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The Upstream Journal

A magazine on social justice since 1975

  • The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

    The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

  • Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

    Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

  • More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

    More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

The Upstream Journal

Journal

Working for a better world

How young people can prepare for a life in international development
Finding your way into international justice

Political science undergraduate students like me often choose international development as a part of their studies. With a secondary degree a growing necessity, law school is often seen as the most logical continuation of our field of studies, especially if we are interested in international justice.

But there are other options. A career in international justice may combine political science and development studies in a legal setting, but you don’t necessarily need a law degree.
Two experts I spoke with agreed that that there is more than one path to working in international justice. John Cerone, a professor of law and visiting scholar to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), talked about his decision to get a law degree. Continue Reading

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Journal

New energy strategy may be an improvement, but will it be enough?

The World Bank is preparing a new energy sector strategy that it says will respond to the need to increase energy access for the poor while supporting the shift towards environmentally-sustainable development. To provide large energy supplies, the Bank continues to invest in oil, coal and fossil fuel-powered plants that have large environmental impacts, so its energy strategy is a concern for environmentalist groups.
Environmentalist NGOs note progressive steps in the latest draft, but are concerned with several aspects:
– the lack of clear screening procedures and requirements for projects to promote decentralized and environmentally sustainable projects,
– the lack of a clear definition of “clean energy,”
– the promotion of hydropower without appropriate guidelines.
Continue Reading

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Journal

Charities say lack of CIDA support and delays in funding are damaging international development efforts

25% of organizations say people are suffering and dying as programs scale back or close

Almost half of the 113 organizations that responded to a survey by the Canadian Council for International Cooperation say that delays and accompanying lack of project financing are slowing down or stopping project work in developing countries. 25% of those surveyed say that people are suffering or dying because urgently needed community development and health initiatives are not being provided.

42% say they have to restructure other programs, alter their overall budget, or draw on financial reserves to continue operating.

35% of organizations say funding delays have meant layoffs, delays in hiring, low morale, and employees quitting due to organizational uncertainty because of delays in getting CIDA funding commitments.
Almost 60% of organizations say their projects are being scaled back, shut down, or losing momentum and continuity, and 30% say that their international partners are in limbo while they wait for a decision from CIDA. Continue Reading

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Journal

Shrilanka: the state of emergency is over, but lack of justice and accountability continue

Tharindo

Tharindo, a Sri Lankan national of Tamil descent studying for his PhD at London’s King College, talking about his brother Saman’s death. In May 2009, he says, five State Intelligence Service officers arrived at the home his brother shared with their mother and sister in Colombo. The police report says that Saman jumped from the balcony of the family’s seventh floor apartment in an ill-fated attempt to escape during questioning. Neighbours say they saw police officers take Saman, his hands bound behind his back, out to the balcony and throw him over the railing. Photo: Natasha Skreslet

Claims of extrajudicial executions are not uncommon in Sri Lanka. The Asian Human Rights Commission has referred to a “constitutionally entrenched impunity” which plagues the small island nation just emerging from three decades of civil war.

From 1971 to 2011, Sri Lanka was under a state of emergency almost continually. Emergency regulations can override, amend, or suspend legislation, and permit detention without charge or trial for up to 18 months in a secret location. Human rights advocates say this facilitated human rights abuses like forced disappearances, torture and death in custody. Continue Reading

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  • 2012 / Jan
  • By Timothée Labelle
  • 0
Journal

Des femmes prennent le volant à Riyad

Manal Al Sharaf

Même si l’interdiction de conduire est contestée depuis plus de vingt ans, c’est à l’été 2011, avec Manal Al-Sharif et la campagne Women 2 Drive, que la situation des femmes saoudiennes a attiré l’attention des médias internationaux. Manal Al-Sharif, photo par Abduljalil Alnasser.

Le 22 mai dernier, Manal Al-Sharif, activiste saoudienne reconnue, prend le volant pour vaquer à ses activités quotidiennes. Elle est arrêtée dans les heures qui suivent, mais la vidéo de son court trajet prendra rapidement d’assaut les médias sociaux.

Moins d’un mois plus tard, une quarantaine de femmes roulent dans les rues de Riyad, la capitale. La campagne spontanée Women 2 Drive commençait, le dernier épisode d’une longue lutte pour la reconnaissance des droits des femmes saoudiennes. Bilan d’un combat de longue haleine pour des libertés fondamentales.

Les femmes et la monarchie

À son arrivée au pouvoir en 2005, le roi Abdullah promet d’intégrer les femmes à la vie économique saoudienne. Il prend une série de mesures destinées à reconnaître certains droits aux femmes.

