Cesar Chelala


Cesar Chelala
Cesar Chelala, MD, PhD, is an international public health consultant for several UN agencies, and a writer on human rights, medical and foreign policy issues. He is a winner of an Overseas Press Club of America Award. His articles have been published in more than 70 countries worldwide.
For Cesar Chelala's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Nov 19, 2000
Scourge of child prostitution spreading
NEW YORK -- Their names are Chandrika, Hamida, Amod, Madhuri, Maria and Jenny. And as varied as these children's names are their nationalities: Indian, Bangladeshe, Nepalese, Nicaraguan and North American. What unites them is that they have been made to work as prostitutes and, in the process, have endangered their lives and well being and seriously compromised their future.
Sep 24, 2000
Debt relief key to poor nations' progress
NEW YORK -- A pledge by wealthy nations, to be announced officially this week in Prague, to provide substantial economic aid to poor nations, is an important step in the right direction. To be truly effective, however, economic aid should be part of a more general aid package -- including cancellation of debt -- that should also include fair trade and technical assistance to improve the health and education status of recipient countries.
Sep 17, 2000
Declassify CIA files on the 'disappeared'
NEW YORK -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright indicated recently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that the United States would release files with information about the Chilean and Argentine military dictatorships as a contribution to the investigations on illegal repression in both countries. Despite Albright's promise, however, the CIA is still withholding important information because, according to Director George Tenet, its release would violate his responsibility to protect secret intelligence methods. However, nothing less than a total declassification of documents related to that period will permit closure on the dramatic episodes that took place during the military dictatorships in both countries.
Aug 22, 2000
AIDS takes a toll in African classrooms
Since physicians first described its symptoms almost 20 years ago, HIV has infected 53 million people, of which 19 million have died. Of the 34.3 million people now living with HIV/AIDS, 24.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, where the epidemic has left 11 million children orphaned.
Aug 12, 2000
U.S. support crucial to international court
In 1995, during the 50th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, U.S. President Bill Clinton endorsed the creation of an International Criminal Court, the first U.S. president to do so. Despite his sup port, however, the United States joined China, Iraq, Libya, Israel, Qatar and Yemen in voting against the treaty establishing that court in Rome in 1998. The main purpose of the ICC is the prosecution of those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Because its role is critical to the success of the ICC, the U.S. should support its creation and join the 98 countries that so far have signed the treaty.
Jun 25, 2000
Making humanitarian aid more effective
NEW YORK -- One of the greatest challenges facing governments and international aid agencies today is how to respond better to humanitarian disasters.
May 21, 2000
The tragedy of another senseless war
NEW YORK -- The arms embargo on Eritrea and Ethiopia just imposed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council is a much needed measure that brings hope for an end to an irrational conflict between the two neighboring countries. The U.S.-initiated measure, later co-sponsored by Britain and the Netherlands, bars the sale or supply of weapons to both countries, and prohibits technical military assistance until they reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Apr 22, 2000
Use Earth's ecosystems more sustainably
The findings of a new report sponsored by the U.N. Development Program, the U.N. Environmental Program and the World Bank, titled "World Resources 2000-2001: People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life," underscore the fact that the growing worldwide demand for resources is threatening the world's environmental health to an unprecedented extent. Unless new policies are put in place, this situation could have "devastating implications" for human development.
Apr 3, 2000
Chemical weapons kill enemies -- and us
The findings of a new report from the U.S. Air Force of a "significant and potentially meaningful" relationship between diabetes and bloodstream levels of the chemical dioxin add new evidence on the dangers of the use of chemical substances in warfare. They demonstrate once more that the harmful effects not only affect military and civilian target populations, but also those who have used the chemical compound with military purposes. The results of this study should convince even the most militant advocates of chemical warfare of the folly of its practice.
Feb 21, 2000
Pinochet's contribution to humanity
NEW YORK -- The greatest contribution Gen. Augusto Pinochet has made to the rule of international law and to the reign of justice goes beyond his rightful detention in Britain, something never even imagined by Chile's most powerful dictator. Rather, it is to have made real the validity of extraterritoriality in judging crimes of torture and murder. A case in point -- probably the first aside from Pinochet's case -- is now that of the exiled dictator of Chad, Hissene Habre, recently indicted in Senegal on charges of torture and "barbarity." This is the first time that a former head of state has been charged in Africa for human-rights violations by the court of another country.
