The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
Children exposed to mining industry pollution in Peru. The debate on mining is raging throughout Latin America. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS
- A recent case study on Canadian mining abuses in Latin America has woven one more thread of justice in the tapestry of international law.
The Permanent Peoplesâ Tribunal (PPT) has found five Canadian mining companies and the Canadian government responsible for human rights violations in Latin America, including labour rights violations, environmental destruction, the denial of indigenous self-determination rights, criminalisation of dissent and targeted assassinations.
Gianni Tognoni was one of eight judges in the decision, and has been secretary general of the PPT since its inception in 1979.
In an interview with IPS, he spoke about how the PPTâs claims have previously become part of the international debate.
âAnd in the experience of the Tribunal, that has been happening in different ways,â he said.
Out of many examples, he cited the case of child slave labour in the apparel industry, which was denounced by the tribunal, and which was âtaken up in order to strengthen the controls and the monitoring by NGOs of the conditions that were thereâ.
The big panorama, he said, shows that âwhatever could be done is being doneâ¦ in order to integrate the tribunal with other forcesâ¦ in order to formulate in juridically solid terms the claimsâ.
International processes are rarely rapid, he said, articulating that the judgement on the former Yugoslavia would âappear to be more a kind of judgement on the memory, the same is true for Rwandaâ.
He contrasted that to the immediate effectiveness of economic treaties, and also brought up the well-known clash between human rights and transnational corporations, and the latterâs attitude of impunity.
Julian Assange in one of his rare public appearances in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been in hiding since June 2012. Credit: Creative Commons
- There is a window of hope, thanks to a U.N. human rights body, for a solution to the diplomatic asylum of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London for the past two and a half years.
Authorities in Sweden, which is seeking the Australian journalistâs extradition to face allegations of sexual assault, admitted there is a possibility that measures could be taken to jumpstart the stalled legal proceedings against Assange.
The head of Assangeâs legal defence team, former Spanish judge Baltasar GarzÃ³n, told IPS that in relation to this case âwe have expressed satisfaction that the Swedish stateâ has accepted the proposals of several countries.
The prominent Spanish lawyer and international jurist was referring to proposals set forth by Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Slovakia and Uruguay.
The final report by the U.N. Human Rights Councilâs Universal Periodic Review (UPR), adopted Thursday Jan. 28 in Geneva, Switzerland, contains indications that a possible understanding among the different countries concerned might be on the horizon.
The UPR is a mechanism of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine the human rights performance of all U.N. member states.
The situation of Assange, a journalist, computer programmer and activist born in Australia in 1971, was introduced in Swedenâs UPR by Ecuador, the country that granted him diplomatic asylum in its embassy in London, and by several European and Latin American nations.
The head of the Swedish delegation to the UPR, Annika SÃ¶der, state secretary for political affairs at Swedenâs foreign ministry, told IPS that âThis is a very complex matter in which the government can only do a few things.â
SÃ¶der said that in Sweden, Assange is âsuspected of crimes, rape, sexual molestation in accordance with Swedish law. And thatâs why the prosecutor in Sweden wants to conduct the primary investigation.
Zimbabwe struggles to contain maternity deaths. Here in this southern African nation, the number of women dying in childbirth continues to rise. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/ IPS
- For 47-year-old Albert Mangwendere from Mutoko, a district 143 kilometres east of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, transporting his three pregnant wives using a wheelbarrow to a local clinic has become routine, with his wives delivering babies one after the other.
But these routines have not always been a source of joy for Mangwendere.
âOver the past twenty years, I have been ferrying my pregnant wives to a local clinic using a wheelbarrow because I have no (full size) scotch cart and we have lost 12 babies in total while traveling to the clinic,â Mangwendere told IPS.
Mangwendereâs case typifies the deepening maternity crisis in this Southern African nation.
- A video ad is being screened before every match at the Africa Cup of Nations currently under way in Equatorial Guinea. Part of African Football Against Hunger, a joint initiative by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), it shows a player dribbling a football, taking a shot and scoring â the winning kick is a metaphor for ending hunger in Africa by 2025.
âFootball, like no other game, brings people together, within nations and across country lines. Itâs exactly this type of coming together we need to reach the goal of zero hunger in Africa,âÂ FAO Director of Communications Mario Lubetkin told IPS in an online interview.
As part of the African Football Against Hunger campaign, a video ad is being featured at matches throughout the 2015 African Cup of Nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea. Credit: FAO
âOur aim is to harness the popularity of football to raise awareness of the ongoing fight against hunger on the continent, and to rally support for home-grown initiatives that harness Africaâs economic successes to fund projects that help communities in areas struggling with food insecurity and build resilient livelihoods,â he explained.
Last year, African governments came together and undertook to wipe out chronic hunger among their peoples by 2025, in line with the United Nations’ Zero Hunger campaign.
Women in Indiaâs mental health institutions often face systematic abuse that includes detention, neglect and violence. Credit: Shazia Yousuf/IPS
- Following the birth of her third child, Delhi-based entrepreneur Smita* found herself feeling âdisconnected and depressedâ, often for days at a stretch. âMuch later I was told it was severe post-partum depression but at the time it wasnât properly diagnosed,â she told IPS.
âMy marriage was in trouble and after my symptoms showed no signs of going away, my husband was keen on a divorce, which I was resisting.â
Metodia Carrillo, a member of the Nahuatl indigenous community, holds a sign with the picture of her son LuÃs Ãngel Abarca, one of the 43 students who went missing Sep. 26 in Iguala, as she rests on the bleachers of the National Stadium during a protest by the studentsâ families in the Mexican capital, four months after they were kidnapped. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS
- The mother tongue of Celso GarcÃa, a 51-year-old indigenous Mexican, is Mixteca. As a boy, GarcÃa, the father of one of the 43 students forcibly disappeared four months ago, had to learn Spanish to make his way in mainstream society in this country where most people are of mixed-race heritage.
GarcÃa, a father of four, has a small farm where he grows corn, beans, pumpkins and hibiscus flowers near the town of Tecuantepec, some 380 km south of Mexico City, in the state of Guerrero.
Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lankaâs Permanent Representative to the U.N., is co-chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), along with Dr Liesbeth Lijnzaad of the Netherlands.
An unknown medusa-like plankton viewed from a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the NOAA Office of Ocean Explorationâs Operation Deep Scope 2005. With the increase in the research into and exploitation of marine genetic resources, more and more patents on them are being filed annually. Credit: Dr. Mikhail Matz/public domain
- After almost 10 years of often frustrating negotiations, the U.N. ad hoc committee on BBNJ decided, by consensus, to set in motion a process that will result in work commencing on a legally binding international instrument on the conservation and sustainable use, including benefit sharing, of Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction.