EndSARS Protest: Majority Condemns Killings and Offers Free Calls To And From Nigeria

HOUSTON and STOCKHOLM, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — We are deeply saddened and concerned about the police brutality against protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in the deaths of at least 56 people, and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to end the violence.

As a company that is proud to support our Nigerian community in the United States, we stand in solidarity with all Nigerians who seek justice and equality through peaceful means, and we call on businesses and governments to fight against human rights abuses and condemn all forms of police brutality. We can all do more, and we must.

In light of the current situation, we have decided to make all calls to and from Nigeria free through the MAJORITY app. As a company for migrants, by migrants, we will also continue to look for other ways to help our community to support family and loved ones in Nigeria.

If you are currently involved in the EndSARS movement, we want to hear from you and understand how we can help you and your community. We encourage you to send your feedback to EndSARS@majority.com. Thank you for your courage and know that we are here for you.

– Magnus Larsson, CEO of Majority


MAJORITY is the first digital financial service dedicated to serving migrants worldwide. For $5 a month, MAJORITY members in the U.S. receive an FDIC insured account, Visa debit card, use of more than 55,000 ATMs across North America, remittance and international calling, native language advisors, and access to our network of community meet–up spaces, local discounts and events. With MAJORITY, there are never overdraft fees or minimum balance requirements. MAJORITY was started by a diverse team of banking, fintech, payments, and telecom executives serving migrant communities globally for the last 15 years. MAJORITY's U.S. headquarters are in Houston, Texas. The Visa debit card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

‘The Sahel – a Microcosm of Cascading Global Risks Converging in One Region’

The crisis in the Sahel has been further exacerbated by both climate change, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Marc-André Boisvert/IPS

The crisis in the Sahel has been further exacerbated by both climate change, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Marc-André Boisvert/IPS

By Samira Sadeque
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 22 2020 – The European Commission this week pledged $27.8 million in humanitarian support to the Sahel region as floods and the coronavirus pandemic exacerbate the stability in a region deeply in conflict.

While the figure is less than 2 percent of the $2.4 billion that the United Nations has appealed for, Amnesty International researcher Ousmane Diallo told IPS that despite past donations from international development partners to Sahelian countries, the situation hasn’t improved over the years.

Diallo, a Sahel specialist at the human rights organisation, spoke to IPS a day after European leaders gathered to discuss the fast deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Central Sahel.

In June, Amnesty International released a report that pointed out a range of concerns in the region that have been exacerbated by the pandemic: human rights violations, food insecurity, and enforced disappearances among other concerns.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for $2.4 billion for the remaining months of 2020 and for providing emergency assistance in the region throughout next year.

“The Sahel is a microcosm of cascading global risks converging in one region. It is a warning sign for us all requiring urgent attention and resolution,” the Secretary-General said.

To highlight the extent of the crisis, he shared that in the less than two years, internal displacement in the region has increased 20 times.

Diallo of Amnesty International echoed similar concerns and added that a “a plethora of armed groups acting in the Sahel have increased over the years.”

“This is because the structural issues have not been challenged,” Diallo told IPS. “Because there have been a lot of donations given to Sahelian countries, many activities done by international development partners, but the situations on the ground haven’t improved. There are more internally displaced persons (IDPs) on the ground, and more refugees.”

“This is a crisis on multiple fronts, [and] next to its growing complexity, it’s also a crisis which remains seriously underfunded,” Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management at the European Commission, said while announcing the pledge. “As such, the need to protect the most vulnerable from these pressing plights has never been greater.” 

The crisis in the region has been further exacerbated by both climate change, as well as the current coronavirus pandemic, according to both Diallo and the speakers at the high-level meeting.

Mark Lowcock, the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said climate change in the Sahel region is accelerating faster than anywhere else in the world.One key concern, he said, is that the “root causes that drive humanitarian needs” — such as chronic poverty, underdevelopment, impact of dramatic development growth, and climate change among other issues — are not being properly addressed

Diallo told IPS that on top of climate change posing a security and development challenge in the region, another concern is that of resources: despite an increasing population, resources remain limited.

