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By Benedetta and Argentieri NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Adeba Shaker arrived at a house in Raabia, Iraq, after being kidnapped by Islamic State militants last month, one of her captors received a phone call. Islamic State militants had trafficked Shaker from her village in the northeast Iraq region of Sinjar to the Syrian border and presented her as a “gift” to fighters on the front line. “When [the militants] left us I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I saw a bag full of cell phones and I called my brother,” Shaker told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from a camp for internally displaced people in Iraq.
Source: Reuters


By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Soccer idol Cristiano Ronaldo has actively campaigned to help raise funds for victims of the Nepal earthquakes but he has not donated $8 million himself as widely reported, the charity Save the Children said on Thursday. The 30-year-old Real Madrid striker appeal led to his 100 million-plus Facebook followers to donate to the charity after the first of two quakes struck, killing more than 8,000 people. “The global ambassador for Save the Children, Cristiano Ronaldo, has used his voice and global visibility to raise awareness of the problems that the most vulnerable children around the world, including those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, face,” said a statement from the charity.
Source: Reuters
Google, Facebook join Red Cross to find thousands missing after Nepal quake

Google, Facebook join Red Cross to find thousands missing after Nepal quake

German development worker Caroline Siebald and her boyfriend Charles Gertler, an American glaciologist, were on a rafting trip in Nepal when the earthquake struck and initially panicked about how to let their families know they were safe.

After about 30 attempts, Gertler, 25, managed to get a phone call through to his mother in Massachusetts in the United States, and she registered them as safe…

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Emotions, not science, rule U.S. climate change debate: study

By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Despite a scientific consensus that human activity is causing the planet to warm up, ingrained attitudes among Americans mean policy changes on global warming are unlikely, academics said in a new study. Improving dialogue between believers and skeptics on the importance of human activity for climate change is the best way to foster consensus among ordinary people, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. “Strategies for building support for (climate) mitigation policies should go beyond attempts to improve the public’s understanding of science,” Ana-Maria Bliuc, a professor at Australia’s Monash University who co-wrote the study, said in a statement. Instead, scientists who want action on global warming should try to change the relationship between believers and deniers, said Bliuc, a social and political psychologist. http://dlvr.it/8QKNMD

'Dreamcatcher' documentary follows former sex worker back to the streets: TRFN

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The documentary film “Dreamcatcher” takes former sex worker Brenda Myers-Powell back to streets of Chicago where her last client nearly killed her.

‘Dreamcatcher’ documentary follows former sex worker back to the streets: TRFN was originally published on Syndicate-atom.com


By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Soccer idols Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo will lead a star-studded team in a friendly match on Monday aimed at raising money to help Ebola-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The 12th annual ‘Match Against Poverty’, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will be contested in France between French club AS Saint-Étienne and a team of past and present international players. Former France captain Zidane and renowned Brazilian striker Ronaldo, both UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, will be joined by Ivorian Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, retired Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf and ex-Brazilian captain Cafu.
Source: Reuters
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Nicole Oliveira hails from São Paulo, where climate change has worsened flooding and landslides. The extreme weather has already created major traffic problems in her city, and she worries that rising deforestation and Brazil’s new push into offshore oil drilling could raise the country’s emissions.
 
Climate change “has no borders and it’s the most urgent issue that has to be solved,” she says. “I’m very much motivated because I know that the solution is in the hands of industry and the people who profit, and not the people who are impacted.”


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Campaign launches to elect first female U.N. Secretary-General

By Lisa Anderson NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Since its founding 70 years ago, the United Nations has been led by men, a tradition that some women’s rights advocates are determined to break when the global body elects a new secretary-general next year. Equality Now, an international organization that campaigns for the rights of women and girls, launched an online campaign across social media on Wednesday to promote female candidates to lead the U.N. after current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon steps down at the end of 2016. The campaign aims primarily at U.N. ambassadors from China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, who traditionally select a single candidate for ratification by a majority vote of the 193 member states. “The selection process for the next UN Secretary-General is a great opportunity to bring us a step closer to gender equality globally,” Antonia Kirkland, legal advisor at Equality Now, said in a statement. http://dlvr.it/9W4PZs

Here’s my brain dump after putting together a digital security workshop for Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Global Security Seminar in October. Our session, on behalf of Rory Rory Peck Trust, was at the famous Bletchley Park. We looked at how to assess risks and create viable threat models and how to overcome them. Presentation notes and files at the bottom of the page of rambling text.

Woman beheaded, others tortured in PNG witch hunt-Amnesty

Woman beheaded, others tortured in PNG witch hunt-Amnesty

By Alisa Tang

BANGKOK (TrustLaw) - The latest witch hunt in Papua New Guinea’s South Bougainville district was triggered by the death of a former teacher, a man. As often happens in this southwest Pacific nation, villagers looking for the cause of a respected man’s death last week grabbed their firearms, knives and axes and tracked down the ‘witches’ they held responsible – all women.

One woman - a retired school teacher and prominent women’s advocate - was beheaded, said Kate Schuetze, Brisbane-based Pacific researcher for Amnesty International.

Another woman - who suffered a severe laceration to her neck and is coughing up blood - and her two daughters remain captive in the village, Schuetze said. Three others have been taken to a medical centre in Bana district, where Lopele is located.

“We’ve today issued an urgent call on the Papua New Guinea government and regional police to allocate all necessary resources to ensure the safety of those six women,” she said on Wednesday in a telephone interview from Brisbane.

The Lopele witch hunt is not an isolated incident: When misfortune or death befall the tribal communities of Papua New Guinea, accusations of witchcraft, sorcery and black magic are commonly made, often ending with a witch hunt, torture and killing. The accused are usually women - sometimes the oldest or weakest, maybe a widow, and at other times, the strongest who has fought for women’s rights.

To help the captives in Lopele, the government sent one policeman.

“The response of the police to this and other appalling similar incidents in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea has so far been seriously inadequate,” Schuetze said.

DEEP-ROOTED BELIEF

Papua New Guinea’s 6.5 million people are among the world’s most heterogeneous populations, many of them subsistence farmers living in small communities that speak one of the country’s 800-plus languages.

Disputes over land, women and even pigs have sparked tribal conflict and even civil war in parts of the country, while domestic violence and violence against women are widespread.

Sorcery, black magic and witchcraft are ingrained in the culture, as are the punishments meted out.

“It’s a very big problem. It’s a very sensitive issue… (Christian) churches are trying to address the problem, but it’s very deeply rooted in the belief system of the people,” said Jack Urame, director of the Melanesian Institute in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands province.

The institute has extensively researched sorcery, and Urame says he reads about a murder in the newspapers at least once a month. While there are male victims, the majority are women.

“Normally when people die of sickness or disease, people blame sorcery or witchcraft. Even medical reasons, people don’t believe,” Urame told TrustLaw by telephone.

“The traditional belief is very, very strong… This is the way people see the world. It’s the way they explain sickness and death in their own cultural belief system.”

It is so strong that it is enshrined in law in the 1971 Sorcery Act, which punishes those practising sorcery with up to two years in prison and allows murderers to appeal against their sentences by alleging black magic was involved.

“The government is trying to repeal the old Sorcery Act and come up with something completely new to criminalise sorcery killings,” Urame said.

“It will take a long time. It’s a matter of awareness and education… The entire community is behind these sorts of things, and the police feel powerless. According to the people, to remove a sorcerer or witch is protecting the community. That is their belief.”

JUSTICE AND RIGHT TO LIFE

In February, 20-year-old Kepari Leniata was burned alive in front of a crowd in the central city of Mount Hagen by relatives of a 6-year-old boy she was accused of using sorcery to kill. Law enforcement officials tried to intervene, but failed, according to a statement from the UN human rights office.

After Leniata’s death, “local people started to say, maybe we should be speaking out about this,” and that might mark a turning point, said Schuetze, who recently returned from a month-long research trip in Papua New Guinea for Amnesty.

PNG’s Constitutional and Law Reform Commission called on the government in March to repeal the Sorcery Act, while the Cabinet last week approved the Family Protection Bill.

Amnesty urged the government to follow through on both measures, by repealing the sorcery law and implementing the Family Protection Bill as a measure to prevent violence against women. The government also must ensure that police do their job, it said.

UK stars turn to Shakespeare in Valentine's Day climate campaign

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British celebrities including Homeland actor David Harewood, comedian Stephen Fry and musician Jarvis Cocker have lent their support to a “Show the Love” campaign to raise awareness about climate change ahead of Va…

UK stars turn to Shakespeare in Valentine’s Day climate campaign was originally published on Syndicate-atom.com


By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Soccer legend David Beckham pledged to change the lives of millions of children on Monday as he launched “7”, a new fund with UNICEF to protect the world’s most vulnerable youngsters. “Over the coming years I am going to work with UNICEF to raise millions and speak out for children all over the world,” said Beckham. The fund – named after Beckham’s lucky number on his England and Manchester United shirts – will focus on children at risk of violence, abuse or disease. “Today, the need to help children has never been greater and since retiring I have more time and I want to do so much more,” said Beckham, who is marking 10 years as a good will ambassador for the U.N. Children’s Fund.
Source: Reuters
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Poor people who did little to create climate change are paying the highest price for it. That injustice – and the struggles of her own neighbours to cope with growing climate pressures - is what is motivating Zephanie Daniels to take action. In her home country of the Philippines, she has seen how vulnerability to extreme weather is worsening the already existing gap between rich and poor.

“When I hear the words ‘climate change’, it reminds me of a lot of faces,” she said. “When I hear the words ‘climate change’ it’s about a village in my community who fear being relocated when they are flooded, and families that are still at evacuation sites until now.”

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2013 © Thomson Reuters Foundation

Emotions, not science, rule U.S. climate change debate: study

By Chris Arsenault ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Despite a scientific consensus that human activity is causing the planet to warm up, ingrained attitudes among Americans mean policy changes on global warming are unlikely, academics said in a new study. Improving dialogue between believers and skeptics on the importance of human activity for climate change is the best way to foster consensus among ordinary people, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. “Strategies for building support for (climate) mitigation policies should go beyond attempts to improve the public’s understanding of science,” Ana-Maria Bliuc, a professor at Australia’s Monash University who co-wrote the study, said in a statement. Instead, scientists who want action on global warming should try to change the relationship between believers and deniers, said Bliuc, a social and political psychologist. http://dlvr.it/8Xj8WM

A new article has been published on www.brianbrown.net

New Post has been published on http://www.brianbrown.net/2014/10/11/i-cant-explain-the-joy-each-time-ive-freed-a-child-nobel-winner-satyarthi/

“I can’t explain the joy each time I’ve freed a child” - Nobel winner Satyarthi

image


NEW DELHI/LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the 34 years since Kailash Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer to campaign for children’s rights, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has been beaten, seen his home attacked and his colleagues killed.

Yet attempts on his life have not deterred Satyarthi from a mission to save children from slavery and end trafficking in India where he estimates 60 million children, or 6 percent of the population, are forced to work.

“I strongly believe … that freedom is divine. Freedom is godly. God made us free. We fight for something that God has given to all of us,” Satyarthi, 60, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation earlier this year.

“We know that slavery in general, but child slavery in particular, is largely a neglected or ignored area. Most countries do not agree that they have child slavery,” he added.

After switching careers, Satyarthi founded one of India’s most well-known child rights groups, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) in 1980.

He has since helped rescue more than 70,000 children from brick kilns, stone quarries, carpet loom factories, circuses, sweatshops and farms.

The activist, normally seen in a long traditional cotton kurta, has also taken on the struggle for children across the world and founded one of the world’s largest civil rights movements, the Global March Against Child Labour.

JOY OF REUNITED FAMILIES

On Friday he dedicated his award, shared with Pakistani rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai, to children in slavery.

“Each time I have freed a child, the child who has lost the parents and the parents who have lost all the hope that the child would ever come back, and when I hand this boy or girl over to the mother and the mother embraces him or tries to put him in her lap, I cannot explain what kind of joy one can have,” Satyarthi said.

The rescue of such children is not easy, but Satyarthi’s organisation has over the years managed to work closely with anti-trafficking police units and child protection agencies to save children and bring perpetrators to justice.

In one operation this May, police rescued 63 children and arrested 23 suspected child traffickers at the Old Delhi railway station, acting on a tip-off from Satyarthi.

During an extensive interview, the bespectacled, bearded activist described how children were deliberately crippled or mutilated by traffickers, put on the streets and forced to beg.

Others were stolen from villages to work as child soldiers – their books and toys taken from their hands and replaced with guns and bombs, he said.

Corruption involving law enforcement officials and powerful public figures has helped fuel slavery in India, which is a source, destination and transit country for traffickers, Satyarthi said.

“Within India, huge trafficking is flourishing,” he said. “Traffickers are like the mafia. They are able to earn huge money and are able to bribe the law enforcement authorities so when we try to free those children, or oppose those perpetrators in the court, then it’s always dangerous.”

A global index on modern slavery last year showed that of an estimated 30 million people who are enslaved worldwide, trafficked into brothels, forced into manual labour, victims of debt bondage or born into servitude, half are in India.

Satyarthi’s organisation has lobbied for more protection to be provided to rural children and women who are trafficked to cities to work as domestic workers in middle class homes.

Last month, based on a complaint filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the government was forced to put in place regulations to protect maids, who are often physically and sexually abused.

CHEAPER THAN A BUFFALO

One seven-year-old girl Satyarthi rescued from a stone quarry had been born into slavery. The girl had seen her mother raped as punishment after her father tried to escape, and her brother died in her lap for lack of medical treatment.

“Why didn’t you come earlier?” she asked him angrily.

In another anecdote, Satyarthi recalled overhearing three former child labourers from India, Nepal and Bangladesh comparing how much they had been sold for.

Two had been sold for $50 and the third for $100.

“I was listening carefully to their conversation and suddenly one of them asked the other: “Do you have any idea how much a buffalo costs?” Then they talked and one of them replied: “It is no less than 50,000 rupees ($815).

“That means a buffalo cost 10 to 20 times more than a girl. This is the reality they were talking and discussing amongst themselves and I was almost crying.”

Human rights groups, the United Nations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among those that showered praise on Satyarthi as the news of the Nobel Peace Prize emerged.

The tall softly-spoken activist remained modest when asked whether he was surprised by winning the Nobel.

“I never really thought about it, but people used to tell me that since you have started this task in India it has become a worldwide movement and one day you will get this kind of an honour,” he told reporters who had thronged his office in Delhi.

“But I never gave it much thought…”

(Writing by Katie Nguyen. Editing by Emma Batha)


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