Inter Press ServiceHuman Rights – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:09:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 Levelling the Playing Field for Persons with Disabilities in the United Stateshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/levelling-playing-field-persons-disabilities-individuals-united-states/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=levelling-playing-field-persons-disabilities-individuals-united-states http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/levelling-playing-field-persons-disabilities-individuals-united-states/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 12:10:55 +0000 Emily Thampoe http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157676 This article is part of a series of stories on disability inclusion.

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According to the United Nations “sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person.” Courtesy: United Nations

By Emily Thampoe
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 19 2018 (IPS)

When it was time for Joe Lupinacci to graduate from his high school in Stamford, Connecticut, he knew he wanted to go to college. While other students were deciding which college to apply to, the choice required more thought and research on Lupinacci and his parents’ part. Lupinacci, who has Down Syndrome, needed a college that would meet his needs.

“I wanted to go to college and be like my older brother and have the college experience. I wanted to meet other people like me and learn how to be more independent,” the now 22-year-old tells IPS via email.

While it is common in the United States for public school districts to have special education programmes that offer educational support to disabled individuals, many universities only meet the minimum requirements of the country’s Disabilities Act. But there are currently at least 50 universities that go further and offer programmes and/or resources for students with disabilities.“I turned from a unfocused player who would skate around the rink touching every pane of glass to a player who got into the game and played like a man. Daredevils has helped me gain friendship." -- former New Jersey Daredevils player, Ryan Griffin.

The College Experience Programme (CEP) at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York is one of those programmes.

The CEP is a two-year residential, non-credit certificate programme hosted in partnership with Living Resources, a local organisation that helps people living with disabilities. While the programme is not a traditional one—it does not end in students earning a bachelor’s or associate’s degree—it allows students to focus on a career area that interests them. It also teaches students valuable skills that they can apply to their life, in parallel to the educational classes they take.

Lupinacci and his family learned of it through their own research and when CEP staff visited his high school’s college fair. After visiting the College of Saint Rose on several occasions, he and his family found it a great fit.

Colleen Dergosits, the coordinator of student life and admissions for the programme, tells IPS via email that its objective is to, “give students with developmental disabilities opportunities similar to their siblings and high-school peers.”

“Life skills are not taught in traditional college experience, these are often the skills people without disabilities take for granted in knowing. For those with a disability, when life skills are not naturally developed, it can hold back a person from being able to transition into a natural college atmosphere away from their family members or furthermore an independent life,” Dergosits says.

The CEP provides finance classes that help students understand how to make purchases in an effective way, how to split a bill between friends, and the importance of paying bills on time.

For Lupinacci, who entered the programme in 2015 and graduated in 2017, the CEP has given him skills and so much more.

“After going through the programme I made good friends. I learned to cook, clean and make decisions on my own,” he says. He also gained a new-found sense of independence.

With the programme’s “community involvement” component, students learn how to navigate their neighbourhood and attend off campus activities, and how to save money for those activities. These are all skills that many students on the programme may not have been exposed to before.

Learning through experience is imperative. Dergosits says that the CEP’s vocational courses are “invaluable.” “When the foundation of employment is broken down and taught, then supervised in a real world setting, our students are better prepared to hold employment on their own post-graduation,” she says. Students can learn what the workforce is like through interning and/or working at local businesses with assistance from an on-site job coach.

Dergosits and the rest of the staff have seen progress from the growing number of students they have worked with since the programme’s beginnings in 2005.

Students who previously kept to themselves and were reliant on familial support, have developed. They now have friends, can do household chores, travel independently and even have part-time jobs.

Lupinacci says he ended up going out quite often with his friends without adult supervision. “It was fun planning and going out with my friends with no adults. I went to many campus and off site sporting events that were really fun,” he shares.

Recreation is Key

While equal educational opportunities are important in the lives of disabled people, balance is also imperative.

Steve Ritter, a coach for the New Jersey Daredevils, a special needs ice hockey team for players of all ages, believes in the power of sports for disabled people.

“Sports helps them with social skills, which is lacking in this community. We make sure when we travel to places to play games that there is a place where they can get together and hang out,” he tells IPS.

According to a United Nations publication entitled Disability and Sports, “Sport can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability because it can transform community attitudes about persons with disabilities by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the person.”

The team practices pretty much every Saturday during the year and also plays matches with other teams from all over the east coast. They also make an effort to have outside opportunities for the players to bond and create long-lasting friendships.

Ryan Griffin first joined the Daredevils in 2001 after trying several options to stimulate his mind. He was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum when he was three and a half years old, and feels he has benefited from his involvement with the team.

“I turned from a unfocused player who would skate around the rink touching every pane of glass to a player who got into the game and played like a man. Daredevils has helped me gain friendship.

“I’ve learned about sportsmanship too, it’s not just about winning. Once I got to know all my teammates, we quickly bonded together as friends and we always will be there for each other like family,” Griffin, who is now 23, shares with IPS via email.

Griffin feels as though the experience he has had with the team has given him valuable life skills.

“Most importantly, Daredevils has taught me leadership. As team captain, I learned that leaders, like captains, should always lead by example. That means, trying to stay as positive as possible, even when things are not going the way they should be,” Griffin says.

In a world that has excluded disabled people from partaking in basic human needs such as education, the workforce, and being a part of a community, it is clear that programmes that encourage mental and social growth can be important in the life of a disabled person.

So while the CEP in Albany and the New Jersey Daredevils in New Jersey are both different localised experiences, they are examples of what communities should be doing in order to promote the inclusion and development of people with disabilities.

The post Levelling the Playing Field for Persons with Disabilities in the United States appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

This article is part of a series of stories on disability inclusion.

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UN Agencies Launch Environmental Protection and Resilience Project for Host Communities and Refugees in Bangladeshhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/un-agencies-launch-environmental-protection-resilience-project-host-communities-refugees-bangladesh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-agencies-launch-environmental-protection-resilience-project-host-communities-refugees-bangladesh http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/un-agencies-launch-environmental-protection-resilience-project-host-communities-refugees-bangladesh/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:14:09 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157669 Families living in the world’s largest refugee camp in the past week received the first 2,500 stoves and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders that are part of a United Nations project to protect the environment and build resilience for people living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The “SAFE Plus” (Safe Approaches to Fuel and Energy Plus […]

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Johura Kathun, 45, a widow with three children, receives an LPG stove in Balukhali camp. Photo: Tazbir Tanim / WFP 2018

By International Organization for Migration
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Sep 18 2018 (IOM)

Families living in the world’s largest refugee camp in the past week received the first 2,500 stoves and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders that are part of a United Nations project to protect the environment and build resilience for people living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The “SAFE Plus” (Safe Approaches to Fuel and Energy Plus Landscape Restoration and Livelihoods) project, which aims to ultimately provide 125,000 host community and refugee families with LPG stoves to prevent further deforestation caused by cutting firewood for cooking, is a partnership between the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Migration Agency (IOM) and World Food Programme (WFP.)

When some 700,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Cox’s Bazar in August last year to escape violence in Myanmar, much of the area’s protected forest was cut down for fuel and shelter, dramatically increasing the risk of flooding and landslides due to soil erosion.

The new LPG stoves will allow families to safely cook without needing to gather firewood from depleted forests. They will also improve the safety of women and children, who risk gender-based violence and attacks from animals, when they collect firewood. Additionally, they will reduce health risks caused by smoke inhalation from open fires.

Host community and refugee families with LPG stoves will receive the fuel that they need through WFP’s ‘multi-wallet’ transfer solution. The agency’s SCOPE beneficiary and transfer management platform identifies recipients through biometric authentication and ensures that the assistance they receive is accurately recorded and managed. ‘Fuel wallets’ on their SCOPE assistance cards will record the LPG they receive, together with food and other items.

“Creating sustainable access to LPG for cooking is the critical piece in the jigsaw of addressing deforestation and reforestation,” said Peter Agnew, FAO Programme Manager in Bangladesh. “It eliminates the demand for firewood, which in turn allows us to replant deforested areas with confidence, knowing that new trees will not be dug up and sold as kindling.”

“Enabling access to alternative fuel sources encourages more environmentally sustainable practices. Deforestation is a major concern. Furthermore, families predominantly cook indoors, so we are quite concerned about the impact of smoke from cooking fires on people’s respiratory health,” said IOM Emergency Coordinator Manuel Pereira.

“We know limited access to firewood results in coping strategies such as undercooking food,” said WFP Emergency Coordinator Peter Guest. “We are therefore strengthening food security by giving people better and safer access to fuel. The SCOPE platform is helping both WFP and our UN partners to deliver humanitarian assistance more efficiently.”

Today, there are over 919,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. These refugees, as well as Bangladeshi host communities, number at least 1.3 million people and rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.

The SAFE Plus initiative is supported by Ireland, Japan and the United States of America and assists the work of the Government of Bangladesh, notably the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission under the Ministry of Disaster Relief and Management.

For further information and interviews please contact:
Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801733335221, Email: FMacGregor@iom.int
Peter Agnew at FAO Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801734931946, Email: Peter.Agnew@fao.org
Manmeet Kaur at WFP Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801713750599, Email: Manmeet.Kaur@wfp.org

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An Urgent Need to Turn Down Rhetoric Against Migrants & Refugeeshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/urgent-need-turn-rhetoric-migrants-refugees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=urgent-need-turn-rhetoric-migrants-refugees http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/urgent-need-turn-rhetoric-migrants-refugees/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:02:29 +0000 Carl Soderbergh http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157666 Carl Soderbergh is Director of Policy & Communications, Minority Rights Group International

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Sub Saharan Africans - Israel
Female African asylum-seekers during a protest march where they called on the government to recognise African migrants as refugees, and for the release of Africans who are held in detention facilities.

By Carl Söderbergh
LONDON, Sep 18 2018 (IPS)

Migration has become a focus of debate in recent years. From United States President Donald Trump’s vehemently anti-migrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric to Denmark’s new ‘ghetto laws’, the language has become increasingly heated.

The Danish government adopted these measures in 2018, specifically targeting low-income immigrant districts and including compulsory education on ‘Danish values’ for children starting at the age of one. In the United Kingdom, while still Home Secretary, Prime Minister Theresa May instituted a ‘hostile environment’ policy in 2012 that was intended to catch undocumented migrants whenever they came into contact with public services.