With massive floods leading to thousands of casualties in cities across the Sahel region this year, one must consider issues beyond the scope of human rights and humanitarian [needs], and consider links to governance, urbanisation and city planning, Diallo added.

“Over the last 30 years, we’ve had more cities, more urbanisation, and more people living in the cities in the Sahelian countries than they used to 20-30 years ago, but the adaptability of cities to climatic [changes] is very limited,” Diallo told IPS.   

Speakers at the high-level meeting highlighted the need for a comprehensive and holistic approach to resolving the crisis.

Giovanie Biha, Deputy Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, U.N. Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said the August coup in Mali is “testament to the fragility of newly-acquired democratic gains”.

“There is a need for a paradigm shift beyond a largely military approach to the fight against terrorists,” Biha said at the meeting. “Successfully addressing the multi-dimensional challenges facing the Sahel will require a whole-of-society approach.”

“We need to redouble efforts in supporting national governments and recognise that development is never a linear process, especially when faced with interlinked challenges compounded by the pandemic,” she added, further calling for innovating solutions to address the crisis.

Lowcock highlighted the need for a higher investment in concerns such as women’s rights, and safe water, among others.

“It’s important that we have a comprehensive response to this: there needs to be a security response but it has to be done in a way that protects and supports the local communities,” he said.


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Mahatma’s Non-Violence: Essence of Culture of Peace for New Humanity

Credit: United Nations

By Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury
HONOLULU, Hawaii, Oct 22 2020 – I will begin by presenting to you excerpts from the message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the International Day of Non-Violence.

I quote: “In marking the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, this International Day highlights the remarkable power of non-violence and peaceful protest. It is also a timely reminder to strive to uphold values that Gandhi lived by: the promotion of dignity; equal protection for all; and communities living together in peace.

On this year’s observance, we have a special duty: stop the fighting to focus on our common enemy: COVID-19. There is only one winner of conflict during a pandemic: the virus itself. As the pandemic took hold, I called for a global ceasefire. Now is the time to intensify our efforts. Let us be inspired by the spirit of Gandhi and the enduring principles of the UN Charter.” End of quote

At the outset, let me thank the Gandhi International Institute for Peace (GIIP) and its dynamic President Mr. Raj Kumar for organizing the observance of the International Day of Non-Violence and of the 15th Mahatma Gandhi Day Celebration by the Institute.

The theme of my keynote speech today is “Mahatma’s Non-Violence: Essence of The Culture of Peace for New Humanity”

The Mahatma affirmed that he was not a visionary but a practical idealist. He affirmed that “Non- violence is the law of our species, as violence is the law of the brute. The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law – to the strength of the spirit.”

It is said that “he was the first in human history to extend the principle of non-violence from the individual to the social and political plane.” He entered politics for the purpose of experimenting with non-violence and establishing its validity.

Ambassador Chowdhury

The Mahatma had said that “Nonviolence is the greatest and most active force in the world. One cannot be passively nonviolent … One person who can express ahimsa in life exercises a force superior to all the force of brutality.” I believe whole-heartedly that Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of nonviolence or Ahimsa has found true reflection in the life of a great son of the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s own struggle for equality and justice.

Dr. King considered his Nobel Peace Prize as “a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the critical political and racial questions of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression without resorting to violence“. I reiterate this mainly to highlight the need for revisiting those words in view of what is happening in many parts of our world, including in this country.

As I have stated on many occasions, my life’s experience has taught me to value peace and non-violence as the essential components of our existence. Those unleash the positive forces of good that are so needed for human progress. Peace is integral to human existence — in everything we do, in everything we say and in every thought we have, there is a place for peace.

It is important to realize that the absence of peace takes away the opportunities that we need to prepare ourselves, to empower ourselves to face the challenges of our lives, individually and collectively. This intellectual and spiritual inspiration is implanted in me through the Mahatma’s life and his words.

