"Running a caliphate is not cheap." - Michael E. Leiter
The morning roll call will be a particularly morbid affair on the first day of school in Gaza this Sunday. Hundreds of students, killed in the recent fighting, will be forever marked absent.
Many students are too badly injured or maimed to attend the first day of school. And thousands of students will need to adjust to sharing schools that escaped damage, because their old school now lies in rubble or remains a shelter for displaced families.
According to the United Nations and Gaza’s Ministry of Education, 228 school buildings were damaged to varying degrees during the latest fighting—143 government schools, 75 schools run by the UN, and 10 private schools – including 26 severely damaged or destroyed.
Priorities right now include clearing school buildings of any leftover explosive remnants from the fighting, and ensuring that displaced families living inside many dozens of schools find suitable alternative shelter. Textbooks and furniture will also need to be quickly replaced.
Gaza’s schools were already overstretched before the fighting, with a shortage of almost 200 schools. Around 90 percent of schools will now be running on a double shift, cutting each student’s school hours to just four hours each day. The school year is already starting three weeks late, and students will have weeks of psycho-social counselling and support before they are ready to study the regular curriculum. These students face tough challenges if they are to catch up with their compatriots in the West Bank in time for competitive exams next year.
Photo: A damaged classroom in the Jabalya girls school in Gaza. At least 10 Israeli munitions hit in and around the school on July 30, 2014, while more than 3,200 people were sheltering there. The attack killed 20 people. © 2014 Anne Paq/Human Rights Watch
When a Somali interpreter from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) approached Idil in July 2013 asking her to “befriend” a Ugandan soldier in exchange for money, she was struggling to survive.
Idil (not her real name) had fled to the capital, Mogadishu, during the 2011 famine and was stuck in a camp for displaced people with little food. The interpreter took her to the main AMISOM base. “He told me that I should do as the soldier said,” she told us. “At first I was scared. He was old enough to be my father. After having sex, he paid me $20.” Idil had sex for money with the soldier for a month before he returned to Uganda.
The African Union deployed soldiers to Mogadishu in 2007 to restore stability at the height of renewed fighting. Those soldiers have often been credited with pushing the Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab out of several towns across south-central Somalia, and protecting the country’s weak central government. Yet, some AMISOM soldiers have also taken advantage of the country’s most vulnerable women and girls.
Idil was one of 21 women Human Rights Watch interviewed who told us they had been sexually exploited or abused by the African Union’s Ugandan or Burundian troops. The AU Commission code of conduct, with which AMISOM troops must comply, not only prohibits sexual abuse such as rape, but also sexual exploitation – taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability, of differential power, or of trust, for sexual purposes.
The weekend news dump from the Obama administration was an immigration two-fer. First came word that the president would not take executive action to change immigration policy before the November congressional elections. Buried under that news was the less splashy but deeply troubling announcement that the administration plans to build a huge immigrant family detention center in Texas. Both spell bad news for immigrants without legal status and their families.
The decision to delay any administrative reform of immigration policy may reflect concern that the Republican Party would use the issue to win control of the Senate. That political calculus may or may not prove correct. But what’s not in doubt is that while the administration delays, tens of thousands of immigrant families with deep roots in the United States may be broken apart and millions more will continue to live in fear of the same fate.
These families – a majority (over 60 percent) have lived in the US for over a decade and over four million have US citizen children – are now on notice that they continue to be at risk, at least until the November elections, maybe even longer. And if they’re broken up via deportation before President Obama provides relief, only a vote by Congress can bring them back together. (The comprehensive reform bill passed by a large majority in the Senate last year would have allowed deportees with close family members in the US to reenter the US and apply for provisional legal status. But that kind of congressional remedy won’t be available anytime soon, in light of a House of Representatives that recently voted to strip away protections even from newly arriving children.)