The policy particularly affected members of the so-called ‘Windrush generation’, the tens of thousands of Afro-Caribbean men, women and children who came over to the UK after World War Two and settled there legally. It is thought that the number of those deported runs into the hundreds, while many thousands more have had to live for several years in considerable uncertainty.

While a public outcry led to an official apology by the UK government, other leaders and governments have been resolutely unapologetic. Indeed, Trump’s travel ban for citizens of several Muslim-majority countries was approved as constitutional by the US Supreme Court in June 2018.

Such policies – and the often vitriolic language accompanying them – have had a direct and negative impact on migrant and refugee communities. According to data released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the annual number of hate crimes against US Muslims recorded by the organization rose 15 per cent in 2017, following on from a 44 per cent increase the previous year – an increase it attributed in part to Trump’s divisive language and the discriminatory measures put forward by his administration.

Muslim woman – Thailand
A Thai policeman checks the papers of a Muslim woman at a checkpoint in Pattani.

On 11 September 2018, Minority Rights Group International launched its annual Minority and Indigenous Trends report by hosting a seminar for journalists in Krakow, Poland. This year, we focused the report on migration and displacement. We chose the theme for two reasons.

One is what I have outlined above – the casual disregard that we have repeatedly witnessed by people in power for the immediate impact of their actions and their words on minority and indigenous communities. Whenever politicians chase voters or news outlets seek to increase their readerships and advertising revenues by targeting migrants, they ignore the very real consequences in terms of increased hatred towards those same communities.

The other reason is that we sought to reflect the lived realities of migrants and refugees themselves – in particular, how discrimination and exclusion drive many people to make the very hard choice to leave their homes. It remains very difficult to arrive at a total percentage of minorities and indigenous peoples among the world’s migrants and refugees.

This is partly due to lack of interest – after all, much of the reporting on migration remains fixated on overall numbers rather than on the individual stories. More particularly, migrants and refugees who belong to minorities or indigenous peoples may well feel a need to remain silent about their ethnicity or religious faith, for fear of further persecution in transit or upon arrival in their new homes.

However, there are many clear indicators from around the world of an immediate causal link between marginalization and movement. The horrifying targeting of Yezidis by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as more recently of Rohingya by the military and its allies in Myanmar, are by now well-documented. In both cases, the overwhelming majority of the communities have been displaced.

Migrant workers – Russia

But there are many other examples of membership in minority and indigenous populations and displacement. In Ethiopia, the government’s crackdown on political dissent, aimed particularly at the Oromo population, contributed directly to an upsurge in migration from that community. Data collected by the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) showed that by the beginning of 2017 as many as 89 per cent of arriving Ethiopian migrants in the key nearby transit country Yemen stated that they belong to the Oromo community. In Colombia, displacement by armed groups has continued despite the 2016 peace accord.

This disproportionately affects Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities who made up more than a quarter (26 per cent) of the more than 139,000 forcibly displaced in the country between January and October 2017, double their share of the national population as a whole.

In fact, the Colombian example is important as it highlights how, while global attention shifts away from a particular situation, the plight of minorities and indigenous peoples continues. Here, the distinction governments and UN agencies seek to make between refugees on the one hand and migrants on the other becomes blurred and even unhelpful.

The US government denies asylum to victims of Central American gang violence. However, much of the brutal gang-related violence in Guatemala, for instance, has affected indigenous communities disproportionately: decades of conflict and discrimination have left them impoverished and marginalized, with little recourse to protection from police or the judiciary. Indeed, in many cases their situation has been aggravated by official persecution.

The discrimination that caused many migrants and refugees to leave their homes often follows them while in transit. While the abusive treatment of asylum seekers and their families crossing into the US has been widely reported, the crackdown within Mexico on Central American migrants, particularly indigenous community members, has received less coverage.

Significantly, it has resulted not only in the targeting of foreign nationals, including many women and children, but also the arrest and intimidation of indigenous Mexicans by police. Over the past year, reports have emerged from Libya of sub-Saharan Africans trapped by the containment policies of the European Union, who now find themselves targeted by security forces, militias and armed groups. There have been widespread reports of torture, sexual assault and enslavement of migrants, many of whom are vulnerable not only on account of their ethnicity but also as non-Muslims.

The situation is further complicated for groups within minority or indigenous communities, such as women, children, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI people, who contend with multiple forms of discrimination and as a result face heightened threats of sexual assault, physical attacks and other rights abuses – in their places of origin, whilst in transit and upon arrival at their destinations.

What then is needed?

Firstly, all those participating in national and international debates on migration need to tone down their rhetoric. The Danish government could, for instance, have devised policies supporting marginalized urban districts without resorting to the historically loaded term, ‘ghetto’, which immediately stigmatizes residents while giving a green light to racists.

Secondly, governments need to abide by fundamental human rights principles, including the basic right to live with dignity. And finally, all those who are contributing to the debate – including media – must get past the numbers and reveal the individual stories. In order to discuss migration, one needs to understand it fully.

While the way forward may appear challenging, I was inspired by the many Polish journalists who attended our launch event in Krakow and who are already rising to the challenge by seeking out the stories that migrants and refugees have to tell us.

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Excerpt:

Carl Soderbergh is Director of Policy & Communications, Minority Rights Group International

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Finding Comfort at Home: Soran’s Journeyhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/finding-comfort-home-sorans-journey/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=finding-comfort-home-sorans-journey http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/finding-comfort-home-sorans-journey/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:08:45 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157683 Soran left Kurdistan in 2015, in search of better opportunities for himself and his young family in Germany. Here is his account of the journey to Europe, and the decision to come back home. “In August 2015, lack of employment and the general gloomy atmosphere caused by the economic crisis here encouraged me to think […]

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Credit: IOM 2018/Sarah Ali

By International Organization for Migration
ERBIL, Sep 18 2018 (IOM)

Soran left Kurdistan in 2015, in search of better opportunities for himself and his young family in Germany. Here is his account of the journey to Europe, and the decision to come back home.

“In August 2015, lack of employment and the general gloomy atmosphere caused by the economic crisis here encouraged me to think of going to Europe in search of a better life. I sold my house and my car and put all of my savings aside to prepare for the trip to Germany. My brother and my cousins live there and they told me it was a nice country and that the German people treated migrants well.

My wife and I went with our little son to Turkey and from there we paid a smuggler to get us across to Greece by sea. There is a fine line between life and death at sea; it is full of dangers and the possibility of dying — or worse, seeing your family die before you. The journey by land was no better than the sea. We had to walk through six countries before reaching Germany: Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. As we walked through the forest I had a heavy backpack on, and my little one on my back as well. There were dozens of other migrants walking along as well; we wrapped ourselves in blankets because of the cold as we walked through the forests.

We stayed in a camp in Germany. We were treated well and I really appreciated that. There was a German woman named Lisa who I will never forget. She would frequently visit us and help us with whatever we needed, from house chores to paperwork. When we had our second baby in Germany it was 2:30 am, I called her and she came over immediately; she took us to hospital and stayed with us the whole night.

But despite the good treatment and the beauty of the country, I couldn’t stay in the camp anymore. After waiting for almost two years for my case to be settled, I couldn’t take it anymore. I missed my parents and my friends so much that I could not bear it. I saw updates from my friends on Facebook and the separation from them broke my heart. We were struggling to adjust to German food, and only went to Turkish restaurants to eat. So we decided to return.

By the time we decided to return to Erbil in 2017, we had spent all of the money I had put together from selling my house and my car, a total of more than US$30,000. My father helped us in the beginning, and then I received assistance from IOM to start this paint business in which I partnered with an old friend. Here we sell paint supplies and we also do house painting. We paint seven to eight houses per month. What I make from this business is enough to provide for my family although I will need time to establish myself like before.

Credit: IOM 2018/Sarah Ali

During the years in Germany I learned many skills and values that I now use in my daily life here in Kurdistan. For example, the Germans are very punctual, and that’s something really important that people do not care about much here. If the Germans say they meet you at 4:30, then they will meet you at 4:30 exactly, not a minute later. I am applying the same concept here in my job.”

IOM’s assistance to Soran was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the German Corporation for International Development (GIZ) and the German Center for Job, Migration and Reintegration in Iraq (GMAC).

This story was written by Raber Aziz, Media and Communications Officer at IOM Iraq.

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Crisis Drives Nicaragua to an Economic and Social Precipicehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/crisis-drives-nicaragua-economic-social-precipice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=crisis-drives-nicaragua-economic-social-precipice http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/crisis-drives-nicaragua-economic-social-precipice/#respond Mon, 17 Sep 2018 18:07:02 +0000 Jose Adan Silva http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157649 Five months after the outbreak of mass protests in Nicaragua, in addition to the more than 300 deaths, the crisis has had visible consequences in terms of increased poverty and migration, as well as the international isolation of the government and a wave of repression that continues unabated. Álvaro Leiva, director of the non-governmental Nicaraguan […]

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25 years Since the Oslo Accords: Israeli Security Depends on Palestinian Rightshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/25-years-since-oslo-accords-israeli-security-depends-palestinian-rights/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=25-years-since-oslo-accords-israeli-security-depends-palestinian-rights http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/25-years-since-oslo-accords-israeli-security-depends-palestinian-rights/#comments Fri, 14 Sep 2018 12:51:10 +0000 Jan Egeland http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157620 Jan Egeland is Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. He co-organized the secret talks between Israel and Palestine that led to the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

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Jan Egeland is Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. He co-organized the secret talks between Israel and Palestine that led to the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

By Jan Egeland
OSLO, Norway, Sep 14 2018 (IPS)

Twenty-five years ago, on 13 September 1993, I sat on the White House lawn to witness the landmark signing of the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Diplomats around me gasped as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with former foe, Chairman Yasser Arafat. But for some of us present, the handshake came as no surprise.

Jan Egeland, former UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs

Weeks earlier we watched the midnight initialing of the same accord in Oslo. It had been the culmination of an intense eight months of secret talks in Norway, a private back-channel we initiated to end hostilities.

