Tag Archives: Governmental Organization

An Australian coronavirus outbreak raises concerns over online child sex abuse | Instant News


KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Australian police on Tuesday warned of “bad” online predators targeting new child victims after a surge in corona virus infection that put the country’s second largest city under partial locking.

The Australian health authority said it would take weeks to tame the COVID-19 outbreak after hundreds of new cases were reported in the state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne was partially locked.

The steps encourage Australian federal police to urge parents to ensure their children are not victims of “dangerous online predators”, after cases of abuse surged during national lockdown in March.

Traffic to websites containing online child sexual abuse content skyrocketed during previous lockouts and such material posted on the dark web doubled, police said.

“We suspect that the perpetrators will use the second wave of COVID-19 as an opportunity to find more potential child victims, because young people spend more time online with limited adult supervision,” said police commander Jamie Strauss.

“Our message to online criminals has not changed – if you obtain, access and send child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted,” he added in a statement.

From Europe to Asia, cases of child sexual abuse online have surged during coronavirus locking because children spend more time online, making them more vulnerable to abusers.

In Australia, child exploitation has increased in recent years. Nearly 22,000 cases were reported between July 2019 and June 2020, up nearly 50% from last year, official figures show.

“Sex offenders are always online, that’s their playground,” said Karen Flanagan, head of Australian child protection at the charity Save the Children.

“But COVID-19 might give them access to new groups of children who previously did not spend much time online,” he said last week, urging more parental supervision.

State authorities in Victoria reported on Tuesday 374 new COVID-19 cases, up from 275 on Monday, reducing hopes of slowing infection two weeks after nearly 5 million people were told to stay at home except for important reasons.

Australia has recorded around 12,000 cases of the corona virus and more than 125 deaths.

Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity branch, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

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British MPs, retailers call for action to prevent the exploitation of garment workers | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – A group of 50 British MPs, retailers such as Marks & Spencer and New Look, and investors and NGOs on Monday called for immediate action to prevent the exploitation of garment factory workers in Britain.

Their joint letter, which was coordinated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) industry lobby group and addressed to the interior minister Priti Patel, requested the introduction of a garment factory legal license to ensure they all met their legal obligations to employees.

The letter was published after recent media reports about workers who were paid below the minimum wage, were not given personal protective equipment (PPE) and worked in unsafe conditions.

The UK minimum wage is 8.72 pounds ($ 10.95) for people over 25 years and 8.20 pounds for people aged 21 to 24 years.

The BRC said it and its members have long called for greater law enforcement by the authorities to support the actions taken by retailers to ensure fair treatment of workers and to encourage businesses to invest in British fashion manufacturing.

“Recent reports in the media indicate the need for immediate action before more workers are utilized,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson.

The letter said the proposed licensing scheme would protect workers from forced labor and ill-treatment, ensure tax payments and create an equal playing field for businesses to compete fairly by preventing rogue producers from lowering prices.

This will also encourage retailers to get their clothing from the UK, supporting the development of this industry.

Signatory retailers include ASOS (ASOS.L), Walmart (WMT.N) owned by Asda, M&S (MKS.L), Morrisons (MRW.L), N Brown (BWNG.L), Joules (JOUL.L), New Look, River and Matalan Islands.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo (BOOH.L) is not a signatory. He wrote his own letter to Patel on Friday supporting the licensing scheme.

“We fully support the BRC and other proposals regarding the need to apply permits according to the law of the garment factory owner and manager,” said a spokesman for Boohoo.

Signatory investors include Allianz Global Investors, Columbia Thread Investments, Fidelity International, Jupiter Asset Management and Schroders Investment Management.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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With Bolsonaro Brazil attacking the Supreme Court, are gay rights at risk? | Instant News


RIO DE JANEIRO / MEXICO CITY, July 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A gay man who grew up in Brazil, Afif Sarhan was banned from donating blood for most of his life.

“I thought, ‘Why is my blood lower than others?'” Sarhan, a 41-year-old civil servant from the southwestern state of Goias, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is my right as a human being to help people and stay who I am.”

That all changed in May when the Brazilian high court overturned the ban on gay men who gave blood – the latest in more than half a dozen decisions made in support of LGBT + rights.

Over the years, the court has been a major driver of LGBT + achievement in Brazil, with little action from Congress in a very religious country where the Catholic Church and popular evangelical Christian movements often criticize gay rights.

With President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain famous for making homophobic statements and praising the 1964-1985 state dictatorship, becoming increasingly critical of the judiciary, some fear that the progress of LGBT + could now be at risk.

The conservative leader said last month that the Supreme Court “committed an offense” and it was time to put “everything in its proper place” after the court passed an investigation into the claims Bolsonaro made with the police for personal motives.

