Resources updated between Monday, May 25, 2015 and Sunday, May 31, 2015
May 31, 2015
It has been so awful and strains to see the Former Child Slave Simon Deng who had been behind the White House for the last two weeks. Simon Deng might think that his effort to bring peace in a Country he loves through risking his dear life has not been heard by President Obama. That's not right!! To me, if American citizens who are lead by Barrack Obama visited him...this means that the President has indirectly visited him or even heard him as well. It's just a matter of time and action to be applied. America is working day and night to stop war and bring peace in South Sudan.
South Sudan had been brought to its existence by America. There is no way an elder brother can leave his little brother being beaten by another or committing a direct suicide in an open space. America and the World are responsible to bring this manmade crisis to an end now.
I fully recognized the contribution made by American Citizens who have been regularly visiting my brother (Simon Deng) in hot snow behind the White House. This visit alone shows the concern by Americans and I'm hopeful that Mr. Obama will soon borrow a piece of his times to make a statement on South Sudan's crisis. His statement would not only save Simon Deng from passing away or losing his dear life, but will globally lift-up the awaited South Sudanese citizens who are on the death row to the grave. Help South Sudan please!!
America is known for her record on good governance and democracy. If America believes that our leaders (President Kiir and Dr. Machar) are responsible to bring peace in South Sudan, please let my community die but save Simon Deng from death behind the White House. It's very rare to have such Charismatic leader like him. Simon Deng shouldn't risk himself for nothing, he did it because he feels that his life is useless when his Countrymen and women are dying at every seconds in the war torn.
I urge all Activists and other concern entire Human family around the globe to borrow piece of your time to tweet for some seconds and tell the story of catastrophe which is happening in North East Africa (South Sudan).
I appeal to America's First Lady, Michelle Obama for she is a woman with kids while women and kids are the very people who die daily in this crisis in my Country. I want her (Michelle Obama) to quit her breakfast as part of Hunger Strike for South Sudan so that women and children are saved.
If the World could pay more attention to only 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria, why the World keeps silence when it comes to the death of 70,000 children and women in South Sudan? I don't want to paraphrase that it's not fair, but to me it's not logic.
I also appeal to any individual World citizens to talk about South Sudan's crisis in your Community, School, Church, Mosque, football club, and athlete, NBA in America ... etc.
Your voices around your neighborhood to bring peace in South Sudan will send a very strong signal to the World and chase those who resist peace to come.
Finally, I urge IGAD, TRIOKA, African Union, European Union and International Community to pressurize the warring factions' leaders to drop their demands and work to settle things on table for the sake of South Sudan's citizens.
In peace we believe!
May God bless Simon Deng...
May God bless South Sudan ...
Peace Ambassador Gatwech Koak Nyuon
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Hunger Strike For South Sudan Document
Friday, May 29, 2015
Anne Bayefsky is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. Follow her @AnneBayefsky.
For more human rights and United Nations coverage see www.HumanRightsVoices.org.
Iranian painter and women's rights campaigner Atena Farghadani was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment today, May 28.
The 29-year old, who was charged with spreading propaganda against the regime and other offences, attended court on Tuesday, May 19 in connection with both her activism and art.
Revolutionary Guards arrested Farghadani in January 2015 after she posted a cartoon on Facebook that mocked politicians who supported an anti-contraception bill by drawing them with animal faces. The bill also set out to criminalize voluntary sterlization.
Farghadani was first arrested in November 2014 and detained for two months before being released. However, she was soon re-arrested after she spoke to the media about her incarceration and posted a video on YouTube about prison conditions.
During that time, she went on hunger strike, and suffered a heart attack as a result. As punishment for refusing to eat, Farghadani was moved from Evin Prison to a detention center.
Women's rights activists, including Farghadani, have said they are worried that if the new legislation goes through, it will encourage further discrimination against women.
Farghadani has supported a range of human rights initiatives in Iran and is known to have met with the families of imprisoned human rights activists.
Ahead of the activist's trial, Amnesty International campaigners gathered outside the Iranian consulate in London on May 18. Demonstrators called for the immediate release of Farghadani, and presented a petition with more than 33,000 signatures.
During the trial, Farghadani was accused of "spreading propaganda against the regime," "insulting members of parliament," and "insulting the Supreme Leader."
The activist is also charged with "gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects" because of an art exhibition called Parandegan-e Khak (Birds of earth) that she previously held in commemoration of those killed in the bloody post-election crackdown of 2009.
May 28, 2015
A new report confirms gruesome allegations that militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) systematically booby-trapped dead bodies before abandoning the Syrian town of Kobani in January.
