Archive | February, 2012

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT OF INDIA FOR “AIHRA”

Posted on 29 February 2012 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday, 1st March 2012

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Open-pit coal mine project in Bangladesh threatens human rights – UN experts

Posted on 29 February 2012 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday, 1st March 2012

UN News  - Human Rights – 28 February 2012 –

The construction of an open-pit coal mine in Bangladesh could displace hundreds of thousands of people and jeopardize their access to basic needs, a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned today.“The Government of Bangladesh must ensure that any policy concerning open-pit coal mining includes robust safeguards to protect human rights. In the interim, the Phulbari coal mine should not be allowed to proceed because of the massive disruptions it is expected to cause,” the experts said in a statement.

The group noted that if opened, the proposed mine would immediately displace an estimated 50,000 to 130,000 people, with up to 220,000 potentially being affected over time as irrigation channels and wells dry up.

In addition, the project would reportedly extract 572 million tons of coal over the next 36 years from a site covering nearly 6,000 hectares, and destroy some 12,000 hectares of productive agricultural land.

“The Phulbari development would displace vulnerable farming communities, and threaten the livelihoods of thousands more by doing irreversible damage to water sources and ecosystems in the region,” the experts said.

A national coal policy is currently pending in a parliamentary committee, and according to the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), early indications suggest that the practice of open-pit coal mining will be permitted, giving a green light to the development of the Phulbari mine in the north-western part of Bangladesh.

The project would not only displace thousands of people but would also have serious environmental consequences, the experts stressed, as the mine is located in Bangladesh’s most fertile agricultural region where production of staple crops such as rice and wheat support the entire country’s food needs.

“Nearly half the Bangladeshi population is food insecure, and nearly one quarter severely food insecure. Local food production should be strengthened, not sacrificed for industrial projects,” said the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter.

Experts also warned that the mine could potentially destroy waterways supporting 1,000 fisheries and nearly 50,000 fruit trees. “Access to safe drinking water for some 220,000 people is at stake,” said Catarina de Albuquerque, Special Rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

The experts also emphasized that the consequences of the open-coal mine would primarily affect indigenous populations which are already living in vulnerable conditions. “Displacement on this scale, particularly of indigenous peoples, is unacceptable without the indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent, and poses an immediate threat to safety and standards of living,” said Raquel Rolnik and James Anaya, Special Rapporteurs on adequate housing and indigenous peoples, respectively.

Furthermore, the experts questioned the transparency and legitimacy with which the project has been conducted, as there are concerns over repression of human rights defenders peacefully protesting the mine. “People must be informed throughout, and must not be intimidated out of exercising their rights to express their opinions and peacefully assemble,” said Maina Kiai, the Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

“The Phulbari coal mine may entice developers. But for many Bangladeshis the wholesale environmental degradation of the Phulbari region will exacerbate food insecurity, poverty and vulnerability to climate events for generations to come,” the experts warned.

The group of seven independent experts consists of Mr. De Schutter, Ms. Albuquerque, Ms. Rolnik, Mr. Anaya and Mr. Kiai, as well as Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression; and Magdalena Sepúlveda, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

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LeT module planned to attack crowded locality with bombs: PC

Posted on 29 February 2012 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday, 1st March 2012

PTI News  New Delhi: The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) sponsored terror module busted here today had planned to attack a crowded locality with bombs, Home Minister P Chidambaram said today.

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    UN rights chief urges immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria

    Posted on 29 February 2012 by admin

    AIHRA News Wednesday, 29th February 2012

    UN News Human Rights – 28 February 2012 –

    The United Nations human rights chief said today that she is “appalled” at the recent escalation of violence in Syria and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the fighting and assist civilians.As the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva began an urgent debate on Syria, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay reported on a “rapidly deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation” in which civilians continue to bear the brunt of the Government’s crackdown against the popular uprising that began last March.

    The latest assault that began earlier this month has reportedly led to hundreds of deaths and hospitals are struggling to cope with all those injured in recent weeks, she told the meeting, describing an increasingly “dire” humanitarian situation for the civilian population.

    “There must be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to end the fighting and bombardments,” she stated.

    Ms. Pillay called on the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with international mechanisms, including with Kofi Annan, the recently appointed Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League for the crisis in Syria. Mr. Annan arrives in New York tomorrow to begin talks with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    She also called on the Government to allow independent international monitors to visit all places of detention and grant unhindered access to humanitarian actors; to release all political prisoners and persons who have been arbitrarily detained; and to launch prompt, independent and impartial investigations to end impunity, ensure accountability and bring perpetrators to justice.

    She noted that the Government has cooperated to some extent to address the situation, such as the access provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Arab League observer mission to prisons and detention facilities, as well as the release of thousands of individuals who were detained in the context of the recent events in Syria.

    “However, these steps pale into insignificance in the face of the continuing onslaught of violence and arrest against people by State actors,” said the High Commissioner, reiterating her position that the situation in Syria should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    “What is urgently needed today is for the killings to stop. For that to happen the international community must unite in sending a clear message to the Syrian authorities and the Security Council must assume its responsibility to protect the population of Syria,” she stated.

    “More than at any other time, those committing atrocities in Syria have to understand that the international community will not stand by and watch this carnage and that their decisions and the actions they take today ultimately will not go unpunished.”

    General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser echoed Ms. Pillay’s comments, stating that the international community must increase its mobilization.

    “The Syrian authorities must immediately end the killings and halt all human rights violations. All parties in Syria must immediately stop all violence and reprisals,” he added.

