The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 27 October 2018

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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

PDF : The Sentinel_ period ending 27 Oct 2018

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates  [see PDF]The Sentinel_ period ending 20 Oct 2018
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Doctors and scientists must defend a free press – The Lancet

Featured Journal Content
.
The Lancet
Oct 27, 2018 Volume 392 Number 10157 p1487-1598
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current
Editorial
Doctors and scientists must defend a free press
The Lancet
Nov 2 marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. UNESCO has recorded 1010 killings of journalists in the past 12 years. In 90% of cases, the killers went unpunished. The work of journalists worldwide offers a vital platform to discuss and debate the health and wellbeing of populations whose plight might otherwise never come to international attention.

Death is not the only way journalists are silenced—they are regularly intimidated and detained as well. Already this year, The Lancet has condemned Shahidul Alam’s detention for highlighting the Government of Bangaldesh’s failure to ensure road safety for its citizens. 2018 has also seen Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo of Reuters convicted after reporting on the alleged killings of ten Rohingya at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist villagers in Myanmar. Journalists risk their personal safety because highlighting health and human rights atrocities is so important.

Press freedom around the world is currently at its lowest ebb for 13 years. 2017 saw 73 000 people classify themselves as journalists or editors, down from 84 000 just 1 year previously. Only 13% of the world’s population currently has a free press. Free press and free expression are inextricably linked to the struggle to advance health for individuals and populations. As we can see from the recent scrambles by Russia and Saudi Arabia to invent narratives to explain their illegal actions, it is only wider attention that can bring sufficient pressure on governments to act within the law and respect the health and human rights of its citizens. Journalists offer a key avenue for applying this pressure.

Let Nov 2, this year, mark a change in the way we think of journalists. It is not just the job of press colleagues, lawyers, and governments to defend the rights of journalists worldwide—health professionals and scientists must stand up for a free press too. If we hope for the better health of people worldwide, we must defend the rights of the most objective international monitoring mechanism we have—a free press.

“Cultural Relativism” and Human Rights — Statement by Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

Human Rights – Relativism
.
Statement by Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights at the 73rd session of the General Assembly
New York, 23 October 2018

[Excerpt; Text bolding by Editor]
The universality of human rights is today the cornerstone of human rights law, regularly reaffirmed by states in new legal standards, and a foundational aspect of the human rights system. It greatly enhances the lives of all human beings, including by guaranteeing their cultural rights. It is a critical tool for human rights defenders around the world.

However, universality is currently under sustained attack from many directions, including by those who misuse culture and cultural rights justifications. This poses many challenges for all human rights, including cultural rights. In response, we need a foundational renewal of universality, and one with a broad youth constituency that can nourish the tradition of the UDHR during its next 70 years.

Meanwhile, in recent years, respect for cultural diversity has also been threatened by those who seek to impose monolithic identities and ways of being, who advocate various forms of supremacy and discrimination. Cultural diversity is still wrongly understood as being in opposition to universality, including by some Governments and other actors who misuse it as an excuse for violations of the very universal human rights within which its enjoyment is embedded, and by others who oppose the concept altogether.

Universality is not a weapon against cultural diversity, nor is cultural diversity a weapon against universality. The two principles are mutually reinforcing and interlocking. In today’s polarized world, we need a sophisticated multi-directional stance. We must simultaneously defend the universality of human rights from those seeking to use cultural claims as a weapon against rights, and at the same time defend cultural rights and respect for cultural diversity, in accordance with international standards, when those principles come under attack. This is an important way to mark the 70th anniversary of the UDHR and its Article 27 guarantee of the right to take part in cultural life without discrimination.

Women’s cultural rights are prime sites of threat to universality and must be rigorously defended, especially in a world where even some leaders openly denigrate women and deny their equality. Equality and universal human rights are not overridden by culture or what is claimed to be culture. Cultural rights are not an excuse for violations of other human rights. They do not justify discrimination or violence.

Universality is not an idea that belongs to any one country or culture, to any one region or religion. In this seventieth anniversary year, we have an obligation to remind ourselves of the contributions made by women and men from around the world to the Universal Declaration, and to promote and share its truly global history. The text adopted in 1948 was not an imposition of the values or cultures of any one region of the world, but rather a foundational challenge to entrenched systems of racial and sexual discrimination that were prevalent. Notwithstanding abstentions, not a single country voted against the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights]. It has become not only a vital international legal standard, but also one of the most important pieces of intangible cultural heritage created during the twentieth century and, thus, part of the cultural heritage of all humankind. It requires vigilant protection.

Ardent defenders of the universality of human rights are found in all regions. Its opponents are likewise geographically diverse. People and Governments in every part of the world are capable of violating or sustaining this idea. The rhetoric of universality often resonates most strongly with those who are most marginalized and discriminated against.

There are many forms of relativism that undermine human rights culture and meaningful universality. These include the refusal to recognize entire categories of rights, such as economic, social and cultural rights. Such an approach results in a selective universality, which is unacceptable. Tolerance of extreme poverty in the name of markets is as undermining of universality as is the attempt to justify discrimination in the name of culture. A robust universality must include civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, must include the rights of all people and must enable their full implementation.

In contrast to cultural diversity which is positive for human rights, cultural relativism – which suggests that some have lesser or different rights because of the collective to which they are assumed to belong, which uses culture not to amplify rights but to take them away – is destructive and has been repudiated by international law. Cultural relativism is no mere theoretical construct; the exclusions from rights protection it seeks to create have grave, sometimes lethal, consequences. The fact that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is the human rights convention subject to the most reservations, many of which are based on unacceptable cultural relativist excuses for not implementing women’s equality, is a matter of urgent concern.

It is reprehensible that relativist arguments even find their way into United Nations resolutions. “Sensitivities” do not overrule the international human rights obligations of States. No historical, social, cultural or religious “sensitivities” can justify the criminalization of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, nor could they justify racial discrimination.

