Myanmar’s State Counsellor
was recently deposed and arrested along with other leaders of her ruling party – National League for Democracy
(NLD). The Leader of Tatmadaw
, the Military, Min Aung Hlaing, announced that elections in November last year had been fraudulent and in an “effort to save democracy” the military would now rule the nation for at least one year, until new elections could be organised. Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of “importing ten or more walkie-talkies” and of violating the nation’s “Natural Disaster Law”. Some might agree that Suu Kyi deserves to be locked up. As an admired role model and Nobel Peace Prize winner, she was globally depicted as an almost saintlike being, canonized in movies like Luc Bessons’s The Lady
. U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, watched the movie before she in 2011 visited Suu Kyi, who by then had spent altogether fifteen years in house imprisonment, deprived of the company of an ailing and eventually dying husband and two sons. In spite of her forced isolation she became an eloquent representative for her compatriots’ resistance and perseverance under almost fifty years of military dictatorship.
On February 1st, 2021 the military of Myanmar overthrew the country’s democratic government in a coup d’etat followed by arresting more than 40 government officials including Aung San Suu Kyi
. The military declared a year-long state of emergency under the rule of it’s Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Troops took over the streets, a night-time curfew has been put into force. Tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the streets across Myanmar, in what is seen as the biggest street protests in more than a decade. The anti-coup demonstrators are undeterred by police attacks and increasing violence from the security forces
The armed conflict in Yemen which has lasted six years, has killed and injured over thousands of civilians
, displaced more than one million people
and given rise to cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages and threats of famine. By the end of 2019, it is estimated that over 233,000
Yemenies have been killed as a result of fighting and the humanitarian crisis. With nearly two-thirds of its population requiring food assistance, Yemen is also experiencing the world's worst food security crisis
. The United Nations
has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “the worst in the world”.
Last October, an ICRC medical team helped a woman deliver a baby boy in the bush on their way to a health center we support in Grévaï, a small town in the north-central region of CAR. On her way to the market, by foot, the woman went into labour and only by chance did not have to go through it alone, surviving along with her baby.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted "leaving no one behind" and "equitable access to vaccines" as the basic principles for Covid-19 vaccination around the world. GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, has also set up "equitable and sustainable use of vaccines" and "leaving no one behind" as the core of their high-level strategy for worldwide immunisation. All these strategies are in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, global vaccination is not just a mere strategy or goal. This relates to the right to healthcare, which is an integral part of the right to life and must be ensured irrespective of nationality, religion, race, creed or culture.
Looking back upon 2020, we all bear the scars of a devastating year; none so much as girls and boys around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education for over 1.6 billion children and youth globally and continues to do so. It has also deepened socio-economic inequities and heightened insecurities around the world, further impacting the lives of girls and boys everywhere. Ongoing, protracted conflicts, forced displacement and the worsening climate crisis were no less forgiving.
The recent verdict by a French court stopping the deportation of an unnamed Bangladeshi on the grounds of deadly air pollution in Dhaka has raised eyebrows among many of us. In some of our newspapers and portals, an undertone of ridicule and aspersion against the assumed lack of patriotism in him was evident. Environmentalists, however, celebrated it as a landmark ruling as governments will now have to take tackling air pollution as a matter of urgency to prevent mass migration. For the last few decades, we have heard a lot about climate refugees, mostly as a result of forced displacements following extreme natural events or disasters caused by climate change. However, the person in question is probably the first legally recognised "pollution" refugee of the world.
As a Muslim woman born and brought up in Denmark, Nadia Helmy Ahmed broke many stereotypes when she started boxing at the age of 15. “Back then it was not common for girls to take up elite boxing, let alone common for Muslim girls, I used to be the only girl in my gym, along with ten others boys,” said Nadia to IPS News.
Temperatures have plummeted way below zero in Bosnia, making life even more miserable for hundreds of migrants and refugees — including entire families with small children — sleeping rough while trying to reach Western Europe.
In October 2020, Bangladeshi citizens took to the streets, outraged by the reports of gruesome gang rapes and sexual violence that were taking place in the country. According to Ain O Salish Kendra
, a Bangladeshi human rights organization, 975 women were raped in the first nine months of 2020, 43 women were killed after being raped and 204 women were attempted to be raped by men in Bangladesh.
If the coronavirus is not deemed a biological weapon, is the heavily-publicized Covid-19 vaccine in danger of being weaponized when over 159,000 Palestinians who have tested positive in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are being denied treatment during a deadly pandemic?
Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.
Despite its grim record of multiple natural disasters and a deepening climate crisis, one could be forgiven for looking back on 2019 with a degree of nostalgia. There is no disguising the extent of the calamity wrought this year by COVID-19, yet as we approach the end of 2020 we may also draw strength from positive developments emerging.
Thirteen-year-old Wita Kasanganjo is a pupil at Maratatu Primary School in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement based in Uganda’s Hoima district. But last month, when Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni ordered the re-opening of schools for the first time since the mid-March nationwide closure, Kasanganjo was not part of the returning group of students. The government, in a cautious lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, has allowed only pupils who are part of the final year or candidate classes to return to their schooling.
Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.
On Dec. 2 Gabriel Arias, 42, left a Washington Heights, New York, money transfer agency after sending money home to the Dominican Republic. For the past eight years, every fortnight he would come to this branch at 171st street after getting paid from his construction job. But things are different this year and he worries about his family back home. Arias lost his job in May, amid heightened COVID-19 restrictions in the state. He told IPS he has tried to work some odd jobs, but has barely earned enough for his monthly apartment rental. This early December visit to send money home was only his second since June.
Climate change and human rights are two key issues in international development and their interaction is increasingly in need of focus at national, regional and international levels. In the Pacific, where the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories
are on the front line of both climate ambition and the ongoing effects of the climate crisis, climate change is recognised as the region’s single greatest threat
. Urgent climate action is consistently called upon to protect the interests of youth and the most vulnerable populations, together with preserving the ‘shared needs and interests, potential and survival of our Blue Pacific and this great Blue Planet
Nyagoa Dak was born to a world in chaos. Her story is one of loss, of redemption, of struggle and of triumph.
At a very early age, Nyagoa lost her parents to the conflict in South Sudan. As the conflict escalated, she escaped with her grandmother to Ethiopia in 2014. There they settled in the Pugnido refugee camp in Ethiopia’s Gambella region.
The recent meeting of the G20 – scheduled to take place in Riyadh but held virtually due to the Coronavirus pandemic – has been an eloquent example of how the world is drifting, in a crisis of leadership.
Often cited as Africa’s greatest asset, its youth are also among the most vulnerable and volatile.
A large and growing population of talented young people has the potential to drive economic growth and well-being of societies across the continent but, as the African Development Bank warns
, current conditions of severe unemployment are translating into poorer living conditions, higher flows of migration, and greater risks of conflict – in short, a social disaster in the making.
On 10 December, representatives for the World Food Programme
(WFP) will in Norway receive the Nobel Peace Prize
at the Oslo City Hall. This is taking place while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing lock-downs and suffering all over world, limiting agricultural production and disrupting supply chains.