Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:46:01 AM EST
Amnesty International Human Rights Report: 'We Are Seeing a Catastrophe' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

In its annual report released on Thursday, Amnesty International scolds China and the United States for human rights violations. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, AI head Irene Khan warns that the global economic crisis is leading Western governments to put the push for universal human rights on the back burner.

 Amnesty International warns that the global financial crisis is distracting governments and that humanitarian crises and human rights issues are being put on the back burner. SPIEGEL ONLINE: The past year has been totally dominated by the global recession. That's even reflected in your annual report. How has it affected the human rights situation around the world?

Khan: We are seeing a catastrophe. After years of going down, the number of people in poverty is growing again. We saw social uprisings across Africa and China -- and very harsh repression by governments that left many protesters dead. Food shortages allowed several governments, among others Zimbabwe and North Korea, to use food as a political weapon.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Could that have been prevented?

Khan: Leading governments have been distracted by the recession. Humanitarian crises, like in Darfur and Palestine, do not get the attention they deserve. The poorest are hardest hit by the economic crisis, but all the thought and investment goes to shore up the economy and the banking system in the West. Human rights are put on a backburner.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it surprising to you that Western politicians think of their own countries first?

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:49:35 AM EST
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EUobserver / Economic crisis damaging human rights, report says

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Human rights violations remained widespread across the world in 2008, including Europe, with the global economic crisis not only aggravating the existing problems, but creating new ones as well, human rights group Amnesty International's yearly report released on Thursday (28 May) shows.

Roma communities and settlements in Italy have been subjected to ongoing discrimination

"The global economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis. A combination of social, economic and political problems has created a time bomb of human rights abuses [across the world]," said Irene Khan, the group's secretary general.

"There are growing signs of political unrest and violence, adding to the global insecurity that already exists because of deadly conflicts which the international community seems unable or unwilling to resolve. In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode," she wrote in the introduction to Amnesty's report on the situation of human rights in the world.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:56:14 AM EST
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Amnesty accuses leaders of losing focus on human rights abuse | World | Deutsche Welle | 28.05.2009
Disaster is brewing and could lead to a humanitarian crisis of poverty, repression and unrest as human rights take a back seat to the global economic downturn, Amnesty International warns in its annual report. 

In its annual report, released on Thursday, Amnesty International details human rights abuses from China to the United States and Sri Lanka to Russia and says the ongoing economic crisis is partly to blame for deteriorating rights.


"Underlying the economic crisis is an explosive human rights crisis. The economic downturn has aggravated abuses, distracted attention from them and created new problems," Amnesty chief Irene Khan said. "In other words: we are sitting on a powder keg of inequality, injustice and insecurity, and it is about to explode."

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:00:19 PM EST
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Israelis get four times more water than Palestinians, says World Bank report | World news | guardian.co.uk
Palestinians losing out in access to vital shared aquifer in the occupied territories

A deepening drought in the Middle East is aggravating a dispute over water resources after the World Bank found that Israel is taking four times as much water as the Palestinians from a vital shared aquifer.

The region faces a fifth consecutive year of drought this summer, but the World Bank report found huge disparities in water use between Israelis and Palestinians, although both share the mountain aquifer that runs the length of the occupied West Bank. Palestinians have access to only a fifth of the water supply, while Israel, which controls the area, takes the rest, the bank said.

Israelis use 240 cubic metres of water a person each year, against 75 cubic metres for West Bank Palestinians and 125 for Gazans, the bank said. Increasingly, West Bank Palestinians must rely on water bought from the Israeli national water company, Mekorot.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:59:22 AM EST
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Reuters AlertNet - Afghan was taken to Guantanamo aged 12-rights group
KABUL, May 26 (Reuters) - An Afghan who has spent over six years at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison was only around 12-years-old when he was detained, not 16 or 17 as his official record says, an Afghan rights group said on Tuesday.

Interviews with the family of Mohammed Jawad, who like many poor Afghans does not know his exact age or birthday, showed he was probably not even a teenager when he was arrested in 2002, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said.

He was picked up by Afghan police in connection with a grenade attack in Kabul in which two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter were wounded. He was transferred to U.S. custody the same day and flown to Guantanamo in early 2003.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:59:42 AM EST
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Iraq redux? Obama seeks funds for Pakistan super-embassy | McClatchy

ISLAMABAD -- The U.S. is embarking on a $1 billion crash program to expand its diplomatic presence in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, another sign that the Obama administration is making a costly, long-term commitment to war-torn South Asia, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The White House has asked Congress for -- and seems likely to receive -- $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital.

The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:00:01 PM EST
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And the evil empire continues, even under Obama.  How did I end up in this schlock country, anyway?  Who do I blame?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 06:46:00 AM EST
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Photos show rape and sex abuse in Iraq jails: report - Yahoo! News

LONDON (Reuters) - Photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse which U.S. President Barack Obama does not want released include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday.

The images are among photographs included in a 2004 report into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison conducted by U.S. Major General Antonio Taguba.

Taguba included allegations of rape and sexual abuse in his report, and on Wednesday he confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that images supporting those allegations were also in the file.

"These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency," Taguba, who retired in January 2007, was quoted as saying in the paper.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:21:06 PM EST
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Russian Arms Exports Grow By 800 Million Dollars In 2009
Moscow (RIA Novosti) May 28, 2009
Russian arms exports are expected to increase by $700-$800 mln in 2009 despite the global credit crunch, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday.

"Rosoboronexport sells an additional $700-800 million [worth of weaponry] every year. Despite the crisis, 2009 will be no exception," company official Valery Varlamov said.

The arms export monopoly sold $6.75 billion worth of arms in 2008, and earlier said its defense order portfolio was worth $27 billion.

"We could have signed deals worth a total of $50 billion, but we did not do this, and settled for $27 billion. We believe this figure is realistic," the official said.

Combat aircraft have a 50% share in sales of Russian weaponry, followed by air defense systems, military equipment for ground forces, and naval equipment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 04:22:21 PM EST
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According to articles I read a few months back, China is also raising their levels of military (especially naval) spending.

Russia is actually downsizing and reorganizing it's armed forces following the American model of a smaller, more highly trained and better equipped force. Which, frankly, was needed. The lack of professionalism, corruption and brutality (towards its own troops) of the Russian army is well known. Russia also prepares to build its first operational aircraft carrier as well as additions to its submarine fleet.

Both nations are gearing up to project some power, at least regionally.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Fri May 29th, 2009 at 07:27:29 AM EST
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BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Alert level raised on North Korea

South Korean and US troops have gone on higher alert after North Korea said it was scrapping the treaty that halted the Korean War more than 50 years ago.

Seoul's defence ministry said it would increase reconnaissance operations over North Korea.

North Korea recently tested a nuclear device and several short-range missiles but no significant troop movements within the country have been reported.

The UN Security Council is discussing a response to North Korea's nuclear test.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 08:23:36 PM EST
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