Il nomme Mme Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez ministre de l’Éducation, la première femme à accéder à un poste au cabinet. Il ouvre aussi une université mixte, s’engage à prendre des mesures pour contrer la violence domestique et démarre un dialogue national sur l’égalité des sexes. En septembre dernier, le roi annonçait même que les femmes auraient le droit de voter aux élections régionales de 2015. Les groupes humanitaires demeurent toutefois sceptiques. Continue Reading

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Journal

Fairtrade gold: Ethical, ecological local

Glasfurd&Walker_IMG_7720-bw “A wedding ring is the only ornament meant to be worn everyday for the rest of your life,” says Genevieve Ennis Hume, co-founder of Hume Atelier in Vancouver. Hume Atelier is a custom jewellery studio which sources all of its gold from fair-trade licensed artisanal and small mining communities.

Rings are often symbols of love and commitment, but people who buy and wear them are often unaware of the metal’s source and method of production.

The NGO Fairtrade UK estimates that 100 million people, from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America, directly or indirectly depend on the artisanal and small-community mining sector for their livelihood. It is an industry characterized by poverty, child labour, environmental degradation, wage discrimination, and exploitation. Continue Reading

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Journal

Chaining the mentally ill

A mentally ill boy

A mentally ill boy is held by restraints as a precaution against him turning violent, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

Across the islands of Indonesia, people commonly use iron shackles, wooden stocks and rope to restrain individuals with mental illnesses. This is known as pasung, and includes physical restraints and confinement.

Many nurses and mental health workers chain patients or place patients in seclusion rooms to establish a sense of order in hospitals. Fearing a family member with a mental illness, families use similar practices at home, often in emulation of the professionals in the hospitals.

Such treatment compromises the health of the mentally ill, argues Dr. Soumitra Pathare, a psychiatrist in Pune, India, and expert in human rights law and mental health. He has assisted several countries, including Indonesia, develop mental health policy and law. Continue Reading

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Journal

The Jailing of Afgan Women

Photo: Women going to a community meeting in Bagram, Afghanistan. Courtesy ISAF Public Affairs

Photo: Women going to a community meeting in Bagram, Afghanistan. Courtesy ISAF Public Affairs

Once a woman in Afghanistan has been charged with a crime, she will most likely not see the inside of a courtroom nor attain justice otherwise, but will be thrown in jail, usually for crimes that aren’t directly codified in Afghan law.

After imprisonment, she has little hope of re-integrating into her society and her options are few. Dishonored and ostracized from family and the community, some women seek asylum in an NGO-run shelter. Others die, either as an ‘honour killing’ by her family or by suicide. Some, in extreme desperation, douse themselves in gasoline and set themselves on fire. Continue Reading

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Journal

Kalahari Bushmen fight to return home

Bushman mother and child<br />Photo: Survival International

Bushman mother and child
Photo: Survival International

The lives of the Bushmen of Botswana changed dramatically thirty years ago with the discovery of more than three billion dollars’ worth of diamonds in the Kalahari Desert. Their home, now part of the Kalahari Reserve, is in the middle of the richest diamond producing area in the world.

Authorities began relocating the Bushmen into settlements outside the Central Kalahari, arguing that the Bushmen were depleting the reserve’s natural resources, that their lifestyle was no longer consistent with the developmental objectives of the reserve, and that it was cost-inefficient for the government to provide services to the community. Continue Reading

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  • 2011 / May
  • By Timothée Labelle
  • 3
Journal

La stigmatisation et répression des Montagnards de Vietnam

«Les Montagnards sont victimes d’un nettoyage ethnique. Leur monde est détruit par la mondialisation, la modernisation et les répressions du gouvernement vietnamien» dit Scott Johnson de la Montagnard Foundation Inc.

La nuit du 16 octobre 2007, alors qu’elle y dormait avec ses trois enfants, la maison d’H’Aner a été brûlé par des policiers vietnamiens. Ils avaient appris quelques jours plus tôt que son mari supportait une organisation américaine défendant les droits du peuple montagnard au Vietnam, la  Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI). À ce jour, le sort de la famille d’H’Aner est inconnu de la MFI.  Photo: MFI

La nuit du 16 octobre 2007, alors qu’elle y dormait avec ses trois enfants, la maison d’H’Aner a été brûlé par des policiers vietnamiens. Ils avaient appris quelques jours plus tôt que son mari supportait une organisation américaine défendant les droits du peuple montagnard au Vietnam, la Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI). À ce jour, le sort de la famille d’H’Aner est inconnu de la MFI. Photo: MFI

La répression des Montagnards par les autorités vietnamiennes prend plusieurs formes, visibles et invisibles. Des manifestants pacifiques battus en pleine rue, des prêtres chrétiens montagnards assassinés après avoir refusé de se joindre aux groupes religieux autorisés par le Parti communiste vietnamien (PCV), nombre de prisonniers torturés et des femmes stérilisées de force sont les traces visibles de la répression. Continue Reading

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