Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Iraq and NGOs

Today Oxfam International has released a new report entitled [PDF format warning] "Protection of Civilians in 2010" and, with regards to Iraq, its findings include that over 4,000 civilians died in Iraq last year. Afghanistan 'beats' out Iraq . . . if you go with "unconfirmed deaths." If you deal in the facts, however, Iraq tops Afghanistan by a huge margine (over 5,500 deaths counted for Afghanistan are "unconfirmed"). Refer to Figure 1 on page 12 for more on the deaths. Oxfam then pretends to be interested in sexual violence; however, the ongoing targeting of Iraq's LGBT population doesn't make the report, all the incidents that have been done to suspected gay men in Iraq during the time period of the report aren't included. Iraq gets included again when it's time for displaced people, an estimated 2.8 million people (that section relies on estimations as well). All in all, it's a very unimpressive report from Oxfam, highly disappointing, weak social science and shoddy presentation. Karl Allen (Zawya) mines for gold and comes up with this:

At least 4,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by insurgent violence in 2010 - the highest number of civilian fatalities in any of the world's 'conflict zones' - according to an Oxfam international report published today.
The report, "Protection of Civilians in 2010", examines 18 zones of armed conflict throughout the world and lists the numbers of civilians reported to have been killed, raped or displaced.
Following closely behind Iraq with 3,500 direct civilian fatalities was Pakistan, then Afghanistan and Somalia where the figures reached 2,700 and 2,000 respectively.

New Sabah notes the report here.

Staying with the topic of NGOs, Al Mada reports UNICEF has a new goodwill ambassador in Iraq: Kadhim al-Sahir an Iraqi who left the country in 1997 and who is the first Iraqi to hold the position. Trade Arabia adds:

His humanitarian work started in 1998 when he performed a song about Iraqi children stranded in conflict at benefit concerts in the Royal Albert Hall in the UK as well as to members of the United Nations.
"It has been a long and difficult journey for Iraq's children over the past few decades" said Al-Sahir.
"I am deeply touched and honored to return to Iraq today as Unicef's Ambassador and will do everything possible to protect the rights and improve the well-being of Iraq's children," he added.

Khalid al-Ansary and Jon Boyle (Reuters) quote al-Sahir stating, "It is the right of the people to work, have a good life, and have a happy childhood."

The following community sites -- plus War News Radio and Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Many lawyers lack practical education" (Scoop News):

---If your lawyer has let you down, if he or she has flubbed your case, it may be because most law schools never offer the practical courses lawyers’ need to succeed.

And that’s not exactly an oversight, either. “In line with aggrandizing (law school) faculty desires, the accreditation rules of the American Bar Assn.(ABA) do not require sufficient, or sometimes, any, instruction in the competencies and skills needed by practicing lawyers,” two critics of legal education charge in a new book.

Unlike the professions of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, psychology, teaching, and even veterinary medicine, the ABA steadfastly refuses to put the focus on teaching law students what they need to know, write Lawrence Velvel, dean and cofounder of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover(MSL) and Kurt Olson, an assistant professor of law there. Medical schools, for example, require that at least one-third of a student’s study for the MD degree be in practical skills.

Law deans and law professors have for scores of years been notorious for not liking and for demeaning the actual practice of law, for having little experience with it and therefore little knowledge of the required skills,” Velvel and Olson write in “The Gathering Peasants’ Revolt in American Legal Education”(Doukathsan).

Therefore, the ABA’s accreditation standards, basically drawn by and drawn entirely for the professoriate, had no requirement that students be taught needed professional skills such as how to conduct pretrial proceedings and trials, how to draft various kinds of legal papers, etc.,” the co-authors say.

Instead, ABA --- the principal accreditor of some 200 law schools---focuses on teaching inputs that are largely about the professors, not the students. Such rules include “limiting hours of teaching, limiting overall workloads, demanding large, full-time faculties via the method of computing the student/faculty ratio and a requirement that most of a student’s hours be taught by full-timers, requiring tenure and sabbaticals, requiring plush facilities and large libraries,” Velvel and Olson write.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends