2016 review Human rights

From the ‘forgotten to publish’ material, written on March 2017

After 2015 brought court sentences to some human traffickers and Great Britain voted to exit the EU it did not end the traffic.

Police carry out spot checks for human trafficking along roads in West Flanders – ©Kurt Desplenter/BELGA

A court in Leuven heard how a gang organised 61 transports between October of 2014 and January 2015. In Autumn 2015 it sentenced a gang of 11 human traffickers to a total of 31 years in prison, with fines amounting to €942,000. The men were charged with smuggling 157 illegal immigrants and received a fine of €6,000 for each case.

In 2015 the Belgian federal government had again increased the number of places available for refugees who had not yet been processed by the Immigration Office, as the stream of asylum-seekers arriving in Belgium continued unabated, but by July 2016 it looked that the refugees declined and many more where returned to their home country after the increased security checks.

More than 20 years after Johan Leman, a well-known social worker, warned Brussels that Molenbeek would become a hotbed for disgruntlement, Belgium had to face the logistics base for IS terrorists, a place to hide and to arm themselves.

Following the attacks in Paris and Brussels Prime minister Charles Michel presented the federal government’s package of anti-terrorism measures which touch on four areas and more work was done to do a thoroughly search in Molenbeek, known as the Jihadi capital of Europe.

Hate speech and incitements to violence should not be taken lightly, said Michel, and websites carrying such messages will be taken down. Mosques with no official recognition where going to be closed and the training of imams more closely monitored, but by the middle of the year 2016 not so much had changed yet. Those preaching messages of hate and violence can be imprisoned or deported and this got less people preaching hate on the streets and asking to go to Syria to defend the Muslims faith.

Those who travel to Syria and Iraq to fight on the side of radical groups like IS were better followed and some got imprisoned on their return to Belgium. Those who are considered at risk of becoming jihadi fighters could be fitted with an electronic ankle-band to allow their movements to be monitored but this proved to no use really as in France a youngster still could kill a priest after having taken 5 people hostage in church.

A large part of the budget goes to spending on police and the justice system. The first part of 2016 everywhere in the bigger cities everywhere could be seen soldiers and at the Brussels Airport they were everywhere and tents were provided to do a pre-screening before the passengers could come into the airport. Police was also  supplied with number-plate scanners and new technology for phone-tapping and camera surveillance. At last the police could invade houses at any time of the day and had received the power to carry out search warrants around the clock, while the time allowed for a suspect to be detained without being brought before a court was extended from 24 to 72 hours.

Nine municipalities were to receive part of the €568,000 granted to help them tackle the problem of radicalisation among young people and could each appoint an official to co-ordinate the campaign against radicalisation.

Whilst home affairs minister Jan Jambon has announced he has a “global plan” for tackling terrorism, following his promise in the early days of the post-Paris crisis to “clean up Molenbeek” early in 2016 the Privacy Commission has criticised a new database of terrorist suspects and extremists, part of a package of measures agreed by the government two at the beginning of the year. The federal home affairs and justice ministers had asked the commission for advice.

According to the commission, too many services are to be allowed access to the database, with no clear indication of the limits to be applied to each service on what information it is able to consult or add to. The database also overlaps significantly with other existing systems, and no official has been designated as responsible for its overall upkeep, who would be consulted by the commission in the case of disputes.

The commission also criticised the fact that the database is being introduced as an amendment to the law on the police service, which it describes as “very strange”, since the database will be open to not only the police but also the risk analysis office, the state security service, military intelligence, the prosecutors’ offices, the penal establishment, customs, the service for foreigners and the agency charged with tackling money laundering.

The commission concludes by giving a positive advice on the general principle of the database. Bart Tommelein, secretary of state for privacy matters, will review the legislative proposal to see where it can be corrected.

In July there was a debate for suspending the oath of secrecy for social workers. It would be better if they could give signals when they notice some of the people they are helping or paying for are radicalising or active in certain domains which could endanger other citizens.

After the problems several women had at the end of year celebrations, mostly from asylum seekers, Germany and Belgium asked their citizens to report any form of abuse.   Federal home affairs minister Jambon in response to a series of MPs seeking information on the government’s reaction to events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, called on women who have suffered sexual intimidation or violence to come forward and report the offence, to allow the authorities to take effective action.

More than 500 crimes were committed in the city, 40% of them sexual assaults by asylum seekers and other men of foreign descent. The attacks have sparked a wave of debates across Europe as to the cultural situation of the refugee crisis.

“Sexual violence is not acceptable, never was acceptable and never will be,”

said Jambon.

“The equality between men and women is one of our society’s fundamental values, and no one can call that into question.”

The protection of personal integrity will be a priority in the government’s security plan, he told MPs, which means it will be granted increased police personnel and resources. Reporting all offences is important, he said, to allow the extent of the situation to be better evaluated.

“That will allow us to bring that dark number into the light – the only way police services and others involved can take effective action.”

That the public was more alert and took care to protect others was shown at the Sfinks Mixed festival (Boechout) in Summer when 25 asylum seekers were detained by police, after they were alarmed by festival visitors.

In 2016 the European Parliament, having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other UN human rights instruments, having regard to the Geneva Conventions and other legal instruments on international humanitarian law (IHL) and to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court had now to react to the Council conclusions of 10-11 December 2015 on the World Humanitarian Summit preparatory process, and to the Updated European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law.

Since the Yemen uprising providing a wave of pro-democracy protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, unseating leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and leading to sustained unrest in other countries, including Libya, Syria, and Bahrain, instead of bringing a better world to the inhabitants of those countries they got worse conditions than under their dictatorial leaders.

Yemeni President Hadi Before Bilateral Meeting in Saudi Arabia.jpg

Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, Yemeni Field Marshal and politician, President of Yemen since 27 February 2012

The humanitarian situation in Yemen, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition of nine states intervening in the Yemen conflict in support of President Hadi’s internationally recognized government launching a campaign of air strikes on areas controlled or contested by Houthis (or Huthis) and their allies, including Sana’a and Sa’da governorate, having sent ground troops into southern Yemen and having imposed a sea and air blockade, while many coalition attacks were directed at military targets, others were indiscriminate, disproportionate or directed against civilian homes and infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, markets and factories, as well as vehicles carrying civilians and humanitarian assistance, killing and injuring thousands of civilians. By the end of the year 2015, the conflict had caused the deaths of more than 2,700 civilians, including hundreds of children, according to the UN, and the forcible displacement of more than 2.5 million people, creating a humanitarian crisis.

A Zaidi Shia-led religious-political movement that emerged from Sa’dah, northern Yemen in the 1990s and has fought against the government of the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh on and off since 2004 – Houthis – Ansar Allah fighters or “Supporters of God” in Yemen, August 2009

On 14 April, in Resolution 2216, the UN Security Council demanded that Houthis withdraw from Sana’a and other areas and surrender weapons seized from government sources. It also called for all states to prevent arms transfers to former President Saleh and the Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, and pressed all parties to the conflict to abide by previous agreements, including the outcomes of Yemen’s national dialogue and the Peace and National Partnership agreement of September 2014.

In July, forces opposed to the Houthis, supported by ground troops from the United Arab Emirates and coalition air strikes, regained control of Aden. In September, President Hadi’s government partly relocated to Aden from Saudi Arabia.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented more than 70 unlawful coalition airstrikes, some of which may amount to war crimes, that have killed at least 913 civilians and deliberately targeted civilian objects, caused dispro­portionate harm to civilians and civilian objects, or failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives. Mwatana, one of Yemen’s leading human rights organizations, documented 59 airstrikes between March 2015 and April 2016 which they deemed unlawful.

Coalition airstrikes, even with the use of at least seven different types of internationally banned cluster munitions in at least 19 attacks, have repeatedly hit homes, hospitals, markets, civilian factories and schools. An August airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF/AZG) hospital, the fourth during the 18-month long war, prompted MSF to withdraw its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen and declare their

“loss of confidence in the Coalition’s ability to avoid such fatal attacks.”

More than 20 million civilians were in desperate need of humanitarian aid, having a loss in Yemen’s production capacity and shortages of food, medicine and other critical needs of Yemen’s civilians.

Multiple parties to the conflict were also recruiting and deploying child soldiers. The United Nations Secretary-General attributed 72 percent of 762 verified cases of child recruitment to the Houthis.

UN-brokered peace talks took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15 to 20 December, accompanied by a temporary ceasefire, but ended without any significant breakthrough.

US forces continued to carry out drone strikes against the armed group al-Qaeda (al-Qa’ida) in the Arabian Peninsula in central and southeastern Yemen, mainly in the governorates of Marib and Hadramawt.

In the countries where people fought against ISIS often many people had to suffer because they were unlawfully thought to be helping ISIS and therefore got imprisoned, tortured, raped like those who protested against such atrocities. The 20-year-old student Mahmoud Hussein, who spent more than two years detained in Egypt, without trial after being arrested at the age of 18 in 2014 for wearing a “Nation Without Torture” belonged to the lucky ones who could be released  after the governement could not resit the international pressure and the 145,000 people who took action for his release worldwide as part of the Amnesty International Stop Torture campaign.

World Humanitarian Summit WHS logo.pngEntitled ‘One humanity, shared responsibility’ the first World Humanitarian Summit being held in Istanbul on 23-24 May 2016 had the UN Secretary-General drawing attention to what he calls

‘the brazen and brutal erosion of respect for international human rights and humanitarian law’

in armed conflict situations, which threatens to cause a regression to an era of war without limits; whereas the report notes that the failure to demand and promote respect for our shared norms and to support the existing enforcement, monitoring and accountability mechanisms contributes to this erosion.

The Summit convened 9000 participants from 173 countries (or 173 Member States), including 55 Heads of State and Government, hundreds of private sector representatives, and thousands of people from civil society and nongovernmental organizations.

Many NGO’s where attacked and in several countries we could find hospitals and schools under attack destroyed like they were part of military bases though it was proven there not being any military or rebel people. Whereas hospitals and medical personnel are specifically protected under IHL and any intentional attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure is considered a serious violation of IHL none of the fighting parties seemed to have any human feelings for injured and facing distress citizens. Whereas the Rome Statute stresses that intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, or historic monuments, is a war crime, at no site of the fighting parties was there any intention to take this in account. At several places in the world we could see all participating parties being guilty of war crimes and and crimes against humanity.

Whereas, as of 14 March 2016, 52 states, including several but not all EU Member States, having endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration following the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools, held in May 2015 and whereas the Foreign Affairs Council, when adopting the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law, emphasised the importance of dealing effectively with the legacy of serious violations by supporting appropriate accountability mechanisms, and underlined the important role the International Criminal Court (ICC) can play in cases where the state or states in question are unable or unwilling to exercise their jurisdiction; whereas the EU Guidelines commit the ‘appropriate Council working groups’ to monitoring situations where IHL may apply and, in such cases, to recommending action to promote compliance with IHL (paragraph 15(a)); the world had to ascertain that there was no respect at all for human dignity nor for ethic agreements in the years 2015 and 2016.

The European Union Deeply regretted the loss of respect for IHL and expressed its shock and grave concern about the deadly attacks against hospitals and schools that are occurring at an increasingly alarming rate in armed conflicts around the world, with patients, students, medical and teaching staff, humanitarian aid workers and family members becoming targets and victims, while international condemnations rarely lead to independent investigations and genuine accountability. The EU calls on the EU Member States, the EU institutions and the Vice-President / High Representative (VP/HR) to recognise the true extent of this emergency, and to prepare without delay a concrete time-bound action plan to use the influence of the EU and the Member States to its full extent to ensure implementation of preventive measures and to halt such violations and abuses; condemning attacks on hospitals and schools, as prohibited under international law, recognising that such acts may constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and war crimes under the Rome Statute; expresses its conviction that the preservation of health and educational facilities as neutral, protected spaces during armed conflict situations depends on the outcome of transparent, independent and impartial investigations into the brutal attacks that have occurred and on achieving genuine accountability for the crimes committed.

UN-Sicherheitsrat - UN Security Council - New York City - 2014 01 06.jpg

United Nations Security Council

2016 saw the requests that the EU and its Member States put on the agenda of the UN and the UN Security Council the removal of the artificial hierarchy and distinction between international and local staff as regards strengthening protection for all humanitarian workers. There also was an encouragement of the EU and its Member States to fully support the UN Secretary-General’s call for all UN member states to seize the opportunity of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) to recommit to protecting civilians and ensuring the human rights of all by respecting, implementing and promoting the rules that they have already agreed upon; emphasises the importance given by the UN Secretary-General to the strengthening of international investigative and judicial systems, including the ICC, to complement national frameworks, in order to bring an end to impunity for IHL violations.

Today still EU and its Member States have continually to urge the UN Security Council to use all available tools, such as targeted measures, the establishment of fact-finding missions or commissions of inquiry, or judicial mechanisms, such as referrals to the ICC, to refrain from using the veto in Security Council decisions on issues related to humanitarian action and to enhance respect for international law norms which provide for the protection of humanitarian workers, and to ensure that acts which could constitute violations of these norms are systematically investigated and that those suspected of being responsible for such acts are brought to justice.

It is a shame that not enough is done for the legal obligations and condemnation of those who do not impose targeted measures on persistent violators while making sure that the lines between political, military and humanitarian objectives are not blurred in peace negotiations and peacekeeping mandates.

India for 2016 did not yet manage to come away form its bad position, being of the least performers in the world when it comes to realisation of fundamental human rights guarantees to all its citizens, irrespective of their economic, religious and social status. The country performs poorly by comparison to rest of the world democracies, concerning the actualisation of remedies to human rights abuses.

One of the most serious concerns affecting the realisation of adequate and effective remedies to human rights abuses to victims is the enormous delay in adjudications. A litigation to complete in India could take often more than a decade. According to a statement made by the Prime Minister of India in the Lok Sabha in 2010, India has the largest backlog of cases in the world. This situation has not improved, since today, the country has an estimated 30 million cases pending disposal. Of this a substantial number of cases are more than a decade old. An estimated four million cases are pending before the country’s High Courts and the Supreme Court itself has an estimated 65,000 cases pending before it. {India: Remedies to human rights violations a mirage}

Human rights violations affected 22,000 families at Rio Olympics, says report

The Olympics was not celebrated by everybody in Rio Credit: WWW.Childrenwin.Org

The Olympic and Paralympic Games may still get lots of international attention and be loved by many. Though again many lifes where seriously affected in a bad way. There had been “a devastating impact” on communities while human rights “violations” affected 22,000 families in Rio de Janeiro.

According to official data from Terres Des Hommes, 22,000 families were evicted from their homes since Rio was chosen as the host city for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Many were moved to a Government social housing programme – notably Minha Casa and Minha Vida – more than half of which were at one point controlled by militia gangs, according to the report.

Terre des Hommes details “the devastating impact of the 2016 Olympic Games on thousands of children and young people in Rio”.

In a briefing entitled Breaking Record: Child rights violations during Rio 2016 Olympics, violations committed before and during the Games are documented in full.

The evidence, which includes statistics and moving video testimonies, explains a legacy of Olympic evictions, police abuse of children and adolescents living on the streets, which increased leading up to and during the Games, and included severe beatings.

Since Colonel Qaddafi’s death during the upheaval of the 2011 Arab Spring, not only Libya has been racked by instability and violence, further undermining the rule of law and increasing corruption, that hopeful view the “Spring” would bring was shattered into pieces in many countries which followed the example of the Libyan youngsters.

2016 saw the continued violation of any decent human decency in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan, Angola, Libya, Iraq, and Venezuela as the only country in the Americas included among the list’s most corrupt governments.

Several civilians who protested against religious extremism, were gunned down like the social activist Khurram Zaki was.

Again we could witness how the most commonly utilized counter-terrorism tactics, such as extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and political imprisonment are themselves acts of terror which still too many allow to happen.

Political activist Noam Chomsky stated that

“counter-terrorism is terrorism by another name.”

All human beings that name worthy, should raise their voice and must counter counter-terrorism – in order to uphold human rights and give weight, resources, and priority to it.

Military and clandestine agencies unilaterally function from a consequentialist point of view, with a modus operandi that denotes that their goals – professedly productive – be accomplished by any means necessary, even if those means are themselves directly counterproductive. The ends do not justify the means. We cannot justify criminal means to fight crime; we cannot terrorize to fight terrorism. We cannot devalue human life in the name of preserving it. {Fighting Terrorism Without Violating Human Rights}

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Voor onze kleinkinderen: stem die klimaatwet

Als ouder en grootouders kan men het niet nalaten te kijken wat er nu gebeurd dat gevolgen zal hebben voor de toekomst en voor de latere generaties.

De “Grootouders van het Klimaat” schreven aan de voorzitters en fractieleiders van de democratische partijen een open brief om voor de Klimaatwet te stemmen. Het gaat over het wetsvoorstel dat klimaatdoelstellingen formuleert en het klimaatbeleid van de federale en gewestelijke overheden coördineert. Belangrijke instrumenten om een ambitieus en rechtvaardig klimaatbeleid te kunnen voeren.

Geachte voorzitters van de Vlaamse politieke partijen,

Geachte fractievoorzitters in de Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers,

Namens de Grootouders voor het Klimaat juichen wij het interuniversitair initiatief toe van de professoren in de rechten en de grondwetspecialisten, verbonden aan een aantal Belgische universiteiten (Saint-Louis Brussel, Universiteit Gent, UHasselt en UCLouvain), om tot een interfederale “bijzondere wet houdende vaststelling van de globale beleidsdoelstellingen van België en tot coördinatie van het klimaatbeleid van de federale overheid, de gemeenschappen en de gewesten”.

Dit initiatief is een uitvloeisel van de burgerbeweging, die al enkele maanden aan de gang is. Het biedt de mogelijkheid om de basis te leggen voor een sterker, objectiever en democratischer Belgisch klimaatbeleid. Het geeft een kader, dat noodzakelijk is om tot een ambitieus en coherent klimaatplan te komen en dit ook geregeld te evalueren, zoals dat gevraagd wordt vanuit de Europese Unie.

De academici bevestigen dat deze bijzondere wet door het Parlement kan worden gestemd, zelfs in een situatie van lopende zaken. Dit zou een antwoord zijn op de vraag van de vele mensen die de laatste weken op straat zijn gekomen en vragen om een dringende oplossing voor het klimaatprobleem.

Wij willen u vragen om op deze opportuniteit in te gaan en zo snel mogelijk en na overleg met de andere politieke partijen dit voorstel van bijzondere wet in de Kamer in te dienen, te bespreken en erover te stemmen voor de verkiezingen van mei 2019. Uiteraard beseffen wij dat deze wetgeving de parlementaire procedures moet volgen en dat er amendementen zullen volgen, en dat hoort zo. Maar wij hopen dat de ambitieuze doelstellingen en principes en de vernieuwende wegen op het gebied van de burgerparticipatie overeind zullen blijven.

Wij hopen dus dat er door de politieke verantwoordelijken daadwerkelijk en effectief wordt opgetreden en dat de democratische instellingen ten dienste worden gesteld van de klimaatuitdagingen.

In naam van onze kleinkinderen, bedanken wij u om uw verantwoordelijkheid ten aanzien van de komende generaties op te nemen.

Namens de Grootouders voor het Klimaat,

Prof. Dr. Emeritus Bernard Hubeau, Co-voorzitter

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Falsified Medicines Directive comings into full force

Tomorrow the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) 2011/62/EU shall come into full force.

Whereas, FMD requires organisations to capture and share item level serialised data. Businesses, therefore, need to identify datasets, sources and recipients. This will be vital in ensuring future scalability, including the ability to consolidate, aggregate products and data and sharing this information in real time to enable other parties to mass decommission if needed.

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Genitale verminking niet langer een louter Afrikaans probleem

Doordat er onder de volkeren een grotere verschuiving plaats grijpt komen specifieke cultuurproblemen ook in onze contreien voor.

N-VA-vrouwen Assita Kanko en Anneleen Van Bossuyt organiseerden dinsdag een hoorzitting in het Europees Parlement naar aanleiding van de Internationale Dag tegen Vrouwelijke Genitale Verminking. Ze brachten de Europese dimensie van het probleem in kaart, evenals een voorstel voor een Europese aanpak.

Wereldwijd zijn er naar schatting 200 miljoen vrouwen overlevers van deze verminking. Maar

“In België leven 17.000 vrouwen met de gevolgen van genitale verminking. 8.600 meisjes lopen risico verminkt te worden.”

zegt Assita Kanko, die in mei op de tweede plaats op de Europese lijst staat, en zelf een overlever van deze gruwelijke verminking is.

“Het is niet langer een louter Afrikaans probleem. Wij Europeanen mogen hier de ogen niet voor sluiten.”

Graag wil zij de komende vijf jaar daar dan ook een prioriteit van maken in het Europees Parlement.

Anneleen Van Bossuyt en Assita Kanko

Europarlementslid Anneleen Van Bossuyt volgt de problematiek al jaren op vanuit het Europees Parlement. Volgens haar is preventie de belangrijkste stap, namelijk

“zorgen dat meisjes niet langer het slachtoffer worden. Meer dan 90 procent van deze meisjes wordt verminkt voor de leeftijd van 15 jaar. Leerkrachten, sociaal werkers, artsen, grensbeambten en vele anderen kunnen een cruciale rol spelen. Wanneer jonge meisjes tijdens de vakantie afreizen naar het land van herkomst met een groot risico, moeten alarmsignalen afgaan en moet er tijdig een gesprek plaatsvinden met de familie. Het is vaak tijdens die reizen dat slachtoffers gemaakt worden. Omdat verminking ook vaker binnen de EU gebeurt, moet we ook hier de controle opdrijven om dit te voorkomen.”

Volgens Kamerlid en voormalig staatssecretaris voor Gelijke Kansen Zuhal Demir knelt het schoentje vooral bij de handhaving en vervolging. Zij zegt

“We weten dat er besnijders zijn in Brussel en Antwerpen, die thuis besnijdenissen uitvoeren. Maar het is geen prioriteit voor het parket. Preventie is goed en nodig, maar er moet vanuit justitie ook een repressief luik aan zijn.”

“De minister van Justitie moet daar een prioriteit van maken. Ik wil dat op tafel leggen.”

Europarlementslid Van Bossuyt wil meer Europese steun voor de slachtoffers en voor de artsen die de levenskwaliteit van deze vrouwen kunnen verbeteren:

“Ik heb budgettaire voorstellen gedaan om meer onderzoek te doen, ook medisch. Als beleidsmaker mogen we niet blind blijven. We moeten meisjes en vrouwen beschermen. In de EU hebben we de mensen en de middelen om de gevolgen van de verminking te beperken, laten we die dan ook gebruiken.”

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Vanuit het jongerenkamp burgerinitiatief voor het klimaat

De voorgaande jaren kregen wij de indruk dat de jeugd niet erg geïnteresseerd was in wat er rond hen gebeurde. Men leek toe te kijken op een heel verwende verspillende generatie. Maar eindelijk kwam er wat schot in een zaak die iedereen moet roeren.

De minister van Natuur en Omgeving Joke Schauvliege kwam van de schrik zelfs te vertellen dat er een georganiseerde bende zou achter zitten en die jongeren van 16 jaar en jongere zou aansturen.

Op de nieuwjaarstoespraak voor het Algemeen Boeren Syndicaat (ABS), een organisatie die de belangen van de landbouwers verdedigt vond de minister het nodig om te laten blijken dat er een opgezette wraakactie zou zijn ten gevolge van de reactie op Vlaams oud-minister van Leefmilieu Vera Dua (Agalev/Groen) in mei 2003. De CD&V-minister zei dat de klimaatbetogingen wel eens doorgestoken kaart zouden kunnen zijn. Immers, bij het begin van deze legislatuur zouden natuurbewegingen haar hebben bedreigd met een ‘offensief’.

Haar uitschuiver en leugens brachten haar tot een ontslagname, terwijl de jongeren wel vreemd mochten opkijken dat een volwassene zo ver zou komen te denken dat zij door hogere organen zouden gebruikt zijn.

Het gezicht van de klimaatspijbelaars, Anuna De Wever, betreurt de uitspraken via Radio 1.

 “Heel vreemd dat een minister over zoiets kan liegen, waarvan ik zelf weet dat het niet waar is”,

aldus de 17-jarige die vorige maand nog door het rechtsnationalistische Vlaams Belang onder vuur werd genomen wegens logistieke ondersteuning aan de ‘bosbrossers’ vanwege de socialistische ABVV-vakbond.

In januari was Mevr. Schauvliege nog dankbaar omdat de spijbelaars het draagvlak vergroten voor klimaatmaatregelen.

Voor haar ontslag zei de minister nog:

“Ik ben ook heel blij dat de jonge generatie zelf verantwoordelijkheid wil dragen”

“Het succes van het klimaatbeleid hangt niet alleen af van het beleid dat van bovenaf gevoerd wordt. We moeten ervoor zorgen dat iedereen beseft dat we met z’n allen het verschil kunnen maken. Het beleid, maar ook de burgers. We moeten dit echt als hefboom gebruiken.”

