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Sri Lanka Plans to Deport 1,500 Pakistani and Afghan Refugees

A Christian man stands inside his destroyed house in Gojra town. Image by Muhammad Tahir. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2009)

A Christian man stands inside his destroyed house in Gojra, Pakistan. Image by Muhammad Tahir. Copyright Demotix (4/8/2009)

Facing persecution in Pakistan, many Ahmadiyya Muslims and Christians have taken refuge in Sri Lanka. These refugees are mostly held in Boossa and Mirihana detention centers and have to live on government-provided rations as they are not eligible for work.

According to the media, the Sri Lankan government is preparing to deport about 1,450 Pakistani and 50 Afghan refugees who have apparently fled to rural areas in Sri Lanka. More than 1,400 of the targeted refugees have been registered as asylum seekers at the UN refugee agency office in Colombo.

Human Rights Watch has requested the Sri Lankan government not to summarily deport these minorities. Meanwhile, Pakistan has disowned these refugees and an uncertain future awaits for them if they are deported.

W3Lanka English blog opines:

The practice of deporting them is very unethical. They can be economic migrants per se the claim of the Pakistan government. What if they are actually threatened people?

Improper Land Allocation Harms Trinidad & Tobago's Public Interest

Property ownership is a critical ingredient of the society we are trying to build. No one can deny that. The wealthiest people and companies in this society have made a great part of their wealth through property dealings – buying, leasing, sub-dividing, selling, renovating and so on….property is critical to amassing and holding wealth.

With the state being “the single largest owner of all classes of property” in Trinidad and Tobago, blogger Afra Raymond is interested in how public property is allocated, noting that because of its value, all dealings involving state lands must be transparent.

A Brazilian Favela Is Challenging the World Cup Champion to a Match

desafioanita

Image by Techo.org, used with permission.

The favela Anita Garibaldi, located 10 kilometers from Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brasil, is home to 4,000 families and its own football team. Latin American origin NGO TECHO (@untecho) is campaigning for a match between the Anita Fútbol Club and this year's World Cup champion to call attention to the poverty experienced by millions of people in Latin America.

The organization is encouraging an intense campaign on social networks and in the media with the hashtag #DesafíoAnita (Challenge Anita). So far, they have been able to engage people from all around the world in petitions to the FIFA, national football federations and individuals for the challenge, still with no confirmed date.

You can follow as an “hincha” (fan) of Anita Garibaldi on their official web (in Spanish, English and Portuguese) or with the hashtag #DesafíoAnita.

Documentary in Portuguese with Spanish subtitles: “Why does Anita Garibaldi want #DesafíoAnita?”

Video in Portuguese with English subtitles: Turtao, goalkeeper of Anita Garibaldi FC, challenges Lionel Messi

Homecoming Revolution in Africa

Homecoming Revolution is an organisation that encourages skilled Africans to come back to the continent:

Homecoming Revolution, which showcases career, property, investment and entrepreneurial opportunities for expatriates in sub-Saharan Africa, has helped almost 360,000 South Africans to return home in the past five years. It has an active database of another 34,000 professionals who are considering moving back.

The organization, which started as an aid agency in 2003 but has since commercialized its operations, has business networks throughout South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya, and will continue its expansion into other sub-Saharan countries this year.

The Impact of Climate Change on the Rural Population of Benin

Alain TOSSOUNON of Benin posted on the West African Network of Journalists for water and sanitation (WASH) blog  a summary of the report on the evaluation of post disaster needs in Benin after the recent major floods. The disaster caused the death of nearly fifty people and caused damage estimated at 78.3 billion FCFA (about 160 million USD) [fr]: 

Today, anytimes the rain starts to fall, I'm geeting scared and anxious ” says Elizabeth Kpossou, a resident of the village. This feeling is shared  by her neighbor and friend, Alice Codjo. However, a few years ago, periodic floods were part of the lives of these peaceful communities. And far from being a plague, they had found an opportunity with the fertile soil after the withdrawal of water from the floods. Now, those days are gone.  ”Everything changed” says the village chief, Samuel Boton. “Now, floods are more devastating” [..] Indeed, like in this village of Adjohoun with its 56 455 inhabitants, the entire country has been hit hard by the disaster. Across the country, the toll was heavy in human loss and material damages. There were 46 deaths and more than half of the municipalities were affected (55 municipalities affected of the 77 in the Benin). 

Bangladesh's Elite Paramiltary Unit Is Under Fire for Human Rights Violations. This Blogger Asks: What About Israel's IDF?

An activist is picked up by an RAB agent in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a nationwide strike called by the main opposition party in June 2011. Photo by   Rahat Khan. Copyright Demotix.

An activist is picked up by an RAB agent in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during a nationwide strike called by the main opposition party in June 2011. Photo by Rahat Khan. Copyright Demotix.

Brad Adams, the executive director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, has recently written a letter to Bangladesh's prime minister suggesting that the Bangladesh government should disband the paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Quoting news sources, he accused the RAB of being responsible for more than 800 extrajudicial killings in the past 10 years.

Human rights organizations have long accused the elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit, which was created in 2004, of human rights violations. A number of its members are under investigation in Bangladesh in connection to the abduction and killing of seven men (see Global Voices report).

Some netizens were Irked by the tone of Adam's letter to a sovereign country. Blogger Himu wrote for Bangla blog Sachalayatan a response to Adams, suggesting he be consistent and write to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

ব্র্যাড অ্যাডামস লিখেছেন, “র‌্যাবকে এখন আর সংস্কার করে চালানো সম্ভব বলে আমরা বিশ্বাস করি না। আইনের ঊর্ধ্বে থেকে কোনো ধরনের জবাবদিহিতার তোয়াক্কা না করে র‌্যাব পরিচালনার একটি সংস্কৃতি তৈরি হয়ে গেছে। এই অবস্থায় এ বাহিনীকে অবশ্যই বিলুপ্ত করতে হবে, যাতে হত্যাকাণ্ড বন্ধ করা হয়।”

মানবাধিকারবারি ব্র্যাড অ্যাডামসের উদ্বেগের প্রতি শ্রদ্ধা জানিয়ে এবার একটা ছোটো আবদার করি। প্যাড থেকে আরেকটা কাগজ ছিঁড়ুন। কলমদানি থেকে কলমটা বের করে খাপ খুলুন। তারপর লিখুন ইসরায়েলের প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে। তাকে বলুন, ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেস প্রতিষ্ঠানটিকেও বিলুপ্ত করে দিতে। ২০০০ সাল থেকে ২০১২ সাল পর্যন্ত ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেসের হাতে নিহত ফিলিস্তিনিদের একটি পরিসংখ্যান পাবেন এখানে। এদের মাঝে একটি বড় অংশ নিরীহ বেসামরিক মানুষ, তাদের একটা বড় অংশ শিশু, এবং সংখ্যাটাও ৮০০ থেকে বেশি।

আমি নিশ্চিত, আপনি বিশ্বাস করেন না যে ইসরায়েল ডিফেন্স ফোর্সেসকে সংস্কার করে চালানো সম্ভব। কাজেই ফিলিস্তিনে নির্বিচার হত্যাকাণ্ড বন্ধ করার জন্য যে এই বাহিনীকে বিলুপ্ত করার অনুরোধ আপনি ইসরায়েলি প্রধানমন্ত্রীকে করবেন, সেরকম তো আমরা ধরে নিতেই পারি। নাকি?

কবে আপনি ঐ চিঠিটি লিখবেন, দেখার জন্যে সাগ্রহে অপেক্ষা করছি।

Brad Adams wrote, “We do not believe that RAB can be reformed. It has developed a culture of operating above the law without civilian accountability. It must be disbanded so that the killings come to an end.”

With respect to human rights activist Mr. Brad Adams, I would request him to tear another page from his pad, take a pen and to write a similar letter to the Israeli prime minister urging him to disband the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). You will have the accounts of killings by IDF available here. A lot of these victims are innocent civilians and a large portion of them are children, and the number is a lot more than 800.

I am sure you will agree with me that the IDF cannot be reformed. So can we hope that you will also suggest the Israeli prime minister that IDF should be disbanded?

We are eagerly waiting to see when you will write this letter.

One commenter wondered cynically:

মানবধিকারের সংজ্ঞা বোধহয় অঞ্চল ভেদে ভিন্ন হয়।

Perhaps human rights is defined differently in regions of the world.

Distribution of SMS Printers in Cameroon to Reduce Delays in HIV Testing for Newborns

Afrique IT news reports that [fr] a new type of device (SMS printer) is being installed in several HIV testing facilities in Cameroon thanks to the Clinton Foundation and the telecommunication company  MTN :    

La Fondation Clinton et l’opérateur de télécommunication MTN ont établi un partenariat pour lutter contre le diagnostic tardif de l’infection au VIH chez les nouveaux nés. Comprenant une mini-imprinante, ce dispositif mobile sera installé dans 682 centres de prélèvements à travers le pays. Pour sa part la MTN devrait mettre son réseau, ainsi que ses équipements à disposition, pour un meilleur déploiement du service dans les régions trop éloignées qui semblent être les plus touchées. Les nouveau-nés pourront subir des tests pour le VIH dans divers hôpitaux avec l’impression immédiate des résultats en envoyant des tests via la technologie SMS à deux laboratoires spécialisés du pays.

The Clinton Foundation and the telecommunications operator MTN have partnered to fight against the late diagnosis of HIV testing in newborns.  This new mobile device will include a pocket-size printer and will be distributed in 682 testing centers across the country. For its part,  MTN will share its cell network and its facilities for better service deployment in remote areas that have the most urgent needs. Newborns will be tested for HIV in various hospitals, the results of tests will be printed via SMS technology in two of the advanced laboratories in the country to allow the preparation of the treatment.

The Victims of China’s Soil Pollution Crisis

A very in-depth investigation published by ChinaFile on the problem of soil pollution in China.

Why Quality of Internet Service Is Needed in Nepal

Internet penetration in Nepal has increased to 29.78 percent in recent times mainly due to about 8 million mobile Internet users. But the quality of Internet service by the providers, lack of standards and bad customer service makes the user experience so unpleasant that many users feel that their time, money and resources are wasted, according to blogger Shreedeep Rayamajhi from Kathmandu, Nepal.

The situation is so bad that a petition on Change.org has been launched addressing the Nepal Telecommunication authority.

Slow Internet Connectivity Holding Back Online Reporting in Cameroon

In an interview with the online journal Tiptop Stars, Adeline Sede-Kamga, publisher of FabAfrique magazine and organizer of the recent Cameroonian bloggers hangout, assesses the state of online reporting in Cameroon:

I think a lot of people are getting their voices heard online these days. Although there are a few stronger voices out there, some amazing ones have disappeared into thin air. Slow Internet connectivity, is undoubtedly the number one killer of online reporting in Cameroon. We have heard through some unconfirmed source that there would be an introduction of cheaper and faster internet connection in 2015. We hope this project materializes sooner than later. Many companies are looking at shifting or splitting advertising budget to incorporate online platforms as well. That is good news for us. But until this happens, the companies cannot get effective value for money. Also, those in the entertainment world are craving for a better platform to promote themselves. Online reporters are ready to support them but again, Internet connection is the issue. If this is fixed, we can do quite much in promoting not only our country, but the people taking Cameroon to the world stage.

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