Resources updated between Monday, October 17, 2016 and Sunday, October 23, 2016
October 23, 2016
UN designates "Wonder Woman" a UN Ambassador Development
October 22, 2016
Inside the women's prison in El Salvador, set on the outskirts of the capital in a dangerous neighborhood called Ilopango, at least 21 women are serving sentences for abortions they say they never had. All of these women claim they are jailed for miscarrying their babies.
In the prison's leafy courtyard, a petite woman in a white tank top and bright sneakers confidently takes a seat. Teodora Vásquez is used to telling her story. After an Amnesty International campaign, the 32-year-old has become the face of women imprisoned under the world's harshest abortion laws. Since 1998, abortions have been banned in El Salvador in all circumstances, regardless of the fetus's viability or the risk to the mother's life. Hospitals are required to report suspicious cases to the police. Sometimes, women who miscarry are accused of having a late-term abortion and charged with aggravated homicide-which carries up to a 50-year sentence.
El Salvador's archbishop was instrumental in pushing the abortion ban through Congress, and a strong conservative Catholic lobby has kept it on the books. This has also succeeded in making the country particularly litigious on the issue-more so, activists say, than the other five countries that have an absolute ban.
These women are known as Las 17, named for their original tally. Today, the number is rising. Of the 150 women who have been tried under the abortion law, at least 26 women, including Vásquez, have been convicted of aggravated homicide. Vásquez was sentenced to 30 years after being found unconscious with a stillborn baby in the bathroom of her work. She has served nine years. "I knew about the law," she says. "But I never thought about the issue because I never thought it would happen to me."
The courtyard where we meet is serene, but behind the gates the prison is at 900 percent capacity. Vásquez spends her days studying, taking cooking classes, and thinking about her son, who is in sixth grade. Recently, her case was adopted by the Citizens' Association for the Decriminalization of Abortion, a Salvadoran activist organization that defends new cases and appeals old ones. Pro-bono lawyers are now working on reducing her sentence by half. If they succeed, she will still have six more years to serve. Here, she tells her story in her own words.
On July 13, 2007, I was on my ninth month of pregnancy and working in a high school cafeteria. It was a Friday and at 3 o'clock my boss told me there would be a sports event tomorrow, so we needed more food. He asked me to go buy it in the marketplace, so myself and a colleague went. I started feeling a little bad when we returned to the high school and were putting away everything we'd bought.
It was 6 o'clock. I was kneeling down and tried to get up. I had a hard time-of course my stomach was huge. I felt sick, but didn't think it was part of pregnancy. I'd been pregnant before. But at 7 p.m. I started really feeling sick and my contractions started coming very fast. I told my colleague I was going to make a phone call. I couldn't find any number to dial than 911 so I called and asked if they could come take me to the hospital. My boss was there and I asked for a pay advance so I could pay the hospital.
I sat on the front steps waiting for the police to arrive, but they didn't show up. It was raining hard. My boss couldn't take me to the hospital because he had an emergency at home, so I kept calling 911. The woman dispatcher said someone would arrive. By then it was 8:30 at night and everyone had left me. I couldn't handle it anymore. The pain was so bad. I got up to check if the police were arriving. No one was there, so I sat again. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom so I got up and walked around the corner. It was raining and I slipped and fell to the ground. When I got to the bathroom there was no electricity and it was dark. When I pulled my underwear down it felt like someone pulled me down. When I sat on the toilet I fainted. When I got up I kept fainting. I walked and sat and fainted again. I believe it was because I was losing so much blood.
I thought I still had the baby. There was a knock at the door-the police had arrived. They surrounded me and one said, "Why did you do it?" I asked him "What?" And he said "Don't pretend you don't know what you did." Right then are there they handcuffed me and took me to the pick-up truck. They brought me to a holding cell. I was bleeding heavily on the way and one cop said, "This lady's gonna die on us."
By then it was midnight. They took me to the maternity hospital and I don't remember anything until I woke up the next day. My foot was handcuffed to the bed and a bunch of journalists were there. The next day, my family found out about it on the news. That same day they took me back to the holding cell, where I spent three days. Eight days later I had a court hearing. Nine days later I was here.
In November I went to sentencing court and in January I had a hearing and my parents got me a lawyer. But on the day of the hearing the lawyer never showed up. At that time the judge had a lawyer from prosecution represent me and rescheduled for the next day. He had only 11 hours to review the case. At the sentencing he just sat next to me. He didn't know anything or ask anything, he just waited for the judge to sentence me.
