When the American Centre in Colombo held a memorial event honouring the late South African President Nelson Mandela, the first few questions at the question and answer session had nothing to do with the great freedom fighter.
“We are not saying that all people become sex workers, but you make more money,” Virak Horn, a 32-year-old gay sex worker who works freelance in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, tells IPS. He earns enough to support his family and pay for his college degree.
It all happened within ten days – Syria’s civil war fought metres away from Israeli orchards abutting the ceasefire line; Austrian peacekeepers hastily evacuating the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separates Israel from Syria; fears of a total collapse of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). All while the cherry-picking season is at its peak.
“For the past five years we’ve collected garbage by traditional means: donkey and cart,” says Abdel Rahem Abulkumboz, director of health and environment at the Municipality of Gaza. The municipality of Gaza alone produces 700 tons of waste daily, Kumboz says. More than half of this waste is collected daily by 250 donkey carts.
It has now become an annual affair. When the Geneva based UN Human Rights Council readies itself for the first of its annual regular sessions in February, the government in Sri Lanka gets ready to ward off yet another attempt to scrutinise its rights record.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip Thursday, including representatives of all the major political factions, to celebrate and to show their support for the Palestinian Authority’s bid for upgraded status at the United Nations.
The annual debate has just wrapped up and, already, the certainty is that if last year Palestinian statehood auspiciously dominated the international agenda, this time, the issue vanished from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and will vanish even further from world affairs.