Archive for January 7th, 2019


Rising Human Trafficking Takes on ‘Horrific Dimensions’: Almost a Third of Victims Are Children

Human Wrongs Watch

A new UN report published on Monday [7 January 2019] shows that human trafficking is on the rise and taking on “horrific dimensions”, with sexual exploitation of victims the main driver. Children now account for 30 per cent of those being trafficked, and far more girls are detected than boys.

© UNICEF/Pirozzi | Abused and trafficked children are provided with support at a centre in Almaty city, Kazakhstan.

The study from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC, draws on information from 142 countries, examining trafficking trends and patterns.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said that “human trafficking has taken on horrific dimensions as armed groups and terrorists use it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters,” citing child soldiers, forced labour and sexual slavery as examples.

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Saudi Woman Seeking Asylum in Thailand ‘Now in a Secure Place’ – UN Refugee Agency

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Monday [7 January 2019] that 18-year-old Saudi national Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun, who had been stranded at Bangkok airport after fleeing her family in Kuwait, saying that she would be killed if forced to return, was “now in a secure place”.

Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun | The Saudi Arabian national, Rahaf Mohammed Al-qunun, has been communicating through Twitter from her hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand.

In a statement earlier in the day, UNHCR said it had been following developments over the past 48 hours closely and immediately sought access from the Thai authorities to meet with her.

The young Saudi told human rights groups and the media over the weekend that she had been stopped at Bangkok airport in transit from Kuwait, where her passport was taken from her. She claims she was fleeing her family and was planning to head to Australia and seek asylum there.

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Divine Players in Indian Politics

In a politically-surcharged atmosphere, no one should doubt that the appearance of Lord Ram’s idol in the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949 was an act of God.


An idol of Ram and Sita together in a temple.

3 January 2019 (openDemocracy)* — Foreign reporters coming to cover India’s general election in a few months ought to dive deep into the sea of mythology that has sustained this ancient civilisation. Apart from India’s secular and democratic Constitution, they must read the great Hindu epics such as the Ramayan.

To understand the modern India, they have to go back billions of years for the epochs whose memory is rekindled in poll campaigns.

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“I’m Proud to Have Brought the Rain Back” – Reforestation Revives Cambodian Mountains

7 January 2019 (UN Environment)*During the 12th century, people came to Cambodia’s Kulen mountain, a sacred place associated with fertility, to cut huge chunks of stone that would have to be hauled down by elephants.

cambodia photo 1

Photo from UN Environment.


In recent decades, despite Kulen becoming a protected area, people have come not just to pick the sweet lychee fruits from which the mountain derives its name, but to cut trees to sell for luxury hardwood or charcoal in towns further down.

The illegal logging of Kulen national park has laid bare vast patches of forest.

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