My family was there and gave support. When they heard "The accused will face 30 years in prison" it was the biggest hit for them. My dad and sister started crying. I pulled some strength from inside me and told them everything will be alright. On the first day of my 30 year sentence I just gave thanks to my parents for never abandoning me.
When I got here I was really scared because I heard women who come in with this crime would get beaten. At the same time I knew nothing would happen to me. I'm security for myself. That day I hadn't eaten for three days. Some stared at me and others ran toward me and asked who I was. I was so scared I told them a fake name: Helen. I'm still known by this name, but now they know it's fake. It's normal that people pick up fake names when they come here. I've shared the reason why I'm here with others but I'm careful about who.
My son, Angel Gabriel, turned 13 years old on Sept. 8. He's in sixth grade. He visits once a year because he lives far away with my parents and there's no money to come. I do worry that he's at risk for joining gangs but I know my family is taking care of him. When he visits he runs toward me and tells me, "Mom I want you to come with me." I have a notebook and every time he comes I take it out so he can draw in it. He knows why I'm here because I was very clear and honest. He knows I'm his mother and this doesn't change anything.
Right now I'm in high school. I have dreams that if I'd been outside I'd have never thought about. I know I've accomplished something. I'm still young. I've seen so many cases [like mine] that I want to study law. It makes common sense this is what I know. If they'd really do an investigation in my case they'd know I don't belong here. An abortion is not only the provoked kind but it can also happen by accident. We've been charged but haven't been investigated. And I'm not the only one here.
October 21, 2016
October 20, 2016
Iran Human Rights (October 19 2016): 14 prisoners were reportedly executed today on drug charges at Karaj's Ghezel Hesar Prison (Alborz province, northern Iran).
According to close sources, Iranian authorities hanged 14 prisoners at Ghezel Hesar Prison on the morning of Wednesday October 18. The prisoners were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on Monday in preparation for their executions. According to close sources, some of the prisoners were transerred to Ghezel Hesar from Karaj and Fashavieh (Tehran) prisons. The names of the prisoners who were executed have been reported as the following: From unit 2, hall 2 and 3 of Ghezel Hesar Prison: Abbas Karami (charged with 40 kilograms of narcotics, was imprisoned for five years before he was executed), Hamid Saber, Hamid Babaie (was imprisoned for nine years before he was executed), Hamid (Amir) Nazari (charged with 25 kilograms of heroin, was imprisoned for eight years before he was executed, Peyman Sabalani (was imprisoned for nine years before he was executed), Ganjali Chekezadeh (charged with two kilograms of crack, was imprisoned for ten years before he was executed), Reza Sabzi, and Khodamali Pirzadeh. From Fashavieh Prison (Tehran): Khashiar Ahani and Mehdi Geravand. Karaj Central Prison: Saeed Zakaria and Morteza Amini, both from hall 2, Shahin Akbari, from hall 5, and Ali Akbari Reigi, from hall 4. These executions have not been announced or confirmed by Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary or the media. The 14 prisoners were executed at a time when the death penalty for drug-related charges is under review in the Iranian Judiciary.
"Security forces announced Thursday that they had thwarted an Islamic Jihad plot to carry out a terror attack at a wedding hall in the South and to kidnap and kill an IDF soldier for the purposes of bargaining with Israel.
Mahmoud Yousef Hassin abu-Taha, a resident of Khan Younis in Gaza, was arrested last month while entering Israel through the Erez Crossing, ostensibly for purposes of commerce.
Abu-Taha was enlisted by Wael Sufian abu-Taha, a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza. He instructed abu-Taha to form a cell in order to carry out a terror attack in the South and to kidnap a soldier to be used in a prisoner swap deal, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said.
The three men who Abu-Taha enlisted to help him with the attacks were also arrested.
One of the suspects, 55-year-old Shafik Hamed Ahmed abu-Taha was illegally residing in Israel and was an employee of the wedding hall that the cell planned to attack. A second suspect, 39-year-old Ahmed Tisir Abdulrahman abu-Taha from Gaza, was also illegally residing in Israel. A third suspect, a 40-year-old from Deir al-Balah in Gaza, was living in the South legally after having gained residency through marriage by way of the 'family reunification' law.
The suspects had carried out reconnaissance at the wedding hall, devising a plan that would claim the lives of a maximum number of victims, the Shin Bet stated.
At the same time, Mahmoud began planning the kidnapping of the soldier, receiving thousands of shekels from Wael abu-Taha in order to rent an apartment in Israel to which he planned to lure a soldier. According to the Shin Bet, Abu Taha planned to kill the soldier, bury him and send his belongings back to Gaza to use as bargaining chips with Israel.
'This grave affair yet again exhibits the efforts of terrorist elements in Gaza to carry out murderous terror attacks in Israel,' the Shin Bet stated.
The affair also shows the way in which terrorists take advantage of entry permits to Israel, given for humanitarian porpoises to improve the economy of Gaza, the Shin Bet said.
In addition, the terror plot shows the danger posed by Palestinians illegally residing in Israel, the Shin Bet warned."
October 19, 2016
Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose public flogging in the kingdom last year generated a global outcry, now risks a new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating his release said on Tuesday.
Evelyne Abitbol, who founded the Raif Badawi Foundation with Badawi's wife, said a "reliable source" in Saudi Arabia claims he faces a new flogging after being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for breaking the kingdom's technology laws and insulting Islam.
Saudi embassy officials in Ottawa and Saudi government officials in Riyadh were not immediately available for comment.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the source's claims.
"The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic's Parliament on Wednesday voted 119-4 to condemn the UNESCO resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
The parliamentarians called on their government to not vote for UNESCO resolutions with such a text and to protest 'against the politicization of UNESCO.'
The lower parliament statement on this matter passed with the support of 119 members. Only four parliamentarians from the Communist Party opposed it. Out of the 200 seat body, 149 parliamentarians were present.
Such a resolution 'carries the spirit of hateful anti-Israel' sentiment, the parliamentarians stated, adding that it also ignored Christian ties to the holy sites in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem resolution 'discredits' UNESCO's 'neutrality' and 'strengthens the international anti-Semitic tendencies,' the politicians stated.
The lower parliament issued its statement after UNESCO's Executive Board approved a resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, even thought it is also Judaism's most holy spot and the site of where the Jewish Temple stood 2,000 years ago.
Next week, the 21-member World Heritage Committee is set to vote on a resolution that uses similar language."
On October 18, 2016, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) held a briefing on the "human rights situation" in "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Three non-governmental organizations were invited to speak: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Al Haq.
The meeting lasted forty-five minutes, of which forty-four minutes were spent on the "human rights" of Palestinians and Israeli "crimes," and one minute was spent on abuses by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
The human rights organization, Amnesty International, was reduced to serving as a mouthpiece for terrorists; its spokesperson actually claimed that stones and firebombs do not threaten Israeli lives, making a response "unlawful." In his words:
"Over the past year...Amnesty International has documented a series of unlawful killings...Israeli forces killed Palestinians during the policing of protests in which stones and occasionally fire bombs were thrown, but these incidents do not appear to have threatened the lives of Israeli forces, making the killings unlawful."
October 18, 2016
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian-American businessman and his father have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran, a state-run judicial news agency reported Tuesday, the latest dual nationals imprisoned since the nuclear deal.
The announcement by the Mizan news agency came a day after it released footage of businessman Siamak Namazi, a video which highlighted recent tensions between Iran and the U.S. and is a sign of the power still wielded by hard-liners in the Islamic Republic.
The Mizan report said Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF representative who once served as governor of Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-backed shah, were convicted of "cooperating with the hostile American government." It did not elaborate.
Supporters of the Namazis could not be immediately reached for comment and the U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The report also said Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon, also received a 10-year prison sentence. His supporters had earlier told The Associated Press about the sentence, though the Mizan report was the first official Iranian report of it.
It said two others had been convicted as well, without naming them or identifying their nationalities.
The Namazi family fled after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but appears to have kept business ties in Iran, and the younger Namazi traveled back several times. He also wrote several articles calling for improved ties between Iran and the U.S., and urging Iranian-Americans to act as a bridge between the rival governments.
Still, Siamak Namazi's efforts raised suspicions among hard-liners in Iran. In May 2015, a hard-line Iranian website called Fardanews specifically pointed to him in a highly critical article, accusing him of being part of efforts to allow the West to infiltrate Iran.
On Monday, Mizan released a video of the younger Namazi, the first images of him since his detention in October 2015. The montage of clips included an Iranian drone flying over a U.S. aircraft carrier and American sailors on their knees after being briefly detained by Iran in January.
