forced displacement

As a Palestinian whose homeland is currently undergoing settlement and colonisation only made possible by foreign powers, I refuse to celebrate Australia Day and everything it stands for. January 26 was the beginning of forced displacement, ongoing genocide, and assimilation for the indigenous people of this country. More than 200 years on, they still continue to face the scars of these policies and continue to face racism and discriminatory policies in White Australia. I stand in solidarity with the indigenous people of this country.

This is, always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. Never forget that.

#Opportunity: New Diploma in Human Rights and Forced Displacement

The Human Rights Centre of the United Nations mandated University for Peace is pleased to announce that from the Calendar year 2015, it will be offering a Diploma in Human Rights and Forced Displacement, courses for which can be taken entirely online. 

The Diploma can be obtained upon successful completion of the following online courses:

1. Forced Migration and Human Rights: 4 March – 14 April, 2015

2. Trafficking in Persons: 8 April – 19 May, 2015

3. Protection of Refugees: 17 June – 28 July, 2015

4. Protection of Stateless Persons: 26 August – 6 October, 2015

5. Protection of Internally Displaced Persons: 28 October – 8 December, 2015

More info and application: UPEACE

Last year 92,596 people were forced to flee their homes in Colombia’s Pacific coastal region – 36 percent of the 2012 victims of forced displacement nationwide.

Afro-Colombian and indigenous people, who live mainly in the western Pacific coastal departments (provinces) of Nariño, Cauca, Valle del Cauca and Chocó, are the most affected. In 2012, an estimated total of 51,938 blacks and 18,154 native people in this region were victims of forced displacement.


Humanitarian efforts failing the hundreds of thousands forced to flee ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq

The international community must urgently mount a concerted humanitarian response to assist hundreds of thousands of people across northern Iraq fleeing ethnic cleansing by the forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS or IS), Amnesty International said today.

“Those trapped on Sinjar Mountain make up a tiny percentage of the hundreds of thousands from minority communities displaced by the conflict, now stranded in dire conditions,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, speaking from northern Iraq.

“These people cannot go home as long as ISIS controls their towns and villages. They need help now.”

The international response to large scale displacement of civilians from areas seized by ISIS has been woefully inadequate to date. Even much publicized emergency air-drops to members of the Yezidi community stranded in villages on the Sinjar Mountain surrounded by ISIS militants have proved largely ineffective.

“We have nothing, nothing has come to us,” a man trapped in Kocho, a village on the south side of the Sinjar Mountain, told Amnesty International.

“We hear the planes in the distance but nobody has come to us or sent us anything. We can’t leave. ISIS will catch us and kill us if we do. For god’s sake, please help us”.

Hundreds of survivors from the mountain and many still stuck there told Amnesty International said that no aid had reached them and many said water bottles air-dropped in recent days often broke on impact.

The aid effort also came late - after many had already managed to escape with the help of Syrian Kurdish fighters who opened a safe passage on the north-western side of the mountain, close to the Syrian border.

“The Iraqi central government, the Kurdish Regional Government, donor countries and international agencies must take concerted action to provide safe shelter and humanitarian assistance to men, women and children of all backgrounds forced to flee in the face of such ferocious brutality,” said Donatella Rovera.

ISIS has mounted systematic attacks on minority communities in northern Iraq, including Turkemen and Shabak Shi’a communities as well as Christians and Yezidis, aiming to drive non-Sunni populations from the areas under their control.

“ISIS has given minority communities an unambiguous message – convert, leave or die. This is ethnic cleansing,” Donatella Rovera said.

“Survivors have told me how their male relatives were rounded up and executed and the women and children in their families abducted. A number of families from one of Iraq’s minorities, still living under ISIS rule, have told me they were recently forced to convert to Islam and are not able to leave the area.”

Meanwhile, with US air strikes now hitting ISIS positions and a likely further escalation of air attacks on ISIS targets by US and Iraqi forces, Muslim Sunni civilians living in ISIS controlled areas fear for their safety.

“Millions of Sunni Muslims are still living in ISIS-controlled areas – and not necessarily by choice,” said Donatella Rovera.

“Several have already been killed in Iraqi air force strikes on these areas.  Just last week a lecturer from Mosul University, his wife and their four young children were all killed in one such attack. Similar incidents have been repeated across of the country.

“All forces operating in the area must at all times distinguish between military objectives and civilians; attacks can only be directed at military targets. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited under international law.” 

Originally posted here.
Photo: Displaced Iraqis from the Yezidi community cross the Iraqi-Syrian border along the Fishkhabur bridge in northern Iraq. 

Thatcher suggested 'Cromwell solution' for Northern Ireland

Margaret Thatcher horrified her advisers when she recommended that the government should revive the memory of Oliver Cromwell - dubbed the butcher of Ireland - and encourage tens of thousands of Catholics to leave Ulster for the south.

