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Peace News log archive: August 2013

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

New scientific evidence “overwhelmingly” links UN troops to a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed 8000 people and yet the organisation refuses to accept liability, adding further to the on-going controversy of the UN troop presence in the country.

According to new report released by researchers at Yale University the United Nations inadvertently caused a deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti in October 2010 and has a legal and moral obligation to remedy this harm. This on-going cholera epidemic has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 650,000 in Haiti, a country still struggling with the aftereffects of the 2010 earthquake. Crucially, this conclusion directly contradicts recent statements by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, that have claimed that the UN did not bring cholera to Haiti and therefore has no legal responsibilities for the. As such, the UN has refused to even consider claims by Haitians affected by the outbreak who are seeking compensation.

The 58 page report, ‘Peacekeeping without Accountability’, was published on 7 August and provides the first comprehensive analysis of the cause of the massive outbreak of cholera that followed the devastating earthquake in January 2010. In line with previous scientific investigations, the Yale report notes that “[s]cientific study of the origins of the cholera epidemic in Haiti overwhelmingly demonstrates that U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal introduced the disease into the country.” UN troops, known by the acronym MINUSTAH, have been in Haiti since early 2004.

Not only does the Yale report outline the overwhelming scientific evidence of origin but in doing so it also stress that the UN should therefore be held accountable for the outbreak, thus requiring it to remedy as best as is possible its consequences and prevent its further spread. This is something the organisation has steadfastly refused to do.

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Fourth installment of the PN blog series about grassroots activism in China.

The month of June is now commonly associated with the Gay Pride movements in many countries worldwide. The first official Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) demonstration took place in New York in 1969, standing up against homophobia and marginalisation; since then LGBT and Gay Pride movements have spread massively with June being the month when most activities and parades take place.

The USA was also the first country to official recognise June as the "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month", as described by Bill Clinton in the 2000. Following the American example many other countries have since officially recognised June as ‘Pride Month’. As such, in this period LGBT groups worldwide organise activities and parades at a regional, national and continental level. Whereas in some cases these might be solemn, in many others Gay Pride parades are characterised by burlesques dresses, music and a generally colourful environment.

LGBT movements are spreading up in China as well, and in June Shanghai celebrated its 5th Gay Pride week. Nevertheless, the relationship between civil society and homosexuality is still one characterised by a certain degree of taboo and social stigma.

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