Author Archives: Imaduddin Ahmed

How to stop deforestation

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A recent webinar discussed policy, a market intervention and monitoring technology to help stop deforestation

The Liberal International British Group together with the Paddy Ashdown Forum organised a webinar on 27 April 2020 hosted by BrightTALK on how to stop deforestation. 428 people registered for the event from around the world. The aim of the discussion was to learn how to stop deforestation in a socially just manner, given that the largest rainforests exist in parts of the world that are economically lagging developed nations that have already denuded their natural environments of tree cover.

Jon Shepard, a director at Global Development Incubator, explained why we should care about deforestation: forests absorb a third of global carbon dioxide emissions. A quarter of CO2 emissions are absorbed by oceans. The rest goes into the atmosphere, acting as a greenhouse gas, causing global warming and the climate crisis.

The destruction of forests has also been associated with a rise in zoonotic pandemics. Olivero et al (2017) showed in Nature Scientific Reports that destroyed forests with closed canopies in Africa resulted in outbreaks of Ebola, with a lag of two years. The Ebola virus has been associated with increased interaction between bats and humans when bats lose their natural habitats. The COVID-19 virus has also been associated with bats.

Duncan Brack, an advisor to the UK government’s Global Resource Initiative Task Force, explained that agriculture is the main driver of forest loss in the tropics. Consumer-country demand for commodities such as tropical timber, beef, soy, palm oil, rubber, cocoa and coffee, wood pulp all drive deforestation; for most of these, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for the bulk of consumption, but Europe and the US are both important sources of demand.

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What have the Lib Dems ever done for Britain?

What besides leading the campaign against Brexit have the Lib Dems ever done for Britain?

John Stuart Mill, a Liberal MP, was the second of his House to call for women’s suffrage, in 1832. He also warned against tyranny of the majority against minority groups, and advocated both for necessary individual rights to be protected as well as constitutional checks to enforce those protections.

John Maynard Keynes, a Liberal peer, saved capitalist economics by contradicting conventional thinking that free markets would automatically provide full employment. Implementation in the United States of his advocacy of …

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How British liberals should advocate for the human rights of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir

This past month, the Government of India has escalated military presence in Jammu and Kashmir, already perhaps the densest in the world, enforced curfews, a media blackout, blocked all communications and arrested Kashmiri politicians without issuing warrants under a draconian law. Reports of torture of civilians are now coming through the BBC.

This comes accompanying the Government of India’s attempt to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status per the conditions of it joining India after India became independent.

Civilian casualties over the past 12 months were already at a decade high, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as of April 2019 who found in his 2018 report the Indian state to be guilty of ‘excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries’, and to be guilty of denying access to justice to Kashmiris. The report recommended measures to eliminate the impunity with which security forces were able to act and improve accountability for human rights violations of the state, as well as for the self-determination of Kashmiris in both Pakistan and Indian administered Kashmir. Instead of adopting its recommendations, the Government of India’s recent actions will worsen the situation.

Being committed to fair, free and open societies, British liberals will be itching to intervene. However, British involvement in the bilateral (but asymmetric) issue between Jammu and Kashmir and India could reek of colonialism.

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The case for changing our laws on revoking citizenship

UK passportWhen as Home Secretary Sajid Javid attempted to strip British-born Shamima Begum of her citizenship, he highlighted how the Home Office has come to possess powers to revoke citizenship that did not exist a generation earlier. These new powers are nothing short of racist, allowing the Home Secretary to strip Brits of citizenship by dint of their ancestry. According to Javid’s interpretation of the new laws, so long as a person can claim citizenship elsewhere – such as by having foreign ancestry in Shamima Begum’s case, or by virtue of laws such as Israel’s and Ireland’s allowing Jewish and Northern Irish people, respectively, to claim citizenship – the Home Office has the power to take their citizenship. It would not, in Javid’s interpretation, have the ability to take the citizenship of ‘indigenous’ English, Scottish or Welsh people.

The racist implications of Javid’s actions are what prompted a group of diaspora South Asian Lib Dems (most notably Nasser Butt, Marisha Ray, Mohsin Khan, Hussain Khan, Maaria Siddiqi and me) to work in partnership with Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey and adviser Jonathan Jones to come up with Federal Conference Motion F34: Deprivation of Citizenship. At the very least, we aim to completely end the Home Office’s power to revoke the citizenship of anyone born British.

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