To effectively challenge cultural relativism, I call on States inter alia to:
(a) Review laws that discriminate against anyone on the basis of cultural or religious arguments, and bring them in line with universal human rights standards; and
(b) Refrain from using culture, cultural rights or tradition to justify violations of international human rights and ensure that no representative of the State does so in national or international forums.

Cultures also have many positive implications for the enjoyment of universal human rights. Cultural diversity is a necessary condition for and the result of the exercise of cultural rights by all.

We must recognize the very real histories of forced assimilation that have sometimes been imposed, inter alia, on indigenous peoples, minorities and people living under colonialism and the disdain with which their cultural resources have often been treated. Universality is about human dignity, not about homogeneity. But we must also recognize the diversity of diversities, not only between, but within all human collectivities. In all countries, there should be provisions and mechanisms to protect those who decide to step outside given cultural and religious frameworks, such as non-religious persons, from physical attacks, threats and incitement to hatred and violence. This diversity of diversities breaks the myth of homogeneous cultural blocs, and questions the authority of any person or institution to impose an interpretation on cultural resources.

To improve respect for cultural diversity, States should inter alia:
(a) Recognize and value it within the framework of universal human rights and avoid abusively restricting its expression; recognize and respect cultural dissent, syncretism and cultural mixing, and the right to re-interpret cultures;
(b) Reaffirm the importance of secularism and the separation of religion and State, and of both secular and intercultural spaces, for full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief, and cultural rights…

First United Nations Expert on Sexual Orientation Presents Inaugural Human Rights Report to Third Committee, as Others Tackle Justice, Environment Concerns

Human Rights – Sexual Orientation
.
First United Nations Expert on Sexual Orientation Presents Inaugural Human Rights Report to Third Committee, as Others Tackle Justice, Environment Concerns
GA/SHC/4243 25 October 2018
General Assembly Third Committee
Seventy-third Session, 33rd & 34th Meetings (AM & PM)

Right Not to Be Arbitrarily Deprived of Life Universally Recognized, ‘Applies at All Times’, Says Special Rapporteur
Thousands of trans and gender-diverse persons are subjected to levels of violence that “offend the human conscience”, the first United Nations expert on the topic told the Third Committee today, as delegates engaged with mandate holders on the promotion and protection of human rights.

In his inaugural presentation, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, who took up his mandate 1 January, said thousands of trans and gender-diverse persons have been killed in recent years. In some countries, the life expectancy of a trans woman is only 35 years, he said, meaning that at age 17, she is middle-aged, and at 23, nearing the end of her life.

Describing this as “the tip of a horrifying iceberg”, he said a lack of reporting and data collection, itself stemming from transphobia, has meant an enormous amount of information is unknown about these communities. Bureaucratic approaches that lack “rhyme or reason” only exacerbate the risk of violence and discrimination, notably when the name, sex or gender details in official documents do not match a person’s appearance.

Moreover, when Governments do recognize the gender identity of trans persons, they often impose arbitrary and abusive requirements, he said: medical certification, surgery, treatment, sterilization or divorce among them. States’ non-recognition of trans and gender-diverse persons has created a “legal vacuum”, violating the right to equal recognition before the law, and in turn, the rights to health, education and housing.

And yet, Governments have the power to end such ordeals, he said, urging them to eliminate the conception of gender as pathology. They should instead design and conduct public education campaigns — including on anti-bullying and sexual education — and formulate education policies addressing harmful social and cultural bias, misconceptions and prejudice. “These measures cannot be postponed”, he asserted.

In the ensuing dialogue, delegates expressed concern about discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, with Albania’s representative voicing regret that more than 70 countries still criminalize sexual orientation. Colombia’ delegate advocated measures to fight such abuse, while Costa Rica’s delegate pointed to measures adopted this year that allow people to change their names through a simple administrative procedure…

An estimated 2,300 children traveling with migrant caravan in Mexico need protection and essential services – UNICEF

“Migrant Caravan in Mexico” – Essential Services for Children
.
An estimated 2,300 children traveling with migrant caravan in Mexico need protection and essential services – UNICEF
Press release
NEW YORK/MEXICO CITY, 26 October 2018 – An estimated 2,300 children traveling with the migrant caravan now in southern Mexico need protection and access to essential services like healthcare, clean water and adequate sanitation – UNICEF warned today. The long and arduous journey has left children exposed to inclement weather, including dangerously hot temperatures, with limited access to proper shelter. Some have already fallen ill or suffered from dehydration, according to UNICEF teams on the ground.

Many of the children and families in the caravan are fleeing gang and gender-based violence, extortion, poverty and limited access to quality education and social services in their home countries of northern Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Sadly, these conditions are part of daily life for millions of children in the region. Each day, families facing these harsh conditions make the painful decision to leave their homes, communities and countries in search of safety and a more hopeful future.

While those traveling with the caravan hope for safety in numbers, the perils of using irregular migration routes remain significant, especially for children. The journey is long, uncertain and full of danger, including the risk of exploitation, violence and abuse.

In Mexico, UNICEF is working with the Government and other partners to ensure that uprooted children are provided with the support and services they need and that their rights are upheld. This includes providing technical assistance to authorities on nutrition and child protection, and expanding access to psychosocial support. UNICEF and its partners are also providing children and families in the caravan with more than 20,000 litres of safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation packs, oral rehydration salts, sunscreen and soap.

Throughout northern Central America and Mexico, UNICEF continues to provide psychosocial counselling for children and families who have endured violence, exploitation and abuse at different stages of the migration journey. UNICEF is also developing models for alternative care to detention, and strengthening consular protection for uprooted children.

UNICEF reiterates its call on all governments to prioritize the best interests of children in the application of immigration laws and procedures, to keep families together, and to find alternatives to immigration detention of children.

