Purple Peace

    1. thepeacefulterrorist:

Guantánamo Bay force feeding inhuman and degrading, says UN
Force feeding hunger strikers in Guantánamo Bay is against international medical standards and should be stopped, according to a group of senior UN officials.
The human rights experts also warned that indefinite detention of suspects at the US prison camp in Cuba constituted “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” and should end, in a statement released through the UN’s office of the high commissioner for human rights.
The declaration has been published in response to the hunger strike that started in February and involves up to 100 detainees. At least 21 are being forcibly fed.
The statement says: “According to the World Medical Assembly’s Declaration of Malta, in cases involving people on hunger strikes, the duty of medical personnel to act ethically and the principle of respect for individuals’ autonomy, among other principles, must be respected.
“Under these principles, it is unjustifiable to engage in forced feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary refusal of such a measure. Moreover, hunger strikers should be protected from all forms of coercion, even more so when this is done through force and in some cases through physical violence.
“Healthcare personnel may not apply undue pressure of any sort on individuals who have opted for the extreme recourse of a hunger strike. Nor is it acceptable to use threats of forced feeding or other types of physical or psychological coercion against individuals who have voluntarily decided to go on a hunger strike.”
The statement is signed by El Hadji Malick Sow, chair of the UN working group on arbitrary detention; Juan E Méndez, UN special rapporteur on torture; Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights, and Anand Grover, UN special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It is supported by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The experts pointed out that: “The Guantánamo detainees’ lack of legal protection and the resulting anguish caused by the uncertainty regarding their future has led them to take the extreme step of a hunger strike to demand a real change to their situation.”
Their continuing detention was “a flagrant violation of international human rights law and in itself constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said: “We have received specific information regarding the severe and prolonged physiological and psychological damage caused by the detainees’ high degree of uncertainty over basic aspects of their lives, such as not knowing whether they will be tried or whether they will be released and when; or whether they will see their family members again.”
Emmerson drew attention to the fact that the US government had admitted there were at least 86 prisoners who had been cleared for transfer. “In other words,” he noted, “all relevant security-related government agencies or authorities have expressly certified that those detainees do not represent a threat to US security.”
The UN experts called on the US to either charge or release the detainees. Washington should “adopt all legislative, administrative, judicial, and any other types of measures necessary to prosecute, with full respect for the right to due process, the individuals being held at Guantánamo naval base or, where appropriate, to provide for their immediate release or transfer to a third country, in accordance with international law.”

      thepeacefulterrorist:

      Guantánamo Bay force feeding inhuman and degrading, says UN

      Force feeding hunger strikers in Guantánamo Bay is against international medical standards and should be stopped, according to a group of senior UN officials.

      The human rights experts also warned that indefinite detention of suspects at the US prison camp in Cuba constituted “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” and should end, in a statement released through the UN’s office of the high commissioner for human rights.

      The declaration has been published in response to the hunger strike that started in February and involves up to 100 detainees. At least 21 are being forcibly fed.

      The statement says: “According to the World Medical Assembly’s Declaration of Malta, in cases involving people on hunger strikes, the duty of medical personnel to act ethically and the principle of respect for individuals’ autonomy, among other principles, must be respected.

      “Under these principles, it is unjustifiable to engage in forced feeding of individuals contrary to their informed and voluntary refusal of such a measure. Moreover, hunger strikers should be protected from all forms of coercion, even more so when this is done through force and in some cases through physical violence.

      “Healthcare personnel may not apply undue pressure of any sort on individuals who have opted for the extreme recourse of a hunger strike. Nor is it acceptable to use threats of forced feeding or other types of physical or psychological coercion against individuals who have voluntarily decided to go on a hunger strike.”

      The statement is signed by El Hadji Malick Sow, chair of the UN working group on arbitrary detention; Juan E Méndez, UN special rapporteur on torture; Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights, and Anand Grover, UN special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It is supported by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

      The experts pointed out that: “The Guantánamo detainees’ lack of legal protection and the resulting anguish caused by the uncertainty regarding their future has led them to take the extreme step of a hunger strike to demand a real change to their situation.”

      Their continuing detention was “a flagrant violation of international human rights law and in itself constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.

