Yanghee Lee. UNB file photoThe UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee has lamented the decades long cycle of violence perpetuated by the authorities against ethnic minorities in Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims, reports UNB.In a statement following her visits to Thailand and Bangladesh last month, she also said talk of repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas anytime soon was premature.Lee said that what the Myanmar government claims to be the conduct of military or security operations was actually an established pattern of domination, aggression and violations against ethnic groups, according to a statement UNB received here from Seoul on Thursday.”Recent reports of attacks against civilians; against homes and places of worship; forcible displacement and relocation; the burning of villages; land grabbing; sexual violence; arbitrary arrests and detention; torture and enforced disappearances; are acts that have been alleged against the military and security forces for generations,” she said.”While reports from Rakhine State have rightly provoked international outrage; for many in Myanmar, they have elicited a tragic sense of déjà vu.”She said the atrocities committed against the Rohingyas in the aftermath of the 9 October 2016 and the 25 August 2017 attacks, have been repeatedly witnessed before, albeit not on the same scale of the recent attacks against the Rohingya.”I was told repeatedly by the other ethnic groups I spoke to — be they Kachin, Karen, Karenni, or Shan — that they have suffered the same horrific violations at the hands of the Tatmadaw over several decades and — in the case of some groups — continuing today,” Lee said.”In Thailand, representatives from different ethnic groups that I met expressed their concern that as the world’s attention is focused on the atrocities in Rakhine State, potential war crimes are being committed in Shan and Kachin State without so much as a murmur of disapproval from the international community.”Lee said that set against this background of violence in the ethnic areas of Myanmar, was a continuing erosion of democratic space.”The civilian government has failed to usher in a new era of openness and transparency and is instead persisting with repressive practices of the past.”Lee, who was informed by the Myanmar authorities last year she would no longer be allowed to visit the country on the grounds her reporting was unfair and biased, called on the democratic government to break with the repressive practices of the past, and to allow people who have fled their country to return home – to where they belong.But she added: “For returns to be ever realized in a way that is voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable they must be treated as equals — citizens of Myanmar with all the rights that that status affords.”She said that while the government of Bangladesh had made it clear that no refugees would be forced back to Myanmar, the international community must pressure Myanmar to create conditions for their return before it is too late.”This must be done in a principled way that prioritizes the need for these people to be recognized as Rohingya and as citizens of Myanmar,” she said.Lee said that during her visit to a camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, she saw great anxiety and fear when speaking to refugees about the prospect of returning to Myanmar.”One mother said to me, ‘Our beautiful children were slaughtered. How can we go back?’ Refugees have been entirely excluded from conversations about their fate, and going forward they must be involved in a meaningful way.”Without equality, Myanmar will never be free from violence and the country’s tragic déjà vu will reverberate through the future as it has through the past. The cycle of violence must end, and Myanmar must be supported in implementing the profound and meaningful reforms that are so urgently needed.”Lee said she hoped to regain access to Myanmar. “I remain ready to work with the Government and other stakeholders to promote and protect the human rights of all people in Myanmar,” she said.
Two workers were killed and two others injured in a gas cylinder blast in an oil-laden vessel in the Karnaphuli River in the port city of Chattogram on Monday, reports UNB.The deceased were identified as Md Rashed, 23, and Md Abu Bakkar, 21.Karnaphuli police station officer-in-charge Syedul Mostafa said the gas cylinder went off at ‘MV Desh-1’ at Shikalbaha of the river around 4pm, leaving four workers injured.The injured were taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where doctors declared Rashed and Bakkar dead, said sub-inspector Jahir Raihan of CMCH police camp.Md Quamrul, 28, and Amzad Hossain, 30, were undergoing treatment at the hospital, he said.