Previous peace diplomacy efforts had failed. A triad of occupation, violence and terror had reigned for many years. The Oslo Accords led to a rare epoch of optimism in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

When our back-channel began, neither Israeli nor American officials were allowed to meet with the Palestine Liberation Organization. The signing momentarily changed everything. The two sides exchanged letters of official recognition, thousands of Palestinians secured jobs in Israel, joint industrial parks were planned, the Israeli stock exchange soared, and the country’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Gaza could become a “Singapore of the Middle East.”

Our optimism may seem naïve today. Hindsight can raise many worthwhile critiques about what that handshake missed. Importantly, the Oslo “Declaration of Principles” was no peace agreement, but rather a five-year time plan for how to negotiate peace through increased reconciliation and cooperation.

Peace antagonists took little time to tear down our efforts to facilitate agreements on Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, and the status and borders of a future Palestine. Israeli terrorists killed Prime Minister Rabin and Muslims at prayer in Hebron, while a terror campaign from Hamas and other armed groups targeted buses and marketplaces in multiple Israeli cities.

Before final status issues could be fleshed out, the tide of optimism gave way to more terror, violence and brutal crackdowns. The following years brought a second intifada, record expansion of illegal settlements, an increasingly entrenched military occupation, division among Palestinian factions, and the closure of Gaza. Instead of recognition and a commitment to sit at the same table, the political context devolved into extreme polarization and mutual provocation.

Twenty-five years later, it is time to learn from the past.

Too few concrete steps were made during the initial months when mutual trust existed. Political elites on both sides did too little to enable reconciliation, justice and security in their own backyards. We also made mistakes as international facilitators in underestimating the counterforces against peace. As in so many places where peace diplomacy fails, humanitarians had to step in to provide a lifeline. In the absence of a long-term solution, urgent needs only increased.

Today, I lead a large international aid organization assisting millions of people displaced across the world, including Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Syria. I have rarely seen, felt or heard as much despair as among Palestinian youth locked into hopelessness in camps and behind closed borders. Unemployment for Gaza’s youth sits at 58 percent, according to the World Bank.

In a time when peace efforts are at a standstill, it has been more difficult than ever to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. Relief funding is diminishing, while humanitarian needs are on the rise. Partisan lobby groups and politicians hostilely question aid agencies focused on protecting human rights, more than any time in recent years.

Young men and women I met recently in Gaza told me they feel betrayed: “You told us to study hard, stay out of trouble and believe in better days. Now we are further away than ever from finishing our studies, let alone getting a job, a home or an escape from this cage.”

As Palestinians increasingly struggle to meet basic needs, economic opportunity is stifled by endless occupation. This is bad news for Israelis and Palestinians. It is not in Israel’s interests to oppress future generations of Palestinians, contributing to increasing bitterness in its own neighborhood.

Despite the grim trends, there is still a way out of the vicious cycle of conflict. Perhaps precisely therefore, in this bleak hour, we may have the foundation for a genuine peace effort. It can only be a matter of time before Israeli leadership realizes its long-term security is squarely dependent on equal rights and dignity for millions of disillusioned Palestinian youth.

Bridging humanitarian funding gaps and allowing aid delivery would raise real GDP in the Gaza Strip by some 40 percent by 2025, according to the World Bank. Such short-term gains can be bolstered by long-term investments in employment and increasing connectivity between the West Bank and Gaza.

Financial aid and other forms of investment in the Palestinian economy are urgently needed, but they are stop-gap measures, not the solution itself. Without a final political agreement, there can be no end to the human suffering.

Only a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement” will lead to “peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security.” These principles remain as true now as they were 25 years ago. But they must be rooted in reverence for international law. Palestinians are as entitled to basic human rights as are Israelis or Americans. Any future positive gains are only sustainable when fortified by a commitment to a political solution that upholds the rights and security of all people in the region.

No external actor has more potential for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the United States. Only Americans have real leverage on the parties and the ability to provide the security guarantees needed.

A new U.S.-effort is sorely needed as tensions build once again, humanitarian work becomes more difficult, and tens of thousands of youth take stock of their lack of options.

However, unless America’s “ultimate deal” delivers equal rights, justice and security, grounded in respect for international law, it will only serve to strengthen political extremism among Israelis and Palestinians, further destabilize a volatile region, and ensure that too many Palestinians will continue to live under seemingly endless military occupation.

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Excerpt:

Jan Egeland is Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council. He co-organized the secret talks between Israel and Palestine that led to the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

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Surges and Swarms: A Conversation on Responsible Coverage of Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/surges-swarms-conversation-responsible-coverage-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=surges-swarms-conversation-responsible-coverage-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/surges-swarms-conversation-responsible-coverage-migration/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2018 18:45:32 +0000 UN University http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157609 Addressing xenophobia to ensure the human rights and the inclusion of all migrants remains a pressing concern in the global migration agenda. A report by the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility addresses xenophobia through a consideration of representations of migration and the role of the media. The report also aims to […]

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It is essential that media rise to the challenge of covering migration and put ethics at the centre of their coverage.

By UN University
Italy (UN University), Sep 13 2018 (IOM)

Addressing xenophobia to ensure the human rights and the inclusion of all migrants remains a pressing concern in the global migration agenda. A report by the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility addresses xenophobia through a consideration of representations of migration and the role of the media.

The report also aims to support international policymakers in their efforts to work towards a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration and a global compact on refugees. Following the adoption of the NY Declaration on September 19th 2016 by the Member States of the United Nations, a two-year process was set in motion to prepare these compacts, that are to be adopted in 2018.

During the first phase (April-November 2017) of the process, UN agencies initiated consultations with key migration stakeholders, including civil societies, the private sector, the development community and academia. However, no formal consultation was initiated with global media, despite its central role in disseminating information about migration, shaping the public’s policy preferences and ultimately influencing inter-social relations between migrant groups and host societies.

Report by the United Nations University Institute on Globalization

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Preservation of the Klamath River – a Life or Death Matter for the Yurok Peoplehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/preservation-klamath-river-life-death-matter-yurok-people/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=preservation-klamath-river-life-death-matter-yurok-people http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/preservation-klamath-river-life-death-matter-yurok-people/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:48:29 +0000 Emilio Godoy http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157602 Fishermen are scarce in the Klamath River delta, unlike other fishing season, because climate change has driven up water temperatures which kills off the salmon, the flagship species of this region in northern California. The increase in temperatures favours the proliferation of lethal fish diseases and the absence of fish has devastating effects on the […]

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Yurok lawyer Amy Cordalis (L) explains the impacts of climate change on the Klamath River, such as the drop in the number of salmon, a key species in the traditions and economy of this Native American tribe in the western U.S. state of California. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Yurok lawyer Amy Cordalis (L) explains the impacts of climate change on the Klamath River, such as the drop in the number of salmon, a key species in the traditions and economy of this Native American tribe in the western U.S. state of California. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

By Emilio Godoy
KLAMATH, California, USA , Sep 13 2018 (IPS)

Fishermen are scarce in the Klamath River delta, unlike other fishing season, because climate change has driven up water temperatures which kills off the salmon, the flagship species of this region in northern California.

The increase in temperatures favours the proliferation of lethal fish diseases and the absence of fish has devastating effects on the Yurok, the largest group of Native Americans in the state of California, who live in the Klamath River basin.

“The river level is dropping at a time when it shouldn’t. The water warms up in summer and causes diseases in the fish. This changes the rhythm of the community and has social effects,” lawyer Amy Cordalis, a member of the tribe, told IPS during a tour of the watershed.

Cordalis stressed that the community of Klamath, in Del Norte county in northwest California, depends on fishing, which is a fundamental part of their traditions, culture and diet.

The Yurok, a tribe which currently has about 6,000 members, use the river for subsistence, economic, legal, political, religious and commercial purposes.

This tribe, one of more than 560 surviving tribes in the United States, owns and manages 48,526 hectares of land, of which its reserve, established in 1855, covers less than half: 22,743 hectares.

Conserving the forest is vital to the regulation of the temperature and water cycle of the river and to moisture along the Pacific coast.

The Yurok – which means “downriver people” – recall with terror the year 2002, when the water level dropped and at least 50,000 salmon ended up dead from disease, the highest fish mortality in the United States.

The Yurok are working to conserve and restore the Klamath River basin, to which they are spiritually and economically linked. Part of the restoration involves placing logs in the river, such as these ones that have been prepared on its banks, to channel the water and retain sediment and thus recreate the habitat needed by salmon, the species that is key to the Yurok culture. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

The Yurok are working to conserve and restore the Klamath River basin, to which they are spiritually and economically connected. Part of the restoration involves placing logs in the river, such as these ones that have been prepared on its banks, to channel the water and retain sediment and thus recreate the habitat needed by salmon, the species that is key to the Yurok culture. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

And in 2015 no snow fell, which affects the flow of water that feeds the river and is fundamental for the fishery because in March of each year the salmon fry come down from the mountain, Cordalis said. This species needs cold water to breed.

The federal government granted the Yurok a fishing quota of 14,500 salmon for 2018, which is low and excludes commercial catch, but is much higher than the quota granted in 2017 – only 650 – due to the crisis of the river flow that significantly reduced the number of salmon.

The migration of fish downriver has also decreased in recent years due to sedimentation of the basins caused by large-scale timber extraction, road construction, loss of lake wood and loss of diversity in the habitat and fishery production potential.

As a result, the number of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) and Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata) have dropped in the Klamath River, while Coho or silver salmon (O. kisutch) are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The Klamath River in California, the natural and spiritual sustenance of the Yurok people, is facing threats due to climate change, such as reduced flow and increased temperatures, which kill salmon, a species that requires cold water for breeding. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

The Klamath River in California, the natural and spiritual sustenance of the Yurok people, is facing threats due to climate change, such as reduced flow and increased temperatures, which kill salmon, a species that requires cold water for breeding. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

A reflection of this crisis, in Cordalis’ words, is the ban on commercial fishing for the third consecutive year, with only subsistence fishing allowed.

Faced with this, the Yurok have undertaken efforts for the conservation of the ecosystem and the recovery of damaged areas to encourage the arrival of the salmon.

In 2006, they began placing wood structures in the Terwer Creek watershed as dikes to channel water flow and control sediment.

