By Amantha Perera
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Mar 15 2016 (IPS) – Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, was in her early 20s when she co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Cophin), a group that campaigned for the rights of indigenous communities in the South American nation.
Influenced by a mother, who took in fleeing El Salvadorian refugees, Cáceres was fully committed to her cause. She told friends and colleagues that her struggle was against ‘deadly powers’ that put profit before the rights of her people. In the last two decades, she saw colleagues being threatened, attacked and killed, but her work only got bigger. Continue reading Tribute to a Slain Environment Activist
UN News Centre – Sent by Claudia McTaggart.
11 March 2016 – A new United Nations report on the human rights situation in South Sudan published today describes a multitude of horrendous violations in “searing detail,” in particular by Government forces, including cases of civilians burned alive or cut to pieces and a teenage girl being raped by ten soldiers.
Although all parties to the conflict have committed patterns of serious and systematic violence against civilians since fighting broke out in December 2013, the report says State actors bore the greatest responsibility during 2015, given the weakening of opposition forces.
The scale of sexual violence is particularly shocking, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) notes in a news release. In five months last year, from April to September, the UN recorded more than 1,300 reports of rape in just one of South Sudan’s ten states, namely oil-rich Unity. Continue reading UN report highlights ‘searing’ account of killings, rapes by South Sudanese forces
Emperor leads tributes to 19,000 people killed after earthquake, and PM says reconstruction is making steady progress
Justin McCurry in Tokyo
Japan’s emperor has led tributes to the 19,000 people who died five years ago when a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s north-east coast and triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Across the devastated region, people observed a moment’s silence at 2.46pm on Friday, the exact moment in 2011 when a magnitude-9 earthquake – the biggest in Japan’s recorded history – unleashed a tsunami that engulfed entire towns and villages. Continue reading Japan marks fifth anniversary of tsunami and nuclear disaster
A court on Thursday handed down a $4.2 million verdict—and vindication—to two Pennsylvania families who said fracking contaminated their water
A 10-person jury in court on Thursday handed down a $4.2 million verdict—and vindication—to two Pennsylvania families who refused to settle in a case pitting homeowners in the village of Dimock against a Houston-based fossil fuels company.
After a two-week trial at the U.S. District Court in Scranton, the federal jury found that Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., one of the largest natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania, had polluted the families’ well water. Continue reading In ‘David vs. Goliath’ Fracking Case, Families Handed Major Win
A rights group says it has evidence that South Sudan government forces deliberately suffocated more than 60 men and boys in a shipping container.
They then dumped the bodies in a field in Leer Town, Unity State, Amnesty International said.
In a separate report, the UN has also accused the government troops of deliberately killing and raping civilians.
The government denies its army targeted civilians but says it is investigating.
“We have rules of engagement and we are following them,” a spokesman for President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, told the BBC. Continue reading South Sudan army ‘suffocated 60 in container’