US$70 million to UNICEF to support education programmes in Yemen through monthly cash stipends to unpaid teachers across country

Education – Yemen Crisis
.
US$70 million to UNICEF to support education programmes in Yemen through monthly cash stipends to unpaid teachers across country
Press release
23 October 2018 – UNICEF appreciates the announcement from the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of US $70 million towards monthly cash stipends to teachers across Yemen.

“More than 135,000 Yemeni teachers have not received their salaries in more than two years” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore who visited Yemen in June this year. “Classrooms are where children feel some semblance of normalcy in their lives, and a place to prepare themselves for their future lives. The stipends will help teachers stay in classrooms.”

“Education has been one of the biggest casualties of this conflict,” Fore said. “We urge the warring parties to end this conflict and allow children to resume their childhood. Peace is the only solution.”

New global commitment to primary health care for all at Astana conference

Health

.
New global commitment to primary health care for all at Astana conference
Declaration of Astana charts course to achieve universal health coverage, 40 years since declaration on primary health care in Alma-Ata
News Release 25 October 2018, Astana, Kazakhstan
Countries around the world today agreed to the Declaration of Astana, vowing to strengthen their primary health care systems as an essential step toward achieving universal health coverage. The Declaration of Astana reaffirms the historic 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata, the first time world leaders committed to primary health care.

“Today, instead of health for all, we have health for some,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “We all have a solemn responsibility to ensure that today’s declaration on primary health care enables every person, everywhere to exercise their fundamental right to health.”

While the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata laid a foundation for primary health care, progress over the past four decades has been uneven. At least half the world’s population lacks access to essential health services – including care for noncommunicable and communicable diseases, maternal and child health, mental health, and sexual and reproductive health.

“Although the world is a healthier place for children today than ever before, close to 6 million children die every year before their fifth birthday mostly from preventable causes, and more than 150 million are stunted,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “We as a global community can change that, by bringing quality health services close to those who need them. That’s what primary health care is about.”

The Declaration of Astana comes amid a growing global movement for greater investment in primary health care to achieve universal health coverage. Health resources have been overwhelmingly focused on single disease interventions rather than strong, comprehensive health systems – a gap highlighted by several health emergencies in recent years.

“Adoption of the Declaration at this global conference in Astana will set new directions for the development of primary health care as a basis of health care systems,” said Yelzhan Birtanov, Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “The new Declaration reflects obligations of countries, people, communities, health care systems and partners to achieve healthier lives through sustainable primary health care.”

UNICEF and WHO will help governments and civil society to act on the Declaration of Astana and encourage them to back the movement. UNICEF and WHO will also support countries in reviewing the implementation of this Declaration, in cooperation with other partners.

Notes to editors:
The Global Conference on Primary Health Care is taking place from 25-26 October in Astana, Kazakhstan, co-hosted by WHO, UNICEF and the Government of Kazakhstan. Participants include ministers of health, finance, education and social welfare; health workers and patient advocates; youth delegates and activists; and leaders representing bilateral and multilateral institutions, global health advocacy organizations, civil society, academia, philanthropy, media and the private sector.

The Declaration of Astana, unanimously endorsed by all WHO Member States, makes pledges in four key areas: (1) make bold political choices for health across all sectors; (2) build sustainable primary health care; (3) empower individuals and communities; and (4) align stakeholder support to national policies, strategies and plans.

Emergencies

Emergencies
 
 
POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 23 October 2018 [GPEI]
:: World Polio Day activities are in full swing.  Join partners around the world in raising awareness about the global effort to eradicate polio.

Summary of new viruses this week:
Afghanistan – one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) positive environmental sample;
Pakistan – two WPV1 cases and four WPV1-positive environmental samples;
Nigeria – one cVDPV2 case and three cVDPV2-positive environmental samples

::::::
::::::
 
Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.
 
 
WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 27 Oct 2018 ]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Beni: Ministry of Health and WHO condemn violence against civilians and health professionals in Ebola affected areas [in French]  22 October 2018
:: 12: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu  23 October 2018
:: Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo   25 October 2018
[See Milestones above for more detail]
 
Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis
:: Weekly Situation Report 47 – 17 October 2018
 
Nigeria – No new announcements identified
Somalia – No new announcements identified
South Sudan – No new announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new announcements identified
Yemen – No new announcements identified

::::::
 
WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 27 Oct 2018 ]
Brazil (in Portugese) – No new announcements identified
Cameroon  – No new announcements identified
Central African Republic  – No new announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new announcements identified
Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean – No new announcements identified
Iraq – No new announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new announcements identified
Libya – No new announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new announcements identified
Myanmar – No new announcements identified
Niger – No new announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new announcements identified
Sudan – No new announcements identified
Ukraine – No new announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new announcements identified
 
 
Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin, Week 42: 13-19 October 2018

The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 55 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
:: Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Dengue Fever in Senegal
:: Hepatitis E in Namibia
:: Cholera in Zimbabwe.

::::::
 
WHO Grade 1 Emergencies  [to 27 Oct 2018 ]
Afghanistan
Angola (in Portuguese)
Chad
Ethiopia
Kenya
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Mali
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Tanzania
Tropical Cyclone Gira
Zambia
 
::::::
 
UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Yemen
:: Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 7 October – 21 October …
:: Yemen: Cyclone Luban Flash Update #3 (21 October 2018) [EN/A …

Syrian Arab Republic   No new announcements identified.

::::::

UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Ethiopia  No new announcements identified.
Somalia  No new announcements identified.
 