The court, commonly known as the STF, also investigated demonstrations supported by Bolsonaro who called for military intervention in politics and the closure of the Supreme Court and Congress, triggering concerns for young Brazilian democracy.

In one protest last month, Bolsonaro supporters threw fireworks toward the Supreme Court building. A protest leader, who threatened violence against several Supreme Court judges, was later arrested.

“Bolsonaro’s attack on the STF is a direct and frontal attack on one of the pillars of democracy,” said David Miranda, a gay congressman with the left opposition Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL).

“With some subtle decisions and constitutional changes, we can lose the rights we have conquered.”

A Bolsonaro government spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

VICTORIES

The LGBT + problem remains divisive in Brazil, which has the largest Catholic community in the world and a growing evangelical population among the urban poor, which shifts politics to the right.

The country is also one of the most dangerous in the world for gays and trans, with 297 LGBT + murders last year, according to watchdog group Grupo Gay da Bahia.

Because of widespread conservatism in Brazilian politics and society, most activists turn to the courts instead of Congress to secure LGBT + rights.

“The Brazilian legislature is occupied by conservative forces and has a very large religious fundamentalist bench,” said Renan Quinalha, a law professor at the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

“(So) LGBT groups have begun through the Supreme Court, carrying out strategic litigation and advocacy to achieve victory in justice.”

The strategy worked.

This year, the Supreme Court allowed the Netflix streaming platform to continue showing films that portray Jesus as gay, despite national protests, and also imposed local laws prohibiting teaching about gender and sexual orientation in schools.

He also chose to criminalize homophobia and transphobia last year, and in 2018 decided that the government could not ask trans people to undergo operations to legally change their gender.

When Congress tried hard to pass a gay marriage law, the judiciary took the lead to legalize it in 2013.

APPLICATION

Despite Bolsonaro’s war of words, legal experts say it is not possible to interfere directly with the court. “It looks like I’m not (the Supreme Court) at risk,” Quinalha said.

“I think the STF succeeded in positioning itself very well before the government … investigating threats and calls for violence against the minister and the court itself.”

But activists fear that LGBT + rights will be canceled ahead of the 2022 election because Bolsonaro will appoint two new judges to the 11-member Supreme Court.

In Brazil, Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 75, with the president filling in the blanks. In 2020, Celso de Mello, the longest serving judge in retirement, will retire, followed in 2021 by Marco Aurelio Mello.

If Bolsonaro is re-elected, he will be able to make two more promises in 2023 because two more judges will reach retirement age.

“If you have a different majority in the Supreme Court, you can change the previous decision,” Quinalha said.

And it’s not just a matter of having a conservative majority in court. In Brazil, a single Supreme Court judge can withstand an unlimited ruling by saying they need more time to review the case before they vote.

In urgent cases, judges can also make unilateral decisions, such as issuing orders, that apply until all courts have time to vote, which can take years.

PUBLIC OPINION

While the legal strategies of LGBT + activists have provided a historic victory, observers are concerned that they are not deeply rooted like the laws chosen in Congress, which attract more public debate, lobbying and media coverage.

Popular opinions about LGBT + rights are still deeply divided in Brazil, unlike neighboring Argentina, where gay marriage passed through Congress in 2010 and sparked heated public discussion.

“In places where there are social debates around the rights of LGBT people, the process of discussion and debate makes it easier for people to adjust to new realities,” said Leandro Ramos, Brazilian director for LGBT + All Out rights groups.

“The fact that this debate has never taken place in Congress (Brazil) has made these rights more vulnerable.”

Brazilian lawmakers and the constituencies they represent rarely have to debate LGBT + issues, potentially making the victory fought for more vulnerable under a conservative court.

“The law is more consolidated because it also expresses debate in public opinion … so it’s more difficult to modify,” Quinalha said.

For now, LGBT + Brazil enjoys the newly discovered rights granted to them by the country’s highest court.

Sarhan, a civil servant in Goias, returned to give blood last month, six years after being rejected – this time, his sexual choices never arose.

“It’s very nice to contribute, and I don’t have any questions about sexual orientation,” he said.

Reported by Oscar Lopez @oscarlopezgib and Fabio Teixeira; editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity branch of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

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In increasing green jobs, the community has a greater role in managing Pakistan’s national parks | Instant News


ISLAMABAD (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For 20 years, Khunjerab National Park has been a point of tension between the Pakistani government – which made the park in 1975 a sanctuary for endangered species – and local residents who have been tending their cattle on the ground for generations.

When land disputes broke out, poachers destroyed Khunjerab’s wildlife, villagers said – until 1995, when local residents and authorities decided to work together to better protect the park.

“Our community knows that our (and) natural resource management is well organized,” said Muzaffar ud Din, a founding member of the local Shimshal Nature Trust, which contributes to members of the community-led management group formed to manage the park.

