country:ivory coast

  • ’I had pain all over my body’: Italy’s tainted tobacco industry

    Three of the world’s largest tobacco manufacturers, #Philip_Morris, #British_American_Tobacco and #Imperial_Brands, are buying leaves that could have been picked by exploited African migrants working in Italy’s multi-million euro industry.

    Workers including children, said they were forced to work up to 12 hours a day without contracts or sufficient health and safety equipment in Campania, a region that produces more than a third of Italy’s tobacco. Some workers said they were paid about three euros an hour.

    The Guardian investigation into Italy’s tobacco industry, which spanned three years, is believed to be the first in Europe to examine the supply chain.

    Italy’s tobacco market is dominated by the three multinational manufacturers, all of whom buy from local producers. According to an internal report by the farmers’ organisation ONT Italia, seen by the Guardian and confirmed by a document from the European Leaf Tobacco Interbranch, the companies bought three-fifths of Italian tobacco in 2017. Philip Morris alone purchased 21,000 tons of the 50,000 tons harvested that year.

    The multinationals all said they buy from suppliers who operate under a strict code of conduct to ensure fair treatment of workers. Philip Morris said it had not come across any abuse. Imperial and British American said they would investigate any complaints brought to their attention.

    Italy is the EU’s leading tobacco producer. In 2017, the industry was worth €149m (£131m).

    Despite there being a complex system of guarantees and safeguards in place for tobacco workers, more than 20 asylum seekers who spoke to the Guardian, including 10 who had worked in the tobacco fields during the 2018 season, reported rights violations and a lack of safety equipment.

    The interviewees said they had no employment contracts, were paid wages below legal standards, and had to work up to 12 work hours a day. They also said they had no access to clean water, and suffered verbal abuse and racial discrimination from bosses. Two interviewees were underage and employed in hazardous work.

    Didier, born and raised in Ivory Coast, arrived in Italy via Libya. He recently turned 18, but was 17 when, last spring, a tobacco grower in Capua Vetere, near the city of Caserta, offered him work in his fields. “I woke up at 4am. We started at 6am,” he said. “The work was exhausting. It was really hot inside the greenhouse and we had no contracts.”

    Alex, from Ghana, another minor who worked in the same area, said he was forced to work 10 to 12 hours a day. “If you are tired or not, you are supposed to work”, otherwise “you lose your job”.

    Workers complained of having to work without a break until lunchtime.

    Alex said he wasn’t given gloves or work clothes to protect him from the nicotine contained in the leaves, or from pesticides. He also said that when he worked without gloves he felt “some sickness like fever, like malaria, or headaches”.

    Moisture on a tobacco leaf from dew or rain may contain as much nicotine as the content of six cigarettes, one study found. Direct contact can lead to nicotine poisoning.

    Most of the migrants said they had worked without gloves. Low wages prevented them from buying their own.

    At the end of the working day, said Sekou, 27, from Guinea, who has worked in the tobacco fields since 2016: “I could not get my hands in the water to take a shower because my hands were cut”.

    Olivier added: “I had pain all over my body, especially on my hands. I had to take painkillers every day.”

    The migrants said they were usually hired on roundabouts along the main roads through Caserta province.

    Workers who spoke to the Guardian said they didn’t have contracts and were paid half the minimum wage. Most earned between €20 and €30 a day, rather than the minimum of €42.

    Thomas, from Ghana, said: “I worked last year in the tobacco fields near Cancello, a village near Caserta. They paid me €3 per hour. The work was terrible and we had no contracts”.

    The Guardian found African workers who were paid €3 an hour, while Albanians, Romanians or Italians, were paid almost double.

    “I worked with Albanians. They paid the Albanians €50 a day,” (€5 an hour), says Didier. “They paid me €3 per hour. That’s why I asked them for a raise. But when I did, they never called back.”

    Tammaro Della Corte, leader of the General Confederation of Italian Workers labour union in Caserta, said: “Unfortunately, the reality of the work conditions in the agricultural sector in the province of Caserta, including the tobacco industry, is marked by a deep labour exploitation, low wages, illegal contracts and an impressive presence of the caporalato [illegal hiring], including extortion and blackmailing of the workers.

    “We speak to thousands of workers who work in extreme conditions, the majority of whom are immigrants from eastern Europe, north Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. A large part of the entire supply chain of the tobacco sector is marked by extreme and alarming working conditions.”

