PERPIGNAN, France (AlertNet) – When the uprising in Syria spiralled into bloody conflict last year, French photojournalist Mani felt the urge to document what was happening, even though wars weren’t his usual subject.
Mani became a professional freelance photographer three years ago, having ditched a career as a primary school teacher. He spent time covering Sufism and transgender communities in South Asia, but always had a soft spot for Syria where he studied Arabic during his university years.
Suhair Atassi was beaten and detained for her involvement in protests at the start of Syria’s uprising, before going into hiding and being smuggled out of the country late last year.
Now an exile living in Paris, the prominent opposition activist is trying to drum up support for humanitarian aid in Syria where the conflict has escalated. News from Syria seems to get bloodier by the day with civilians killed, wounded and uprooted by clashes between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups.
Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui recalls how, at the age of 17, she narrowly missed being shoved under a subway train. This is just one example of the threats and pressures her family faced for their opposition to the country’s then president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted last year in a popular uprising.
During Ben Ali’s 23-year rule, Yahyaoui’s father, one of the North African country’s most distinguished judges, lost his job after sending an open letter to the president decrying corruption and the state of the justice system. Her cousin was arrested for publishing satirical articles about the former leader, and died from the torture he underwent.
LONDON (Reuters) – A lack of transparency over rich countries’ pledges to help poor nations deal with climate change means much of the cash promised is being diverted from development aid commitments, campaigners say.
In the Copenhagen Accord, struck at December’s U.N. climate summit, developed countries agreed to provide poorer nations with “new and additional resources” of about $30 billion by 2012 to help them limit their emissions and adapt to a warmer world.