      The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said: “We have received specific information regarding the severe and prolonged physiological and psychological damage caused by the detainees’ high degree of uncertainty over basic aspects of their lives, such as not knowing whether they will be tried or whether they will be released and when; or whether they will see their family members again.”

      Emmerson drew attention to the fact that the US government had admitted there were at least 86 prisoners who had been cleared for transfer. “In other words,” he noted, “all relevant security-related government agencies or authorities have expressly certified that those detainees do not represent a threat to US security.”

      The UN experts called on the US to either charge or release the detainees. Washington should “adopt all legislative, administrative, judicial, and any other types of measures necessary to prosecute, with full respect for the right to due process, the individuals being held at Guantánamo naval base or, where appropriate, to provide for their immediate release or transfer to a third country, in accordance with international law.”

    2. unicef:

      Conversations with Syrian Refugees
      At Bab Al Salama camp on the Syrian-Turkish border, Raya talks about when her husband was killed and how she feels her children are “going backwards”. Her son Aysa, 11, talks about his life before and after the family fled their home.

      You can read more here.

      You can see more “Conversations” here.

    3. humanrightswatch:

      Burma: Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State

      Burmese authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012. Human Rights Watch documented the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Burmese officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home.

       

      Photo 1: Aung Minglar, the last remaining Muslim neighborhood in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State.  About 8000 Rohingya still live in the neighborhood, which is surrounded by hostile Arakanese communities and guarded by Burmese troops. Rohingya residents are prevented from leaving the area or obtaining work, and authorities have declared them ineligible for international humanitarian assistance on grounds that they are not displaced persons. © 2012 Greg Constantine

      Photo 2: The burned and bulldozed remains of an Islamic university after arson attacks in June 2012. Sittwe, Arakan State. © 2012 Ryan Roco

      Photo 3: A makeshift camp outside Sittwe to which some Rohingya from Pauktaw fled in October 2012. The camp is short of basic necessities, including latrines, adequate food, medicine, and sufficient shelter. © 2012 Ryan Roco

      Photo 4: Displaced Rohingya women collect water in an IDP camp outside the state capital, Sittwe. More than 125,000 Muslims have been displaced since June 2012 and many still live in overcrowded camps without access to sufficient aid. © 2012 Ryan Roco

      Photo 5: A camp of internally displaced Rohingya outside Sittwe, Arakan State. Some families live with more than 10 people in a single overcrowded tent. Many in the camp are unregistered and thus denied provisions being distributed by humanitarian agencies and local partners. © 2012 Ryan Roco

    4. humanrightswatch:


Somalia’s Displaced: The Reform Test
“They don’t care about us,” the Somali woman told us. “They don’t rescue us when the women are crying for help.” She was describing the people who controlled her camp for displaced people in the capital city, Mogadishu. In fact, the voices of Somalia’s displaced have been regularly ignored, and often actively silenced.
The father of a young woman who was raped by four men in government military uniform told us: “We don’t know anyone here. We are new to Mogadishu, so we didn’t try to go to justice, because the commander was harassing us at the time my daughter was raped. So how I can trust anyone here? We must keep silent.”
Read more on Somalia’s displaced here.
 
Photo: Newly-arrived refugees gather at the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, near Kenya’s border with Somalia on July 16, 2011. © 2011 Reuters

      humanrightswatch:

      Somalia’s Displaced: The Reform Test

      “They don’t care about us,” the Somali woman told us. “They don’t rescue us when the women are crying for help.” She was describing the people who controlled her camp for displaced people in the capital city, Mogadishu. In fact, the voices of Somalia’s displaced have been regularly ignored, and often actively silenced.

      The father of a young woman who was raped by four men in government military uniform told us: “We don’t know anyone here. We are new to Mogadishu, so we didn’t try to go to justice, because the commander was harassing us at the time my daughter was raped. So how I can trust anyone here? We must keep silent.”

      Read more on Somalia’s displaced here.

       

      Photo: Newly-arrived refugees gather at the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, near Kenya’s border with Somalia on July 16, 2011. © 2011 Reuters

    5. fotojournalismus:

      Afghan Villagers Flee Their Homes, Blame US Drones

      “Barely able to walk even with a cane, Ghulam Rasool says he padlocked his front door, handed over the keys and his three cows to a neighbor and fled his mountain home in the middle of the night to escape relentless airstrikes from U.S. drones targeting militants in this remote corner of Afghanistan.

