50-year conflict is coming to an end, following the latest advances in the three-year peace process between the Government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels.

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nternally displaced children, victims of conflict in Colombia. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Internally displaced children, victims of conflict in Colombia. UN Photo/Mark Garten

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Colombia had put an end to the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

“Using courage and responsibility,” Colombia he said, was bringing an end to more than 50 years of internal warfare.

“Peace is a difficult path, but not an impossible one, and [we] are dedicated to it. Peace “requires that every person inside opens their mind, heart and soul to reconciliation,” he added.

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30/09/2015

The Ministry of Fear

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

29 September 2015

“WE HAVE nothing to fear but fear itself,” said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was wrong.

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

Fear is a necessary condition for human survival. Most animals in nature possess it. It helps them to respond to dangers and evade or fight them. Human beings survive because they are fearful.

Fear is both individual and collective. Since its earliest days, the human race has lived in collectives. This is both a necessary and a desired condition.

Early humans lived in tribes. The tribe defended their territory against all “strangers” – neighboring tribes – in order to safeguard their food supply and security. Fear was one of the uniting factors.

Belonging to one’s tribe (which after many evolutions became a modern nation) is also a profound psychological need. It, too, is connected with fear – fear of other tribes, fear of other nations.

But fear can grow and become a monster.

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30/09/2015

US, China, Israel, India, N. Korea, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan Delay Banning Nuclear Testing

Human Wrongs Watch

Lamenting the fact that nearly two decades after its negotiation the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has still not entered into force, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 September 2015 urged world leaders gathered at the United Nations to demonstrate the necessary political will to usher in a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States on 18 April 1953 at the Nevada Test Site. Photo: US Government | Source: UN News Centre

“A breakthrough is long overdue,” Ban said at a conference on facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT, held on the margins of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.*

“I welcome all the Treaty’s steadfast supporters here. I am also pleased to see representatives from States that have not yet either signed or ratified the Treaty. I count on you to do so quickly.”

30/09/2015

Human Rights Missing from Social Justice Activism

In recent years the world has been shaken by protests demanding real democracy and justice for socioeconomic grievances.

Research (in which I was involved) shows that between 2006-2013—and encompassing a wide spectrum of governments—protests against antisocial economic policies and for meaningful democracy topped the findings (See Figure 1).

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30/09/2015

Gandhi Jayanti, Gandhi’s Dream

Human Wrongs Watch

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By Robert J. Burrowes*

30 September 2015

On behalf of those of us who struggle to honor Gandhi’s legacy to the world, I would like to wish Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi ‘happy birthday!’ Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 and had he defied both the assassin’s bullet and the aging process, he would have been 146 years old this year.

**Photo: Mohandas K. Gandhi | Author: Unknown| public domain in India | public domain in US | Source: http://flickr.com/photos/55638925@N00/255569844/ | Wikimedia Commons.

**Mohandas K. Gandhi | Author: Unknown| public domain in India | public domain in US | Wikimedia Commons.

In theory, the world celebrates 2 October as the International Day of Nonviolence but it is a day that few remember or commemorate meaningfully.

Perhaps this is appropriate given the rather desultory progress we have made in making our world nonviolent.

Still, while our scorecard might not be what Gandhi would have hoped nearly 68 years after his death, a number of people are making a committed effort to create this nonviolent world.

This effort, by its nature, must be multifaceted. Much of it is mundane; some of it profound. Let me tell you about some of these efforts by people I find pretty inspiring.

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23/09/2015

UN Rights Experts Urge Saudi Arabia to Immediately Halt Child Executions

Human Wrongs Watch

A group of independent United Nations human rights experts on  22 September 2015 urged the Saudi Arabian Government to stop the imminent execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, convicted for a crime he allegedly committed as a child.

Credit: OHCHR

According to a press release, al-Nimr, then a high school student, was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 by the Saudi authorities for his reported participation in ‘Arab Spring’ protests in Qatif, Eastern Province.

