ONU – “Israel agrees to ‘humanitarian pause’ in war-torn Gaza Strip, UN envoy confirms”

After days of escalating violence and follow-on civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations special envoy for the Middle East confirmed today that Israel has agreed to a five hour humanitarian pause – set to begin tomorrow morning – and repeated his call on Hamas to respect the lull “in the interest of the people of Gaza.”

In a statement issued by his spokesperson in Jerusalem, Robert Serry UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process confirmed that the Government of Israel agreed the five hour humanitarian pause, which will start at tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., local time and end at 3:00 p.m.

“Mr. Serry appreciates this Israeli decision and repeats his call on Hamas and other factions to respect the humanitarian pause from their side, in the interest of the people of Gaza,” said the statement.

It goes on to say that Mr. Serry reiterates the importance of arriving at a durable ceasefire understanding, also addressing underlying issues in Gaza, as soon as possible. “The United Nations, together with other international actors, will continue to support efforts in this regard,” the statement concluded.

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This news comes as media reports suggest that Israel previously had agreed to a pause for several hours Tuesday after Egypt put forward a cease-fire proposal that subsequently collapsed.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has flared ago in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in late June and the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem earlier this month.

And with militants in Gaza stepping up rocket attacks against Israel, and Israeli airstrikes on the enclave intensifying, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and a host of other senior UN officials, as well as the members of the Security Council, have repeatedly urged all actors to exercise maximum restraint and avoid further civilian casualties and overall destabilization.

Meanwhile, earlier today, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator reminded both Israelis and Palestinians of their obligations under international law to protect civilians and to distinguish between military and civilian targets, as she warned that innocent men, women and children continue to bear the brunt of the deadly violence that has engulfed the region.

Extremely concerned by the escalation of hostilities and its impact on civilians, Valerie Amos, in a statement issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which she heads, said that according to preliminary estimates, as of 15 July, 194 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli attacks, including 149 civilians.

Ms. Amos said that hundreds of homes have been directly targeted by Israeli airstrikes, many of which were allegedly the residences of members of armed groups. More than 1,300 families have been forced to seek shelter with relatives and neighbours. Nearly 80 schools have been damaged because of their proximity to targeted sites. In one incident, an Israeli airstrike killed 18 people in one house, including six children and three women.

Public services have been suspended and the water supply is at risk after two maintenance engineers were killed by an Israeli missile, she added.

“Armed groups are firing rockets from residential areas in Gaza towards populated areas in Israel, reportedly killing one civilian so far and putting at risk the lives of thousands more, both Israeli and Palestinian,” Ms Amos said, and underscored: “Sustained bombardment is terrifying for everyone but particularly for children, who will need psycho-social support long after the violence subsides.”

She went on to remind the parties to conflict that they have responsibilities under international humanitarian law, emphasizing that “they must take precautions to protect civilians and must distinguish between civilian and military targets.”

“This is the third major military confrontation in Gaza in six years, and civilians have borne the brunt each time. They are paying the price for a collective failure to break the cycle of violence and reach a lasting political solution,” declared Ms. Amos.

Fonte: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48284#.U8fX4fldVBs

ONU – “Level of human loss, destruction in Gaza ‘immense,’ says UN agency”

The level of human loss and destruction in Gaza as a result of the ongoing conflict with Israel has been “immense,” the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees said today, noting that eight days of hostilities has claimed 174 lives and injured well over 1,100 people.

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“The numbers are increasing by the hour,” Sami Mshasha, from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), told a news conference in Geneva.

“We also notice that a good number of those killed and injured are women and children, and that is a cause of concern for UNRWA,” he said, speaking by phone from Jerusalem.

Mr. Mshasha added that 560 homes were completely destroyed and thousands of other buildings damaged in Israeli airstrikes.

Since the latest hostilities began a week ago, senior UN officials and the Security Council have called on the parties to de-escalate the situation, restore calm, and reinstitute the November 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of violence in Gaza and Israel.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday, has expressed his full support for the Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire agreement.

