Posts Tagged ‘Trinidad und Tobago’

Österreich: Let’s ban the bombs!

Donnerstag, Dezember 11th, 2014

“Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons

Austria pledges to work for a ban on nuclear weapons
Humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons must initiate treaty process in 2015

December 9, 2014

After 44 states called for a prohibition on nuclear weapons at a conference in Vienna on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, Austria delivered the “Austrian pledge” in which it committed to work to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and pledged “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal”.

“All states committed to nuclear disarmament must join the Austrian pledge to work towards a treaty to ban nuclear weapons”, said Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

“Next year is the 70 year anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that will be a fitting time for negotiations to start on a treaty banning nuclear weapons”, Fihn added.

States that expressed support for a ban treaty at the Vienna Conference include: Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

These announcements were given at a two-day international conference convened in Vienna to examine the consequences of nuclear weapon use, whether intentional or accidental.

Survivors of the nuclear bombings in Japan and of nuclear testing in Australia, Kazakhstan, the Marshall Islands, and the United States, gave powerful testimonies of the horrific effects of nuclear weapons. Their evidence complemented other presentations presenting data and research.

“The consequences of any nuclear weapon use would be devastating, long-lasting, and unacceptable. Governments simply cannot listen to this evidence and hear these human stories without acting”, said Akira Kawasaki, from Japanese NGO Peaceboat. “The only solution is to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons and we need to start now,” Kawasaki added.

For decades, discussions on nuclear weapons have been dominated by the few nuclear-armed states – states that continue to stockpile and maintain over 16,000 warheads. The humanitarian initiative on nuclear weapons has prompted a fundamental change in this conversation, with non-nuclear armed states leading the way in a discussion on the actual effects of the weapons.

Unlike the other weapons of mass destruction – chemical and biological – nuclear weapons are not yet prohibited by an international legal treaty. Discussions in Vienna illustrated that the international community is determined to address this. In a statement to the conference, Pope Francis called for nuclear weapons to be “banned once and for all”.

The host of the previous conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, Mexico, called for the commencement of a diplomatic process, and South Africa said it was considering its role in future meetings.

“Anyone in Vienna can tell that something new is happening on nuclear weapons. We have had three conferences examining their humanitarian impact, and now with the Austrian pledge we have everything we need for a diplomatic process to start”, said Thomas Nash of UK NGO Article 36.”

 

(Quelle: ICAN.)

Global: Die wunderbare Welt des CO2 (Teil 2)

Dienstag, Dezember 4th, 2012

Share of global emissions (% world total 2010)

 

Klima_2.1

(Tabelle aus: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012, S. 17, 18
Download des o. g. Reports hier.)

 

(Quelle: United Nations Environment Programme: The Emissions Gap Report 2012)

Karibik: Weiblicher Sextourismus

Dienstag, Februar 21st, 2012

“Sonne, Strand und Sexarbeit

Dass beim Sextourismus der Tourismus weiblich und der Sex männlich sein kann, zeigt das Beispiel „Karibik“

Von DA-Redaktionskollektiv

Mit der Entwicklung des internationalen Tourismus zum Massenphänomen seit den 90er Jahren fand die globale Verbreitung des Phänomens des klassischen Sextourismus statt.
Tausende Männer und Frauen aus Europa und Nordamerika kommen jedes Jahr in die Karibik, um Sonne, Strände und Sex zu genießen.

Zunehmend reisen besonders Frauen in die Karibik, mit dem Ziel einige Tage in den Armen eines gutaussehenden Mannes zu verbringen. Nach wie vor unterliegt Sextourismus geschlechts-, klassenspezifischen und rassistischen Machtverhältnissen, die in der Kolonialzeit wurzeln. Allerdings geht es beim Sextourismus häufig um mehr, als um kurzfristigen, billigen Sex. Über das Thema sprach die DA mit dem genderpolitischen Aktivisten Svenn Grant aus Trinidad/Tobago.

Jedes Jahr kommen gut 80.000 Frauen aus einer Vielzahl relativ wohlhabender westlicher Länder allein nach Jamaika. Welchen ökonomischen Einfluss hat weiblicher Sex-Tourismus auf die Karibischen Inseln?

