The UN are sending Special Rapporteur Prof. Philip Alston to the UK in November to report back on the state of extreme poverty and human rights in this country.
He is asking for public submissions. If you or anyone you know have a story to tell about your experience with issues due to austerity, welfare reforms, etc. check out the article below to see how your voice can be heard.
What won’t please the government, is that he has asked for public submissions to aid him in his investigation. This will make it hard for the Tories to spin as teething issues.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations (UN) system and consists of 47 Member States.
This committee is responsible for cooperation for the promotion and protection of Human Rights.
The UN states its goals include providing “greater prominence to the plight of those living in extreme poverty and to highlight the human rights consequences of the systematic neglect to which they are all too often subjected.”
It is also makes recommendations to the General Assembly for further development of international law in the field of human rights.
The Special Rapporteur
The UN are sending renowned Professor Philip Alston to the UK in November. He has been tasked in to looking into “extreme poverty and human rights” issues that may have arisen due to austerity and welfare reform. He will also investigate how Brexit may further affect poverty levels within the UK.
Philip Alston is an international law scholar and human rights expert. He is a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and co-Chair of the law school’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.
Alston does not directly work for the UN and any argument that he may be biased can immediately be dispelled.
In October 2016, Alston released a scathing report to the UN General Assembly calling the UN’s refusal to accept responsibility for the devastating 2010 Haiti cholera outbreak a “disgrace.”
He went on to say; “The UN’s explicit and unqualified denial of anything other than a moral responsibility is a disgrace. If the United Nations bluntly refuses to hold itself accountable for human rights violations, it makes a mockery of its efforts to hold governments and others to account.”
In my opinion, this shows that Professor Alston really cares about Human Rights and holding those who breach them to account.
The UK November Visit
I am especially (but not exclusively) interested in the following issues for my visit to the UK: austerity; welfare reform, including Universal Credit; the use of new technologies by the govt in the social security system; child poverty; and Brexit. https://t.co/o0Q9ewI2L8 https://t.co/Sazwx31byu
— Philip Alston (@Alston_UNSR) July 26, 2018
Professor Alston will visiting Great Britain and Northern Ireland between the 5th and 16th of November 2018.
His primary focus is to look into the effects that Tory policies have had on poverty levels and human rights in the UK. Argueable the two biggest issues he will look into are austerity and welfare reform.
The government are always giving themselves a pat on the back for their policy decisions. In relation to welfare reform they are currently pushing the misleading statistic that employment is at an all time high.
What they fail to mention is that anyone doing at least one hour or those on zero hour contracts are included in these figures. Therefore we should really take them with the pinch of salt they deserve.
In 2010, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced heavy austerity measures including tax rises and massive spending cuts. He vowed to eliminate the deficit in five years. This did not materialise.
Worse still the UK’s national debt has actually risen. In 2010 the UK’s national debt stood at £1 trillion. By 2017, despite all the cuts to public services and the welfare budget, it had risen to £1.76 trillion. The Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts it will reach £2 trillion by 2022.
It is clear that austerity has not worked. A nearly 40% cut to the welfare budget will clearly have had an affect on poverty levels. If they have less money to spend the government will cut corners to save money. As we know, Universal Credit is not performing well.
The Tory’s flagship welfare reforms such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment have caused unprecedented chaos and hardship. There so much evidence I wasn’t sure were to start.
The National Audit Office (NAO) stated that despite claims by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that Universal Credit would save the taxpayer money, this may never be achieved.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JrF) published a highly critical report in May showing that over 1.5 million people in the UK were destitute in 2017.
The Trussell Trust and Oxford University did a “deepdive study” in areas where Universal Credit was in operation for over twelve-months. They found that foodbank use in these areas rose by 52% compared to the national average of 13%. The DWP as usual claimed that there was no correlation and blamed a “small sample size” for the findings.
