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St.Helena

St.Helena

Summary

The British Overseas Territories (BOT’s) are a remnant of the once world-dominant British Empire. Some have no permanent inhabitants, while others are almost completely self-sustaining. Most BOT residents are British citizens, although each island has its own unique constitution and legal relationship to the UK. The UK is responsible for defense and foreign relations of all the BOT’s.1 These territories include, but are not limited to: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, St. Helena, South Georgia, Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, and the British Indian Ocean Territory. St. Helena is located in the South Atlantic, midway between South America and Africa. It had no native inhabitants until it was discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It has been under British authority since the 17th century, and is most well-known as the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled in 1815.2 1http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/london-wikileaks/8305236/A-GUIDE-TO-THE-BRITISH-OVERSEAS-TERRITORIES.html 2https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/print_sh.html

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Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

St. Helena has a tropical marine climate and rugged, volcanic terrain. Other land is used for farming of coffee and vegetables.1 St. Helena is also home to over 500 species of plants and invertebrates not found anywhere else in the world.2

Family

The population of the island was estimated to be about 4,300 in 2016.1 The population experienced a serious decline from 1980-2000, as many working-age residents left for better opportunities elsewhere. The restoration of British citizenship in 2002 increased family emigration slightly, although the islands still struggle with an age imbalance. The elderly made up 20% of the population in 2016. 41% of the population is single, 35% is married, and only 3% report a divorce.2

Human Rights

In May of 2013, a British human rights organization uncovered an alarming amount of domestic violence and child sexual abuse on St. Helena. Multiple serial sex offenders were reported, while local authorities showed little effort in stopping the problem. The island displayed an endemic culture of both sexual abuse and mistreatment of disabled children.1 Since the report was published, the government has increased police presence in communities and vigilance on serial sex offenders.2

Education

Education is free and compulsory on the island of St. Helena for children aged 5 to 15. The primary language taught is English.1 The St. Helena Director of Education adapted the UK national school curriculum for us on the island. Modifications include special night classes and vocational training to prepare students for careers on the island.2

Poverty

Although the majority of the citizens of St. Helena are employed, the standard of living is still below that of developed countries.1 Important resources, such as electricity, telecommunication, and food are more expensive on the island because of its remote location. A minimum wage was first introduced in 2013, which helped in managing the poverty level. Other issues contributing to poverty are health problems, lack of available childcare, high property rental costs, and an inflexible job market.2

Religion

87% of St. Helena citizens reported a religious affiliation in 2016. Almost all of those identified as some Christian denomination, mainly Protestant.1

Clean Water

86% of St. Helena residents receive clean drinking water piped and treated by Connect St. Helena. 14% either receive untreated water piped to storage tanks or use natural sources, such as streams and rainwater.1

Economy

St. Helena’s main exports are coffee, fish, and handicrafts. Although most residents are employed by these industries, agriculture and crafting are not enough to sustain the territory’s economy. Most of the island’s money comes from British governmental assistance.1 The British government began construction on an airport in 2013 in hopes to boost St. Helena’s economy. However, windy conditions made it almost impossible for planes to land on the island. In 2017, the first passenger plane finally landed on St. Helena in what the British government hopes will be the beginning of a new era for the island.2

Government

For all British Overseas Territories, the British monarch is the head of state and is represented by an appointed governor.1 Similar to many other British territories, the governor is supported by a cabinet and a legislative council that is elected by the people.2

Health

In the 2016 census, the majority of St. Helena residents reported being in good health. Less than 5% reported a severe disability that prevents them from working or leaving the house.1 There are high rates of smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse on the island, which result in high occurrences of diseases like diabetes and hypertension. The elderly percentage of the population deals with more complex health needs that can’t be met by the current level of basic care.2

Children

Half of the children in 2016 were below school-age, and half were in the compulsory school-age range.1 Children on the island live under a cultural acceptance of sexual abuse, so many victims are never protected or vindicated.2 Children with physical and learning disabilities do not receive proper care. In 2013, the British government sent social service workers to investigate their care and implement proper housing and facilities.3

Animals

St. Helena’s isolated location allows many rare species of its original wildlife to survive undisturbed. Over 400 unique species of insects live on the island, although many are recently endangered or on the verge of becoming extinct. The St. Helena government, in partnership with several wildlife foundations, launched a project in 2014 in an attempt to conserve the habitats of these unique species.1

St.Helena

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