      Rasool and other Afghan villagers have their own name for Predator drones. They call them benghai, which in the Pashto language means the “buzzing of flies.” When they explain the noise, they scrunch their faces and try to make a sound that resembles an army of flies.

      “They are evil things that fly so high you don’t see them but all the time you hear them,” said Rasool, whose body is stooped and shrunken with age and his voice barely louder than a whisper. “Night and day we hear this sound and then the bombardment starts.”

      The Associated Press — in a rare on-the-ground look unaccompanied by military or security — visited two Afghan villages in Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan to talk to residents who reported that they had been affected by drone strikes.

      “These foreigners started the problem,” Rasool said of international troops. “They have their own country. They should leave.”

      From the U.S. perspective, the overall drone program has been a success.

      Rasool said his decision to leave his home in Hisarak district came nearly a month ago after a particularly blistering air assault killed five people in the neighboring village of Meya Saheeb.

      The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, confirmed an airstrike on Feb. 24 at Meya Saheeb, but as a matter of policy would neither confirm nor deny that drones were used.

      Rasool said that he, his son, half a dozen grandchildren, and two other families crammed into the back of a cart pulled by a tractor. They drove throughout the day until they found a house in Khalis Family Village, named after anti-communist rebel leader Maulvi Yunus Khalis, who had close ties to al-Qaida.

      The village is not far from the Tora Bora mountain range where in 2001 the U.S.-led coalition mounted its largest operation of the war to flush out al-Qaida and Taliban warriors.

      “Nobody ever comes here. It’s a little dangerous sometimes because of the Taliban,” said Zarullah Khan, a neighbor of Rasool’s.

      But the historic significance of his newfound refuge was lost on Rasool.

      “Who’s Khalis? We stopped when we found a house for rent,” he said, grumbling at the monthly $200 bill shared among the three families packed into the high-walled compound where he spoke with the AP.

      Standing nearby, Rasool’s 12-year-old grandson, Ahmed Shah, recalled the attack in Meya Saheeb. The earth shook for what seemed like hours and the next morning his friends told him there were bodies in the nearby village. A little afraid, but more curious, he walked the short distance to Meya Saheed.

      “I wanted to see the dead bodies,” he said. And he did — three bodies, all middle-aged men.

      ISAF reported five militants were killed, but Rasool claimed they were businessmen. One of the dead had a carpet shop in the village, he said.

      Disputes over the identities of those killed have been a hallmark of the 12-year war.

      At the other end of the province from Meya Saheeb and Khalis Family Village lies the village of Budyali. To get there, one must drive along a long, two-lane highway often booby-trapped by militants, before turning turning off onto a narrow, dusty track and finally cross a rock-strewn riverbed.

      A Budyali resident, Hayat Gul, says the sound of “benghai” is commonplace in the village. He says he was wounded nearly two years ago in a Taliban firefight with Afghan security forces at a nearby school that led to an airstrike.

      Tucked in the shadow of a hulking mountain crisscrossed with dozens of footpaths, the school now is in ruins.

      The early morning strike on the school took place on July 17, 2011, hours after the Taliban attacked the district headquarters and the Afghan National Army appealed to their coalition partners for help.

      Gul said he and a second guard, 63-year-old Ghulam Ahad, were asleep in the small cement guard house at one end of the school. They awoke to the sound of gunfire as more than a dozen Taliban militants scaled the school walls around midnight, chased by Afghan soldiers.

      A bullet struck Gul in the shoulder. Frightened and unsure of what to do, Ahad stepped outside the guard house and was killed. Bullet holes still riddle the badly damaged building.

      Village elders and the school’s principal, Sayed Habib, said coalition forces responded to the army’s request for help with drones, fighter jets and rockets.

      The air assault, which residents say began about 3 a.m. and likely included drone strikes, flattened everything across a vast compound that includes the school. Habib said 13 insurgents were killed.

      ISAF confirmed that airstrikes killed insurgents in the Budyali area on that day but would not say what type of airstrikes or provide any other details.

      Habib and a local malik or elder, Shah Mohammed Khan, said that in the days leading up to the airstrikes the sound of drones could be heard overhead.