The Specialized Criminal Court in May 2015 sentenced him to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police officers.

He was reportedly subjected to torture and ill treatment by the General Investigation Directorate which forced him to confess the charges against him.

“Confessions obtained under torture are unacceptable and cannot be used as evidence before court. Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” said the Special Rapporteurs, while recalling the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

As per the news release, al-Nimr’s appeal made by his lawyer was heard without prior notification and the proceedings fell short of international standards.

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23/09/2015

Over 60% of All Workers Lack any Kind of Employment Contract

Human Wrongs Watch

Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports*.
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A few facts

  • Employment growth since 2008 has averaged only 0.1% annually, compared with 0.9% between 2000 and 2007
  • Over 60 per cent of all workers lack any kind of employment contract.
  • Fewer than 45 per cent of wage and salaried workers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis, and even that share is declining.
  • By 2019, more than 212 million people will be out of work, up from the current 201 million
  • 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030, just to keep pace with the growth of the working age population

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23/09/2015

The Axis of Evil

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*

22 September 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service – Do you remember the Axis of Evil–Iraq-Iran-North Korea?

**Satan as depicted in the Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri's Inferno, illustrated by Gustave Doré | scanned, post-processed, and uploaded by Karl Hahn. Paul Gustave Doré, 1832-1883 (artist); Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321 (creator) | public domain | Wikimmedia Commons

**Satan as depicted in the Ninth Circle of Hell in Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, illustrated by Gustave Doré | scanned, post-processed, and uploaded by Karl Hahn. Paul Gustave Doré, 1832-1883 (artist); Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321 (creator) | public domain | Wikimmedia Commons

George W. Bush, or his speechwriter rather, concocted that axis in 2002 as focus for a global war on terror. The key term is “evil”–not “enemy”, “hostile”–the connotation being “possessed by Satan”.

The proof is opposition to a USA chosen by God, as God’s Own People, as “In God we trust”. To exorcise Satan only violence works.

In 1953 North Korea under Kim Il Sung did not capitulate to the USA, only cease-fire, the first US non-victory since 1812. Very evil.

In 1978-79, Iran, by the Khomeini Islamic revolution, decolonized Iran from US dominance and evicted the shah, who had been installed by a US-UK (CIA-MI6) coup in 1953; in fact undoing 1953. Very, very evil.

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23/09/2015

Half of World’s Population Lives in Countries that Either Have Nuclear Weapons or Are Members of Nuclear Alliances

Human Wrongs Watch

“As of 2015, some 16,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances.”

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

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

This is what the United Nations reports ahead of this year’s International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, marked on 26 September.

As of 2015, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway, according to the UN.

“Meanwhile, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence persists as an element in the security policies of all possessor states and their nuclear allies.”

“This is so—despite growing concerns worldwide over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of even a single nuclear weapon, let alone a regional or global nuclear war.”

Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations. It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946.

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23/09/2015

Disaster Capitalism: Outsourcing Violence and Exploitation

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

23 September 2015

In his just-released book, ‘Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe‘, Antony Loewenstein offers us a superb description of the diminishing power of national governments and international organizations to exercise power in the modern world as multinational corporations consolidate their control over the political and economic life of the planet.

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**Photo: Vulture getting ready to strike a dying prey, Kenya | Author: Dmitri1999 at en.wikipedia

**Photo: Vulture getting ready to strike a dying prey, Kenya | Author: Dmitri1999 at en.wikipedia

While ostensibly a book about how national governments increasingly abrogate their duty to provide ‘public’ services to their domestic constituencies by paying corporations to provide a privatized version of the same service – which is invariably inferior and exploitative, and often explicitly violent as well – the book’s subtext is easy to read: in order to maximize corporate profits, major corporations are engaged in a struggle to wrest all power from ordinary people and those institutions that supposedly represent them.

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