“We had to convince the lumber company that owned the land, as well as the state and federal authorities. But when they saw that it worked, they didn’t raise any objections. What we are doing is geomorphology, we are planting gardens,” Rocco Fiori, the engineering geologist who is in charge of the restoration, from Fiori Geo Sciences, a consulting firm specialising in this type of work, told IPS.

Tree trunks are placed in the river bed, giving rise to the growth of new trees. They last about 15 years, as they are broken down and begin to rot as a result of contact with the moisture and wind.

But they generate more trees, giving rise to a small ecosystem. They also facilitate the emergence of vegetation on the river ford, explained Fiori, whose consulting firm is working with the Yurok on the restoration.

Salmon is basic to the diet of the Yurok people, who live in northern California. But the catch has fallen drastically due to a lower water flow in the Klamath River and the increase in water temperature. In the picture, a member of the Yurok tribe seasons fish for dinner on the riverbank. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Salmon is basic to the diet of the Yurok people, who live in northern California. But the catch has fallen drastically due to a lower water flow in the Klamath River and the increase in water temperature. In the picture, a member of the Yurok tribe seasons fish for dinner on the riverbank. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Starting in the fall, this strip is flooded every year, which favours the abundance of organic matter for the salmon to feed on, allowing them to grow and thrive in the new habitat.

In addition, four of the six dams along the Klamath River and its six tributaries, built after 1918 to generate electricity, will be dismantled.

The objective is to restore land that was flooded by the dams and to apply measures to mitigate any damage caused by the demolition of the dams, as required by law.

The Copco 1 and 2, Iron Gate and JC Boyle dams will be demolished in January 2021, at a cost of 397 million dollars. The owner of the dams, the PacifiCorp company, will cover at least 200 million of that cost, and the rest will come from the state government.

“The removal of the dams is vital. It’s a key solution for the survival of salmon,” biologist Michael Belchik, of the Yurok Tribe Fisheries Department, who has worked with the tribe for 23 years, told IPS.

The four reservoirs hold between five million and 20 million cubic metres of sediment, and their removal will provide 600 km of suitable habitat for salmon.

It is estimated that salmon production will increase by 80 percent, with benefits for business, recreational fishing and food security for the Yurok. In addition, the dismantling of dams will mitigate the toxic blue-green algae that proliferate in the reservoirs.

Water conservation projects exemplify the mixture of ancestral knowledge and modern science.

For Cordalis, salmon is irreplaceable. “Our job is not to let (a tragedy) happen again. The tribe does what it can to defend itself from problems and draw attention to the issue. We continue to fight for water and the right decisions. Our goal is to restore the river and get the fish to come back,” the lawyer said.

The Yurok shared their achievements and the challenges they face with indigenous delegates from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mexico and Panama in the run-up to the Global Climate Action Summit, convened by the government of California to celebrate in advance the third anniversary of the Paris Agreement, reached in Paris in 2015. The meeting will take place on Sept. 13-14 in San Francisco, CA.

This article was produced with support from the Climate and Land Use Alliance .

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Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi in shameful defence of Reuters journalists’ convictionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-shameful-defence-reuters-journalists-conviction/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-shameful-defence-reuters-journalists-conviction http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-shameful-defence-reuters-journalists-conviction/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 14:33:31 +0000 Amnesty International http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157622 Responding to comments by Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the World Economic Forum in Hanoi today defending the conviction of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said: “This is a disgraceful attempt by Aung San Suu Kyi to defend the indefensible. […]

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By Amnesty International
Sep 13 2018 (Amnesty International)

Responding to comments by Myanmar’s State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the World Economic Forum in Hanoi today defending the conviction of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said:

“This is a disgraceful attempt by Aung San Suu Kyi to defend the indefensible. To say that this case had ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression’ and that Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo ‘were not jailed for being journalists’ is a deluded misrepresentation of the facts.

“These two men were convicted under a draconian, colonial-era law that was deliberately misused to halt their investigations into the appalling atrocities that took place in Rakhine State. From start to finish, the case was nothing more than a brazen attack on freedom of expression and independent journalism in Myanmar

“To argue that the letter of the law was followed is to wilfully ignore all of these glaringly obvious shortcomings. It’s also eerily similar to the line taken by the military generals when Aung San Suu Kyi herself was locked up. The international condemnation heading Aung San Suu Kyi’s way is fully deserved, she should be ashamed.”

Background
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, on 12 December 2017. At the time, the two men had been investigating military operations in northern Rakhine State. These operations were marked by crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population, including deportation, murder, rape, torture and burning of homes and villages.
The two journalists were held incommunicado for two weeks before being transferred to Yangon’s Insein prison. They were convicted on 3 September 2018 under the Official Secrets Act – one of a number of repressive laws in Myanmar – and each sentenced to seven years in prison.

Public Document
***************

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Michael Parsons on:
+44 207 413 5696
email: Michael.Parsons@amnesty.org
Out of hours contact details
+44 20 7413 5566
email: press@amnesty.org
twitter: @amnestypress

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Promoting Good Migration Governance through South-South Cooperationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/promoting-good-migration-governance-south-south-cooperation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=promoting-good-migration-governance-south-south-cooperation http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/promoting-good-migration-governance-south-south-cooperation/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:30:47 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157648 Cooperation between developing countries — known to development actors as South-South Cooperation (SSC) — is experiencing a resurgence. Although the idea that developing countries could work together to improve their collective development outcomes has been around for some time, recent years have witnessed a noticeable growth in South-South activities, driven by the emergence of new innovations, expertise and best […]

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South-South migration presents many complex and diverse opportunities and challenges for countries and migrants alike. Photo: Muse Mohammed / IOM

By International Organization for Migration
Sep 12 2018 (IOM)

Cooperation between developing countries — known to development actors as South-South Cooperation (SSC) — is experiencing a resurgence. Although the idea that developing countries could work together to improve their collective development outcomes has been around for some time, recent years have witnessed a noticeable growth in South-South activities, driven by the emergence of new innovations, expertise and best practices in developing countries and greater awareness of the potential benefits such cooperation offers.

In the midst of this growing interest in and demand for SSC, governments at the United Nations are about to develop a new global framework on South-South and Triangular Cooperation. This will build upon the first such framework adopted by governments back in 1978: the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA). Efforts to create a new framework offer the opportunity to not only confirm the value of SSC as a complement to traditional forms of cooperation between developed and developing countries, but also to highlight additional areas of collaboration beyond those outlined in the original BAPA document.

Promoting South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the migration context for example, would be a valuable outcome. Already, there is significant cooperation amongst governments on different aspects of migration, whether bilaterally or at the regional level. This includes cooperation between developing countries, or between groups of developing countries and their developed-country counterparts. The intergovernmental process on a reinvigorated BAPA + 40 outcome should recognize these existing partnerships as a form of SSC and include migration as an area in which enhanced cooperation between developing countries would be beneficial.

There are several reasons why South-South cooperation should continue to expand in the migration context.

First, it is now well established that the challenges and opportunities migration presents cannot be addressed effectively without strong partnerships. This is one of the core principles of IOM’s Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF), which highlights the fact that migration, by its very nature, implicates multiple actors and that its good governance relies upon partnerships between all actors at different levels of engagement. Partnership is also, for good reason, a recurring mantra of global migration policy makers. In the text of the recently finalized Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration for example, United Nations’ member states referred to partnerships close to thirty times in the entire thirty-four-page document. Of the twenty-three overarching objectives contained in the GCM, partnerships also feature in the final objective, which calls for ‘strengthen[ed] international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration’. Governments know they cannot address the implications of migration if they try to do it alone. Partnerships are crucial.

Second, the evolving nature of migration has and will continue to necessitate greater South-South cooperation. In 2017, developing regions hosted some 43 per cent of the world’s 258 million international migrants. Of those, 97 million, or 87 per cent, originated from other developing regions. This figure now surpasses the number of migrants from developing countries who live in the developed world, and the average annual growth in the number of migrants living in the Global South has outpaced that in the Global North since the year 2000. These changing dynamics present a number of challenges, but also opportunities, for developing countries, many of which lack the resources, structures and governance frameworks to effectively manage these new patterns, and which are unaccustomed to being destinations for migrants. Enhancing SSC on migration will therefore be critical to ensuring positive outcomes for both migrants and societies and addressing its potential challenges. That partnership should include the exchange of knowledge and expertise with a view to developing mutual capacities and, where possible and desirable, leading to a convergence of policy approaches on migration.

Third, although the support of developed countries and other actors will continue to be important, many of the challenges presented by South-South migration may be best responded to through solutions that are also established in the South, including within regions. This is because South-South migration presents many complex and diverse opportunities and challenges for countries and migrants alike, some of which are of a different nature, or have different implications to, those experienced by developed countries.

For example, the benefits migration offers to developing countries can differ from those experienced in the developed world, suggesting differentiated responses are also necessary. Migrant remittances for example, are worth significantly more in the Global South than in the North, even if some developed countries have themselves been recipients of such funds. The potential benefits of circular migration can also differ, reflected in the different priorities and rationale for promoting seasonal mobility as between developed and developing countries.

South-South migration is also often characterized by significant volumes of irregular migration, vulnerable migrants caught in crisis situations, significant inflows of forced migration, including smuggling and human trafficking. Although developed countries also have experience in addressing these challenges, responses might not always be directly transferable, given existing development gaps.

Fourth, with migration now featured in several multilateral development frameworks, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the soon to be adopted Global Compact on Migration (GCM), South-South cooperation is likely to be a crucial means of implementing the commitments in these frameworks. The draft GCM already includes a commitment to reinforce engagement and partnership through North-South, South-South, triangular and technical cooperation and assistance. Ensuring consistency between these existing frameworks and the new BAPA + 40 outcome will be important. This is true also given the capacity building needs that continue to impact developing countries in the migration field, including in migration policy development, data collection and analysis, and border management, amongst other issues.

South-South cooperation on migration therefore presents a useful tool to foster shared prosperity by enhancing partnerships between different actors. This includes by building on and tapping into the bridges migrants themselves establish between territories through their transnational activities and networks. There are several things governments can also do to enhance this cooperation.

