31 August 2011

DAWNS Digest Latest Draft

This is the final draft* of the DAWNS Digest before we have our soft launch next Tuesday.  Based on your feedback, we have made further changes to make it easier to read and more informative.  Please continue to share your thoughts and we hope that you will sign up for the official start next week.  By the end of the week I will post more information about where and how to sign up.  Right now, Mark and I present the DAWNS Digest for August 31, 2011.

Top Stories

Libyan Rebels: “The stage is set for a final showdown.”   

The Libyan rebels set a Saturday deadline for Kadhafi loyalists in the last remaining stronghold of Sirtre, a city of 100,000.  Some 10,000 loyalists are said to have fled to Sirtre after Tripoli fell to rebels last week. “The National Transitional Council has been in touch with leaders and tribal elders in the seaside city to avoid more "bloodshed, destruction and damage," chairman Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, said at a news conference, but he added that that "window of opportunity" closes Saturday.” Perhaps most worrisome, journalists are not allowed within fifty miles of the city.  Source: Miami Herald. http://ow.ly/6h7Al  

Kenya Loses Bid to Stop ICC Proceedings

Those responsible for sectarian violence following the disputed election in Kenya in 2007 are one step closer to facing international justice. An appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court in the Hague rejected the Kenyan government’s bid to halt the proceedings against individuals who directed attacks that lead to the deaths of 1,300 people.  This decision has potentially “enormous implications” for the Kenya’s next presidential election in 2012. Two of the suspects, William Ruto, a former education minister, and Uhuru Kenyatta, the current finance minister, are set to run for president next year. Source: Al Jazeera English.  http://ow.ly/6h7go  

Human Rights Watch Blasts International Response to Crisis Facing Women in Haiti IDP Camps   

How bad is the situation for women and girls in post-earthquake Haiti?  Very according to a new Human Rights Watch report.  “‘Nobody Remembers Us’: Failure to Protect Women’s and Girls’ Right to Health and Security in Post-Earthquake Haiti,” is an exhaustive investigation into the state of maternal and reproductive health care for the estimated 300,000 women still living in IDP camps.  Researchers interviewed over 100 women and girls who were pregnant or gave birth in IDP camps and found “serious gaps in access to health care services” and “aid efforts that lack effective mechanisms for monitoring and reporting shortcomings compound the problem.”   Source: Human Rights Watch  http://ow.ly/6gZgs  

Horn of Africa Crisis

UNHCR is concerned by the number of NGOs handing out aid and cash in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.  Officials believe that such actions may cause unintended consequences.  CBC: http://ow.ly/6gYIN

The World Bank is planning to contribute $87 million for long term drought relief in Kenya. Voice of America:  http://ow.ly/6gYlQ  


Cholera is “soaring” the Lake Chad region, reports IRIN. It has killed at least 1,200 people so far this year in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. IRIN:  http://ow.ly/6gZ09  

The United Nations is reviewing the security assessment for the UN compound in Abuja, Nigeria.  A car-bomb killed 23 people and injuring 73 at the site that was believed to be a low-to-medium threat. Bloomberg:  http://ow.ly/6gYH6

50 people have been arrested in Nigeria in connection with Friday’s UN compound bombing. Vanguard: http://ow.ly/6gZrH

Sectarian violence in Jos, Nigeria leaves 13 people killed.  AFP:  http://ow.ly/6gZ9i  

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that the Sudanese Armed Forces continue to bomb civilians living in South Kordofan.  All Africa:  http://ow.ly/6gZ35

Valerie Amos on the crisis in South Kordofan:  “The Government of Sudan has denied permission to international aid agencies to replenish stocks and deploy personnel for six weeks. Essential supplies have been completely depleted in many parts of South Kordofan, leaving many people in a life-threatening situation without any prospect of relief.”  OCHA : http://ow.ly/6gYyt  

27 people are confirmed dead after a landslide struck Bulambuli District, Uganda. Uganda Red Cross:  http://ow.ly/6gZJ2

A violent storm destroyed nearly 50 tents in West Darfur’s Garsila camps on Sunday. Radio Abanga http://ow.ly/6huuZ
After 28 years, a “state of emergency” will be formally lifted by the Sri Lankan government. Voice of America:  http://ow.ly/6gZu5
Typhoon Nanbadol was downgraded to a tropical storm as it struck eastern China on Tuesday. Xinhua:  http://ow.ly/6gZTK