      “Everyone knows the sound of the unpiloted planes. Even our children know,” Habib said.

      The elders were critical of the U.S. attack. They said they would have preferred that the Afghan soldiers try to negotiate with the Taliban to leave the school and surrender.

      Habib and the village elders recalled the attack while sitting in the middle of the devastated school, where debris was still scattered across a vast yard. They pointed toward a blackboard, pockmarked with gaping holes.

      “Shamefully they destroyed our school, our books, our library,” said Malik Gul Nawaz, an elder with a gray beard and a pot belly.

      The roughly 1,300 students now take classes at a makeshift school made up of tents provided by UNICEF. Gul, who was taken to a U.S. military hospital at Bagram Air Base after the attack and treated for the bullet wound to his left shoulder, is now a watchman at the new school.

      He held a small photograph of his dead colleague, Ahad, in his trembling left hand.

      “We want to end this war,” Gul said. “Enough people have been killed now. We have to find unity.”

      Photographs were taken on March 19-20, 2013.

      [Credit : Anja Niedringhaus/AP]

    6. humanrightswatch:


Burma: Rohingya Muslims Face Humanitarian Crisis
The Burmese government is systematically restricting humanitarian aid and imposing discriminatory policies on Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State. This is creating a humanitarian crisis that will become a disaster when the rainy season arrives.
 
Photo: A soldier patrols through a neighbourhood that was burnt during recent violence in Sittwe on June 14, 2012.
© 2012 Reuters

      humanrightswatch:

      Burma: Rohingya Muslims Face Humanitarian Crisis

      The Burmese government is systematically restricting humanitarian aid and imposing discriminatory policies on Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State. This is creating a humanitarian crisis that will become a disaster when the rainy season arrives.

       

      Photo: A soldier patrols through a neighbourhood that was burnt during recent violence in Sittwe on June 14, 2012.

      © 2012 Reuters

    7. wfp:

      World Water Day

      Top Photo: Kenya, Turkana, Etuko 3rd March 2012

      FOOD-FOR-ASSET, ETUKO WATER PAN
      Three years ago, Elizabeth Narot Titim and her community had to walk almost 10 kilometres to fetch water for her family, but now, thanks to a WFP-sponsored food-for-assets project, that distance has been cut to about 2 kilometres.
      Elizabeth is a beneficiary of the Etuko water pan project in the Turkana district of northwestern Kenya.  The community in Etuko built the water reservoir in collaboration with WFP and the Turkana Rehabilitation Project (TRP), part of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. The reservoir consists in two water large basins. The largest water basin is fenced to prevent livestock and wild animals to reach the water, animals are allowed to drink form the smaller basin.
      Under food-for-assets (FFA) programmes, beneficiaries receive food assistance as they work on projects aimed at improving both their ability to cope with drought and also their food security status. Each family sends one person to work on the project, and with the support of the donors such as the EU, WFP provides food for the entire household.
      At the Etuko water pan, the community now have water for both household and livestock needs.
      “Before the project, we had to walk long distances to fetch water but now we have more time to concentrate on our farms,” says Elizabeth.
      In the photo: The women walk to pick up their jerry cans and buckets to collect the water they need.

      Middle Left Photo: Niger, Mangaize Refugee camp, 3 May 2012

      In Niger, WFP has launched an emergency operation to support 3.9 million people, with a special focus on children under age two.  Around 35 percent of people being assisted will receive cash. Areas where cash transfers will be used have been carefully selected according to how well local markets are functioning, food availability and prices. The operation also includes food relief for Malian refugees and for returning Nigerien workers fleeing insecurity in northern Mali.
      So far, around 11,300 metric tons of food assistance have been distributed to more than 1.1 million people since the scale up in November. Of these, 423,ooo people have been provided with support through food-for-work and cash-for-work activities in the worst-affected areas of the country. Around 11,0000 metric tons of food have been distributed through food-for-work and US$4.2 million through cash-for-work since November.
      In the last week in April alone, around 264,000 people in Tahoua and Niamey regions benefitted from food for work activities, and more than 100,000 people through cash for work. In April and May, cash and food for work are being scaled up to reach one million people. 

      Middle Right Photo: Niger, Dosso, Village Koumari: the village is located in the department of Dogondutchi, North- Eastern of Niamey.