Katherine Streeter for NPREditor’s Note:This story was originally published in November 2016 and has been republished with updates.It’s the sixth annual #GivingTuesday — a holiday marketing tradition inspired by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but with a twist. Today thousands of charities are asking us to open our wallets. But how can we be sure the group we donate to is effective — that we’re getting the most bang for our charity buck?That question was vexing Elie Hassenfeld several years ago. He worked at a hedge fund, and he and a colleague wanted to give money to charity. Since they are numbers-oriented finance types, they wanted to maximize the results from their donation by finding groups that could offer the biggest impact per dollar.“We were shocked by how little useful information was available,” says Hassenfeld.Sure there were the rating sites that show how much a given charity spends on overhead and point up any red flags suggesting possible mismanagement.But that’s not what Hassenfeld wanted to know: There was “nothing that said, ‘this is how much a charity can accomplish with the donation that you give.’ “And so in 2007, Hassenfeld and his friend, Holden Karnofsky, decided to start a nonprofit called GiveWell. The mission: Come up with an annual short list of charities they can recommend based on hard evidence. But it turns out this data-driven approach has its own set of issues.First off, it means GiveWell has to limit itself to recommending charities for which there is scientific proof of effectiveness.“Randomized controlled trials [by academics and health organizations] of, for example, distributing malaria nets in Africa to see how consistently and how effectively that reduces cases of malaria and saves lives,” says Hassenfeld.According to GiveWell’s analysis, passing out $5 bed nets against malaria-carrying mosquitoes saves a lot of lives. And that puts Against Malaria Foundation at the top of the group’s nine picks for the 2017 giving season — just unveiled on its website.The organization’s data-driven approach leads to a list that may not sit well with all donors. For instance, many people feel particularly moved to help others who are close to home – say, by donating to a local homeless shelter or a youth arts program. But though GiveWell is based in the United States, the organization does not recommend donating to any charities that serve Americans.“The needs are just so great overseas that a dollar goes a lot further there,” explains Hassenfeld. For instance, he says, “donating something like $3,500 to Against Malaria Foundation saves the life of a child who would otherwise die of malaria. The equivalent amount [in the United States] would do something like pay for a couple months of schooling for one child.”A second challenge is the dearth of reliable data for many programs that focus on the world’s poorest. While academics and international health organizations have done rigorous studies of health interventions, it’s only in the last decade that economic development and empowerment programs have started being subjected to similar scrutiny.So says Hassenfeld, “there might be outstanding programs and organizations that we would recommend if only there were more evidence assessing their impact. The fact that we don’t recommend something doesn’t mean we think it’s ineffective.” It may just mean that no one has studied it.That had been the case with one of two new charities on GiveWell’s 2017 list: Evidence Action’s No Lean Season. The group provides no-interest loans to help farmers in Bangladesh migrate to the city for better paid work during the “lean season” when they’re waiting to harvest their crops. Hassenfeld says GiveWell had been intrigued by the charity’s work for several years but it’s only this year that he feels there is sufficient data to support a recommendation.Also, the charities that make GiveWell’s cut aren’t exactly household names. Take the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative.“Yes, schistosomiasis — it’s an intestinal worm,” says Hassenfeld.He’s very passionate on the subject. The worm is common among children in sub-Saharan Africa, causing cognitive and physical development delays, he notes. And according to GiveWell’s analysis, Schistosomiasis Control Initiative can de-worm a kid for just 50 cents.“When the worms are treated children may grow up to earn significantly more money in adulthood,” says Hassenfeld. “So a very small amount of money may have really, really large long-term effects.”But Hassenfeld’s argument for supporting schistosomiasis work points up a third issue with a data-driven approach to donation decisions. Social science research suggests rational, statistics-based appeals are not what motivate most people. Tell us about one child who needs our help and we’re sold. Rattle off numbers about an obscure disease in a faraway place and a lot of us start to feel overwhelmed and turned off.Hassenfeld doesn’t disagree. “If my goal were to try to maximize the amount of money that I was able to raise for charity I wouldn’t do it via numbers and analysis,” he says. “I would do it via pictures and stories.”But he says GiveWell is trying to appeal to a narrower slice of the donor pool, “a particular type of person who’s just thinking about their charitable giving in a very different way.” For them, the very obscurity of schistosomiasis is a draw. “They say, ‘This is not sexy, I haven’t heard about this and here’s a group that’s done the analysis and they say this is one of the best ways I can donate and accomplish a ton of good.’ “In just nine years GiveWell has convinced about 14,000 people — largely technology and finance professionals under age 40, like the group’s founders, to donate a total of more $100 million dollars to the charities it has selected.Still, at least one of the charities on GiveWell’s list is starting re-think the data-based pitch for donations.It’s a fairly new group called GiveDirectly, launched in 2009. (We ran an in-depth story on their work that you can read here.) And basically, it wants to take your cash and just hand it over to an extremely poor person. No strings attached. The beneficiary can spend the money however he or she sees fit.That idea can be a tough case to make, says Ian Bassin, who manages donor relations for GiveDirectly among other duties.