“Now I would say Khunjerab is better managed than many other parks in the country. Local people guard it. The wildlife population has increased exponentially, “he said.

In its final step to produce jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic while increasing conservation and reducing the impact of climate change, Pakistan has announced the creation of Pakistan’s first National Park Service, modeled on US agencies.

Underneath, the country aims to involve more local people in managing national parks and earning income because they protect nearby conservation areas.

The first phase of the Protected Areas Initiative, launched on July 2, will focus on 15 national parks that make up a total of 7,300 square km (2,800 square miles), from Khunjerab in the north to the area around Astola Island in the south. .

The project aims to create up to 5,000 new jobs, especially for young people who will work as park guards and carers, and increase eco-tourism in the country, authorities said when the initiative was announced.

Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor for Prime Minister Imran Khan, said the park plan was in line with Pakistan’s post-coronavirus “green stimulus” vision, which also included employing thousands of unemployed daily workers to plant trees as part of the 10 Billion Tsunami Trees in the country it’s a program.

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“The dual aim is to protect nature while also producing jobs for unemployed young people,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“All of this green activity will help overcome the unexpected surge in COVID unemployment across the country.”

‘PAPER PARK’

Pakistan currently has around 30 national parks that should be protected and preserved by law.

But most are “paper parks” – areas classified as national parks but with little or no management, said Aslam, who helped design new initiatives.

Conservation expert Anis ur Rahman estimates that only about 5% of the country’s parks are well managed.

Others suffer from conflicting priorities and lack of cooperation between the government and the people who live around them and depend on them for grazing, hunting and firewood, he explained.

“In many cases, the government changed the status of the old community-managed forest area or grazing area to a national park where (suddenly) everything was prohibited by law,” said Rahman, who heads the Bukit Margalla National Park management board, one of them which is included in the new project.

“But there is weak enforcement. The government does not have the resources to pay for adequate protection, “he said.

Many state environmental experts see Khunjerab, the country’s oldest and largest national park, as a successful community-led management model.

The park was founded 45 years ago as a way to protect glaciers, alpine pastures, rivers and ravines.

Parts are closed to create undisturbed habitats for animals ranging from the rare Marco Polo sheep to snow leopards and Siberian ibber.

But the move pits the government against local farmers, who have long used the area.

here

Ashiq Ahmed Khan, a wildlife specialist who worked at the Pakistan Forestry Institute in the 1990s, helped develop the first management plan for the park that unites local residents and the provincial wildlife department.

Under the plan, eight villages in the park agreed not to pasture cattle in the core zone of 12 square kilometers.

Instead, other grazing areas are set on rotation which gives every time to recover after use, said Khan, who is now retired.

Community members are employed as game watchdogs and supervisors, with 80% of the job opportunities in the park given to local residents. It was also agreed that the local community would receive 75% of the revenue generated by visitor fees.

“It was truly the first national park in the country that management plans were actually implemented,” Khan said.

“Today there are 100 Marco Polo sheep in the park, more than eight or nine that I saw (in the 1990s) and there are more than 5,000 ibexes.”

STRONG LAW?

So far, Pakistani authorities have revealed some details about the new Protected Areas Initiative.

Aslam, climate change advisor, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the project will be overseen by the new Pakistan National Park Service, which will be launched in September.

He said the country had allocated 4 billion rupees ($ 24 million) for the first phase of the initiative over the next three years, where at least 80% would be spent on creating green jobs and increasing community involvement.

Through this project, the amount of protected land in Pakistan will increase from 13% to 15% by 2023, Aslam added.

But environmental lawyer Rafay Ahmad Alam said that although this initiative was a positive step, it would help little to protect Pakistan’s green space without legislation to support it.

The initiative “will not make up for the fact that (the vast majority) of provincial national park laws are weak and do not provide adequate specifics for conservation, protection or law enforcement actions,” he said.

Aslam agreed that the appropriate provincial law was very important and noted that policy changes were also part of the new plan.

The shift to community-managed parks offers the opportunity to utilize the “amazing indigenous knowledge” local communities have about land, said Muzaffar ud Din.

“Local people have more information and they can manage their own natural resources better. They have a better vision, “he said.

“National parks should not be seen as separate entities, but as part of the overall socio-economic and physical landscape. That is the future of conservation. ”

Reporting by Rina Saeed Khan, Editing by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity branch of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

.



image source

In increasing green jobs, the community has a greater role in managing Pakistan’s national parks | Instant News


ISLAMABAD (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For 20 years, Khunjerab National Park has been a point of tension between the Pakistani government – which made the park in 1975 a sanctuary for endangered species – and local residents who have been tending their cattle on the ground for generations.

