Israel's Actions in East Jerusalem May Constitute a War Crime

On Tuesday, Israel did not even try to hide the fact that their plans to accelerate the construction of 2,000 housing units in East Jerusalem – an area considered as ‘occupied’ by the international community thus making the construction illegal – was in response to and part of a series of punishments to be meted out against the Palestinian Authority for their successful pursuit for full membership to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and pursuit for full recognition for the State of Palestine by the United Nations body itself.

What is significant as well, but I’m afraid being over-looked, is that the announcement also came just two days after the well-respected organization, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), submitted a major and precedent-setting report to three of the UN’s Special Rapporteurs claiming that Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem violate international law and may constitute a war crime and asking for an investigation into these practices.


Four days to more deportations from Europe to Iraq

On Wednesday 60 Iraqis were forcibly returned to Baghdad from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. Next Wednesday more asylum seekers will be flown back to a city where, according to the UNHCR, their lives will be in danger. Please take action now to stop these deportations!

Displaced Iraqis, whether inside or outside Iraq, are continuing to face great difficulties. The following short documentaries, created by Refugees International, show the dire circumstances under which Iraqi refugees live.

Khaled’s Story

Dispossessed: Iraq’s Squatter Settlements

Iraqi Refugees: The View from Syria

Desperately Needed Homes Sit Unused in Mississippi

Thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast are unable to exercise their right to return more than four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall because of a lack of affordable housing. In Mississippi, however, hundreds of federally funded modular homes like those pictured here sit unused because local jurisdictions are employing zoning ordinances that have a discriminatory impact on displaced residents.

© AI

© AI

After Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designed a program to build cottages that would initially be used as emergency housing, but could eventually be used as modular homes when placed on a permanent foundation. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) received over $270 million in federal funds to build these one, two and three bedroom homes. Although MEMA has built 2,800 of these “Mississippi cottages,” hundreds of them are sitting unused today despite a desperate need for affordable housing for those who are still displaced by the hurricanes.


The Worst Crisis You Won't Read About in the News

The DRC, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Sudan and Nicaragua–all these countries are in crisis right now. How do I know (beyond working at Amnesty International)? I can read about it in the news.

But there is at least one developing humanitarian crisis you won’t find in the New York Times:

More than 300,000 people have been displaced in Sri Lanka by fighting between the Tamil Tigers and government forces. And not only do they lack access to basic food and shelter, but the government is not allowing U.N. aid convoys to bring in desperately needed supplies.

The entire population of Birkenhead has basically been relocated  to the Wanni region of Sri Lanka, and now serve as a buffer–a human shield–between themselves and the government. The displaced don’t have shelters, and it’s monsoon season. They aren’t allowed to leave.

And why aren’t you hearing about it? Aid workers and journalists have been denied entry to the region. This video includes rare photos from the region just before access was cut off.

Amnesty International’s U.K. press office posted more yesterday on their blog.