Thank Goodness a White Man Was Tortured

The moment Phil Cox crossed the border from Chad into Sudan, there was a price on the British journalist’s head. Cox’s mission was to investigate the Khartoum regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against its own civilians in Darfur. His hazardous journey was prompted by an Amnesty report on more than 30 chemical attacks in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, where the Islamist Sudanese regime has been ethnically cleansing its non-Arab minority since 2003. Cox knew it would be futile applying for a visa, so he slipped into Darfur illegally. Along the way he was betrayed, and thousands of Sudanese soldiers were mobilized to prevent him unveiling the truth about the regime’s use of…

THE MYTH OF HAPPY FAMILIES

  Mary was so embarrassed she couldn’t bear to meet the nurse’s eyes. She knew the health worker would be disappointed that her star student had ignored all she had learnt about HIV at the village clinic. But Mary had no choice: her husband, who is HIV+, insisted on having unprotected intercourse. To refuse him was to risk losing her three young children. Like millions of women in the developing world, tradition dictates that Mary has no right to the babies to whom she gave birth. In order to stay with her children, she must obey her husband for fear he will throw her out. Given Mary’s dilemma, it is hardly a mystery that HIV…

Nigeria and the deadly political legacy of military rule

            ‘Congratulations to our governor on his first year in office,’ reads the vast hording by the main Abuja-Jos road. A chubby-cheeked man with perfect teeth beams down on passing motorists. You don’t need to read the small print to know the poster was paid for by the businessmen who bankrolled the successful candidate. Fifty miles further along the same road another benevolent ruler favours travellers with his cherubic grin. ‘My heart goes out to all the people of south Kadema,’ reads the inscription. Meanwhile, his grateful voters carefully negotiate the atrocious highway between Nigeria’s capital and Jos, a city of nearly a million. In the words of a local…

Why Isn’t Saudi Arabia On Trump’s List Of Banned Muslim Countries?

Rebecca Tinsley Journalist and human rights activist The Kingdom and its school books remain the source of hatred. Why doesn’t President Trump’s executive order include Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11? And why does the US State Department refrain from pushing The Kingdom to drop the incitement to commit violence from the text books it exports around the world? Some years after 9/11, Saudi Arabia eventually promised to revise its hate-filled school books by 2008. Since then, the State Department has exaggerated the extent to which anti-Semitic and anti-Christian bigotry have been purged from the Saudi curriculum. In fact, analysts believe, US officials have covered-up for the Saudis, failing to ask…

No more partying in Congo Russia

REBECCA TINSLEY 9 December 2016 On the UN International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide, we are reminded: if western voters are angered by globalisation, for Nigeria its by-products are far more deadly.   “Homes and businesses have been wrecked by firebombs, churches are blackened shells, and only Muslims are safe.” Image courtesy of author.“The attack on our town began at midnight,” explained the district leader, a tall, slender man wearing a Manchester United shirt. “We called the security services immediately, and we kept phoning them, but they never arrived. So, the terrorists took their time, working their way through the streets systematically, house by house, killing the…

Teach Your Children Well

It takes political will to prevent genocide, not international law December 9th is the international day of genocide awareness and prevention. The Genocide Convention (1948) was a response to the Holocaust, marking the special status of mass murder committed with the intention of eliminating a category of people on the basis of their ethnicity or faith. The Genocide Convention has been followed by sundry international laws and treaties, aimed at creating legal norms recognized across the world as universal ethical standards. Yet, to judge by the collective impact of these worthy pieces of paper, the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, guaranteeing state sovereignty, still overrides well-meaning attempts to stop leaders slaughtering their own people. The problem lies…

Book: Child Migration and Human Rights in a Golden Age

Child Migration and Human Rights in a Golden Age by Jacqueline Bhabha – Princeton University PressIn the last 35 years, migration to the developed world has doubled. Yet, contrary to the current anti-refugee narrative, 83% of migrants remain in their region of original. This book concerns the 11% of the world’s migrants who are younger than 20 years of age, many of them fending for themselves in appalling circumstances, exploited or ignored. Only recently has it been acknowledged that the authorities should consider what is best for the child. Children used to be treated as appendages of their male relatives, as women were (and still are in many parts of the world). Now, children are…

Trump talks a lot of nonsense — but calling it out won’t stop him

Clinton is queen of the five-point plan but Trump wins by ignoring data As Donald Trump seized the Republican presidential nomination, many political pundits rushed to predict his decimation at the hands of the Clinton electoral machine in November. What’s more, they assume his incendiary candidacy will harm Republican candidates further down the ticket, in House, Senate and even local races. This confidence, among those who rarely leave New York or Washington DC, reveals just how little the chattering classes have grasped the massive changes happening in the US political landscape. They cling to the misapprehension that things will soon return to normal, after the aberration of the Trump and Sanders insurgencies. Trump in particular…

Is reconciliation possible in South Sudan?

If impunity is the cost of peace, how can societies recover from violent conflict? A South Sudanese man holding a Heckler and Koch G3 rifle. Credit: Steve Evans/Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons. When diplomats met in Vienna at the end of October to try to break the ongoing stalemate in Syria, they were divided on whether President Assad should stay in power. Garnering less attention but tackling equally unpalatable choices, the African Union has finally published its report on the civil war in South Sudan. In both cases, the victims of conflict will probably be denied the justice they deserve, and it’s doubtful whether sufficient political will exists to deliver the truth-telling mechanisms that are necessary…

America’s not so exceptional foreign policy

What can explain the myopia of US policy towards Sudan, when it knows Sudan has been facilitating ISIS in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and other terror groups? Albert Gonzalez Farran/Demotix. All rights reserved. The US Special Envoy, Donald Booth, will be given a warm welcome when he visits Sudan at the end of July. Khartoum’s hard-line Islamist regime anticipates the normalisation of relations with America, and the end of sanctions imposed by Bill Clinton in 1997, following Sudan’s role in bombing US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Five years ago Sudan’s President, Omar Bashir, was indicted for the crime of genocide against his own citizens in Darfur. However, Washington justifies this diplomatic thaw by claiming Sudan…