Thursday, December 12, 2013
Magen David Adom donation stand thrown out of Knesset for discouraging Ethiopian MK from giving blood | JPost | Israel News
By LAHAV HARKOV
An MDA blood donation stand was removed from the Knesset on Wednesday after volunteers told MK Pnina Tamnu-Shata (Yesh Atid), the legislature’s first female Ethiopian member, that her blood would not be used.
“Today I received further proof that ‘equal rights’ for Ethiopians in Israel is a nice slogan that doesn’t exist in reality,” Tamnu-Shata said. “I contributed through my army service and as an MK, but apparently there is no equality when it comes to being a blood donor.”
Tamnu-Shata said she takes the issue personally, since she led the Ethiopian protest movement against MDA for not accepting their blood donations in 1997, when she was 16 years old. The Yesh Atid lawmaker was born in Ethiopia in 1981 and immigrated to Israel at age three.
“The time has come to put an end to this ugly phenomenon,” she said.
Originally, Tamnu-Shata was told she cannot donate blood because she is Ethiopian, but a manager clarified the policy soon after that she can do so, but her blood will be frozen.
MDA’s policy is not to take blood from people who were born or have lived for more than a year since 1977 in a country where HIV is prevalent, such as in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. They also do not take blood from people who lived in Great Britain for six consecutive months or more between 1980 and 1996.
However, “the number of HIV infections likely avoided from excluding Ethiopian-Israeli blood donors [is] at most 1 every 10 years,” Yale Professor of Public Health Edward H. Kaplan wrote in an email to The Jerusalem Post.
In 1998, Kaplan published a study in British medical journal The Lancet finding that 2.0 per 10,000 blood donations by Ethiopian Israelis would be infected.
MDA told Channel 2 they were just following procedures set by the Health Ministry, which they are not authorized to change.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein spoke to Tamnu-Shata and expressed shock and displeasure at the incident.
“I thought this was behind us, but now it turns out I was wrong. This unacceptable phenomenon that has no place in the Knesset,” Edelstein said, and told the MDA volunteers to leave the premises.
Several ministers and MKs called the Yesh Atid MK to express solidarity.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said that she hopes that something good will come out of the story and change the “racist and humiliating policy.”
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Saturday, December 7, 2013
Human rights activists Wednesday urged the US government to be more consistent in its approach toward repressive regimes, warning that muddled responses sent the wrong message to democracy campaigners.
America's over-arching focus on security concerns and the fight against terrorism is obscuring the need to hold governments accountable for rights abuses, activists said at the start of a two-day seminar organized by the Washington-based group Human Rights First.
One delegate, Nadine Wahab, said US policy after the coup in Egypt, including a partial freeze in military aid which has halted delivery of large weapons systems but does not bar other arms, was part of the problem.
"When funding... continues to go to the weapons that attack and create human rights violations, like tear gas and bullets, but you hold the F-16s, the message that's going to these governments and going to human rights defenders is that human rights is not important," said Wahab, an expert with the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
Wahab also challenged the US administration's policy of not cutting off all military aid to Egypt -- a decision based on the need to ensure the army can fight militants in the Sinai peninsula and help maintain regional stability -- after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first elected president, in July.
"One of the things that the United States really needs to do is look at its counter-terrorism narrative, look at how security is thought of within a domestic policy and an international policy and see whether security and stability is human rights? Or whether security and stability is guns and more weapons?" said Wahab.
UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, Maina Kiai, agreed saying the United States needed to treat all governments the same way.
"It's very difficult to understand why the US government treats Ethiopia when it attacks human rights defenders differently from how the US treats Zimbabwe. Or how the US treats Egypt as opposed to Bahrain," he said.
"Once you start seeing these differences they start sending a message across the world that actually the US wants to pick and choose where it wants to defend human rights."
Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of US aid in Africa, yet in 2009 it passed a law on non-government organizations which activists slammed as a bid by the government -- in power for 21 years -- to wipe out any civil society.
The legislation has largely passed without comment and US Secretary of State John Kerry made a high-profile visit to the country in May to attend an African Union summit.
The "US supporting a despotic government like the Ethiopian government is essentially creating destabilization in the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia," warned Yalemzewd Bekele Mulat, an Ethiopian lawyer and activist.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Ethiopian mom and baby killed in Springs
December 4 2013 at 08:43am
By MPILETSO MOTUMI
By MPILETSO MOTUMI
Johannesburg - A bullet to the head while she lay in the arms of her mother ended the life of baby Happy.
The 16-month-old infant was resting on her mother’s chest when they were both shot and killed in what is believed to be an attack on foreign nationals in Ekurhuleni townships.
The incident happened on Sunday night when Wangore Kebede took his family to Everest in Springs to collect a shipping container from which he operated his shop.
“He wanted to find a new place for it because people were complaining,” said Ramadan Ibro, interpreting for him.
His wife Vigist Chufamjo, baby daughter Happy and Vigist’s brother had left a church in Dunnottar, Springs, with Wangore in the afternoon to fetch the container.
Around 9pm, while the family was at the container, shots were fired at Wangore and his wife’s brother.
“It was dark and they could not see who was there, so they ran away,” said Ibro.
Once out of sight, the shooters turned to the bakkie that was parked on the other side of the container.
“His wife and child were sitting in the vehicle when they were gunned down,” said Ibro.
Vigist was shot in the chest and Happy in the head.
When Wangore returned to the bakkie, he rushed his family to hospital. Happy died on the way, while Vigist was declared dead on arrival.
On Sunday, friends and family gathered at a relative’s house in Dunnottar to mourn their loss.
The family are now trying to raise money to send the bodies back to Ethiopia for a proper burial. Kebede’s family believe the murders were related to recent attacks on foreign nationals in Ekurhuleni.
“We all used to stay in Duduza and tried to make ends meet. What will happen to us after this?” asked Yannas Solomon, one of the foreign businessmen who had been targeted. The Ethiopians have been living in Dunnottar for four months after being displaced from Duduza.
In August, a teenager was shot by a Somali businessman, resulting in attacks on all foreign-owned businesses in Duduza.
In October, the Johannesburg High Court ordered the Ekurhuleni municipality to address the plight of victims of xenophobic violence after Somali, Bangladeshi and Ethiopian communities in Duduza and surrounding townships suffered attacks between August and October.
The attacks resulted in around 200 shops being looted and 800 foreigners displaced.
Ayob Mungalee, of the People Seeking Justice Action Group, said they would be moving the foreign nationals back to Duduza in a week’s time.
“They are not aliens, they have documents and live peacefully,” he said.
Mungalee believes the attack is part of an ethnic cleansing where specific foreigners are targeted.
“We will not hesitate to protect their lives and properties,” he said.
Springs police spokesman Captain Paul Ntsane said a murder docket had been opened and investigations were continuing.
No arrests had been made.
Nine arrested in Ethiopian immigrant protest over poor living conditions - National Israel News | Haaretz
Few can afford to purchase an apartment, say organizers; several injured in clashes with police.
By Nir Hasson | Dec. 3, 2013 | 8:49 PM
A demonstration in Netanya about discrimination against the Ethiopian community, last year.Photo by Moti Milrod
THIS STORY IS BY
Hundreds of immigrants from Ethiopia demonstrated in Jerusalem on Tuesday against their poor housing conditions and the impossibility of purchasing an apartment. Nine protesters were arrested and several were injured in clashes with the police.
“More than 2,000 people are living in overcrowded conditions in immigrant absorption centers, some of them for more than a decade,” one of the demonstration organizers said.
The demonstrators, who gathered near the Knesset, blocked Kaplan Road for a few hours and Derech Yitzhak Rabin for a short time. They also protested against soaring housing prices, which made it impossible for them to buy an apartment. Due to the high prices, the state’s assistance to purchase housing was irrelevant, organizers said.
“Nobody gives us an official answer, nobody sees us,” one of the organizers, Spino Rata, said.
The State Comptroller’s Report published in May, which examined the state’s part in absorbing and integrating immigrants from Ethiopia, said the government had issued plans without budgeting for them and allocated duplicate funding for others. The report found lack of coordination among the ministries regarding the immigrants.
More than half − 51.7% − of families from Ethiopia and 65% of the children subsist below the poverty line, the report said. The government had arranged convenient mortgage terms for young families from Ethiopia, but over a period of four years only two families could afford to take out a mortgage, due to the high housing prices and interest rates. Although the officials in charge were aware of the situation, they did not change the terms, the comptroller found.
Also, in certain projects such as programs to prevent imprisoning soldiers, only part of the funds allocated had been used, the comptroller found.