A suicide bomber killed 10 people in Southwest Pakistan this morning as people were leaving from their Eid prayers. Voice of America: http://ow.ly/6huXn
Yemen's defence minister has survived an explosion after his convoy drove over a land mine killing two people and injuring four.  Alert Net: http://ow.ly/6gZXD
Israel is considering providing teargas and stun grenades to West Bank settlers in preparation for next month’s Palestinian protests. Al Jazeera:  http://ow.ly/6h0c9
In Syria, four anti-government demonstrators were killed when protests began shortly after people left prayer in the northern towns of al-Hara and Inkhil. Alert Net:  http://ow.ly/6h0AV
The Americas
The powerful chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the United States introduced legislation that would effectively eliminate American dues payments to the United Nations in favor of a system of voluntary contributions. Bloomberg:  http://ow.ly/6h1YR
Four months after suffering from catastrophic flooding, the Colombian government has implemented only half of is planned prevention programs, says Refugees International. Alternet: http://ow.ly/6h7UY
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is donating an additional $1.4 million. The bulk of the funds are for training engineers to manufacture steel frame houses and other construction training programs.  Voice of America: http://ow.ly/6hulE
Anti-contraception often gets lumped in with pro-life efforts.  Michael Gerson, A former speechwriter for George W Bush,  says that advocates have it backwards and argues that family planning is pro-life. He writes in the Washington Post:

The very words “family planning” light up the limbic centers of American politics. From a distance, it seems like a culture war showdown. Close up, in places such as Bweremana, family planning is undeniably pro-life. When births are spaced more than 24 months apart, both mothers and children are dramatically more likely to survive. Family planning results not only in fewer births, but in fewer at-risk births, including those early and late in a woman’s fertility. When contraceptive prevalence is low, about 70 percent of all births involve serious risk. When prevalence is high, the figure is 35 percent. 
Support for contraception does not imply or require support for abortion. Even in the most stringent Catholic teaching, the prevention of conception is not the moral equivalent of ending a life. And conservative Protestants have little standing to object to contraception, given the fact that they make liberal use of it. According to a 2009 Gallup poll, more than 90 percent of American evangelicals believe that hormonal and barrier methods of contraception are morally acceptable for adults. Children are gifts from God, but this does not require the collection of as many gifts as biologically possible... 
Contraceptives do not solve every problem. But women in Bweremana want access to voluntary family planning for the same reasons as women elsewhere: to avoid high-risk pregnancies, to deliver healthy children and to better care for the children they have. And this is a pro-life cause.

Link: http://ow.ly/6h2ly
Mistakes were made when the millennium development goals were created in 2001.  With the end nearing it is time to start thinking about what targets will be set after 2015 has passed. Alicia Yamin, professor of International Affairs at the New School, shares how to ensure the next round is an improvement on the first.  She writes in the Guardian Development:

The successor goals and targets must consider lessons from the current set of MDGs, which are extremely narrow. They focus on sub-sections of certain social sectors and selective human needs. Greater balance could be achieved by including such challenges as creating decent work, reinforcing social protection, and increasing productivity; addressing climate change and its disparate impacts on the poor; ameliorating risks of global financial and commodity market crises; ensuring fairer trade rules; and, finally, reducing gaping inequalities within and between countries, based on class, gender and ethnicity, among other factors.  
The MDGs are global targets; they must be adapted at the national level to reflect each country's specific capacities, constraints and challenges..."one size fits all" targets make no sense when countries have vastly different starting points. In some, the targets are not ambitious enough, in others, they are unfeasible... One of the principal failures of the MDGs has been a lack of accountability for meeting goals in an equitable, transparent and participatory manner that promotes sustained institutional change. The absence of quantifiable commitments for trade, debt, aid and technology transfer has made it particularly difficult to hold the international community to account...  
[T]he MDGs have not had the strong "ownership" and "buy-in" from civil society and national governments they might have. Nor have they been informed by the experiences of those most directly affected by poverty and the denial of human rights. The initial reactions of many civil society groups to the MDGs were critical. A decade on, many of these groups have converged in broad-based global coalitions and networks to make constructive proposals from different but complementary perspectives, including those of indigenous, environmental, feminist, social justice and human rights movements. As a survey of more than 100 southern civil society groups recently affirmed, "the process of deciding what comes after the MDGs will be as important as the framework itself" (pdf)...  
[C]onsultations will require time, involving local, national, and regional debate. They must involve key stakeholder groups, including national governments, national and international civil society organisations and networks, the private sector, and bilateral and multilateral development agencies. Time is short for this process if it is to be meaningful.
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