WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 10th January 2015

10 Jan 201510th January 2015
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place.
1. We join with many others in acknowledging the recent tragedy in Paris with 12 dead after the newspaper Charlie Hedbo was attacked. People all around the world have gathered to protest the violence and the intolerance that gave rise to this tragedy. The ABC has provided a picture story of the rallies that have occurred across France.
And a terrific article in The Guardian about how best France might respond to this attack – by not giving in to Islamophobia.


2. There has been conflict in the Central African Republic for over two years now and yet little global attention has been centred on this issue, leading some to suggest it is the world’s forgotten humanitarian crisis. In this article, by Nina Strochlic, she cautions against overlooking a conflict that is a ‘near-genocide’ and reminds us of the lessons learnt from Rwanda over 20 years ago.
UNICEF has some amazing photos depicting the crisis in CAR.
And before we leave the Central African Republic, here is a wonderful story about new year’s eve celebrations at a refugee camp.


3. You may not be aware but 2015 is the International Year of Soils! There are many reasons why soil is an important social issue. When we think about this issue it doesn’t take a long time to realise the importance of our soils for food production, biodiversity, climate change, water, and overall food security and sustainability. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has specific objectives for the year.


4. The Ebola crisis in Liberia seems to be easing and although there is still much work to be done, this is real progress that is seeing fewer new cases reported and even some schools planning to reopen in February.
Yet in Sierra Leone the crisis is still at epidemic levels. The Guardian has published some powerful photos of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown as the curfew leaves a city deserted.


5. As Chair of The Elders, Kofi Annan has delivered a 2015 New Year’s message. In his speech he talks about the importance of challenging our fears of change and supporting leaders who have the wisdom and vision to tackle the long term problems of the world. I particularly liked this bit:
“Looking back at the world’s most distinguished and respected leaders, it was never their ability to deliver tax cuts, impose strict immigration policies, or launch acts of armed aggression on other countries that earned our admiration. It was their wisdom, their integrity and their compassion for their fellow human beings.”
And Kofi Annan was also in the press this week with The Guardian reporting his comments about the importance of tackling depression and making this a global priority.


6. In its first briefing for 2015, Human Rights Watch has focused on the human rights crisis in Mexico where security forces are allegedly committing horrific abuses. HRW is lobbying the US President to take action in his negotiations with President Enrique Pena Nieto.


7. In Germany a new anti-Muslim movement, Pegida, is growing in membership. While the Germany government appears to have adopted a stance of ignoring the group, thousands of anti-Pegida protesters are coming out to give their support to refugees settled in Germany. It’s not often that the number of people protesting (the anti-Islam protestors) is outweighed by those protesting against the protestors (those in favour of human rights for all)!
The Guardian also has some great pictures of the demonstrations.


8. There is a movement in the UK, largely from Labour MP Ann Coffey, to change the wording in all UK legislation to remove the term ‘child prostitution’. She argues that this term implies that the child is making a choice to engage in prostitution.


9. And some local (Australian) inspiration for us all. I was very moved to see this story in The Guardian earlier this week. The City of Melbourne is issuing free passes to swimming pools and cinemas, along with a range of other measures, to homeless people so they can avoid the extreme heat.


10. Why Wont The War Stop!  This week we are finishing are Top 10 Stories with a wonderful story about a group of young people who are refugees at the Ajuong Thok Refugee Camp in South Sudan. 21 of these young people participated in a digital storytelling project where they were given smart phones and then asked to document their day to day life in the refugee camp. While the project has now ended, the group still meets regularly and have formed their own photojournalism club, calling themselves “The eyes and ears of Nuba”.
The favourite photos and stories of three of the young people are featured in this story.
Thanks for all your support over the past couple of weeks. We have had an amazing response to our ‘2014 Year in Review’ post and last week’s Top 10.
You can check out other WITADA content at our website (including ways that you might like to share some of your story) – www.witada.com.au – or leave some comments on our Facebook page.


Look forward to sharing more interesting and important stories with you all next week.