Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction of genocide is a historic moment in a country still healing from a brutal, three-decade civil war and his trial offered Guatemala’s oppressed indigenous communities their first chance to be heard, human rights activists said.(...more)
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Monday, 1 April 2013
In the months leading up to the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the radio station Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines blanketed the country with anti-Tutsi propaganda, inciting its Hutu listeners to “exterminate the cockroaches.” During the genocide, the station took on an even more active role, reading out lists of people to be killed and their locations.
The role played by the station only became widely understood outside of Rwanda after the violence was over. Three of its former executives were eventually indicted by a U.N. tribunal for their part in the genocide, but what if the world had been monitoring Milles Collines before the killing started?(...more)
Friday, 29 March 2013
In Guatemala next month, the former dictator Efraín Rios Montt will become the first head of state ever tried on genocide charges in a domestic court. Not all such efforts to prosecute crimes against humanity have proceeded peacefully.
Still, the quest to bring war criminals and vicious leaders to justice in international or domestic courts is part of a global trend toward greater accountability for human rights violations.
But do trials help secure peace after war, civil conflict and repression? Does the threat of prosecution make dictators more reluctant to step down? Would it be better for democracy if survivors could forgive perpetrators and move on?(...more)
Monday, 4 February 2013
Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians don’t trust each other but almost everyone agrees the relationship is important, Reconciliation Australia says.
The organisation’s Barometer 2012 report, which surveys the relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people, says there has been little significant change in attitudes nationally.
The survey found we don’t trust each other and only about half of those surveyed felt proud of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma says.
“Most people surveyed did not believe the relationship was very good and only half of those believe it was improving,” Dr Calma said.
However, it was a different story in a second survey, which found vast improvements in attitudes among indigenous and non-indigenous people working in organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).(...more)
When the Wabanaki tribes and the State of Maine signed an agreement in the spring of 2011 to create a Maine/Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Process to heal the past abuses of Indian children in the state child welfare system, they envisioned a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the process. Now the TRC members are calling for a day of prayer to help prepare them for the difficult work ahead.
The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission announced in a press release that A Day of Reflection, Meditation and Prayer will take place on February 11 when people all over the state will be asked to pause at 11 a.m. to think about the importance of the TRC process and how everyone can support its three-part objective to uncover the truth, promote healing, and make recommendations for the best child welfare practices.(...more)
Khartoum — UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Baderin, vowed to support Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in its efforts to achieve reconciliation in the western Sudan region.
The expert started Sunday a 7-day visit to Khartoum and Darfur region where he is expected to meet national and regional officials and civil society groups as well as foreign diplomats and UN representatives.(...more)
Saturday, 25 August 2012
Belfast, NI – While the Northern Ireland peace process should rightfully be considered a success, that doesn’t mean that the country does not suffer from many of the same problems as other, less successful, postwar countries.(...more)
Friday, 24 August 2012
Senegal is putting Habre, former dictator of Chad, on trial for human rights abuse through the order of the The International Court of Justice.
“The holding of these proceedings will show that Africa can try Africa”. Earnestly the justice will be sought as Habre is seen as a symbol of impunity. His previous lawyer argued and successfully influenced the Senegalese authorities not to extradite him. The cooperation of the African Union (AU) and Senegal ought to be celebrated.(...more)
Monday, 13 August 2012
When people think of genocide in Africa, neighbouring Rwanda usually comes to mind after the slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus in 100 days in 1994.
But over the years Burundi, which has a similar ethnic make-up and tensions, has also faced killings by both Tutsi and Hutus, driving a wedge into the fabric of the nation…
… Burundi is now coping with ethnicity far better than its better-known neighbour.(...more)
Friday, 10 August 2012
What is the meaning of justice in the wake of massive injustices? This question confronts the countries of the Arab Spring, just as it confronted tens of countries emerging from war and dictatorship over the past generation.
How the Arab Spring countries address the evils of yesterday affects their prospects for peace and democracy tomorrow. Today only Tunisia is reasonably stable. Egypt has just experienced a polarizing election and faces continued uncertainty whether its military will relinquish power. Libya’s national government does not yet control the entire country. Yemen faces a separatist south. Syrian is sundered by civil war. All are rent by the fissures that the past has bequeathed.(...more)
Thursday, 26 July 2012
FW de Klerk, the Nobel peace laureate and former South African president, has warned that the country is again being poisoned by racism from political leaders, leaving Nelson Mandela’s spirit of reconciliation “almost totally gone”.
De Klerk suggested that the now retired Mandela must feel sad about the betrayal of the non-racial consensus he espoused as South Africa’s first black president, and that only a “second reconciliation” could restore it.(...more)
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
The Borderscapes III conference, which took place in Trieste, Italy, last week, was attended by border scholars and political geographers from throughout the world, including Israel. The three-day, intensive conference, arranged by Prof. Ellena Dell’agnese of the University of Milan and a member of the Political Geography Commission of the International Geographic Union, was followed by a four-day field trip to Croatia and Bosnia…
In Israel we can only be jealous of the relatively peaceful relations which exist between most European countries today. Even in the bitterly contested Balkan countries, one is struck by the economic rejuvenation which has already taken place in such places as Sarajevo and Mostar, even if the scars and memories of what happened just 15-20 years ago are unlikely ever to be forgotten, or forgiven, by those whose families and friends were killed, driven out and effectively disinherited.
Accession to the EU was dependent on the full right of return of those who had fled or been driven out. But while some did return, many chose not to take up this option, either out of fear of becoming an ethnic religious minority again, or because they have started new lives elsewhere and do not wish to be reminded of the events of the past.(...more)
Friday, 8 June 2012
It seemed self-evident at the time: A museum devoted to documenting the events of Sept. 11, 2001, would have to include photographs of the hijackers who turned four passenger jets into missiles. Then two and a half years ago, plans to use the pictures were made public.
New York City’s fire chief protested that such a display would “honor” the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. A New York Post editorial called the idea “appalling.” Groups representing rescuers, survivors and victims’ families asked how anyone could even think of showing the faces of the men who killed their relatives, colleagues and friends.
The anger took some museum officials by surprise.
“You don’t create a museum about the Holocaust and not say that it was the Nazis who did it,” said Joseph Daniels, chief executive of the memorial and museum foundation…
Reconciling the clashing obligations to recount the history with pinpoint accuracy, to memorialize heroism and to promote healing inevitably required compromise.
No one anticipated how much.(...more)
Thursday, 31 May 2012
ADONKIA, Sierra Leone — Ten years after the end of Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war over control of its diamond fields, children as young as 3 years old continue to toil in its mines, hoping at best to earn a few pennies for food in a country still wracked by extreme poverty.
But the children aren’t looking for diamonds, which at least hold the hope of a big payday. In a sign of how desperate things remain in Sierra Leone, they’re reduced to one of man’s most difficult labors in their attempt to survive — breaking granite rocks into gravel and selling the piles, cheaply and infrequently, to construction companies for use in cement.
Child labor is nothing new in Sierra Leone, but children working in ad hoc rock quarries southeast of Freetown, the capital, is a new wrinkle resulting from the war, said Foday Mansaray, the headmaster of a free school he founded as the only alternative to a life of hard labor for most of the children enrolled there.(...more)
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Celebrations were muted in the windswept streets of the Hague last week at the war crimes conviction of former Liberian president Charles Taylor. The first guilty verdict for a head-of-state in the history of UN war crimes courts is an important milestone to be sure, but it masks a deeper malaise for war crimes justice, which is finding it harder to win cases as political support drains away.
The center for these anxieties is not the Sierra Leone Special Court, which is expected to give Taylor a long jail sentence next month, but the gleaming skyscraper across town that houses the International Criminal Court.(...more)
Monday, 30 April 2012
Dear Prime Minister:
When I heard your words in the House of Commons that were deemed an apology for the debacle of Canada’s residential school system, I was heartened. At that time, it was nothing short of amazing to hear a prime minister use the word “wrong” in reference to Canada’s treatment of aboriginal people. Now, nearly four years later, I look at the astoundingly hurtful cuts to organizations whose sole purposes are the re-empowerment and well-being of aboriginal people, and I am disheartened. Hell, Mr. Harper, I am downright angry.(...more)
War crimes trial in Ottawa starts with jury selection: Jacques Mungwarere arrested in Windsor for allegedly participating in Rwandan genocide
The selection of 12 bilingual jurors, from a pool of about 1,200, begins today in Ottawa in the war crimes trial of a man accused of participating in the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Jacques Mungwarere, 39, is the second Rwandan to be prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which was introduced in 2000 and allows for prosecution no matter where or when an alleged war crime may have been committed.
The first person prosecuted under the act is Desire Munyaneza, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2009.(...more)
Monday, 16 April 2012
Given that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis took place on the basis of deep social divisions, justice and reconciliation were top priorities when the country emerged from the 100-day cataclysm. “Justice was the first thing that those who lost loved ones claimed,” explains Domitilla Mukantanganzwa, the executive secretary of the national jurisdiction of Gacaca courts.(...more)
Sunday, 15 April 2012
There are times that Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson finishes a day of hearings and heads for a hot bath and a good cry.
That happens after she has struggled to hold back tears while listening to stories from residential school survivors, not wanting to discourage anyone with the courage to publicly unearth their memories.
“My job, in some ways, is easy because I say to myself: ‘All I have to do is hear this. I didn’t have to live it.’ So that helps a lot,” said Wilson, who shares the task of listening to the stories with commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was formed as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement with the mandate to inform Canadians about what happened in the schools. It has federal government support in an effort to facilitate reconciliation and understanding between aboriginal people and Canadians.(...more)