Showing posts tagged as "minority rights"

Showing posts tagged minority rights

3 Aug

"Syria’s future largely depends on the Alawites’ fate. To cast them aside or marginalise them would plant the seeds of the next conflagration. It also would exacerbate fears among other minorities who, having incurred persecution, like the Kurds and the Druze, or feeling insecure, like the Christians and Ismailis, would wonder whether they were next in line. If Alawites cannot find  their rightful place in it, Syria will face the likely prospect of instability, civil strife and fragmentation."

-Syria’s Mutating Conflict, a recent report from Crisis Group.
Photo: FreedomHouse/Flickr

"Syria’s future largely depends on the Alawites’ fate. To cast them aside or marginalise them would plant the seeds of the next conflagration. It also would exacerbate fears among other minorities who, having incurred persecution, like the Kurds and the Druze, or feeling insecure, like the Christians and Ismailis, would wonder whether they were next in line. If Alawites cannot find  their rightful place in it, Syria will face the likely prospect of instability, civil strife and fragmentation."

-Syria’s Mutating Conflict, a recent report from Crisis Group.

Photo: FreedomHouse/Flickr

24 May
Analysis: Libyan minority rights at a crossroads | IRIN News
Since Muammar Gaddafi’s fall seven months ago, Libya’s non-Arab minorities, including an estimated 250,000 Tuaregs, have begun more vehemently to insist on their rights. “Gaddafi’s policy was ‘keep your dog hungry so that he follows you’,” said one Tuareg activist, al-Hafiz Mohamed Sheikh. “This means keeping people in need. With Tuaregs, he said many times that we would have our rights, but he never fulfilled his promises. Sometimes he would favour some individuals, but not whole communities.” Flying over the ramshackle houses in Tayuri settlement in Libya’s southwestern city of Sebha are the blue, green and yellow flags of the Imazighen (non-Arab minorities). During Gaddafi’s time, the Imazighen, including the Tuaregs, experienced cultural and political marginalization, with the regime instituting an all-encompassing pan-Arabic ideology and refusing to recognize them as a distinct ethnic group indigenous to the country and the region. Since Gaddafi’s fall, nine new local associations have emerged in Tayuri promoting the rights of Tuaregs. According to the International Crisis Group, the Arabization of Imazighen communities, “advanced more rapidly and completely in Libya than in any other Maghreb country”. Law 24 forbids the Imazighen, including Tuaregs, from giving their children non-Arab names, and those who attended cultural celebrations in neighbouring countries were arrested upon their return to Libya. While Gaddafi absorbed a large number of Tuaregs into his army and is said to have used a number of them as mercenaries during the uprising, many suffered from the same historic marginalization as other minority groups.Nine-tenths of Libyans live along the Mediterranean coast, and many see non-Arab southerners as belonging more to “Africa” than Libya. Tuaregs, a nomadic pastoralist group, are also found in Algeria, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)
Photo: Gigi Tagliapietra/Flickr

Analysis: Libyan minority rights at a crossroads | IRIN News

Since Muammar Gaddafi’s fall seven months ago, Libya’s non-Arab minorities, including an estimated 250,000 Tuaregs, have begun more vehemently to insist on their rights. 

“Gaddafi’s policy was ‘keep your dog hungry so that he follows you’,” said one Tuareg activist, al-Hafiz Mohamed Sheikh. “This means keeping people in need. With Tuaregs, he said many times that we would have our rights, but he never fulfilled his promises. Sometimes he would favour some individuals, but not whole communities.”
 
Flying over the ramshackle houses in Tayuri settlement in Libya’s southwestern city of Sebha are the blue, green and yellow flags of the Imazighen (non-Arab minorities). During Gaddafi’s time, the Imazighen, including the Tuaregs, experienced cultural and political marginalization, with the regime instituting an all-encompassing pan-Arabic ideology and refusing to recognize them as a distinct ethnic group indigenous to the country and the region. 

Since Gaddafi’s fall, nine new local associations have emerged in Tayuri promoting the rights of Tuaregs. 

According to the International Crisis Group, the Arabization of Imazighen communities, “advanced more rapidly and completely in Libya than in any other Maghreb country”. 

Law 24 forbids the Imazighen, including Tuaregs, from giving their children non-Arab names, and those who attended cultural celebrations in neighbouring countries were arrested upon their return to Libya. 

While Gaddafi absorbed a large number of Tuaregs into his army and is said to have used a number of them as mercenaries during the uprising, many suffered from the same historic marginalization as other minority groups.

