Tag Archives: United Nations

The UN must act now to stop the crackdown in Russia

New amendments have been added to the ‘undesirables law’ as Putin looks to intimidate, silence and quash dissent

By Damelya Aitkhozhina  Published 8-2-2022 by openDemocracy

Andrey Pivovarov, former executive director of Open Russia, a pro-democracy movement | Image: Facebook / Andrey Pivovarov

For months, Russian authorities have regularly unleashed repressive announcements on Fridays. 15 July was no different.

That day, a court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Andrey Pivovarov, the former executive director of the now-defunct pro-democracy Open Russia Civic Movement, to four years in prison on charges of leading an ‘undesirable organisation’. Continue reading

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Yemen Truce Extension Applauded Amid Demands That US End Support for Saudi-Led War

“Not only was United States involvement in this brutal war unauthorized to begin with, but it is a crucial point of leverage to ensure that the Saudis and their allies remain at the negotiating table these next two months,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 8-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Yemeni children play in the rubble of buildings destroyed in an air raid. Photo: Peter Biro/flickr/CC

Anti-war campaigners on Tuesday applauded news that the United Nations-brokered truce in Yemen had been extended for another two months and called on U.S. lawmakers to help ensure more permanent peace by passing the Yemen War Powers Resolution.

Both the Saudi-led military coalition, which receives backing from the U.S. government, and the Houthis have been accused of violating the four-month ceasefire, but anti-war groups and civilians report that access to fuel and freedom of movement since the United Nations brokered the truce in April have helped people return to some semblance of normalcy, as reports of civilian casualties have dropped. Continue reading

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It’s getting harder for scientists to collaborate across borders – that’s bad when the world faces global problems like pandemics and climate change

International scientific collaboration has boomed since the end of the 20th century.
Yuichiro Chino/Moment via Getty Images

Tommy Shih, Lund University

The United Nations and many researchers have emphasized the critical role international collaborative science plays in solving global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and pandemics. The rise of non-Western countries as science powers is helping to drive this type of global cooperative research. For example, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed a tuberculosis research network in 2017 and are making significant advancements on basic and applied research into the disease.

However, in the past few years, growing tensions among superpowers, increasing nationalism, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have contributed to nations’ behaving in more distrustful and insular ways overall. One result is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to collaborate with scholars in other nations. Continue reading

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As Biden Mulls Trip to Saudi Arabia, Rights Group Spotlights Death Sentence of Child Defendant

U.N. experts urge the kingdom to release Abdullah al-Howaiti and “abolish the imposition of the death penalty for children for all crimes.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Abdullah al-Howaiti, a Saudi Arabian man sentenced to death, is shown at age 14. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Following reports that U.S. President Joe Biden may visit Saudi Arabia during his trip to the Middle East next month, a human rights group on Monday highlighted global calls to release Abdullah al-Howaiti, a young man twice sentenced to death by the country’s courts.

Reprieve pointed out in a statement that United Nations experts have urged the Saudi government to annul his sentence “because he did not receive a fair trial, as credible reports that he was tortured into making a false confession when he was 14 years old were not investigated.” Continue reading

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In World-Historic First, Microplastics Detected in Human Blood

“We’ve choked this planet with plastic, from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans—and we’ve no idea at all about costs for public health,” said a British lawmaker.

By Kenny Stancil.  Pubished 3-24-2022 by Common Dreams

Microplastics from the Patapsco River are pictured at the laboratory of Dr. Lance Yonkos in the Department of Environmental Science & Technology at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Feb. 6, 2015. Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/flickr/CC

A team of toxicologists found microplastics in nearly 80% of the healthy adult blood samples it analyzed, marking the first time that tiny polymer fragments—measuring less than 5mm in size—have been detected in human blood, The Guardian reported Thursday.