::::::

“Other Emergencies”
Indonesia: Central Sulawesi Earthquake
:: Central Sulawesi Earthquake & Tsunami: Humanitarian Country Team Situation Report #5 (as of 23 October 2018)

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 22 October 2018

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
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

The Sentinel_ period ending 20 Oct 2018

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates  [see PDF]The Sentinel_ period ending 20 Oct 2018
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Opinion – What the Arab world needs most is free expression …by Jamal Khashoggi

Press Freedom…Freedom of Expression

Director-General firmly condemns the killing of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
20 October 2018
UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, firmly condemned the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which was officially confirmed by authorities in Saudi Arabia last night.

“I firmly condemn the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi,” said the Director-General. “The killing of Jamal Khashoggi reminds us of the need to fight for press freedom, which is essential to democracy. Accountability for these crimes is non-negotiable. I urge the relevant authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice,” Ms. Azoulay said.

UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
On 2 November, UNESCO will mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalist

::::::

Opinions
What the Arab world needs most is free expression
By Jamal Khashoggi
The Washington Post, October 17, 2018
A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor
I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “not free.”

As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.

The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries. They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information. These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

There are a few oases that continue to embody the spirit of the Arab Spring. Qatar’s government continues to support international news coverage, in contrast to its neighbors’ efforts to uphold the control of information to support the “old Arab order.” Even in Tunisia and Kuwait, where the press is considered at least “partly free,” the media focuses on domestic issues but not issues faced by the greater Arab world. They are hesitant to provide a platform for journalists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. Even Lebanon, the Arab world’s crown jewel when it comes to press freedom, has fallen victim to the polarization and influence of pro-Iran Hezbollah.

The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years into a critical institution, played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom. Arabs need something similar. In 1967, the New York Times and The Post took joint ownership of the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which went on to become a platform for voices from around the world.

My publication, The Post, has taken the initiative to translate many of my pieces and publish them in Arabic. For that, I am grateful. Arabs need to read in their own language so they can understand and discuss the various aspects and complications of democracy in the United States and the West. If an Egyptian reads an article exposing the actual cost of a construction project in Washington, then he or she would be able to better understand the implications of similar projects in his or her community.

The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

Girls Sold into Forced Labour Largest Group of Trafficking Victims Identified by IOM in Bangladesh Refugee Camps

Human Trafficking – Cox’s Bazaar

.
Girls Sold into Forced Labour Largest Group of Trafficking Victims Identified by IOM in Bangladesh Refugee Camps
2018-10-16 17:04
Cox’s Bazar – Young girls sold into forced labour are the largest group of trafficking victims identified by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps.

IOM counter-trafficking experts warn that more than a year into a crisis that has seen the number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar soar to almost a million, more desperate families are sending their young daughters off into dangerous work situations because most households have no other way to earn money in the camps.

“There is a very limited number of jobs in the camp and for women there is almost nothing. That’s why I went outside of the camp,” explained one young Rohingya woman, who ended up being forced to work extremely long hours for very little pay in the fish processing industry.

Latest figures show that women and girls lured into situations of forced labour account for two thirds of those who have received support from IOM in Cox’s Bazar after escaping or being rescued from exploitation. Another 10 per cent of identified victims were women and girls who suffered sexual exploitation.

Bangladeshi security agencies have reported stopping up to 60 women and girls a day attempting to leave the camps in small groups, many of whom appeared to have been coached what to say, but who, when questioned further, appeared unclear about issues such as who they are supposed to be travelling to meet.

IOM experts stress that adult men and boys are also the target of traffickers, accounting for around one in three of those found to have ended up in forced labour.

…Barred from leaving the refugee settlements, and entirely reliant on aid for survival, other than a limited number of cash-for-work programmes with humanitarian agencies and small-scale trading opportunities within the camps, the refugees are easy prey for traffickers, who promise transportation and access to lucrative work opportunities elsewhere. Other refugees resort to unsafe jobs for subsistence wages or end up in forced or early marriages…

World Altered by ‘Neoliberal’ Outsourcing of Public Services to Private Sector, Third Committee Experts Stress, amid Calls for Better Rights Protection

Human Rights – Privatization of Public Goods

.
World Altered by ‘Neoliberal’ Outsourcing of Public Services to Private Sector, Third Committee Experts Stress, amid Calls for Better Rights Protection
19 October 2018 GA/SHC/4239
The world has been fundamentally reordered by widespread neoliberal economics that has privatized basic public goods — social protections, education, pensions and criminal justice among them — with often disastrous impacts on the human rights of the extremely poor, experts told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today.

.
UN poverty expert warns against tsunami of unchecked privatisation
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
NEW YORK (19 October 2018) – Widespread privatisation of public goods in many societies is systematically eliminating human rights protections and further marginalising those living in poverty, according to a new report.

Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, criticised the extent to which the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and even the UN itself have aggressively promoted widespread privatisation of basic services, without regard to the human rights implications or the consequences for the poor. He also criticised human rights groups for not responding strongly enough to the resulting challenges.

“Privatising the provision of criminal justice, social protection, prisons, education, basic healthcare and other essential public goods cannot be done at the expense of throwing rights protections out of the window,” Alston said.

“States can’t dispense with their human rights obligations by delegating core services and functions to private companies on terms that they know will effectively undermine those rights for some people.”
He noted that while “proponents present privatisation as a technical solution for managing resources and reducing fiscal deficits, it has actually become an ideology of governance that devalues public goods, public spaces, compassion and a range of other values that are essential for a decent society.

“While privatisation’s proponents insist that it saves money, enhances efficiency, and improves services, the real world evidence very often challenges or contradicts these claims,” Alston said.
Privatisation is premised on fundamentally different assumptions from those that underpin respect for human rights, such as dignity and equality, he said. It inevitably prioritises profit, and sidelines considerations such as equality and non-discrimination. Rights-holders are transformed into clients, and those who are poor, needy, or troubled are marginalised or excluded. Human rights criteria are absent from almost all privatisation agreements, which rarely include provisions for sustained monitoring of their impact on service provision and the poor.