    Between 405,000 and 500,000 migrants work in Italy’s agricultural sector, about half the total workforce. According to the Placido Rizzotto Observatory, which investigates worker conditions in the agricultural sector, 80% of those working without contracts are migrants.

    Multinational tobacco companies have invested billions of euros in the industry in Italy. Philip Morris alone has invested €1bn over the past five years and has investment plans on the same scale for the next two years. In 2016, the company invested €500m to open a factory near Bologna to manufacture smokeless cigarettes. A year later, another €500m investment was announced to expand production capacity at the factory.

    British American Tobacco declared investments in Italy of €1bn between 2015 and 2019.

    Companies have signed agreements with the agriculture ministry and farmers’ associations.

    Since 2011, Philip Morris, which buys the majority of tobacco in Campania, has signed agreements to purchase tobacco directly from ONT Italia.

    Philip Morris buys roughly 70% of the Burley tobacco variety produced in Campania. Approximately 900 farmers work for companies who supply to Philip Morris.

    In 2018, Burley and Virginia Bright varieties constituted 90% of Italian tobacco production. About 15,000 tons of the 16,000 tons of Italian Burley are harvested in Campania.

    In 2015, Philip Morris signed a deal with Coldiretti, the main association of entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector, to buy 21,000 tons of tobacco a year from Italian farmers, by investing €500m, until 2020.

    Gennarino Masiello, president of Coldiretti Campania and national vice-president, said the deal included a “strong commitment to respect the rights of employees, banning phenomena like caporalato and child labour”.

    Steps have been taken to improve workers’ conditions in the tobacco industry.

    A deal agreed last year between the Organizzazione Interprofessionale Tabacco Italia (OITI), a farmers’ organisation, and the ministry of agriculture resulted in the introduction of a code of practice in the tobacco industry, including protecting the health of workers, and a national strategy to reduce the environmental impact.

    But last year, the OITI was forced to acknowledge that “workplace abuses often have systemic causes” and that “long-term solutions to address these issues require the serious and lasting commitment of all the players in the supply chain, together with that of the government and other parties involved”.

    Despite the code, the migrants interviewed reported no change in their working conditions.

    In 2017, Philip Morris signed an agreement with the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) to hire 20 migrants as trainees within the Campania tobacco producing companies, to “support their exit from situations of serious exploitation”. Migrants on the six-month trainee scheme receive a monthly salary of €600 from Philip Morris.

    But the scheme appears to have little impact.

    Kofi, Sekou and Hassan were among 20 migrants hired under the agreement. Two of them said their duties and treatment were no different from other workers. At the end of the six months, Sekou said he was not hired regularly, but continued to work with no contract and low wages, in the same company that signed the agreement with Philip Morris.

    “If I didn’t go to work they wouldn’t pay me. I was sick, they wouldn’t pay me,” he said.

    In a statement, Huub Savelkouls, chief sustainability officer at Philip Morris International, said the company is committed to ensuring safety and fair conditions in its supply chain and had not come across the issues raised.

    “Working with the independent, not-for-profit organisation, Verité, we developed PMI’s Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) code that currently reaches more than 350,000 farms worldwide. Farmers supplying PMI in Italy are contractually bound to respect the standards of the ALP code. They receive training and field teams conduct farm visits twice a month to monitor adherence to the ALP code,” he said.

    “Recognising the complex situation with migrant workers in Italian agriculture, PMI has taken supplementary steps to gain more visibility and prevent potential issues through a mechanism that provides direct channels for workers to raise concerns, specifically funding an independent helpline and direct engagement programme with farm workers.”

    On the IOM scheme, he said: “This work has been recognised by stakeholders and elements are being considered for continued action.”

    Simon Cleverly, group head of corporate affairs at British American Tobacco, said: “We recognise that agricultural supply chains and global business operations, by their nature, can present significant rights risks and we have robust policies and process in place to ensure these risks are minimised. Our supplier code of conduct sets out the minimum contractual standards we expect of all our suppliers worldwide, and specifically requires suppliers to ensure that their operations are free from unlawful migrant labour. This code also requires suppliers to provide all workers, including legal migrant workers, with fair wages and benefits, which comply with applicable minimum wage legislation. To support compliance, we have due diligence in place for all our third-party suppliers, including the industry-wide sustainable tobacco programme (STP).”

