The Human Impact

Aid workers praise Tunisian generosity to Libya refugees

In early 2011 Tunisians hung a handwritten banner over the main street of the market town of Tataouine reading: “Welcome to our Libyan brothers”.

Their support was just as well, as Libyans pouring across the border soon doubled the town’s population from 40,000 to 80,000.

As we mark World Refugee Day it’s worth asking how many other countries would have shown the same hospitality.

Politicians in the developed world often scaremonger about asylum seekers but it is poorer nations that shoulder around four-fifths of the world’s refugees.

The amazing generosity of Tunisians who opened their homes and hearts to people fleeing last year’s civil war in Libya is revealed in the latest issue of Forced Migration Review (FMR), which looks at displacement following the Arab Spring revolutions.

VIDEO BLOG – ‘Scarlet Road’, the hidden side of sex work

By Maria Caspani

SHEFFIELD, England (TrustLaw) – Can sex work ever be a good thing or even do some good?

Meet Rachel Wotton, a witty, outspoken young woman from Sydney, Australia, where she has been working legally as a sex worker for the past 18 years.

It was her choice, and one she is proud of.

“I realised there was quite a lot of diversity within the sex workers community,” Wotton told TrustLaw during an interview in Sheffield, where she and director Catherine Scott are presenting the documentary in which Wotton stars.

IOM hopes landmark trial will help stem child trafficking from Haiti

When authorities from the Dominican Republic raided several houses in a poor residential neighbourhood last year in the capital city Santo Domingo, they found 44 children crammed in rooms, some sitting on the floor, others huddled under beds, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

After the raid, 22 of the children were identified as victims of child trafficking, and this month two child traffickers received 15-year prison sentences for the smuggling, trafficking and labour exploitation of Haitian children after a historic trial.

It is the first time Haitian traffickers have been jailed in the Dominican Republic for trafficking children, IOM said in a statement.

Human rights group urges access after Papua violence

An international rights group is urging Indonesian authorities to allow foreign media and civil society groups access to its Papua island following violence which has left at least 14 people dead since May.

In a separate incident – perhaps a sign of rising tensions – latest news reports say angry residents in Papua burned cars and shops on Thursday after an independent activist was shot and killed.

Mako Tabuni, deputy of a group pushing for a referendum on Papuan self-determination, was shot dead while resisting arrest, a human rights activist toldReuters. Tabuni had been campaigning for an investigation into the recent spate of shootings which HRW also expressed concern about in its statement.

Foreign “land grabs” risk draining Africa dry, warns report

By Emma Batha

In the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, the power-hungry villain wasn’t seeking to control supplies of gold or oil but another commodity that some argue could one day be far more precious – water.

Not so long ago it would have seemed far-fetched to suggest water might ever be worth more than oil. But as the world population continues to soar, so does the demand for water to make enough food to feed us – it takes about 1,000 litres of water to produce just 1kg of wheat and five to ten times more for 1kg of meat.

The problem of finding all this water is highlighted in an interesting new report which looks at the recent scramble by foreign investors to snap up millions of hectares of land in Africa to grow crops for export.

Man’s world: poll highlights best and worst G20 countries for women

When heads of state from the Group of 20 most industrialised nations gather for their annual summit in Mexico next week, there’ll be four women in the family photograph.

Take a look at national parliaments and corporate boardrooms across much of the G20 and the male-to-female ratio doesn’t get much better – and in some cases it’s a lot worse.

Yes, women’s rights have come far in past decades but the statistics show we still live in a man’s world.

VIDEO BLOG – “Call me Kuchu”: the lives of LGBTI activists in Uganda

SHEFFIELD, (TrustLaw) – Portraing them not as victims but as fighters. “Call Me Kuchu” is a documentary about the combativeness and positiveness of the lgbti community in uganda, and the progress they’re making in a country where being gay is illegal and an anti-homosexuality bill that could sentence hundreds to death is sitting in parliament for the second time, awaiting approval. Directors Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright followed David Kato- who lost his life to the cause- and a group of Ugandan Lgbti activists from the chaotic streets of Kampala to court rooms and drag queen parties, to let the people on the frontline of this struggle speak.” http://www.vimeo.com/43987683

Uganda school children put chill on teacher truancy

A new hard-hitting advocacy video highlights the success of a project at a Uganda primary school where students monitored the attendance rates of their instructors to try and reduce teacher absenteeism.

Uganda has the worst teacher absenteeism rate in the world, according to Anslem Wandega, a program manager at African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), which oversaw the project with funding from the Results for Development Institute (R4D) in Washington, D.C.

Following the success of the monitoring project in Uganda’s Iganga school district, ANPPCAN intends to use the video to persuade other school districts to take up the project, Courtney Heck, a senior program associate in R4D’s Transparency and Accountability Program, said.

SMS could speed repair of faulty hand pumps in Africa

Hand pumps are a lifeline providing drinking water for many communities in remote, rural parts of Africa, but it is thought that around one third are broken at any given time, putting the health of many at risk.

In an effort to reduce the problem, a group of University of Oxford researchers have turned to mobile phone technology, developing data transmitters to automatically send a text message (SMS) alerting local water officials and engineers when the pumps break down.

Fitted inside the pumps, data transmitters measure the movement of the handle, which in turn give an indication of water usage.

Are Colombians willing to give ex-fighters a second chance?

Over the past decade, a stepped-up government military offensive against Colombia’s two main rebel groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) – has prompted growing numbers of guerrilla fighters to desert and lay down their arms.

On average, 10 fighters demobilise every day in Colombia.

Since 2003, nearly 55,000 combatants from illegal armed groups have given up their weapons, including some 30,000 fighters from right-wing paramilitary groups, who disarmed during a peace process with the previous government.

The Colombian government says helping former fighters to return to civilian life is a top priority.

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