The first would be to take stock of, give recognition to, and build upon the tremendous cooperation that already exists between developing countries on migration. There are numerous good examples to draw from. In multiple regions for example, Regional Consultative Processes on Migration (RCPs) have become valuable mechanisms through which to foster inter-state cooperation on migration, including in the South-South context. In Latin America and the Caribbean, regional frameworks like MERCOSUR and CELAC have been important to building cooperation and dialogue on migration. As early as 1991, the African Union established the African Economic Community, an organization intended to enhance the free movement of people and promote rights of residence throughout the region. Examples like these should continue to be identified and built upon.

Second, governments should include migration in the text of the BAPA + 40 outcome, in order to draw specific attention to the value of SSC in the migration context and to address both the positive and negative aspects of increased South-South migration. This would also help ensure consistency with other existing frameworks, including the 2030 Agenda, which includes many migration dimensions, and the new Global Compact on migration, the first major migration framework of its kind. This could include perambulatory text recognizing the changing dynamics of migration and the implications for developing countries, as well as firm commitments to support SSC activities to enhance capacities in migration governance. Any such inputs would have the additional benefit of modernizing the BAPA document to better reflect the nature of contemporary migration patterns and a more nuanced understanding of its challenges and opportunities.

The discussions underway at the UN to define a new approach to South-South and triangular cooperation are an ideal opportunity to broaden our understanding of SSC and its potential value to diverse public policy issues. Migration is one area that would benefit from increased attention and specific references in the BAPA + 40 outcome. With more and more people moving from one developing country to another, cooperation between those countries is increasingly important. The lessons and practices established in the developing world could be instrumental to promoting good migration governance. Those lessons could be valuable for all of us, as well.

This story was written by Chris Richter, Migration Policy Officer at the IOM office in New York.

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IOM Resumes Voluntary Humanitarian Return Flights from Libya Following Tripoli Ceasefirehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/iom-resumes-voluntary-humanitarian-return-flights-libya-following-tripoli-ceasefire/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iom-resumes-voluntary-humanitarian-return-flights-libya-following-tripoli-ceasefire http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/iom-resumes-voluntary-humanitarian-return-flights-libya-following-tripoli-ceasefire/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 14:42:51 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157584 A flight to Ghana is the first return flight to leave Libya in the wake of this week’s ceasefire agreement ending hostilities in southern Tripoli and surrounding areas. The reopening of Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport permitted a commercial flight to leave the airport for Ghana, carrying 21 migrants, said IOM, the UN Migration Agency (10/09). The […]

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The Ghanaian migrants boarding their return flight at Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport on 10 September 2018. Photo: IOM / Hmouzi

By International Organization for Migration
TRIPOLI, Sep 12 2018 (IOM)

A flight to Ghana is the first return flight to leave Libya in the wake of this week’s ceasefire agreement ending hostilities in southern Tripoli and surrounding areas. The reopening of Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport permitted a commercial flight to leave the airport for Ghana, carrying 21 migrants, said IOM, the UN Migration Agency (10/09).

The migrants – from different districts of Tripoli – expressed interest in returning safely to their home country through IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme. The programme provides a safe pathway home to migrants who wish to return home but have little means of accomplishing that. Upon arrival, the returning migrants will be provided with sustainable reintegration assistance to further aid them when returning to their community of origin.

“We are relieved that this flight was able to leave Libya safely and we hope to charter more flights in the coming days and weeks to meet the increasing demand,” said Ashraf Hassan, VHR Programme Coordinator at IOM Libya’s mission. “We have observed a large number of people applying to return home through VHR. We are taking advantage of the current ceasefire and relative calm to assist them to exit to safety.”

Other chartered flights are also scheduled to leave Libya later this week with migrants on board assisted from different urban areas. The charters had already been scheduled for departure, however, following the eruption of violence and fighting between the warring parties two weeks ago and the cessation of operations at Mitiga airport, the flights had been postponed.

“The recent clashes in and around Tripoli have endangered the lives of locked-up migrants, further aggravating their suffering and increasing their vulnerability,” explained Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya’s Chief of Mission.

“We continue to respond to existing and emerging humanitarian needs including increasing requests for voluntary humanitarian return, as our teams on the ground are directly registering these requests in detention centers and urban areas to expedite the safe return of people.”

IOM launched its VHR hotline through social media platforms, to scale up efforts in reaching out to a larger number of stranded migrants across Libya whose lives may now be at a far greater risk due to the current security conditions.

For further inquiries, please contact at IOM Libya, Maya Abu Ata: mabuata@iom.int or Safa Msehli: smsehli@iom.int

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Chairman of the Geneva Centre: South-South cooperation brings peace and stability to the Global Southhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/chairman-geneva-centre-south-south-cooperation-brings-peace-stability-global-south/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chairman-geneva-centre-south-south-cooperation-brings-peace-stability-global-south http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/chairman-geneva-centre-south-south-cooperation-brings-peace-stability-global-south/#respond Wed, 12 Sep 2018 07:21:52 +0000 Geneva Centre http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157570 Enhanced South-South cooperation is key to addressing instability and armed conflict as well as to bringing peace and stability to the Global South, says the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim on the occasion of the 2018 International Day for South-South Cooperation. “Enhanced […]

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By Geneva Centre
GENEVA, Sep 12 2018 (Geneva Centre)

Enhanced South-South cooperation is key to addressing instability and armed conflict as well as to bringing peace and stability to the Global South, says the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim on the occasion of the 2018 International Day for South-South Cooperation.

Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim

Enhanced South-South cooperation in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical spheres as well as adopting joint positions on human rights policies in international fora will undoubtedly strengthen the capacity of developing countries to meet the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations,” said Dr. Al Qassim.

The Geneva Centre’s Chairman observed that enhanced South-South cooperation was required to turn conflict into cooperation and to address global issues requiring a coordinated response from countries in the Global South.

Economic cooperation and trade between countries in the Global South serve as instruments to foster greater economic integration and the realization of common aspirations. This cooperation should be made to extend to the area of multilateral human rights issues to ascertain that universal values prevail over politicization in particular in UN fora. Ideological and political differences in this context should not dim the voice of the Global South in their joint pursuit of peace and stability,” Dr. Al Qassim stressed.

In this connection, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman appealed to decision-makers in the Global South to settle political disputes and to promote peaceful relations. He remarked that major armed conflicts occur primarily in the Global South and hinder the achievement of durable peace and development. More than 90% of active conflicts worldwide take place between and within developing countries. At the same time, economic growth and the predominance of human rights in developing societies will in turn consolidate peace and security.
In this connection, Dr. Al Qassim praised the landmark peace declaration signed on 9 July 2018 by the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia to end one of Africa’s most prolonged conflict.

Peace and stability are preconditions for economic growth, development, trade and for human rights to prevail. Armed conflict and military confrontation hinder trade and economic growth and jeopardize the rule of law. Greater efforts should therefore be undertaken by decision-makers in promoting peaceful relations between developed countries.

I therefore hail the recent decision of the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia to set aside political differences and to work jointly towards peace, stability and prosperity for their peoples. I also salute the efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces, in restoring the relationship between both countries after two decades of conflict. I voice the hope this human right will thereby be enhanced in the whole region,” Dr. Al Qassim underlined.

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 73,696; Deaths Reach 1,565http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-73696-deaths-reach-1565/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-73696-deaths-reach-1565 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-73696-deaths-reach-1565/#respond Tue, 11 Sep 2018 17:21:00 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157568 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 73,696 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 9 September, with 32,022 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 128,993 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 298,663 through a similar point (13 September) in 2016. Spain, with […]

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By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Sep 11 2018 (IOM)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 73,696 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 9 September, with 32,022 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 128,993 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 298,663 through a similar point (13 September) in 2016.

Spain, with over 43 per cent of all irregular arrivals on the Mediterranean through this year, has outpaced Greece and Italy throughout the summer. Italy’s arrivals to date – 20,319 – are the lowest recorded by IOM since 2014, lower in fact, than arrivals recorded by Italian authorities during many individual months over the past five years.

The same can be said for Greece, whose totals for irregular migrant arrivals through the first week of September this year (20,430) recently surpassed arrivals to Italy. It is the first time that has happened since the early spring of 2016.

A year ago, Greece’s irregular migrant arrivals were about one-sixth those of Italy, while Spain’s were about one-tenth (see chart below).

IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported late Monday that some media outlets have learned of a shipwreck off Libya with at least 100 migrants believed to have drowned. Details were few after initial reports, with some dispatches—thus far unconfirmed—suggesting as many as 115 people may be missing at sea with another 15 bodies recovered, including those of Libyan nationals who may have been among the smugglers, not passengers. These reports indicate as well that survivors had been returned to Libya.

IOM Libya’s Maya Abu Ata, later Monday, offered these details: a single drowning incident occurred on Saturday (1September) after which a Libyan Coast Guard unit returned a boat to Libya and transferred all migrants on board to a detention center. This operation references two rubber boats intercepted with a total of 278 people on board. Among the survivors were 48 women and 48 children. Authorities report the remains of two people were retrieved and that, additionally, around 25 migrants are missing, according to what survivors told the Libyan Coast Guard.

So far this year, around 13,000 migrants have been returned to Libyan shores after being rescued or intercepted at sea.

IOM Libya also reported it has resumed Voluntary Humanitarian Return flights out of Tripoli after a ceasefire was declared there.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that 32,022 irregular migrants have arrived by sea this year via the Western Mediterranean, of those nearly 9,100 arriving in the 40 days since the start of August, a rate of 227 per day. For the first nine days of September, irregular migration arrivals on the Western Mediterranean route were running at a rate of nearly 300 per day (see chart below).

Dodevska also shared recent data on the nationalities of those arriving this year by sea. Nearly 60 per cent she reported are from Sub Saharan Africa, including large contingents from Mali, Guinea Conakry, Côte d’Ivoire and The Gambia.

About a third of all sea arrivals – have been classified as ‘Sub Saharan African’ because definitive proof of citizenship had not been obtained. Of those who can be classified by nationality, the largest group of Sub Saharan Africans appear to have arrived from Guinea Conakry, followed by Mali, The Gambia and Côte d’Ivoire. Another large contingent is arriving from Morocco.

