Asia Rights

Journal of Human Rights, Media and Society in Asia and the Pacific

Archive for March, 2011

Peace Boat

Posted in Japan, News on March 27th, 2011

The Peace Boat

 

Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. Peace Boat seeks to create awareness and action based on effecting positive social and political change in the world. We pursue this through the organization of global educational programmes, responsible travel, cooperative projects and advocacy activities. These activities are carried out on a partnership basis with other civil society organizations and communities in Japan, Northeast Asia, and around the world. Peace Boat carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The ship creates a neutral, mobile space and enables people to engage across borders in dialogue and mutual cooperation at sea, and in the ports that we visit. Activities based in Japan and Northeast Asia are carried out from our seven Peace Centers in Japan.

 

PEACE BOAT’S EMERGENCY RELIEF FOR THE JAPAN EARTHQUAKE DISASTER

Peace Boat is now conducting emergency relief efforts for those suffering as a result of this disaster. See below for reports and information about how to donate both money and material goods, and how to volunteer. We thank you kindly for your cooperation.

Activity so far:

Peace Boat sent two advance teams to the affected areas from March 16 to collect information about the damage and needs, and deliver aid including 100 blankets, food including rice and noodles, masks etc. These items were brought directly to evacuation centres in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, upon consultation with local authorities. Since then, staff members have been assisting with distribution of goods in the affected areas, particularly between smaller evacuation centres. The team has also delivered meals to Nisshin Hospital and Saito Hospital, where patients had run out of food. Peace Boat is now also conducting assessments of the needs and current situation in each evacuation centre in the area, as well as coordinating requests from other organisations willing to help provide meals and other aid in Ishinomaki.

TO DONATE TO PEACE BOAT’S RELIEF ACTIVITIES PLEASE GO HERE AND TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PEACE BOAT ORGANISATION PLEASE GO TO THEIR WEBSITE HERE

April 2011 photograph

Posted in News, This month's photo on March 27th, 2011
Child being tested for radiation in Japan

Source people.com

 

FOOD SECURITY IN NORTH KOREA

Posted in Korea on March 23rd, 2011

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies recently reported that since the end of January 2011, there are serious concerns over food security in North Korea. NTS reports that the current food crisis has arisen due to both internal and external factors:

‘External factors, particularly the recent spike in global food prices and the suspension of food aid support from major donors such as the US and South Korea between 2008 and 2009, have contributed to this situation. According to some reports, the delayed arrival of food aid from North Korea’s northern ally, China, has also aggravated food shortages.

The food crisis is exacerbated by a multitude of internal factors, including reported inequitable distribution of available food aid; foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks reportedly killing thousands of draught oxen, cows and pigs; and the country enduring its coldest winter since 1945, with frigid temperatures adversely affecting agricultural outputs.’

‘As a result,’ reports NTS ‘North Korean rice prices have hit record highs and the United Nations (UN) has warned that up to 5 million North Koreans are at risk of famine.’

This echoes the results of a WFP and FAO survey in November that found that Korea ‘faces a cereal import requirement for the 2010/11 marketing year (Nov/Oct) of an estimated 867 000 tonnes. The Government plans to import commercially only about 325 000 tonnes, leaving 542 000 tonnes as an uncovered food deficit. The mission recommended to provide some 305 000 tonnes of international food assistance to the most vulnerable population.’

Despite the critical food shortage in North Korea, the current political situation looks set to stand in the way of improving ties in the realm of humanitarian cooperation. The Choson Ilbo reported that the South stands ready to provide supplies of humanitarian aid for infants including infant milk formula, nutritional cookies and medical supplies. However, rice and corn shipments will only be considered if ‘the North apologizes for its attacks on the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island last year.’ See here for the Choson Ilbo article on ReliefWeb.

See here for the NTS report.

See here for the latest on the food crisis from the WFP.

March 2011 Photo

Posted in This month's photo on March 23rd, 2011
Apartment blocks in a rural town, North Korea

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORTS ON THREATENED DEPORTATION OF MIGRANTS’ TRADE UNION LEADER

Posted in Korea, News on March 23rd, 2011

There are currently over one million foreigners living in South Korea. Many of these are immigrant labourers working in so-called 3D jobs – dangerous, dirty and demeaning. A number of NGOs and trade union groups have emerged in South Korea to defend and support the interests of these immigrant labourers and to aid them in gaining access to information and representation.

On the 3 March 2011, Amnesty International  reported on the withdrawal of a South Korean visa from a Filipino migrant worker and President of the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union (MTU) Michel Catuira. Extracts from the AI report follow:

‘As President of the MTU, Catuira has been instrumental in advocating for the respect, protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers in South Korea. He has spoken out against restrictions placed on migrant workers’ freedom to change workplaces and against immigration raids, which have resulted in arbitrary arrests, collective expulsions and the excessive use of force.

Since the MTU was founded in 2005, the immigration authorities have arrested six of its senior officials, five of whom were forcibly deported. Two of those deported were MTU Presidents. No MTU President has been able to serve a full term.’

‘Michel Catuira has been working as a documented migrant worker in South Korea since February 2006. He was elected President of the MTU in July 2009. ‘

Full details of the report and suggested action can be found here

 

ASIARIGHTS SEMINAR 7 APRIL 3.30pm

Posted in News on March 2nd, 2011

The next of our ANU AsiaRights seminar series will be:

“Dilemmas of North Korean Human Rights: Within and Across Borders”

A discussion led by Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Emma Campbell

Thursday, 7 April 2011

3,30-5 p.m.

PSC reading room (4th floor, Hedley Bull Centre, ANU Bldg130)

ALL WELCOME