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El Niño brewing in Pacific raises prospect of record-breaking heat

Climactic event will almost certainly strengthen throughout the year, US climate scientists predict

Mild El Niño climatic conditions brewing in the Pacific Ocean will strengthen throughout the year, with an outside chance of a record-breaking event that will further turbocharge already sweltering temperatures around the globe, scientists have forecast.

Last month saw a “weak” El Niño form, a periodic climatic event where the circulation of the equatorial Pacific Ocean shifts and its temperature rises, causing knock-on heat around the world, according to an update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

This Niño, which has replaced a three-year period of its reverse condition, La Niña, which typically cools the globe, will almost certainly strengthen throughout the year, with an 81% chance it will peak with a “moderate to strong intensity” between November and January, Noaa said.

There is a one-in-five chance that this event will be of “historic” strength, rivaling the major one experienced in 1997, Noaa said. Even if the record is not threatened, however, “El Niños tend to elevate global mean temperatures, so I would not expect this event to be an exception,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a Noaa meteorologist.

The developing event has been closely watched by scientists as it is compounding the excess heat spurred by human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels. Last week was, preliminary data suggests, the hottest week ever reliably recorded, following a June that was the hottest ever documented globally.

More than 100 million people in the US are currently under heat warnings, with scorching conditions felt across Texas and the south-west in recent weeks. Heatwaves have also roiled China, India, parts of Europe and the Arctic.

What you need to know about the ‘extreme’ heatwave hitting our oceans – video explainer

The danger is not limited to the US

The heat is not confined to the land, with Noaa confirming on Thursday that ocean surface temperatures were at a record high for a third consecutive month in June, with marine heatwaves sweeping the North Atlantic to the UK, as well as imperiling ailing coral reefs found off Florida.

The developing Niño is likely to push the world towards even more record-breaking temperatures, scientists warn, as the tangible impacts of the climate crisis continue to unfold.

“We have a major El Niño event on our hands, it will certainly continue to develop, and it will almost certainly contribute to 2023 being the hottest year on record,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The combination of human-caused warming and this emerging event is already wreaking havoc across the northern hemisphere this summer in the form of record heat, drought, wildfires and floods.”

Original Post on the Gaurdian Website

Heat waves are getting worse. Here’s how to prepare.

On a recent Monday in late June, the mercury in Phoenix, Arizona, was set to reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit—with even hotter weather on the way. Summers in Phoenix have always been scorchers, but it wasn’t until 2021 that the city set up the Office of Heat Response and Mitigation.

“We’ve seen a really significant rise in heat-associated deaths, ” said David Hondula, the new office’s director.

Like many parts of the world, Phoenix is seeing more intense warmth driven by climate change. Across the U.S., heat waves have become longer, hotter, and more frequent in recent decades. So, it would follow that the risk of heat-related deaths and illnesses could go up, too.

But Phoenix’s increase in deaths, Hondula said, is related to socioeconomic inequities such as access to an air-conditioned home or car. He pointed to a rise in the number of unsheltered people as a key factor.

While heat waves may worsen, public health crises are preventable. That’s why many cities and states are developing early warning systems, more public education, and community resources such as cooling centers where people can escape oppressive temperatures.

For individuals, the heat safety advice may sound familiar: limit outdoor activity, especially at peak midday temperatures; stay hydrated; and cool off at a public place like a library or heat-relief shelter if you don’t have air conditioning at home.

Such tips “all sound like kind of penetrating glimpses into the obvious, but we still have to point them out, because we keep seeing people die during these extreme heat events,” said Jeremy Hess, an environmental health scientist at the University of Washington.

In the longer term, measures such as planting trees for shade and installing reflective cool roofs in certain places can help build resilience against hot weather in homes and communities. For the here and now, here’s how to keep cool.

Why is heat dangerous?

Hess recently released a report highlighting how serious, direct reactions such as heat stroke are only one health hazard from heat. Heat can exacerbate chronic conditions such as heart disease, which accounted for a quarter of heat-related deaths in the U.S. between 1999 and 2018.

“In some studies, the number of people who have chronic disease exacerbations related to heat actually outnumber the acute heat illness cases,” Hess said. Drowning accidents, too, go up during heat waves, as people head to pools and bodies of water to cool off.

(Learn more about how heat affects the body.)

Other vulnerable groups include outdoor workers, pregnant people, the elderly, children and infants, people experiencing homelessness, and those who use drugs and alcohol. About half the heat deaths in Phoenix, Hondula said, are associated with substance use.