Ich habe keine empirischen Daten über weiblichen Sex-Tourismus in der Karibik, weder in Bezug auf die Quantität, noch auf die Preise. Es lohnt sich aber auch ohne Daten auf diese Frage zu antworten. Frauen, die Sexarbeit betreiben, gelten hier als Prostituierte, Huren und leichte Mädchen. Männer gelten als Gigolos, Beach Boys oder Nichtstuer. Diese Begriffe geben männlichen Sexarbeitern einen sozial eher akzeptablen Status. Frauen werden als Teilnehmerinnen an kriminellen Aktivitäten gebrandmarkt, während männliche Sexualität gefeiert wird – oder sie gilt als Wohltätigkeit.

Der Tourismus in der Karibik gilt zumeist als besonders paradiesisch. Touristen können hier mal richtig „rauskommen“ und sich auf die Schönheit der Inseln einlassen. Für viele weibliche Reisende ohne Begleitung macht dieser Reiz, in Verbindung mit den Männern, die die patriarchalen Erwartungen eines unersättlichen Sexualtriebes erfüllen, das Angebot besonders attraktiv. Obwohl ich keinen Zweifel daran habe, dass Frauen zum Sex-Tourismus in der Karibik beitragen, ist es weit bekannt, dass Prostitution „offiziell“ eher weiblich ist.

Die Erfahrung des sexuellen Tausches besteht darin, dass …”

Weiterlesen…

 

(Quelle: Direkte Aktion.)

Anmerkung

Die aktuelle Ausgabe der Zeitschrift “Direkte Aktion”, aus der dieser Aufsatz stammt, kann in unserer Bücherei entliehen werden.

Cuba: Bestnoten für den Waldschutz

Donnerstag, Mai 5th, 2011

“FAO vergibt Bestnoten für Kubas Waldschutz

(Lima, 20. April 2011, noticias aliadas).- Kuba hat in Lateinamerika und der Karibik die meisten als Schutzgebiete ausgewiesenen Wälder. Dies geht aus der Studie „Situation der Wälder in der Welt 2011‟ hervor, die von der UN-Ernährungs- und Landwirtschaftsorganisation FAO vor kurzem veröffentlicht wurde.

Wiederaufforstungsprogramm seit 1990

Die Karibikinsel verfolgt bereits seit 1998 ein Wiederaufforstungsprogramm mit dem es gelungen ist, die Waldfläche der Insel auf 100.000 Hektar zu erhören. Gegenwärtig sind rund 26 Prozent der Landesfläche von Wald bedeckt. Jährlich sollen 57.000 Hektar neu bepflanzt werden, so dass die bewaldeten Flächen der Insel im Jahr 2015 mehr als 29 Prozent betragen wird. Damit ist Kuba eines von zwölf Ländern, die weltweit die meisten Bäume pflanzen.

Nach den Worten von Carlos Alberto Díaz Maza, Direktor des Nationalen Forstamtes und Leiter der Nationalen Kommission für die Wiederaufforstung, stünden 60 Prozent der Wälder unter Schutz, „und dienen dem Erhalt unserer Küsten, unserer Wassereinzugsgebiete und Böden sowie der Naturschutzgebiete‟. Trotzdem man im weltweiten Vergleich gut dastehe, sei es jedoch wichtig, die Wälder weiter zu pflegen und vor Waldbränden zu schützen, so der Experte.

Mehr Schutzgebiete in der Karibik

Die größten Waldflächen in Lateinamerika und der Karibik gibt es laut der FAO-Studie in Kolumbien, Peru und Venezuela, mit 84 Prozent der Gesamtfläche. Trotzdem gingen aufgrund von Verstädterung und landwirtschaftlicher Nutzung in Mittel- und Südamerika große Waldflächen verloren. In der Karibik sind die Waldflächen seit 1990 insgesamt gleich geblieben – was laut FAO auf die Aufforstung in Kuba zurückzuführen ist.

„Die Waldgebiete, die dem Bodenschutz und dem Erhalt von Wasserressourcen dienen, machen sieben Prozent der gesamten Waldgebiete der Region [Lateinamerika und Karibik] aus, während es weltweit acht Prozent sind. Diese Gebiete haben leicht zugenommen zwischen 1990 und 2010 (0,83 Prozent); die Ursache für den Anstieg insgesamt ist die Zunahme von Schutzgebieten in der Karibik auf 64 Prozent. Die Länder mit den größten Anteilen an Wäldern, die Schutzfunktionen dienen, sind Kuba, Chile, Ecuador, Trinidad und Tobago sowie Honduras‟, heißt es in dem Bericht der FAO.”

