Archive for August, 2016

31/08/2016

When Cleanliness Nears Godliness in Bhutan

Human Wrongs Watch

‘In Bhutan, a cluster of young monks in rural Chukka discover the paradox of value, that water by itself costs nothing but is essential to life and healthy living.’

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© UNICEF Bhutan/2015/Dhital | Young monks in the Pagar Monastery quench their thirst directly from the water taps that were recently installed by the Dratshang Lhentshog’s Religion and Health Programme with funding from UNICEF. Before the taps were installed, the boys had to walk to a distant stream to fetch water.

 

 By Mitra Raj Chital*
 
CHUKKA, Bhutan, 29 August 2016 (UNICEF) – As we veer off the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway and ascend the rough road towards Pagar in Chukka district, dark red chilies drying out in the fields provide a glimpse of the hues we will soon encounter as we mount further.

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31/08/2016

Just 48 Million Dollars Needed To Provide School Meals in West and Central Africa

Human Wrongs Watch

30 August 2016 – The United Nations food relief agency today warned that it urgently needs $48 million for its school meals assistance programme in West and Central Africa to avoid having more than 1.3 million children across West and Central Africa risk missing out its school meals as widening financial constraints force it to reduce its reach in the region.

WFP is providing meals to schools in Mali to ensure children get the calories and nutrition they need while giving them an added incentive to keep coming to class. Photo: WFP/Daouda Guirou

“Children from the very countries and regions where needs are most acute are missing out on this vital assistance. We urge our supporters not to forget the value the school meals programme brings – a key vehicle to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition – and not let more than a million children slip deeper or back into in poverty and hunger,” the World Food Programme’s Regional Director for West Africa, Abdou Dieng, said in a news release.

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29/08/2016

Myanmar Turns to Kofi Annan for Help on Festering Rohingya Crisis

Human Wrongs Watch

By Sara Perria*

YANGON/LONDON, Aug 27 2016 (IPS) – Myanmar’s government has responded to pressure from the international community to tackle religious tensions and persecution of Muslims in Rakhine State by appointing former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan to head a commission to advise on “a sustainable solution” to the crisis.

A young girl in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

A young girl in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

The northwest region bordering Bangladesh has been under close scrutiny from western governments and some U.N. agencies since clashes erupted in 2012 between the Buddhist Arakan community and the mostly stateless Muslim minority.

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29/08/2016

‘Deep Concern’ over Tensions in South-Western Western Sahara

Human Wrongs Watch

28 August 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned over the tense situation that has developed in the narrow buffer strip in south-western Western Sahara between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border as a result of changes in the status quo and the introduction of armed units from Morocco and the Polisario Front in close proximity to each other.

A Military Liaison Officer of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), looks through binoculars during a ceasefire monitoring patrol in Oum Dreyga, Western Sahara (June 2010). UN Photo/Martine Perret

In a statement issued this evening by his spokesperson, Ban called on both parties to suspend any action that alters that status quo and to withdraw all armed elements so as to prevent any further escalation and permit the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to hold discussions with both parties on the situation.

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29/08/2016

United Nations Urges Efforts to Halt Gaza’s ‘De-Development’ Trajectory

Human Wrongs Watch

26 August 2016 – Marking the second anniversary of the 2014 ceasefire which ended the most devastating round of hostilities in Gaza, heads of United Nations agencies there have called for a greater flow of material and funding to address humanitarian needs and boost economic prospects for Gaza’s 1.9 million residents.

Old industrial area in North Gaza, where scrap metal is recycled and debris from the Gaza war is turned into low-quality cement and building-blocks. Photo: World Bank/Arne Hoel

“We must reverse Gaza’s de-development trajectory and address the needs of a population that has gone through three rounds of conflict, nine years of an Israeli blockade and the consequences of the Palestinian internal divide which, combined, have affected every aspect of their daily lives,” Robert Piper, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory said in a news release.

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29/08/2016

Lake Chad Basin: 2,5 million Children Displaced, Trapped – UNICEF 

Human Wrongs Watch

Years of violence by Boko Haram in Africa’s Lake Chad basin, which includes Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, have led to a worsening humanitarian crisis that has displaced 1.4 million children and left at least one million still trapped in hard-to-reach areas, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a report released on 25 August 2016.

Bada, Kako, 3 years old, and other IDP children in the village of Tagal, Lake Chad region, Chad. Photo: UNICEF/UN028762/Tremeau

“The Lake Chad crisis is a children’s crisis that should rank high on the global migration and displacement agenda,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, in a news release.

“Humanitarian needs are outpacing the response, especially now that new areas previously unreachable in northeast Nigeria become accessible,” he added.

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25/08/2016

Ships Bring Your Coffee, Snack and TV Set, But Also Pests and Diseases

Human Wrongs Watch

ROME, 24 August 2016 (IPS) – “Every evening, millions of people all over the world will settle into their armchairs to watch some TV after a hard day at work. Many will have a snack or something to drink…

Containers pile up in the Italian port of Salerno. Photo: FAO

Containers pile up in the Italian port of Salerno. Photo: FAO

 

… That TV probably arrived in a containership; the grain that made the bread in that sandwich came in a bulk carrier; the coffee probably came by sea, too. Even the electricity powering the TV set and lighting up the room was probably generated using fuel that came in a giant oil tanker.”

This is what the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)  wants everybody to keep in mind ahead of this year’s World Maritime Day.

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25/08/2016

“Increasingly Complex Armed Conflicts Have ‘Severe Impact’ on Children”

Human Wrongs Watch

The impact on children of the collective failure to prevent and end conflict is severe, with regions in turmoil and violations against children intensifying in a number of conflicts, the senior UN envoy on the subject on 24 August 2016 said, stressing that this situation stems directly from an erosion of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law by conflict parties.

On 5 August 2016 in Aleppo, Syria, a child with spinal muscular atrophy who needs special medical care, now lives on the streets, after fleeing with her family from attacks and intense fighting in the 1070 neighbourhood. Photo: UNICEF/Khuder Al-Issa

In her annual report to the UN General Assembly, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, highlighted the devastating impact on children of increasingly complex conflicts, despite concerted efforts and significant progress achieved over the past year.

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25/08/2016

Nonviolent Revolt in the Twenty-First Century

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

DAYLESFORD, Australia, 25 August, 2016 – I sometimes wonder whether one of the ways in which ‘Amercian exceptionalism’ manifests is that many US scholars and others are unable to consider the contributions of those who are not from the USA.

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Robert J. Burrowes

For example, I routinely read about studies of Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates (such as strategist James Lawson) in relation to nonviolence while the much more insightful and vastly greater contributions of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the same subject are largely ignored by US scholars (although not, for example, by Professor Mary E. King, one of the best in the field).

I have just read another book that falls into this trap: ‘This is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-first Century‘ written by Mark Engler and Paul Engler.

In this book, the authors try too hard to make nonviolent action fit into a model they have created by combining thoughts from a few (US) authors – essentially Saul Alinsky, Frances Fox Piven and Gene Sharp – to describe an approach to change based on structure-based organizing, momentum-driven revolt and the creation of prefigurative community.

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25/08/2016

Youth Unemployment Set to Rise for First Time in Three Years

Human Wrongs Watch

With global youth unemployment expected to rise in 2016 for the first time in three years and the equally disturbing high levels of young people who work but still live in poverty, the UN labour agency 24 August 2016 called for greater efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and decent work.

Young factory workers producing shirts in Accra, Ghana. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez | Source: UN News Centre

Releasing its World Employment and Social Outlook 2016: Trends for Youth, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that the global youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 and remain at that level through to 2017 (up from 12.9 per cent in 2015).

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