Peacemakers Trust posts news, reports or announcements of interest to people studying or working in the field of dispute resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Inclusion of an item on the media watch blog does not imply endorsement or agreement of Peacemakers Trust with views expressed by authors of posted items.
... only 0.6 per cent of gross domestic product was spent on education compared to the 80 per cent spent on the military and State-owned enterprises
The Committee on the Rights of the Child today considered the combined third and fourth periodic report of Myanmar on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child…
Just two days ago the Government of Myanmar had ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography… [T]he National Committee on the Rights of the Child was reconstituted in May 2011. Reforms had been carried out in healthcare, with maternal, newborn and child health at the centre, and free and compulsory primary education had been introduced. The Government placed high priority on the prevention of child labour, particularly child recruitment into the military, and was taking punitive action against perpetrators from the armed forces…
Kamla Varmah, Committee Expert acting as Co-Rapporteur for the report of Myanmar, expressed concern that the age of criminal responsibility was seven  years old, that the employment age was 13, and that there was no minimum age for marriage for boys while girls as young as 14 could be married with parental consent. Ms. Varmah raised issues including adoption, birth registration, the high infant and under five mortality rate, chronic malnutrition of children and the right of children to be heard. She noted that only 1.3 per cent of the national budget was spent on health services and 2009 figures showed that only 0.6 per cent of gross domestic product was spent on education compared to the 80 per cent spent on the military and State-owned enterprises.
The widening gulf between the rich and everyone else is a growing source of tension in America.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds the income gap is now seen as a bigger source conflict in the U.S. than race, age or national origin. That’s why some believe the issue could matter in the presidential campaign, and others worry it would warp the national debate.
Two out of three Americans now perceive strong social conflicts over the income gap — up sharply from two years ago.
Illustrating how much money America is mismanaging, the first-ever U.S. Peace Index, launched this year by the Institute for Economics and Peace, cites conservative estimates of the economic effect if the U.S. were on par with Canadian policy on all five aforementioned fronts: $361 billion per year and a stimulatory effect of 2.7 million jobs. Given America’s high debt and high unemployment, it could benefit from both of these boosts.
If the U.S. is interested in realizing these savings and seizing these jobs, the answer lies in the U.S. Peace Index.
Seeking Justice Elsewhere: The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group land claim case
before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
with Robert Morales, lawyer and chief negotiator for Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
Thursday, February 23, 7 – 9 p.m.
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level
Central Library, 350 West Georgia St.
Admission is free. Seating is limited.
Hul’qumi’num Lawyer, Robert Morales will discuss the unlawful taking of Hul’qumi’num peoples’ land on southern Vancouver Island. The Canadian government gave most of Hul’qumi’num territory to private investors to finance a railway. The land theft violated Hul’qumi’num human rights and has had serious adverse consequences for Hul’qumi’num survival and cultural integrity. Years of fruitless negotiation, hampered by rigid government mandates led the Hul’qumi’num people to seek justice elsewhere – from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Law Talk Series: First Nations’ Rights: The Gap between Law and Practice
For other talks in the series see www.lrwc.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org; 604-738-0338
Co -sponsored by:
China inserted itself into the fight over oil between Sudan and its former territory South Sudan on Wednesday, sending a special envoy to try to break a deadlock between two rivals who often appear on the brink of renewed conflict.
South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told The Associated Press that Chinese diplomat Liu Guijin arrived in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on Wednesday. His arrival comes one week after China’s Foreign Ministry publicly asked Sudan and South Sudan to resolve the issue through “friendly consultations.”
China is a major buyer of and investor in Sudanese oil. It owns a stake in the two pipelines running through Sudan and has dozens of workers in the region’s oil fields. Guijin will be in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on Thursday for more talks.
On 31 October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4). The Assembly also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it.
HUMAN rights group Shannon Watch has called on the government to introduce measures to prevent the US from using Shannon Airport for illegal rendition flights. The anti-war and peace activist group, based in the Mid West, has been in the spotlight of late, with their attempts to end the use of Shannon Airport by US military troops travelling to and from Afghanistan and Iraq. The group has now uncovered a dispute in New York between two aviation companies contracted to carry out rendition flights, with court files showing that they flew between the US and international airports, including Shannon, also landing at secret CIA-run prisons.Call to end illegal rendition flights through Shannon.
The biggest names in the apparel industry, including Nike, Puma and Gap, would meet today [6 September 2011] with officials from the Ministry of Labour to discuss issues plaguing the Cambodian garment manufacturing industry, such as mass fainting and contractual disputes, labour activists said yesterday.
Dave Welsh, country director for the American Centre for International Labour Solidarity, said unions, the International Labour Organisation, buyers and rights groups would discuss serious issues such as occupational health and safety, nutrition and exploitative contracts.
Helen Ford, a representative of Pentland group, which licenses Speedo and other brands, said on the sidelines of yesterday’s meeting that her organisation took occupational health and safety issues in Cambodia very seriously.
“I think collaboration in a forum to improve factory conditions for workers is extremely important. It’s a very difficult area to collaborate in because of the many parties that are involved, so an initiative like Better Factories Cambodia is ground-breaking,” she said.
BEIJING — More than international prestige or even economic might, the top priority of China’s leadership is to maintain stability among this nation’s vast and varied population. President Hu Jintao explicitly reaffirmed that goal just last month, telling a Communist Party celebration that “without stability, nothing can be accomplished.”
In the aftermath of a large protest on Sunday in a major metropolis in northeast China, Dalian, that craving for rigid orderliness appears increasingly ephemeral. In the face of ever more sophisticated efforts to control and guide expression, significant protests — and visceral public shows of unhappiness with government — appear to be becoming regular features of life.
