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The lingering legacy of Ebola in Sierra Leone

As the deadly disease appears in Congo, Sierra Leone is still counting the cost of its 2014 epidemic. Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2015. Image: Simon Davis/DFID, CC BY 2.0. During the day, the streets of the Kissi district of eastern Freetown are perpetually crowded with pedestrians, as if a concert or soccer game has just finished. On either side of the road, in every available space, there are makeshift stalls selling mangos, grilled chicken feet, SIM cards, and second-hand clothes. There is a ceaseless soundtrack of trucks, animals, people and radios. The air is heavy with pollution from ancient taxis, and rubbish is heaped in rancid piles. It is hard to imagine these streets empty and silent….

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Our selective outrage about Gaza

Events in Israel tend to mobilise otherwise dormant keyboard warriors. This week, social media has heaved with indignation at the plight of Palestinian protesters. Yet, the same critics of the State of Israel are strangely silent about the slaughter of far greater numbers of people in places like Sudan. Could it be that the Darfuris are the wrong type of Muslims? Or, like European Jewry in the 1930s, is the Sudanese cause simply less fashionable than the Palestinian one? When I give talks about our work with Sudanese refugees, someone invariably asks what I’m doing about “all the dead Palestinian children.” The fact that a far higher proportion of children have been killed by the…

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Catholics in the firing line in Cameroon, as Mass Exodus continues

  Archbishop Samuel Kleda By: Rebecca Tinsley As Cameroon marks its national day on 20 May, violence continues to escalate, literally putting Catholics in the firing line. Last week, the president of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Samuel Kleda, escaped what local media describes as an assassination attempt. Shots were fired at his residence after he criticised Cameroon’s leader, Paul Biya, for his failure to broker genuine dialogue between the country’s rival Anglophone groups and the Francophone-dominated government. The attack comes after two years of increasing conflict which has prompted an estimated 160,000 English-speaking Cameroonians to flee to neighbouring Nigeria for safety, according to the UN. There are multiple verifiable reports that Cameroonian security forces have…

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Viewpoint: Why you cannot trust politicians with global justice

The British Parliament is considering a move that may put justice within reach of persecuted minorities such as Christians in the Middle East. Lord Alton has introduced a bill that would require the British government to ask the High Court to decide whether or not genocide and mass atrocities are taking place. His private members’ bill is significant because it recognises that politicians are swayed by Britain’s trade links and other relationships with regimes perpetrating atrocities against their own people. In the years since the Holocaust, diplomats have shied away from labelling genocide by its rightful name. Under international law (the 1948 Genocide Convention, and the 2005 Responsibility to Protect doctrine), once we recognise genocide…

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Christians in Sudan face ethnic cleansing, and the US and UK are rewarding it

The US government is reported to be on the verge of dropping Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terror list, despite the regime’s systematic bombardment of its own Christian civilians. The controversial move follows the lifting of sanctions against Khartoum in September. Andreea Campeanu/DECSudan’s government continues with the gradual confiscation of properties belonging to church leaders Washington has improved its relations with Sudan under pressure from Saudi Arabia. There are currently thousands of Sudanese soldiers fighting Saudi’s war in Yemen, of whom 400 have been killed. In the same year Sudanese forces were deployed in Yemen, Saudi and Qatar gave the deeply indebted Khartoum regime $2.2 billion. Yet, despite US overtures to Sudan, its president, Field Marshall Bashir, asked for President Putin’s protection…

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Events

All Christians are brothers, and all Muslims are brothers – except when their skin is black

How much empathy do Christians feel for their brothers and sisters in Africa? Why do Muslims lose so little sleep over the elimination of their co-religionists in Darfur? South Sudan refugee camp, 2011. Maximilian Norz/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.Judging by the millions protesting against president Trump’s policies on behalf of the vulnerable and voiceless, empathy is alive and well. Or is it? Trump’s recent immigration ban exempts Christians from Muslim-majority countries, recognizing their status as the world’s most persecuted faith. But how much empathy do Christians feel for their brothers and sisters in Africa? And why do Muslims who care about the plight of the Palestinians lose so little sleep over the systematic elimination of their black…

Why is Obama Silent About Meriam?

Last week a woman gave birth while chained to a prison wall in Sudan. But as soon as baby Maya is weaned, her mother will hang for the crime of ‘apostasy’. Meriam Ibrahim considers herself a Christian. Although her father was a Muslim, he abandoned her Christian mother when Meriam was a child. The twenty-seven-year-old Meriam compounded her ‘crime’ by marrying a Christian, a US citizen, and now she faces death. The head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, Hillary Clinton and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, have condemned Meriam’s sentence. But President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are silent . Their failure to join the global chorus of outrage at Sudan’s warped interpretation…

PRACTICAL HELP FOR SURVIVORS OF GENOCIDE

Rebecca believes it isn't enough to be informed about genocide - we need to support the resilient and resourceful survivors of genocide who reject the label 'victim.' That's why she founded Network for Africa, a registered charity in the USA and UK. Please click here to learn about Network for Africa's practical projects offering a helping hand to survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and survivors of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda. Thank you.

Featured Articles

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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