    He added: “Where we are made aware of alleged human rights abuses, via STP, our whistleblowing procedure or by any other channel, we investigate and where needed, take remedial action.”

    Simon Evans, group media relations manager at Imperial Tobacco, said: “Through the industry-wide sustainable tobacco programme we work with all of our tobacco suppliers to address good agricultural practices, improve labour practices and protect the environment. We purchase a very small amount of tobacco from the Campania region via a local third party supplier, with whom we are working to understand and resolve any issues.”

    ONT said technicians visited tobacco producers at least once a month to monitor compliance with contract and production regulations. It said it would not tolerate any kind of labour exploitation and would follow up the Guardian investigation.

    “If they [the abuses] happen to be attributable to farms associated with ONT, we will take the necessary measures, not only for the violation of the law, but above all to protect all our members who operate with total honesty and transparency.”
    #tabac #industrie_du_tabac #exploitation #travail #migrations #Caserta #Italie #néo-esclavagisme #Pouilles #Campania

    ping @albertocampiphoto @marty @reka @isskein

  • 79 percent of right-wingers believe Jews are the chosen people. Are you for real ?
    Whereas belief in God is a private matter, the belief in a chosen people provides the outlines of policy that explains a great deal about Israel’s actions. When they say that they are the chosen people, it reveals their psychosis
    Gideon Levy - Sep 15, 2018 11:28 PM

    File Photo: An Ultra-Orthodox man looks at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Credit : RONEN ZVULUN/Reuters

    I would like to meet representatives of that absolute, decisive, arrogant and patronizing majority reflected in a recent Haaretz poll and ask them: Are you guys for real? How did you come up with that? On whose say-so? Are you, the absolute majority, so sure that we are the chosen, the very best, that we are the champions, head and shoulders above the rest?

    How did you come to this conclusion? I’d like to ask you, dear majority: On what basis are you convinced that we are the chosen people, that we know everything better than all the other nations; that we deserve more than everyone else; that what applies to them does not apply to us, because we are superior.

    This is how a majority of Israeli Jews responded in the Haaretz-Dialog poll published last week: We are a chosen people. A majority, 56 percent, are sure of this. The figure rises to 79 percent, an overwhelming majority, among self-identified right-wingers. In a country where 76 percent of people believe in God or another higher power, perhaps that is obvious. But whereas belief in God is a private matter, the belief in a chosen people provides the outlines of policy that explains a great deal about Israel’s actions.

    Credit : Haaretz

    Let’s turn from theology to pathology. The Israeli Jews who think they belong to a chosen and select people owe an accounting to themselves and to others. It’s easy to declare that God does or doesn’t exist. No one is expecting evidence, but when the majority of a nation is convinced that it is superior to all other nations, some evidence is necessary. In Israel’s case, it’s easy to prove that it’s a case of detachment from reality, a dangerous delusion. In any event, a people that is convinced that it is chosen poses a danger to itself and its surroundings.

    The Jewish people is indeed special, with a glorious and bloody history. Israeli Jews, too, have cause for pride. But when they say that they are the chosen people, it reveals their psychosis. It’s doubtful that any other nation thinks that of itself today. Israeli Jews have no grounds to think this either. In what way are we chosen? In what way are we better? And what is the Swede, the French person, the American, the Briton or the Arab supposed to think about this insufferable arrogance?

    There’s no need to elaborate on Israel’s questionable morality as an occupier. Any Israeli with even a modicum of self-awareness recognizes that an occupying nation cannot be the chosen people. Nor would a bit of humility hurt when it comes to a few other characteristics of the people of Israel, before it crowns itself a light unto the nations. I recommend, for example, reading the comprehensive, horrifying analysis in Haaretz by Dan Ben-David of the country’s education system, which did not prompt the necessary outcry. Half of Israel’s children receive a Third World education.

    A little modesty would also become the citizens of a state that ranks 87th in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, below Togo and the Ivory Coast. Nor is No. 32 on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index something to celebrate. Health care is yet another area where Israel’s self-esteem should be curbed: The country ranks 28th in health-care spending, of the 36 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states, and 30th in the number of hospital beds.

    The behavior of Israeli tourists abroad is also not always befitting a chosen people. Perhaps Israel ranks high on an index of German submarine purchases, and maybe that’s the key to understanding the sense of superiority.

    Basking in self-glorification has recently become a salient characteristic of Israel’s national character. Just regularly read the Israel Hayom daily or listen to the prime minister: How lovely we are from morning to night.

    The right spreads this lie, for its own purposes. Sycophantic populism thrives not only in Israel, but it is only here that the disparity between dream and reality is so great. A chosen people? If only it were finally like all the other nations.

  • Center for International Earth Science Information Network

    The High Resolution Settlement Layer (HRSL) provides estimates of human population distribution at a resolution of 1 arc-second (approximately 30m) for the year 2015. The population estimates are based on recent census data and high-resolution (0.5m) satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe. The population grids provide detailed delineation of settlements in both urban and rural areas, which is useful for many research areas—from disaster response and humanitarian planning to the development of communications infrastructure. The settlement extent data were developed by the Connectivity Lab at Facebook using computer vision techniques to classify blocks of optical satellite data as settled (containing buildings) or not. CIESIN used proportional allocation to distribute population data from subnational census data to the settlement extents. The population data have been developed for 18 countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ghana, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda. Read more about the project here.

    ici une image de Cape Town :

    #population #urban_matter #datasource #cartographie


    In November, 13 500 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, 27% fewer than a year ago.

    The total number of migrants detected on these routes in the first eleven months of this year fell by 62% to around 186 500 from the same period in 2016.

    Central Mediterranean

    The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in November fell by a tenth from the previous month to 5 300 due to worse weather conditions, following a usual seasonal pattern.

    The total number of arrivals for the first 11 months of 2017 dropped by a third to around 116 400 compared to the same period of last year. Nigerians made up the largest number of irregular migrants coming to Italy so far this year, accounting for one of every seven arrivals. They were followed by nationals of Guinea, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh.

    Western Mediterranean

    Spain continued to see a high number of irregular migrants, with 3 900 arriving in November, more than three times the figure from a year ago. This was also the highest monthly number of migrants detected on this route since Frontex began collecting data in 2009.

    More than half of the migrants were nationals of Algeria and Morocco, whose numbers have been on the rise since the middle of this year. Most of the remaining migrants on this route come from Western Africa.

    Between January and November, there were more than 21 100 detections of irregular border crossing in the Western Mediterranean region, up 140% from the same period of last year.

  • Chocolate industry drives rainforest disaster in Ivory Coast | Environment | The Guardian

    The world’s chocolate industry is driving deforestation on a devastating scale in West Africa, the Guardian can reveal.

    Cocoa traders who sell to Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez and other big brands buy beans grown illegally inside protected areas in the Ivory Coast, where rainforest cover has been reduced by more than 80% since 1960.

    Illegal product is mixed in with “clean” beans in the supply chain, meaning that Mars bars, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Milka bars could all be tainted with “dirty” cocoa. As much as 40% of the world’s cocoa comes from Ivory Coast.

    #cacao #déforestation

  • Punish the smuggler or reward the smuggler? Recent refugee arrivals in Greece

    Media coverage of the refugee situation in Greece focuses heavily on the Syrians and secondarily on Afghans and Iraqis. While these are indeed the three most highly represented nationalities among asylum seekers in Greece, the past six to twelve months have seen a gradual shift.

    Fast forward to 2017, taking the period from 10 May to 27 June 2017, a total of 982 asylum seekers reached the island of Lesvos. The top nationalities were: DRC (202), Syria (160), Iraq (116), Afghanistan (61). The rest were from Iran, Kuwait (Bidoon), Palestine, Guinea, Eritrea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Yemen, Togo, Gambia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Sudan and Nigeria. One person each came from Bolivia, Cuba, South Africa, Haiti and Uganda. Similar trends are noted on the other islands which act as the entry point to Greece.

    Those of us acquainted with Moria reception and identification centre in Lesvos have noticed the nationality change among the new arrivals over the last two years: many more Africans and less Arabs. Groups of Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans are still coming grouped together, while Africans from different nationalities arrive in different groups with other nationalities. The smuggling fees vary according to nationality.

    One may wonder why people from Africa, whether northern or sub-Sahara, take the route to Europe through Greece, rather than the intuitively more direct route to Italy or Spain. A look at flight routes and visa regimes provides the answer. One may reach the Greek islands from as far away as central Africa, using Turkish Airlines, a Turkish visa and a smuggler picked at Istanbul airport or the Aegean coast, for less than 1,500 dollars total.