It showed Namazi's U.S. passport, his United Arab Emirates ID card and a clip of him in a conference room, his arms raised at his sides. At the end of the video, it also showed a still image of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who chairs the House's Foreign Affairs Committee, quoting him describing Namazi's arrest as a "latest show of contempt for America."
Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance. In most cases, dual nationals have faced secret charges in closed-door hearings in Iran's Revolutionary Court, which handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.
The Namazis were not released as part of a January deal that freed detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians.
That deal also saw the U.S. make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.
Analysts and family members of those detained in Iran have suggested Iran wants to negotiate another deal with the West to free those held. In September, Iran freed a retired Canadian-Iranian university professor amid negotiations to reopen embassies in the two nations.
Others with Western ties recently detained in Iran include Robin Shahini, an Iranian-American detained while visiting family who previously had made online comments criticizing Iran's human rights record, and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in prison on allegations of planning the "soft toppling" of Iran's government while traveling with her young daughter. Still missing is former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission.
A girl who was forced into an arranged marriage at 14 has died in labour after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
According to Huriyet daily news, Derya B was married in a religious ceremony and gave birth a week ago, aged 15.
She died of complications related to giving birth at such a young age, it is believed.
Derya died in a private hospital in Batman, east Turkey, on October 17.
Police are investigating the circumstances of her death.
Gynecology expert Professor M.D. Aydan Biri told the Turkish paper: 'It is dangerous for a child bride to get pregnant. The mortality rate is higher in adolescent pregnancies.
The risks of high blood pressure, early birth or an intervention in the birth are higher. The pregnancies of children who have not completed their physical development and whose organs have not yet completely developed often end in death.'
According to charity Girls not Brides, there are 15 million girls married before the age of 18 every year, amounting to one every two seconds. The United Nations says one woman dies every two minutes in labour.
Last week it was reported that a 12-year-old girl called Lan Lan in China is three months pregnant after she was sold into a forced marriage for £3,600. Two adults were arrested after police and doctors spoke to the youngster in hospital.
"UNESCO's Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon ratified a 24-6 vote taken last week on a resolution that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Under pressure from Western states, Mexico backed away from its initial intention to call for a new vote on the resolution so that it could withdraw its support from the resolution.
Instead Mexico noted for the record that its position on the matter was one of abstention, but its statement does not technically change the vote numerical count as the 58-member board wrapped up its 200th session in Paris.
Mexico's Foreign Ministry posted a statement on its web site that it had abstained in recognition of the undeniable Jewish cultural heritage that is located in east Jerusalem.
It added that it was also doing so out of a deep appreciation for the contribution the Jewish community has played in Mexico's economic, social and cultural development.
Brazil also spoke at the final board session and indicated that it was unlikely to support such resolutions in the future.
Israel's Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen said after the ratification, 'We have moved forward a step-and-a-half toward dismantling the automatic majority that the Palestinians and the Arab states have against Israel.'
'Mexico has taken a full step toward abandoning support of the Palestinians, after years of voting without hesitation against Israel.
'The best surprise of the morning,' he said, 'is Brazil's notification that while it did not change its vote this time, it will find it difficult not to do, if there is a resolution with another text that disregards the Jewish people's connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall,' Shama-Hacohen said.
He had led Israel's campaign to halt the resolution's passage and had always said that he believed it would be approved.
The issue for Israel with this particular resolution, he had said, would be the countries that voted against the text or abstained.
MK Amir Ohana (Likud) welcomed news of Mexico's new position, particularly given that it had supported a similar resolution that came before the Executive Board last April.
'It's a great Israel achievement that Mexico, which traditionally votes with the Arab countries, is asking to change its vote,' MK Amir Ohana (Likud) said.
Tuesday's ratification of the Jerusalem resolution followed a number of dramatic behind the scenes twists and turns.
UNESCO's Executive Board often approves en masse preliminary votes taken during its sessions. But member states have the option to open resolutions up for debate and/or to change their votes. They can also ask for a delay in the resolution's approval.
Israel had initially expected that a number of countries would ask for a delay in voting on the resolution all together.
The board's chairman Michael Worbs had appeared to be in favor of the delay, both because he opposed the resolution and also because he wanted to see a consensus text on Jerusalem brought before the board.
Last Thursday, 26 nations abstained from supporting the resolution and two were absent from the room.
