Fight against hunger and poverty

In 1981, 550 million people worldwide are undernourished. Over 60,000 uprooted people live in the Ogaden camps alone. In the embattled region of Africa between Somalia and Ethiopia, refugee misery and famine are worse than anywhere else in the world.

The dialogue between the wealthy and the poor countries is to begin in the Mexican seaside resort of Cancún. With the help of the United Nations, the countries are striving for more global cooperation, but this goal is watered down by ambiguous formulas.


In the port of the Angolan city of Luanda there are 60 ships that cannot be unloaded. The port facilities are broken and cannot be repaired due to a lack of spare parts. The Angolan government costs money every day, making deliveries that are already too expensive. The trade necessary for the north only pays off in the young states for the few functionaries and technocrats in the capital.

The majority of the population is starving. Farmers are less and less willing to produce surpluses beyond their own needs, as it is not worth selling in the cities. The currencies that could be used to import food are dwindling.

Angola has been trying to develop its own resources since independence from Portugal six years ago. One of the main goals is literacy among the population. In the meantime, its own education system has meant that one million of the seven million inhabitants can read and write. A short time before it was 50 percent less. But poverty and malnutrition make efforts difficult.

In order to help the countries of the third world in the long term, food and industrial production would have to be located there. To do this, the world economy would have to be reshaped in such a way that the industrialized countries forego some export and profit opportunities. Development efforts are also being hampered by the growing militarization of third world countries.

El Salvador

In El Salvador (Central America), fighting rages between the US-backed junta and the left-wing insurgents. 10,000 people die, thousands try to flee.


In Argentina, the authorities are vehemently taking action against those who think differently. Mothers and family members of the Deca Parecidos, the disappeared, gather on Placa del Mayo in Buenos Aires. They wear white headscarves as a sign of identification and pull around the national symbol of independence, the obelisk. They are reminiscent of Argentina’s unresolved past, during which between 60,000 people disappeared or were sent to prison without trial, where many are still. The government thinks they’re terrorists.

Protestant, Jewish and Catholic clergy and the 1980 Nobel Prize winner, civil rights activist Adolfo Perez, take part in the demonstration. They handed over a petition asking to speak to the President about human rights issues. Plainclothes police arrest people in the crowd. There are fistfights.

20 years of Amnesty International

In 1981 the human rights organization turns 20. She takes on sponsorships, creates documentation and denounces human rights violations in the world. It is often the only hope for political prisoners. In 1982 Amnesty International (ai) wants to start a special campaign for the so-called disappeared.

Lev Kopelew receives peace prize

For his teaching that truth, humanity and tolerance are essential for peace, Kopelew is awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. For his conviction, Kopelev accepted expatriation from the Soviet Union. In his speech he calls for the "heroism of peace" to be recognized.

Space shuttle Columbia launched

In April the USA will launch the first reusable space shuttle, the "Columbia" space shuttle, from Cape Canavarel. After 24 hours it lands back in California.