Where are Africa’s children?

Posted on | september 13, 2012 | No Comments

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, half of all African children do not have a birth certificate, which negatively affects the children both mentally and physically in their sense of safety and well-being. “Could you imagine a child not having an identity, not having an existence written down and so you’re born, you live your life, you die and you never existed in any document,” said Cornelius Williams, Regional Adviser: Child Protection at the UNICEF.  ”It’s like you were never there,” he said (Leadership Nigeria).  Birth registrations were particularly low in countries like Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda, Williams added.

Birth registration is the official recording of a child’s birth, and is both a permanent and official record of their existence. It is a simple concept — a child is born and then at the time and place of their birth a record is made of their name and the name of their parents, sex, along with the date, time and place of birth. However, the implementing registration in Africa is complex and efforts towards universal birth registration remain slow. In sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of all births went unregistered in 2000 alone.
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Political Islam and violence – Islam and peace

Posted on | september 13, 2012 | No Comments

On 9/11/2012, the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy in New York and Washington, the US ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats were killed, apparently by a fanatic Islamic group. Naturally, Obama and top US officials as well as Libyans denounced the savage act of violence and promised stepped up security for all US facilities in Islamic countries. The cause of the violence, which actually extended to Egypt and it will likely continue in other countries, was a fanatic anti-Islam film that insulted the prophet Mohammad and the Muslim faith. The American-Israeli-Jew who made the film had every right to do so, given that freedom of thought in a pluralistic society must be protected.

There is the question of what the US authorities would do under the Patriot Act, if a Muslim made a film that defamed Jesus Christ and Christian Western civilization? This is a question that has been raised in the last two decades, given that there have been burnings of the Koran, vehemently vitriolic speeches, writings, and broadcasts against Islam, using ‘terrorism’ as a thin veil for inciting prejudice and hatred, and a systematic policy of persecution not just by the US, but many of Western counties that violate the human rights of Muslims and where hate crimes take place by individuals and xenophobic groups.
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Corruption in Liberia: The State is not your Friend

Posted on | september 12, 2012 | No Comments

Logo UNDP.gifWhen commenting on an article about corruption in Liberia, a poster on my facebook buddy’s wall alluded that the state is not always a friend as generally viewed, especially in the Western context. Certainly, as reported by the Liberian Daily Observer (see it here; http://www.liberianobserver.com/), recent corruption index research reveals that that the entire state of this West African country is entangled in corruption of all sorts.

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and TRUSTAFRICA, the corruption perception index (CPI) 2012, released last Friday, is the work of a local civil society group, Action for Genuine Democratic Alternatives (AGENDA). This newly launched index aims to assess “public perception about the scope, type and tendency of corruption in the Liberian society” in order to inform policymakers and other stakeholders.
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Civil Society angry at Kenya government’s attempt to develop a Health Act

Posted on | september 12, 2012 | No Comments

A committee in Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation charged with drafting the Heath Bill has come under scathing attack from members of the civil society for being autocratic and failing to take alternative views from the technical people working outside government circles.

At a recent meeting of the CSOs, the groups proposed the amendment to the Bill and called for removal of clauses that seem to create barriers to reproductive health rights of women.

These CSOs were in agreement that it was necessary to have a health law in place to help the realization of the right to health for Kenyans as provided for in the Kenyan Constitution, 2010.

However, they were quick to point out that the health Bill should give direction on how the right to health and the underlying determinants of health will be realized by all Kenyans including the vulnerable and marginalized people.
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Goldcorp on Trial: First Ever People’s Health Tribunal Shows Commonalities Throughout Mesoamerica

Posted on | september 12, 2012 | No Comments

Women prepare food for participants outside the Tribunal, credit: James Rodriguez

“A few years ago, our people, the people you can see around you, we began to realize what was happening,” Maudilia López told the hundreds gathered to attend the first ever People’s Health Tribunal in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala. The event was packed, even as some attendees spilled out of the entrance of the crowded room, others shuffled to find a spot.

The International Peoples’ Health Tribunal (IPHT) took place on the second floor of the parish hall of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, a municipality in Guatemala’s Western Highlands of roughly 60,000 people, a majority of whom are Maya-Mam. San Miguel Ixtahuacán is the main site of the Marlin mine, an open pit gold mine that is one of the most important projects of Canadian gold mining giant Goldcorp Inc.

The gathering, held on July 14-15, was the result of an organizing effort originating from communities affected by the Marlin mine. Also present were people affected by Goldcorp’s Los Filos mine in Mexico and its San Martín mine in Honduras, as well as representatives from throughout Central America (El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama), who provided a regional examination and critique of the resource extraction model and its effects on communities.

“For now, we will ask, before this community, that you will swear to arrive at a conclusion based on what you have heard people say,” López continued, turning her attention to the panel of judges in front of her.
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