Tag Archives: Health & Environment

Venezuela News | People with Disabilities

Severe drug shortages leave Venezuelans with epilepsy and their families struggling
  • With 85 of every 100 drugs missing, Venezuela faces an acute shortage of pharmaceutical drugs needed to treat a range of otherwise manageable illnesses, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, HIV, and cancer.
  • Families report traveling hundreds of miles to obtain necessary drugs, sourcing from abroad, and taking expired or inappropriate medication.
  • President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the shortage on a right-wing plot to overthrow him and announced new counteractive investments, although little progress has been seen.
Read

Epileptics struggle amid drug shortages in Venezuela” (Reuters | March 2017)

Venezuela Is Falling Apart” (The Atlantic | May 2016)

‘You name it, we can’t treat it.’” (Caracas Chronicles | March 2016)

Falta de medicinas descompensa a los pacientes psiquiátricos” (El Universal | August 2014)

(Image Credit: Carlos Garcia Rawlings/Reuters)

 

U.S. News | Native American

Designation of two new national monuments works to protect integrity of Native American lands
  • President Obama designated two new national monuments, placing more than 1.6 million acres of land under federal stewardship and protecting the areas from development and looting.
  • The Bears Ears National Monument comprises 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah, which includes more than 100,000 Native American cultural and archaeological sites and will be jointly managed by federal and indigenous leaders.
  • The Gold Butte National Monument, located in southern Nevada, encompasses 300,000 acres that include sites of Native petroglyphs and critical habitats.

Read:
Two New National Monuments Created in Utah and Nevada” (Scientific American | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (The New York Times | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (EcoWatch | December 2016)

(Image Credit: UIG/Getty Images, via Scientific American)

U.S. Feature | Prisoners with Disabilities

Seeking Justice for Prisoners with Disabilities in the U.S.


Source: Disability Rights Washington YouTube

The failure of prisons to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ruled applicable to prisons in 1998, has created a quagmire within the criminal justice system: although people with disabilities are incarcerated at rates far higher than their demographic proportion and comprise nearly a third of the total prison population, they are funneled into systems that refuse to follow the law when it comes to adapting their protocols and facilities to those disabilities. Beyond the mass incarceration of people with disabilities, once incarcerated, disabled people face longer sentencing, solitary confinement, inaccessible vocational training, poor education administration, and limited medical access, exacerbating the negative effects of physical and mental illnesses and creating cycles of re-marginalization and inadequate preparation for release.

VICE News examines the impact of incarceration on people with disabilities and attempts to advocate on their behalf given the numerous conflicts of interest present in the reporting and petitioning process.

Read:
Punished Twice” (VICE News)

Related reads:
Making Hard Time Harder” (The AVID Prison Project, June 2016)
Disabled Behind Bars: The Mass Incarceration of People With Disabilities in America’s Jails and Prisons” (The Center for American Progress)
Know Your Rights: Legal Rights of Disabled Prisoners (The American Civil Liberties Union)

Brazil News | Indigenous

Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
  • Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
  • A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
  • A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.

Read more:
Temer government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda” (Mongabay)
Brazil’s plan to roll back environment laws draws fire: ‘The danger is real’” (The Guardian)
Brazil budget cuts put uncontacted Amazon tribe at risk, say activists” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/The Guardian)

Tanzania News | HIV+ Queer Men

Tanzania suspends funding for HIV/AIDS programs supporting queer men as crackdown grows
  • The country’s health minister indicated the programs had been suspended “pending a review,” while programs supporting adolescent girls, drug users, and others will continue uninterrupted.
  • The government has accused some community-based and internationally funded programs of normalizing same-sex relationships as part of their outreach to queer men, some 25% of whom are living with HIV.
  • Though same-sex relations are punishable by up to 30 years in prison in the country, the government only recently broke its silence on the issue to condemn groups “promoting” homosexuality, with a number of officials having announced anti-LGBT campaigns.

Read more:
Tanzania suspends HIV/AIDS programs in new crackdown on gays” (The Washington Post)
Tanzania suspends some HIV programs for gay men, says health minister” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown” (The Guardian, August 2016)

(Image Credit: Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post)

U.S. Feature | Native Americans

The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, from Land to Twitter


Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

Though having only recently had the spotlight of the national media trained on them, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have been a months-long clash between, on the one hand, Standing Rock Sioux tribe members, indigenous and non-indigenous allies, and environmental activists, and, on the other, proponents of the nearly 1,200-mile long oil pipeline from western North Dakota to southern Illinois. Indigenous protesters have made recourse to both litigation and direct action in an attempt to halt construction on a pipeline slated to come within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The protests have drawn both state and federal intervention, with the National Guard having been brought to protest sites, violent clashes between police and protesters, a legal tango between the Obama administration and district court judges, and increasing pressure on the U.S. presidential candidates to take a stand on the issue.

At issue is what activists say has been a failure on the government’s part to engage Native communities, conduct a thorough environmental and cultural impact assessment ahead of the pipeline’s construction, confront tribe members’ concerns about the potential for water contamination, and adhere to laws regarding the preservation of sacred cultural sites. The approach of the bitter North Dakotan winter has punctuated current protests with a question mark as activists and advocates seek to perpetuate the recently gained media momentum and mobilize public opinion—and, by extension, political pressure—against the pipeline’s construction.

Read:
A History of Native Americans Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline(Mother Jones)
What to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests” (TIME)
The Standing Rock Sioux ‘know what they’re doing’ in North Dakota” (Public Radio International)

Additional:
Tension Between Police and Standing Rock Protesters Reaches Boiling Point” (The New York Times, October 2016)
Tribe Says Police Are Violating The Civil Rights Of Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents” (The Huffington Post, October 2016)
Dakota Pipeline Company Buys Ranch Near Sioux Protest Site, Records Show” (NBC News, September 2016)
The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Atlantic, September 2016)

(Image Credit: James MacPherson/AP, via TIME)

Japan Feature | Transgender

The Ambivalence of Pathologizing Transgenderism

Bucking the trend in many developed countries to depathologize the mind-body incongruence at the heart of trans identity, Japan has seen resistance to international efforts to eliminate medical classifications of transgenderism as a disorder. A medical diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) has at times been necessary to secure the rights to the myriad legal and medical changes necessary to confirm an individual’s gender identity in the eyes of the state.

Much as disability advocates have fought to secure recognition, acceptance, and accommodation of those with disabilities and chronic illnesses in society, some Japanese trans activists and medical professionals have advocated for the continued recognition of GID and the accommodations necessary for trans people to live healthy lives. BuzzFeed News takes a look at the modern history of transgender visibility in Japan, the ambivalent reaction to declassification attempts, and the broader shift in medicine from corrective to adaptive approaches to addressing “illness” into society.

Read:
Why Transgender People In Japan Prefer To Be Told They Have A ‘Disorder’” (BuzzFeed News)

Related:
First GID doctors certified in Japan” (The Japan Times)

(Image Credit:  Kate Ferro/BuzzFeed News)