Dodevska explained that arriving migrants in Spain first are attended to by Red Cross staff (who offer first aid assistance, blankets and dry clothes). Afterwards, the Spanish Ministry of Interior takes over for an identification process (photos, fingerprints are taken of everyone) which she said can take up to 72 hours, although often is completed much sooner.

“Afterwards,” she said, “individuals are transferred to the Humanitarian Reception Centres. These centres are under the competence of the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security and are managed by NGOs.”

Dodevska explained those arriving by land route to Ceuta and Melilla are transferred to the Centres for Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) and placed in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. These two centres are also under the competence of the Spanish Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security.

On Monday, IOM Athens’ Christine Nikolaidou reported that over five days (04-09 September) Hellenic Coast Guard units (HCG) managed at least five incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Kos and Symi. The HCG rescued a total of 113 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Additional arrivals of 753 migrants during those days to Samos and Kos – as well as to Lesvos, Chios and Rhodes – bring to 20,430 the total number of irregular arrivals to Greece by sea in 2018. In addition, some 11,050 land arrivals have been recorded on the Eastern Mediterranean through the end of July, and an unknown number since 1 August.

Greek arrivals through the first nine days of September – some 1,505 men, women and children – are already past the half-way point for each of the previous months of March through August, and more than each of all the arrivals for the full months of January and February. This may be an indicator of a shift of some migration routes away from Libya towards Italy with more irregular migrants seeking passage through Turkey and other states in the region (see charts below).

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel: +40212115657, Email: mmocanu@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Christine Nikolaidou, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 99 19 040 ext. 248, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email: mchabbi@iom.int

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Former Wall Street Banker Who Advanced the Cause of Women & Children in Africahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/former-wall-street-banker-advanced-cause-women-children-africa/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=former-wall-street-banker-advanced-cause-women-children-africa http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/former-wall-street-banker-advanced-cause-women-children-africa/#respond Mon, 10 Sep 2018 17:20:45 +0000 Sir Richard Jolly http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157537 Sir Richard Jolly, an eminent development economist, is Honorary Professor, former Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director (1982-1995)

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A family from Central African Republic who fled to Cameroon’s East Region. Credit: Monde Kingsley Nfor/IPS

By Sir Richard Jolly
BRIGHTON, UK, Sep 10 2018 (IPS)

What is it like to work for the United Nations? Many probably imagine little more than an almost endless round of boring speeches, bureaucrats and governments discussing and disagreeing over long-standing conflicts with stalemate and few results.

After all, this is so often what one reads about the UN in the newspapers. And it is true that this is a part of what takes place in the UN buildings in New York or Geneva.

However, such activities are only a small fraction of what the UN does. In contrast to debate in the Security Council and the General Assembly, most of the UN’s work and most of the UN’s staff – 80% or more –are engaged in things more practical, more positive and much less fraught.

These include health, agriculture, education, culture, employment, technology, economic development with a focus on children, women and human concerns – and a multitude of other issues which countries want to pursue and which make up the agenda of what the UN calls development.

In some of the worst trouble spots of the world, UN activities have to be more basic, providing immediate support for children, women and vulnerable communities caught up in the tragic consequences of violence and destruction. For all its difficulties, even this for the UN has its positive and humane side.

A recently-released honest and forthright memoir— “A Destiny in the Making” by Boudewijn Mohr — tells what working for the UN is like on the frontlines, in a range of different situations and different countries, large and small, poor and rich, many in Africa.

Most unusually, the perspective is that of a banker, who after some 17 years of banking in money making Wall Street and later at the French Bank Société Générale, decides to try something different and gets taken on by UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund. Initially, there is caution on both sides, the banker wondering whether this is a good career move,

UNICEF wondering what skills the banker can bring which would really be useful. But with emerging experience on both sides, the story becomes a love affair, the banker realizing that he now has the best job in his life, his wife, son and daughter discovering roles for themselves and UNICEF promoting the banker to ever more responsible positions.

There are bits in this fascinating story for everyone. Those wondering about what the UN actually does when working in Africa will find fascinating examples, with frustrations and failures as well as struggles and successes – and uplifting accounts of creativity and commitment by staff, national and international.

Those who have worked for the UN, past and present, may recognize some of the names and situations as well as enjoying the well-told experiences. Everyone will find memorable anecdotes. Even some bankers, I hope, may be led to reconsider their daily preoccupations with money-making and wonder whether it is time for a change.

Boudewijn illuminates his story with colour and detail, enlivened by accounts from his diaries written at the time. Fortunately, he has not edited out frank comments and reactions to some of the less helpful colleagues or officials he has encountered on the way. All this makes for lively reading.

It is also a family memoir, with detail of how Annette, Boudewijn’s wife, developed her own parallel interests and activities, with her anthropologist’s eye for what also was going on and what local people were thinking and feeling.

And their son, Nadim, when not away in school, joined in with his own activities which are recorded. Their daughter Vanessa followed her own multicultural track that included acting in the First All Children’s Theatre of Manhattan and then sociology with study and research in London, Paris and Hanghzou, China.

At a time when it is in vogue to urge governments and non-profits to learn from international business and banking, Boudewijn Mohr’s insightful book offers a different lesson.

It shows how much international business and the banking sector have to learn from the UN and NGOs – about motivation and commitment, about goals focused on human welfare rather than profit, and about broader approaches to efficiency and effectiveness.

The book is a great read –for a wide variety of readers, NGO workers in development, in the UN, people young and old, possibly even some bankers!

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Excerpt:

Sir Richard Jolly, an eminent development economist, is Honorary Professor, former Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director (1982-1995)

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International Law Experts Warn Europe’s ‘Pull Back’ of Migrants is Illegal – Part 2http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/international-law-experts-warn-europes-pull-back-migrants-illegal-part-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-law-experts-warn-europes-pull-back-migrants-illegal-part-2 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/international-law-experts-warn-europes-pull-back-migrants-illegal-part-2/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:41:32 +0000 Maged Srour http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157538 This is the second part of our series about migration to Italy.

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Even though fewer people are attempting irregular migration to Europe since the start of the year, the number of deaths that occur along the Mediterranean route has dramatically increased, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Amnesty International estimates. Courtesy: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

By Maged Srour
ROME, Sep 10 2018 (IPS)

“The Italian and other European authorities are engaging – on the migration issue – in a policy which has the foreseeable results of numerous deaths.” It is a grim warning from expert on international law, refugees and migration issues, and member of the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Itamar Mann.

In February 2017, Italy entered into an agreement with Libya to provide funds to Libyan authorities for the coordination of relief operations in the central Mediterranean. Since the agreement, the Libyan Coast Guard has returned migrants to Libya who attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

However, according to a recent Amnesty International report both “Italy and the European Union (EU) are bolstering their policy of supporting the Libyan Coast Guard to ensure it prevents departures and carries out interceptions of refugees and migrants on the high seas in order to pull them back to Libya. This is also contributing to rendering the central Mediterranean route more dangerous for refugees and migrants, and rescue at sea unreliable.”

When IPS asked Mann if he thought there was a direct link between the “pull back” of migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean and the increased number of migrant deaths, Mann described this policy as “killing by omission.”

Even though fewer people are attempting irregular migration to Europe since the start of the year, the number of deaths that occur along the Mediterranean route has dramatically increased, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Amnesty International estimates.

According to Amnesty International:

• From January to July 2018, 1,111 people were reported dead or missing along the central Mediterranean route,

• The death rate among those attempting the crossing from Libya has surged to 1 in 16 in the period June-July, 2018,

• This was four times higher than the rate recorded from January-May 2018, which was 1 in 64.

Migrants arriving at Lampedusa, Italy in this picture dated 2011. Credit: Ilaria Vechi/IPS.

Moral responsibility lies not only with Italy, but Europe too

In May, GLAN filed an application against Italy with the European Court of Human Rights for a 2017 incident where the Libyan Coast Guard allegedly intervened in the rescue, by an non-governmental organisation, of a sinking dinghy. At least 20 people died, including two children, when the vessel sunk. But the Libyan Coast Guard is reported to have engaged in “pull back” and returned the survivors to Libya, where they reportedly endured detention in inhumane conditions and were beaten, starved and raped.“While Italy retains legal responsibility, the process has been facilitated in multiple ways by the EU, and [therefore] the moral responsibility is not exclusively Italian.” -- Itamar Mann, Global Legal Action Network (GLAN).

According to Violeta Moreno-Lax, a senior lecturer in law from Queen Mary University of London, and legal advisor to GLAN: “The Italian authorities are outsourcing to Libya what they are prohibited from doing themselves. They are putting lives at risk and exposing migrants to extreme forms of ill-treatment by proxy, supporting and directing the action of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.”

Mann, however, pointed out that, “while Italy retains legal responsibility, the process has been facilitated in multiple ways by the EU, and [therefore] the moral responsibility is not exclusively Italian.”
“The EU, for example, has tried to advance migrant processing centres in Libya, engaged in training of Libyan forces, and turned a blind eye to continued violations. So beyond the legal case, simply blaming Italy and ignoring the larger context would be misleading,” he told IPS via email.

The Italian government is expected to respond in due course to the legal papers.

Italy’s response to irregular migration

Italy’s stance on migrants has been reported previously. The country’s interior minister Matteo Salvini was reported by the Telegraph as saying his country would no longer be “the doormat of Europe” as it had been left to largely deal with the migrant crisis on its own. The newspaper reported that in May he had called for Italy’s coast guard and naval ships to be pulled back from patrolling the Mediterranean and brought closer to home.

There have been a number of other reported incidents of alleged “pull back”.

At the end of July, Italian authorities reportedly rescued migrants at sea and returned them to Libya. Also in July, the story of how migrants on the Italian coast guard ship, the Diciotti, were reportedly blocked from disembarking by the country’s ministry of interior generated much criticism and gave rise to a heated debate in Europe. The migrants were eventually allowed to disembark in Trapani, Sicily, after intervention by Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella. 

“The repatriation of refugees to Libya is illegal, as international law prohibits the transfer of people, who encounter distress at sea, to ‘unsafe havens,’” Benjamin Labudda, an expert on migration issues and housing conditions of refugees in the European context and a PhD Scientific Assistant at the Institute of Sociology of University of Muenster, told IPS.