“Existing human rights accountability mechanisms are clearly inadequate for dealing with the challenges of large-scale and widespread privatisation,” Alston said. “The human rights community can no longer ignore the consequences of privatisation and needs to radically reconsider its approach.”

Human rights actors should start by reclaiming the moral high ground and reasserting the central role of concepts such as equality, society, the public interest, and shared responsibilities, while challenging the assumption that privatisation should be the default approach. “The human rights community needs to develop new methods that systematically confront the broader implication of widespread privatisation and ensure that human rights and accountability are at the centre of privatisation efforts,” Alston said.

There appear to be no limits to what states have privatised, he said. Public institutions and services across the world have been taken over by private companies dedicated to profiting from key parts of criminal justice systems and prisons, dictating educational priorities and approaches, deciding who will receive health interventions and social protection, and choosing what infrastructure will be built, where, and for whom, often with harsh consequences for the most marginalised. “There is a real risk that the waves of privatisation experienced to date will soon be followed by a veritable tsunami,” Alston said…

The State of World Population 2018

The State of World Population 2018
THE POWER OF CHOICE – REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION
UNFPA, 2018 :: 156 pages
https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/UNFPA_PUB_2018_EN_SWP.pdf
The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children can bolster economic and social development, new UNFPA report shows

UNITED NATIONS, New York–The global trend towards smaller families is a reflection of people making reproductive choices to have as few or as many children as they want, when they want. When people lack choice, it can have a long-term impact on fertility rates, often making them higher or lower than what most people desire, according to The State of World Population 2018, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

Family size is closely linked with reproductive rights, which, in turn, are tied to many other rights, including the right to adequate health, education, and jobs. Where people can exercise their rights, they tend to thrive. Where these rights are stifled, people often fail to achieve their full potential, impeding economic and social progress, according to the new report, entitled, “The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition.”

“Choice can change the world,” UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem writes in the report’s foreword. “It can rapidly improve the well-being of women and girls, transform families, and accelerate global development.”

When a woman has the power and means to prevent or delay a pregnancy, for example, she has more control over her health and can enter or stay in the paid labour force and realize her full economic potential.

The report found that no country can claim that all of its citizens enjoy reproductive rights at all times. Most couples cannot have the number of children they want because they either lack economic and social support to achieve their preferred family size, or the means to control their fertility. The unmet need for modern contraception prevents hundreds of millions of women from choosing smaller families…

World Livestock: Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals

Development – Livestock and Smallholders

.
World Livestock: Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals
FAO
Rome, 2018 :: 222 pages
http://www.fao.org/3/CA1201EN/ca1201en.pdf
To better support the transformation needed in the livestock sector and enhance its contribution
to the Sustainable Development Goals, the World Livestock (WoLi) report “Transforming the livestock sector through the sustainable development goals” examines the sector’s interaction with each of the Goals, as well as the potential synergies, trade-offs, and complex interlinkages involved. In this regard, this global report is intended to serve as a reference framework that Member States and stakeholders can consult as they move forward to realize livestock’s potentially major contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report shifts the focus of the livestock policy debate from fostering sustainable production per se to enhancing the sector’s contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. It calls for an integrated livestock sustainable development approach, and highlights the effective translation of the SDGs into specific and targeted national policy action as the major challenge ahead.

.
Press Release
Harnessing the power of livestock to drive sustainable development
Sector can make major contributions to the 2030 agenda, but important choices have to be made
17 October 2018, Rome – A new FAO report highlights the multiple contributions made by the global livestock sector — especially to the lives of millions of poor, animal-dependent small-scale producers in developing countries — but also says that changes in policies and practices are needed in order to optimize those contributions.

According to World Livestock: Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals, the debate around livestock production has so far been largely focused on how the sector can produce more to satisfy surging demand for animal products and feed a growing global population while at the same time reducing its environmental footprint.

While that is a worthwhile objective, FAO’s new report argues for a broader and more ambitious approach.

By realigning the livestock sector to better support the UN’s 2030 sustainable development agenda, it says that a wider range of benefits can be achieved – these include improved food and nutritional security but also extend into other realms, including access to energy, gender equality, improved environmental management and spreading peace and stability.

… Policies and practices that increase the livestock sector’s efficiency and reduce its environmental footprint should be vigorously pursued. For example, FAO studies have estimated that wider adoption of existing best practices and technologies in feeding, health and husbandry, and manure management — including greater use of currently underutilized technologies such as biogas generators — could help the global livestock sector cut its GHG emissions by as much as 30 percent.

Numbers of note
:: Currently, livestock production employs at least 1.3 billion people worldwide.
:: About 600 million of the world’s poorest households keep livestock as an essential source of income
Between 2000 and 2014, global production of meat rose by 39 percent; milk production increased by 38 percent.
:: Meat production is projected to increase another 19% by 2030, and milk production another 33% in the same period.
: Livestock production accounts for 40 percent agriculture output in developed countries and 20 percent of agricultural output in developing countries
:: Animals remain an important source of power. In India, for instance, two-thirds of the country’s cultivated area is ploughed using animal energy, and 14 million animal-drawn carts haul up to 15 percent of the country’s total freight.
:: The introduction of advanced genetics, feeding systems, animal health controls and other technologies over the past four decades allowed industrialized countries to reduce their overall land requirements for livestock by 20 percent while doubling meat production.
:: Wider adoption of existing best practices and technologies in feeding, health and husbandry, and manure management – as well as greater use of improved technologies – could help the global livestock sector cut its GHG emissions by as much as 30 percent.

EU and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join forces to support health services in Africa

Development Cooperation – Health Services

.
EU and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join forces to support health services in Africa
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 18 October 2018 T
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute €54 million ($62.5 million) to EU efforts to strengthen diagnostic health services in Sub-Saharan Africa under the External Investment Plan.