    Turkish Airlines has 200 destinations worldwide and at reasonable prices. For example, one way flight from Kinshasa to Istanbul costs 833 dollars, Abidjan to Istanbul, 709 dollars and Casablanca to Istanbul 458 dollars.

    Secondly, visas for Turkey are generally easily obtained. From the nationalities arriving in Lesvos in June, all except Cubans and Palestinians, depending on where they were registered, are exempt from any visa requirement or need only an electronic visa, easily obtained online for the cost of 20 dollars.

    Eritreans are often rejected asylum seekers from Israel, deported to Rwanda with cash, which they use to escape again through the Aegean route. Women from the Dominican Republic are usually trafficked to Turkey and once they manage to escape to Greece, seek assistance to return to their country. Citizens of sub-Saharan Africa come from a number of conflicts in the region, both internal and cross-border, including purges in the DRC and the Boko Haram. North Africans face chronic instability in their countries.

    #Grèce #mer_Egée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #parcours_migratoires #Turquie #routes_migratoires #Afrique #réfugiés_syriens #Turkish_airlines #visas #réfugiés_érythtréens

  • Debunking myths about why people migrate across the Mediterranean

    The myth of ‘destination Europe’

    Many people we interviewed did not even know anything about the EU prior to their arrival. Far from planning his journey with Europe as a destination point, one man from the Ivory Coast told us when we spoke to him in Sicily:

    My idea was not to reach Italy. I didn’t know Italy if not for the football. I never thought to come in Europe, because here I have not family. My family is only in Ivory Coast and Burkina. But is my family who pushed me to go to Mali. In Mali there was a war, then I moved to Algeria, otherwise I would have stayed there. I wasn’t lucky enough to stay in Algeria, if not I would have to stay there. I didn’t want to go in Libya, the situation is too crazy to go there. It [was] really hard … to stay in Libya … all these circumstances pushed me to reach here.

    Such unsustainable living situations were reported by many people who travelled to. In Rome, we interviewed a Palestinian-Syrian refugee who had been born in Libya. He told us:

    At first I didn’t want to come to Europe, I wanted to go to another Arabic country. I thought about doing some business in Libya, but then I discovered that there is no security, I can’t be free over there. There is always danger, for everybody. I have discovered a different reality from what I initially imagined in Libya. They treat everyone like slaves.

    This man’s testimony resonates with recent reports of people being sold as slaves or prostitutes in Libya. Even those people aiming to set up a new life in Turkey reported problems in their journeys that drove them to move on. As an Afghan man told us when we spoke to him in Athens:

    I didn’t care about borders. All I cared about was to save my life, seriously. I thought I could find a safe place and find work and that’s all. Maybe in Turkey. Turkey is a good place. But if they find you are illegal in Turkey they will deport you back to Kabul. This is the reason I came here [to Europe].

    #migration #migrants #Europe


    Je ne connaissais pas (aussi ce lien :

    cc @cdb_77

    EXODI is an interactive web map built upon testimonies of 1,000 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa that were collected in nearly three years of activity (2014-2016) by the operators and volunteers of Medici per i Diritti Umani/Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU).They are part of those 730 thousand men, women and children landed on Italian shores in the last 15 years, of which more than half in the last 32 months. The map describes in the simplest and detailed way the Migratory Routes from Sub-Saharan Countries to Italy, the difficulties, the violence, the tragedy and hopes encountered during the trip by the protagonists. This map is addressed to all those who want to understand and deepen the human experience marking our time. In this sense, EXODI is not only a map showing the stages and paths, as well as a report with data and statistics, but above all, a testimony that describes life stories. It is an interactive and in progress web map that will be periodically updated with new testimonies gathered from all those who will share the story of their own journey. The information was collected in Sicily (in the Centres of Special Reception for Asylum Seekers/CAS of Ragusa and in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers/CARA of Mineo) and in Rome (in informal reception centres and at Medu Psychè Centre for rehabilitation of victims of torture). Testimonials were also collected in Ventimiglia and Egypt, specifically in Aswan and Cairo. In all these places Medu’s work guarantees social and health support to migrants, first medical assistance as well as medical and psychological rehabilitation services for victims of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Through updated data EXODI aims also to describe the physical and mental consequences of the journey on the health of an entire generation of young Africans; a journey in which, as a witness said, “you are no longer considered as a human being”.

