By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
BRUSSELS (IDN) - The Italian government has published the names of the occupants of the boat that drowned near Lampedusa on October 3. All those on the list appear to be Eritreans. At the weekend hundreds of bodies were recovered, washed ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The European Union is soul-searching and identifying the problems of its increasingly repressive refugee and asylum policy.
A meeting of Ministers of Home Affairs has been called in Luxemburg to consider a package of measures, in a first response to the Lampedusa tragedy. Observers are pointing out that the effect of the European policy to effectively control the ‘safe routes’, forces the most desperate refugees to take ever bigger risks in their attempt to reach safety.
By Ramesh Jaura | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN | HIROSHIMA (IDN) - “World leaders, high-ranking UN officials, city mayors and representatives of the civil society from around the globe, gathered for a summit at Hiroshima and Nagasaki to mark the seventieth anniversary of the atom bombing of two Japanese cities, declared that nuclear weapons will be outlawed by 2020, and called upon all governments to agree at the earliest on a nuclear weapons convention.”
A press release in August 2015 might read somewhat like this if the momentum building up for ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons continues and Soka Gakkai Internatonal (SGI) President Daisaku Ikeda’s proposal for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in 2015 on the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is translated into action.
By Mirjam van Reisen* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
BRUSSELS (IDN) - The tragic loss of some 300 refugees off Lampedusa on October 3 gives public focus to the harsh and cruel reality facing thousands fleeing insecurity and oppression in the countries of their birth. A boat which traveled from Libya caught fire in close reach of the Italian coast. There were some 500 Eritreans on board, but only 147 were rescued according to media reports.
By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - A new report has highlighted the importance of funds remitted home by migrants, which are now nearly three times the size of official development assistance given by rich developed nations and larger than private debt and portfolio equity flows to developing countries. They exceed the foreign exchange reserves in at least 15 developing countries, and are equivalent to least half of the level of reserves in over 50 developing countries, says the latest issue of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief.
By Luisa Parraguez, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez, Joskua Tadeo*
MEXICO CITY (IDN | Yale Global) - The Latin American blogosphere held its breath when Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plane was forced to land in Vienna in July. As European authorities searched for former U.S. National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden on board, Twitter accounts of South American presidents exploded with resentment.
The continent denounced the United States for extending its hemispheric supremacy to Europe, sputtered words like “colonialism” and “imperialism,” and claimed that the incident violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner called the incident “not only humiliating to a sister nation, but also for the whole South American continent.”
By Murray Hunter* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
BEIJING (IDN - The ritualistic month-long celebration of Merdeka (independence) activities in Malaysia has largely lost its meaning, in part because the history of the roles that different groups played in the road to independence has been rewritten to support the current rulers.
The August 31 celebration, the day that Malaya gained independence from the British, as the major national day seems to exclude the aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians, who on September 16, 1963, joined Malaya and Singapore in a union called Malaysia. Groups like the Communist Party of Malaya, which fought and lost many lives against both the British and Japanese, are almost totally excluded from the nation's Merdeka narrative as well.
This is all occurring in an environment desperately in need of a narrative of inclusiveness.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NEW YORK (IDN) – Seventeen years after the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature, the United Nations has launched a new initiative to expedite its entry into force “at the earliest possible date”.
Foreign ministers and high-level representatives from the 183 Member States of the Treaty have urged the eight remaining States – China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States – to sign and ratify the CTBT, “thus ridding the world once and for all of nuclear test explosions”. Ratification by these eight countries is indispensable for the Treaty coming into force.
To ensure an innovative and focused approach to advance the CTBT’s ratification by the remaining Annex 2 States, a group comprising eminent personalities and internationally recognized experts was launched on September 26, 2013 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Through their expertise, experience and political standing, this Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) will support and complement efforts to promote the Treaty’s entry into force as well as reinvigorating international endeavours to achieve this goal. The Presidents of the Article XIV Conference, the Foreign Minister of Hungary, János Martonyi, and the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Marty Natalegawa, will also be members of the GEM.
By Jayantha Dhanapala* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
KANDY, Sri Lanka (IDN) - The United Nations rose to one of its finest moments when the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2118(2013) on the September 27 addressing the outrageous use of chemical weapons in Syria while setting guidelines for a political solution to the civil war in that country. Great powers can sometimes agree to use diplomacy wisely to save the world from conflict. However the assumption that the Syrian crisis has been solved through a U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons hides the ugly reality of a continuing civil war with daily death tolls adding to a total of about 100,000, a suffering populace and an exodus of refugees now numbering 1.9 million apart from the displaced.
By Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TEHRAN (IDN | Iran Review) -The pace of developments in Iran's foreign policy has been very high during the last week of September 2013. Iran's effort to take the best advantage of the general atmosphere at the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly led the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to put his power and the power of his foreign policy team in the area of bilateral and multilateral relations, especially public diplomacy, to the first test. Many domestic and foreign analysts believe that he has successfully passed that test.
By Ramesh Jaura* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
BERLIN (IDN) - Reputed to be an ardent campaigner for a nuclear weapons free world, ICAN has yet again called upon the powers-that-be to ban all nukes threatening the very survival of planet Earth and entire humankind. The fervent appeal by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons coincided with the UN high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament in New York.
In a statement on September 26, ICAN, a global campaign coalition of more than 300 organizations in 80 countries, asks: “Where Is the 'Global Red Line' for Nuclear Weapons?”