This cooperation will help to mobilise private investment in laboratory facilities providing timely, cost-effective and accurate diagnostic services for diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV, and malaria, as well as support maternal and child healthcare. This will allow doctors to detect diseases earlier, respond faster and better targeting treatments. Under this collaboration between the EU and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, poorer people in low-income African countries will have better access to higher quality testing and, therefore, better chances of proper treatment. The articulation of this programme followed the announcement of President Juncker and Bill Gates earlier in the year on the Gates Foundation’s intention to contribute to the EU’s External Investment Plan.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “Together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are showcasing the EU’s engagement in Africa. Through the Gates Foundation’s contribution of €54 million to our External Investment Plan, we will unlock private investment in a sector where additional investments in state-of-the-art testing facilities are urgently needed in order to meet the health needs of ample sectors of the population. This also shows that our approach under the ‘Africa – Europe Alliance’ works and is attractive to other stakeholders.”
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Our foundation is delighted to partner with the European Commission to strengthen diagnostic services across Africa for the infectious diseases that still kill and harm the highest numbers of the world’s poorest people. By having better tools to more accurately identify these diseases, we can provide the right treatments at the right time and, ultimately, ensure more people across sub-Saharan Africa are able to live healthy and productive lives.”

The majority of the Gates Foundation’s contribution – €43.2 million or $50 million – will support the European Fund for Sustainable Development Guarantee, which is an important pillar of the EU’s External Investment Plan. It will be used to help leverage private investment, which will in turn promote inclusive growth and job creation in Africa and the European Neighbourhood countries. €10.8 million ($12.5 million) will be invested in technical assistance under the European Health Guarantee Platform for Africa – one of twelve innovative guarantee programs under the EU’s External Investment Plan. It will incentivise research and innovation in e-health in less developed and fragile environments, leading to cheaper healthcare services for people on low incomes and saving lives.

Eliminating Poverty in the 21st Century – The Role of Health and Human Capital

Featured Journal Content

.
JAMA
October 16, 2018, Vol 320, No. 15, Pages 1513-1612
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/issue.aspx
Viewpoint
Eliminating Poverty in the 21st Century – The Role of Health and Human Capital
Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD The World Bank
JAMA. 2018;320(14):1427-1428. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13709
In this Viewpoint, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim explains the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, which uses data on each country’s level of education and indicators of health status to answer a simple but powerful question: how productive will children born today be as members of the future workforce, relative to what is possible if they were in full health and had complete education?

Over the past 25 years, extreme poverty—defined as living on less than $1.90 per day—has declined at a remarkable pace around the world. In 1990, 36% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty; by 2015, that proportion had decreased to 10%.1

Health and poverty are inextricably linked, with poverty affecting health and health affecting economic well-being. Better health contributes to higher productivity at all life stages. Healthier children attend school more regularly and for more years and learn more. Evidence from Kenya demonstrates that deworming treatments in childhood reduce school absences while raising wages in adulthood by as much as 20%, attributable to a pill that costs 25 cents to produce and deliver.2 For students with anemia, an iron supplementation program in Peru led to a 0.4-SD increase in standardized test scores.3 Healthier adults are more productive as well. In Nigeria, a program that provided malaria testing and treatment increased earnings by 10% just 3 weeks after being offered the opportunity to test.4 Poor health not only reduces the ability to earn income, but can also substantially increase household spending. Out-of-pocket spending on health care drives an estimated 100 million individuals into poverty every year.5

Even though extreme poverty has been reduced, the pace of poverty reduction has slowed. Five years ago, the World Bank Group set a deadline to reduce extreme poverty to a global target of 3% by 2030; however, current forecasts project global poverty in 2030 to be around 5% to 6%. Even if the world comes close to the 2030 target, too many people would still be poor by rich-country standards. Currently, 26% of the world’s population lives on less than $3.20 per day, which corresponds to the typical poverty line in lower-middle–income countries; 46% of the world’s population lives on less than $5.50 per day, the average poverty line among upper-middle–income countries.6 In total, according to these measures, an estimated 3.4 billion people—nearly half of the world’s population—live in poverty.

A great deal of work remains before the world is free from poverty. The most important factor in reducing poverty is economic growth, but it is clear that the benefits of that growth must reach those living in poverty. Human capital, represented as the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives, has been a key factor behind the sustained economic growth and poverty reduction of many countries in the 20th century, especially in East Asia. By boosting economic growth through policies that accelerate investment in human capital, governments are likely to make the benefits of economic growth tangible for those living in poverty because their human capital is often the only capital they can count on.

Investing in human capital is different from investing in physical capital such as roads or factories. Most important, quantifying the returns on investments in human capital in terms of economic growth and global poverty reduction requires taking the long view. Investments in the health and education of children today deliver economic returns in the future, when those children grow up to be healthier, better-educated, and more productive adults. To capture this multidecade horizon, researchers at Brown University and the World Bank are developing a model to simulate the effects that increased human capital could have on economic output over the rest of the 21st century.7

The analysis uses the newly designed Human Capital Index that the World Bank is unveiling.8 The Human Capital Index uses data on each country’s level of education (adjusted for quality) and indicators of health status to answer a simple, but powerful, question: how productive will children born today be as members of the future workforce, relative to what is possible if they were in full health and had complete education?9 Full health is defined as an absence of stunting and no mortality prior to age 60 years. Complete high-quality education is defined as 100% completion of preprimary, primary, and secondary school, with the average student reaching the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study benchmark for advanced achievement.

The good news is that, over the last decade, many countries have been making progress in closing the gap between their Human Capital Index and what it would be if those entering the workforce had full health and education. A country that makes progress on each of the components of the index as fast as the median country did over the last decade will reduce their Human Capital Index gap by 4% every 5 years. For successful countries at the 75th percentile, the gap closed at a rate of 9% every 5 years, which corresponds roughly to rates of progress in countries such as Poland, Ecuador, and Albania.

