18/04/2017

Remember Haiti? UN Inaugurates Water Supply System as Part of Anti-Cholera Fight

Human Wrongs Watch

17 April 2017 – Historically, the people in the Madan Mak and Loncy areas of the Lascahobas Commune have always had serious problems with access to safe drinking water.

Residents fill their containers at a water capture and distribution project point in a town an hour outside of Port au Prince, Haiti. Photo: Logan Abassi/MINUSTAH

Situated in a mountainous region of Haiti’s Central Plateau, a few hundred kilometres from the capital Port-au-Prince, the two communities – up to just a few weeks ago – were among the 42 per cent of the country’s population still without access to safe drinking water in 2017.

When the cholera epidemic hit the Plateau Central, the need for safe potable water became crucial to eliminate the transmission of the disease.

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18/04/2017

Scale of Civilians Fleeing (Liberated) Iraq’s Mosul ‘Staggering’

Human Wrongs Watch

17 April 2017 – Noting that nearly half a million people have fled Mosul since the start of military operations to retake the city from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) terrorists, a senior United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq warned that the scale of the displacement has stretched relief efforts to their “operational limits”.

In Mosul, Iraq, aging family members are pushed for hours through frontline fighting between the army and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), to reach safety. Photo: IRIN/Tom Westcott

“Our worst case scenario when the fighting started was that up to one million civilians may flee Mosul. Already, more than 493,000 people have left, leaving almost everything behind,” Lise Grande, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in a news release issued by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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18/04/2017

The Easter Message

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung*

 17 April 2017 – TRANSCEND Media Service – From Trump’s USA was not resurrection, but death. 59 Tomahawk missiles for Syria, the “mother of all bombs” for Afghanistan; Muslim states. Both attacks were based on lies: the old lie that 9/11 had its origin in Afghanistan, the new lie that Assad deliberately had used sarin[i].

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Johan Galtung

The counter-narrative–that USA had provided the gas and used the accident as pretext for an attack–may stand. Let us see if USA-NATO accept an investigation; with a clean conscience, they would.

The USA back to normal?

With Trump surrounded by generals ready for killing and billionaires ready for exploiting? “Greatness” after some “populism” and America First protectionism?

With “NATO no longer obsolete”–to Stoltenberg’s delight–and China no longer manipulating currency rates–to China’s?  Not quite. Trump makes a difference.

With Trump, there is now a perfect match between Trump narcissism (I know/am better) and paranoia (countless twits against critics) and US narcissism (exceptionalism) and paranoia (“us vs them”).

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18/04/2017

Vikings – Why What We Think about Them Is Not Quite Right

Human Wrongs Watch

By Hildur Sif Thorarensen*

Wall Street International* – When one thinks of Vikings it generally involves an image of hulking, bearded men attacking farmsteads and villages, raping, plundering and being a general nuisance to the populace. They wear horned helmets, have large rounded shields and wield swords or axes which they swing at people in a mad berserker rage, while believing that if they die in battle they will enter Valhalla.

Vikings, as hulking, bearded men
Vikings, as hulking, bearded men Image reproduced  from Wall Street International

Unfortunately a lot of what is considered general knowledge about Vikings has been heavily influenced by popular culture over the last couple of centuries. Be it Wagner’s epic operas, Marvel comic books’ rendition of Norse gods or even sports team logos and mascots.

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17/04/2017

“We Can’t Protest So We Pray”

Human Wrongs Watch

BAHIR DAR, Apr 17 2017 (IPS) – As dawn breaks in Bahir Dar, men prepare boats beside Lake Tana to take to its island monasteries the tourists that are starting to return.
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Woman and child outside a Gonder church with crosses marked in ash on their foreheads. Credit: James Jeffrey/IPS

Meanwhile, traffic flows across the same bridge spanning the Blue Nile that six months ago was crossed by a huge but peaceful protest march.

But only a mile farther the march ended in the shooting of unarmed protesters by security forces, leaving Bahir Dar stunned for months.

Events last August in the prominent Amhara cities of Bahir Dar (the region’s capital) and Gonder (the former historical seat of Ethiopian rule) signalled the spreading of the original Oromo protests to Ethiopia’s second most populace region.

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17/04/2017

Famine Looms for Millions – Countries Urged to ‘Dig Deep into Reserves of Common Humanity’

Human Wrongs Watch

Senior United Nations officials on 13 April 2017 refocused the spotlight on Secretary-General António Guterres’ mid-February ‘call to action’ on behalf of some 20 million people across four countries that now face the risk of famine.
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Women in Ganyiel, Unity state, South Sudan, collecting bags of food. The situation in Ganyiel is dire, with thousands of people having fled to the area from famine-stricken Leer and Mayendit counties. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell

“The crises in these four countries are protracted and complex – and the impacts will be felt for years,” said Stephen O’Brien, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, warning that the numbers are staggering as millions in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and north-east Nigeria are slipping deeper into crisis.

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17/04/2017

Two Billion People Relying on Sources of ‘Dirty’, Contaminated Drinking-Water 

Against the backdrop of almost two billion people around the world relying on sources of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, the UN has called on countries to “radically” increase investments in water and sanitation infrastructure not only to protect their populations from deadly diseases but also to ensure that they are able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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Water, along with pollutants and contaminating agents, flows into a canal in Maputo, Mozambique. (File) Photo: John Hogg / World Bank | Source: UN News Centre 

“Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma,” on 13 April 2017  said Maria Neira, the Director of Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the UN World Health Organization (WHO).*

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15/04/2017

CUI BONO?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avery*

15/04/2017

CUI BONO – “who benefits” – is the first question an experienced detective asks when investigating a crime

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Uri Avnery

Since I was a detective myself for a short time in my youth, I know the meaning. Often, the first and obvious suspicion is false. You ask yourself “cui bono”, and another suspect, who you did not think about, appears.

For two weeks now, this question has been troubling my mind. It does not leave me.

In Syria, a terrible war crime has been committed. The civilian population in a rebel-held town called Idlib was hit with poison gas. Dozens of civilians, including children, died a miserable death.

Who could do such a thing? The answer was obvious: that terrible dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Who else?

And so, within a few minutes (literally) the New York Times and a host of excellent newspapers throughout the West proclaimed without hesitation: Assad did it!

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15/04/2017

Climate Funds for World’s Poorest Slow to Materialise

Human Wrongs Watch

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 14 2017 (IPS) – Climate change is making poor countries poorer, yet funding meant to address its economic consequences has been slow to materialise. Instead funding bodies are choosing to invest in green energy projects in middle-income countries.
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A project to help Ethiopian farmers adapt to drought and climate change was rejected for funding from the Green Climate Fund. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

The trend continued last week when the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a new multilateral financing body set up to fund climate change related projects in developing countries, rejected a proposal to help farmers in Ethiopia cope with increasingly frequent droughts.

Only two of the other eight projects worth 755 million USD approved at the meeting were in least developed countries:

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15/04/2017

A Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons Is in the Making

Human Wrongs Watch

By Amb. Sergio Duarte*

10 Apr 2017 – TRANSCEND Media Service – The nine possessors of nuclear weapons and most of their allies chose to ignore the negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.

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Image by The Official Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Photostream – flickr.com

This unprecedented initiative resulted from a proposal by South Africa, Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico and Nigeria and was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2016 by an overwhelming majority.  Continue reading

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