When it comes to Personal Independence Payment Professor Alston will already be aware that the High Court found the DWP discriminated against those with disabilities and illness. The Department for Work and Pension (DWP) also lost an earlier case which showed they had discriminated against those with mental health condition. He will see the hardship and utter devastation that the Tories have wreaked on some of the UK’s most vulnerable people.
Dominic Rabb Commons Boris Johnson Burkha Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has already caused outrage over his islamophobic comments
Alston also wants to investigate how Brexit may affect poverty and human rights within the UK after we leave the European Union.
In relation to Human Rights many are certain that these will come under threat from the Tories. Dominic Raab, the new Brexit Secretary has long advocated for the abolition of the Human Rights Act (HRA) and when he was justice minister he attempted to draw up a “Bill of Rights” to replace it.
Boris Johnson who is currently favourite to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister has already caused outrage with his offensive comments about the Niqab and when you consider he’s meeting with far-right people like Steve Bannon, what else will he come up with?
What’s more the government already breaches human rights WITH EU oversight, so what will it be like if and when we leave the EU?
What is certain is one thing. The Tories have lost their one go to excuse; “but Labour.” There is so much evidence from world renowned institutions and individuals that they have no place to hide.
With the general public submitting their own evidence to the UN, this will enable those inspecting the UK to see raw, unfiltered accounts and experiences of those living in poverty and destitution.
I will await Professor Alstons report in anticipation as there is no way that the government will be able to argue away anything this time.
Mr Alston is looking for submissions from individuals and organisations. You don’t need to be known as everyone’s story is just as important as others.
firstname.lastname@example.org is the email should you wish to submit your own pieces to the UN.
They want no more than 2500 words not including annexes such as reports etc.
He is specifically looking for how austerity measures, welfare reforms a d government automation has affected poverty and human rights in the UK.
He also welcomes pieces on how Brexiteer may affect the above.
The closing date is 14th September
With many thanks to: The Daily Politik and Life of a Universal Credit Sufferer for the original posting.
ON THE floor of a nondescript building in Sarajevo, beside the city’s Catholic cathedral, you will find a long, carefully lit corridor. Occupying most of the space on one wall is a large panel.
Impossible to ignore, it pins you to the spot, painfully catching your eye as if it were a magnet dropped in a box of nails. About the length of a bus and around six foot tall, it is covered in neat type, the words roughly the size used in the headlines on the pages of this newspaper. The words are in fact names. They are arranged alphabetically, making it obvious that the same surnames are repeated many, many times.
Their first names are male, and there are 8, 372 listed in all. These men and boys – grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, cousins – all died in and around the town of Srebrenica within a bloody few days of each other in the middle of July 1995.
On that July 11th, while we were getting excited about Drumcree in our own petty sectarian squabble, thousands of miles away on the far side of Europe Serb forces began systematically murdering thousands of Bosnians because they were Muslims.
Hubris meant that the Serb army filmed many of the atrocities they committed in Bosnia for the entertainment of the audience at home – footage later used to help secure convictions for war crimes. The latest of those was delivered this week. On Wednesday Ratko Mladic, the Serb general, was found guilty of genocide by the special United Nations court that has been considering war crimes perpetrated during the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Even before he and his troops rolled into Srebrenica in July 1995, Mladic was known as ‘the butcher of Bosnia’.
What happened next were crimes “among the most heinous known to humankind”, as presiding Judge Alphons Orie put it as he read out the court’s judgement and gave Mladic a life sentence. The survivors of Srebrenica didn’t need anyone to tell them that Mladic was guilty. They knew already, because they were there. They were there when thousands of refugees fled Srebrenica and crammed into an old battery factory at Potocari, a few miles away; it should have been a safe haven, as it was under the control of UN peacekeepers, in the guise of Dutch soldiers. There were there when Mladic threatened to systematically kill all of the Muslim men – a hallmark of genocide – and taunted the peacekeepers.
They were there when the Dutch, hopelessly outnumbered on the ground and lacking support, capitulated and effectively handed them over to Mladic. Chilling eye-witness accounts speak of summary executions and rapes as Serb soldiers picked victims at random from the crowd at Potocari.
It would be crass to draw comparisons too tightly, but there are at least resonances between the Bosnian experience – with its competing views of nationalism, religion and the past – and our own Troubles
A baby had its throat slit because its mother could not stop it crying; children were beheaded; a woman pregnant with twins was cut open and the babies beaten to death. Television footage shows Mladic’s soldiers, disguised as UN peacekeepers, trick groups of fleeing Muslim men into the open and shooting them. Men and boys were loaded on to buses and lorries and brought to execution sites, where they were dumped into mass graves. It is unspeakable and seems otherworldly – until you remember that these horrors happened in Europe, to people like you and me, as recently as 22 years ago.
It would be crass to draw comparisions too tightly, but there are at least resonances between the Bosnian experience – with its competing veiws of nationalism, religion and the past – and our own Troubles. There are post-conflict echoes, too.
Politics hasn’t worked there either, nor is there any agreement on how to deal with legacy issues or victims. We have had a fresh reminder that this week with the spectre of a Troubles amnesty returning to haunt what passess for our own political debate. It goes to the heart of how we consider justice.
Do we take the view of Darko Mladic, who not only denounced the judgement against his father as wrong but also said: “It does not achieve anything….. and will be an obstacle to future normal life in the region.”
In the North of Ireland’s terms, that’s the ‘let sleeping dogs lie, victims and society should move on’ position, the ‘let’s not bother with investigating collusion or atrocities like Loughinisland and Enniskillen’ argument; let’s offer an amnesty, because raking over the coals of the past will just re-ignite old enmities in the future. Would Mladic, a soldier who argued he was following orders, deserve an amnesty?
Or do we follow Munira Subasic, a Remembering Srebrenica ambassador and president of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association. She explained how her world had changed when her son and husband “were taken from me in the most brutal and inhumane way imaginable”. ” I have now waited for over 20 years for the man responsible for their deaths to face justice and I am pleased he has finally been held to account but this verdict will never bring back the thousands of lives he has destroyed.”
An amnesty for Mladic and his cronies just wouldn’t have cut it; her words will resonate with many victims of the Troubles hungry for justice in the circumstances around their own bereavement, life-changing injury or trauma. How we face up to our own troubled past remains just about most vexed question facing our society. Justice demands that we deal with it correctly.
With many thanks to: William Scholes, The Irish News for the origional story.
THE UNITED NATIONS peace envoy to Syria said he could see no swift end to textremelyrutal civil war and urged the international community to increase diplomatic pressure on the regime. ” I’m afraid I do not expect miracles any time soon,” Lakhdar Brahimi said.
But he insisted arming the rebels – a move being contemplated byieen and France – was not the solution. Mr Brahimi said the situation on the ground was ” extremely bad and getting worse all the time “. He said he had no contact with Syrian preident Bashar Assad since the end of December. ” I haven’t seen and I do not see any improvement. Each one of them, I think, still beleives that military victory is possible for their side,” he said. ” And therefore, the intensity of the intensity of the fighting is increasing and exspanding. ” I consider it a given the Syrian parties at present are not capable of solving the problem themselves. ” My hope and also my polite criticism is really to the international community – to the Security Council members, in particular to China and to Russia and the United States.
” I think they should be talking to one another with much, much more urgency and perhapes taking some decisions going to the Security Council and speaking to the parties and to the region in much more forceful terms than they have until now.” London and Paris are facing stiff resistance within the EU to calls for an arms embargo to be lifted to allow weapons to be sent to opposition forces – a move approved in recent days by the Arab League. Mr Brahimi said that was ” not the way ” to end the conflict. ” Pouring more arms to the opposition would bring more arms to the government and that will not solve the problem,” he said. He accepted that conditions for refugees were ” extremely bad ” but said the resources were simply not there to deal with the scale of the humanitarian crisis. The number fleeing the violence is projected to have trebled to three million by the end of the year. ” With all admiration, respect and gratitude for the generosity of the international community, I don’t think the international community is going to be able to provide 1.5 billion dollers every six months for the Syrians,” he said. So it is desperately urgent that some real work is done by everybody to get control over the situation inside Syria and bring this conflict to an end.”
