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Opinions: Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation; WFP In Somalia; Haiti’s Recovery; WHO’s Policy Role « » The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Opinions: Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation; WFP In Somalia; Haiti’s Recovery; WHO’s Policy Role

Discrimination Against Sexual Orientation Are ‘Backward Steps’ For Human Rights In Africa

In a Washington Post opinion piece, Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, speaks out against efforts to deny individuals “their fundamental rights and freedoms” based on their sexual orientation.

Tutu cites cases in Africa of imprisonment, attacks, denial of health services, and the anti-gay legislation being debated in Uganda, before writing, “Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear. And they are living in hiding – away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. … Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice” (3/12).

WFP Executive Director Responds To Somalia Food Aid Allegations In NYT Letter

In a New York Times letter to the editor, World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran responds to the recent coverage of a report that found as much as 50 percent of food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from those in need.

“The integrity of our agency is paramount, and we will cooperate with any independent inquiry into our work,” Sheeran writes. “In light of new concerns, we will suspend new work with the three transport contractors named in the report. This is not without consequence. Food deliveries for the hungry may be jeopardized. Staff may face even greater security risks given allegations hanging unanswered in the public sphere,” she concludes (3/11).

Two Months After Earthquake, Recovery Effort In Haiti Still Lacking

A New York Times editorial reflects on the recovery efforts underway in Haiti two months after the January earthquake struck, and asserts, “It’s not enough. Only half of those displaced have received even the crudest means of emergency shelter: plastic tarps and tents that will hardly protect them when floods start in earnest next month, and the hurricanes come in June. In hundreds of crowded settlements around the country, like the ones sheltering more than 600,000 in Port-au-Prince, food, water, medical care and security remain spotty.”

The piece examines the criticisms that the U.N.’s response to the disaster has been disorganized and the inability of “President Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive … to resume strong or even visible leadership.” The piece concludes, “Haiti should be able to count on American technical expertise, security and money, especially as energy shifts to rebuilding. Everyone should keep improving basic efforts to keep refugees safe and in good health. But, ultimately, it is the United Nations that must take responsibility to lead and coordinate the relief efforts” (3/11).

H1N1 Should Force Reevaluation Of WHO’s Policy Role, Says Forbes Commentary

Henry Miller, a former official at the FDA and NIH, examines the WHO’s response to the H1N1 (swine flu) virus in a Forbes commentary. “From the beginning the World Health Organization’s actions have ranged from the dubious to the flagrantly incompetent,” Miller writes before outlining the negative effects of the pandemic “false alarms.”

“The WHO’s dubious decisions demonstrate that its officials are too rigid or too incompetent (or both) to make needed adjustments in the pandemic warning system – deficiencies we have come to expect from an organization that is scientifically challenged, self-important and unaccountable. The WHO may be able to perform and report worldwide surveillance – i.e., count numbers of cases and fatalities – but its policy role should be drastically limited. … When it comes to pestilence, the U.N. may be the greatest plague of all,” Miller writes (3/11).