When land disputes broke out, poachers destroyed Khunjerab’s wildlife, villagers said – until 1995, when local residents and authorities decided to work together to better protect the park.

“Our community knows that our (and) natural resource management is well organized,” said Muzaffar ud Din, a founding member of the local Shimshal Nature Trust, which contributes to members of the community-led management group formed to manage the park.

“Now I would say Khunjerab is better managed than many other parks in the country. Local people guard it. The wildlife population has increased exponentially, “he said.

In its final step to produce jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic while increasing conservation and reducing the impact of climate change, Pakistan has announced the creation of Pakistan’s first National Park Service, modeled on US agencies.

Underneath, the country aims to involve more local people in managing national parks and earning income because they protect nearby conservation areas.

The first phase of the Protected Areas Initiative, launched on July 2, will focus on 15 national parks that make up a total of 7,300 square km (2,800 square miles), from Khunjerab in the north to the area around Astola Island in the south. .

The project aims to create up to 5,000 new jobs, especially for young people who will work as park guards and carers, and increase eco-tourism in the country, authorities said when the initiative was announced.

Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor for Prime Minister Imran Khan, said the park plan was in line with Pakistan’s post-coronavirus “green stimulus” vision, which also included employing thousands of unemployed daily workers to plant trees as part of the 10 Billion Tsunami Trees in the country it’s a program.

here

“The dual aim is to protect nature while also producing jobs for unemployed young people,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“All of this green activity will help overcome the unexpected surge in COVID unemployment across the country.”

‘PAPER PARK’

Pakistan currently has around 30 national parks that should be protected and preserved by law.

But most are “paper parks” – areas classified as national parks but with little or no management, said Aslam, who helped design new initiatives.

Conservation expert Anis ur Rahman estimates that only about 5% of the country’s parks are well managed.

Others suffer from conflicting priorities and lack of cooperation between the government and the people who live around them and depend on them for grazing, hunting and firewood, he explained.

“In many cases, the government changed the status of the old community-managed forest area or grazing area to a national park where (suddenly) everything was prohibited by law,” said Rahman, who heads the Bukit Margalla National Park management board, one of them which is included in the new project.

“But there is weak enforcement. The government does not have the resources to pay for adequate protection, “he said.

Many state environmental experts see Khunjerab, the country’s oldest and largest national park, as a successful community-led management model.

The park was founded 45 years ago as a way to protect glaciers, alpine pastures, rivers and ravines.

Parts are closed to create undisturbed habitats for animals ranging from the rare Marco Polo sheep to snow leopards and Siberian ibber.

But the move pits the government against local farmers, who have long used the area.

here

Ashiq Ahmed Khan, a wildlife specialist who worked at the Pakistan Forestry Institute in the 1990s, helped develop the first management plan for the park that unites local residents and the provincial wildlife department.

Under the plan, eight villages in the park agreed not to pasture cattle in the core zone of 12 square kilometers.

Instead, other grazing areas are set on rotation which gives every time to recover after use, said Khan, who is now retired.

Community members are employed as game watchdogs and supervisors, with 80% of the job opportunities in the park given to local residents. It was also agreed that the local community would receive 75% of the revenue generated by visitor fees.

“It was truly the first national park in the country that management plans were actually implemented,” Khan said.

“Today there are 100 Marco Polo sheep in the park, more than eight or nine that I saw (in the 1990s) and there are more than 5,000 ibexes.”

STRONG LAW?

So far, Pakistani authorities have revealed some details about the new Protected Areas Initiative.

Aslam, climate change advisor, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the project will be overseen by the new Pakistan National Park Service, which will be launched in September.

He said the country had allocated 4 billion rupees ($ 24 million) for the first phase of the initiative over the next three years, where at least 80% would be spent on creating green jobs and increasing community involvement.

Through this project, the amount of protected land in Pakistan will increase from 13% to 15% by 2023, Aslam added.

But environmental lawyer Rafay Ahmad Alam said that although this initiative was a positive step, it would help little to protect Pakistan’s green space without legislation to support it.

The initiative “will not make up for the fact that (the vast majority) of provincial national park laws are weak and do not provide adequate specifics for conservation, protection or law enforcement actions,” he said.

Aslam agreed that the appropriate provincial law was very important and noted that policy changes were also part of the new plan.

The shift to community-managed parks offers the opportunity to utilize the “amazing indigenous knowledge” local communities have about land, said Muzaffar ud Din.

“Local people have more information and they can manage their own natural resources better. They have a better vision, “he said.

“National parks should not be seen as separate entities, but as part of the overall socio-economic and physical landscape. That is the future of conservation. ”

Reporting by Rina Saeed Khan, Editing by Jumana Farouky and Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity branch of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org

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