Al-Jaafari: Blatant Foreign Meddling in Syria’s Affairs Hinders Efforts for National Reconciliation and Comprehensive National Dialogue

by R. Milhem, F.Allafi, H. Zain and H. Sabbagh

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, stressed the need for the Security Council (UNSC) to assume its responsibilities in implementing its resolutions regarding the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and the Syrian Golan territories and regarding the issue of the Palestinian refugees.

Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari representing Syria at the UN

In the statement of the Syrian Arab Republic during the UNSC’s session on Monday night which was dedicated to the situation in the Middle East, al-Jaafari called upon the UNSC to assume its responsibilities, deal seriously with the continuation of the Israeli occupation to the Syrian Golan for 45 years, and implement UN Resolution No. 497 for 1981 which was issued unanimously and that considers the Israeli decision of annexing the occupied Golan as null and void with no legal effect, along with all Israeli relevant decisions.

Al-Jaafari said “The UNSC’s refraining from shouldering its responsibilities in this regard for decades confirms the existence of an eclectic and selective view by some of the member states in the Council regarding the implementation of its resolutions when they are related to Israel.” Continue reading

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What Were the Chances To Be Sent to Gulag?

by Pavel Krasnov

In the article “A Logical Analysis of the Mass Repressions Theory” we found out that the so called “tens of millions of repressed peoples” – are nothing but a bunch of far-fetched lies unable to withstand even the simplest logical analysis. But how were things actually? How many people were sent to GULAG and why? How terrifying was it to live, that is how high were the chances of being sent there in real life, not in the lies of TV-propaganda clowns?

Supposed image of a former Soviet GULAG. Note the lack of resemblance to a Nazi death camp.

There are very clear Soviet statistics regarding this, because it is totally impossible to handle millions of people without bookkeeping and data records. Moreover it is not even possible to run a hundred-man factory without bookkeeping, let alone a whole country. This data does exist, and no one from serious scientific communities questions the statistics of those years. Otherwise they would have had to make a crazy supposition that in 30s of 20th century the USSR jails kept 2 records of the statistics – a real one for them to use, and a fake one for the people that would live decades later.

Let’s have a look at the statistics. We will also find out how much truth there is in the theory that the Industrialization in the USSR was made by the hands of ‘many millions of slaves-prisoners’. Continue reading

Capitalism: A Ghost Story

by Arundhati Roy

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

CORBIS (FROM OUTLOOK, MARCH 26, 2012)

Antilla the Hun Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home on Altamont Road. Its bright lights, say the neighbours, have stolen the night.

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked. Continue reading

“90 Years On and We Are Still Fighting!”

by Gareth Murphy (General Secretary, Connolly Youth Movement)

Today, the fifth of September 2006, 90 years after the anniversary of the 1916 rising The Irish Independent staying true to its colours featured an article by Kevin Myers on John Redmond. The article was entitled ‘A Tribute to a Forgotten Hero!’ This article sums up the essence of Irish State politics, north and south. Whether it is the media, politicians or celebrities like Bono and Bob Geldof, Redmond is the essence of the governing ideology and the governing class.

What is this governing ideology? It is Ireland latching on to imperialism in the hope of being fed its scraps, just enough to keep our wealthy rich and our poor from revolting.

Redmond sent thousands of young men off to die on the continent and fed them the lie of home rule and self-determination. Today Bertie Ahern, without our consent, sells our neutrality and sovereignty (the little 26 counties have) and signs us up to military agreements and wars for a couple of euro and dollars. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the PD’s, Labour, the Greens, even parts of Sinn Fein, RTE, TV3, the Irish Times, Bono…the list goes on and on – all support without question global imperialism and Ireland’s role in it and subservience to it. Continue reading

Refugee Policies Should Be Evidence-Based

by Susan McGrath

Photo: 2010 Legal Observers/Flickr

Canadian policy-making on refugee issues is ignoring the evidence of leading researchers in the field. Empirical research that would improve refugee legislation and the practices of our refugee determination system is being overlooked to the detriment of refugees and the Canadian public.

A key example is the immigration detention process.