By Saturday night, however, UNESCO's Arab group pressured Worbs to recuse himself from the proceedings and to hand the matter over to one of his deputies, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.
On Tuesday, it was Western countries who pressured Mexico not to call for a new vote on the resolution that spoke of the Temple Mount and it's adjoining Western Wall almost solely by its Muslim names of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Buraq Wall.
Western countries, however, are afraid that Mexico's actions would empower similar calls for new votes on other resolutions that initially passed by consensus, Shama-Hacohen said.
Given the significance of the matter, the Foreign Ministry has allowed Shama-Hacohen and his staff to be active at UNESCO on Tuesday, even though such work is religiously prohibited abroad on the second day of the Succot holiday.
Separately, Mexico has fired its Jewish Ambassador to UNESCO Andrés Roemer for walking out of last Thursday's vote on the Jerusalem resolution, because he disagreed with Mexico's initial decision to support it."
October 17, 2016
"UNESCO chief Irina Bokova has received 'death threats' after expressing reservations about an Arab-backed resolution denying Israel's history in Jerusalem, Israel's ambassador to the UN agency said on Monday.
'The director general has received death threats and her protection has had to be reinforced,' Carmel Shama HaCohen said on Israel Radio.
'These threats were made after her criticism' of two resolutions adopted last week at committee stage ahead of a final vote, HaCohen said, accusing Arab countries of "appalling conduct" over the drafts.
The claim was not confirmed by UN officials.
Bokova distanced herself from the resolutions in a statement, saying "nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space."
The motion, which passed last week in Paris the committee stage, is waiting for validation by UNESCO's Executive Board on Tuesday.
Earlier Monday it was reported that an Israeli effort to delay the ratification of the resolution was thwarted by Arab nations in the UN's cultural agency.
Channel 10 News reported that HaCohen attempted to lobby for a delay of the decision, after convincing two friendly countries with representation on the board to request a stay in light of the controversy it has caused.
Board chairman Michael Worbs of Germany, who has himself expressed opposition to the document's wording, would then have rescheduled the ratification for a later date, allowing for renewed debate and possible changes in the wording of the resolution.
But having caught wind of the maneuver, a group of Arab nations which backed the motion reportedly put heavy pressure on Worbs, who then announced he would suspend himself from chairing the meeting.
Worbs will be replaced by Swedish ambassador Annika Markovic, who is not expected to support a postponement.
Mexico's ambassador to UNESCO Andres Roemer walked out of the vote in Paris in what appears to have been a personal protest against his country's decision to vote in favor of the text. The ambassador, who is Jewish, then apparently contemplated resigning his post, but was urged not to by HaCohen, who wrote him a personal letter praising him as a friend of the Jewish state.
Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the resolution. Six nations (including the US, Germany and Britain) voted against and another 26 abstained.
Israel informed Bokova on Friday that it was suspending its cooperation with UNESCO over the vote, with Education Minister Naftali Bennett calling the motion a denial of history that 'gives a boost to terrorism.'"
On October 13, 2016, UNESCO adopted a resolution attempting to erase Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
On October 15, 2016, the Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, comprising 56 UN member states, "welcomed" the adoption of the UNESCO resolution. In applauding the absurd historical revisionism that is the resolution, the OIC's General Secretariat "stressed that this resolution was an expression of the condemnation and rejection by the international community of all Israeli occupation policies and actions, designed to cover up historical facts..."
In other words, the OIC justifies covering up the historical facts of the Jewish link to the Temple Mount by claiming the UNESCO resolution denying that link prevents the covering up of historical facts. Classic Palestinian projection and Islamic revisionism.
CUMANÁ, Venezuela-Medical staff at the University Hospital in this eastern Venezuelan city delivered two premature infants that needed incubation earlier this year. But because of the shortages plaguing the country, the hospital had only one functioning incubator, forcing staff to make an agonizing choice. They put the stronger of the two babies in the incubator. The other died days later.
Scenes like that continue to play out across this crisis-hit country on a daily basis. In the first five months of this year-the latest period for which government statistics are available-4,074 babies in Venezuela died before reaching a year, up 18.5% from the same period last year and more than 50% from that period of 2012.
Infant mortality is rising fast here, at a time when it is falling in almost every other part of the world, in one of the most alarming signals that Venezuela's social and state structures are unraveling.
"I think it represents a very serious social problem, where the basic functions of governance are breaking down," said Janet Currie, an economist and expert on infant mortality at Princeton University.