The United Nations Charter emerged in 1945 out of the ashes of the Second World War. The UN Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace was born in 1999 in the aftermath of the Cold War. I was the chair of the nine-month-long negotiations from 1998 to 1999 that produced the Programme of Action on Culture of Peace.

For more than two decades, I have continued to devote considerable time, energy and effort to realizing the implementation of this landmark, norm-setting decision of the UN. For me, this has been a realization of my personal commitment to peace inspired by the Mahatma and my humble contribution to humanity.

My work took me to the farthest corners of the world and I have seen time and again how people – even the humblest and the weakest – have contributed to building the culture of peace in their personal lives, in their families, in their communities and in their countries – all these contributing to global peace one way or the other.

The focus of my work and advocacy has been on advancing the culture of peace which aims at making peace and non-violence a part of our own self, our own personality – a part of our existence as human beings. I believe this will empower ourselves to contribute more effectively to bring inner as well as outer peace.

In simple terms, the Culture of Peace as a concept means that every one of us needs to consciously make peace and nonviolence a part of our daily existence. We should know how to relate to one another without being aggressive, without being violent, without being disrespectful, without neglect, without prejudice.

We should not isolate peace as something separate or distant. More so, in today’s world so full of negativity, tension, poverty and suffering, the culture of peace should be seen as the essence of a new humanity, a new global civilization based on inner oneness and outer diversity.

In my keynote address on “Human Security – an Essential Element for Creating the Culture of Peace” at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, in August 2007, inspired by Mahatma’s eternal words “Be the change that you want to see in the world,” I underscored that “Peace is a prerequisite for human development.… We all must undertake efforts to inculcate the culture of peace in ourselves. We cannot expect the world to change if we do not start first and foremost with changing ourselves – at the individual levels.”

The objective of the culture of peace is the empowerment of people, as has been underscored by the global leader for peace and Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda. As we say “Peace does not mean just to stop wars, but also to stop oppression, injustice and neglect”. The culture of peace can be a powerful tool in promoting a global consciousness that serves the best interests of a just and sustainable peace.

I am encouraged that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN in 2015 includes, among others, the culture of peace and non-violence as well as global citizenship as essential components of today’s education.

This realization has now become more pertinent in the midst of the ever-increasing militarism and militarization that is destroying both our planet and our people. The Mahatma asserted that “One thing is certain. If the mad race for armaments continues, it is bound to result in a slaughter such as has never occurred in history. If there is a victor left, the very victory will be a living death for the nation that emerges victorious. There is no escape from the impending doom save through a bold and unconditional acceptance of the nonviolent method with all its glorious implications.”

Dr. King had advised us rightly, “… I suggest that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, by no means excluding the relations between nations.”

The last decades of violence and human insecurity should lead to a growing realization in the world of education today that children should be educated in the art of peaceful, non-violent, non-aggressive living.

Never has it been more important for the next generation to learn about the world and understand and respect its diversity. I want to underscore one particular aspect in this context. In the culture of peace movement, we are focusing more attention on children because that contributes in a major way to the sustainable and long-lasting impact on our societies. As the Mahatma’s words highlight, “Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself.”

An essential message that I have experienced from my work for the culture of peace is that we should never forget that when women – half of world’s seven plus billion people – are marginalized, there is no chance for our world to get sustainable peace in the real sense.

Women bring a new breadth, quality and balance of vision to a common effort of moving away from the cult of war towards the culture of peace. “Without peace, development cannot be realized, without development, peace is not achievable, but without women, neither peace nor development is possible.”

I believe the culture of peace is not a quick-fix. It is a movement, not a revolution.

Let us remember that the work for peace is a continuous process. Each one of us can make a difference in that process. The culture of peace cannot be imposed from outside; it must be realized from within.


