Stories written by Gustavo Capdevila

R&D Weathers the Crisis

Research and development, unlike other branches of productive activity, is resisting the ravages of one of the worst financial and economic crises to affect the world in the last 80 years.

“The Death Penalty Has No Dissuasive Effect”

Capital punishment continues to exist because in some countries people are barraged with propaganda depicting it as a curb on crime, which it is not, said Federico Mayor Zaragoza, chair of an international commission against the death penalty that inaugurated its new headquarters in Geneva Monday.

Severely malnourished babies in Africa. Credit: Rose Ogola/WFP

HORN OF AFRICA: U.N. Shares Responsibility in Famine, Experts Say

The United Nations Human Rights Council should accept responsibility, on behalf of the world forum, for the famine spreading through eastern Africa, and should call for member countries' cooperation to overcome the desperate food crisis there, experts said.

Freedom of Expression Can Be Limited Only in “Exceptional Circumstances”

The United Nations Human Rights Committee confirmed the central role of freedom of expression in human rights, making it clear that it can only be limited in the most exceptional circumstances, and calling for the first time for unrestricted public access to official information.

Estela Barnes de Carlotto Credit: Public domain

Q&A: Re-Electing Fernandez ‘Would Consolidate the Country Our Children Wanted’

A second term for Argentine President Cristina Fernández would make it possible to continue ushering in the changes "we want and that our children wanted" when they were forcibly disappeared or murdered during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, said longtime human rights champion Estela de Carlotto.

Latin American domestics and their employers in "Common Place" photo exhibit by photographers Justine Graham and Ruby Rumié. Credit: Daniela Estrada/IPS

LABOUR: Neither Servants nor Family Members, Simply Workers

The world's tens of millions of domestic workers finally won international recognition that they have the same basic labour rights as other workers, in a convention adopted Thursday at the annual meeting of the ILO.

Governments and Powers-That-Be Fear the Internet

The global reach of the internet, and its ability to transmit information in real time and mobilise populations, creates fear among governments and the powerful, says Frank La Rue, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

HEALTH: Rich and Poor Suffer Both Infectious and Noncommunicable Diseases

The world is experiencing a change in the geographic distribution of diseases. Traditionally, infectious diseases, which claim the lives of so many children, affected poor countries, and noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, cardiac ailments and cancer plagued rich countries.

Nuclear Threat Draws WHO and Civil Society Closer

The global health agency and a network of non-governmental organisations opposed to nuclear proliferation have resumed their dialogue, prompted by concern over the effects of the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima in Japan and the enduring consequences of the explosion at Chernobyl, in Ukraine.

World Health Organisation logo Credit:

HEALTH: Fukushima, Chernobyl Raise Questions about WHO’s Role

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan and the 25th anniversary of the catastrophe in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine have thrown into relief contradictions in the role played by the World Health Organisation, which civil society organisations have spent years pointing out.

Q&A: Hunger, Food Shortages Fuel Uprisings

The rise in food prices and growing hunger, one of the causes of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the Arab world, is due to financial speculation and not a lack of arable land, says Janaina Stronzake, a leader of Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST).

RIGHTS: U.S. in the Hot Seat for Universal Periodic Review

Every year since 1976 the United States has unilaterally passed judgement, through the State Department, on the human rights situation in some 190 countries. The 5,000-page reports sent to Congress each March regularly rouse angry responses from some of the nations assessed.

 Credit: US Department of Defence

Secret Detention Practised in All Corners of the World

What was already an open secret, detentions in secret prisons in the fight against terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the U.S., has been clearly documented in a report on these abuses that was discussed Thursday by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Millennium Goals Need Development, Not Charity

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came into existence in the right place, the United Nations, but at a most unpropitious time, in September 2000, when ideas about the invincibility of market forces still held sway in the world.

HEALTH: Putting the Focus on Cities

The world's public health policy-makers should focus on urban health problems, since for the last three years the majority of the planet's population is living in cities, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts say.

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