The Humanitarian Times
February 15, 2000
- HEAVY COUNTRY-WIDE SNOWSTORMS KILL 600,000 LIVESTOCK IN MONGOLIA; the govt. is appealing for disaster aid to protect citizens from hazards of cold & lack of food (UN OCHA).
- NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEEDS & NEGLECT OF ADOLESCENTS IN CRISES: "Untapped Potential: Adolescents Affected by Armed Conflict, A Review of Programs & Policies" by Jane Lowicki (2000, NY: Women's Commission for Refugee Women & Children). It reviews evidence about education, training, livelihood, employment, protection, psycho-social, recruitment into armed forces & initiatives by govts, NGOs & the UN: "Donor govt agencies currently only address adolescent concerns on an ad hoc basis." Similarly, "NGOs have a critical role to play in assisting war-affected adolescents (but), have largely not placed adolescents on their agendas for action." The report's extensive annotated literature review & inclusion of relevant treaties alone recommends it for reading & reference for any humanitarian agency.
- PEACE DEADLINES IMPERFECTLY MET IN N IRELAND, ALGERIA & IN ISRAEL: As a result of failed disarmamentation by the Irish Republic Army, Britain rescinded the home rule (10 weeks old, under a 4 party coalition) for N. Ireland last week. In the Middle East, fighting in S. Lebanon with the Hezbollah, slowed progress in Israeli peace talks with Syria & Palestinians. The Algerian govt. claimed 80% of rebels accepted its amnesty offer, but pockets of armed conflict continue.
- 5 WILDLIFE RESERVES IN DEM. REP OF CONGO TO RECEIVE PROTECTION as World Heritage sites under a new UNESCO Biodiversity & Conflict program funded by the Turner UN Foundation; in addition to animal conservation, the program is also likely to afford protection for the marginalized Mbuti-forest pygmy people.
- INSECURITY COMPELS RELIEF AGENCIES TO WITHDRAW FROM EAST D.R. CONGO; 100,000s are newly displaced from fighting in eastern DROC, notably South Kivu, and in the Ituri region where Hema & Lendu tribes are in conflict. The UN Security Council is preparing plans for a 5,500 troop intl. peacekeeping force to enter the country.
- INTL. PEACEKEEPERS DIS-ARMED AT GUNPOINT IN SIERRA LEONE BY REBELS earlier this month, leading the UN Sec. Council to double the size of the force (from 6 to 11,000) & increase its rules of engagement to include the right to use of arms in self-defense.
- FRIENDS OF LIBERIA PROPOSES LIBERIA REPEAL SEDITION LAW; Liberia's recent Penal Law has been used to imprison peaceful civic leaders who have criticized the govt. FOB is an independent NGO.
- PINOCHET JUDICIAL REVIEW PROLONGED & MEDICAL RECORDS TO BE RELEASED, ruled the British High Court this afternoon.
- CHIAPAS: REPORTS URGE MEXICAN GOVT TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS in camps of persons displaced by fighting between the Zapatista liberation forces and the govt. An Italian missiiion & the head of UN group on indigenous pop (E Daesk) both recommended that the govt reduce military activities in Chiapas.
- HONDURAS & NICARAGUA AGREE TO DE-MILITARIZE DISPUTED BORDER AREAS
-PERU GOVT RESTRICTS PRESS/MEDIA, RESTRICTS OPPOSITION VIEWS & uses public programs to bias voters, found a Carter Center/National Democratic Institute evaluation mission last week.
- UP TO 200,000 BURMESE WOMEN TRAFFICKED TO PAKISTAN via Bangladesh, in sex trade. Many, reportedly, were refugees, fearful of returning to areas in Burma where Rohingyas (Moslems) have been systematically persecuted for decades (Reuters). Also, a new report from Johns Hopkins Univ. documents that HIV/AIDS is spread by heroin traffic along routes of trade between Burma, Laos and Thailand.
- 3-DAY CONFERENCE ON DISASTER IMPACT REDUCTION COINS 'PRO-VENTION' global partnership between govts, companies, NGOs & disaster experts. The World Bank hosted the conf. Feb. 3-5, including a day on credit & savings markets in disaster-affected areas. Case studies demonstrated that reducing risks from disasters is cost effective. See: http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/urban/provention/index.html.