Nine-tenths of Libyans live along the Mediterranean coast, and many see non-Arab southerners as belonging more to “Africa” than Libya. Tuaregs, a nomadic pastoralist group, are also found in Algeria, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)

Photo: Gigi Tagliapietra/Flickr

16 Mar
Asia Report  N°219
Deepening militarisation and the lack of accountable governance in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province are preventing a return to normal life and threaten future violence. Scene of the most bitter fighting in the civil war, the Tamil-majority north remains under de facto military occupation, with all important policies set by Sinhala officials in Colombo. The slow but undeniable movement of Sinhala settlers into the fringes of the north and other forms of government-supported “Sinhalisation” are reigniting a sense of grievance and weakening chances for a real settlement with Tamil and other minority parties to devolve power. The international community, especially those governments and aid agencies supporting the reconstruction of the area, should demand a fundamental change of course and should structure their assistance so as to encourage the demilitarisation and democratisation of the former war zone and full respect for minority rights.
With the massive number of troops in the north have come various forms of Sinhalisation. The almost entirely Tamil-speaking north is now dotted with Sinhala sign-boards, streets newly renamed in Sinhala, monuments to Sinhala war heroes, and even a war museum and battlefields that are open only to Sinhalese. Sinhala fishermen and businessmen are regularly given advantages not accorded to Tamils. The slow but steady movement of Sinhala settlers along the southern edges of the province, often with military and central government support and sometimes onto land previously farmed or occupied by Tamils, is particularly worrying. These developments are consistent with a strategy – known to be supported by important officials and advisers to the president – to change “the facts on the ground”, as has already happened in the east, and make it impossible to claim the north as a Tamil-majority area deserving of self-governance.
FULL REPORT (International Crisis Group)
Asia Report N°220
Sri Lanka’s military is dominating the reconstruction of the Northern Province, weakening international humanitarian efforts and worsening tensions with the ethnic Tamil majority. Since the war ended in 2009, hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into the province, but the local populations, mostly left destitute by the conflict, have seen only slight improvements in their lives. Instead of giving way to a process of inclusive, accountable development, the military is increasing its economic role, controlling land and seemingly establishing itself as a permanent, occupying presence. Combined with what many Tamils see as an effort to impose Sinhala and Buddhist culture across the whole of Sri Lanka and a failure to address many social aspects of rebuilding a society after conflict, these policies risk reviving the violence of past decades. Donors should put government accountability, the needs of returnees and the expansion of a democratic political role for the Tamil minority at the heart of their aid policies or risk contributing to a revival of ethnic extremism.
The heavy militarisation of the province, ostensibly designed to protect against the renewal of violent militancy, is in fact deepening the alienation and anger of northern Tamils and threatening sustainable peace. Major new military bases require the seizure of large amounts of public and private land and the continued displacement of tens of thousands. The growing involvement of the military in agricultural and commercial activities has placed further obstacles on the difficult road to economic recovery for northern farmers and businesses. When challenged by public protest, the military has shown itself willing to physically attack demonstrators and is credibly accused of involvement in enforced disappearances and other extrajudicial punishments.
FULL REPORT (International Crisis Group)

Asia Report  N°219

Deepening militarisation and the lack of accountable governance in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province are preventing a return to normal life and threaten future violence. Scene of the most bitter fighting in the civil war, the Tamil-majority north remains under de facto military occupation, with all important policies set by Sinhala officials in Colombo. The slow but undeniable movement of Sinhala settlers into the fringes of the north and other forms of government-supported “Sinhalisation” are reigniting a sense of grievance and weakening chances for a real settlement with Tamil and other minority parties to devolve power. The international community, especially those governments and aid agencies supporting the reconstruction of the area, should demand a fundamental change of course and should structure their assistance so as to encourage the demilitarisation and democratisation of the former war zone and full respect for minority rights.

With the massive number of troops in the north have come various forms of Sinhalisation. The almost entirely Tamil-speaking north is now dotted with Sinhala sign-boards, streets newly renamed in Sinhala, monuments to Sinhala war heroes, and even a war museum and battlefields that are open only to Sinhalese. Sinhala fishermen and businessmen are regularly given advantages not accorded to Tamils. The slow but steady movement of Sinhala settlers along the southern edges of the province, often with military and central government support and sometimes onto land previously farmed or occupied by Tamils, is particularly worrying. These developments are consistent with a strategy – known to be supported by important officials and advisers to the president – to change “the facts on the ground”, as has already happened in the east, and make it impossible to claim the north as a Tamil-majority area deserving of self-governance.

FULL REPORT (International Crisis Group)

Asia Report N°220

Sri Lanka’s military is dominating the reconstruction of the Northern Province, weakening international humanitarian efforts and worsening tensions with the ethnic Tamil majority. Since the war ended in 2009, hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into the province, but the local populations, mostly left destitute by the conflict, have seen only slight improvements in their lives. Instead of giving way to a process of inclusive, accountable development, the military is increasing its economic role, controlling land and seemingly establishing itself as a permanent, occupying presence. Combined with what many Tamils see as an effort to impose Sinhala and Buddhist culture across the whole of Sri Lanka and a failure to address many social aspects of rebuilding a society after conflict, these policies risk reviving the violence of past decades. Donors should put government accountability, the needs of returnees and the expansion of a democratic political role for the Tamil minority at the heart of their aid policies or risk contributing to a revival of ethnic extremism.

The heavy militarisation of the province, ostensibly designed to protect against the renewal of violent militancy, is in fact deepening the alienation and anger of northern Tamils and threatening sustainable peace. Major new military bases require the seizure of large amounts of public and private land and the continued displacement of tens of thousands. The growing involvement of the military in agricultural and commercial activities has placed further obstacles on the difficult road to economic recovery for northern farmers and businesses. When challenged by public protest, the military has shown itself willing to physically attack demonstrators and is credibly accused of involvement in enforced disappearances and other extrajudicial punishments.

FULL REPORT (International Crisis Group)