Justice for Cambodia, food for Chad

26 May 2010

I subscribe to a RSS feed from the UN, which publishes and circulates a number of press releases each week. Some news can be quite positive and hopeful, but more often than not, they tend to paint a picture of pain and misery. Often these stories won’t make it to the front pages of the newspapers, or the bulletin of TV news. Suffering in a far-away country, especially if they lack in acute visual stories, seems to be ignored. In many cases, the press releases make a plea for money.

Two news items caught my eye today. The first one involves the lack of funding that may affect the workings of the court in Cambodia that is bringing justice for the victims of the crimes committed by the Khmer Rouges. Historical wrongs must be acknowledged and righted, and this kind of justice must be given as much backing by the international community as possible.

The second item relates to Chad, specifically the threat of hunger and starvation in that country, following drought and lack of pasture for cattle. The relief work here seems, from reading the release, to involve a lot of effort to make sure that the local agriculture and ecosystem can function and overcome the present crisis by providing seeds and animal feed. Once the agricultural base becomes too feeble and cannot maintain the population, starvation results, but so will the need to provide more aid, and it will take longer for the country and the people to recover. As such, funds are urgently needed.

The shortfall in Cambodia is 21 million US dollars, and in Chad the rquired amount is 9.8 million dollars. They seem a trifle sum compared to the money that goes around companies and bank bailouts.