Feb 2, 2000
Don't discount grandmothers' courage
The reunion of Mariela Quintana and Raquel Rodriguez with their grandson Elian Gonzalez in Miami may be the first step in the eventual return of the Cuban child to his father. If this happens, it will be in no small measure thanks to the tireless efforts of these two heroic women. They may succeed in what politicians (mostly male) have failed to do: making people aware that the right place for Elian to grow up is with his father and grandparents, not with distant relatives. In any event, they deserve to be ranked with another legendary grandmothers' group: the "Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo" in Argentina.
Jan 15, 2000
World steps up fight in war against AIDS
In a historic session, the U.N. Security Council met Jan. 3 to address the AIDS epidemic. In that session, U.S. Vice President Al Gore indicated that the United States would add $150 million to next year's budget to help combat AIDS and other infectious diseases in the poor- est -- mainly sub-Saharan African -- countries.
Aug 28, 1999
Aid that gets 'lost' en route to the poor
NEW YORK — Recent reports indicate a massive diversion of funds from international donors providing aid to Bosnia. According to officials from the antifraud unit set up by the Office of the High Rep- resentative, the international agency responsible for carrying out the civilian aspects of the Dayton peace accord, hundreds of thousands of dollars have disappeared from public funds or have been stolen from international aid projects directed to Bosnia. Those responsible are reportedly the Muslim, Croatian and Serbian leaders who keep Bosnia partitioned into three ethnic enclaves.
Aug 15, 1999
Angola: A catastrophe in the making
One of the consequences of the Balkan conflict has been the distraction of international attention from other equally serious conflicts worldwide. Such is the case of Angola, a country that for the last several years has been plagued by a ruthless civil war. While world nations and international aid organizations have pledged over $2 billion to rebuild Kosovo, famine threatens vast sectors of the Angolan population. Also, as Johannes Linn, the World Bank's vice president for Europe and Central Asia, has remarked, the amount pledged for Kosovo far exceeds the amount needed for immediate repairs and to restore order in that ravaged region.
Jul 17, 1999
Taliban conducts a war against women
Almost two years after the Taliban forces took power in most of Afghanistan, their attack on Afghan women continues unabated, impervious to international outrage. Although the Taliban claim that they want to create a "true" Islamic society in Afghanistan, its rule so far has been characterized by a medieval attack on people's (particularly women's) rights and freedoms. While nongovernmental international aid organizations such as Oxfam and Save the Children have had to cancel many of their projects, the Taliban have refused to heed the United Nations' appeal for moderation in their treatment of women.
Jun 19, 1999
China's oppression of Tibet continues
Fifty years after being invaded by Chinese troops in 1949, Tibet is still experiencing repression and violence on the part of Chinese occupying forces. According to Amnesty International reports, human-rights violations such as ill-treatment of prisoners and torture are widespread in Tibet. Even those prisoners who are not tortured have to endure conditions that are cruel, inhuman and degrading, such as compulsory and hard labor, inadequate diet, lack of medical care and unsanitary environment. Only unrelenting international pressure can offer hope for a change in the situation.
May 15, 1999
The problem of India's 'untouchables'
It is a great paradox that India, one of the world's oldest democracies, is still unable to eliminate a deep-rooted social problem: the widespread violence and discrimination against the Dalits, a name that means literally "broken" peo ple. The Dalits, or "untouchables," are a segment of Indian society, numbering more than 160 million people, that is ranked at the very bottom of the Hindu caste system. Their plight is receiving renewed attention with the recent release of a Human Rights Watch report titled "Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's Untouchables," written by Smita Narula.
Apr 18, 1999
Learning to break the cycle of poverty
Lack of education, particularly among children, continues to be one of the main challenges to the well-being and quality of life of children worldwide, concludes a recent Oxfam International report titled, "Education Now: Break the Cycle of Poverty." According to this report, there are currently 125 million children who never attend school, and 150 million children who start school but drop out before they can read or write. This situation also affects adults in the developing world, one in four of whom is illiterate. Unless some wide-ranging measures are implemented soon, this could translate into a crisis situation that could have serious effects on the population, particularly those living in developing countries.
Mar 7, 1999
Violence: The Americas' new pandemic
NEW YORK -- From Argentina in the south to Canada in the north, violence is becoming an increasingly serious problem in the Americas, affecting all nations in the hemisphere. What makes this phenomenon especially worrisome is that children and adolescents are among its main actors, and victims. Violence affects children and adolescents from all social strata. Those from poorer or more disadvantaged backgrounds, however, are the ones who suffer the most. Although violence has always been a serious problem in the Americas, the economic and sociopolitical changes of recent years have caused it to increase. The cost in human lives and disabilities is staggering.


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