Blair’s Britain: refugee children in jail

Refugee camp Yarl's WoodFrom London daily News Line:

Saturday, 29 July 2006


Parents of sixteen families incarcerated at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) are on hunger strike over their appalling conditions.

Meanwhile, Anne Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, is still expressing severe concerns about the detention of children at Yarl’s Wood IRC.

In her latest report on the centre published last Wednesday, Owers says: ‘There was still no evidence to suggest that the child’s welfare was taken into consideration when making decisions about initial and continued detention.’

She stressed: ‘We continued to have significant concerns about aspects of safety in the centre.

‘It was even more difficult for detainees to obtain up-to-date and accurate information about their cases, as experienced, on-site immigration officers were being withdrawn.

‘Removals were still being carried out without proper warning or planning.’

Owers made her second inspection of Yarl’s Wood IRC in February of this year and published the report last Wednesday 26th July.

More prisoners than ever in Britain: here.


Seychelles: magpie-robin back from brink of extinction

Seychelles magpie-robinFrom BirdLife:

Seychelles Magpie-robin success


A team from Nature Seychelles (BirdLife in the Seychelles) and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust visited Frégate Island from the 28 June to 6 July 2006 to conduct a full population survey of the globally threatened Seychelles Magpie-robin Copsychus sechellarum, and to ring un-ringed robins in order to maintain identification of all individual[s] on the island.

A minimum population of 82 individuals was recorded—ten more than the previous census in April 2005 and the highest number of robins ever recorded on Frégate.

The Seychelles Magpie-robin population is now at an all-time high of 178 birds with 82 on Frégate, 46 on Cousin, 32 on Cousine and 18 on Aride.

There are also future plans to translocate birds to Denis Island.

The species was downlisted by BirdLife to Endangered in the 2005 IUCN Red List.

United Nations: Bush, close your secret prisons

US torture flights in Shannon, Ireland and elsewhere, cartoon by Steve BellFrom AFP:

US must abolish secret detention facilities: UN rights panel


GENEVA – The UN Human Rights Committee has called on the United States to immediately abolish all secret detention facilities, in a report raising deep concerns about the conduct of the “war on terror”.

Information on secret detentions was “credible and uncontested”, the panel said in its final report after an examination of the United States’s human rights record.

“The state party should immediately abolish all secret detention facilities.

It should also grant prompt access by the International Committee of the Red Cross to any person detained in connection with an armed conflict,” the committee said in its final recommendations on Friday.

“The committee is concerned by credible and uncontested information that the state party has seen fit to engage in the practice of detaining people secretly and in secret places for months and years on end,” it added.

Reports in recent months have alleged that the US Central Intelligence Agency conducts “extraordinary renditions” — the covert transfer of terrorism suspects to third countries or US-run detention centres.

Committee member Ivan Shearer said the “war on terror” was “not a legal state of affairs but rather a rhetorical phrase that seems to be taken rather literally… People can be held forever”.

The 18 legal experts appointed by the UN oversee implementation of the world’s core human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Their concluding report listed a wide range of concerns relating to the conduct of US President George W. Bush‘s “war on terror”, but also about the human rights situations in the United States.

Update on prisons in Romania: here.

Lebanon: war also pollutes environment

This video says about itself:

7 January 2010

A short film about the giant green sea turtles of Marsa Abu Dabbab found in the Red Sea, Egypt.

From AFP news agency:

Oil Spill Threatens Lebanon Coast

Haro Chakmakjian, AFP

July 27, 2006 — A Lebanese NGO has launched an international appeal for help to combat the environmental crisis caused by a huge oil spill south of Beirut, more than two weeks into an Israeli air war.

“The escalating Israeli attacks on Lebanon did not only kill its civilians and destroy its infrastructure, but it is also annihilating the environment,” warned the Green Line Association.

It said an air strike two weeks ago on Jiyeh power plant which serves southern Lebanon had resulted in a 15,000-ton oil spill. …

The NGOs warned that the marine environment, including the endangered green turtle — not to mention the future tourism prospects of Lebanon — would “suffer tremendously for several years from this spill.”

See also on this from National Geographic. And here.