Venezuela's overall infant mortality rate-defined as deaths within the first year of life-is currently 18.6 per 1,000 live births, according to the most recent government statistics. That is well beyond the upper range of 15.4 UNICEF estimates for war-torn Syria.
Infant deaths in Venezuela remain significantly rarer than in the world's most impoverished countries like South Sudan and Congo, but they are rising fast, while rates in those poorer countries have been falling.
Venezuela was once held up as a model for health care in Latin America. But a shortage of hard currency, brought on by low oil prices and years of economic mismanagement, has caused shortages of everything.
Statistics on infant mortality in Venezuela are difficult to come by because the government no longer reports them regularly. Doctors at state hospitals, which most babies are born, are often sanctioned or threatened with job loss for making data public. The dire state of health care-once a pillar of the socialist government's so-called people's revolution-has become a state secret here, with armed security guarding health-care facilities and throwing out journalists who manage to enter.
In September, Venezuelans were outraged by leaked photos of newborns in cardboard boxes in the maternity ward of the state-run hospital Domingo Guzmán Lander in the eastern state Anzoategui. The governor of the poor coastal state said the boxes were substitutes for incubators, adding volunteers could decorate them.
Hospitals sometimes lack running water and disinfectants, and often face shortages of antibiotics and baby formula.
Rosa Angela Lara, 18, delivered a healthy, 6 1/2-pound baby boy in April. Days later, after purplish-blue blemishes began to spread on his body, he was dead from an aggressive infection that had swept through the Antonio Patrico Alcalá Hospital in Cumaná.
"How could they say he was O.K. and then, suddenly, he wasn't?" said a tearful Ms. Lara, a university student.
More than 100 other babies died here in the first four months of the year after nurses were unable to buy soaps and water was cut for hours at a time.
"It's a nightmare," said Ana Molina, a thin and drawn pediatrician who heads the neonatal unit. In September, 36 out of the 43 newborns that were put in critical care at the hospital died, according to Luis Vegas, the former head of the hospital's maternity ward who still has access to the epidemiological registry.
After the water was cut off for a few days earlier this year at the Luis Ortega Hospital in Porlamar, on the tourist resort of Margarita Island, seven infants died in less than a week of an outbreak of bacteria spread through fecal matter, doctors there told reporters.
In the country's far east, at the Raúl Leoni Hospital in Puerto Ordaz, babies sweltered in cribs while the August temperature hovered at 95 degrees. The refrigerator was broken, so milk couldn't be stored. Doctors said there was no rubbing alcohol, antibiotics or even cotton swabs. Deaths of babies have doubled from 15 a month in 2015 to 30 a month this year, doctors there said.
"If we had all the materials and equipment," said a doctor at Raúl Leoni, "it's very possible that those babies would have survived."
The situation poses danger for mothers as well. Childbirth-related maternal deaths in state hospitals are five times what they were in 2012, according to Venezuelan government statistics, bucking the global trend of a fall in maternal mortality by 44% percent since 1990, according to the United Nations.
Earlier this year, María de los Angeles Carreño, a vivacious, 19-year-old student from Porlamar who lived with her partner, Jelfred Gil,was excited to be having a baby girl and planned to name her Mia, her family said. Ultrasound and medical reports reviewed by The Wall Street Journal showed the pregnancy progressing normally.
But in April, she began to have breathing difficulties that her doctor worried could turn into a full-blown asthma attack. She was taken to the Luis Ortega Hospital. Her condition worsened and she was put into an induced coma, family members said. Three days later, doctors began to bring her out of the coma and induced labor.
Mia Milagros Gil Carreño was born prematurely on April 10, weighing 3.3 pounds, and her two tiny footprints stamped on her birth certificate. With good neonatal care, she would have likely survived, her mother's cousin said, but a nurse had bad news: There were no available incubators. Mia died three hours after birth.
Then the condition of the baby's mother began to worsen. She needed oxygen, family members said they were told, but the hospital's oxygen tanks were empty.
After burying the newborn, Ms. Carreño's cousin, Lorenis Martínez, prayed for Ms. Carreño before a faded statue of the Virgin of the Valley, the island's patron, in the hospital's dim waiting area. Ms. Carreño died, medical records noted, of multiple organ failure caused by septic shock.
"It was like I was punched the chest," said a choked-up Ms. Martínez a month later. "We lost them both."