A year after she was nearly killed in the IRA’s 1984 Brighton bomb, the then prime minister expressed dismay at Catholic opposition to British rule when they could follow the example of ancestors who were evicted from Ulster at the barrel of a Cromwellian gun in the 17th century.

A country of exiles

Displacement affects more than 3 million Colombians.

In the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Bogota, the country is re-settling. Coming from the richest lands in Colombia, where subsistence products feed many mouths, thousands of families have had to move to improvised shacks, built on unstable land that occupies an immense labyrinth.

The multiple accents no longer talk only of a war extended to all corners of the country, but a collective sadness brought on by forced displacement — already recognized by the International Criminal Court as a crime against humanity.

Near 25,000 exiles are now living in the Altos de Cazuca, in the capital’s southeast district of Soacha, now the biggest recipient of this population along with neighboring Ciudad Bolivar.

This conflict, in addition to murders and kidnappings, has also produced 3 million internal refugees in the last two decades, with an annual rate of around 200,000 people, according to the governmental program Social Solidarity Network. The majority of these refugees are escaping threats or from being caught in the crossfire in areas fought over by more than one armed group, where the word “state” comes off as a joke.

Caught in the crossfire
Mara, as she asked to be called, knows better than anybody what it means to be part of the civilian population in the middle of the conflict. The 37-year-old is originally from a town of some 5,500 inhabitants, close to the Caucasia municipality in the northwestern Antioquia department.

Her house was surrounded by a river of rivalries: just crossing it would warrant an encounter with members of paramilitaries and a few steps to the other side would mean a run-in with guerrilla fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). There her husband worked driving a small boat, or chalupa, that served as public transportation between the two banks.

“We survived on that. He made some 700,000 pesos [US$350] a month working 10 hours a day. It wasn’t enough because when one is poor, nothing is ever complete, but we at least owned a house,” said Mara, who was working then as a mother leader in the government program Families in Action, which benefited 144 mothers who received a subsidy for their children’s education.

“Once, a group of people hired him to go to the other side of the river and on crossing, there was another group of people, armed, who told him not to move until he received a new order. It seems that this group had killed a few people, so their family members took it out on my husband because he supposedly should have known that he was transporting murderers,” she said.

“That’s why the guerrillas came to my town looking for him and he had to flee to the jungle,” she added. “Then they took my son, they were going to kill him … but he also escaped. They retaliated against us and came in my home with rocks, sticks and arms, screaming, ‘damn killers, come out.’ 

After hiding for several hours, they managed to leave at night to go to Caucasia in a car that a family member got for them. They went to the house of Mara’s mother, who lives in precarious conditions and could only offer a floor to sleep on. In the middle of last year, they managed to go to Bogota thanks to tickets sent by Mara’s sister.

She finally met someone from the local office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who helped her get a change of clothing and told her how to get the emergency humanitarian aid offered by the government — some $100 a month per family — including three months of rent and food, usually a long time after the first move.

Violent parallel power
Painful stories like Mara’s are found in the Altos de Cazuca, with 30 neighborhoods and available land, mostly illegal, without any mention in the District Land Ordering Plan. The precariousness of the infrastructure causes the cost of rent to waver between 50,000 and 100,000 pesos ($25 and $50) per month, including services — very little compared to other sectors in the city.

All of this deregulation has brought about a violent parallel power. Daniel Rendón, 38, who arrived to the area in 1998 and César Plata, 36, who has been there eight years are both witnesses of this. Both men are members of Soacha’s Table of Dialogue, Management and Development (MIGD, for its initials in Spanish), that defends the rights of displaced people.

They arrived after fleeing from the northern Uraba region in times when there was a cooperative in Soacha with a registry in the Chamber of Commerce that offered 16 by 12-meter (52 by 39-foot) lots costing up to one million pesos ($500).

Despite legislation recognizing displaced persons as being entitled to special rights for their condition as victims, the attention this population receives is almost entirely dependent on international cooperation.

“The people’s attitude is: you poor displaced people, take these pants and this old shirt. And we are people who lived better than anyone who now looks at us with pity,” said Rendón.

A scourge that doesn’t stop
• 3 million have emigrated internally because of violence in the last 20 years.

• A record 414,000 emigrated in 2002, the first year of Álvaro Uribe’s government.

• 200,000 annually have abandoned their homes in the last five years.

• Emigrees’ departments: Antioquia, Valle, Tolina, Meta, Caqueta

• Receiving cities: Bogota and Soacha, Medellin, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Villavicencio.

• Threat origin: FARC 88 percent, National Liberation Army (ELN) 28 percent, paramilitary groups 17 percent, ex-paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups as well as common crime 84 percent (the figure goes over 100 percent because in various cases there is more than one threat origin).

Want to read this article in spanish? Click here 

The Lewis Global Studies Center presents, as part of the Global Scholars Lecture Series, a panel on immigration policies and resettlement experiences. Members of the panel will include Susannah Crolius, coordinator of outreach and resource development for the Western Massachusetts Refugee and Immigrant Consortium, and Jeff Napolitano, executive officer at American Friends Service Committee of Western Mass. 

