The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.

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By Leila Lemghalef
Children exposed to mining industry pollution in Peru. The debate on mining is raging throughout Latin America. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS
Children exposed to mining industry pollution in Peru. The debate on mining is raging throughout Latin America. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

Children exposed to mining industry pollution in Peru. The debate on mining is raging throughout Latin America. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 30 2015 (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 Peoples’ 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.

"The battle for international justice is absolutely the same as the battle for internal democracy." -- Judge Gianni Tognoni

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 PPT’s claims have previously become part of the international debate.

“And in the experience of the Tribunal, that has been happening in different ways,” 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 “taken up in order to strengthen the controls and the monitoring by NGOs of the conditions that were there”.

The big panorama, he said, shows that “whatever could be done is being done… in order to integrate the tribunal with other forces… in order to formulate in juridically solid terms the claims”.

International processes are rarely rapid, he said, articulating that the judgement on the former Yugoslavia would “appear to be more a kind of judgement on the memory, the same is true for Rwanda”.

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 latter’s attitude of impunity.

(Read)NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY: INTER PRESS SERVICE
January 29,2015 12:21 PM
A rupture inside the movement for the creation of an independent state of Kurdistan has given new impetus to the voices of those condemning the use of weapons as the way to autonomy. The 40 million Kurds represent the world’s largest ethnic group without a permanent nation state or rights guaranteed under a constitution. “We are the only nationality […]
January 29,2015 4:19 AM
The tarpaulin sheet, when stretched and tied to bamboo poles, is about the length and breadth of a large SUV. Yet, about 25 women and children have been sleeping beneath these makeshift shelters at several relief camps across Kokrajhar, a district in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam. The inhabitants of these camps – about […]
January 29,2015 3:45 AM
Daniel Balaban*, Director of the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger, writes that Brazil’s outstanding performance in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) stands it in good stead to play an important role in shaping and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
January 28,2015 6:11 PM
The murder of a young Argentine girl on a beach in neighbouring Uruguay shook both countries and drew attention to a kind of violence that goes almost unnoticed as a cause of death among Argentine adolescents: femicide. In most Latin American countries, the lack of broken-down official data on femicides – a term coined to […]
January 28,2015 5:07 PM
Somar Wijayadasa, a former Representative of UNAIDS, and a former delegate of UNESCO to the UN General Assembly, is a PFUR educated international lawyer.
January 28,2015 2:06 PM
It was early on a Saturday morning and there was no sign of life in the community. The shacks erected on both sides of the old, narrow road that winds through the area are all surrounded by zinc sheets which rise so high, it’s impossible to see what lies on the other side. But behind […]
January 28,2015 4:25 AM
With international organisations warning that East Ukraine is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe as its health system collapses, marginalised groups are among those facing the greatest struggle to access even basic health care in the war-torn region. The conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces has affected more than five million people, with […]
January 27,2015 11:15 PM
Women now face a better chance of surviving breast cancer in the Solomon Islands, a developing island state in the southwest Pacific Ocean, following the recent acquisition of the country’s first mammogram machine. But just a week ahead of World Cancer Day, celebrated globally on Feb. 4, many say that the benefit of having advanced […]
January 27,2015 7:23 PM
When North and South Yemen merged into a single country under the banner Yemen Arab Republic back in May 1990, a British newspaper remarked with a tinge of sarcasm: “Two poor countries have now become one poor country.” Since its birth, Yemen has continued to be categorised by the United Nations as one of the […]
By Gustavo Capdevila
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
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

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

GENEVA, Jan 30 2015 (IPS) - 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 journalist’s 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 Assange’s legal defence team, former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, told IPS that in relation to this case “we have expressed satisfaction that the Swedish state“ 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 Council’s 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 Sweden’s 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 Söder, state secretary for political affairs at Sweden’s foreign ministry, told IPS that “This is a very complex matter in which the government can only do a few things.”

Söder said that in Sweden, Assange is “suspected of crimes, rape, sexual molestation in accordance with Swedish law. And that’s why the prosecutor in Sweden wants to conduct the primary investigation.

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By Jeffrey Moyo
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
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

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

HARARE, Jan 30 2015 (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.

“Over 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,” Mangwendere told IPS.

Mangwendere’s case typifies the deepening maternity crisis in this Southern African nation.

An estimated 3,000 women die every year in Zimbabwe during childbirth and at least 1.23 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is lost annually due to maternal complications – United Nations issue paper on 'Maternal Mortality in Zimbabwe', 2013

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By Ngala Killian Chimtom
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
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

YAOUNDE, Jan 30 2015 (IPS) - 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 – the winning kick is a metaphor for ending hunger in Africa by 2025.

“Football, like no other game, brings people together, within nations and across country lines. It’s exactly this type of coming together we need to reach the goal of zero hunger in Africa,” 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

“Our 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 Africa’s economic successes to fund projects that help communities in areas struggling with food insecurity and build resilient livelihoods,” 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.

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By Shai Venkatraman
Women in India’s mental health institutions often face systematic abuse that includes detention, neglect and violence. Credit: Shazia Yousuf/IPS
Women in India’s mental health institutions often face systematic abuse that includes detention, neglect and violence. Credit: Shazia Yousuf/IPS

Women in India’s mental health institutions often face systematic abuse that includes detention, neglect and violence. Credit: Shazia Yousuf/IPS

MUMBAI, Jan 30 2015 (IPS) - Following the birth of her third child, Delhi-based entrepreneur Smita* found herself feeling “disconnected and depressed”, often for days at a stretch. “Much later I was told it was severe post-partum depression but at the time it wasn’t properly diagnosed,” she told IPS.

“My 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.”

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By Emilio Godoy
Metodia Carrillo, a member of the Nahuatl indigenous community, holds a sign with the picture of her son Luís Ángel 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 students’ families in the Mexican capital, four months after they were kidnapped. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS
Metodia Carrillo, a member of the Nahuatl indigenous community, holds a sign with the picture of her son Luís Ángel 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 students’ families in the Mexican capital, four months after they were kidnapped. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Metodia Carrillo, a member of the Nahuatl indigenous community, holds a sign with the picture of her son Luís Ángel 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 students’ families in the Mexican capital, four months after they were kidnapped. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

MEXICO CITY, Jan 29 2015 (IPS) - The mother tongue of Celso García, a 51-year-old indigenous Mexican, is Mixteca. As a boy, García, 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.

García, 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.

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By Dr. Palitha Kohona
An unknown medusa-like plankton viewed from a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration’s 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
An unknown medusa-like plankton viewed from a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration’s 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

Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s 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 Exploration’s 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

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 29 2015 (IPS) - 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.

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