High humidity coupled with high temperatures poses an increased danger, since the humid air makes it harder for sweat to evaporate and cool the body.

How to protect yourself 

Monitor forecasts including the heat index for your area so that you know when intense weather is coming and can plan accordingly.

If you can, limit time outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Those heat index ratings? They pertain to shady areas. In direct sunlight, the value can increase up to 15°F, according to the National Weather Service.

Avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol in drinks, all of which will make you lose fluids. Drink plenty of water, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to do it. Hess said electrolyte drinks can be helpful in rehydrating, especially during sustained activity, but you don’t need to seek out a certain brand: lightly salted water is good.

Either way, drink the water you have, and carry plenty with you if you’re going out in nature. For hikers in the Phoenix area, the city recommends carrying 16 to 32 ounces per hour per person.

Wear light-colored, lightweight clothes. When outside, seek shade where possible; wear sunblock; and bring a hat or parasol.

How to protect your home 

Keep blinds drawn and use window reflectors. Avoid using heat-emitting appliances like ovens and stoves. Where possible, use weather stripping and insulation to keep cool air in and hot air out. If investing in home efficiency is out of reach, investigate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and similar programs in your area that might subsidize costs.

A 2019 study from the University of Sydney confirmed that using an electric fan is beneficial when it’s hot and humid, but may be harmful when it’s both very hot and very dry.

Hondula’s team used this and related research from the university’s Ollie Jay as the basis for an infographic with pros and cons of different low-cost or no-cost ways to cool down.

Soaking feet in cool water, ice towels, and wet clothing can all be effective strategies. Other ideas only work in certain conditions. Evaporative coolers (also known as swamp coolers), are cheaper than air conditioning to run, but they won’t help when it’s very humid.

Dehumidifiers may help with comfort, but don’t expect them to lower room temperatures.

What to do when things heat up 

“It’s important to recognize that heat is a really dangerous hazard when people aren’t protected from it,” Hess said.

When heat exhaustion sets in, symptoms include nausea, headache, and fatigue. At that point, experts recommend cooling down quickly to prevent heat stroke. The two major signs of heat stroke, Hess said, are an elevated body temperature and confusion or delirium. If you see these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Seek a cooling center if your home gets too hot. Air conditioning is obviously effective at cooling, but not everyone has it—and for some people who do, running it may be prohibitively expensive.

“There are definitely caveats with air conditioning. It’s expensive to install, and it requires more electricity than other measures to operate,” Hess said. “In public health, we’re reluctant to emphasize air conditioning as a primary strategy.”

Places like libraries, shopping malls, or community centers can provide relief. Public cooling centers, hydration stations, and ways to reach them are all part of the effort to keep people safe in Phoenix.

“We’ll be talking to a couple living in their vehicle in a parking lot, and they didn’t realize the building right next to where they’re parked is open to go in and cool off for a couple hours,” Hondula said.

Hess noted that evenings can be a vulnerable time for elders because heat accumulates throughout the day, particularly in cities, and people may stop contact in the late afternoon, thinking that the worst of the heat has passed.

Hondula echoed this caution. “It doesn’t take very long to transition from being in a good situation to not a good situation,” he said. “We can’t check on each other too much on our hottest days.”

Credit to National Geographic website.
Original Article

Protecting the Environment and Human Health: Restricting PFHxS under the Stockholm Convention


Feedback by Brussels for Human Rights and Development to the European commission regarding an initiative to include perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and related compounds under the restrictions of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants.

Brussels for Human Rights and Development Applauds European Commission’s Initiative In a significant move towards safeguarding the environment and protecting human health, the European Commission has taken an important step by including perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), its salts, and related compounds under the restrictions of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants. Brussels for Human Rights and Development welcomes this initiative and recognizes the critical role it plays in addressing the harmful effects of these toxic substances.

Understanding PFHxS and Its Impacts:

PFHxS is a persistent organic pollutant with widespread use in various industrial and consumer products, such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and fire-fighting foams. Unfortunately, its presence poses a significant threat to wildlife and human health due to its bioaccumulation in the environment, leading to endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity.

The Importance of Stockholm Convention Inclusion:

By including PFHxS under the restrictions of the Stockholm Convention, the regulation (EU) 2019/1021 will introduce vital limitations on the production, use, and release of this hazardous substance. This step is crucial in reducing PFHxS’s overall presence in the environment and preventing further harm to wildlife and human health.

