Homicide and acts of personal violence kill more people than wars and are the third-leading cause of death among men aged 15 to 44, according to a new report by the United Nations.
The United Nations has just published its State of the World Population Report 2014, “1.8 Billion Strong: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future.” I always enjoy a good read from the United Nations, and this does not fail to provide much fodder for discussion.
The U.N. is very pro-young people. Youth are capable of great things. Our world needs their intelligence, their spirit, their intelligence, their innovation. The report is full of photos of beautiful and vibrant young people from around the world.
But let’s not get carried away. The U.N. doesn’t love them that much. (more…)
People are not lab rats. Regardless of who they are, where they live, how much money they have or don’t have, people are not to be used for scientific experimentation without their permission. The shameful Tuskegee experiment, the horrific medical experimentation carried out by the Nazis, and the modern eugenics movement all share an underlying principle: there are some people that aren’t quite people at all – not the “kind” we want anyway.
In Kenya, the United Nations has been working to eradicate tetanus. That’s a noble effort. Unfortunately, they seem to have taken it a step further. The Kenya Catholic Doctors Association released a statement this week saying they have found an antigen that can cause miscarriages and sterilization in women and girls. (more…)
Seventy years ago this November, a new word entered the lexicon which would contextualize and put a name to the mass killings of minority groups that had gone on for centuries: genocide.
The Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the word, Raphael Lemkin, used it for the first time in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, published in November 1944. Lemkin had been deeply troubled with mass killing and the lack of legal framework for adjudication of its perpetrators from a young age. He found it appalling that in the name of “state sovereignty” a leader was effectively able to kill his own citizens, without punishment under the law.
Lemkin’s coining of the word was followed by a relentless, single-handed effort to lobby diplomats, heads of states, and then the newly formed United Nations to create a law which would make illegal this recently named crime against humanity. Lemkin’s efforts were eventually rewarded when on December 9, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed into law the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
History reveals many “crimes against humanity” which preceded this development in international law. The current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, notes a few of these in her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
And there are still many other largely unknown genocides that deserve our recognition. One of these will be covered in an upcoming Acton Institute art and lecture event on Thursday, November 6: “The Famine Remembered: Lessons from Ukraine’s Holodomor and Soviet Communism.”
Emma Watson, the lovely British actress best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, is now a Goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. The program she is touting is called HeForShe (yes, I know that sounds like a support group for transgendered folk, but that’s beside the point.) It is, according to the website, a “solidarity movement for gender equality.” Basically, they want men (the “He”) to start supporting women’s (the “She”) equality.
There are certainly many places in the world where women face incredible challenges. Far too many women and girls lack basic access to voting, education, the free ability to travel on their own and to own property. These injustices clearly need to be addressed.
Today marks the 34th anniversary of China’s horrific one-child policy. It is hard to think of any other single policy that has claimed the lives of so many women, both born and unborn, and affected a nation in such a detrimental way. According to Women’s Rights Without Frontiers the Chinese government:
The One Child Policy causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on earth.
The One Child Policy is China’s war on women. Any discussion of women’s rights, or human rights, would be a charade if forced abortion in China is not front and center.
One of the strongest voices in the fight against human trafficking belongs to a survivor. Rani Hong, founder of The Tronie Foundation, has a bright smile and warm eyes. Her placid face does not tell the story of her life, but her words do. She wants her voice to be heard so that others do not have to experience what she did as a child. (Her Twitter handle is @RanisVoice.) In preparation for a campaign called, “Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives,” Hong has four things she’d like everyone to know about child trafficking today.
First, anyone can be a victim. It does not just happen “over there,” in certain neighborhoods, or in large citites. The internet lures vulnerable young people every day; a trafficker develops a relationship with a young person, playing on their dreams and their vulnerabilities. If the young person has a troubled home life, the risk increases, but it’s not just young people living in high-risk situations who fall prey.
Second, the business of human trafficking is doing great. It’s one of the strongest parts of the nation’s and the global economy. (more…)
Today is the first World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, as declared by the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement:
To stop the traffickers, we must sever funding pipelines and seize assets. I urge all countries to ratify and fully implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol on Trafficking in Persons.”
International Justice Mission is one of many organizations that fight human trafficking on a daily basis. They track down both victims and traffickers, with the hope of bringing traffickers to justice and help victims rebuild their lives. The video below tells the story of Suhana, a trafficking victim and the fight for justice.
If you are a parent, imagine your child is missing. You cannot find him or her. Gone. Nothing you can do. If you are not a parent, try to imagine how it must feel to have a loved one, the most loved one, taken from you. It is heart-wrenching. Gut-churning. Evil.
The parents of 219 girls in Nigeria are living this. Their daughters were stolen from them two months ago, and they are still missing. Two months. Just imagine that. Your precious child – gone – a hole in your family, now for 60 days.
Voice of America is reporting that while 57 of the girls who were initially kidnapped by Boko Haram were able to escape, the whereabouts of 219 are still unknown.
The latest figures on the number of missing girls come from a final report released by a government fact-finding committee appointed by [Nigerian] President Goodluck Jonathan.
Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim said Friday that the militants initially took 276 girls, but 57 escaped — either as the trucks drove away or soon after.
Sabo said his committee members met with resistance when they visited Chibok last month to talk to some of the escaped girls. The militants raided a secondary school in Chibok village and forced the students onto trucks.
Today at Ethika Politika, I examine the longstanding claim of the Roman Catholic Church that the universal character of the common good in our present era necessitates a world political authority. The problem, I argue, lies in the tradition’s too closely identifying the good of political communities with the common good.
The recently canonized Pope John XXIII, for example, states that “[p]ublic authority” is “the means of promoting the common good in civil society” (Pacem in Terris, 136, emphasis mine). And Pope Benedict XVI continued the call made by John XXIII for a “world political authority” in Caritas in Veritate, specifically recommending that the U.N. be “vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights” (57, emphasis mine). The problem with the U.N., to the popes, is that it is not powerful enough.
In response, I write,
I would worry about a U.N. or any other global political authority endowed with such great power and means. If nation states have failed to ensure the global common good, as the pope admits, why should we expect a global government to be free from error in this regard? The only difference would be that the mistakes of such politicians would necessarily have global consequences. I like my U.N. nearly ineffective and mostly powerless, thank you very much. If anything, to ensure subsidiarity, the larger the political authority, the less power and means it should have. (more…)
Yesterday, Joe Carter wrote about Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has kidnapped hundreds of girls in Nigeria from the Christian school, and is now threatening to sell them into the sex trafficking trade. Salil Shetty, Secretary General of the human rights organization Amnesty International, is calling upon the Nigerian government to initiate a transparent investigation of the girls’ kidnapping and an immediate release of the girls.
The horrific abduction shows the serious nature of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law being committed by Boko Haram. It is imperative that Nigeria acts swiftly and firmly to secure their safe return – with international support if needed – but the process must also demonstrate a commitment to human dignity, human rights, transparency and accountability. To do this, Nigeria needs the help of all its friends attending the Abuja World Economic Forum.