The Syrian Uprising: A decade on

On 18 March 2011, Syrians across the country drew inspiration from the Arab spring and took to the streets demanding peace, human rights and democratic reform. Not only did these calls go unheeded; the government, which had ruled through terror since 1970, also responded with extreme force. Today, a little over ten years since the uprising began, Syria remains one of the most precarious states in the world, and in urgent need of further international action.

No mercy

President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling regime showed no mercy in the response to the demonstrations, using enforced disappearance, torture, extrajudicial execution, and extreme military force, including aerial bombardment, heavy artillery and chemical weapons. The government was quick to portray the uprising as a fundamentalist Sunni movement that threatened minorities, and what began as a peaceful uprising swiftly degenerated into a full-blown military conflict with a prominent sectarian aspect.

President Assad had long presented himself as a secular leader who protected minorities and promoted modernity and inclusion, casting any opposition as backward and sectarian, but it is worth noting that the Assad regime regularly fostered and used extremist groups to destabilise neighbouring countries such as Iraq and Lebanon.  The regime also released hundreds of extremist prisoners at the beginning of the uprising in order to undermine it, many of whom joined Al Qaeda, Islamic State (IS) and other extremist militia.

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Corea del Norte y la Región Autónoma Uigur de Sinkiang: paralelos sombríos entre dos de los lugares con más represión del mundo

El 3 de marzo la plataforma de información enfocada en China, SupChina, publicó extractos traducidos de una discusión de 16 horas de una ‘sala’ en la aplicación Clubhouse llamada, “¿Hay un campo de concentración en Sinkiang?” Increíblemente la sala atrajo 4,000 participantes, pero la situación verdaderamente extraordinaria de la conversación era la reunión de los uigures y los chinos han por un momento – tanto dentro como fuera de China – en un espacio momentáneamente más allá de las restricciones gubernamentales.

La Información fiable sobre lo que está pasando en contra de los uigures es fuertemente censurada en China; las únicas noticias sobre la Región Autónoma Uigur de Sinkiang uigurson de los medios estatales que pintan a los uigures como terroristas potenciales o intrumentos agradecidos del programa de “reeducación” del gobierno.

Antes de su prohibición, Clubhouse proporcionó brevemente un canal nuevo para la discusión abierta de uno de los asuntos más sensibles en China hoy. SupChina describrió la conversación como “histórica”, y ciertamente fue: histórica, emotiva, trágica y esclarecedora.

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Massacres, famine et destruction gratuite : La communauté internationale doit agir rapidement pour sauver la région du Tigré en Ã‰thiopie

Il y a des signes inquiétants qui indiquent que des atrocités sont commises au Tigré, où les civils sont les principales victimes du conflit opposant les armées d’Ethiopie, d’Erythrée, de Somalie et d’une milice alliée de l’ethnie Amhara aux forces de l’ancienne administration régionale. 

Par une tragique ironie, le gouvernement d’Ethiopie, l’une des premières nations à avoir signé la Convention sur le génocide de 1948, est actuellement accusé d’avoir permis et participé à des violences qui pourraient être assimilées à un génocide et à des crimes contre l’humanité.

Tout aussi ironique est le fait que l’avenir d’un prix Nobel qui professe le christianisme évangélique, est désormais inextricablement lié à celui du dirigeant dont le régime est réputé avoir commis des crimes contre l’humanité, y compris le crime de persécution religieuse qui vise en grande partie les chrétiens évangéliques érythréens.

Pour le dirigeant érythréen, Isais Afewerki, la guerre contre le Tigré est l’accomplissement d’une vendetta de longue date contre le Front de libération du peuple du Tigré (TPLF). Il a efficacement rallié à sa cause les dirigeants de l’Éthiopie et de la Somalie, aidé dans cette entreprise par l’antipathie que nourrit le Premier ministre éthiopien Abiy Ahmed à l’égard des dirigeants du Tigré et par ses ambitions de centralisation du pouvoir.

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Massacres, starvation and wanton destruction: The international community must act swiftly to save Ethiopia’s Tigray region

There are worrying indications that atrocity crimes may be underway in Tigray, where civilians are bearing the brunt of a conflict pitting the armies of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and an allied ethnic Amhara militia against the forces of the former regional administration.  

In a tragic irony, the government of Ethiopia, one of the first nations to sign the 1948 Genocide Convention, currently stands accused of permitting and participating in violence that could amount to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Equally ironic is the fact that the future of a Nobel Laureate who professes Evangelical Christianity, is now inextricably linked with that of the leader whose regime is deemed to have committed crimes against humanity, including the crime of religious persecution that largely targets Eritrean Evangelical Christians.

For Eritrea’s leader, Isaias Afewerki, the war on Tigray is the fulfilment of a long-held vendetta against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He has effectively groomed the leaders of Ethiopia and Somalia, aided in this endeavour by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s own antipathy towards the Tigrayan leadership and ambitions of centralising power.

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Instead of gossiping about the Kim dynasty, the world should focus on North Korea’s human rights atrocities

By Benedict Rogers

One of the very few non-COVID-19 stories that hit the headlines last month was the rumoured near-death of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-Un. For almost three weeks the speculation grew that he was dying or had died, and the discussion around who would succeed him reached near-fever pitch. Would it be his sister Kim Yo-jong? But would conservative North Korea be ready for a female leader? Would it be a senior military leader? But then what would that do to the regime’s credibility in the eyes of the North Korean people, if the Kim dynastic succession was broken?

But then, almost as mysteriously as he disappeared, the man known as “the Dear Leader” re-emerged, opening a fertilizer plant outside Pyongyang. Precisely what had happened remains known only to the core leadership of the world’s most secretive state. There was no shortage of rumours. It was suggested that he may have had surgery, that he may have had coronavirus, that he may simply have escaped Pyongyang to avoid infection and even that he had been injured in a missile test. But will we ever know?

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