WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 7th February 2015

7th Feb 20157th February 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


1. Given the huge numbers of refugees in the world, we are focusing on this issue more broadly in this edition. The New Internationalist is looking at the issue of refugees from the perspective of boundaries and borders and the need for a political solution to these issues.
This is a very interesting article from the UNHCR about how refugee camps are built.
This is a good news story from one of the large refugee camps in Kenya where a project is giving students access to internet connectivity and tuition that is allowing them to increase their learning and overall education.


2. Continuing the theme of refugees, this week we are highlighting the situation for Syrian refugees. Amnesty International has released a report, Hardship, Hope and Resettlement: Refugees from Syria tell their stories, which details the situation for Syrian refugees.
And the UNHCR has also released a report on Syria, or more specifically on the Syrian refugee movement into Jordan. Don’t let the content daunt you – there are both seriously interesting reads that provide good background into this horrific conflict.


3. The fighting in the Ukraine has escalated and many are concerned about the massive impact on the civilians. This is compounded by harsh winter conditions across the country. Both Amnesty International  and HRW have exposed the high number of civilian casualties in the war in Ukraine. HRW has produced a video to  interviewing local people directly impacted by the war. They are calling for an end to the use of unguided rockets in populated areas and the practice of locating military objectives in civilian areas.


4. If the Federal Government thought that honoring Rosie Batty would keep her quiet a about their unjust policies, they were clearly wrong. She is speaking out about the government’s funding cuts – and using her position very effectively.


5. Today is International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). You can add your support at the Facebook page   and see the joint statement  from the European Commission and Fact Sheet that they have produced.


6.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Racial Discrimintaion Act.  In February the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane is holding a symposium to review the achievements of the Act and its ongoing role. On this same topic, The Guardian has published an interesting article on the nature of racism. Zach Stafford explores the phenomena of ‘colour blindness’ as a form of racism and a way that racism is ignored rather than addressed.


7. If you are interested in social movements, particularly why some are effective and others not, this article in the New Internationalist by Mark Engler and Paul Engler will be of considerable interest. They review the success of the Occupy movement and analyse the elements that made it so effective. They argue that the two factors always present in effective, strategic, non-violent conflict are disruption and sacrifice. And relatedly, NI has covered the rise of Podemos, Spain’s mass movement for change. It began in  2014 against a backdrop of austerity, with increasing unemployment, privatisation, and public service cuts. Grassroots movement. In 5 months they won 5 seats and 8% of vote in European Parliament elections in May. One of their biggest concern is the corrupt bi-party political system in Spain!! I wonder how many other societies might also find that same system ineffective!!


8. This week there have been some interesting articles about the ongoing conflict in Palestine / Israel. Nigel Pearce from The Elders, challenges the idea that what is often interpreted as anti-Semitic is in fact just healthy criticism of Israeli policies.  New Internationalist has an interesting article looking at the process for Palestinians as they cross into Israel, often on a daily basis. And HRW has an article by Eric Goldstein about American charities funding the building of illegal settlements in the occupied territories.


9. Oxfam has a new petition to lobby the Federal Government for better health outcomes for Indigenous people. The Close the Gap Pledge calls for health equality within 25 years. Check it out!


10. A new grocery store with a difference is opening up in Berlin. Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski have crowdfunded their new idea and are opening their store, Original Unverpackt , where customers can buy their products with zero packaging.


Thanks for being part of our Weekly Top 10 for this week. Look forward to sharing with you all again next week.