Around 3 pm on 16 October 2017, Daphne Caruana Aruna Galizia was returning home when her Peugeot suddenly exploded 80 metres from her house outside of Bidnjia, a small town 15 km from Malta´s capital Valletta. Her son Matthew heard the violent blast and rushed out to find the smoldering wreck of the car on a field by the road: “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me”. Her scattered body had hit the ground 10 metres from the demolished vehicle.1
As we prepare to bid farewell to 2019, we must take a clearsighted look at the global situation and the new challenges we face.
Our world is undergoing a shift. It is no longer bipolar or unipolar. But it is not yet truly multipolar. Balances of power are changing, creating new and dangerous risks.
We saw a hugely diverse selection of world leaders - from civil society, politics and business - seeking positive change at the UN General Assembly in New York in September. But the global reality is a political and economic environment that is increasingly divided. Boycotts. Protests. Narratives of hate.
The intense white brightness of the salt flats interrupts the arid monotony of the Puna in northwest Argentina, resembling postcards from the moon. Beneath its surface are concealed the world's largest reserves of lithium, the key mineral in the transition to clean energy, the mining of which has triggered controversy.
The social utility of billionaires’ existence has come under increased scrutiny, especially during the Democratic Party primaries for the 2020 US Presidential election. Leading newspapers, such as The New York Times, published opinion pieces arguing to abolish billionaires
and reflecting on why billionaires engage in illegal insider trading
Malnutrition remains a formidable challenge in most societies, with less than a tenth of countries in the world not experiencing at least one major malnutrition problem.
In relatively more food secure countries, where almost everyone has enough to eat, and few live in fear of a sudden loss of access to food, micronutrient deficiencies and diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) often still loom large.
Millions of people, particularly in Africa, who lose their property, homes, and even die due to climate-related disasters will have to wait at least another year for the international community to agree on a means of supporting them.
According to political scientist Zaki Laïdi’s La tyrannie de l’urgence
(The tyranny of emergency) from 1999, crisis and emergency situations leave no time for analysis, prevention or forecasting. As an immediate protective reflex, they prevent long-term solutions and pose a serious risk of jeopardising the future.
By any measure this has been a devastating year: fires across the Amazon, the Arctic and beyond; floods and drought in Africa; rising temperatures, carbon emissions and sea levels; accelerating loss of species, and mass forced migrations of people.
2019 will be remembered as the year the climate crisis shook us all. Hopefully, it will also be remembered for the fight back manifested in the spread of mass protests and civic movements against governments and industries failing to respond.
When Feroza Begum was first diagnosed with leprosy in 2006, it felt as though she had been struck by a thunderbolt due to the deep-seated prejudice in her society that the disease is a curse from Allah (God).
Appearing before 17 judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto civilian leader of Myanmar, became a public apologist for the military government of Myanmar which has long been accused of genocide and forcing over 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown.
Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, has assured Bangladesh of continuing support for the Zero Leprosy Initiative announced by the country's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, aimed at eliminating leprosy by 2030.
Sandhya Mandal has never felt so vindicated. For the past four years, the 36-year-old community health worker from Meherpur – a rural district bordering India – has been traveling 50 km every day along dusty roads on an old motorbike, searching for leprosy patients who needed urgent treatment. But in her community, instead of compliments, neighbours and relatives raised questions about her work and her character. “They ask why I come home so late and what is this ‘work’ that I really do. Some even imply that I might be doing something like prostitution,” Mandal tells IPS.
In the light of limited access to education for displaced Rohingya children, the Nippon Foundation has announced US$ 2 million support to BRAC to launch a project to ensure educational facilities to both Rohingya and local community children.
Myanmar will have “no tolerance” for human rights abuses committed in Rakhine state and will prosecute the military, if war crimes have been committed there, Aung San Suu Kyi told the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s main judicial body, on Wednesday.
Millions of adults and children around the world suffer abuses as workers who obtain raw materials, toil on farms, and make products for the global market. They are at the bottom of global supply chains, for everything from everyday goods like vegetables and seafood to luxury items like jewelry and designer clothing that end up on store shelves worldwide.
Leprosy is not a curse but should be detected and treated early, Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has told delegates at a gathering in her country's capital to discuss the elimination of the disease.
Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has arrived
at the Hague to defend Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, against charges of genocide of the Rohingya people, as brought on by the Gambia.
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
": the words of the first Article of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are perhaps the most resonant and cited of all international agreements ever signed. Year after year, we commemorate the Human Rights Day, celebrating human rights, insisting that they are inalienable entitlements to all people, not gender nor age-specific, not particular to any ethnic or religious group. And yet, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman Ambassador Ghazi Jomaa underlines, the international community is still confronted with its chronic problems and human rights abuses, oftentimes aggravated by protracted conflicts, expanding poverty, accelerating climate change impacts and beyond. Furthermore, he observes that ideologies anchored in hate and prejudice continue to undermine human rights worldwide and attack our shared humanity. In such times, it has become vital to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and compassion, leading to empathy and celebration of diversity, which are the true gateways to lasting peace.
Human rights advocates should be as concerned with the economic injustices giving rise to recent worldwide demonstrations as with the repressive responses to them.