Meanwhile, in another harsh anti-family move, the Obama administration is continuing a vast expansion of family immigration detention with a new facility in southern Texas, which would house 2,400 people. Prior to June, the US government had fewer than 100 beds dedicated to family detention; with the just-announced center, it will have close to 4,000. This, even as the number of children crossing the border with Mexico continues to decline, and despite a broad recognition and international standards that children should never be held in immigration detention, which can cause them long-term psychological and emotional damage. Even more galling, the administration is working to deny bond to detained immigrant families, arguing that they are “national security” threats.
No wonder the administration chose to release these bits of news on a weekend, to minimize media attention. I guess if there was any time to try to hide shameful anti-family policies, this was it.
Photo: A stroller inside a room in one of the barracks of an immigration detention center at the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FLETC) in Artesia, New Mexico, on June 26, 2014. © 2014 AP Photo
I’m terribly sorry I haven’t been around lately, I’ve been extreeeemely busy.
me having adult conversations
The apparent execution of the freelance journalist James Foley on August 19, 2014 in Syria by the Islamic State would be a war crime if confirmed. Groups detaining journalists should immediately and unconditionally release them.
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS), released a video of Foley’s purported execution. The group announced that it also is holding the US citizen journalist Steven Sotloff and that his fate depends on future US policy measures against the extremist group. Deliberate murder of civilians and hostage taking during an armed conflict are war crimes.
“James went to Syria because of his commitment to exposing the horrors civilians faced since the uprising against the government there,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “He, like the other journalists who are now held prisoner in Syria, courageously risked his life so that the world might know the truth and act to ease the suffering of the Syrian people.”
Foley, a US citizen, had been missing in Syria since November 22, 2012. Despite his family’s persistent efforts, including a global campaign to free their son, very little was known about his situation and whereabouts throughout the period of his abduction, including which group was holding him. In its publicized execution of the journalist, the Islamic State claimed that his killing was in retaliation for US military intervention against the group in Iraq.
Prior to his abduction, Foley worked as an independent journalist in the Middle East for five years. He covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria for the GlobalPost, Agence France-Presse, and other international news agencies. In addition to his journalistic work, Foley had assisted Human Rights Watch with the video documentation of human rights violations. He was also one of the filmmakers who filmed the work of the Human Rights Watch emergency team for the independent documentary “E-Team”.
Photo: James Foley (left) filming in Sirte, Libya on September 29, 2011. © 2011 Getty Images
SIERRA LEONE, Kenema : A girls suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus has her temperature checked at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on August 16, 2014. Kenema hospital estimates that 15 of their staff have died treating ebola patients, at least 12 of them were nurses. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA
Sure, the Ferguson case is very very unfortunate, nobody is covering up the sun barehanded but RT’s overall goal is a bit obvious.
Yes, I have a strong anti-RT sentiment. Why? because I hate every yellow press out there, specially those whose particular work is government funded. Don’t believe me? why is RT governed by what was formerly known as RIA Novosti? a federal agency that operates under the Ministry of Communications? Still don’t believe me? well you’re out of luck, you might want to research yourself or ask Svetlana Mironyuk or Liz Wahl about it, I’m sure one of them knows a thing or two. What that country needs is more journalists like the late Anna Politkovskaya, people who use events to support the truth and free press, not someone else’s agenda.
Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq’s Yazidi ethnic minority during their offensive in the north, Iraq’s human rights minister told Reuters on Sunday.
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the Sunni militants had also buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added.
"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic States have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," Sudani said in a telephone interview, in his first remarks to the media on the issue.
Sinjar is the ancient home of the Yazidis, one of the towns captured by the Sunni militants who view the community as “devil worshipers” and tell them to convert to Islam or face death. (REUTERS)
(Photos by REUTERS/Rodi Said)
Amazing colorized photos from The First World War.
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How does this only have 9 notes
Both government and opposition forces and their allies committed extraordinary acts of cruelty that amount to war crimes in South Sudan since fighting began there in December 2013. In some cases, the actions amounted to potential crimes against humanity.