 

(Quelle: Poonal.)

Kinderrechte aus Sicht von Trinidad und Tobago

Montag, Juni 7th, 2010

“CHILDREN’S RIGHTS – A TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO PERSPECTIVE

Trinidad & Tobago has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as have most of the other countries in the region. Despite its comparative affluence, like most of them, Trinidad & Tobago has a dismal record in ensuring that both the letter and the spirit of the Convention are put into practice.

It is not that attempts have not been made. By the year 2000, legislation had been drafted and passed through both Houses of Parliament in Trinidad & Tobago to satisfy every provision in the Convention, but then the government changed and changed again and again. In the seven intervening years, none of the successive governments have seen it as a priority that  the legislation be proclaimed and put into effect. In March, 2007, election year, the same package of laws, now with various amendments, was once again introduced in Parliament, where it still awaits attention.

In April of 2007, a National Plan of Action for Children was launched by the Ministry of Social Development with much fanfare and a glossy publication in which it was stated that the National Plan of Action Committee (EST. October 2001) ‘became the first national body to be formally charged with , inter alia ‘facilitating and monitoring the implementing of the CRC and ensuring integration of the CRC with national planning and budgeting allocation processes.’

The Report went on to point out four key measures which had been taken to this end in the intervening six years. The first was the establishment of a Disabilities Affairs Unit (in 1999…three years previously) which was not specifically aimed at children, a system called SHARE of distribution of food hampers to the poor, also not specifically aimed at children, the introduction of a Disability Grant that mostly goes to adults and administrative changes to the National Family Services Division of the Ministry…also not specifically targeted at the needs of children.

Indeed, in the intervening years since the Committee was set up, the most significant Government action to help children in T&T was the establishment of the Family Court that specifically deals with family disputes arising out of the care and custody of children. It is , perhaps the most effective and advanced model of its type in Latin America and the Caribbean. That, in itself, is a magnificent achievement, but it is a far cry from the promises made and the needs long expressed, most significantly for the establishment of the Children’s Authority which legislation provided for back in 2000.

In the interim there have been a multitude of news reports that have horrified the nation, of murder and vicious abuse of children under the age of ten. One was a four year-old infant raped and buggered to death by a step father who held her mouth shut so her screams would not be heard. The child, despite having being hospitalized on more than ten occasions in her short life for abuse, had been sent back into the abusive home situation and her death. The establishment of a Children’s Authority was to have prevented cases such as this, but no action or budgetary allocations have been made for its establishment despite almost continuous pleas from NGO’s, CBO’s and other child centered organizations that , themselves, have neither the finances nor the legal authority to set up such a facility.

In 1999, a DNA testing Bill went to Parliament to enable police to produce evidence against people who sexually abused children. One of those, Akiel Chambers, was buggered, strangled and his body thrown into a swimming pool. The Forensic Sciences Laboratory still has his sperm stained underwear, but the refusal of the government to pass the necessary legislation means that his killer, and those of many other children, goes free.

NGO’s established to meet the needs of children have mushroomed in the country as a result of government negligence. The four government sponsored institutional homes for abused and abandoned children and orphans can hold no more. They are over full, under resourced and understaffed. At least twenty-three ersatz children’s homes have sprung up, unlisenced, often poorly run, and, in the absence of legislation,  unsupervised. The people who set up and run these homes simply refuse to allow anyone to investigate conditions under which the children are kept, and as a result, news reports about abuse of the children that find themselves living in some of them appear with a monotonous regularity. Yet, Magistrates and Police continue to send abandoned and abused children to these places since there is nowhere else for them to go, on the general assumption that, as bad as they are, they are better than what the children face in their own homes. In the absence of a Children’s Authority, no one knows for sure.

An Expanded Foster Care Program has been approved, but has not yet been implemented so at the present time, even this option is not available for children in abusive situations.

Free birth certificates in accordance with another CRC provision are now available for all children, although the initial speedy machinery for obtaining them has broken down, and two of some eighty-eight  projected government funded Early Childhood Care and Education Centers have actually been built in the six years since 2000. For a relatively rich country, this is not much to boast about.

NGO’s still fill the gaps with an impressive children’s village, a home for children with HIV/AIDS and one for Street Children, as NGO’s always will. They receive some state support, but are mainly founded and upkept by corporate, religious and private donations .

Children are still being  placed in adult jails in many Caribbean countries, contrary to the Convention. In T&T this is mainly confined to girl children of age sixteen and over when the one institution to which female juvenile law breakers are referred either can’t hold any more inmates since they also take in children removed from their homes as a result of abuse, or cannot deal with the behaviour of the girls in question. Legislation has also been drafted, in 2000, specifically to deal with what will in the future be called Community Residences for Children, but this, as well, awaits, in the package of Children’s Legislation, the attention of a too-busy Parliament.

Unlike Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago does not have a Children’s Ombudsman, and there is no one focal point in the public service’ to monitor the implementation of the CRC’ as was outlined above.

It has been argued that the situation in Trinidad & Tobago is no worse than it is in any other Caribbean territory, and is, indeed better than in many, but that in itself is a lame excuse for the lack of political will that has allowed the failure of implementation of measures agreed upon as urgent and essential by virtually every stakeholder in the country, including the relevant Ministries involved in drawing up the Plan of Action published in April 2007.

As one commentator put it: ‘ Children don’t vote, so their needs come behind those that do.’  One wonders, however, if those that hold the reins of power realize that today’s children will grow up …to become citizens, to become drug-pushers, gang members that steal, rape and murder, to become abusive parents themselves….and to vote.

Diana Mahabir-Wyatt
May 3, 2007
Diana Mahabir-Wyatt
Executive Director
Caribbean Center for Human Rights
Chair
T&T Coalition Against Domestic & Gender Based Violence
1 Robinson Ville
Belmont
Trinidad and Tobago”

(Quelle: IJCHR.)

Karibik: Ein kritischer Blick auf die Menschenrechtssituation

Dienstag, Juni 1st, 2010

“Human Rights NGOs Concerns in the Commonwealth Caribbean

Introduction

All English speaking Caribbean countries were British Colonies and share largely similar histories, similar present day economic, political and social realities and similar legal systems.  Most are now independent though a few (notably the Cayman Islands and Montserrat) remain British administered territories. All share a history of slavery, indentureship, colonialism, multi-ethnic, migrant and mobile populations, and economic struggle. Today almost all share the present day reality of economic underdevelopment (the notable exemptions being Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados). They are mostly parliamentary (Westminster type) democracies, the exception being Guyana that concentrates power in the hands of an Executive President who is not directly elected.

Given the similarities it is not strange that human rights activists and members of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) community across the region share similar concerns.

Political Systems

The constitutions of the independent countries of the Caribbean are all almost identical and based on the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.  All the constitutions concentrate huge amounts of power in the hands of the Prime Ministers (or a President) who are chosen by those members of their party who are elected to Parliament. The concentration of power allows Prime Ministers effective control over Parliament and most critical appointments including those of the Ministers, members of the Service Commissions, the Chief Justices, the Directors of Public Prosecutions and the Attorneys General. This concentration of power, without a strong tradition of independence of the members of Parliament from the executive, has led to an authoritarian, non-consultative style of governance across the region which is of grave concern to the NGO community.

Attitude to Human Rights

NGO’s across the region are proud of the united stance taken by their governments against human rights abuses around the world including the active role played in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. We are however perplexed by the defensive and insular attitudes adopted to human rights problems within our own jurisdictions. This defensive and insular attitude is manifest in the withdrawal of the government of Trinidad and Tobago from the Inter American Court of Human Rights and the failure of other governments, other than that of Barbados, to join the court. It is also manifest in the withdrawal of the government of Jamaica from the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that has denied its citizens the opportunity to use the United Nations mechanisms for the protection of rights. It would appear that the governments of the Caribbean do not fully accept the international nature of the struggle for rights and see any external oversight and questions as a threat to their sovereignty.

Public education about human rights has been limited to the work of NGO’s with little or no support from the governments across the region.

Crime and Violence

Most Caribbean territories have experienced increased rates of violent crime, including rising murder rates, over the last decade.  This is of concern to their populations and to the NGO community across the region. The geographic position of the Caribbean territories has made them prime locations for the transhipment of cocaine between the USA, the UK and Europe and fuelled the national crime rates as well as the influx of guns and drugs which are used locally. The geography of the region and the relatively ineffectual police forces have also allowed for the growth of human trafficking networks and gang networks linked to international organized crime groups. This in turn has fuelled police corruption and rising crime rates locally.

Problems of Policing

To a greater or lesser extent all the police forces in the Caribbean suffer from the ills of unreformed police structures. The failure of attempts at police reform to reduce abuses by the police is of grave concern across the region. These failures are manifest in a myriad of problems ranging from breaches of the rights of juveniles, failure to deal effectively with domestic abuse and abuse of women, failure to follow due process; use of brutality and torture; corruption; bias and discrimination; violence and discrimination against homosexuals; and alleged extra-judicial executions. At a recent conference of human rights NGO’s in the Caribbean these concerns were expressed thus:

Police forces across the region are characterised by high levels of corruption and severe weaknesses, or complete lack of accountability mechanisms.  The timidity and ineffectualness of reform efforts are failing to break corrupt linkages, entrench accountability or produce professionalism in police forces.’

Problems in the Justice System

There is concern across the region that politicization of those institutions created to uphold the law, namely the judiciary, the public prosecutor’s office and the police has resulted in collusion on issues which in turn have led to the erosion of human rights.  While this concern is of greater or lesser importance in different territories, the recent contretemps between the Prime Minister and Chief Justice in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is illustrative and cautionary.

Common across the region are some worrying threats to the Rule of Law including: corruption; mob-violence and killings; and ordinary citizens taking the law into their own hands even to the extent of carrying out extra-judicial killings. The Justice systems are still fairly inaccessible to those who need it most, the poor and disadvantaged. Jamaica’s Justice systems in particular, but also some of the systems in other territories have lengthy delays in the disposal of cases. These delays, of themselves, constitute a threat to the provision of justice.

Also of concern in the region is the severely limited provision of Legal Aid in most territories. Limitations of Legal Aid are particularly acute in small islands where everyone knows everyone else and persons accused of heinous crimes may have severe difficulties getting legal aid representation. There are also problems of getting legal representation in challenges to government authority in small societies.  Attempts to address this issue are currently underway in the NGO community.

The issue of the application of the death penalty is also of grave concern to many NGO’s. The death penalty remains on the books in all the independent territories and attempts to remove it as a punishment have foundered on a lack of political will to confront entrenched societal attitudes that demand the death penalty as a response to rising crime levels.

Discrimination

While the Caribbean is mostly free of the worst forms of discrimination there are specific problems in some territories. Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago particularly grapple with issues of racial tension between persons of Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean heritage.  Belize struggles with the issue of ensuring no discrimination against refugees and migrants from its Spanish-speaking neighbours Honduras and Guatemala.  Belize and Guyana also have a problem with ensuring and enshrining indigenous people’s rights.  Throughout the Caribbean, but more particularly in Jamaica, there is the problem of insufficient legal procedures to safeguard the rights of asylum seekers who come primarily from Haiti and Cuba.

There are also problems of discrimination against, and exploitation of the labour of, foreign (often undocumented) workers who travel between the territories in search of work. They are often paid below minimum wage, over worked and exploited because they fear to complain lest they be deported.

The right to non-discrimination of persons living with HIV/Aids is proving an ongoing challenge that for the most part has been well dealt with by the governments of the region.  Less well handled has been the issue of discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, with Jamaica in particular having a chilling record of mob attacks on gays and tepid (or non existent) government response.

Women’s and Children’s Rights

The region’s governments have done much work on the issues of women’s and children’s rights, however, much work remains to be done to ensure the protection of these vulnerable groups. Many NGO’s across the region work for the promotion and protection of the rights of Women and Children.

Prison Conditions

Prison conditions across the region remain substandard and unacceptable. Overcrowding has become a particular concern given the rising crime rates across the region. In many of the territories of the region attention needs to be paid to the incarceration of juveniles who far too frequently are housed with adult offenders due to lack of suitable juvenile facilities. Also of concern are the lack of proper medical attention available in prisons and the, often horrendous, treatment of the mentally ill in prisons.

Freedom of the Press

The Caribbean has, for the most part, an admirable record of freedom of the press. However, most territories retain fairly draconian libel laws that have been used by some politicians in, what would appear to be, attempts to muzzle the press and suppress embarrassing revelations. Concerns about the use of the economic power of government being used to limit freedom of the press have also surfaced recently with the withdrawal of Government advertising from one newspaper in Guyana that was critical of the governing party. This action has attracted protest from the Inter American Press Association.

Conclusion

The territories of the Caribbean share much, including breath taking natural beauty. Unfortunately they share common problems of abuse of rights which are not always addressed with the will or alacrity which the Caribbean NGO community would wish to see.”

(Quelle: The Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights.)