How conflict affects women’s reproductive health

Gender-based violence, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity all flourish in times of conflict, says a review, suggesting clinicians need to be sensitive and aware of the unique challenges of women’s reproductive health needs in such times.

New York City: One Solution: Revolution! One Billion Rising with GABRIELA NY

Join GABRIELA New York for a series of weekend events February 13-14 as we Rise for Revolution with One Billion Rising in 2016. People all over the world will join together to demand an end to violence against women and children in all of its forms such as poverty, domestic violence, forced migration, and displacement caused by entities like the military and the state.

In New York, we are calling to end violence against women and children through resisting militarization and economic violence in the United States and abroad in places like the Philippines. Militarization and economic plunder of land have had huge impacts on women and children in communities like the indigenous Lumad in Mindanao, Philippines who have been violently murdered and displaced so that foreign corporations can have access to their lands.

Learn more about the struggle of the Lumad through educational discussions, cultural performances and video footage with GABRIELA New York during on Saturday, February 13th. Guest panelists during our round table will also discuss how militarization and state-sponsored violence affect women and children in their communities and how important it is to organize and build collective power to call for system change. The one solution for ending violence against women is Revolution!

After the event at 4PM, join us as we put our collective power to use and move to the music of the 2016 One Billion Rising Philippines dance in Madison Square Park! It will be available to learn online in small digestible clips released before the event.

On Sunday, February 14th GABRIELA New York will celebrate #RevLoveand the power of coming together as a community through our OBR celebration aimed at raising funds for GABRIELA USA’s 3rd National Congress in San Francisco March 19-20. Join us for karaoke, food, drinks, a DJ and guest performances as we reclaim what it means to celebrate love and build collective power!


GABRIELA NY’s OBR events are part of Philippine Solidarity Week, a series of activities beginning on February 4 to commemorate the Philippine-American War and to raise awareness and support for the continuing struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation. It is led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA or BAYAN-USA.

Since 1899, U.S. troops have maintained their presence in the Philippines through permanent military and naval bases and through military agreements and treaties that undermines Philippine sovereignty. These military bases have served as launching pads for U.S. Imperialist aggression in Asia. With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA) and the Joint Force 2020 ventures, U.S. troops will continue imperialist aggression in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in the Philippines. Support #PhilSolWeek here:



Jorge Panchoaga: The Big House: Life, Land and Indigenous Culture

via lensculture

“La Casa Grande” is a close look at the everyday life of the Cauca indigenous people [Páez people or Nasa], with a focus on the historical resistance led by these people. These photographs trace a journey that conveys how territory is indispensable to building and preserving cultural identity, especially in the face of unrest and violence.

In this project, we find the great pillars of the construction of indigenous identity: community, home, family, cultural heritage and the deep need of having a land to call one’s own.

The native “reguardos” (reservations) where these photos were taken portray a country in peace—something that all we Colombians desire. But this visionary landscape is actually a contradictory image of the true everyday reality in Cauca. Across war-torn Colombia, Cauca is one of the areas with the largest armed conflicts and highest number of forced displacements in the country.

Thus, these images attempt to lead us into intimate spaces, outside of the unstable public sphere, where we can recognize the eternality of life in the home: everyday life and the quotidian struggle for survival. These private worlds are fragile and, in this moment, perhaps even false. But through the camera (which is another word for room, after all), we see them momentarily frozen and graspable.

Indeed, light, that main element of photography, is used as a tool to unveil other possible worlds. By utilizing a camera obscura built into the houses, each image transmutes daily outdoor scenes into the chamber of inner life. These pictures allow us to imagine a better Cauca and a better country, full of peace and prosperity. Perhaps they even give us the ability to picture a slightly more magical world—one that holds respect for all human life.

1550 wooden chairs placed between 2 buildings on a street in #Istanbul. Nope, this is not an #OpticalIllusion. It’s real.
This installation, produced for the 8th International Istanbul Biennial, contained 1,550 wooden chairs stacked between 2 buildings to address the #history of #migration & #displacement in Istanbul.

The area is full of ruins. There were legacies of a violent past where #Jews & #Greeks were forced out of their buildings, these buildings. It’s the process of this placement, of forceful displacement a multilayer of events that has been taking place for over 50 yrs.

A lot of people during a period were forced to leave the #city. Some locations became empty sites.
You have this chaotic mass of chairs in between the buildings that are standing in for bodies. I think there is this compression of space & the kind of seemingly #chaos of the chairs that suggests that psychological but also physical state that many find themselves in.
The other amazing thing about this work is the flat surface. So you have this bubbling, brewing kind of chaos behind a veneer of control.

#HushReport #beautifulplaces #beautifulearth #Turkey #EarthwithoutArtisJustEh #beautifulpics #PicsFromTheWorld #picoftheday #Travel #traveltheworld #positivity #positivevibes #breatheeasy #humanitylove #fascinating #createexploretakeover by thehushreport