Daily Archives: April 24, 2015

Top picks: Migrant boats, Islamic State and World Bank controversy

LONDON, 24 April 2015 (IRIN) – Welcome to IRIN’s weekly assortment of noteworthy humanitarian journalism and research, compiled by the editorial team.

Five to read:

Rich countries must take in 1 million refugees to stop boat deaths

In this frank and comprehensive interview, François Crépeau, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants says that international inaction is creating a market for people smugglers and that the world needs to take in a million Syrians over next five years. He spoke to the Guardian’s Gabrielle Jackson about the recent deaths at sea in the Mediterranean, Australia’s approach to asylum-seeker policy, and how the world should respond now. He argues that opening legal channels for migrants would save lives, reduce people-smuggling and reduce the cost of asylum claims. It is a must-read, amongst the Guardian’s extensive coverage of what they calling one of Europe’s biggest maritime disasters.

Secret files reveal the structure of Islamic State

The Islamic State is often thought of as a fundamentalist religious organization. Yet an investigation by the German newspaper Der Spiegel reveals that religious ideology is far from the top of the group’s agenda at all times. Using a cache of leaked documents, reporter Christoph Reuter provides some of the best insight available into how the organization is structured. Religion, it seems, is far less of an inspiration for its structure than the regimes of East Germany and, crucially, that of Saddam Hussein.

Civilian perspectives on the conflict in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State

An average of three bombs a day have been dropped onto civilians living in rebel held areas of Sudan since 2012, according to this report by the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) and the National Human Rights Monitoring Organisation. It provides a rare look at what life is like under the daily threat of aerial bombardment. This report highlights the voices of those civilians living in the midst of this conflict. As one interviewee said, after surviving a bomb attack: “I am sending my voice loudly to the international community and the Security Council to stop this government from killing its own civilians and to protect them. Your silence is a shame to humanity.” These civilian testimonies are all the more important, considering that there is both insufficient awareness at the international level about what is taking place, and a failure to mobilise around what information is available.

How the World Bank is financing environmental destruction

A new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Huffington Post and more than 20 other media partners has found that the World Bank is failing to enforce its own rules protecting people in the path of the projects it bankrolls, with devastating consequences. The investigation concludes that over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods.

In South Sudan, nobody talks about the weather

Peace talks have done nothing to end the latest bout of civil war in South Sudan but the imminent rainy season will halt the fighting, writes Joshua Craze in this article for Creative Time Reports. The rains always played that role during the southern rebels long (1983-2005) struggle against the domination of Sudan. “Rains bring peace,” mainly because in a country with hardly any tarmac they make roads impassably muddy. Noting that nobody talks about the weather at UN meetings, Craze argues that the failure to appreciate the role of seasons in the ebb and flow of conflict in South Sudan is symptomatic of a general failure to understand what is really going on there.

From IRIN:

The Med: Just another danger in a migrant’s odyssey

Every time a migrant boat capsizes on its way to Europe, a death toll is estimated by aid agencies and reproduced in media reports. But what about that other number? What about all those who die before ever setting foot on a boat? That number may be far higher. Sea crossings are the final hurdle of a perilous journey for thousands of migrants. IRIN’s Migration editor Kristy Siegfried looks at the bigger picture, and follows journey that migrants take before they get on a boat.

In memoriam

Photographs Not Taken: A Chapter by Tim Hetherington

This week marks four years since the photojournalist Tim Hetherington was killed on assignment in Libya.

In this essay Hetherington offers his thoughts on depicting the dead in photographs and poses questions he struggled to answer about the ethics of photography. Essential reading for photographers, journalists and editors who deal with the ethics of conflict and humanitarian photography on a daily basis. Extracted from the book, Photographs Not Taken (2012) in which 60 photographers discuss a moment when they did not, or could not, use their camera.