    Mr. Al-Nasser urged all Member States to cooperate with Mr. Annan, adding that he was encouraged that the newly-appointed Special Envoy has started to engage quickly with all relevant parties within and outside Syria to end the violence and the humanitarian crisis, and to facilitate a peaceful, Syrian-led and inclusive political solution.

    Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui of Syria denounced the holding of the meeting, saying that it was part of a plan to attack his country under the pretext of addressing humanitarian needs. Before walking out of the meeting, he said the real aim of the “sterile discussion” was to fuel terrorism and fuel the crisis in his country.

    Meanwhile in New York, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council that the Syrian Government has manifestly failed to carry out its responsibility to protect its people, killing its own people in ways “reminiscent of the Hama massacre perpetrated by the Syrian Government in 1982.”

    “Unfortunately, the international community has also failed in its duty to stop the carnage, and actions and inactions to date have seemed to encourage the regime in its belief that it has impunity to carry on wanton destruction of its own civilians,” said Mr. Pascoe.

    He noted that the humanitarian consequences of the violence have become “severe,” as the attacks on neighbourhoods in the city of Homs continue now for a fourth week, and added that UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos is in the region and stands ready to go to Damascus as soon as she is allowed entry into the country.

    The uprising in Syria is part of a broader popular protest movement that has swept North Africa and the Middle East since the start of last year and toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

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    Drive against foeticide: 395 sonography centres sealed

    Posted on 29 February 2012 by admin

    AIHRA News Wednesday, 29th February 2012

    PTI News  Mumbai: 395 sonography centres in Maharashtra have been sealed and 95 Medical Termination of Pregnancy centres de-recognised as part of govt’s drive to curb female foeticide.

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    UN holds forum to find ways to tackle problem of youth unemployment

    Posted on 27 February 2012 by admin

    AIHRA News Tuesday, 28th February 2012

    UN News – 24 February 2012 –

    Dozens of representatives from governments, the business sector and civil society groups will gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday to discuss ways how they can better collaborate to tackle the problem of youth unemployment worldwide.

    Monday’s meeting is a key preparatory event for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s annual ministerial review in July, which is set to focus this year on the issues of employment and decent work to eradicate poverty.

    Youth unemployment has soared in both affluent and poor countries since the global financial crisis began in 2008, with the largest annual increase on record reported in 2009. At one point nearly 76 million people aged between 15 and 24 years of age were unemployed worldwide.

    Many young people with jobs are also suffering, ECOSOC noted in a press release. The Council said it now estimates that about 152 million young workers live in households that are below the poverty line, and they comprise almost a quarter of the total numbers of working poor.

    The meeting on Monday is expected to feature presentations or remarks from, among others, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, ECOSOC President Miloš Koterec, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang and representatives of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO).

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    10th anniv of Godhra carnage observed, pleas for justice

    Posted on 27 February 2012 by admin

    AIHRA News Tuesday, 28th February 2012

    PTI News  Ahmedabad/Godhra: United in grief, hundreds of survivors of one of the country”’’s worst communal riots in Gujarat gathered today to mark the 10th anniversary of the Godhra train attack that sparked the carnage amid fresh pleas for justice for victims

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      CHHATISGARH PRESS CONFRENCE

      Posted on 27 February 2012 by admin

      AIHRA News Monday, 27th February 2012

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      UN human rights office welcomes ruling on treatment of migrants at sea

      Posted on 27 February 2012 by admin

      AIHRA News Monday, 27th February 2012

      UN News  Humanitarian Affairs – 24 February 2012 –

      The United Nations human rights office today added its voice in support of a European court ruling that found it is wrong for a country to collectively expel migrants intercepted on the high seas without first determining whether this would place their lives at risk.The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Italy violated its obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights when in 2009 it intercepted a boatload of African migrants outside of Italian territorial waters and returned them directly to Libya.

      A group of 13 Eritrean and 11 Somali passengers on the boat had taken the case to court.

      Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the ruling “reaffirms the human rights of all migrants at sea.”

      Both UNHCR and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) made interventions in the court case, and yesterday UNHCR issued a statement in which it also welcomed the judgment.

      Ms. Shamdasani noted that the court, which sits in Strasbourg, France, found that the transfer of the migrants to Libya under the conditions at the time of the incident “violated the prohibition of torture because it exposed the applicants to the risk of arbitrary return to their countries of origin.”

      She also said the court found that the transfer violated the prohibition on the collective expulsion of foreign nationals.

      “We call on all States to recognize and respect the fundamental rights of all migrants, guaranteed by international law, regardless of their immigration status or other status. We have long expressed alarm at the interception and collective expulsion of migrants, often risking their lives, on the high seas, without the opportunity for an individual examination of their cases.

      “We urge States to avoid making migration policies based on assumptions about the motivations of migrants which are based on their country of nationality or of departure, their gender, age of their ethnicity, and instead to put in place procedures premised on the protection of the human rights of all migrants.”

      Ms. Shamdasani also said OHCHR welcomed discussions about revising Italian immigration policies in light of the court ruling.

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      Australian premier wins leadership ballot

      Posted on 27 February 2012 by admin

      AIHRA News Monday, 27th February 2012

      PTI News Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard today emphatically won the Labor leadership ballot, handing her arch-rival Kevin Rudd a resounding defeat by 71 votes to 31. It is the biggest win in a Labor leadership ballot in 30 years.Announcing the result, returning officer Chris Hayes said: “Julia Gillard has won the ballot 71 votes to 31.”

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