Professor Delphine Nakache of the University of Ottawa recently completed a detailed 100-page report on the Canadian immigration detention system managed by the Canada Border Services Agency. The research methodology was comprehensive including site visits, key informant interviews, and a review of government reports and academic literature. Ms. Nakache drew on key international and domestic legal principles to review Canadian practices and looked at statistics on who is detained and on the system’s cost.

Her research raises a number of concerns about the current system including its legality and practices.

Ms. Nakache points out that international human rights law requires that immigration detention should be the exception rather than the rule; must be in accordance with the law and not arbitrary; and that the detention conditions be humane.

Her findings are disturbing. Refugee claimants including women, children, and people with mental health issues are being detained in prisons across the country including high-security prisons where they must wear prison uniforms, may be handcuffed and shackled when moved for medical treatment, and their access to legal counsel and communications is severely limited.

CBSA detention facilities are not sufficient for the number of people that they choose to detain so local, provincial, and federal jails are being used resulting in inconsistencies in services and jurisdictional tensions.

Ms. Nakache’s efforts to determine how many refugee claimants were being detained were not successful because of the inadequacy of CBSA statistics; they do not distinguish between refugee claimants and those whose claims have been denied nor do they count minors detained with their parents.

She found inconsistencies in decisions made by CBSA officers across the country; the likelihood of being detained appears to depend on the port of entry where the asylum seeker arrives.

Similarly, she was unable to comment on the cost effectiveness of the system because of the lack of available, up-to-date data. The information she did uncover suggests that detention is very expensive. The cost of detaining the 492 men, women, and children from the MV Sun Sea is over $22 million. Treating these people as regular claimants would have been considerably cheaper and certainly more humane.

Canadian system not charter compliant

Ms. Nakache’s study builds on the 2011 work of U.K. researcher Alice Edwards who studied international law governing detention and provided a critical overview of existing and possible alternatives to detention drawn from research in five countries including Canada.

She concludes that there is no empirical evidence to give credence to the assumption that the threat of being detained deters irregular migration or discourages persons from seeking asylum. Threats to life or freedom in an individual’s country of origin are likely to be a greater push factor for a refugee than any disincentive created by detention policies in countries of transit or destination.

She also found that over 90 per cent of refugee claimants and people awaiting deportation comply with the terms of their release from detention and that the alternatives to detention are a significantly cheaper option.

Australian researcher Amy Nethery confirms that two decades of immigration detention in Australia have not deterred asylum seekers arriving by boat. The rise and fall in the numbers of arrivals correspond with the rise and fall of people movement globally.

In addition to being ineffective, detention is extremely expensive and is harmful to those detained. A recent systematic study of refugee claimants in detention by Janet Cleveland and colleagues at McGill University shows that even short-term detention has a negative impact on the health of both adults and children that may persist long after release.

The evidence shows that the Canadian detention system is flawed and not compliant with the Canadian Charter; detention is not a deterrent to people seeking refuge and is detrimental to their well-being; and, alternatives to detention are cheaper, effective, and more humane. But the CBSA continues to detain on average 5,000 men, women, and children every year. The proposed bill, C-31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act allows for refugee claimants who arrive in groups to be subjected to mandatory detention for up to a year.

Government policy-making should be based on empirical evidence not false, misleading, and often egregious assumptions about the motivations and behaviour of people legally seeking the protection of our country. The perils of ignoring such knowledge are too great — legally, socially, and economically.

Canada has a strong network of academic and practitioner researchers across the country working on forced migration issues, and they are linked with international colleagues. The Centre for Refugee Studies at York University has been producing leading research for almost 25 years and is hosting the global refugee research network of over 1,000 members. The now-defunded Canadian Metropolis project has five university-based research centres across the country with over 600 researchers focused on migration and settlement issues.

The March 9 virtual conference of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers brought together 250 academics and practitioners from six different sites across the country to debate the proposed refugee legislation.

The upcoming May conference of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at York University is to feature over 120 research presentations.

Canadian policy-makers have a rich resource of refugee research to draw on and our refugee policies and practices need this knowledge and expertise if they are to be legal and humane.

Susan McGrath is the director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. This article was first published in Embassy Magazine.