“I mean we are asking people to do something that I think most people instinctively psychologically are resistant to.”But he adds that GiveDirectly is motivated by cold hard facts: “It turns out that rigorous scientific evidence over the last ten to fifteen years has shown that actually giving people the power of choice to decide what their priorities are is one of the most effective ways to help the poor.”Maybe they end up spending the money on school tuition for a school. Maybe they decide to install a new roof that saves them expensive continual repairs. The point is, studies show that extremely poor people often know their needs best, and when you just give them the cash, over the long haul incomes rise, hunger goes down, there’s even more gender equality.Give Directly was founded by four economists who were inspired by those findings. At first they wanted to make their case to donors just on the numbers. They were determined to avoid what Bassin calls “poverty porn — people putting a picture of a starving child on a video [or] infomercial.”In just a few years they’ve raised more than $130 million dollars.But last fall they unveiled a new feature on their website: a running list of photos and profiles of the beneficiaries. To expand further, they’ve concluded that they need to reach a broader audience.“There’s a limit to how many of the sort of wonky evidence-type based donors that we could have,” Bassin explains.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Explore further Journal information: Science Morality clearly plays a role in modern society, in many instances, it might even be cited as one of the prime preventers of chaos—people see, hear and engage in things that they deem moral, or immoral, and tend to respond in certain ways because of it. But because of its ephemeral nature, scientists have had difficulty not only defining and measuring it but perhaps more importantly, finding the ways in which it works in people and in society as a whole. In this latest effort, the researchers sought to learn more about how morality works by periodically asking people directly about their observations, feelings and acts.In the experiment, 1,252 people found via social media, agreed to download an app to their phone that allowed the researchers to query them at random times regarding moral acts they engaged in or witnessed during the prior hour, how it made them feel and how they responded. Text messages were sent to the volunteers and received from them over a period of three days. Afterwards, the researchers analyzed the 13,240 messages they’d received from the volunteers to see if they could spot patterns, trends or other pertinent information.Among the host of findings, the team discovered that those who considered themselves religious didn’t necessarily commit more or less moral or immoral acts than those who did not. They also found that people who were the target of a moral act tended to feel better about themselves than did those who committed a moral act themselves—and those same people tended to also be more likely to commit a moral act later on—social scientists call it moral contagion.The researchers also found evidence that suggests political affiliation had an impact on morality as well—those of a liberal persuasion, for example, tended to focus more on fairness between people, while those who saw themselves as more conservative tended to respond more strongly to acts of respecting authority or the status quo.The study marks a new foray into sociological testing techniques using new technology and might just be one of many to come that seek to better define the rules by which people behave in society. (Phys.org) —A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands has uncovered some new ideas about the nature of morality by using a smartphone app. In their paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe how they enlisted a large group of people to serve as volunteers in a morality experiment, and what they learned as a result. Jesse Graham, of the University of Southern California offers a Perspective piece in the same journal issue. Citation: Smartphone app used by experimenters to learn more about aspects of morality (2014, September 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-smartphone-app-experimenters-aspects-morality.html Image of the Smartphone Experience-Sampling Signal (SMS linking to smartphone survey). Credit: Wilhelm Hofmann More information: Morality in everyday life, Science 12 September 2014: Vol. 345 no. 6202 pp. 1340-1343 DOI: 10.1126/science.1251560 ABSTRACTThe science of morality has drawn heavily on well-controlled but artificial laboratory settings. To study everyday morality, we repeatedly assessed moral or immoral acts and experiences in a large (N = 1252) sample using ecological momentary assessment. Moral experiences were surprisingly frequent and manifold. Liberals and conservatives emphasized somewhat different moral dimensions. Religious and nonreligious participants did not differ in the likelihood or quality of committed moral and immoral acts. Being the target of moral or immoral deeds had the strongest impact on happiness, whereas committing moral or immoral deeds had the strongest impact on sense of purpose. Analyses of daily dynamics revealed evidence for both moral contagion and moral licensing. In sum, morality science may benefit from a closer look at the antecedents, dynamics, and consequences of everyday moral experience. © 2014 Phys.org How do former churchgoers build a new moral identity? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.