Non-refoulement’, a well-known fundamental principle of international law, no country receiving asylum seekers can expel or return them to territories where their lives or freedom could be threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Concern for migrants sent back to Libya

Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesperson for IOM, told IPS he was also concerned about the return of migrants to Libya.

“If a boat is rescued in international waters and returned to Libya, we are facing a ‘pull back’. The fact that we are referring relief operations in international waters to Libya is ambiguous because the migrants would probably be taken to an unsafe port,” he said.

He said the issue should be kept under close observation, as according to international law migrants rescued at sea should not be returned to Libya, which was “not a safe harbour.”

“We must promote legality, through more residence permits and integration policies,” said Di Giacomo. “A simple closure would be misunderstood by the countries of origin of these migrants. They would only see ‘the rich Europe that sends back the poor Africans.’”

Labudda added that agreements for the distribution of refugees among EU countries must be institutionalised and enforced, as many countries still refuse to welcome refugees.
“A solution regarding the structure of a process of distribution has to be found as soon as possible in the upcoming months,” he added.

The post International Law Experts Warn Europe’s ‘Pull Back’ of Migrants is Illegal – Part 2 appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

This is the second part of our series about migration to Italy.

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Atrocities Against Rohingyas: Start probe nowhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/atrocities-rohingyas-start-probe-now/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=atrocities-rohingyas-start-probe-now http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/atrocities-rohingyas-start-probe-now/#respond Mon, 10 Sep 2018 08:38:59 +0000 Diplomatic Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157536 UN adviser on genocide prevention asks ICC

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Rohingyas from Myanmar wait to be let through by Bangladeshi border guards after crossing the border at Palongkhali of Cox's Bazar on Monday, on October 16, 2017. File Photo: Reuters

By Diplomatic Correspondent
Sep 10 2018 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng has urged International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to consider ICC’s recommendation of opening an investigation into the atrocities against Rohingyas without delay.

“The decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber [of ICC] provides victims an opportunity to access justice for some of the crimes they have endured, which is an important first step,” he said in a statement issued in New York on Friday.

Myanmar has refused to cooperate with any impartial investigation into the matter and continues to insist hiding behind its sovereign borders.

“It is about time that countries understand that borders are not strong enough to protect those involved in the most horrible crimes committed against human beings from prosecution,” said Dieng.

His statement came following the release of report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar on August 27, which strongly recommended that Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine.

A fuller report, containing detailed factual information and legal analysis, will be published and presented to the Human Rights Council on September 18.

Welcoming the ICC’s Thursday rule that it has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, he said, “The decision is a light in what has been a very dark episode for the Rohingyas this past year.”

Legal experts have said the decision at the Hague-based ICC paves the way for prosecutor Bensouda to further examine whether there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case, though she has not done so yet.

Dieng said deportation can constitute a crime against humanity under international law. The chamber also ruled that the court would have jurisdiction over other crimes committed, such as the crime of persecution, if at least one element of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the court — or part of such a crime — has been committed on the territory of a state party to the statute.

The decision followed a request by the prosecutor of the ICC on April 9, 2018, in which the prosecutor sought a ruling from the Pre-Trial Chamber on the jurisdiction of the court in a situation in which persons are deported from the territory of a state which is not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC into the territory of a state which is a party to the statute. While Myanmar is not a party to the statute, Bangladesh is.

Accordingly, the decision opens the door to the prosecution of some of the crimes that may have been committed against the Rohingya, the special adviser added.

“The crimes allegedly committed or initiated in Myanmar against the Rohingya population, particularly since August 2017, which led to the mass displacement of almost a million Rohingya people into Bangladesh, are horrific and must not go unpunished,” insisted Dieng.

“We have all heard the shocking reports of mass killings, the gang rape of women, of babies being thrown into fires, and the complete destruction of villages. The failure of the Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC for investigation, despite credible information to support these allegations and numerous calls for accountability, has been frustrating, to say the least.”

Dieng also noted that while the decision issued by the ICC is a breakthrough, alleged crimes perpetrated solely on the territory of Myanmar, including conduct that could possibly amount to the crime of genocide, will be excluded from the jurisdiction of the ICC.

For that reason, the special adviser, who visited Bangladesh on March 7-13 to assess the situation of Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar following incidents of violence in October 2016 and August 2017, urged the international community to continue its efforts to bring justice to the Rohingya.

His visit focused on what lies ahead for the Rohingya population; how to ensure that the crimes committed against them are not repeated; and how to hold accountable those responsible for the crimes that have been documented.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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Excerpt:

UN adviser on genocide prevention asks ICC

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‘All the Roads Leading to Agadez and Italy are Dangerous’http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/roads-leading-agadez-italy-dangerous/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=roads-leading-agadez-italy-dangerous http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/roads-leading-agadez-italy-dangerous/#respond Sat, 08 Sep 2018 11:18:43 +0000 Issa Sikiti da Silva http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157490 El Adama Diallo left his home in Senegal on Oct. 28, 2016, with dreams of reaching Europe in his heart and a steely determination that made him take an alternative, dangerous route to get there despite the absence of regular migration papers in his pocket. It was a journey that took him from West Africa—through […]

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Hip-hop singer Matar Khoudia Ndiaye–aka Big Makhou Djolof was speaking on Radio Oxy Jeunes Fm, in Senegal, about his experience attempting irregular migration to Europe. Courtesy: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

By Issa Sikiti da Silva
DAKAR, Sep 8 2018 (IPS)

El Adama Diallo left his home in Senegal on Oct. 28, 2016, with dreams of reaching Europe in his heart and a steely determination that made him take an alternative, dangerous route to get there despite the absence of regular migration papers in his pocket.

It was a journey that took him from West Africa—through Mali then to Agadez in Niger and across the Sahara desert—to a southern oasis town in Libya.“There is no love and games that side. Blacks are betraying their own brothers and giving them away to Arabs. They are the ones that are negotiating the ransom on behalf of their Arab bosses.” -- El Adama Diallo, returnee migrant.

It was a route populated with heavily-armed human traffickers, bandits and the still-alive bodies of migrants like him, emaciated and weak from lack of water and food who had been left behind to die under the blazing North African sun.

Diallo survived it. Barely.

“All the roads leading to Agadez, and eventually to Libya and Italy are dangerous,” he told IPS on the sidelines of a live broadcast on Radio Afia Fm on Monday, Sept. 3, from the station’s base in the bustling township of Grand Yoff, in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

For me, the dream of reaching Europe irregularly is over, and I call on all who are considering irregular migration to stop it now, 32-year-old Diallo said.

Diallo has much to say about his experience. He finally was able to return to Senegal on Dec. 5, 2017 with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which has been working in coordination with the United Nations Refugee Agency and the Libyan government to assist migrants who want to return home.

He now wants to inform others about his experience. Diallo has become a volunteer in an innovative awareness-raising campaign by IOM called Migrants as Messengers (MaM). MaM is a peer-to-peer messaging campaign that trains returning migrants to share their stories of the danger, trauma and abuse that they experienced while attempting irregular migration. The stories are candid and emotional testimonials.

As is Diallo’s own story.

Kidnapped and inhumane detention conditions

Diallo arrived in Sabha, southwestern Libya and found “almost the whole of Africa was there; Malians, Gambians, Ivorians, Nigerians and others.” From there he hoped to go to Tripoli to catch a boat to Italy. But he was immediately kidnapped by gangs posing as human traffickers.

“They demanded a ransom of [about USD800] for my freedom, which was paid a week later by my family back in Senegal,” he said.

Being caught by human traffickers showed him that race or nationality did not mean solidarity when it came to making a profit.

“There is no love and games that side. Blacks are betraying their own brothers and giving them away to Arabs. They are the ones that are negotiating the ransom on behalf of their Arab bosses,” he said.

But after being released he spent about 10 months in Libya, still waiting to travel to Italy. He was eventually arrested by security forces and held, along with thousands others, in a detention centre in Tripoli in such inhumane conditions that eventually, he knew; all he wanted to do was to return home.

He stayed for two months in cells that were so overcrowded “we were piled on top of each other like fishes.”

“Some people slept standing and others spent the night in stinking toilets, and we only ate once a day. It was terrible,” Diallo explained.

He endured it until he was given the opportunity to return home with IOM.

Explaining the dangers to others

Mamoudou Keita, a reporter at Radio Afia, told IPS that community radio stations were the right platform to debate this issue.

“Community radio is close to people on the ground. I think it’s a good communication strategy. However, it must not be limited to the media. It must descend to the streets, mosques and churches to ensure that the message is understood everywhere,” Keita said.

“Besides, the marketplaces are also good places to spread the word because some mothers are funding their children’s [irregular] trips to Europe. They must be told that it’s morally wrong and dangerous.”

El Hadji Saidou Nourou Dia, IOM Senegal spokesperson, told IPS that his agency was working with 30 community radio stations affiliated to Association of Union des Radio Associatives and Communautaires du Senegal (URAC) or Community Radio Stations of Senegal. The stations are based in Dakar, Tambacounda, Kolda and Seidhou, which are regions most affected by irregular migration.

He said the stations were owned and managed by people who were leaders in their respective communities and that people listened to and considered their advice.

“Our partnership, which is expected to end in December 2018, consists among others of building capacity of radio journalists as how to best treat information related to migration,” he said.

“When a migrant speaks about his own experience, the things that he went through, that surely has the power to make the candidates to irregular migration think twice before they take that route,” Dia said.

The community radio migration programmes comprise:

•           Getting returning migrants to talk and debate about their failed travelling experiences in North Africa,

•           Inviting specialists to discuss the challenges of migration,

•           Educating communities through radio dramas, which have been drawn from international cartoons and adapted to Senegal.

It is possible to be successful at home

A radio programme similar to the one that Diallo was on this week was also hosted last week in Pikine, east Dakar, on Radio Oxy Jeunes Fm.

Hip-hop singer Matar Khoudia Ndiaye–aka Big Makhou Djolof–is himself a returnee migrant.

“It’s still possible to harvest success by staying at home,” the tall artist, who has a single called “Stop Irregular Immigration,” said.