Theme (s): Refugees/IDPs,

La première conférence du programme Mandela Washington Fellowship réunit les boursiers à Accra

WASHINGTON, le 24 avril 2015 / PRNewswire – Plus de 150 jeunes leaders provenant de 21 pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest se réuniront à Accra, au Ghana, la semaine prochaine pour partager leur expertise et s’engager sur les questions qu’ils ont définies comme essentielles pour l’avenir de l’Afrique. En soutien à l’initiative des jeunes leaders africains (YALI – Young African Leaders Initiative) du Président Barack Obama, l’USAID et l’IREX organisent la 1ère Conférence régionale annuelle de l’Afrique de l’Ouest pour les boursiers du programme Mandela Washington à Accra du 26 au 28 avril 2015. Les boursiers comprennent des entrepreneurs en technologie et sociaux, des fonctionnaires, des militants pour les droits de l’Homme, des avocats, des médecins et de jeunes militants qui amènent le changement dans leurs pays d’origine et leurs communautés avec l’aide de l’USAID et de l’IREX. En plus de ce groupe impressionnant de boursiers, la conférence réunira des leaders du secteur privé, du gouvernement des États-Unis et d’organisations internationales et locales.

La conférence mettra l’accent sur des questions et des idées pour la promotion de l’entrepreneuriat, des secteurs de croissance, du développement inclusif, de l’énergie, des femmes dans la technologie et de la philanthropie en Afrique. Parmi les intervenants lors de l’événement, citons notamment le sous-ministre de l’éducation au Ghana, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, le fondateur de Future Africa Project, Chude Jideonwo, la PDG du Fonds de développement pour la femme africaine, Theo Sowa, l’ambassadeur américain au Ghana, Gene A. Cretz et la Fondation Tony Elumelu.

Le Mandela Washington Fellowship emmène 500 jeunes professionnels africains provenant de tout le continent dans des universités américaines pour six semaines de formation en leadership dans les domaines des affaires et de l’entrepreneuriat, en leadership civique ou en gestion publique. Sélectionnés à la suite d’une compétition pour ce prestigieux programme phare, les boursiers représentent la génération émergente de PDG d’entreprises, de leaders communautaires et de fonctionnaires du continent.

Les boursiers de l’Afrique de l’Ouest incluent des participants venant du Bénin, du Burkina Faso, du Cameroun, du Cap-Vert, du Tchad, de Côte d’Ivoire, de Guinée équatoriale, du Gabon, de Gambie, du Ghana, de Guinée, de Guinée-Bissau, du Liberia, du Mali, de Mauritanie, du Niger, du Nigeria, de São Tomé-et-Principe, du Sénégal, de Sierra Leone et du Togo.

L’USAID et l’IREX soutiennent les boursiers Mandela Washington Fellows avec des opportunités continues de développement professionnel en Afrique. Cette opération s’effectue avec le soutien en matière de coordination du West Africa Civil Society Institute situé à Accra, au Ghana. Pour en savoir plus sur le programme Mandela Washington Fellowship, visitez le site : https://www.irex.org/projects/yali/. La participation à la conférence est uniquement sur invitation.

Contact presse : Erin Powell, newsroom@irex.org, Tél : +233 20 681 9394

Kidnapped Aid Workers Killed in US Drone Strike

The Obama administration said today that a drone strike in Pakistan in January intended for al Qaeda targets also killed an American and Italian aid worker. The America, Warren Weinstein, was a USAID contractor. The New York Times pays a Tribute to the 73 year old who had immersed himself in Pakistani culture.  The Italian, Giovanni Lo Porto worked for the German aid agency, Welthungerhilfe. (NYT on Weinstein http://nyti.ms/1Prrt6o) (NPR on Lo Porto http://n.pr/1PrsFXq )

Steve Coll puts this tragic episode in the larger context of the US drone wars:  “Of course, Al Qaeda, not the Obama Administration, is responsible for Weinstein’s miserable fate. Still, the fact that Weinstein’s own government accidentally killed him–during his fourth year in captivity, and without a rescue ever being attempted–is a disturbing coda to the short history of drone warfare. It reminds us that the problem with drones is not just that their operators sometimes make mistakes. It is that the heavy reliance–in time, dollars, and bureaucratic priorities–on a technological panacea for the problem of terrorism can cause a government to lose sight of the people on the ground.” (New Yorker http://nyr.kr/1PrqF1k )

Tomorrow is World Malaria Day….Mark catches up with Martin Edlund of Malaria No More who has a message for the policy community: It’s OK to start talking about total worldwide eradication! If you have 15 minutes and want a good, wonky take on the state of the fight against malaria (and why new developments in the Mekong Delta are particularly worrisome) we recommend this podcast episode. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1OKqFYb)

Africa

Some analysts see former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi’s sentencing as the beginning of the end for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. (VOA http://bit.ly/1FgPH0k)