Ensuring Effective Implementation and Enforcement:

While applauding this regulation, we raise concerns regarding its implementation at the national level. The success of this initiative heavily relies on the effectiveness of its enforcement and monitoring by member states. To ensure the desired outcomes, it is essential that adequate resources and capacities are provided for monitoring and enforcing the restrictions imposed on PFHxS and its related compounds.

Promoting Safer Alternatives:

In addition to effective implementation, it is crucial to consider alternative, safer, and more sustainable options to PFHxS in the production of industrial and consumer goods. The phase-out of PFHxS should be accompanied by the promotion and development of alternative technologies and materials that are safe for both the environment and human health.

Supporting the Regulation’s Implementation:

Brussels for Human Rights and Development fully supports the regulation’s inclusion of PFHxS under the restrictions of the Stockholm Convention. We strongly hope that this initiative will be effectively implemented and enforced, leading to a reduction in PFHxS’s presence in the environment. Furthermore, we emphasize the need to prioritize the development of alternative, safer, and more sustainable options to replace PFHxS in the future.

in conclusion, The inclusion of PFHxS under the Stockholm Convention restrictions marks a crucial milestone in the protection of the environment and human health. While Brussels for Human Rights and Development welcomes this initiative, we stress the importance of effective implementation and enforcement at the national level. Additionally, we urge the exploration and adoption of safer alternatives to PFHxS, ensuring a sustainable and healthier future for both the planet and its inhabitants.

Feedback on the european commission website:



Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk. The solutions to today’s greatest crises are rooted in human rights.
Rights violations reverberate across borders and across generations. These can be, must be, collectively overcome.




We need to stand up for our rights and those of others.
The UDHR calls upon everybody to stand up for human rights. We all have a role to play.

We need an economy that invests in human rights and works for everyone.
We need to renew the social contract between Governments and their people and within societies, so as to rebuild trust and embrace a shared and comprehensive vision of human rights on the road to a just and sustainable development.


The UDHR enshrines the rights of all human beings

common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations

As a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”, the UDHR is a global blueprint for international, national, and local laws and policies and a bedrock of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development explicitly recognizes it is grounded in UDHR and has to be implemented in a manner that realizes human rights.

High-level meeting to mark the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,

21 September 2022[0]=AT3Lw1rxPppBbAud5oYxBUxtiAYEUnacOLhykaE6bRiYUChZPfaLQCLxvJLi0WLTZyYgHzpp5mV0YoN_HP6AHiquJU67z8MTQsKOchw8Vvrdyxp0tuhx2TSZlPVkeuENHfZHR-85Zgu1p7lDVyCqNlnAmQAodr-z68uh4wamZqZHEMl-M3rtvbCWT579WiOJaMXkWx4V9bmEUFy2m1oxATI7eGAB-9YZUR5fN3g

Right To Life

Universal Periodic Review | Egypt | 34th SessionARBITRARY EXECUTION IN EGYPT
Right To Life

March – 2019

L’organisation ‘ BRUSSELS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT BHR AISBL ‘ est une organisation belge indépendante fondée à but non lucratif. L’organisation, basée à Bruxelles, s’occupe de la défense des droits de l ’Homme et du Développement. Elle a été fondée officiellement en 2018 par un groupe de défenseurs des droits de l’homme.

L’organisation travaille pour à ce que tous les individus au Moyen-Orient et en Afrique du Nord jouissent de la justice et de la liberté sous la protection de la loi et les principes de la démocratie, tout en participant à l’amélioration et au développement de la société à travers le Comité africain des droits de l’homme et des peuples.           

An independent human rights foundation aims at supporting and protecting justice and human rights. It operates according to the rules, mechanisms and systems of the international organizations and has a significant partnership with the concerned organizations.

The Foundation aims to protect and promote human rights, in accordance with the international standards adopted by the United Nations and the relevant international covenants and conventions, and to support and defend the oppressed.


Arbitrary execution is a description of official State killings, whether by direct killing or summary executions that violate the standards and guarantees of fair trials; the protection of human rights must be the principal objective of all political systems. The purpose of this report is to highlight the death penalty in Egypt, especially arbitrary executions during the four years 2014-2018, which threaten the right to life.

Overview of the death penalty in Egypt from 1981 to 2018:

Unofficial statistics by number of civil society organizations, that monitored the death penalty in Egypt, indicate the issuance of death sentences as follows:

From 1981 to 1990, there were  “179” death sentences and 35 people were executed.

