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News in the Humanosphere: U.N. approves Sri Lanka war crimes investigation resolution

Tamil Protesters, Parliament Square (Credit: Jessica Mulley/flickr)

The United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution to investigate war crimes committed during the Sri Lankan civil war. “The U.N. human rights office said it was an ‘historic opportunity’ for Sri Lanka to address the grave human rights violations and abuses that its people suffered, at the hands of both the LTTE (Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam) and the government, during the conflict and in its immediate aftermath.” (Reuters

Human rights groups react to the resolution
“The adoption of this resolution is a turning point for human rights in Sri Lanka, and crucially recognizes terrible crimes committed by both parties during the armed conflict. Although far from perfect, if the resolution and the underlying commitments of Sri Lanka’s government are implemented in good faith it presents an opportunity for victims to finally get the truth and justice they have been waiting for,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia research director.

More background
U.N. resolution may not offer justice for Sri Lanka’s war victims (Humanosphere

Potential malaria breakthrough
Scientists have identified specific genetic variations that protect some African children from developing severe malaria and say their discovery will boost the fight against a disease that kills around half a million children a year. (Reuters

Refugee stat of the day
The U.N. refugee agency expects at least 1.4 million refugees to flee to Europe across the Mediterranean this year and next, according to a document seen by Reuters on Thursday, a sharp rise from initial estimates of 850,000. (Reuters


The interim leader of the Central African Republic has accused those behind a surge in deadly violence in the capital Bangui of plotting a coup. (AFP

Aid agencies in the Central African Republic were struggling on Thursday to treat the wounded and distribute aid after days of renewed fighting in the capital Bangui which U.N. agencies said had killed at least 40 people and injured more than 100. (Reuters

The former leader of a short-lived coup in Burkina Faso, General Gilbert Diendere, was handed over to transitional authorities on Thursday after seeking refuge in the Vatican embassy, judicial, military and government sources said on Thursday. (Reuters

At least 1,600 people have been killed in the Boko Haram conflict since the start of June, taking the civilian death toll to some 3,500 this year, according to Amnesty International. (AFP

Burundi’s president said those in possession of illegal arms have a month to relinquish them and that authorities will hold to account the “few” security officials behind cases of killings and torture. (Reuters

France’s former energy minister hopes to raise $3 billion from Western donors by next year to help cash-strapped African nations fund renewable energy projects, in a bid to tackle pollution and spur development. (Reuters


The death toll in the Saudi hajj disaster rose sharply Thursday as Iran announced 465 of its pilgrims died in last week’s stampede and crush, nearly doubling its earlier count and likely further straining relations between the two Mideast rivals. (AP


Sri Lanka signaled on Thursday it aims to establish a credible judicial process involving foreign judges and prosecutors to investigate alleged war crimes during its long conflict with Tamil rebels, in line with U.N. recommendations. (Reuters

The Philippines has suffered numerous disasters from its mining industry over the decades, creating a legacy of health problems that continue to the present day. Now there is a proposal to reopen one foreign-owned mine with a checkered history, and the backlash from activists who are trying to stop it. (VOA

The foreign minister and the people of the Marshall Islands were honored Thursday for taking legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honor disarmament obligations. (AP

Many Nepalese believe that India has been retaliating against their government since Sept. 20, when it approved a new constitution seen by India as discriminatory to an ethnic Indian community – the Madhesi – living in Nepal’s border districts. (AP

The Americas

Twice-ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide urged thousands of supporters gathered outside his house Wednesday to vote for the presidential candidate of the political faction he founded years ago. (AP

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said that if he’s elected president he would send back Syrian refugees taken in by the U.S. because they may be Islamic State militants in disguise. (AP

Puerto Rico has implemented a new tax that will drive up prices of professional services as islanders struggle through a worsening economic crisis. (AP

A sudden about-face by the U.S. State Department has left tens of thousands of highly skilled immigrants unable to apply to become legal permanent residents as they had expected to on Thursday, even though many have already paid expensive legal and medical fees to get their applications ready, according to a new lawsuit. (AP

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday rejected the Caribbean’s push for slavery reparations during his first official visit to Jamaica, a once-profitable British colony that became independent just more than 50 years ago. (VOA

…and the rest

The U.N. refugee agency said Thursday it expects 700,000 migrants and refugees to reach Europe via the Mediterranean this year and projected at least the same amount again in 2016. (AFP

Some 200 Syrian and Afghan refugees clashed in a crowded German refugee center in Hamburg overnight, leaving four people injured in the third such riot this week, police said Thursday. (AFP

At least 10 million of the world’s poorest people are set to go hungry this year because of failing crops caused by one of the strongest El Niño climatic events on record, Oxfam has warned. (Guardian

A global partnership to improve the collection of data needed to achieve the sustainable development goals was launched with much fanfare in New York this week. (Guardian

Germany took in more than 200,000 migrants in September, politicians said on Thursday, a new record which is likely to fuel the debate about how many newcomers Europe’s most populous country can absorb. (Reuters


Meet 3 badass girl activists from Nigeria, Guatemala and Bulgaria (Humanosphere

Why African Energy Choices Need to Be Low Carbon – for the Africa’s Own Sake (The Conversation

Is Burkina Faso’s elite guard still a threat? (IRIN

Ebola is all but over, but the postmortem is just getting started (Guardian

What are the causes of C.Africa bloodshed? (AFP

Burundi is burning – help us put out the fire before it’s too late (Guardian

The humanitarian caste system? (IRIN

Emergency aid is not enough: five ways to actually help refugees (ODI

Is your ‘emerging market’ securely fashionable? (Public Spheres

What We Know about the First Islamic Extremist at the ICC (Justice in Conflict

Why We Should Be Excited About SDG 16 (Global Anticorruption Blog


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