    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #circulations #itinéraires

  • Drogbacité

    My candidate for the best thing ever posted on the internet – an object that may single-handedly justify the existence of social media – is this clip of #Didier_Drogba, along with his wife and two friends, watching the final of the 2015 African Cup of Nations. The game pitted the Ivory Coast against Ghana […]

    #SPORTS_PAGE #Cote_d'Ivoire

  • Rejected Asylum Seeker Languishing in Israeli Prison for Past Decade

    Israel tried to deport the man back to the Ivory Coast after rejecting his asylum request, but he refused citing fear for his life. Now he appealed anew to a court for his release.

    #détention_administrative #rétention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Israël

  • Violent Pirate Attacks Increase in Gulf of Guinea Despite Global Downturn, IMB Says - gCaptain

    While piracy on the high seas continues to fall across most of the globe, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Center is highlight growing threat of violent attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa, where 44 seafarers have been captured so far this year.

    Worldwide, just 37 piracy and armed robbery incidents were recorder in the three months of 2016, down from 54 in the same period last year, the IMB said in it’s first quarter report. Three vessels were hijacked and 29 boarded, with 26 crew kidnapped for ransom and a further 28 held hostage.

    The Gulf of Guinea dominates world piracy in terms of numbers and severity, with the waters off Nigeria and Ivory Coast accounting for two of the three hijackings recorded globally, and all 28 hostages. From January to March, the region saw 16 crew kidnapped from chemical and product tankers in four separate incidents. While ten attacks were reported off Nigeria alone, all involving guns.

    Reports in the last quarter indicate unacceptable violence against ships and crews in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly around Nigeria. The current increase in kidnappings is a cause for great concern,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, who has monitored world piracy since 1991.

    #piraterie #Golfe_de_Guinée

  • 1.2 billion opportunities | The Economist

    FOR A LOOK at the African boom at its peak, do as a multitude of foreign investors have done and fly into Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. Visitors arrive in an air-conditioned hall where a French-style café sells beers, snacks and magazines. There is advertising everywhere, for mobile-phone companies, first-class airline tickets and a new Burger King. The taxi into the city smoothly crosses over a six-lane toll bridge. On the way to the Plateau, the city’s commercial core, cranes, new buildings and billboards jostle for space on the skyline. In the lagoon, red earth piles up where yet another new bridge is under construction.

    Just five years ago, Ivory Coast seemed like a lost cause. Having been defeated in an election at the end of 2010, the then president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to leave office. The victorious opposition leader and now president, Alassane Ouattara, mounted a military offensive to force Mr Gbagbo out. French troops seized the airport to evacuate their citizens (the country used to be a French colony). Protesters were gunned down by troops, foreign businesses were looted and human-rights activists gave warning about mass graves being dug.

    #afrique #économie #développement

  • New French “Pentagon”: The Male Architect and His Military Toy

    “Last November was inaugurated in South Paris the new building of France’s Ministry of Defense, immediately nicknamed “Pentagon” by journalists for its massiveness and its imperial iconography (something that the journalists did not seem to mind). The list of problematic points regarding this new building is long and, despite the fact that some of them are specific to France, I have no doubt that it can stand as an example of many other similar buildings in the world.

    The first of these problematic point has to do with the building’s function, of course, since it hosts the national military headquarters. Although we can see how delusional are France’s successive Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs when they think of their country like an indispensable actor in world’s geopolitics, its army remains an important interventionist force currently deployed in nine countries (Chad, Mali, Central African Republic, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, UAE, Gabon, Senegal). Eight of these countries are former French colonies, and the army is also deployed in the ultra marine departments and territories that never accessed to independence. Of course, the architect as no agency over military decisions, but just like for any other building’s program, he — I will consistently use “he” and “his” in this article for reasons that are made obvious in the title — necessarily contributes to the political agenda of the individual or collective form for which he designs.

