The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
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Week ending 27 June 2015

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

pdf version: The Sentinel_ week ending 27 June 2015

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries to be posted below on 28 June 2015

earlier pdf editions archived here

Migration [to 27 June 2015]

Migration
[Please see full IOM post here]

In Testy Debate, E.U. Leaders Fail to Agree on Quotas to Spread Migrants Across Bloc
By ANDREW HIGGINS
New York Ties, JUNE 26, 2015
BRUSSELS — Facing a migration crisis that has infused Europe’s usually arid and consensual decision-making with angry passions, European leaders ended an ill-tempered discussion early Friday about what to do with a vague pledge to spread 40,000 migrants around the Continent.

But they scrapped what had been the heart of a plan to share a burden now borne largely by Greece and Italy — a system of mandatory quotas to spread the tens of thousands of migrants, now in the two countries, across the European Union.

Heated arguments among leaders at a two-day summit meeting in Brussels exposed deep divisions and even disarray in a European bloc already badly strained by the repeated failure of talks to prevent a default next week by Greece…

…A final statement adopted Friday committed all 28 member states to “agree by consensus by the end of July” on how to distribute across Europe the 40,000 people now in Italy and Greece who are “in clear need of international protection.”

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CONCORD recommendations to Heads of State on Migration and Development
(Brussels, 24/06/2015) Since the beginning of this year, more than 1800 people have died in the Mediterranean trying to reach the European shores, 50 times more than the figure recorded over the same period in 2014.

Multiple conflicts in nearby countries, an ongoing global displacement crisis as well as the lack of safe passages to Europe have pushed people fleeing wars, abject chaos and despair to take increasing risks and for many, to face deaths. The European Union cannot turn a blind eye on its responsibility in contributing to this situation and in addressing the situation now. This is the moment to live up to European founding values of solidarity and human rights.

At their meeting in Brussels this week, CONCORD calls on European leaders to act for the safety of people first and for their right to well-being.

Make migration a driver for development
For CONCORD, continued and predicted tragedies at sea constitute a grave indictment of current EU approach to migration that continues focusing on security and border controls rather than on ensuring the safety of people arriving on its shores. The balance between security and migrants’ rights is deeply uneven, against the fundamental values of the European Charter.

Current EU border enforcement approaches neither protect the fundamental human right to life nor respect international and regional treaties that require protection: for those fleeing persecution, serious human rights violations and torture; for those abused by human traffickers or smugglers; and for children.

CONCORD regrets that migration is clearly designed as a component of a security policy rather than a driver for development.

Therefore, CONCORD calls on Heads of States to take a holistic approach and address seriously the root causes of forced migration; these are the factors that force people to seek protection and a better life in Europe. Portraying the criminal activities of traffickers as the root causes of people migrating deliberately ignores these many factors.

CONCORD calls on Heads of States to reaffirm, like EU’s Development Ministers did recently, that the EU is committed to work on the “links between migration and development”, emphasizing that “development cooperation can contribute to ensuring that migration is a choice rather than a necessity”.

The EU should increase investment in inclusive development, decent work and social protection in countries of origin so that migration becomes an option among others and not a necessity, for people who migrate. EU should forge a new humanitarian and development policy for preventing crisis and conflicts as well as trade and common security policies that are coherent with development objectives.

Furthermore, under the ‘Cooperation with third countries”, the EU must refuse to negotiate with countries that do not respect human rights.

Open legal safe channels of migration
Restrictions on mobility and border controls currently in place create lucrative markets for traffickers as people seeking protection will inevitably continue to cross the Mediterranean even at high risks for their own lives. As long as legal migration routes to Europe remain closed, lives of migrants are in danger and their right to asylum is denied.

CONCORD calls on Heads of State to adopt measures to open realistic legal safe channels of migration to the EU, in order to reduce irregular migration and ensure that people migrate without risking their lives.

Especially, the EU should adopt proposals to enable safe, legal migration of low skilled/educated migrants, which represents the vast majority of migrants who will continue to migrate to Europe. Adopting a ‘Blue Card’ policy to “choose” our migrants is a denial of the realities on the ground and of the necessity of economic migrants to seek legitimate jobs and living conditions. In addition, this creates new brain and skill drains in countries of origin.

Shared responsibility
We urge Heads of States to· agree on a responsibility-sharing mechanism between Member States at the forefront of the crisis and the rest of the EU and adopts a binding, and not voluntary, policy of participation by all Member States in the reception and resettlement of migrants in a way that respects human dignity and the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as women, mothers, children and youth, people with health problems etc.

It is important that the solutions found by EU governments re-affirm the need to uphold asylum and refugee protection.

The new Commission relocation proposal is not a sufficient response to the number of migrants arriving and those that will arrive in the coming months. CONCORD highly questions the categorization of refugees used in the Commission proposal as it implies that for asylum seekers, who are not eligible to relocation, European solidarity will not apply. Italy and Greece will therefore remain alone to deal with their reception. The EC relocation proposal is already an admission that the Dublin Regulation is a failure.

Heads of States should ensure that asylum applications are examined in the country chosen by the asylum seeker.

Safety and dignity first
We are deeply concerned that the identification process of “persons in clear need of protection” (measure mainly targeting Syrians and Eritreans) involves coercive measures, through the detention of asylum seekers in administrative centers for months. Moreover, the identification should not be based on the nationality criteria but on the effective protection needs of the asylum seekers. Migrants’ rights and dignity must be preserved at all times.

Furthermore, the plan for military naval interventions to destroy vessels is not acceptable from both political and ethical points of view as this runs high risk to put migrants’ lives in great danger. Already, some say that “collateral damages” would be inevitable. This is an intolerable military response to a humanitarian structural phenomenon.

CONCORD strongly opposes such a risky military intervention and calls on the responsibility of the EU’s Heads of States to protect the lives of migrant women, men and children.

1. CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs. It represents NGOs from all 28 EU member states, as well as 20 international networks and 3 associate members.

Syria [to 27 June 2015]

UN agencies and partners say funding shortage leaves Syrian refugees and host nations without vital support
UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 25 June 2015

A shortage of funds is hampering humanitarian and development assistance efforts to meet the needs of 3.9 million refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria, as well as more than 20 million people in affected local communities hosting them in neighbouring countries, according to a report released today.

More than 200 partners in the Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan (3RP) in Response to the Syria Crisis are calling on the international community to act faster to deliver on their pledges of support to the 3RP.

Against the USD 4.53 billion required for programmes implemented by UN agencies and NGOs under the plan, only USD 1.06 billion – 23 per cent – has been received as at the end of May. This leaves a gap of some USD 3.47 billion.

“This massive crisis requires far more solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community than what we have seen so far,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “But instead, we are so dangerously low on funding that we risk not being able to meet even the most basic survival needs of millions of people over the coming six months.”…

To download the report and find more information on the 3RP, visit: http://www.3RPSyriaCrisis.org :: 44 pages

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Syria: Civilian Attacks – Press Statement from 81 Organizations
25 Jun 2015
We are a coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations working to protect and assist the civilians of Syria. We wish to express our collective outrage at the never ending state of unchecked brutality in Syria and call on the UN Security Council to take immediate action.  Given continuing indiscriminate attacks against civilians within Syria, we urge each member of the Security Council to now take steps to implement further diplomatic measures given clear and ongoing non-compliance with Resolution 2139, specifically measures to establish a mechanism to track and publically expose indiscriminate attacks by any means against civilians, including barrel bombs or car bombs, and to lay down clear consequences for violators.

Sixteen months ago the UN Security Council demanded an end to “…all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs” in Resolution 2139. Yet since then the Council has stood by as this demand has been repeatedly violated month after month with unrelenting and brutal attacks against schools, markets, and hospitals and the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians. This must not be allowed to continue. Expressing “deep concern” in statements to the press while Syrians are killed and maimed in attacks which violate International Humanitarian Law day after day is a woefully inadequate response. Syrians deserve to be protected from all attacks, not just those involving chemical weapons.

We urge the Council to use the upcoming Arria meeting to seize the momentum on this critical issue and commence the process required to set up a mechanism to track and publically expose indiscriminate attacks by any means against civilians, including barrel bombs or car bombs, and to lay down clear consequences for violators.

Signatories listed here

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture 2015

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Right to Rehabilitation: IRCT statement on the occasion of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
26-06-2015
Today marks the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Every year, on 26 June, people from around the world come together to remember those who have been tortured, by calling for the prevention of torture and an end to impunity. We hold fast to our vision of a world without torture. This year we come together to remind victims that they have not been forgotten and that the world’s governments need to deliver on their right to rehabilitation.

Twenty eight years ago today the UN Convention against Torture came into effect and banned torture and ill treatment. Even though the vast majority of states have promised not to torture or ill treat people under international law, this continues in 141 countries. The promises of almost three decades ago rings hollow with those that can never feel safe in countries in three quarters of the world. Torture and ill-treatment affects entire communities – wreaking damage far beyond the direct victims.

Some victims of torture get the help they need and deserve from rehabilitation centres. Rehabilitation centres across the globe are havens for victims, providing support and expertise to help victims reclaim their lives and rebuild relationships with their families and communities. However, many rehabilitation centres work in challenging conditions, with scant resources and uncertain futures. They cannot continue to do this vital work alone.

More needs to be done to support victims
This 26 June, we come together to listen to survivors and their caregivers. We come together to put a human face to those who survive torture and those who help them to rehabilitate. It is time to stand in solidarity and demand their voices be heard and their need for rehabilitation be met.

Under the theme R2R – Right to Rehabilitation Now! our demands are clear – as long as the practice of torture continues, people and communities are entitled to full reparation and this includes the right to rehabilitation. Together, we call on states to meet their obligations to victims, as set out in international law almost three decades ago and further detailed in General Comment No.3 by the Committee against Torture.

There is hope and a growing global movement
Torture victims have a right to rehabilitation. Today, with thousands of others around the world, we call on states to make the right to rehabilitation a reality. We call on states to provide the resources to ensure that victims have access to appropriate rehabilitation services.

We stand united with many others and join forces to support victims of torture. Our demands are clear, on 26 June and every other day of the year. We all seek a world without torture and until that day comes we must continue to demand that torture victims get the rehabilitation they need and have a right to.
It’s time for action to end torture
ICRC Statement
26 June 2015
As the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June, unbearable suffering continues to be inflicted on people, in complete violation of international law.

Torture is an affront to humanity, which brings suffering not just to the immediate victims of ill-treatment but also on their families, who can be damaged and destroyed. Illegal, immoral, or inhumane treatment is never the right choice.

Whole communities are impacted by the corrosive effects that torture has on a society, especially where it goes unpunished. Abuses generate hatred and trigger cycles of revenge.

It shames our societies that torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment remain widespread. No country is entirely immune from this phenomenon, in one form or another.

Despite its absolute prohibition under international law and the efforts made to end torture by the international community, including humanitarian organizations, we are still a long way from preventing it.

The ICRC works to prevent torture by being present in places of detention. In 2014, we visited more than 800,000 detainees in 92 countries, significant numbers of whom are at risk of torture. We engage in confidential dialogue with authorities to improve detainees’ living conditions, their treatment and the respect for judicial guarantees. We also advocate for the granting of international protection to victims of torture who are forced to flee their countries and to prevent forced returns to countries where people would be at risk of torture.

The ICRC welcomes the fact that 158 of the world’s States have signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture. But there is still a lot of work to do towards the implementation of such measures. Unless its provisions are translated into national legislation and practice, they will remain of purely symbolic value.

States need to prosecute and punish those who torture. They must also put in place concrete provisions for remedies and reparations to those who have suffered from torture and ill-treatment, and take practical measures to support their physical, psychological and social rehabilitation.

For the sake of all torture victims, both those with power and influence and those who are carrying out these acts on the ground need to help put an end to torture once and for all.
Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Progress for Children – Beyond averages: learning from the MDGs :: UNICEF

Progress for Children – Beyond averages: learning from the MDGs
UNICEF
NUMBER 11, 2015 :: 72 pages
Full Report: http://weshare.unicef.org/archive/Progress%20for%20Children%202015_Web_PDF-2AM408THYY33.html
Press Release
Millions of world’s poorest children left behind despite global progress, new UNICEF report says
‘Progress for Children’ report highlights lessons from the MDGs
Download the report, photos, b-roll, graphs and the audio recording from the press briefing at: http://uni.cf/1IZy0VV

NEW YORK, 23 June 2015 – The global community will fail millions of children if it does not focus on the most disadvantaged in its new 15-year development roadmap, UNICEF warned today.

Progress for Children: Beyond Averages, UNICEF’s final report on the child-related Millennium Development Goals, says that, despite significant achievements, unequal opportunities have left millions of children living in poverty, dying before they turn five, without schooling and suffering chronic malnutrition.

“The MDGs helped the world realize tremendous progress for children – but they also showed us how many children we are leaving behind,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “The lives and futures of the most disadvantaged children matter – not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their families, their communities and their societies.”

Disparities within countries have left children from the poorest households twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday and far less likely to achieve minimum reading standards than children from the richest households.