Kenyan activist Phyllis Omido received the Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to defend her community from lead poisoning and force the closure of a lead smelting plant. (IPS http://bit.ly/1DmSkJo)

The Electoral Commission of Uganda will use a biometric system to update its voters register ahead of next year’s general election. (VOA http://bit.ly/1DmSiRF)

MENA

Thousands who fled Ramadi in western Iraq after an IS offensive last week have begun to return home after reinforcements were dispatched to shore up the center of the city. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1OKJHh6)

Airstrikes by the US-led coalition in Syria have killed 2,079 people, including 66 civilians, since the start of the aerial campaign against IS militants last September. (VOA http://bit.ly/1blKJTM)

As a Saudi-led coalition continued to launch airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, online dispatches from Yemeni bloggers and activists were filled with anguish over the growing toll of the conflict. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1K9eW4D)

Asia

Two years after the world’s worst garment factory disaster, Bangladesh’s garment industry is immersed in an urgent, massive effort to bring factories up to international safety standards. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1OhvvRT)

A distraught Indian farmer who hanged himself during a farmer’s rally in the capital has focused nationwide attention on the plight of India’s farmers, who have suffered mightily from recent rain and hailstorms. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1EvumBn)

In a country that has long suffered from electricity shortages, many North Koreans are taking power into their hands by installing cheap household solar panels to charge mobile phones and light up their homes. (VOA http://bit.ly/1HrfEfw)

The Americas

Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras has admitted to losing $2 billion due to corruption over the last eight years. (El País http://bit.ly/1d2INkr; Spanish)

Chile’s Calbuco volcano has erupted for the first time in more than four decades, sending a billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area. (Al Jazeera http://alj.am/1d4zxwa)

Drug cartel violence in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state flared up for the second time in a week Wednesday, with gunbattles and arson attacks erupting in the street after police captured four alleged drug gang members. (VOA http://bit.ly/1yVIWA6)

…and the rest

Over a million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the war in Ukraine. Many of these internally displaced people have struggled to find a new life. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1Ehrt5b)

Opinion/Blogs

Will Kenya Shut Down the World’s Largest Refugee Camp? (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1PrAU5X)

The World Has Reached Peak Plutocracy (IPS http://bit.ly/1Po8pWH)

Walling Ourselves Off (Dart-Throwing Chimp http://bit.ly/1HrnWEb)

Will refugees be protected from climate change? (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1OgEl26)

The Cost of Turkey’s Genocide Denial (NYT http://nyti.ms/1Gb1zx6)

An open letter to people with good intentions (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1EvyzFs)

Challenging the Nuclear Powers’ Extremism (IPS http://bit.ly/1FgTOJP)

Discussion

comments…

Malaria: a persistent health threat that we must face head on

On World Malaria Day, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety and Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation highlight a persistent global health threat that must not be forgotten.

On the occasion of the World Malaria Day, we would like to take the opportunity to urge continued global action to address the persistent threat of Malaria. We have the responsibility to continue tackling it head on – it is one of the deadliest diseases, killing more than 660 000 people a year.

In 2013 alone, over half a million people died of malaria. More than 90 percent of these deaths are in Africa, mostly children under the age of five. Sub-Saharan Africa is the hardest hit region, accounting for the greatest majority of the cases, a situation which is aggravated by the weakness of health systems.

As the world’s largest donor, the EU is strongly committed to the fight against malaria. Over the last years, public health services in over 30 countries have been directly supported by the EU with more than €300 million annually.

The EU is also a major donor to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (29% of their work covers malaria) with over €1.1 billion of total funding provided. Since 2002, the Global Fund has supported more than 150 countries, providing 310 million nets treated with insecticide to put over people’s beds to prevent infections.

The EU is also one of the top 5 funders of malaria research in the world. Since 2002, the EU has invested nearly €200 million in malaria research projects, and another €50 million since 2003 on clinical trials to develop vaccines and improve treatments for malaria.

Thanks to the efforts of the EU and international community, as well as governments and health care providers in endemic countries, malaria deaths have fallen by 25% since the year 2000.

However, the number of deaths from malaria remains shockingly high. We need to persist in the fight against this deadly disease and reassert our long-term commitment. The EU must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the governments of the most affected countries. We must maximise our political, diplomatic, humanitarian and financial tools to help the millions of people living in highly endemic areas to make sure they have access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment.