Archive for February, 2016


Europe: The Schengen Agreement In Danger

Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, 26 February 2016 (IPS) – Exclusion of Greece from the European free travel zone established by the Schengen Agreement is pending. The European Commission has ruled that the Athens government has “seriously neglected its obligations to control its own borders,” and if the deficiencies are not corrected within three months, the other member states of the Schengen area may exclude it from the agreement.

 In 2015, some 850,000 people seeking asylum and work in northern European countries passed through Greece, and the influx is continuing.

However, excluding Greece from the Schengen area would be useless, as well as harmful to other countries such as Italy. The solution to the migrant crisis does not lie in isolated measures like this one, but in a community-wide policy that is long-term and broad in scope.

But the European Union continues to tackle its problems in isolation and without a comprehensive vision, as in the case of Greece.

Expelling Greece from the Schengen area makes no sense in the first place, because the country has no terrestrial borders with the Schengen area and so its land borders already operate as non-Schengen.

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Clinical Trials in Africa Reduce by 30% the Risk of HIV Infection in Women

Human Wrongs Watch

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on 23 February 2016 welcomed the “encouraging” results of two studies from Africa in which women modestly reduced their risk of infection by inserting a vaginal ring coated with the antiretroviral drug dapivirine once a month.

Malawi teen, Martha, was born with HIV. Now a mother herself, she has defied the odds and her son, Rahim Idriss, is part of Malawis AIDS-free generation. In this picture, she awaits the results of Rahmins HIV test. After two months of waiting, she finds out the Rahmin, now 8-months old, is HIV negative. Photo: UNICEF/HIVA201500101/Schermbrucker

According to these two clinical trials, a vaginal ring, inspired by those used for contraception or hormone treatments, reduce by 30 per cent on average the risk of HIV infection in women.

It contains the experimental antiviral dapivirine, a microbicide that gradually diffuses.

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An Open Letter to the People of West Papua

Human Wrongs Watch

By James Burrowes & Robert J. Burrowes*

25 February 2016
Wa wa wa wa.

We have recently been discussing your ongoing courageous struggle to liberate yourselves from more than 100 years of occupation, first by the Netherlands, briefly and brutally by Japan during World War II, and now by Indonesia. In that regard, we would each like to share a brief message with you, our friends from West Papua.


**Papua province | West Papua province | Green = western New Guinea, (Indonesia) divided into the two provinces of West Irian Jaya (light green) and Papua (dark green) | Beinge (yellow) = eastern New Guinea, the ‘mainland’ portion of the nation of Papua New Guinea | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. | Wikimedia Commons

From James: I have been very impressed with the information gleaned from my son Robert Burrowes after his recent meeting in Brisbane with your leaders Octovianus Mote, Benny Wenda, Jacob Rumbiak and Rex Rumakiek of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.

Bay of Bengal ‘Three Times More Deadly’ than Mediterranean for Migrants and Refugees

Human Wrongs Watch

23 February 2016 – Refugees and migrants crossing the seas of Southeast Asia died at a rate three times higher than those in the Mediterranean last year, a new United Nations report has found, highlighting the urgency of greater life-saving cooperation among the affected States.

Fishing boats head out into the Bay of Bengal. UNHCR fears thousands could be stranded on smugglers’ boats between the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca and in need of rescue. Photo: UNHCR/S. H. Omi

The report, Mixed Maritime Movements in South-East Asia, from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), states that those movements had been “three times more deadly” than in the Mediterranean last year, due largely to mistreatment by smugglers and disease on the boats.

Refugees and migrants often employ the same routes, modes of transport, and networks, and their movements are commonly referred to as “mixed movements.”

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The Turkmen Loophole

YAYLADAGI, 22 February 2016 – While tens of thousands of Syrians are stranded on the border with Turkey after fleeing Aleppo and are unable to cross, a smaller group in the western province of Latakia has found a way to escape the war.

Photo: IRIN | Syrian Turkmen and Arabs escape from Latakia


More than 7,000 people have crossed into the Turkish town of Yayladagi since the start of the month, many – but not all – ethnic Turkmen.

But the conflict is far from over for the new residents of this small town, which has more than doubled its pre-war population of 6,800. Bomb blasts echo in the streets, and refugees are filling up the white tents on the edge of the town.

A statue of Kemal Ataturk adorns a roundabout and shops now advertise in both Turkish and Arabic.


Africa Launches Largest Trading Block with 620 Million Consumers

Human Wrongs Watch

22 February 2016 (IPS) – More than 1,500 public and private business delegates and state leaders agreed on 20-21 February in Egypt to mobilise massive investments for the implementation of Africa’s largest trading bloc which was created last year by 26 African countries with a total of 620 million consumers and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) nearing 1,2 trillion dollars.




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Mideast Arms Supplies Continue Despite Falling Oil Prices

Human Wrongs Watch

UNITED NATIONS, 22 February 2016 (IPS) – The continued decline in oil prices is threatening to have a direct and indirect impact on several fronts, including development aid, migrant workers and remittances, voluntary contributions to UN agencies, humanitarian assistance to refugees and infrastructure-building in the Gulf countries.


**Photo: Challenger 2, Warrior, AS90, MLRS and Stormer of 1 YORKS battle group | Author: Sgt Mark Webster RLC | Licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0 (OGL). | Wikimedia Commons

Still, the drop in oil revenues is unlikely to have any immediate impact on uninterrupted arms supplies to the Middle East – even as military conflicts and insurgencies in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya show no signs of de-escalation.

“The military intervention in Yemen by a coalition of Arab states, which began in 2015, was facilitated by high levels of arms imports” by several countries in the coalition, says a new report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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Spain: One State, Two, or Five In-Betweens?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*

L’Alfàs del Pi, Spai, 22 February 2016 TRANSCEND Media Service

Two ideas – España Una Grande Libre: Spain One Great Free-status quo and España Una Comunidad de Naciones: Spain a Community of Nations.


Johan Galtung

In addition, one fact: the forces in Catalunya in favor of independence.

A vast gap. And a dangerous one: when status quo is maintained, and-or independence obtained, by violence, relations can remain bad for a long time. The Iberian Peninsula’s history provides enough examples.

Both sides in the present controversy have important arguments.

A separate inner identity in terms of language, shared history and geographical attachment calls for separate outer identity as statehood, independence, for one. And this concerns not only you but all of Spain, a democracy, and the majority favors status quo, for the other.

Both arguments, and there are more, have a solid ring of truth.

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A Scientist Presses for Action on Many Fronts: A Review of The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery

Human Wrongs Watch

By Dr. Dorothy Guyot*

The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery is an important book for everyone concerned over the future of humanity.

product_thumbnailThe urgent voice of the book stems from Dr. Avery’s seeing the discontinuity between the loving care that people bestow on their children and their failure to reduce the harm to their children from a destructive economic system, climate change, resource depletion, and war.

This book of advocacy demonstrates the need for solutions to problems created under the present economic system. Political-economic analyses of the causes of the problems and of solutions are outside of the scope of the book.

Scattered through the book are a few general policy suggestions. At the center is Avery’s assessment sector by sector of the critical problems that must be solved to avert disasters.

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When God Despairs

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

20 February 2016

RIGHT AFTER the foundation of Israel, God appeared to David Ben-Gurion and told him: “You have done good by my people. Utter a wish and I shall grant it!”


Uri Avnery

“I wish that Israel shall be Jewish, democratic and encompass all the country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan,” Ben-Gurion replied.

“That is too much even for me!” God exclaimed. “But I will grant you two of the three. You can choose between a Jewish and democratic Israel in a part of the country, a democratic state in all of the country that will not be Jewish or a Jewish Israel in all of the country that will not be democratic.”

God has not changed his mind.

WHILE I am writing this, Binyamin Netanyahu is totally absorbed in enacting a new law, a law that would be a watershed in the history of Israel.

The public looks on in a bemused way, as if it were happening in Kamchatka.

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