“He is deeply worried that the fighting has not stopped, despite Israel’s readiness to accept the ceasefire proposal and the Palestinian Authority’s support,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

“He calls on Hamas to cooperate with the Egyptian initiative, and urges all sides to build on this opening of a diplomatic channel. All parties must respect international humanitarian law.”

Mr. Haq added that the UN will in the meantime continue providing much-needed emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

UNRWA said it is extremely worried that if the ceasefire being negotiated does not succeed, an Israeli ground offensive and military incursion into Gaza will take place, bringing more death and destruction.

“There is a high level of anticipation for the ceasefire to take effect today or tomorrow, and if it doesn’t, I am afraid that the civilians in Gaza will end up paying again the ultimate price,” said Mr. Mshasha.

Fonte: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48277#.U8ZvDPldVBs

CtIDH – “Sentencia Sobre el Alcance del Principio de Legalidad y de Retroactividad y el derecho a Recurrir el Fallo para Altas Autoridades en Suriname”

San José, Costa Rica, 24 de marzo de 2014.- La Corte Interamericana de derechos Humanos notificó el viernes 21 de marzo de 2014, la Sentencia de Excepciones Preliminares, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas en el caso Liakat Ali Alibux Vs. Suriname, sometido a la jurisdicción de la Corte por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos el 20 de enero de 2012. El texto íntegro de la Sentencia y el resumen oficial de la misma pueden consultarse en el siguiente enlace: http://www.corteidh.or.cr/index.php/es/casos-contenciosos.

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El señor Liakat Ali Alibux ejerció los cargos de Ministro de Finanzas y Ministro de Recursos Naturales entre septiembre de 1996 y agosto de 2000. El 18 de octubre de 2001 se adoptó la Ley sobre Acusación de Funcionarios con Cargos Políticos (en adelante “LAFCP”), con el propósito de regular el procedimiento para el juzgamiento de quienes ejerzan o hayan ejercido cargos en la administración pública por presuntos actos delictivos cometidos en el ejercicio de sus funciones, establecido en el artículo 140 de la Constitución de Suriname. El señor Alibux fue investigado con motivo de la compra de un inmueble realizada entre junio y julio de 2000 en su calidad de Ministro de Finanzas, y sometido a un procedimiento ante la Asamblea Nacional y juzgado ante la Alta Corte de Justicia de Suriname en instancia única. Adicionalmente, el 3 de enero de 2003 al señor Alibux se le impidió salir de su país para un viaje personal. El 5 de noviembre de 2003 el señor Alibux fue sentenciado por la comisión del delito de falsificación y condenado a la pena de un año de detención y tres años de inhabilitación para ejercer el cargo de Ministro. El 27 de agosto de 2007 fue establecido en Suriname un recurso de apelación, para los procedimientos realizados con base en el artículo 140 de la Constitución, no obstante, el señor Alibux no utilizó dicho recurso.

En su Sentencia, la Corte concluyó que Suriname no era responsable por las alegadas violaciones de los principios de legalidad y de retroactividad, y a la protección judicial. No obstante, declaró la violación respecto del derecho a recurrir el fallo ante juez o tribunal superior y el derecho de circulación y residencia. En particular, la Corte consideró que al ser el proceso una secuencia jurídica en constante movimiento, la aplicación de una norma que regula el procedimiento con posterioridad a la comisión de un supuesto hecho delictivo no contraviene per se el principio de legalidad. Partiendo de lo anterior, la Corte constató que al momento de cometidos los hechos imputados al señor Alibux, estaba previsto el delito y el artículo 140 de la Constitución establecía las bases del procedimento para su juzgamiento, por lo que la aplicación inmediata de la LAFCP no afectó el tipo penal ni la severidad de la pena. La Corte concluyó que el Estado de Suriname no violó, en perjuicio del señor Liakat Ali Alibux, el principio de legalidad y de retroactividad, establecido en el artículo 9 de la Convención Americana.