From 1991 to 2001, there were at least “678” death sentences and 213 people were executed. In 1999 alone, at least 108 people were sentenced to death, including 12 women.

From 2002 to 2006, 280 death sentences were handed down in Egypt.

In 2007, more than 40 death sentences were handed down.

In 2008, at least 87 death sentences were handed down.

In 2009, at least 269 death sentences were handed down.

In 2010, 185 death sentences were handed down.

In 2011, 123 death sentences were handed down.

In 2012, 91 death sentences were handed down.

From 2013 to 2018 more than 1,500 death sentences were handed down.

Death penalty in Egyptian legislation:

The death penalty and its application in Egypt constitute a threat to the human right to life, especially with the existence of more than 105 criminal offences are punished by execution, as stipulated in Egyptian Penal Code No. 58 of 1937, Military Provisions No. 25 of 1966 and Arms and Ammunition Act No. 394 of 1954, And the anti-terrorism Act No. 94 of 2014 and the Anti-Narcotics Act No. 182 of 1960. The crimes that entail the imposition of the death penalty are not precise and could be open to interpretation, leading to the arbitrariness of the issuance of these provisions, as well as the extension of the Egyptian legislator of the death penalty to entail other crimes that don’t fall within the scope of the most serious crimes.

Death penalty and the Islamic law:

The Egyptian government always invokes Islamic law when addressing the abolition of the death penalty, reducing it or replacing it with another punishment, while we find that Islamic law seeks to prevent all kinds of punishments which are well below the death penalty, where there is in the principles of Islamic law an explicit statement that says: “No penalty (is given) on suspicious proof” – the suspicious proof means – a flaw in the absolute certainty of the matter, if the suspicious proof exists then the penalty must be stopped against this specific subject or crime.

The principle of “self-preservation” has always been defined in the principles of Islamic law, that is to say, to prevent the human spirit from being lost and to seriously seek the prevention of the death penalty. This is in keeping with article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stated as The right to life.

Death sentences in Egypt during the four years preceding the universal periodic review:

Through monitoring and documentation, we found that the death sentences in Egypt are mostly issued by an exceptional and abnormal courts, known as the Terrorism Chambers or Military Justice, as follows,

The Egyptian Constitution of 2014 states in article 97 that “no person shall be tried except in front of his natural judge and that exceptional courts are prohibited”. On 23 December, the Egyptian Minister of Justice issued Decree No. 10412 of 2013 to allocate criminal services to the consideration of terrorism cases. On 26 December, the President of the Appeal Court of Cairo decided to set up special chambers in Cairo composed of judges from the criminal courts, called the Terrorism Chambers, in contravention of the General Assembly’s decision to distribute judicial work in accordance with the Judicial Authority Law No. 46 of 1972.  Moreover, each Appeals Chamber at the level of the Republic has allocated one or more departments to deal with terrorism cases. The decision to choose a particular court or judge to consider a particular case is illegal and represents a waste of the original basis of the Egyptian judiciary and the judiciary law. These courts have issued harsh sentences of both imprisonment and execution.

Military courts -the military judiciary- in Egypt that had a large share in the issuance of death sentences are actually exceptional courts, composed of military personnel, for the consideration and adjudication of crimes referred to it by the Public Prosecution or the Military Prosecution according to law No. 136 of 2014, on the protection of public and vital installations, and the subordination of crimes related to it to the military judiciary, in violation of the provisions of Article 204 of the Egyptian Constitution 2014.

From March 2015 to February 2016, JHR noted that the Egyptian authorities carried out the death sentence of 52 people, who were sentenced to death from exceptional judicial and military courts mentioned in the previous paragraphs, while 48 people – We have documented information that they will be executed in the coming days – as a result of judgments issued by the same courts referred to in this report.

Death sentence lack fair trial guarantees

While reviewing the death sentences in cases of a political nature, we found that these sentences lack the following guarantees:

Deprive from being tried before the natural independent judge, whereby:

Death sentences by exceptional courts known as “Exceptional terrorist circuits that are formed in contrary to the Egyptian Constitution and the Deposition To Whom It May Concern

Sentences by the Military Courts

Sentences based on the National Security officers of the Interior Ministry investigations, while the death sentenced should be handed down when the tribunal has no doubt the defendant committed the crime through facts and evidences.

Death sentences against citizens who were forced to confess crimes under torture, in contrary to the Article 14-3 (g), which stipulates: “Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt”

Sentences against individuals subjected to Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and torture.

Sentences against individuals deprived from the right to defense, while being investigated before the Public Prosecution.

Violation of the right of defense in many cases, as follows:

The defendants were not allowed to get defense witnesses, there were only the prosecution witnesses, most of them are officials of the Executive Authority.

Failure to respond to defense requests, in respect of technical evidence, and request the recall of competent experts.

Failure to enable the defense to seek a review of cases in which civilians are tried before military courts.

The trial sessions are held at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior (the police authority). The trial sessions are still held outside the courts, either at the police academy or in the police secretaries’ institute in Tura, south of Cairo, since July 2013.

Mass Death sentences in Egypt

During the last four years, nineteen judges in unfair mass trials handed down 1056 death sentences.

200 death sentences were handed down against civilians by the military exceptional courts, which is not internationally recognized.

A statement of the names of judges and the number of sentences they handed down:

In the first place comes Judge “Mohammed Nagy Shehata” that handed down (263) judgements.

In the second place comes Judge “Said Sabry” who handed down (220) death sentences, he is the highest ever judge to refer cases to the Mufti, (683) defendants were referred in the case known as “Al-Adwa incidents in Minya governorate-Upper Egypt”, then he sentenced (183) citizens to death, after creating a stir in Egypt and the world.

In the Third place comes Judge “Shaaban Al-Shamy” who handed down (160) death sentences.

In the Forth place comes Judge “Hassan Farid” who handed down (147) death sentences.

In the Fifth place comes Judge “Mohammed Sherin Fahmy” who handed down (46) death sentences.

In the Sixth place comes Judge “Said Youssef Saad” who handed down (37) death sentences, he previously referred (528) citizens to the Mufti in the case known as “Matay incidents”

In the Seventh place comes Judge “Moataz Khafagy” who handed down (30) death sentences.

In the Eighth place comes Judge “Osama Abdelzaher” who handed down (26) death sentences.

In the Ninth place comes Judge “Salah Heriz” who handed down (21) death sentences.

Judge “Shabib Al-Damarany” also handed down (21) death sentences.

In the Tenth place comes Judge “Alaa Shogaa” who handed down (18) death sentences.

In the Eleventh place comes Judges “Nabeel Salib” and Judge “Farhan Batran” each with (12) death sentences.

In the Twelfth place comes Judge “Hussein Kandil” who handed down (11) death sentences.

In the Thirteenth place comes three Judges, each handed down (8) death sentences, namely: Judge “Fathy Al-Baioumy”, Judge “Hefny Abdelfatah” and Judge “Abdalla Abdelsamia Abdelrahman Salem”.

In the Sixteenth place comes Judge “Fetouh Elsayed Allam” who handed down (5) death sentences.

In the Seventeenth place comes Judge “Gamal Aqrab” who handed down (3) death sentences.

In a positive precedent on the legal and judicial level in Egypt over the past years, specifically on February 27, 2019, a military appeals chamber accepted a petition by the two sentenced to death, Ahmad Amin Ghazali and Abdel Raouf Abdel Basir, case No. 174 of 2015 Military – The military court ruled to abolish the death sentence and replace the sentence with life imprisonment instead of execution. We mention this positive incident because dozens of civilians were executed before their appeals were viewed by the military courts.

Some of the Irrevocable Death sentences:

No Case Known as Case no. Governorate No. of sentenced
1 Killing the guard 16850 of 2014, Mansoura felonies Dakahlia 6
2 Bibliotheca Alexandria 20091 of 2014 Bab shark felonies Alexandria 2
3 Fadl Almawla 1781 of 2014 East of Alexandria felonies Alexandria 1
4 Communication with Qatar 315 of 2014 High state security felonies Cairo 3
5 Port Said Incident 437 of 2012 Port Said felonies Port Said 10
6 Matay 1824 of 2013 North of Minia Menia 6
7 Kirdasa incidents Case no.12749 of 2013 Kirdasa center felonies registered under 4804 of 2013 North Giza Giza 20
Total 48


Abolishing the death penalty in Egypt.

Stopping the execution of final death sentences issued in violation of fair trial guarantees.

Cease the trial of civilians before military courts.

Speech of the President of Brussels for Human Rights and Development, Mahmoud Farghaly

Speech of the President of Brussels for Human Rights and Development, Mahmoud Farghaly

Speech of the President of Brussels for Human Rights and Development, Mahmoud Farghaly

Posted by Brussels for Human Rights & Development on Tuesday, January 1, 2019