Al drie marsen op rij konden wij zien, waarbij jongeren duidelijk lieten merken te weten waarover het ging en om ook zelf te willen werken aan de lagere eco-voetafdruk.

Vlaanderen streeft met zijn klimaatplan de huidige Europese doelstelling na van 40 procent minder uitstoot tegen 2030. Maar er wordt nog veel te weinig gedaan en niemand durft politieke moed te vertonen om dit op zijn minst waar te maken of om nog beter te doen. Die doelstelling volstaat namelijk niet om onder de grens van 1,5 graad opwarming te blijven.

Gelukkig is er nu een burgerinitiatief, vanuit een brede groepering van burgers, ondernemers, middenveldorganisaties , media en universiteiten en hogescholen, waarbij wordt opgeroepen om de ogen eindelijk eens te gaan open doen en in te zien dat de klimaatopwarming is vandaag al een feit. De aarde is nu al één graad warmer. De opwarming gaat ook almaar sneller. En de gevolgen zijn er. Orkanen nemen wereldwijd in intensiteit toe. California of Portugal krijgen te maken met dodelijke bosbranden. Italië met overstromingen. Dat soort extremen is van alle tijden maar komen steeds vaker voor door de klimaatopwarming.

De jongeren die nu op straat zijn gekomen waren daar niet om lekker een dagje vrij van school te hebben. De meerderheid leek werkelijk gemotiveerd. De volwassenen moeten ook weten dat uit die groep onze toekomende ministers zullen op staan. Zij zijn de toekomst van dit land en ook al zullen zij de gevolgen van onze generatie moeten dragen, zullen zij ook de nodige maatregelen moeten treffen om het niet verder om zeep te laten gaan.

Het is nog Niet Te Laat

We zijn vandaag op weg naar een opwarming van meer dan 3 graden. Alleen als de wereldwijde uitstoot van broeikasgassen vanaf nu snel daalt, is een opwarming ruim onder de 2 graden nog haalbaar.

Daarom moeten de volgende regeringen nu in actie schieten om de kansen op een leefbaar klimaat niet te verspelen. Dat is ook zo afgesproken in het klimaatakkoord van Parijs. Daarmee verbindt België zich ertoe te doen wat nodig is om de opwarming ruim onder de twee graden te houden en te streven naar 1,5 graad.

Teken voor het klimaat en teken voor onze toekomst !

Stuur onze politici een sterk signaal en vraag de volgende regering nu echt werk te maken van het klimaat en de toekomst van alle mensen in België.

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2016 economics

From the box of unpublished material

In 2016 Greece itself made little progress with politically difficult measures to overhaul its public finances, the country remains mired in crisis and in debt. At the heart of it all, from the IMF’s perspective, are concerns that the fund yielded to political pressure from European governments.

This prompted the inspectors to demand sharper protections against political interference in technical analysis by the fund. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said no, but critics see plenty to bolster their conviction that the fund’s strategy in Europe was different to its engagements in emerging markets.

In the Summer of 2016 Stress test results for Europe’s top banks came out and all eyes were on Italy’s embattled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) — the world’s oldest bank, who failed already the 2014 stress tests and had to carry out two capital increases for a total of 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) but whose stock had fallen 84 percent over one year period.

But scandal-hit German lender Deutsche Bank was also the one looked at when the London-based European Banking Authority released its results. Following a series of scandals, difficulties for its investment bank in a low interest rate environment and the impact of a tough restructuring plan — investors are wary about the banking giant. It does, however, retain solid core capital ratios and — thanks to the support of the ECB — it should not lack liquidity in the short-term. Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan, when he he presented its second quarter results, said the bank’s financial status were “unjustified.

The EBA published stress test results in 2011 and 2014 (when 24 failed and had to boost capital) to measure the potential effect of an economic shock — but this time it was not saying whether the institution concerned has passed or failed.

“In 2016, no pass fail threshold has been included as the objective is to use the stress test as a supervisory tool,”

the authority said.

The weak economic environment persisting the banks needed to be yet more ambitious in the timing and intensity of their restructuring.

Spanish bankers enjoyed a tranquil summer having credit flowing easily through the system once again after years where households and small businesses struggled.

In August bank’s shortfall in purchasing bonds reflected the lure of long-dated debt in hedging liabilities, whilst Triple record for US stocks gave Asia bourses a lift, with a record close for all three US benchmarks outweighs batch of soft China data and Wall Street hitting records as oil surged.

In several West European countries were talks about introducing negative interest rates. Bavarian lender passed on costs of ECB policy to individuals and charged negative rates on large deposits.

The European Central Bank (ECB) argued that it may be forced to bolster its monetary stimulus programmes if governments fail to act to boost their economies, board member Benoit Coeure said in August

In September Vera Jourova, the European commissioner for justice, was launching a campaign to make sure that national regulators pursued Volkswagen over the “dieselgate” scandal.

Antonio Tajani and Janez Potocnik, who served, respectively, as the commissioners for industry and environment from 2010 to 2014, appeared before a European parliament committee investigating who knew what and when on dieselgate.

Both men were grilled on why the commission did not react more energetically to evidence that diesel cars were smashing through legal limits for emissions of dangerous nitrous oxides. Failure to get to grips with that broad problem, it is argued, meant that consumers were misled and that the VW cheating went unseen.