Adicionalmente, la Corte determinó que la designación del máximo órgano de justicia a efectos del juzgamiento penal de altos funcionarios públicos, no es por sí misma contraria al derecho de recurrir un fallo ante juez o tribunal superior. No obstante, en el presente caso se constató la inexistencia de un recurso judicial que garantizara al señor Alibux su derecho a recurrir el fallo condenatorio al momento de su emisión, y para cuando dicho recurso fue creado en el 2007, la totalidad de la condena ya había sido cumplida, por lo que careció de efectividad. En virtud de lo anterior, la Corte concluyó que el Estado de Suriname incurrió en violación del artículo 8.2(h) de la Convención Americana. Respecto de la alegada violación del derecho a la protección judicial, la Corte constató que mediante la Resolución Interlocutoria de 12 de junio de 2003, la Alta Corte de Justicia resolvió las objeciones preliminares interpuestas por el representante legal. Adicionalmente, si bien la Corte reconoció la importancia de los Tribunales Constitucionales como protectores de los mandatos constitucionales y los derechos fundamentales, la Convención Americana no impone un modelo específico para realizar un control de constitucionalidad y convencionalidad, el cual está a cargo de todos los órganos del Estado.

Por tanto, el Estado no violó de manera autónoma el derecho a la protección judicial.

Respecto a la prohibición de salida del país impuesta al señor Alibux el 3 de enero de 2003, el Estado no demostró la existencia de una regulación clara y precisa que determine la legalidad de la restricción al derecho de circulación para el presente caso, por lo que incumplió con lo dispuesto em el artículo 22, incisos 2 y 3 de la Convención Americana.

En virtud de dichas violaciones, la Corte ordenó al Estado la adopción de determinadas medidas de reparación.

La Corte Interamericana supervisará el cumplimiento íntegro de la Sentencia y dará por concluido el caso una vez que el Estado haya dado cabal cumplimiento a lo dispuesto en la misma. La composición de la Corte para la emisión de esta Sentencia fue la siguiente: Humberto Antonio Sierra Porto, Presidente; Roberto F. Caldas, Vicepresidente; Manuel E. Ventura Robles, Juez; Diego García-Sayán, Juez; Alberto Pérez Pérez, Juez; Eduardo Vio Grossi, Juez, y Eduardo Ferrer Mac- Gregor Poisot, Juez.

Fonte: Central de Imprensa – Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos

Peru: Amazon tribes sacrificed to gas project

Peru: Amazon tribes sacrificed to gas project

Oliver Tickell

27th January 2014

Peru has approved the highly controversial expansion of the Camisea gas project onto the land of isolated Amazon tribes – who will be put at risk of a massive death toll or extinction from introduced diseases.
It is essential to uphold the principle of no contact in order to ensure their fundamental rights are upheld, including the right to life and integrity.

 

The Peruvian Government has given permission for the Camisea gas project expansion onto the land ofuncontacted Amazon indigenous communities.

The decision was made despite international outrage, the resignation of three ministers, and condemnation by the United Nations and international human rights organizations.

Peru’s Ministry of Culture, tasked with protecting the country’s indigenous population, has approved plans by oil and gas giants Pluspetrol (Argentina), Hunt Oil (US) and Repsol (Spain) to expand into a designated reserve for the protection of indigenous Peoples.

They will now proceed to detonate thousands of explosive charges, drill exploratory wells and allow hundreds of workers to flood into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve, located just 100km from Machu Picchu.

No activity should be authorized

Congresswoman Vanessa Mendoza commented: “No activity should be authorized in this highly vulnerable area without implementing the highest safeguards for the integrity of the indigenous peoples.

“The Ministry of Culture has made its decision about the project plans without having first carried out an adequate anthropological study.”

The expansion could decimate the uncontacted tribes living in the reserve, as any contact between gas workers and the Indians is likely to result in the spread of diseases or epidemics to which the Indians lack immunity.

As Peru’s Ombudsman stated in 2006: “A rise in diseases such as syphilis, respiratory diseases and influenza has been reported, which in some cases have led to deaths in native communities and amongst indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact.”