“I saw with my own eyes people dying in the Sahara Desert, and women getting involved in prostitution to survive when they ran out of money. Also, human traffickers rape the same women they are supposed to help reach Europe,” he said during an emotionally-charged show hosted by Oxy Jeunes radio journalist Codou Loum.

Founded in 1989, Oxy Jeunes Radio Station is believed to be one of the oldest community broadcasters in West Africa, and has a listenership of about 70 percent of Dakar’s one million people.

Ndiaye spent two months in Libya in 2016 and paid about USD1,400 to human traffickers to help him get to Italy.

But he never made it.

Asked if he was aware that parents were funding their children’s trips to North Africa and eventually to Europe, he replied: “Stop putting pressure on your children to become rich quickly to support the family.”

“Paying for their irregular trip to Europe is not a good thing to do because if these children get killed, it will be a big loss for you.”

African governments need to do more for their youth

Ramatoulaye Diene, a legal migration activist and radio personality, who was also on the show with Ndiaye, said migration was everyone’s right. However, she stressed it has be to done in a formal and legal way to avoid people falling into unpredictable traps.

Diene, while echoing the rapper’s sentiments that it was still possible to make it in Africa, appealed to African governments to create a youth-friendly environment that would persuade young Africans not to embark on such dangerous journeys.

“I think African governments have failed in their duties to help the youth thrive and improve their lives right here at home. They must support the youth through adequate youth employment programmes and legal migration policies.”

Diallo echoed the same sentiments when he spoke about the reasons for irregular migration.

  •  Additional writing by Nalisha Adams.

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Lost in Mauritania: A Group of Young Children Band Together for Safety on the Way Homehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/lost-mauritania-group-young-children-band-together-safety-way-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lost-mauritania-group-young-children-band-together-safety-way-home http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/lost-mauritania-group-young-children-band-together-safety-way-home/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 18:06:01 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157549 Mauritania is known for its Koranic schools, where students from the surrounding countries are sent to learn Islamic principles and teachings. Regrettably, upon arrival, some of these students are denied admission to the schools because of factors like language barrier, or age if they are too young. They then find themselves lost in a foreign […]

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The children in Mauritania before their return to Sierra Leone. ©IOM 2018/S.Desjardins

By International Organization for Migration
Sep 7 2018 (IOM)

Mauritania is known for its Koranic schools, where students from the surrounding countries are sent to learn Islamic principles and teachings. Regrettably, upon arrival, some of these students are denied admission to the schools because of factors like language barrier, or age if they are too young. They then find themselves lost in a foreign country, away from their families.

This was the case for a group of young children — K., U., A., Ad., I., Al., M. and S.* — aged between eight and 17 years old. Some of them wound up in the East near Nema, others in the West near Nouakchott. The children come from two different villages but they are all from the same country: Sierra Leone.

K., U., A., Ad. and S. are siblings who lost their parents during the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015. Their uncle, anxious and traumatized by devastation of the disease, sent this nieces and nephews away in hopes of getting them to a safer environment. I., Al., and M. are from one of the surrounding villages at the centre, they also travelled to Mauritania to learn the Koran.

The children share a culture and a religion, they enjoy playing the same games, they speak the Sierra Leonean Creole and, like all other young people, they share the same childish dreams. Unfortunately, they were also united by a common struggle to find stability after being rejected by the Koranic school they hoped to attend.

Credit: IOM 2018/S.Desjardins

U, the oldest of the crew, looked after the cohort while they looked for a safe way to go back home. He gradually became their guardian in the foreign lands. He displayed high sense of responsibility, courage, and maturity — but at 17-years-old it was heavy responsibility for him to shoulder.

After struggling for a few months in, the group finally met Haroune, the president of Sierra Leonean community in Mauritania. Haroune took care of them before directing them to IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The IOM country offices in Mauritania and Sierra Leone collaborated under a family-tracing programme to locate the children’s’ families. The children discovered that their families thought they were in school the whole time, and did not know that they were scared and suffering alone. After a long journey by plane, by boat and by bus the children were able to reunite with their families accompanied by IOM workers. Their return was possible thanks to the efforts of diplomats and consulates from both countries.

Credit: IOM 2018/S.Desjardins

The children also benefited from the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme offered by IOM to return, so that they could return to Sierra Leone with dignity. This support was made possible under the EU — IOM Joint Initiative for Strengthening Border Management, Protection and Reintegration of Migrants in Mauritania. This project allows many children to return to school and help their families create income-generating activities to support their daily needs.

*Names have been obscured to protect identities.

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Myanmar: ICC decision opens a clear avenue for justice for the Rohingyahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/myanmar-icc-decision-opens-clear-avenue-justice-rohingya/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=myanmar-icc-decision-opens-clear-avenue-justice-rohingya http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/myanmar-icc-decision-opens-clear-avenue-justice-rohingya/#respond Fri, 07 Sep 2018 15:39:09 +0000 Amnesty International http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157524 Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said: “During the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children were deported to Bangladesh. […]

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By Amnesty International
Sep 7 2018 (Amnesty International)

Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said:

“During the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children were deported to Bangladesh. This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages. The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable.

“Forced deportation is just one of a raft of crimes committed against the Rohingya. Amnesty International has documented extensively how the military’s crackdown also included murder, rape, torture, forced starvation, the targeted burning of Rohingya villages and the use of landmines.

“While we welcome the ICC’s decision, the international community must see it as a spur to further action. In particular, the United Nations Security Council should still refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, so that the Court can investigate all crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya, as well as the military’s crimes against other ethnic minorities in Kachin and northern Shan States.”

Background

On 9 April 2018, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested a ruling to clarify whether the Court has jurisdiction to investigate the alleged deportation of more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children from Myanmar to Bangladesh since 25 August 2017.

As Myanmar is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, serious violations taking place within its borders do not typically fall under the Court’s territorial jurisdiction, barring acceptance of the Court’s jurisdiction by the Myanmar authorities or a referral by the United Nations Security Council.

However, Bangladesh is a State Party to the ICC, and the Court found that it had jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation as an element of that crime was completed on the territory of Bangladesh.

The Court also found that as the Rohingya had been unlawfully compelled to remain outside their own country and to live in appalling conditions in Bangladesh, the ICC may have jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of persecution and / or ‘other inhumane acts’ which it said constituted a severe deprivation of the Rohingya’s fundamental human rights.

For further information please contact:
Hong Kong: Tom Mackey tom.mackey@amnesty.org +852 6026 3992
London: Michael Parsons Media Manager, South East Asia & the Pacific +44 203 036 5871

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The US vs. UNRWA: Who’s the Real Loser?http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/us-vs-unrwa-whos-real-loser/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-vs-unrwa-whos-real-loser http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/us-vs-unrwa-whos-real-loser/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2018 14:36:44 +0000 Mona Ali Khalil http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157516 Mona Ali Khalil, PassBlue*

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For the first time, students from the West Bank met students from Gaza through an UNRWA summer program. Here, they say farewell after a camping activity, July 20, 2017. The US decision to end funding to the UN agency that administers to Palestinian refugees will damage everyone in the region, including Israel, the author argues. Credit: FADI THABET/UNRWA

By Mona Ali Khalil
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 7 2018 (IPS)

It is entirely the United States’ prerogative to cut off its voluntary contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA.

In her statements about why the Trump administration has decided to do so, however, Ambassador Nikki Haley misses the mark on who should be grateful for her country’s past largess and whose interests will actually be hurt.

On Aug. 29, Haley said, “The Palestinians continue to bash America . . . this is the government, not the people,” but “they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money.” On a separate occasion, Haley also said that “as of now, they’re not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid, we’re going to make sure they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process.”

Contrary to what Haley said, US funding to UNRWA is not a favor to the Palestinian people or to the Palestinian government. It is, in fact, a favor to Israel.

As any occupying power, Israel is obliged, under international humanitarian law, to ensure the welfare and well-being of the occupied population, including maintaining public order and public health and providing food and medical care.

These are among the forms of assistance that Unrwa delivers to the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and as refugees in neighboring countries.

Accordingly, when Unrwa fulfills its UN mandate, it is fulfilling Israel’s responsibilities. Nonetheless, Israel retains ultimate responsibility for meeting these obligations.

So, if the UN agency is ever unable to continue to provide these services, then Israel will, at least as a matter of international law, resume its responsibility for doing so.

Moreover, when the US generously grants $300 million in annual contributions to help Unrwa heal, educate and shelter Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, it is thus adding a stipend of $300 million to its far more generous $5 billion annual contribution to Israel.

It is ironic that with the same $300 million in grants, Israel can buy about 10 F-15s or 15 Apache helicopters — US-made weapons — which it uses to make another kind of delivery, bombs and missiles, to Palestine and occasionally to neighbouring countries.

Despite the asymmetry of her government’s generosity, Haley demands gratitude from Unrwa’s beneficiaries — the besieged people of Gaza and the millions of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria but not from Israel — one of the wealthiest and most militarily and technologically advanced nations in the world.

As for that peace table that Haley keeps referring to, she should be reminded that Washington appears to have found a faster and easier path to “peace” that dispenses with tables as well as with fairness to, and equality between, the parties.

Instead, the Trump administration has chosen unilateral decrees on the final-status issues — not only deciding for the parties but also doing so consistently in favor of one party.

So why bother inviting the other party to a table when everything has seemingly been determined: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel; the Palestinian refugees are no longer refugees and therefore no longer have a right of return; the illegal settlements in the West Bank will define the borders of Israel; and Israel is a uniquely Jewish state, although a third of its citizens are Christian or Muslim.

The current US policy will not help those who want peace and security for both the Israeli and Palestinian people. It won’t help American standing in the region or in the world at large. It won’t even help Israel. According to Israel’s own military and intelligence officials, it might help the radicals and violent extremists.

Did the architects of this flawed policy want to reduce the prospects of peace in the Middle East by design or by default?

*PassBlue is an independent, women-led digital publication offering in-depth journalism on the US-UN relationship, as well as women’s issues, human rights, peacekeeping and other urgent global matters, reported from its base in the UN press corps.

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Excerpt:

Mona Ali Khalil, PassBlue*

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