News in the Humanosphere: Tragic anniversary in Nigeria marks failure to ‘bring back our girls’

Screengrab from a Boko Haram video.

A year ago, hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria. This got the world’s attention, but most of the girls remain missing and the terrorist threat persists. “Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 2,000 women and girls since the beginning of last year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, a year on from the mass abduction of 219 Nigerian schoolgirls. The kidnapping of the teenagers from Chibok, in the northeastern state of Borno, on April 14 last year brought unprecedented world attention to the brutality of the insurgency. But the human rights group said it had documented 38 cases of abduction by the Islamists, based on testimony of dozens of eyewitnesses as well as women and girls who eventually escaped.” (Daily Mail http://dailym.ai/1zbgVPy )

CDC to open center in Africa
Secretary of State John Kerry signed an agreement Monday to help establish a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Africa. The memorandum of cooperation, signed by Kerry and African Union Commission (AUC) Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, makes formal the relationship between the United States CDC and AUC, and mandates the establishment of an African CDC. The new institute, set to launch in 2015, will work to prevent and respond to future outbreaks in the continent, like the Ebola epidemic.” (Time http://ti.me/1zbh9WX

Sudan’s sham elections
Our friends at the Nuba Reports have an inside take on “elections” that are meaningful only in because they are meaningless. Omar al-Bashir, wanted for genocide by the ICC, will win. “Voting booths across Sudan will be quiet today. Members of all opposition parties are refusing to participate in the vote, and activists are calling for a mass boycott of a “charade” election. Hassan Osman Rizig, deputy president of the opposition Reform Now Movement party, said: “We are not going to participate in this election because they are not fair and free. They are not recognised by the internal opposition or by the international community.” President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled for 26 years, is expected to win another landslide.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/1zbeBIq

Africa

West African civil society and human rights groups said the DRC has kept at least eight pro-democracy activists in secret detention for almost a month. (VOA http://bit.ly/1CI03jA)

The Malawian government said Monday it would help repatriate its citizens from South Africa following an outbreak of xenophobic violence in the eastern port city of Durban that has left four people dead. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1zbhuZM)

Around 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict in northeast Nigeria among Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defense groups. (UNICEF http://uni.cf/1Da7bZI)

As Sierra Leone prepares to reopen its schools after the Ebola outbreak, the government has announced a ban on pregnant girls attending class because it says they set a bad example. (VOA http://bit.ly/1DXn898)

MENA

ISIS now controls 60 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, and its residents are starving. (Vox http://bit.ly/1H12tQH)

Top U.S. administration officials are briefing lawmakers in an effort to persuade Congress to give the international community more time to secure a nuclear deal with Iran. (VOA http://bit.ly/1OsECM4)

One former Blackwater security contractor received a life sentence on Monday and three others received 30-year sentences for killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1JEfJug)

Tunisia’s coast guard and navy rescued 174 migrants from two boats that broke down as they headed from Libya to Italy. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1aKE8C3)

An investigation of American drone strikes in Yemen concludes that the Obama administration has not followed its own rules to avoid civilian casualties and is setting a dangerous example for other countries that want to use unmanned aircraft against terrorists. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1zbf2lK)

Asia

In a surprise move, Chinese authorities released five women’s rights activists whose detention had caused an international uproar. (WaPo http://wapo.st/1FOkkbQ)

The United States and Japan remain conspicuously absent among the more than 40 countries who have joined China in forming the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1IXYUcJ)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, which swept through Vanuatu in mid-March, has deepened hardships faced by people living in the informal settlements of the capital, Port Vila. (IPS http://bit.ly/1yoM2MO)

Americas

75 percent of prisoners in Bolivia are detained without criminal conviction and suffer from overcrowding of up to 500 percent. (El País http://bit.ly/1cpJMKZ; Spanish)

Women’s civil society groups in Brazil are working to take the lead on sustainable consumption ahead of the U.N.’s upcoming Sustainable Development Goals. (El País http://bit.ly/1FOsHUQ; Spanish)

Haiti has been unable to enact a revised mining law during President Martelly’s term, rendering a potential new source of revenue and jobs for impoverished island nation out of reach. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Dc4zKP)

A new bill in the legislature of the U.S. state of North Carolina would make it impossible for state medical schools to train residents to perform abortions. (Vox http://bit.ly/1CPX4Wz)

And the rest...

Angela Kane, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the world’s religious leaders, addressed the 2013 session of the Conference on Disarmament. (IPS http://bit.ly/1Nz9EFc, http://bit.ly/1JEfW0t

Opinion/blogs

He invented the term “asymmetric warfare.” And before that he was a diamond prospector in Sierra Leone. And before that he lived in Antarctica. More recently Andrew Mack founded the Human Security Report and he’s Mark’s guest on the Global Dispatches Podcast.  http://bit.ly/1zbfssp

Why are tyrants afraid of laughter? (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1DcGjIA)

The Golden Handshake: Background Rules and the Choice of Restoring Money or Doing Justice (Global Anticorruption Blog http://bit.ly/1aLnySB)

The mistakes made by most development reformers (Chris Blattman http://bit.ly/1NuQShZ)

After Global Protests, Kenyan Court Sentences 3 Men Who Raped Teen (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1IFTpTk)

Myanmar’s military: Judge, jury, executioner (Al Jazeera http://bit.ly/1GEzC62)

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.