Maldives Lifts Moratorium As Death Penalty Declines

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By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) - Since the United Nations General Assembly’s landmark vote in 2007 calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, the trend against capital punishment has become stronger and stronger. An estimated 160 countries have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

While welcoming these developments, UN Secretary-General Ben Ki-moon has deplored the fact that many States still execute people with little regard to due process. “I am also deeply concerned that some States with long-standing de facto moratoriums have suddenly resumed executions, or are considering reintroduction of the death penalty in their legislation,” Ban said at an event organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on April 24.

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UN Consolidating Rule of Law in Haiti

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By J. C. Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW YORK (IDN) - “The objective of every peacekeeping mission is for the national authorities to take over the responsibilities to which the mission makes its contributions,” says Sandra Honoré of Trinidad and Tobago, who is Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission there, known as MINUSTAH, a position she assumed in July 2013.

“The outcome I would like to see in Haiti is one in which the four areas of focus of the Mission in this phase of consolidation is fully taken over by the Government of Haiti, so the Mission can leave with satisfaction that the Government has fully taken up its responsibilities and that security in country is be assured by the National Police with, as I’ve said, at least a minimum of 15,000 agents, putting it into a good situation to keep developing,” Honoré adds.

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Disposable Consumer Goods At High Human Costs

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By Julio Godoy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) - Hundreds of thousands around the world demonstrate for better working conditions and fair wages on the International Labour Day. However, when May 1 is over, many of these demonstrators go back to their daily reckless consumption patterns, which consider practically all consumer goods as disposable, and therefore support international corporations, which exploit workers and poison the environment.

The garment industry is a most illustrative example of the follies of modern-times consumerism: Take Bella, a German girl living near the city of Bremen: Several times each year, Bella makes a shopping spree to a local fashion store and comes back loaded with clothes.

The store Bella regularly visits belongs to Primark, the Ireland-based clothing retailer, which due to its aggressive price policies has become a European leader in the sector. As Primark announces itself, it is “Adored by fashion fans and value seekers alike (and) is widely established as the destination store for keeping up with the latest looks without breaking the bank.”

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Climate Change Action Has A Future

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By e360 digest | Interview with IPCC Chairman

NEW HAVEN (IDN) - This month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report on steps the world can take to avoid the worst impacts of future climate change. The report by the panel’s Working Group III was the final interim report before the IPCC’s major Fifth Assessment Report due to be released in October. Yale Environment 360 asked Rajendra K. Pachauri, who has served as IPCC chairman since 2002, five questions about the latest report and about the prospects that the international community will finally take decisive action to address climate change.

1. The most recent IPCC report suggests that the political will to tackle the climate issue seems to be growing around the world. Can you give some specific examples of that?

There is nothing that I am aware of in the Working Group III report that speaks to the political will to tackle climate change. But I can say that in my personal view I have been encouraged by a growing level of awareness and concern about climate change among senior government officials, including presidents and cabinet ministers, across the globe.

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Towards a Common Intercultural Civilization

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By Hugo Novotny* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint

NEW DELHI (IDN) - The US, Japan and the European Union nations are gradually losing their dominant positions in the world. At the same time, powerful countries like Brazil, India and China do not try to impose their political and cultural values on less developed countries, but rather they intend to base their relations on a mutually beneficial cooperation.

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Aid To Sub-Sahara Expected To Decline

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By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN) - While the trend of rise in international development assistance, which increased by 6.1 percent in real terms in 2013, is expected to continue in 2014 and stabilize thereafter, the declining share of aid for sub-Saharan countries, which need it most, looks likely to continue, according to an annual survey of donor spending plans by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Development aid reached the highest level ever recorded in real terms in 2013 despite continued pressure on budgets in OECD countries since the global economic crisis, says the DAC report. Donors provided a total of USD 134.8 billion in net official development assistance (ODA), marking a rebound after two years of falling volumes, as a number of governments stepped up their spending on foreign aid.

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Strategic Pause in Iran’s Nuke Program Likely

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By Arch Roberts* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

WASHINGTON (IDN | Yale Global) - The new round of talks opened on April 8 marks another step in the race against time to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The powers have given Iran until July 20 to reach comprehensive agreement on denuclearization. But what if Iran believes it has enough nuclear potential and the time has come for a strategic pause in its nuclear program? From a technological standpoint, Iran is in much the same class – in the sense of possessing the technical ability to build nuclear weapons – as Germany, Brazil, Japan, Korea and some 10 other nations. Iran grabbed the golden ring against fierce opposition, with a lot of help from A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, and is hardly likely to relinquish its nuclear gains after investing an estimated $100 billion.

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Hiroshima Meet Falls Short Of Outlawing Nukes

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By Monzurul Huq* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

TOKYO (IDN) - The mere fact that the two-day foreign ministerial meeting of the 12-nation coalition of non-nuclear states took place in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, gives the clue to its symbolic significance. Being the first city in the world to witness the horrors of atomic destruction, Hiroshima, from that very fateful day almost 70 years ago, remains at the forefront of global efforts to learn about the devastating impact weapons of mass destruction can cause and also serves as a reminder of the necessity of eliminating nuclear weapons. That symbolic gesture of holding the meeting in Hiroshima on April 11-12, 2014 received added value as the ministers listened to the stories of atomic bomb survivors before starting their formal discussion.

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Sri Lanka Remains Committed To Reconciliation

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

COLOMBO (IDN) - Rejecting the resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 27 to mount an ‘independent’ international investigation into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapkase said that Sri Lanka would continue with its own reconciliation process that was started after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was defeated in May 2009.

The resolution, which was adopted by 24 votes to 12 with 12 abstentions, has been described by the government as a lop-sided vote where most of those voting for it were Europeans. “The EU votes as a block and the US had more than a dozen votes already in the bag while we started with none,” Rajapakse pointed out in a meeting with foreign media representatives in Colombo.

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Financing Aid in a New Era

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By Jon Lomøy* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

PARIS (IDN | OECD) - By the end of 2015, when the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) come to term, the international community is expected to approve a new sustainable development agenda. All indications are that this will be a unique and universal agenda, focusing on the eradication of extreme poverty, but also addressing broader environmental, economic and social sustainability challenges. Finding the means to finance this broad agenda, and to make that financing work to produce maximum results without duplication or gaps, will be a challenge.

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Cambodian Monk Maps Development Path

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNewsFeature

SIEM REAP (IDN) - Somnieng Hoeurn, deputy abbot of Wat Damnak, one of the largest Buddhist temples in this capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and a popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region, laments that the Khmer Rouge completely destroyed Buddhism in Cambodia. He adds with a grin, “We not only have to build temples but also do a lot of mind building.”

He believes that both the government and the monastic system need each other to help Cambodia – one of the world’s poorest countries – progress. “A Buddhist temple must respond to 21st century demands,” he says.

His life story is as unique as his attempts to rebuild Cambodian Buddhism in which the temple is an integral part of community development.

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