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 There will be many more SABEEN MAHMUDS to carry forward the fight against fascism

The killing by the assassins at Karachi of a democrat, liberal and secular activist Sabeen Mahmud, a dear friend, is a great loss to the fraternity which is fighting state terrorism, totalitarianism and religious bigotry in the Indian sub-continent. Sabeen, a prominent Pakistani social and human rights activist was shot while she was returning home with her mother after hosting an event on Balochistan’s “disappeared people”.

Sabeen, 40, was the director of T2F [The Second Floor], a café and arts space that has been a mainstay of Karachi’s activists since it opened its doors in 2007. She was one of the country’s most outspoken human rights advocates. According to reports she was shot four times at close range, with bullets going through her shoulder, chest and abdomen. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the National Medical Centre hospital in Karachi. Her mother was also shot twice and is fighting for her life.

abeen was an outspoken critic of the “disappearance” of thousands of innocent Balochis for resisting the inhuman policies of the Pakistan government towards the Balochis. Sabeen had been present at the opening of a discussion called “Unsilencing Balochistan,” hosted at T2F, where prominent Baloch rights activists Mama Qadeer, Farzana Majeed and Muhammad Ali Talpur had been speaking.
Qadeer and Majeed have long championed the cause of Balochistan’s “disappeared,” a term used to describe people who have been abducted in Balochistan, with their bodies often found years later. The Voice of Baloch Missing Persons organisation, which both activists belong to, says that more than 2,825 people have “disappeared” in this way since 2005. Sabeen was a moving spirit behind the campaign to unearth the truth behind these disappearances.

It is to be noted that “disappearances” or kidnappings by the state intelligence agencies is not confined to Pakistan only. In India’s Jammu and Kashmir more than 9000 young Kashmiris are believed to have been kidnapped by the state agencies in last three decades. They remain untraced even today. In Indian Punjab, thousands “disappeared” when police/military campaign was launched to cleanse Punjab of Sikh militancy. A noted crusader to find out the truth behind these disappearances, lawyer Jaswant Singh Khalra too disappeared on September 6, 1995 never to be found again.

Sabeen Mahmud was a sane voice against militarization in Pakistan and state terrorism. She was a brave young activist who dared to challenge the evil forces and did not care for her safety. She used to say that what would be the use of surviving when justice, liberty and democracy cease to exist. Those who hired killers believe that by physically liquidating individuals like Sabeen they can win. They can kill an individual but cannot kill ideas. There will be many more Sabeens to carry forward the fight against fascism.

Shamsul Islam

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World Health Organization

WHO concerned over critical health situation in Al-Hol camp, Al-Hasakeh

01 Feb. 2019, Damascus, Syria – The World Health Organization is extremely concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Al-Hol camp in Al-Hasakeh governorate, and calls on all parties to the conflict to provide unhindered humanitarian access to people in need of life-saving aid.

Over the last 2 months, approximately 23 000 people, mainly women and children fleeing hostilities in rural areas of neighbouring Deir-ez-Zor, have arrived in the camp. Many of them have walked or travelled in open trucks for several days and nights in the bitterly cold winter weather. Their journeys have been delayed en route by lengthy security screening procedures in an exposed field, and their ordeal has not ended on arrival to the camp. Thousands of new arrivals have been forced to spend several nights in the camp’s open-air reception and screening areas, without tents, blankets or heating. At least 29 children and newborns are reported to have died over the past 8 weeks, mainly from hypothermia, while travelling to the camp or shortly after arrival.

The situation in the camp is now critical. Its population has tripled in size (from 10 000 to almost 33 000 people) in less than 2 months. The authorities are overwhelmed and struggling to cope with the sheer numbers of people. Many new arrivals are malnourished and exhausted following years of deprivation living under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The camp is unheated and there are shortages of health care services, tents, latrines and sanitation facilities. Humanitarian access to the camp and surrounding roads is hampered by bureaucratic obstacles and security constraints.

Since the beginning of January, WHO has delivered over 35 000 treatment courses to support the work of 2 mobile clinics donated by WHO, as well as 4 mobile health teams currently operating in the camp. WHO-supported teams are working round the clock to screen new arrivals and refer them to hospitals when required. Severely malnourished children are being referred to a WHO-supported hospital in Al-Hasakeh.

WHO is also supporting the deployment of additional vaccination teams, setting up disease surveillance, and training camp volunteers on psychological first aid and basic counselling. Follow-up care is being arranged for all infants and health care workers are being trained on neonatal resuscitation and newborn care at home. The health sector has urged that ambulances and medical staff be placed on standby along the route to the camp and that buses be deployed to transport families, especially those with very young children.

”The situation in Al-Hol camp is heartbreaking. Children are dying from hypothermia as their families flee to safety. We are scaling up our efforts in Al Hol, but we need faster approvals to allow us deliver supplies, and we need guaranteed access to both the camp and the roads leading to it. We call on all parties to give us unhindered access so that we can reach these people and give them the help they desperately need,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria.

क्या यह ख़बर/ लेख आपको पसंद आया ? कृपया कमेंट बॉक्स में कमेंट भी करें और शेयर भी करें ताकि ज्यादा लोगों तक बात पहुंचे

कृपया हमारा यूट्यूब चैनल सब्सक्राइब करें

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