Infant Mortality Soars in Venezuela Document
The vote that took place within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on October 12th is a direct sign of how pivotal it is to the Muslim world to deny any historical correlation between Judaism, Christianity and Jerusalem. This diplomatic effort is symbolic of these countries' authentic demands of ethnically cleansing the Jews in Israel – something that they have attempted time and time again since the very moment Israel declared independence (and beforehand).
Before 1948, nearly 900,000 Jews lived in Arab-Muslim lands and today about 96% of them have been cleansed. To this day, over 100 resolutions have been passed in favour of the Palestinian refugees, while not one has been passed in favour of the vanished Jewish refugees of the Muslim world. These Muslim countries have already successfully cleansed the Arab world of its Jewish presence when it had the means to (without a mutter of shock from the world), but with a weaker Muslim-Arab world preoccupied with its own sectarian infighting, more international 'attention' paid to genocide and human rights and an exponentially strengthened Israel, much of what they can do at the moment to damage Israel hinges on their mission to wage diplomatic warfare against them. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remarked, "Palestinians leaders demand a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews. There's a phrase for that."
It is often said that if the Palestinians were prepared to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, peace could be attainable overnight. In reality, the Palestinian Authority is facing incredible debts and barely provides any social support to their own people, in large part because they have idiotically pledged to pay each and every family of the 'martyrs' they incite to kill innocent men, women and children in Israel. It took them years to understand that terror comes at a price, but they have chosen to learn the hard way. In the face of a Palestinian economic meltdown and tightened Israeli security, the Palestinian Authority has resorted to inciting terror through the use of knives and cars (meant for ramming the average Israeli to death). Realizing that their terroristic incitement is futile to puncturing any lasting holes into the psyche of Israel and that their own terror is incapable of physically erasing the history of the Jews, the so-called moderate face of the Palestinians (The Palestinian Authority) have resorted to the waging of diplomatic warfare in order to gain symbolic victories and to shape a supposedly 'international consensus' affirming the raison d'etre of their violence against the Jews of Israel – the altering of the historical reality of a Jewish presence in Israel.
Given that the UN is a pseudo-diplomatic body that accommodates its own hijacking at the hands of cynicism, the nations behind the world's largest and most ancient effort of cynicism, anti-Semitism, have institutionally emphasized anti-Semitic thought in a forum where leaders are expected to sit in the same room and sometimes make eye contact with Israelis and Jews alike. The initial Rooseveltian dream of an international body being created for the betterment of human lives around the world has begun to make it seem as if internationally sanctioned anti-Semitism is itself a fundamental and basic human right. If the UN put a quarter of the effort it puts and has put into calling emergency meetings and shaping anti-Semitic resolutions, like the history-denying UNESCO resolution's ratification or the infamous 'Zionism is Racism' resolution passed by the General Assembly in 1975, maybe genocide would only be a hypothetical as opposed to an actualized reality in places like Syria. Instead of the UN abiding by its founding mission statement, the institution has made what it can do nightmarish and what it cannot do, as a result of its cynical hijacking, dreamlike.
Would world hunger dip in its percentage as a whole if the UN's pledge to support anti-Semitism was transformed into a pledge to heighten the ability for the world's most impoverished nations to have better access to food and water supplies? These are hypotheticals that we must ponder as Jews, now more so than ever. We must reflect upon these hypotheticals because our religious ideals as Jews demand for these reflections always. Unfortunately, we must reflect upon these hypotheticals as human beings because of the UN's abject failure to do so. The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and its methodology of contemplation may be the first concerted effort of religious reformation through its demands for annual self-improvement, perpetual self-consciousness and the universal regulation of a peoples and its survival through a sense of self-aimed skepticism (something Islam has never achieved in the long-term and something it can only stress through the human agency of the individual Muslim actor). It is common knowledge that one's inward reflection and the overall health of the individual soul makes for a more sober viewing of the outwardness which is our world. Although, after one observes the reflexive anti-Semitic activity of the UN body, which is itself intended to be a reflection of a healthy and active individual soul, why would he/she ever want to look out at the world's undoubtedly crass reactions and interpretations of this? A question the UN might want to consider asking of itself: what would we as an institution think of ourself on Yom Kippur? After all, if the UN is not capable of taking a moment to undergo any form of institutional self-examination, then what gives it the right to point fingers at a nation whose streets and highways empty out on a holiday meant expressly for introspection and repentance?
Anti-Semitism At the UN, Again Article