MEPs orchestrated the theatre of having Mr Potocnik appear at the same time precisely because he warned his then colleague, vigorously, of the need to get to the bottom of the problem. The two men even exchanged letters on the issue, something that was revealed by the FT last year.

In the event, it was former environment commissioner who cut the more contrite figure, saying that, “with hindsight, even if it was not part of my responsibilities one could argue that I should have been more determined.”

My Tajani, by contrast, was bullish. Europe was in the “vanguard” when it came to tougher car rules, he insisted.

While MEPs go over the past, other efforts to repair EU car regulation in the wake of dieselgate are in a slower gear. Major proposals made by the EU commission in January that would hand Brussels powers to oversee car testing are moving sluggishly through Council and Parliament.

Working out what went wrong is still no substitute for redressing the harm done to consumers – and making sure this kind of scandal never happens again.

In September at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in China, the G20 leaders needed to change domestic rhetoric as well as policies, whilst the tide of globalisation was clearly starting to change and one could see a steady rise in protectionist measures.

Trump killing the TPP, Canberra had to seek new allies.

In November the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy called for a two-speed Europe – split between the eurozone and the rest – and giving the UK option of (re)joining a reformed EU. Sarko’s new EU would feature: an EU treasury and a European monetary fund for the eurozone and pared-down EU for the rest, with looser competition rules, a focus on trade and a five year wait for anyone claiming benefits.

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Global watershortages and Worsening food security conditions

In December 2015 was warned by many that global warming will create catastrophic water shortages shortly but also that several countries would have to face more floodings.

In his first address on the global stage of the General Assembly, Spetember 2017, United States’ President Donald Trump touted an “America First” approach at the very institution that is meant to inspire collaboration between nations and gave a clear sign he was not interested at all in protecting nature, water supplies or clean air. Though during his 45-minute speech, President Trump praised national sovereignty, referencing the concept a whopping 21 times.

“Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens — to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values,” he told world leaders.

Then we could question him if clean and healthy air was not important for his people. And would clean water not be important for the safety of the American people?

In 2017 exacerbated by climate-related shocks, increasing conflicts have been a key driver of severe food crisis and recently re-emerged famines, and at several islands seawater came higher into the land making the ground salty and unbarren, making people to leave their land to better pastures. Ecological immigration by 2030 will be challenging – achieving it will require renewed efforts through new ways of working.
Worsening food security conditions have been observed in places where economic slowdown has drained foreign exchange and fiscal revenues, affecting both food availability through reduced import capacity and food access through reduced fiscal space to protect poor households against rising domestic food prices.

Some of the highest proportions of food-insecure and malnourished children are found in countries affected by conflict, a situation that is even more alarming in countries characterised by prolonged conflicts and fragile institutions.

Ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition is an ambitious goal, but it is one which could be reached if governments are willing to take care of ecological and political miserable or wrong situations and would be willing to strengthen our common efforts and work to tackle the underlying causes that leave so many people food-insecure, jeopardizing their lives, futures, and the futures of their societies.

The American President does not want to know about global warming but close to his door the average annual temperature has increased by 0.9 degrees Celsius since the middle of the last century in Cuba.
At the same time, great variability has been observed in storm activity and, since 2001, this Caribbean island nation has suffered the impact of 10 intense hurricanes, “unprecedented in history.”

Since 1960 rainfall patterns have changed and droughts have increased significantly, and the average sea level has risen by 6.77 centimetres to date. Coastal flooding caused by the rise of the sea level and strong waves represent the greatest danger to the natural heritage and buildings along the coast.

Future projections indicate that the average sea level rise could reach 27 centimetres by 2050 and 85 centimetres by 2100, causing the gradual loss of the country’s surface area in low-lying coastal areas, as well as the salinisation of underground aquifers.

We can not ignore that it  is not only Cuba’s climate that is becoming warmer and more extreme.

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Taking care of the drinkable water

Last year in Belgium there was a shortage of water at many places. Many countries could really feel that the world is changing and that it is high time human beings take action. Though still there are certain politicians who prefer to have the economy go in the first place no matter the consequences for next generations. Though ordinary people could see that

Storms, Floods, and Droughts:
The cycle that transports water around the Earth is intensifying

Water is becoming a private privilege rather than a community resource. It is also one of the world’s most precious resources. As vital to the survival of the human species as the air that we breathe.

Each year, in industrial and rich countries more people gain access to clean water, but at the same time other countries in the Africa and Asia are facing severe water shortages, In India for example with 600 million people affected by a variety of challenges including falling groundwater levels, drought, demand from agriculture and industry, and poor water resource management; all of which are likely to intensify as the impacts of climate change take hold.

From the unpublished articles, I wrote in 2012 November 11:

There is enough water in the oceans, but I think you would not like to drink it. Too salty.

“Over the last 50 years, in general, the salty regions of the ocean are getting saltier, and the fresher regions are getting fresher,”

Paul Durack, a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said.

“That’s the best evidence that the water cycle has been intensifying.”

Art of the Stem writes:

There’s an old western adage, Gritzuk said:

“Whiskey’s for drinking. Water’s for fighting over.”