Or as UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya recently argued: “It’s clear that these peoples are extremely vulnerable, which is why the government and company must act with extreme caution and should not go ahead with the proposed expansion before first assuring conclusively that the (tribes’) human rights are not at threat.”

And Pluspetrol admits as much …

Pluspetrol itself recognizes the devastating impact the expansion could have. In its ‘Anthropological Contingency Plan’ the company states that any diseases transmitted by workers could cause “prolonged periods of illness, massive deaths, and, in the best cases, long periods of recovery.”

“Given the impossibility of establishing direct contact with the populations in isolation in the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti Reserve it is difficult to understand the magnitude of the effects that the project could have on them.

“In terms of evaluating the impacts (on the tribes), it is assumed that any activity different to that in their daily lives will generate fear, concern and changes in the ways they see and conceive of the world.”

In the beginning, there was Shell …

When oil giant Shell first started explorations in the area, it led to the death of nearly half the Nahua tribe. Tomás, a Nahua man, recalls the devastation that followed Shell’s activities: 

“Many, many people died. People dying everywhere, like fish after a stream has been poisoned. People left to rot along stream banks, in the woods, in their houses. That terrible illness!”

The project violates Peruvian and international laws which require the consent of any projects carried out on tribal peoples’ land.

International protests

Last year, protests were held around the world to stop the expansion of Camisea, and more than 131,000 Survival supporters have sent a message to Peru’s President Humala demanding a halt to the oil and gas work on uncontacted tribes’ land.

Today, Survival handed the list of the thousands of petition signatures to the Peruvian embassy in London.

As a result of the high profile campaign by tribal rights organization Survival International, local organizations AIDESEP, FENAMAD, COMARU and ORAU, and others, to stop the expansion, seismic testing has been averted from riverways and the location of one well was moved from the land of an isolated tribe.

Has Peru learnt nothing?

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “Thirty years ago workers prospecting for the Camisea deposit penetrated deep into the territory of the Nahua people – and soon after, half the tribe were wiped out by flu and similar diseases.

“Has the Peruvian government really learnt nothing from history, that it is prepared to risk this happening again for the sake of a few more gas wells?”

And according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, “Given that uncontacted tribes do not have immunity against common diseases, contact can lead … to epidemics that can result in the death of entire peoples.

“It is essential to uphold the principle of no contact in order to ensure their fundamental rights are upheld, including the right to life and integrity, the right to their lands and ancestral territories, and the right to culture and health.”

 

Fonte: TheEcologist.org

Campaign victory saves Earth’s most threatened tribe

Published By   /   April 25, 2014  /   No Comments

 

The campaign to save Earth's most threatened tribe has triumphed as Brazil announced that all illegal invaders have been expelled from the Awá territory.

The campaign to save Earth’s most threatened tribe has triumphed as Brazil announced that all illegal invaders have been expelled from the Awá territory.
© Survival

In an unprecedented victory in the campaign to save Earth’s most threatened tribe, the Brazilian government has announced that all invaders have now been removed from the Awá indigenous territory in the eastern Amazon rainforest.

The news comes exactly two years after Survival International and Hollywood star Colin Firth launched a high-profile international campaign to save the Awá from extinction – setting a new record in the history of Survival and its efforts to protect the land of indigenous tribes.

Under unprecedented international pressure, the Brazilian government sent a ground squad of hundreds of agents to remove illegal cattle ranchers and loggers from the land of the Awá in January 2014. After an overflight of the area last week, the Public Prosecutor and Judge working on the case handed the Awá an official document confirming that all non-Indians have now been removed from their territory.

The Awá’s land retains some of the last remaining patches of rainforest in the eastern Amazon, despite illegal loggers having destroyed over 30% of the forest in the Awá territory.

The Brazilian government sent helicopters, vehicles and a ground squad of hundreds of agents to remove illegal invaders from the Awá's forest.

The Brazilian government sent helicopters, vehicles and a ground squad of hundreds of agents to remove illegal invaders from the Awá’s forest.
© Silvano Fernandes/FUNAI

Brazilian experts had warned that the Awá, one of the last nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes in the Amazon, faced extinction if no action was taken. Around 100 Awá remain uncontacted and are particularly vulnerable to diseases brought in by outsiders, which could decimate them.

The Awá had made numerous desperate appeals to remove the invaders, many of whom were armed, with a history of violent attacks against the Indians.

One Awá man said, ‘We can’t hunt… we don’t bring back any food. The loggers have been here for a long time… we’ve been telling people that the loggers are here, and their chainsaws, machinery and trucks are screaming.’

Nixiwaka Yawanawá, an Amazon Indian in London, said, ‘This important victory has come about because of Survival International’s tireless campaign to protect the forests and the lives of my brothers and sisters, and the pressure of the international community on the Brazilian government to protect the indigenous peoples’ lands according to the Brazilian constitution. We thank all supporters who have shown us solidarity in this fight for life.’

Dozens of celebrities and hundreds of supporters in 38 countries brandished the awaicon in support of Survival's Awá campaign.

Dozens of celebrities and hundreds of supporters in 38 countries brandished the awaicon in support of Survival’s Awá campaign.
© Survival

Facts & figures of Survival’s record-breaking Awá campaign:
- Over 57,000 messages were sent to Brazil’s Minister of Justice asking him to take action to remove the loggers.
- Dozens of celebrities, such as renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, Hollywood actress Gillian Anderson, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, musician Julian Lennon, and many others, pledged their support.
- Hundreds of awáicons – the campaign’s logo – were photographed on famous landmarks in 38 countries.
- Three ad campaigns brought the plight of the Awá to the attention of millions around the world.
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Americas’ top human rights body, took action following an urgent submission by Survival and Brazilian NGO CIMI, which has worked with the Awá for decades.

Survival is now calling on the Brazilian authorities to put in place a permanent land protection program to keep the invaders out of the Awá territory.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘We would not be seeing this phenomenal success today without the public campaign, which brought pressure on the Brazilian government to act. It’s concrete proof that a groundswell of public support is the most effective way to guarantee the survival of tribal peoples. Awá supporters around the globe must now keep pressure on to ensure that adequate measures are taken to keep invaders out.’

Notes to editors:

- Download a timeline of the Awá campaign (pdf, 441KB)
- Download the document handed to the Awá confirming the completion of the evictions operation (Portuguese, pdf, 1.4MB)
- Other successful campaigns by Survival International include the demarcation of the Yanomami territory in 1992 and the support for Botswana’s Bushmen to live on their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

- See more at: http://foreignaffairs.co.nz/2014/04/25/campaign-victory-saves-earths-most-threatened-tribe/#sthash.Hip5wVBx.dpuf

Fonte: http://foreignaffairs.co.nz/2014/04/25/campaign-victory-saves-earths-most-threatened-tribe/

Mujica confirma asilo en Uruguay para grupo de prisioneros de Guantánamo

Viernes 21 de Marzo de 2014, 09:01 pm

Mujica confirma asilo en Uruguay para grupo de prisioneros de Guantánamo

El presidente de Uruguay José “Pepe” Mujica, confirmó este viernes que dará asilo a un grupo de prisioneros de la cárcel estadounidense de Guantánamo, ubicada en territorio cubano de manera ilegal.

Mujica aseguró que la medida busca contribuir al cierre de esta prisión utilizada durante muchos años por el gobierno norteamericano como celda para quienes fueran considerados terroristas.

“No hay que hacer una novela por esto, no hay ningún acuerdo con nadie, es un pedido (de Estados Unidos) y es una cuestión de Derechos Humanos”, resaltó el mandatario Uruguayo, quien además comentó que actualmente hay unas 120 personas privadas de libertad desde hace apróximadamente 13 años sin que les fuera emitida una sentencia, pues nunca fueron visitados por un juez o fiscal.

“El presidente de Estados Unidos (Barack Obama) quiere sacarse ese problema de encima, pero el Senado le exige 60 cosas, entonces le pidió a un montón de países si podían darle refugio a algunos, y yo le dije sí, porque yo estuve un montón de años preso”, explicó el dignatario.

Mujica manifestó estar cansado de que en el mundo se hable de Derechos Humanos y no se actúe de manera correcta para hacer cumplirlos, tras considerar que lo que está haciendo es un acto de conformidad de estos derechos.

“Derechos Humanos es esto, si quieren hacer nido y trabajar en el país (Uruguay) que se instalen en el país”.

El presidente, Barack Obama, reiteró en marzo su intención de cerrar el penal de Guantánamo cuanto antes y pidió al Congreso que actúe para facilitar la transferencia de los detenidos que aún quedan en la prisión desde que se abriera
en 2002.

“Con la guerra de Afganistán tocando a su fin, éste tiene que ser el año en que el Congreso levante las restricciones restantes para las transferencias de prisioneros y para que cerremos la prisión de la Bahía de Guantánamo”, dijo Obama

Obama argumentó en ese momento que Estados Unidos “tiene que dejar atrás esta situación de estar permanentemente en pie de guerra” a pesar de seguir comprometido con perseguir “de forma agresiva a las redes terroristas, mediante esfuerzos mejor enfocados y desarrollando la capacidad de nuestros aliados extranjeros”.

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Fonte: Telesur

ICC Convicts Congo Warlord, What Are the Right Steps For Peace?

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Leonce Ndikumana: The peace process in the Great Lakes region of Africa must be driven by Africans with the international community playing a supporting role – March 17, 2014

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
The International Criminal Court has just made its second conviction in its twelve-year history. Congolese warlord Germain Katanga was found guilty of being an accessory to war crimes, including murder. The case stemmed from violence in the diamond-rich northeast Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 2000s. Katanga was convicted for his role in an attack on a village in 2003 that left some 200 people dead.
Now joining us to discuss the peace process in the Great Lakes region, which includes countries like the DRC, Burundi, Kenya, and many more, is Léonce Ndikumana. He is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Thanks for joining us, Léonce.
LÉONCE NDIKUMANA, POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
DESVARIEUX: So, Léonce, my first question is I know that the UNDP actually released a report about the peace process happening there in the Great Lakes region. Can you just summarize what was in that report?
NDIKUMANA: Yes. It’s a report released in January, a very interesting report that actually takes a very interesting stand on the conflict in the DRC, in the sense that it looks at it from a regional perspective, which is very reasonable in the sense that that conflict involves or affects many other countries beyond the country of the Congo, which is what the origin of the conflict is. But also it pushes for looking at solutions from a development perspective, in addition, of course, to humanitarian aid, making the point that consolidating peace and achieving stability in the region requires taking a strong stand on promoting economic development—you buy peace by promoting development.
DESVARIEUX: Okay. And what kind of development are they talking about?
NDIKUMANA: Here they’re talking about different aspects of development. They are emphasizing shortage in infrastructure, such as energy, transportation.
And, in fact, when you look at the Congo, it’s a huge country. It’s one of the largest countries on the continent, a large population, I think the fourth-largest population, 19th in the world. But it’s also an economic giant which host a huge amount of reserves of natural resources. If you look at the amount of natural resources in the Congo, it’s basically 12 times the size of the whole economy of Africa.
But at the same time, that continent has very weak infrastructure, to the point that, in fact, the east is almost cut from the west, where the capital city is. And to be able to build lasting peace and economic stability, you actually need to connect the regions, so that economically they can exchange, but also so that the local population can feel connected to the central government, which has not happened before. But also, if you build enough infrastructure, transport energy, that country can become an engine of growth in the whole region. It can supply energy to its nine neighbors, which—because of its huge reserves in hydro power.
DESVARIEUX: So, Léonce, you’ve been on this program many times before, and you often make the argument that whatever solution comes out of this peace process, it must come from Africans themselves. Can you just speak to what a solution driven by Africans looks like?
NDIKUMANA: Yes. Here I want to really underscore the point you just made that a solution to the crisis in the Congo and the Great Lakes must be primarily an African solution. First of all, the conflict in the DRC is a regional conflict, so it affects many countries in the region. So it makes sense that the countries which are affected directly or indirectly should be at the table when the solutions to the conflict are being discussed. So that’s one point.
The second point is that it’s a very intricate conflict. The Congo has been experiencing conflict since back in the ’60s. So you need Africans to actually understand—who have a deep understanding of the root causes of the conflict and the many ramifications that the conflicts have, the sensitivies of the various players involved, their interest, to be able to come up with a solution that’s satisfactory to all the stakeholders in the regions. It will not work if you come with an imported solution from abroad which will damage the stability not only of the country, but also of the whole region.
So that—also I want to insist that Africans actually have the means to resolve conflict. We have seen many conflicts that have been resolved with a strong hand of regional groups in West Africa. In Somalia, the AU’s doing an amazing job in very difficult conditions. South Sudan was [incompr.] independent, because—thanks to heavy and consistent, diligent management by an African-led group that really sought to understand the root causes of the conflict and then come up with strategies. That’s why I think that Africa needs to own the solutions to the DRC conflict.
DESVARIEUX: With that being said, Léonce, what role should the international community play, then?
NDIKUMANA: I think the international community should play a supporting role (but the leadership role should be African), supporting in many ways.
One is from a policy perspective. The international [incompr.] can provide a forum for debate and negotiation, lending the hand to the African Union, the united economic commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, all these continental institutions which are involved in facilitating the debate.
But also, from a technical perspective, many of the development programs, development initiatives that needs to implemented needs technical assistance from the international community for the know-how, the technical expertise.
But third, financial assistance. I talked about infrastructure, energy. These are programs that require a large amount of resources that exceed the capacity of the local government. So in this case, the world community can help by channeling resources in the country. In this report, in fact, they talk about a grant from the World Bank to finance infrastructure, which is a very good step in the right direction in supporting the region to come up with a solution to the crisis.
DESVARIEUX: Alright. Léonce Ndikumana, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, thank you so much for joining us.

