Happy Easter, and happy Friday Tumblr!

Happy Easter, and happy Friday Tumblr!

fotojournalismus:

A mother and her child pan for gold and diamonds near the town of Gaga, Central African Republic on April 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

fotojournalismus:

A mother and her child pan for gold and diamonds near the town of Gaga, Central African Republic on April 6, 2014. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

theatlantic:

In Focus: Battling for Control of Eastern Ukraine

For the past few weeks, armed groups of pro-Russian men have been storming and seizing government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. Angered by the new pro-western Ukrainian government and emboldened by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, these groups are demanding separation from Ukraine. Ukraine’s new government has asked for western assistance, as it tries to recapture police stations, airbases, and other government properties — without resorting to violence that may trigger a Russian response. Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are deploying in eastern Ukraine, with even more Russian soldiers massed on the other side of the border. NATO officials said they planned to deploy more forces in eastern Europe and called for Russia to stop “destabilizing” the former Soviet satellite, which has been in deep turmoil since the ouster of the pro-Kremlin leadership in February.

Read more.

Nigeria: Escalating Communal Violence
 Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.
Adding to the overall tension in the central region, a bomb explosion on April 14, 2014, killed more than 71 people and injured hundreds others in Nyanya, in the Abuja suburbs. The attack, occurring during an early morning peak period and at a usually crowded commuter motor park, appeared aimed at achieving a high casualty rate. Nyanya is in Nasarawa state, one of the states affected by communal violence, though it did not immediately seem to be connected to those conflicts.
Photo: The aftermath of a bomb explosion on April 14 that killed more than 71 people in a bus station near Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. © 2014 Getty Images

Nigeria: Escalating Communal Violence

 Escalating violence across five states in central Nigeria has killed more than 1,000 people since December 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. The failure of Nigerian authorities to investigate the attacks or bring those responsible to justice is likely to exacerbate the cycle of violence in the conflict-prone north central region.

Communal violence, stoked by competition between local farming communities and nomadic herdsmen, has plagued this region for many years and is spreading to other states in northern Nigeria.

Adding to the overall tension in the central region, a bomb explosion on April 14, 2014, killed more than 71 people and injured hundreds others in Nyanya, in the Abuja suburbs. The attack, occurring during an early morning peak period and at a usually crowded commuter motor park, appeared aimed at achieving a high casualty rate. Nyanya is in Nasarawa state, one of the states affected by communal violence, though it did not immediately seem to be connected to those conflicts.

Photo: The aftermath of a bomb explosion on April 14 that killed more than 71 people in a bus station near Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. © 2014 Getty Images

Can OSCE defuse Ukraine crisis?
On a recent visit to the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna, I met diplomats and officials racing to keep up with the worsening events in Ukraine.
The OSCE is the only regional security organization with Russia, Ukraine, European countries, and the US as members and so has a key role to play in defusing the Ukraine crisis. Last month it took the important consensus decision to send international monitors to Ukraine with the aim of “reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security”.
Its task is growing more challenging by the hour as eastern Ukraine slides toward armed conflict, but the need could not be more pressing. The Special Monitoring Mission needs to be urgently scaled up as soon as possible. The 129 staff is soon to increase to 200, but given the geographical scale of the crisis and the complexity of the issues at stake, a total closer to the 500 envisaged in the mandate will be needed to get the job done.
Read more.
Photo: OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev, December 2013. © 2013 OSCE

Can OSCE defuse Ukraine crisis?

On a recent visit to the headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna, I met diplomats and officials racing to keep up with the worsening events in Ukraine.

The OSCE is the only regional security organization with Russia, Ukraine, European countries, and the US as members and so has a key role to play in defusing the Ukraine crisis. Last month it took the important consensus decision to send international monitors to Ukraine with the aim of “reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security”.

Its task is growing more challenging by the hour as eastern Ukraine slides toward armed conflict, but the need could not be more pressing. The Special Monitoring Mission needs to be urgently scaled up as soon as possible. The 129 staff is soon to increase to 200, but given the geographical scale of the crisis and the complexity of the issues at stake, a total closer to the 500 envisaged in the mandate will be needed to get the job done.

Read more.

Photo: OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev, December 2013. © 2013 OSCE


Saudi Arabia: Free Prominent Rights Activist
Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered Abu al-Khair’s detention when he attended a hearing in his case on April 15, 2014. Since his arrest the authorities have not allowed him to contact family members, who had no knowledge of his whereabouts for 24 hours. Abu al-Khair faces charges based solely on his peaceful human rights work, including “breaking allegiance with the ruler” and “making international organizations hostile to the kingdom.”
Photo: Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013. © 2013 Human Rights Watch
Saudi Arabia: Free Prominent Rights Activist

Saudi authorities should immediately release prominent human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair and drop all charges against him.

Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court ordered Abu al-Khair’s detention when he attended a hearing in his case on April 15, 2014. Since his arrest the authorities have not allowed him to contact family members, who had no knowledge of his whereabouts for 24 hours. Abu al-Khair faces charges based solely on his peaceful human rights work, including “breaking allegiance with the ruler” and “making international organizations hostile to the kingdom.”

Photo: Waleed Abu al-Khair, prominent lawyer and human rights activist, speaks to Human Rights Watch over Skype from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2013. © 2013 Human Rights Watch

dynamicafrica:

Africa’s mineral wealth and abundant natural resources are no secret. What we also know of much of these commodities is that, in many African countries, the profits yielded from the industries established with the purpose of securing the wealth and inheritance of the citizens of these nations, more often than not, end up in the hands of greedy politicians, easily bribed leaders, and in the pockets of the mostly foreign multinational CEOs and the companies they work for.

For decades, this has been the narrative of a dire situation that only seems to be worsening, and having equally devastating effects in both the lives of those who live in these areas, and the environment surrounding them.

Nigerian photographer, George Osodi, who comes from Nigeria’s oil rich southeastern Niger Delta region, has seen firsthand just how disastrous and traumatic the exploitation of these communities and the natural resources in these regions they occupy can be. These images show two specific areas where these distressing conditions have become the norm - in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, and in an illegal gold mine in Ghana.

©George Osodi

Every year, the state of Florida arbitrarily and unfairly prosecutes hundreds of children as adults. If convicted, these children suffer the lifelong consequences of an adult felony record for what are often low-level, nonviolent offenses.

US: Florida Arbitrarily Prosecuting Children as Adults

Kenya: Halt Crackdown on Somalis
Kenyan police and other security agencies should stop arbitrary arrests and detentions, extortion, and other abuses against Somalis during security operations. The government should also halt summary deportations and ensure that any undocumented Somalis are given the opportunity to file asylum claims.On April 4 and 8, 2014, Human Rights Watch visited Pangani police station in Eastleigh and found hundreds of detainees packed into cells designed to accommodate 20 people. Detainees had no room to sit, and the cells were filthy with urine and excrement. Police were also holding detainees beyond the 24-hour limit proscribed under Kenyan law, without taking them to court. One man at Pangani station complained to Human Rights Watch that he had been held for eight days without being taken to court.
Read more.
Photo: Leyla Ali Adow, a Somali arrested in a police sweep, reacts after being processed for deportation at a holding station in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 9, 2014. © 2014 Reuters

Kenya: Halt Crackdown on Somalis

Kenyan police and other security agencies should stop arbitrary arrests and detentions, extortion, and other abuses against Somalis during security operations. The government should also halt summary deportations and ensure that any undocumented Somalis are given the opportunity to file asylum claims.

On April 4 and 8, 2014, Human Rights Watch visited Pangani police station in Eastleigh and found hundreds of detainees packed into cells designed to accommodate 20 people. Detainees had no room to sit, and the cells were filthy with urine and excrement. Police were also holding detainees beyond the 24-hour limit proscribed under Kenyan law, without taking them to court. One man at Pangani station complained to Human Rights Watch that he had been held for eight days without being taken to court.

Read more.

Photo: Leyla Ali Adow, a Somali arrested in a police sweep, reacts after being processed for deportation at a holding station in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 9, 2014. © 2014 Reuters

UN officials say alleged chemical weapons attacks, which Syria’s opposition says killed hundreds near Damascus, were a “serious escalation”. How should the world respond?

Yesterday’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Eastern and Western Ghouta, outside Damascus, provided some of the most shocking and cruel images yet seen in Syria’s two-year-old civil war.

But the attack, which killed several hundred people including many children, just adds to a death toll that long ago exceeded 100,000. It is yet another example of massive civilian killing that has been tolerated by an international response that has substituted handwringing for effective policy that could save lives.

We now need urgent action from the UN Security Council and other key players.

First, the Council should demand that the Syrian government give the United Nations chemical weapons inspection team - currently in Damascus - immediate access to the sites of the reported chemical attacks, while evidence can still be collected. The UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights and humanitarian law violations should also be given access to establish who is responsible.

At the same time, both the government and opposition forces must grant full and unhindered urgent access for humanitarian and medical workers to provide badly needed medical care and humanitarian support to affected populations.

And if there is ever to be an end to the cycle of impunity that fuels the killings, the UN Security Council should refer the Syria situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure justice for all those responsible for the many war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in this war.