Using techniques that allowed them to detect particles as small as 0.0007mm, the scientists, whose research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environment International, examined blood samples provided by 22 anonymous donors in good health and discovered microplastics in 17 of them. Continue reading

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‘Countdown to Catastrophe’: UN Agencies Warn of Hunger Emergency in ‘Overlooked’ Nation

“Unless we receive substantial new funding immediately, mass starvation and famine will follow,” said the U.N. food program chief of the crisis in Yemen.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 3-14-2022 by Common Dreams

18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili is bed-ridden and unable to eat, surviving on a diet of juice, milk and tea. Screenshot: ABC News

Multiple United Nations agencies on Monday sounded heightened alarm over the food crisis in Yemen, warning of a projected five-fold increase in famine conditions.

Warnings from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program (WFP), and UNICEF came in response to the just-released Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis on Yemen, which lays primary blame for the food crisis on the ongoing conflict. Continue reading

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A wave of grassroots humanitarianism is supporting millions of Ukrainian refugees

Women offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay in Berlin on Mar. 4, 2022.
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University

Along the Poland-Ukraine border, Polish volunteers have been driving Ukrainian refugees to local train stations, or directly to cities like Warsaw.

Other Poles are doing their volunteer work online or at train stations and airports, matching Ukrainian refugees with perhaps the most generous volunteers of all: those who are hosting some of the more than 2 million Ukrainians had fled their beseiged country, in their own homes.

The largest refugee flow in Europe since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s – has elicited an enormous volunteer humanitarian effort in Europe, particularly in Poland, as well as in Germany, Moldova and Romania. Continue reading

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UN Warns Russia’s Attack on Ukraine Could Spike Global Food Prices by 22%

“The global number of undernourished people could increase by eight to 13 million people in 2022 and 2023,” says a new report by FAO, the global food agency.

By Julia Conley   Published 3-11-2022 by Common Dreams

A market in Yemen, 2021. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could mean less bread on the table in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in the Global South where millions already struggle to access sufficient food. Phpto: FAO

With dozens of countries around the world relying heavily on both Ukraine and Russia for food supplies, the United Nations warned Friday, the ongoing war is likely to significantly drive up global food prices and worsen malnourishment in the Global South.

With both Ukraine and Russia’s ability to produce and export food uncertain, a global supply gap “could push up international food and feed prices by 8% to 22% above their already elevated levels,” said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Continue reading

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A letter to the Western Left from Kyiv

The ‘anti-imperialism of idiots’ meant people turned a blind eye to Russia’s actions

By Taras Bilous.  Published 2-26-2022 by openDemocracy

Photo: Shivam Bangwal/Twitter

I am writing these lines in Kyiv while it is under artillery attack.

Until the last minute, I had hoped that Russian troops wouldn’t launch a full-scale invasion. Now, I can only thank those who leaked the information to the US intelligence services.

Yesterday, I spent half the day considering whether I ought to join a territorial defence unit. During the night that followed, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed a full mobilisation order and Russian troops moved in and prepared to encircle Kyiv, which made the decision for me. Continue reading

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Myanmar’s Spring Revolution: a history from below

Women factory workers took to the streets and catalysed a mass movement

By Ko Maung.  Published 12-15-2021 by openDemocracy

Protest in Myanmar against Military Coup Feb. 14,2021. Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye/Wilimedia Commons/CC

A year before the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, striking workers from the Tai Yi shoe factory protested in front of their workplace to demand an increase in their daily wages. To raise their spirits, the workers sang the revolutionary anthem, ‘Thway Thitsar’.

In Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, the mass movement against the 2021 coup, ‘Thway Thitsar’ could be heard all over the country. “The present is critical, brothers and sisters. We must have solidarity.” A regular feature of workers’ protests, the anthem had now become part of the revolutionary movement. I say this not to highlight the song itself, but to call attention to the history of worker organising and struggle in Myanmar – a history that laid the groundwork for the Spring Revolution. Simply put, had workers not previously organised unions inside their factories, the protests that catalysed the Spring Revolution would not have happened. The February 6 protests ignited the anger of people across the country and led to nation-wide protests in the days that followed. Continue reading

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