With many thanks to : Irish News.
- Breaking News: Arming Syrian rebels ‘not answer’ (crosbyherald.co.uk)
- Arming Syrian rebels ‘not answer’ (independent.ie)
- Arming Syrian rebels ‘not answer’ (standard.co.uk)
- Arming Syrian rebels ‘not answer’ The United Nations peace envoy to Syria said he could see no swift end to the brutal civil war and urged the international community to increase diplomatic pressure on the regime. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- National News: Arming Syrian rebels ‘not answer’ (coventrytelegraph.net)
As Irish-Americans our mantra now must be the words of Bernadette (Devlin) McAliskey: This Was Supposed To Be Over.
For those who may have missed her recent speech from which these words come, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L71P3rJFoG8
We must join with her when she says: Organize! Educate! Activate!
There are 40+ million US citizens who readily identify themselves as Irish-Americans. Time to get them up and at ’em. It’s an election year. We did it in 1968. We did it in 1972. We did it in 1980. .
And we must do it again because?
This Was Supposed To Be Over
The English Bastards would be much happier knowing they killed both Gerry McGeough and Marian Price in prison.
What other excuse do they have for this blatant disregard for human rights?
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Helen McClafferty
For everyone who disagrees with me on this issue or that:
1- I respect your opinion but I don’t think that you understood the reason why we have a revolution in the first place,, and it is to SAY WHAT WE WANT WITHOUT FEARING ANYONE. WE SHOULD RESPECT EACH OTHER’S OPINION WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT!! I am not defending anyone but whether I want to quote Bush or McCain, i think i am entitled to ! And will continue to speak up and say my opinion even if it is liked or not. We live in the 21 century.
2- Be sure that will not allow anyone to hijack this revolution, even if it was one of the field activists themselves. Syrians are fully aware of this! We are not going to substitute a tyrant with another.
3- The killing did not stop for 14 months so far, and in fact a massacre happened yesterday in Khan Shaykhon. DID YOU HEAR ANYONE SAY ANYTHING? 14 MONTHS AND WE ARE IN OUR SECOND YEAR. SO PLEASE DON’T ATTACK ANYONE FOR SPEAKING WHAT’S ON THEIR MIND.
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : We are all Hamza Alkhateeb
- Military action in Syria only under U.N., says France (thehindu.com)
- Syria’s doctors risk danger to help wounded (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Syrian Regime Ups Ante With Tanks, Artillery (raptureimminent.wordpress.com)
- US Senator John McCain calls for air strikes on Syria (telegraph.co.uk)
- You: Arabs urge UN action amid fears of civil war in Syria (nation.com.pk)
FRESH scenes of the horrific slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria have emerged as violence in the Middle Eastern country spirals out of control.The images show tearful children sobbing over the bloodied bodies of relatives killed in another massacre carried out by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. In the most recent atrocity it was claimed that pro-regime militia killed 12 factory workers on Thursday after forcing them off a bus in the village of Qusair.
Video footage released by Assad’s opponents showed the disfigured bodies of at least a dozen victims who were shot in the head or stomach at close range. It follows the slaughter of more than 100 civilians, including 49 children, in Houla last week. Syria’s most important ally, Russia, has again refused to support moves that could lead to foreign intervention.
Last Thursday, a Syrian goverernment investigation into the killings blamed armed rebel groups seeking to trigger foreign military interventon. The claim was dismissed by US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice, as a ” BLATANT LIE ” !
- UN Condemns Syria, but Russia … (foxnews.com)
- I saw massacre of children, says defecting Syrian air force officer (guardian.co.uk)
- UN: Syria may face prosecution over massacre – Jerusalem Post (jpost.com)
- UN Rights Body Discusses Syrian Slaughter – Voice of America (voanews.com)
- More deadly clashes over Syria erupt in Lebanon (cbc.ca)