Not only will regions and nations battle over insufficient freshwater supplies, so will industries,

Paul Faeth, a fellow at CNA Corp., told Morss Colloquium participants.

A little-known fact is that 40 percent of our fresh water is used to cool power plants. More people require more energy plants that require more water. The recent surge in hydraulic fracking may offer new cheap natural gas supplies, but it also requires abundant water supplies to get out of the ground.

Anthony Patt, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria said

Nations and industries will incur higher costs to adapt to changes in the water cycle, said . Developing countries with fewer resources to avoid catastrophes will suffer far more than richer ones.

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If you’re going to try, go all the way

Wishing you a New Year I think of all those who would love to take new steps and look at the new year with lots of hope.

One year before we are going to have 2020, lots of people may have still some good resolutions they will have to fulfill this year.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.
Otherwise, don’t even start.
This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail.
It could mean derision.
It could mean mockery — isolation.

Isolation is the gift.
All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.
And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

There is no other feeling like that.You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
It’s the only good fight there is.

– Charles Bukowksi 


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A trillion words

Windows 95 at first run.pngIn 1995 my world seem to open with the acquisition of a Windows 1995 desktop computer. In-logging for the internet was an expensive and slow system by phoning in. For filling in forms and evaluations of the students for the schools and governement the governement arranged, a few years later, a cheaper system “full adsl” also providing a system that every so many hours changed the ip-address (for safety – against hackers).
Big problem arose soon, different schools also using different systems for their forms or papers (some using older systems of Office Word than I had, and later not having Microsoft “Works” which I had on a newer computer and which was much better than Microsoft “Word”, others also using an other computer language than MS-DOS with i-Mac Apple computer systems) At one moment I had to work in 3 Microsoft Office systems and was fed up by having to buy a new one after one school having a more recent Office program. (Luckily Microsoft arranged a good solution for me.)

Becoming acquainted with internet I found my way to the MSN Groups where very interesting discussions could unfold, but where at the same time lots of rubbish could find its way into the ether. After some years I noticed that even when certain websites or very good articles where marked as favourite, they verily could disappear like they had come. It soon proved that internet could be a very fleeting something.

Screenshot of the online home page of Microsoft Corporation.

Accounts and systems soon became changing and new accounts by new systems had to be made, having lots of old interesting groups and sites disappearing. Though I noticed certain very personal sites with very personal messages managed to survive transitions whilst more interesting thoughts and writings could not be found any more.

The new worldwide communication system showed its danger of growing more in a system where lots of personal sites would create fog in the search material. Certain texts became really hidden advertisements or were clearly set up to influence people one or the other way.

Working 56 hours a week I had not much time to loose on the internet. I love reading but also for that was not much time any more, the governement asking more and more administrative work from us, next to our teaching job. Sometimes it looked like they were more interested in figures and statistics instead of leaving us at our creative, educating and instructing tasks. I do agree the computer was a very handy tool to create all the necessary diagrams.

Noticing the great forest, where it could be possible not to see the trees any more I wanted to give interesting words an other opportunity to be read by interested people. For that reason I wanted to start a sort of readers digest on the internet, presenting people of interest their sites.

I created “From Guestwriters” and on the 26th of March 2014 I presented it to the public with “Guestwriters for you” giving everybody who has something serious to share, the opportunity to share it on that site. My sincere hope is that From Guestwriters could grow out to a lifestyle magazine where people could be able to find several writings by different authors who at their turn would not be afraid to show to the readers other related articles.  This way people should be able to link to other sites finding more information of what they are looking for.

I was also a little-bit disillusioned to see all the things we manifested for in 1968 seemed to become disguised by the multi-speech on the internet. For that reason From Guestwriters wants to shed a light on thoughts of ancient thinkers or philosophers, but also on new thinkers and opinionmakers, and show the importance of how we should take care of our surroundings, taking care of nature, education and formation.

It is my sincere hope more writers would like to step in to help spread the spirit of peace and of respect for our world. For that reason I call those who can write about nature, necessity of preservation, our way of living, historical facts and how we should take care we are letting the world evolve, etc. to help spread the word to become conscious about our task of making the world a better place to live.

By having a globalisation people should come to understand other cultures more so that they can see how there should be nothing against it them living in peace together, with respect for each other entity, with respect for each other’s individuality and diversity.

In all those trillion words which we can find on the internet we should be able to see the red thread which unites us human beings and which colour by our diversity, giving us more opportunities to grow and to find a more pleasant world to live in, instead of creating a world full of fear.


Related (update 2018 October 19)

  1. For fun but also a reality: The best communication system
  2. Computer System
  3. Computer sciences
  4. 315. “Virginia Governor deletes games on workers’ computers” (January 11, 1995)
  5. Machine learning will not replace people in all jobs: study
  6. Do You Hear The Sound Of Internet Of Things [CCP Technologies]
  7. DDoS Attacks Targeting Critical Infrastructure, Europol Warns
  8. No, I Don’t Want Your Expert Opinion
  9. Facebook groups
  10. Communities
Posted in Announcement, B4Peace, Dagboek = Diary, History, Language, Upbringing and Education, Warning, World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments