The international labor union UITA held a press conference in
Tegucigalpa after reviewing labor conditions in Honduras. The union named the US company Delta Apparel as a culprit of committing human rights abuses. Last month Delta Apparel fired over 40 employees who were experiencing musculature injuries at one of Delta’s factories. The loss of employment with the company meant that the company relieved itself from covering health insurance for the fired workers and thus the workers were left without options for treating their conditions. The workers have begun a campaign to get their jobs back that is receiving international attention. The campaign has included protests outside of Delta Apparel’s factory.
Also receiving low ratings for labor rights was the Irish company Fyffes for “labor infringements.” The UITA is recommending that the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) suspend the membership of Fyffes for the violations.
Meeting for the first time since the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) met in Marrakesh in 2016, countries are meeting in Bonn, Germany beginning today to continue talks regarding the Paris Climate Agreement and to pick up where talks left off in December about addressing climate change.
Representatives from Climate Action Network (CAN) that operates in 120 countries and represents over 1000 civil society organizations gave a press conference on the first day of the international meeting.
Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator at CARE International talked about the more severe droughts in Africa contributing to famine, more heatwaves in India, and extreme rains in Peru and Montreal. Harmeling acknowledged the new parties that have ratified the agreement since Marrakesh but outlined deficiencies, “We know that ambitions that countries have put on the table in terms of mitigation actions and also financial support is not yet where we need to be.” Repeating concerns of other groups, he added that the level of action needs to match the level of urgency from impacts.
Brandon Wu, policy director from ActionAid US, highlighted that as uncertainty on the US’ position on the Paris Agreement continues, civil society groups urge the Trump administration to stay in the Agreement but it must also respect the spirit of the Agreement to meet the goals of Paris. “Even at the current scenario we don’t meet the goals of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees C and any move to scale down ambition will definitely not meet this goal- which is what Paris is all about,” he added. There has been a remarkable push from Governors and Mayors to keep the US in the Agreement, he added. This position differs from earlier COPs where civil society groups over time were growing weary of US inaction and turned away from the US as a climate leader and looked elsewhere for leadership.
Lucile Dufour, Climate Action Network France, spoke about the victory of Emmanuel Macron and the implications of this for climate action. “Although Macron didn’t make energy transition a priority during his campaign, he is unlikely to stop environment progress. Without a push from other leaders and civil society he will not increase ambition so we still have work ahead of us. He did say France will keep the lead in global climate progress. If he is to do this he needs to adopt climate policies to increase international solidarity and domestic policies to raise ambition.”
Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez has created a commission to investigate the possibility to lower the age for trying minor children as adults. The move has drawn condemnation from civil society groups.
Child rights defender Wilmer Vásquez criticized the president saying the proposal would be counterproductive.
Vásquez said that “more than 55 percent of violent deaths in Honduras are children and adolescents” and showed figures from the Violence Observatory that show that in many of those cases the violence is “at the hands of state security forces.”
Guadalipe Ruelas, Director of Casa Alianza, an organization that supports people who emigrate from Honduras said that the initiative was a “desperate act by Hernandez.”
And Omar Rivera, coordinator of the Association for a More Just Society,
calls for more social programs for children and teenagers.
The author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning us to Death Norman Solomon who is co-founder of RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy published his observations at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. The Air National Guard base is located next door and Solomon recorded the MQ-9 Reaper Drone – used in US warfare in the Middle East and Africa – take off and land at the commercial landing strip of the airport while pilots were training in its operation. Solomon wrote, “Officials say it’s the first time that the federal government has allowed military drones to utilize a commercial airport. It won’t be the last time.”