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DraftKings and Peermont Launch PalaceBet in South Africa

BOSTON, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) and Peermont Hotels, Gaming and Resorts, a leading South African gaming and hospitality group, today announced the successful recent launch of PalaceBet (PalaceBet.co.za), a mobile and online sportsbook powered by DraftKings' cutting–edge B2B sports betting technology.

"This collaboration brings together two organizations committed to providing South Africa's sports fans with the most dynamic and innovative sports betting experience," said Shay Berka, DraftKings' Chief International Officer. "We are delighted that DraftKings' B2B technology is powering Peermont's entry into sports betting, through which they can provide their customers with extensive markets, live betting opportunities, competitive pricing and localised payment options."

Peermont will utilize DraftKings' full sportsbook and platform solution to provide a best–in–class sports betting experience for South African sports fans, who will have access to a range of innovative product features including Your Bet and Pulse Betting. Data integrations with Betgenius and IMG will ensure that Peermont's customers have access to a wide range of local and international sports including basketball, cricket, football, tennis, and rugby with live betting opportunities as well as Lucky Numbers.

"Peermont has always been at the forefront of the latest trends and technology, therefore it made sense to partner with DraftKings as a leader in sports betting software," said Nigel Atherton, Peermont's CEO. "Together we'll be able to offer a product that lives up to our high standards, and that provides a superior betting experience."

The collaboration with DraftKings will enable Peermont to leverage its significant expertise in the land–based casino environment to bring a world class level of service to the online sports betting market and provide a unique betting experience to its players.

"It was a no–brainer to partner with DraftKings," says Iain Gutteridge, PalaceBet's General Manager. "The way we're looking to grow and to compete on an international scale, we knew that DraftKings could offer the software solution so that we could not only offer variety, but quality to our clients."

About DraftKings
DraftKings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG) is a digital sports entertainment and gaming company created to fuel the competitive spirits of sports fans with products that range across daily fantasy, regulated gaming and digital media. Headquartered in Boston, and launched in 2012 by Jason Robins, Matt Kalish and Paul Liberman, DraftKings is the only U.S.–based vertically integrated sports betting operator. DraftKings is a multi–channel provider of sports betting and gaming technologies, powering sports and gaming entertainment for 50+ operators across more than 15 regulated U.S. and global markets, including Arkansas and Oregon in the U.S. DraftKings' Sportsbook offers mobile and retail betting for major U.S. and international sports and operates in the United States pursuant to regulations in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. DraftKings' daily fantasy sports product is available in 8 countries internationally with 15 distinct sports categories. DraftKings is the official daily fantasy partner of the NFL, MLB and the PGA TOUR as well as an authorized gaming operator of the NBA and MLB and an official betting operator of the PGA TOUR.

About PalaceBet
PalaceBet is part of Peermont Hotels, Gaming and Resorts, which is home to their flagship brand, Emperors Palace. PalaceBet is an online sports book which offers betting on a variety of locsl and international sports, as well as fixed–odds betting on a variety of live games. PalaceBet is licenced and regulated by the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board. Peermont proudly supports the National Responsible Gambling Programme. Call the Problem Gambling Counselling Toll–Free Helpline on 0800 006 008 for support. Players must be 18 years or older. Winners know when to stop.

About Peermont
Peermont Hotels, Gaming and Resorts is an award–winning hospitality and entertainment company which operates 12 properties located across South Africa and Botswana. In South Africa: Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Convention and Entertainment Resort (Johannesburg), Graceland Hotel Casino and Country Club (Secunda), Frontier Inn & Casino (Bethlehem), Umfolozi Hotel Casino and Convention Resort (Empangeni), Rio Hotel Casino and Convention Resort (Klerksdorp), Khoroni Hotel Casino and Convention Resort (Thohoyandou), Mmabatho Palms Hotel Casino and Convention Resort (Mafikeng) and Thaba Moshate Hotel Casino and Convention Resort (Burgersfort). In Botswana: The Grand Palm Hotel Casino and Convention Resort, the Gaborone International Convention Centre and the Mondior Hotel (all in Gaborone), as well as the Metcourt Hotel and Sedibeng Casino in Francistown. Peermont also owns PlaceBet.co.za, a premier online sportsbook.

