Archive for the 'Human Rights' Category

Uganda’s Counterinsurgency Pogrom

British military training Ugandan army regulars in counterinsurgency techniques

On the Ugandan army’s counterinsurgency against the rural population (claiming it’s to rid Acholiland of the Lord’s Resistance Army) Sverker Finnström writes:

It was after about ten years of war that the Ugandan government decided to forcefully resettle a large number of the population into camps…threats and violence [by the Ugandan army] were common.  Those who first refused to move were sometimes beaten until they did move…In some cases, the Ugandan army shelled villages whose inhabitants refused to leave.  The Ugandan president officially announced the policy of moving the rural people to camps on September 27, 1996, but the army had evidently forced people to the camps earlier than that…Concentrating large numbers of civilians in camps has been an intrinsic part of the Ugandan army’s counterinsurgency warfare.  When people try to go back to their home villages they are occasionally beaten by the army (141).

Finnström, Sverker.  2008.  Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda.  Durham, USA: Duke University Press.

Living in Bad Surroundings in Northern Uganda

Civilians and Ugandan soldiers in Northern Uganda (photo by Peter van Agtmael click on photo for his website)

In his 2008 book Sverker Finnström wrote about how international observers have viewed the conflict in Northern Uganda (which has now moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan) and the realities on the ground:

The causes and consequences of the war in northern Uganda, the reasons for it, and the facts about it–they all differ, depending on whom you are listening to.  There is no one version that is fully agreed upon by all parties involved.  Perhaps this is a truism to many readers, but it is still important to emphasize because contemporary conflict analyses often tend to emphasize single causes for war in ways that are reductionist.  Regarding war in Africa, ethnicity is the most often invoked as one such single cause.  Consequently, African realities are reduced to little more than the antithesis to the roder of Western civilization, which on the other hand is taken for granted as modern and civilized…

During some periods, the [LRA] keep a low profile and their attacks are few, and consequently Ugandan authorities relax, being cooperative and even friendly to outside research.  During other periods, the rebels are very active, and in the Ugandan counterinsurgency practices almost everyone can be regarded as an enemy collaborator, including the researcher…

The war is indeed a global war even if fought on local grounds.  For some two decades, it has rolled back and forth, like the changes from rainy season to dry season and back to rainy season.  The massive influx of international humanitarian aid has ended up being deeply entangled with the realities on the ground

During some periods the rebels are disciplined and seek local support, more like fish in the water, to recall Mao Zedong’s  famous dictum on the guerilla fighters’ absolute need of local support to survive.  In such periods the repressive measures of the Ugandan authorities increase…In January 2003, the magistrate’s court in Gulu town reported that two boys aged fourteen and sixteen who returned home from rebel captivity were charged with reason, and that twenty-five more minors were being held in military custody without charges, under pressure to join the Ugandan army or face treason charges…The justice system became one of the first institutions to suffer from the war, and most cases of rebel as well as Ugandan military abuse of the civil population have not been addressed (8-9).

Reference

Finnström, Sverker.  2008.  Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda.  Durham, USA: Duke University Press.

Life for Palestinian Students in Israel

Palestinian child

Saree Makdisi writes about life for Palestinian students in Israel:

Even in Israel itself, Palestinian students-citizens of the state-face great difficulties, when compared with their Jewish peers.  The state provides 1,600 subsidized day-care centers, for example, but only 25 of those are in Palestinian towns.  Only 4,200 of the 80,000 Israeli children aged zero to three who attend day care are Palestinian, though had that number been in proportion to the actual population, it would have been closer to 20,000.  Israel invests more than three times as much in a Jewish student than it does in a non-Jewish one.  The state’s list of the 553 towns and villages granted top priority for education exclude all Palestinian towns inside Israel other than four villages.  There are 25 special art schools for Jewish children, and none for Palestinians.  And at the higher levels of its school system, Israel opens far more curricular tracks to Jewish students than to Palestinian ones.  As a result of all these forms of discrimination-and despite the fact that Palestinians traditionally place great emphasis on their children’s education, a fact attested to by the disproportionately large numbers of Palestinians among the Arab inteligentsia-a far greater proportion of Jewish students make it through high school, get accepted to university, and graduate.  Only 10 percent of Israel’s university students are Palestinian, for example, though proportionately speaking it ought to be double that number.  Only 3 percent of its Ph.D. students are Palestinian.  Only 1 percent of its university lectures are Palestinian. (Makdisi, 206)

Source

Makdisi, Saree.  Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., 2008.

Repression Under President Aquino

During the uprising against Marcos, taken form the book "People Power: An Eyewitness History"

During the uprising against Marcos, taken form the book "People Power: An Eyewitness History"

In an interview then chairperson of KMU Crispin Beltran on the “progress” made under President Corazon Aquino after the fall of martial law and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, Beltran states:

…from 1980-when KMU was organized-up to the overthrow of Marcos, a period of five and a half years, we recorded only 501 violations of  human rights workers.  For the whole year of 1987 along, we have recorded 735 human rights violations suffered by workers…(Scripes, 61-2)

Source

Scripes, Kim.  KMU; Building Genuine Trade Unionism in the Philippines, 1980-1994.  Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers, 1996.


Archives

My Tweet Ramblings

My Internet Ramblings