Fonte: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11569

Snowden Says NSA ‘Setting Fire’ to the Web

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South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the former NSA contractor said that the spy agency undermines the trust and security upon which a well-functioning Internet depend

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said Monday that the United States government is “setting fire to the future of the Internet” with its massive domestic surveillance programs.

“When we think about what’s happened with the NSA in the last decade, the result has been an adversarial Internet, a global free fire zone,” Snowden, whose leaks last year sparked debate about surveillance, told the South by Southwest Interactive tech conference via video link from Russia, where he’s living under temporary asylum. “Nothing we ever asked for. Something we don’t want. Something we need to protect against.”

Snowden was joined by his American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ben Wizner and the ACLU’s chief technologist Christopher Soghoian for a conversation on digital privacy issues, a major theme of this year’s conference. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange drew substantial crowds for his own address via video link on Saturday.

For much of Monday’s talk, Snowden hammered home an argument he and his supporters have been making since his leaks first pulled the curtain back on the NSA a year ago: that mass surveillance makes the Internet a more dangerous place. By systematically working to crack and weaken online security systems in order to harvest user data for surveillance, Snowden said NSA in effect undermines the trust and security upon which a well-functioning Internet depend.

“They’re setting fire to the future of the Internet,” Snowden said, addressing the tech savvy audience. “And the people that are in this room now—you guys are the firefighters.”

During an audience Q&A segment, the first question asked of Snowden came from Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist credited as the creator of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee, who has been a vocal supporter of Snowden’s, asked what changes the leaker thought should be made to prevent abuse of government surveillance capacities.

“We’ve got a good starting point and that’s what we have to remember. We have an oversight model that could work,” Snowden said, stressing that the people ultimately tasked with overseeing the intelligence community—Congress—must be held to account. “We need a watchdog that watches Congress,” he said.

The decision to invite Snowden to speak at SXSW drew criticism from some quarters. Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote to festival organizers asking them to cancel the event. Pompeo derided Snowden as a man “whose only apparent qualification is his willingness to steal from his own government and then flee to that beacon of First Amendment freedoms, the Russia of Vladimir Putin.”

Fonte: Time