      As of November 2011, 7 percent of the region’s population was considered severely food insecure. Maradi has been particularly affected by pest infestations resulting in heavy crop losses; the early and systematic rise in food prices compounded by variable and often limited availability of cereals on the market; the return of migrant workers following insecurity in Nigeria; and the reduction in fuel subsidies in Nigeria, affecting food and fuel costs in southern areas of Niger. The situation of pastoralists is of particular concern as pastureland and water for livestock is becoming increasingly limited, compounded by insecurity in neighboring Nigeria which has disrupted traditional movement of herders. Vulnerable households have relied increasingly on negative coping mechanisms to meet basic food and other survival needs, including: migrating in larger numbers and for longer periods – affecting children’s school attendance; selling productive assets; and reducing the quality, quantity, and variety of food consumed. The situation of children is of particular concern. The June 2011 national nutrition survey found acute malnutrition prevalence of 12.2 percent among children 6-59 months; among children 6-23 months, the prevalence was 21.4 percent. The nutrition situation is anticipated to have deteriorated further as a result of the compounded food security shocks in the area since end 2011. Maradi has been targeted under WFP’s preemptive response to the crisis since November 2011, benefitting from food and cash-for-work, to keep families in place and children in school, and targeted supplementary feeding activities in 150 CRENAMs (nutrition feeding centers) in the region for the treatment of moderately malnourished children. Since the scale-up, as of end April WFP has assisted 204,498 beneficiaries in the region.

      WFP implements CFW for 6,426 beneficiaries in collaboration with national NGO partner AREN. Thus far, CFA 83,170,800 have been distributed (more than USD 166,340). Of the CFW 918 project participants, 397 (43%) are female. Of the participants, 45 are labour-constrained (of which 33 are female), and benefit from unconditional cash transfers. Project works began in January, focusing on de-weeding, construction of half-moons that enable water conservation for several planting situations such as: fruit trees, crop production and forage for livestock consumption. Of the 358 hectares planned, 320 hectares have been worked as of 18 April which means that the project is at 89% of its completion.

      Bottom Photo: Kenya, Turkana, Songot 3rd March 2012

      FOOD-FOR-ASSET, ROCK WATER CATCHMENT PROJECT
      This community in Songot, in northwestern Kenya’s Turkana region, have been receiving food assistance for many years. However, 3 years ago, WFP changed is approach to food assistance in these communities to one that helps communities build a more sustainable future.
      Now, the community members are taking part in WFP-supported food-for-assets (FFA) programmes, where they receive food assistance as they work on projects aimed at improving their ability to cope with drought, as well as improving their overall foodsecurity.
      “We are happier with food-for assets because the assets we create will be with us for a long time,” says Simon who is also the chairman of the Songot rock catchment project. The project is implemented by the community in collaboration with WFP and the Turkana Rehabilitation Project (TRP), part of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
       
      In the FFA programme, is each family sends one person to work on the project, and with the support of the donors such as the EU, WFP provides food for the entire household.
      Through the Songot rock catchment project, the community now have water for household and livestock needs and are also growing vegetables and fruits through irrigation.
      According to Simon, women of the community previously had to trek long distances in search of water for household needs, and the men also had to walk long distances in search of pasture and water for their livestock. This exposed them to insecurity as they were competing with other pastoralists for scarce resources.
      “Now we no longer have to go to hostile territory since we have our own water source right here at Songot,” pointed out Simon.

      Photos: WFP/Rein Skullerud

    8. unicef:

      WORLD WATER DAY - March 22, 2013
      Drinking water is fundamental to human life. Yet, thousands of children die every day from diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases because of limited access to safe water.

      As the world observes World Water Day on 22 March, we look at the Loreto region of Peru. Although the Amazon, the world’s largest river, flows through this part of the country, safe water here is limited.’

      You can read more about World Water Day here

    9. oxfamgb:

Today is #WorldWaterDay, a day to recognise the 1 billion people who don’t have access to clean water.  Credit: David Levene/Oxfam

      oxfamgb:

      Today is #WorldWaterDay, a day to recognise the 1 billion people who don’t have access to clean water.
      Credit: David Levene/Oxfam

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    About



    “Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”
    -Robert Fulghum.


    What is Purple Peace?