- JULY 2000 CONFERENCE ON INTL CATASTROPHIC EVENTS & MASS EXTINCTIONS largely academic to be held in Vienna Austria; contact: wagganeratlpi.jsc.nasa.gov.
- NEW BOOK: "REFUGEE: RIGHTS & REALITIES, EVOLVING INTL CONCEPTS" edited by Frances Nicholson & Patrick Twomey (1999 Cambridge Univ. Press; 391 pp.), includes 17 scholarly contributions on the evolving definitions & socio-political constructs of 'refugee,' & interpretations of the Refugee Convention. One author, Turk concludes that "UNHCR is not only legally competent & responsible for developing & codifying progressively intl. law & standards in the area of forced displacement, but has also assumed this responsibility from the outset." Other chapters by top scholars Guy Goodwin-Gill, Daniel Warner, & Howard Adelman observe the decline in intl. protection offered refugees. Several chapters chart the evolution of a cooperative EU asylum regime, observing, "the emerging crisis concerning the return of rejected asylum applicants will require a major intl. debate on the basic principles underlying our asylum and immigration policies."
IMPORTANT PERIODICALS ON HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
Each of the following periodicals are commonly read, in hard copy form, by professionals in the field of humanitarian relief:
- "HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS REVIEW": QUARTERLY JOURNAL established 2 years ago & published by Forum Europe in concert with VOICE (the European consortium of 80 NGOs) & the European Commission. Fax: 32 2 736 3216 infoatforum-europe.com. The winter issue, just out, includes articles on Angola, the business of aid & inappropriate medical aid. See: http://www.humanitarian-review.org.
- "JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES": IN-DEPTH, SCHOLARLY ARTICLES published quarterly by Oxford Univ. Press. The latest issue 9 book reviews, 3 feature articles (one on Sri Lanka), & a testimonial to refugee scholar Myron Weiner (MIT) who died last June. http://www.oup.co.uk/refuge.
- "FORCED MIGRATION REVIEW" - A PRACTICAL FORUM FOR EXCHANGE on refugee/IDP issues. Published 3 times a year by Oxford's Refugee Studies Programme in concert with the Norwegian Refugee Council's Global IDP Survey. The new issue is on "Culture & Exile" among displaced communities, including how humanitarian agencies can use art, music, images, theater in psycho-social & related work, with case studies from Thailand, Azerbaijan, Burma, & Tibet. See: http://www.fmreview.org
- "REFUGE": CANADA'S PERIODICAL ON REFUGEES published by York Univ's Centre for Refugee Studies: refugeatyorku.ca.
The new issue is about health care in complex emergecies, & the forthcoming issue will be focused on East Timor.
- "DISASTERS" JOURNAL OF DISASTER STUDIES, POLICY, MANAGEMENT the premier technical journal on lessons of disaster vulnerability & relief; recent issues have examined the Caucasus, Burma, & cyclone warning system. Basil Blackwell Pub, UK: jnlinfoatblackwellpublishers.co.uk
- "MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS": BIWEEKLY NEWSLETTER, FROM INTERACTION (the consortium of American NGOs) mixes news, feature stories, job ads oriented toward US NGO members. The current (Feb 14) issue includes an article on the SPHERE humanitarian/disaster standards. Email: publicationsatinteraction.org.
- ADDITIONAL USEFUL READING:
UNHCR's "Refugees" magazine has been chronicling the world's refugee crises with timely articles & full-color photos for over 15 years & has the largest circulation (200,000+) of the magazines mentioned here: www.unhcr.ch . Similarly, The New Internationalist (Oxford) is the most long-established yet still creative journal about world poverty & marginalized peoples. http://www.newint.org/. Focusing more in-depth on indigenous groups in jeopardy is the quarterly magazine of Cultural Suvival. http://www.cs.org. For a range of disaster issues, see the quarterly journal of the Red Cross Fedtn: "Red Cross, Red Crescent", contact Rrcrcatifrc.org. The European Community Humanitarian Office publishes its quarterly "ECHO News": www.europa.eu.int/comm./echo/en/index_en.html. Its current winter issue highlights the Orissa cyclone, the harsh winter for Chechens & reconstruction in E. Timor.
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