What would happen if countries continued to close the gap at this “typical” rate of 4% per 5 years or an “ambitious” rate of 9% every 5 years? The research7 uses an economic simulation model to estimate income and poverty in these scenarios over the next 35 years, relative to a baseline in which the gap never changes. In the typical scenario, estimated global gross domestic product per capita would be 5% higher by 2050 than in the baseline. In the ambitious scenario, estimated gross domestic product per capita would be 11.5% higher globally, and 21.8% higher in low- and lower-middle–income countries, than it would have been under the baseline scenario. In the ambitious scenario, estimated global poverty in 2050 would be nearly half as low as in the baseline, with the benefits concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. To realize the same value of income gains as investments in human capital as in this ambitious scenario, the simulation model7 projected that investment rates in physical capital would have to increase by 4.5% of gross domestic product in low- and lower-middle–income countries (Figure).

The economic benefits from investing in human capital of new generations of children materialize slowly. Even in the ambitious scenario, global poverty in 2030 would be reduced by less than 1 percentage point relative to the baseline. This reflects the reality that building human capital takes time; for instance, most children who benefit from better health and education today will just begin entering the workforce by that year. Better policies can increase the returns to investments in human capital. Investments that target the poorest, especially early in life when the returns are often the highest,10 can have a much larger effect on poverty reduction. For instance, high-quality early childhood interventions that target the most disadvantaged raise incomes and reduce inequality.

The World Bank Group is helping countries to identify cost-effective policies that can help children from the poorest background to have a better start. Additionally, the World Bank Group supports countries in enhancing the human capital of existing workers through improved health service delivery and coverage as well as skills upgrading because this can lead to a faster economic payoff to human capital investments. At the same time, countries cannot neglect policies that allow the most vulnerable in society to insure against major risks, such as a health shock or a job loss.

Investments in human capital are critical for long-term growth, prosperity, and health. Physicians, nurses, community health workers, researchers, and public health advocates can be effective in improving the socioeconomic status of people living in poverty. When they improve people’s health and well-being, they do more than immediately improve lives; they also build the foundations for lasting economic growth and poverty reduction, and drive progress in the ongoing project of human solidarity.

Citations at title link above.

United Nations agencies call for ban on virginity testing

Human Rights – Forced Medical Examination

.
United Nations agencies call for ban on virginity testing
17 October 2018
News Release Geneva
Virginity testing — a gynecological examination conducted under the belief that it determines whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse — must end, says UN Human Rights, UN Women and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a global call to eliminate violence against women and girls everywhere, this medically unnecessary, and often times painful, humiliating and traumatic practice must end.

Virginity testing is a long-standing tradition that has been documented in at least 20 countries spanning all regions of the world. Women and girls are subjected, and often forced, to undergo virginity testing for various reasons. These include requests from parents or potential partners to establish marriage eligibility or from employers for employment eligibility. It is mostly performed by doctors, police officers, or community leaders on women and girls in order to assess their virtue, honour or social value. In some regions, it is common practice for health professionals to perform virginity testing on victims of rape, supposedly to ascertain whether or not rape occurred.

Virginity testing is often performed by inspecting the hymen for tears or its size of opening, and/or inserting fingers into the vagina (the “two-finger” test). Both techniques are practiced under the belief that the appearance of the female genitalia can indicate a girl’s or woman’s history of sexual activity. WHO states that there is no evidence that either method can prove whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse or not.

Emphasis on women’s “virginity” is a form of gender discrimination
The term “virginity” is not a medical or scientific term. Rather, the concept of “virginity” is a social, cultural and religious construct – one that reflects gender discrimination against women and girls.

The social expectation that girls and women should remain “virgins” (i.e. without having sexual intercourse) is based on stereotyped notions that female sexuality should be curtailed within marriage. This notion is harmful to women and girls globally.

Health impacts of virginity testing
These examinations are not only a violation of women’s and girls’ human rights, but in cases of rape can cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization. Many women suffer from adverse short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences of this practice. This includes anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. In extreme cases, women or girls may attempt suicide or be killed in the name of “honour”.

Performing this medically unnecessary and harmful test violates several human rights and ethical standards including the fundamental principle in medicine to ‘do no harm’. WHO recommends that this test should not be performed under any circumstances.

Governments, health professionals and communities must act to eliminate the practice
There is an urgent need to raise awareness among health professionals and communities of the detrimental effects of performing this test on women and girls, its lack of scientific validity, and the need to eliminate its use. Some governments have banned virginity testing and enacted laws to criminally punish those who perform the examination. Many professional health associations and human rights organizations have condemned this practice as unscientific and a violation of women’s and girls’ rights.

UN Human Rights, UN Women and WHO are committed to ending virginity testing and ensuring that the rights of all women and girls are upheld. The following are recommended strategies to eliminate virginity testing in settings where it occurs:
:: Health professionals and their professional associations should be aware that virginity testing has no scientific merit and cannot determine past vaginal penetration. They should also know the health and human rights consequences of virginity testing, and never perform or support the practice.
:: Governments should enact and enforce laws that ban virginity testing.
:: Communities and all relevant stakeholders should implement awareness campaigns that challenge myths related to virginity and harmful gender norms that place emphasis on control of women’s and girls’ sexuality and bodies.

Statement document that includes background on the issue, scientific evidence and global strategies to eliminate this practice
www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/eliminating-virginity-testing-interagency-statement/en/

Nauru – MSF :: Information on patient files transfer by MSF to Nauruan health authority

Human Rights – Migrant Medical Records

.
Nauru – Information on patient files transfer by MSF to Nauruan health authority
MSF/Médecins Sans Frontières
Statement 17 Oct 2018, Brussels
After Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was instructed on 5 October 2018 by the Nauruan authorities to terminate its mental health activities in the country within less than 24 hours, MSF was also ordered by the Supreme Court of Nauru to comply with national law and to hand over all medical records to the Director of Medical Services of the Hospital of Nauru. The Department of Justice and Border Control also demanded MSF delete all remaining copies of these files. The MSF team on the island was threatened with legal repercussions and informed they would not be allowed to leave the island until this was done.