Continued failure to reach these children can have dramatic consequences. At current rates of progress, given projected population growth, it is estimated that:
:: 68 million more children under five will die from mostly preventable causes by 2030;
:: An estimated 119 million children will still be chronically malnourished in 2030;
:: Half a billion people will still be defecating in the open, posing serious risks to children’s health in 2030;
:: It will take almost 100 years for all girls from sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest families to complete their lower secondary education.

The report highlights notable successes since 1990:
:: Under-five mortality dropped by more than half, from 90 per 1,000 live births to 43 per 1,000 live births;
:: Underweight and chronic malnutrition among children under five decreased by 42 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively;
:: Maternal mortality decreased by 45 per cent;
:: Some 2.6 billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources.

And the gaps between the poorest and the wealthiest are narrowing in more than half of the indicators UNICEF analysed:
:: In many countries, greater gains in child survival and school attendance are seen in the poorest households.
:: The gap in maternal mortality rates between low- and high-income countries halved between 1990 and 2013, from 38 times higher to 19 times higher.

The report also highlights the bad news: Progress still eludes the nearly 6 million children who die every year before their fifth birthday, the 289,000 women who die every year while giving birth and the 58 million children who don’t go to primary school.

As world leaders prepare to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the most disadvantaged children should be at the heart of the new goals and targets, UNICEF said. Better data collection and disaggregation – going beyond averages such as those used to measure the MDGs – can help identify the most vulnerable and excluded children and where they live. Stronger local health, education and social protection systems can help more children to survive and thrive. And smarter investments tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable children can yield short and long-term benefits.

“The SDGs present an opportunity to apply the lessons we have learned and reach the children in greatest need – and shame on us if we don’t,” Lake said “For greater equity in opportunity UNICEF

‘The Charter is Our Compass’, Secretary-General says at UN 70th Anniversary Event

‘The Charter is Our Compass’, Secretary-General says at UN 70th Anniversary Event
Secretary-General
6 June 2015
SG/SM/16880-OBV/1490-ORG/1605
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at a ceremony commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations, in San Francisco today:

Thank you for joining us to celebrate the founding of the United Nations — the indispensable organization I am proud to serve. Let me thank our host country, the United States of America, for its formative role. UN values and US values are one and the same — equality, freedom, dignity and peace.

I also want to express my special gratitude to Governor [Jerry] Brown of California and Mayor [Edwin] Lee of San Francisco, this centre of diversity and innovation. San Francisco is not just the birthplace of the United Nations; it was also where my passion to be a global citizen was born.

More than half a century ago, I came to the United States as part of a group of international students sponsored by the Red Cross. I was 18 years old. Our trip began right here in the Bay Area. I was hosted by the Pattersons, a wonderful family in Novato. Mrs. Patterson — my Red Cross mother — is here today. Mrs. Patterson, welcome.

The drafting of the Charter was a glorious gamble. Delegates from dozens of countries bet on humanity. So much faith was lost in the trenches and gas chambers of two world wars in the space of one generation. But, they dared to believe in something bigger than person or country.

For two months, they turned San Francisco’s War Memorial into a peace palace. More than three thousand women and men took part. One of them was Ellen Magnin Newman, a high school senior at the time. She was a Spanish interpreter — and helped everyone speak the universal language of peace. I am pleased that Ms. Newman is here with us today. Please join me in saying thank you.

The delegates worked against the backdrop of monumental news: Hitler’s suicide, the liberation of Dachau, the victory in Europe. But, victory in San Francisco was never assured. Today, we take the idea of the United Nations for granted, but bringing it to life required huge leaps of statecraft to bridge differences. Through intense negotiations, the delegates realized their dream.

They knew you do not just rebuild broken societies with bricks and mortar, but with ideas and values. With the adoption of the Charter, a world in rubble found a path to renewal.

I was born just months before the United Nations. But, it did not take long for it to change my world for good. When the Korean War ravaged my country, I lost my home, my school, all I knew. Help came bearing the United Nations flag — sacks of grain from UNICEF [UN Children’s Fund], textbooks from UNESCO [UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] and many young soldiers from 21 nations, including the United States. The United Nations showed us we were not alone.

Today, when I travel to refugee camps and conflict areas around the world, I tell young people: you are not alone. I made it. You can, too. The United Nations will stand with you.

That is our mission.

Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry, shelters refugees and vaccinates children against deadly disease. Every day, we defend human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

In that regard, I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that paves the way for gay and lesbian Americans to have their relationship legally recognised, no matter which part of the United States they are living in. This is a great step forward for human rights in the United States, and I join the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transsexual] community and its millions of allies in celebrating this historic decision.

The United Nations led the charge in dismantling colonialism, bringing freedom to millions. We mobilized the world to defeat apartheid. Our peacekeepers are on the frontlines of war; our mediators bring warriors to the table of peace.

Yet, tragedy has also been with us every step of the way. Genocide, war and a thousand daily indignities and abuse plague far too many people, especially women. Conflict has forced more people to flee their homes today than at any time since the Second World War. Forces of division are on the march, peddling the false promise of isolation in ever more interdependent world. And the planet itself is at risk.

Seventy years ago, Ellen Magnin Newman was a young student. Today, we are honoured to be joined by another, Malala Yousafzai. Malala, you are a daughter of the United Nations and a torchbearer for your generation. Thank you for reminding us that anniversaries are about the future.

We have big work ahead. In September, world leaders will adopt an inspiring new development agenda to end global poverty. In December, the international community has committed to reach a bold climate change agreement to place the world on more sustainable footing. These are once-in-a-generation opportunities. This is our San Francisco moment.

In signing the Charter, the founders achieved what many thought impossible. It falls to us to heed the Charter’s call to “unite our strength” and to use their creation — the United Nations — for the common good.

The United Nations is the hope and home of all humankind. The Charter is our compass. Let us never relent on the journey to a better world for “we the peoples”.

2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – U.S. Department of Sate

2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
U.S. Department of Sate
06/25/15
Washington, DC
On June 25, 2015, Secretary Kerry submitted the 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (commonly known as the Human Rights Reports) to the U.S. Congress. The reports, now in their 39th year, are available at State.gov/humanrightsreports and HumanRights.gov/reports. Mandated by Congress, the Human Rights Reports help inform U.S. government policy and foreign assistance. They are also a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, legal professionals, scholars, interested citizens, and journalists.

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Key Human Rights Developments
Noteworthy human rights developments highlighted in the 2014 Reports include:

Brutality of ISIL and Other Non-State Actors
While our reports continue to focus on the behavior of governments—which are ultimately responsible for the protection of human rights in their territories—the year 2014 will be remembered as much for atrocities committed by non-state actors. The terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked and killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children in Iraq and Syria, particularly targeting minority communities. Other terrorist organizations—including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and al-Nusrah Front—perpetrated human rights abuses against innocent non-combatants. Often, particularly in the case of ISIL, they sought to eliminate all those who did not conform to their violent extremist views. Actions by these terrorist groups occasionally bred further human rights abuses in response, either because governments lacked strong, accountable security and rule of law institutions or because governments sought to exploit the threat of terrorism as a pretext to repress peaceful dissenters, political opponents, or members of religious or ethnic minorities. Such abusive reactions to violent extremism, including through the misapplication of counter-terrorism laws, undermined efforts to combat terrorist groups in addition to undermining human rights norms.

Unique Role of Technology, Both in Combatting and Carrying Out Human Rights Violations
Even as authoritarian governments become more aggressive in cracking down on free speech and the use of new media, civil society is emerging as an increasingly powerful actor on the international stage, as people in every country become more connected and better informed. A number of civil society organizations (CSOs) are successfully advocating the protection of rights online, developing technologies to protect freedom of expression, and calling out human rights abuses. CSOs and NGOs have used satellite imagery, video, and crowdsourcing technologies to gather information and document human rights abuses in areas where security and accessibility have made such reporting challenging in recent years. Technology is also being used to verify data and help provide governments and the United Nations with accurate information regarding protests, destruction, and violence in countries around the world. It is also being used to help increase transparency. And yet, authoritarian governments often used a number of overt means to control use of the Internet within their borders. Governments in many parts of the world are increasingly blocking access to standard and social media sites, and in many countries, human rights activists who used the Internet were tried as criminals and punished as terrorists.

Correlation between Corruption, Human Rights Abuses, and Authoritarian Governments
An endemic feature in almost every authoritarian government is the persistence and pervasiveness of corruption, coupled with a lack of transparency and accountability. In 2014, corruption prevailed in too many societies and too many unrestrained rulers used it to cement their overall grip on power. In many cases, citizens who promoted independent efforts to combat corruption were themselves prosecuted. Corruption also reduced the effectiveness of security forces, weakening governance, undermining the independence of judiciaries, and damaging economies.