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Child Protection: the Pandemic has Left the Most Vulnerable Children Invisible

The pandemic has caused the child protection system to collapse. It is almost as though there is amnesia—no laws, no systems, and the children who need protection are not being talked about

During the lockdown, the plight of migrant children, who walked hundreds of miles to reach home, aroused national consciousness. But what happened after that? | Picture courtesy: Needpix.com

By Shantha Sinha
Oct 22 2020 – A right is an entitlement and it has three basic principles, without which rights cannot be enjoyed. The first principle is that of universality: A right has to be enjoyed by all citizens, including all children. There cannot be a distinction between a Dalit or an Adivasi child and a child who is better endowed.

The second principle is that of equality: Rights have to be equally available to all. For example, there cannot be different types of schools for different children. In order to adhere to the principle of equality, you have to also link it to the principle of social justice and commit additional resources, support, and attention to those children who have been left behind for them to enjoy their rights equally.

Third, and the most important aspect of a right, is that it is a state obligation; only the state can protect rights as it is a transaction between the state and the citizen. We have to ensure that the rights of all children are equally protected, and the state fulfils its functions and duties towards the protection of children’s rights.

If a tradition comes in the way of child rights, then we should eliminate that tradition. Every society requires tradition and culture, but let’s create new traditions and a culture that respects children and allows society to move forward

When we talk about child rights, we are talking about all age groups. If rights are denied to one age group, it will have an impact on another age group. For example, if the rights of a 15-year-old are denied and she gets married early and is not provided sufficient food, this will impact both her health and that of her future children. All age groups are important, all rights are equally important. You cannot, for example, prioritise hunger and then move onto education. There is an interdependency of rights and there is an interdependency of ages that needs to be understood.

And finally, it is my opinion that you cannot deprive a child their rights in the name of tradition and culture. They are used as an argument to justify failure to guarantee rights to children. In my view, if a tradition comes in the way of child rights, then we should eliminate that tradition. Every society requires tradition and culture, but let’s create new traditions and a culture that respects children and allows society to move forward.


How do you plan for each child?

We have forgotten the real issues

After the lockdown was imposed, we saw the plight of migrant children who marched hundreds of miles to reach their homes. This aroused the national consciousness. But what happened after they came back home? We know that they were locked in sweatshops and abandoned by middlemen during the lockdown. But where are they now? What is happening to them? They have been rendered invisible along with their anxieties and concerns.

Debates about online education have since captured the headlines. But what about the issues of hunger, poverty, disempowerment, and humiliation? Are children responsible for their poverty or for being trafficked? Who is responsible for these children? Why are we making excuses and saying that they have to work because they are hungry? Why are we justifying what children are going through? Is it not the state’s responsibility to protect these children and ensure them their rights?

There are a dozen acts in place, and people will have to be energised to reach out to these children to see that they are taken care of. The money that is allocated to these efforts is just not enough. The state must put in more resources into each and every one of the institutions they have created to protect children. This should be the discourse, but we have diverted our attention away from the real issues.


The pandemic has caused the child protection system to collapse

The decade from 2006 to 2016 was an important one for child rights. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was established, the Right to Education Act (RTE) made education a fundamental right for all children, the Juvenile Justice Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act were amended. There was a process of social mobilisation that engaged with the system, from the grassroots to the centre and brought together politicians, bureaucrats, activists, academia, judiciary, and so on. There were flaws but some phenomenal gains were also made in this decade.

But since the pandemic hit, these gains seem to have vanished. It is almost as though there is amnesia—no laws, no systems, and the children who need protection are not being talked about. The entire system has collapsed. We need to preserve the gains that we made and move forward.


Shantha Sinha is a leading child rights activist and the founder-secretary of the MV Foundation


This story was originally published by India Development Review (IDR)