Decapitated bodies have been filled with 20 kilogrammes of explosive charges and more than 500 steel ball bearings and rigged to explode at the slightest touch, according to the report from Handicap International (HI).
The lethal, decomposing bodies are not only a macabre spectacle but also present a huge challenge for international demining experts tasked with clearing the city so the predominantly Kurdish residents can return.
Unexploded ordnance, including missiles dropped by American warplanes, is crippling relief efforts in Kobani, which became a symbol of resistance as IS took swathes of Iraq and Syria in the second half of 2014.
For months after the black flag of IS was raised above Kobani in October, Kurdish fighters battled the Islamist extremists street by street and the world got used to seeing images of dark smoke rising above the city's skyline.
With the help of bombing raids by an American-led coalition and reinforcements from Free Syrian Army rebels, the Islamists were eventually forced to withdraw, but not before up to 70 percent of the city had been damaged or destroyed.
The new report from HI concludes that the ferocity of the engagements has left Kobani with a "density and diversity of remnants of war" that has "hardly ever" been seen before. Frederick Maio, who runs HI's demining operations in the city, said it was hard to say how many booby-trapped bodies there were exactly as many had been deliberately buried in the debris.
"What we have to do and what the population have accepted is that they are treating every body as suspicious," he told IRIN. "Whether or not they are booby-trapped, there have been so many accidents that they very rarely touch them."
Between January and early May, 66 people were killed in 45 explosions in Kobani, according to another demining NGO. The vast majority of those killed were civilians.
Maio, who had never witnessed booby-trapped bodies being used as a tactic before, said the problem was likely to hugely slow down efforts to clear all the rubble.
For thousands of residents returning to try and get on with their lives, the sheer scale of the ordnance problem is overwhelming. In the centre of Kobani, there are estimated to be an average of 10 pieces of munition per square metre, while the north and the south of the city also suffered widespread destruction.
Ahmed, a former teacher from Kobani who returned to help rebuild his city in February, gave up two weeks ago and went back to Turkey.
He had been planning to plant crops but said attempts to get farming going again had failed because so many people were being killed or injured by the unexploded ordnance.
"So there is no work for us to do. I had to return to look for work," he told IRIN.
Echoing earlier reports from other demining groups, Maio said efforts to clear the munitions must be accelerated. The most densely populated parts of the city should take priority rather than the areas where there were the largest number of bombs, he added.
Barely four months after IS was driven out of the city, Kobani's residents complain that their plight has been forgotten.
Due to limited funding, Maio said it would be impossible to bring large Western demining operations into Kobani. Instead, they are seeking to train local, civilian teams.
May 27, 2015
May 26, 2015
"Diplomats involved in efforts to set up a regional dialogue over weapons of mass destruction helped it avoid a bad outcome during a UN conference last week, arms control expert Emily Landau said on Monday.
In recent day, the US vetoed an Egyptian-led drive for a Middle East nuclear weapons ban at a UN Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in Manhattan...
Israel, which is not a signatory to the NPT, has nevertheless spent the past two years cooperating with UN attempts, led by the Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, to establish a regional dialogue on weapons of mass destruction, using the opportunity to share its concerns during a series of meetings, and through the submission of a paper.
'Had Israel remained unwilling to cooperate with Laajava's efforts, it would have been more difficult to defend. But US officials over the past year had praised Israel's cooperation regarding the informal meetings, and this most likely strengthened their ability to argue against the new resolution that was changing the terms mid-course,' Landau said. 'At the end of the day, by overplaying its hand, Egypt lost out,' she added."
"The United States blocked the issuing of a concluding statement for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference that closed Friday night in New York, following objections voiced by Israel.
The balanced final draft of the concluding statement was expected to task the UN secretary general with convening an international conference on making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone by March 2016. Israel objected to the deadline.
According to the U.S. the statement wasn't issued because the members were unable to overcome disagreements on an atomic weapons ban for the Middle East. The super-power blamed Egypt...
Egypt's proposals, Western diplomats say, were intended to focus attention on Israel. Washington and Israel say Iran's nuclear program is the real regional threat."
"Five more years.
That is the grace period once again given to Israel to avoid discussing Arab and international calls to open talks to create a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone.
This is the practical result after the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty failed over the weekend to reach a consensus and ended without a final statement.
Once again, it was the US (together with the UK and Canada) that came to the rescue of Israel, taking it off the hook...
The official position of Israel is that it doesn't oppose in principle the convening in the future of a conference that will discuss the creation of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery (missiles), but only when the conditions are ripe.
Israel demands that before that happens, all states in the region, including Iran, must recognize the right of Israel to exist, sign peace treaties with it and put in place concrete security arrangements."