“There was no time to prepare patients prior to our departure or to do a proper handover of their care”, said Dr Marc Biot, MSF’s Director of Operations. “We didn’t receive adequate guarantees about an alternative provision of medical care, and we doubted continuity of care would be ensured. It was also a problem for us that there was no time to ask for patients’ consent before transferring their medical records to the Ministry of Health.”

MSF’s medical ethics require informed consent from patients before sharing of their records with another party.

“This raised an important question about the compatibility of the request with international medical ethics as well as patients’ rights and best interests,” said Dr Biot. “It was clear to us that our patients’ health and continuity of care was of little concern to the health authority during this process.”

Due to the particular vulnerability of refugee and asylum-seeker patients on Nauru and the expedited way MSF was forced to interrupt its mental health services, the organisation took the decision to protect patients’ rights to obtain their medical records, while still complying with the order to destroy the remaining copies of the patient files in its possession. MSF therefore ensured that patients would still be able to access their medical files, before proceeding to delete them from MSF archives.

Moreover, MSF handed over only those medical files that were available in the database at the time. All files have been deleted from MSF archives and remain accessible only to the patients.

“We strongly deplore the process and pressure exercised on our team by Nauruan authorities. This showed us how far the authorities of Nauru are ready to go to protect an unfair and inhumane system of offshore detention on the island,” said Dr Biot. “Patients are owner of their medical information and jeopardising their access to it, without receiving any guarantee as to their continuity of care, was an unacceptable request. We have reminded the Ministry of Health that they can only use this information to ensure the best care for patients and that this information is protected by medical confidentiality.”

Ebola – Democratic Republic of the Congo – PHEIC Declaration Deferred

Ebola – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement on the October 2018 meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee on the Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
17 October 2018
Statement
The meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo took place on Wednesday, 17 October 2018, from 13:00 to 17:00 Geneva time (CET).

Conclusion
It was the view of the Committee that a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) should not be declared at this time. But the Committee remains deeply concerned by the outbreak and emphasized that response activities need to be intensified and ongoing vigilance is critical. The Committee also noted the very complex security situation.

Emergencies

Emergencies
 

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 16 October 2018 [GPEI]
:: World Polio Day is coming up on 24 October: join partners around the world in making this year’s World Polio Day a success.
 
 
Summary of new viruses this week:
Afghanistan – one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case and five WPV1-positive environmental samples
Pakistan – two WPV1-positive environmental samples
Niger – three circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases
Papua New Guinea – three cVDPV type 1 cases
Somalia – one cVDPV type 3 case
::::::
::::::
 
Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.
 
 
WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 20 Oct 2018 ]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: 11: Situation report on the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu  17 October 2018
:: Disease Outbreak News (DONs)  Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo
18 October 2018
[See Milestones above for more detail]
 
 
Bangladesh – Rohingya crisis
:: Weekly Situation Report 46 – 11 October 2018 pdf, 398kb
KEY HIGHLIGHTS
::  Acute respiratory infection and acute watery diarrhoea are showing increasing trends.
::  Suspected malaria cases continue to be reported in relatively high number. It is possible that these cases represent variety of syndromes with different etiologies.
::  A refresher training was conducted to improve the capacity of health workers for preparedness and response to diarrhoeal disease outbreaks in Cox’s Bazar.

SITUATION OVERVIEW
::  There are an estimated 921,000 Rohingya refugees (215,796 families) in Cox’s Bazar, according to the latest Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM) round 12 exercise. The Rohingya refugees continue to arrive in Bangladesh, though the overall influx has slowed since the onset of the crisis in late August 2017. From 1 January-15 September 2018, UNHCR has recorded 13,764 new arrivals to Bangladesh.
::  The dense population, continuous contamination of the environment in the camps and the rainy season, indicate that continuous vigilance for disease outbreaks is needed. WHO through EWARS is continuously monitoring diseases and coordinating health response. More than 8,200 cases of Diphtheria have been reported since November 2017 and the risk of water-borne and vector-borne diseases remain. Other acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and related clinical conditions, more specifically cholera and shigella, may potentially cause outbreaks. Due to endemicity of rotavirus in the camp areas and long-term knowledge on rotavirus in the community, an annual increase in rotavirus case notifications is also anticipated.

Syrian Arab Republic
:: WHO helps restore primary health care services in Aleppo  11 October 2018

Yemen
:: Internally displaced persons from Hudaydah endure harsh circumstances in Sana’a
8 October 2018
 
Nigeria – No new announcements identified
Somalia – No new announcements identified
South Sudan – No new announcements identified

::::::
 
WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 20 Oct 2018 ]
Brazil (in Portugese) – No new announcements identified
Cameroon  – No new announcements identified
Central African Republic  – No new announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new announcements identified
Hurricane Irma and Maria in the Caribbean – No new announcements identified
Iraq – No new announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new announcements identified
Libya – No new announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new announcements identified
Myanmar – No new announcements identified
Niger – No new announcements identified
Sao Tome and Principe Necrotizing Cellulitis (2017) – No new announcements identified
Sudan – No new announcements identified
Ukraine – No new announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new announcements identified

Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin, Week 41: 12 October 2018
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 58 events in the AFRO region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
:: Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
:: Cholera outbreak in Niger
:: Humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan

::::::
 
WHO Grade 1 Emergencies  [to 20 Oct 2018 ]
Afghanistan
Angola (in Portuguese)
Chad
Ethiopia
Kenya
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Mali
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Tanzania
Tropical Cyclone Gira
Zambia