By official estimates, 12,000 demonstrators marched in Dalian — by other estimates, many more — to demand the removal of the expensive new Fujia chemical factory, whose Pacific coast sea wall had been breached a week earlier in a typhoon. The plant makes paraxylene, a toxic chemical used to make polyester products. It can cause illness and, if concentrated, death.
The mostly peaceful protest was one of the largest reported in nearly three years.
For the past decade and a half, the trade in metals that power our laptops and make our cell phones vibrate has helped to fuel the devastating war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The Dodd Frank Act, passed in July with cross-party support, is a groundbreaking measure that aims to cut off a major source of cash for armed groups in the region, including the Congolese army.
Amnesty TV is here. In the first episode of Amnesty’s new online magazine show we have Jimmy Wales talking about Internet freedom, a birthday message from Aung San Suu Kyi the latest human rights news you may not have seen on the telly as well as an instructional video on how to perform the perfect Carpet Karaoke. Don’t know what that is? Watch now.
"What we face across the continent is a process of massive dispossession: dispossession of land through land grabbing...
By Firoze Manji
The social unrest that has swept through Africa in 2011 has its roots in the stripping of African economies by international finance, argues Pambazuka News editor-in-chief Firoze Manji, in a speech delivered for the Beyond Juba Distinguished Lecture on 22 June. Now is the time to map out a path towards emancipation, he writes…
“What we face across the continent is a process of massive dispossession: dispossession of land through land grabbing, dispossession of the value of our wages, dispossession of our ability to produce what we, rather than what international finance capital, wants. The extent of land-grabbing that is occurring across the continent illustrates the scale of what is going on: a recent set of reports from the Oakland Institute shows that ‘land grabs encompassing the size of France, displacing thousands of families, building miles of irrigation canals without concern for environmental impacts, allowing crops to be planted that do not improve food security for Africa – done with little or no consultation with those directly impacted, and have no accountability or transparency.’ ..
“But perhaps the most serious dispossession that we face is a political dispossession. Our governments are more accountable today to the international financial institutions, to the corporations who extract wealth without restriction, to the international aid agencies that finance institutions such as the IMF, than to citizens. In this sense, our countries are increasingly becoming more akin to occupied territories than democracies.”
"... the issue of land distribution, land rights has to come up"
By Julie Mollins
Western governments and aid agencies need to transform the way they manage efforts to alleviate global poverty, argues journalist Augusta Dwyer in a new book titled “Broke but Unbroken: Grassroots Social Movements and Their Radical Solutions to Poverty” (Fernwood Press).
In the story, Nalianya reports on the testimony of members of the Liyavo farmers’ co-operative society to the truth team, naming the who-is-who in Kenya for grabbing land given to peasants by President Kenyatta in 1972.
“The commission will not spare anybody and we promise to leave no stone unturned,” acting chair Tecla Namachanja is quoted as saying. This was the first time that TJRC was hearing one of the many cases about the continuing land crisis in the Rift Valley province.
The focus of articles by Fr Gabriel Dolan and myself in the mainstream media have dwelt at length on the land crisis in Trans Nzoia.
Might is alright, but for a land grabbing operation to succeed, one needs bureaucrats who are willing to do your bidding. And this is exactly what our ingenious babus did. They flouted the Land Revenue Act with impunity to regularise unauthorised cultivation of lands, even creating necessary records to legitimise the land grab. The ‘skills’ of our babus in facilitating the land grab is astounding and the Task Force for Recovery of Public Land and Protection, chaired by V Subramanian, has blown the lid off this land mafia-bureaucracy nexus.
"The speed and scale of land grabs has been extraordinary..."
By Jill Felicio
Over one quarter of the world’s population is estimated to be landless, including over 200 million people who live in rural areas. The rural poor account for 75% of those living in extreme poverty, defined as those living on less than $1.25/day. A principal cause of global hunger is the unsecured, discriminatory, and unequal access to land and natural resources. Land is the main asset from which the rural poor are able to derive a livelihood, yet millions of families do not enjoy ownership rights over the land that they cultivate and are thus considered landless. Rural landlessness is caused by population growth, scarcity of land, environmental degradation, natural disasters, inadequate legal protections for land ownership, poor governance, and the acquisition of large-scale areas of land by foreign investors. According to the World Bank, direct foreign investment in agricultural farmland throughout the Global South, known as “land grabbing”, amounted to an estimated 45 million hectares in 2009 alone, with South America, Central America, Southeast Asia, the former USSR, and most significantly, Sub-Saharan Africa being the sites of these major land deals.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia-The murky waters of Phnom Penh’s largest lake were once visible out the back window of Cham Pothisak’s tin-roof-and-plywood shack. Today, a manmade sand dune taller than the home itself menaces like an ocean wave, filling up his crawlspace basement with putrid water and his family’s life with clouds of mosquitos.
It’s squalid shelter at best, but in Cambodia, where 80 percent of the population depends on agriculture, logging, or fishing for their survival, land is wealth, and Cham said he has documents proving ownership to the 60-square-meter plot he bought 11 years ago. But now, along with thousands of others, he faces eviction in what may be the largest forced relocation of Cambodians since 1975, when the Khmer Rouge emptied virtually the entire capital. This time once again, it’s the arbitrary power of the state at work: The government turned over some of Phnom Penh’s priciest real estate, including Cham’s land, to a close associate of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Developers are already moving in, pouring sand into Boeung Kak lake to fill it up, flood out shantytown homes, and prepare the site for construction.
A monk who went into hiding in March over fears authorities would arrest him for attending land dispute protests will be awarded Human Right’s Watch’s Hellman/Hammett award next month, along with an anti-government newspaper publisher.