    The second point concerns the budget allocated to the building’s construction: more than one billion of euros. Of course, comparisons of national-scale infrastructure with the multitude of individual economic struggles are easy to make and sometimes, lack of rigor, but when it comes to a building designed to accommodate the military headquarters of a warrior country, this type of comparison certainly leads us to perceive this country’s priorities — in April 2012, the city of Paris also sued the construction permit that prevented the municipality to build social housing instead. Moreover, part of the reason this budget is so high may be because of the crooked partnership between the French State and the construction company Bouygues Construction whose owner is no-one else than billionnaire Martin Bouygues, good friend of Nicolas Sarkozy, then President of France when the bill was won. The profits made by Bouygues and its partners are massive, since the public-private partnership make the State only the tenant of this space, not the owner. Beyond the likely corruption that is currently under judicial investigation, the precise item billing may be indicative of how profits are also made in aggregate details: electric plugs billed for 1,000 EUR each, printers setup for 13,000 EUR, a door being changed from one opening direction to another, billed for 2,000 EUR. This kind of overpriced agreements remind one of the many judicial investigations in which Sarkozy is currently subjected, when his 2012 presidential campaign was billed for overpriced events (some of which never actually occurred) by a friend’s company.”

  • African migrants in Russia describe ’hell on Earth’ - LA Times

    First they spat angry words at Remy Bazie. Then they struck him in the face with an iron bar, knocking him unconscious.

    The men who jumped the Ivory Coast migrant at a crowded Moscow train station last November did not rob him. But they damaged his jaw to the degree that doctors had to install a metal plate to hold it in place. It took Bazie four months to raise the $3,600 to undergo surgery.

    “Most of the time I’m harassed, but this was the worst experience,” Bazie, 28, said recently as he sat at a parish community center in Moscow where African migrants often seek refuge.

    His story is not uncommon, Russian civil and human rights leaders say. African migrants face widespread hostility and racism that usually go unpunished.

    #migrations #asile #russie

  • WOW ! Watch this little girl name the presidents of 30 countries

    Some people think that #Africa_is_a_Country. Some people, such as the New York Times editors, think that #Ivory_Coast is two countries (see below). Many people struggle to name prominent politicians in the countries where they live. #Zara is not like any of these people. She is a little girl who can name the […]

    #BREAKING #EDITORIAL #UNCATEGORIZED #VIDEO #Angola #Botswana #Brazil #Burkina_Faso #Cameroon #China #Colombia #Congo #Equatorial_Guinea #Ethiopia #France #Gambia #Ghana #Girl_names_30_presidents #Guinea-Bissau #Kenya #Mali #Namibia #Nigeria #Philippines #Portugal #Russia #Senegal #South_Africa #Sudan #Tanzania #Uganda #USA #Zimbabwe

  • Lebanon ranked eighth worst country for gender equality

    BEIRUT: Lebanon is the world’s eighth worst country in terms of gender equality and ranks second worst for women’s participation in politics, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum.

    Lebanon ranked 135 out of 142 surveyed countries, with only the Ivory Coast, Iran, Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen scoring lower on the 2014 Gender Gap Index.


    Since 2010, Lebanon’s ranking has sunk from 116 to 135.


    Lebanon was the eighth worst country in the world in terms of female participation in the workforce, and ninth worst in terms of income for women.

    According to health criteria, the country did much better, coming in at No. 62, but education was another disappointment.

    Although literacy rates in Lebanon are at 86 percent and enrollment in primary education is at 90 percent, the numbers were still behind those of progressive countries, which pushed Lebanon down the table to spot No. 103 and 128 in those two categories respectively.

  • #vidéo: Watch a cocoa farmer try chocolate for the first time

    N’Da Alphonse grows cocoa in Ivory Coast. He harvests the pods, removes the pulp-covered beans, and dries them before selling them to brokers. He’d never seen or tasted the food made from his beans, until a Dutch TV show brought him a sample, as part of a story on class divisions and the global food trade.

    #chocolat #cacao #agriculture #Côte_d'Ivoire
    cc @odilon

  • Netherlands: They Can’t Go Home Again

    They call it the ”#refugee_garage” – an abandoned multi-story indoor parking lot and office building in a poor suburb of Amsterdam occupied by people with nowhere else to go. They are mostly from Africa—Somalia, the Sudans, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, and elsewhere.

    #Pays-Bas #réfugiés #asile #migration #occupation #Amsterdam

  • ‘Aya of Yop City’: Graphic Novel to #FILM

    “Aya of Yop City” is #Marguerite_Abouet and #Clément_Oubrerie’s first feature film and an adaptation of the couple’s best-selling graphic novel series of the same name. Like the #graphic_novels, the film tells the story of Aya, a 19-year-old woman who lives in Abidjan, in the neighborhood of Yopougon in the Ivory Coast of the 1970’s. […]

    #animation #Aya_of_Yop_City #Cote_d'Ivoire #France