Living in exile: “As long as the same government is in power I do not dare to return”

Samuel[1] is a Nicaraguan teacher and lawyer who was forced to flee his country in April 2019 after being repeatedly arrested in retaliation for his reporting on human rights violations committed by government forces.

For the latest instalment in our Living in exile series, CSW spoke with Samuel to hear his story.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

“I am a Nicaraguan citizen from the Department of Chontales. I am a teacher and a lawyer. I am currently in exile in Panama as a “Refugee in Process”, and have been since 16 April 2019 through Executive Order No. 5 for the Protection of Refugee Applicants from the Government of Panama, through the National Office for the Attention of Refugees (ONPAR).

Continue reading “Living in exile: “As long as the same government is in power I do not dare to return””

Viviendo en el exilio: “Estando el mismo gobierno no me atrevo a regresar”

Samuel[1] es un profesor y abogado nicaragüense que se vio obligado a abandonar su país en abril de 2019 después de haber sido detenido repetidamente en represalia por su reportaje sobre violaciones de derechos humanos cometidas por las fuerzas gubernamentales.

Para la última entrega en nuestra serie ‘Viviendo en el exilio’, CSW habló con Samuel para aprender su historia.

¿Quién eres?

“Soy Nicaragüense del Departamento de Chontales. Soy pedagogo y abogado. Ahora estoy en Panamá exiliado en calidad de Refugiado en Trámite, desde el 16 de abril del 2019 a través de la Orden Ejecutiva N. 5 de Protección a Solicitantes de Refugio del Gobierno de Panamá, mediante la Organismo Nacional de Protección y Atención a Refugiados (ONPAR).

Continue reading “Viviendo en el exilio: “Estando el mismo gobierno no me atrevo a regresar””

Six months after the coup, what are we going to do about Myanmar’s new nightmare?

By Benedict Rogers

Exactly six months ago yesterday, Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, was plunged into yet another dark chapter in its history – perhaps one of the darkest yet.

On 1 February the army’s Commander-in-Chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, seized power in a bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected civilian government, led to the arrest of most pro-democracy leaders, and ushered in a new era of brutal repression which many of us hoped had been consigned to Myanmar’s history.

Relentless repression

In the past six months, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the junta has killed 940 civilians, arrested 6,994 and currently holds 5,444 political prisoners in jail. Among them are many of my friends – including the incredible Thin Thin Aung, Myawaddy Sayadaw and others.

Continue reading “Six months after the coup, what are we going to do about Myanmar’s new nightmare?”

Arrests, torture, violence and oppression, and yet there is still hope for Myanmar/Burma

By Benedict Rogers

Last week, people in Myanmar/Burma marked 100 days since the military coup with yet more protests. For over three months since General Min Aung Hlaing seized power on 1 February, overthrowing the democratically-elected civilian government, people have courageously taken to the streets throughout the country. Almost 5,000 have been arrested, just under 4,000 are currently in jail, and almost 800 have been killed, yet still the demonstrations continue.

Myanmar now stands on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. The economy has collapsed, and a Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) by public sector workers has led to thousands losing their homes and salaries. Many are facing extreme poverty and starvation.

For those detained by the military, torture is “almost ‘automatic’” according to survivors and eyewitnesses in evidence documented by the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO). “Systematic torture practices are used by Burmese soldiers to extract information or forced confessions from people arrested for exercising their right to peaceful protest or other anti-junta activities,” CHRO report.

According to one former detainee, “Once inside the interrogation center, we are made to kneel down, hands tied behind our backs, blindfolded and forced to lie on our belly on the ground. That’s when the interrogation and beatings begin. Depending on how quickly the soldiers obtain the information they want, detainees are caned with up to 40 lashes, some detainees are made to dig holes in the ground to make them think that they are about to be killed and they are digging their own grave.”

Continue reading “Arrests, torture, violence and oppression, and yet there is still hope for Myanmar/Burma”

‘Smoke and mirrors’ in post-revolution Sudan: Lessons from Egypt

This time two years ago, Sudan was in the midst of an unprecedented revolution. Citizens of all ethnicities, religious beliefs and walks of life across the whole country had come together to call for justice, democracy, human rights, and an end to nearly three decades of repression under President Omar al Bashir. An Islamist army officer, al Bashir had seized power from an elected government in 1989, and had enjoyed support from the Muslim Brotherhood movement both inside and outside the country.

After several months of consistent demonstrations which saw the Sudanese people overcome a repressive and heavy-handed response from the government and its security forces, it seemed as though their vision for an inclusive Sudan was finally within touching distance. President al Bashir was arrested in April 2019, and in August a transitional government was appointed to oversee the country’s progression towards democracy, with the transition period scheduled to end in 2022.

While these welcome developments were praised by many as ushering in a new era for Sudan, progress since then has been frustratingly slow.

Human rights violations, including violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), continue to occur on a regular basis, and there is still a need to ensure that justice is served for atrocity crimes committed under the previous regime, and indeed by members of the current government who are alleged to have been complicit in crackdowns on protesters, including the shocking massacre of demonstrators in Khartoum on 3 June 2019.

Continue reading “‘Smoke and mirrors’ in post-revolution Sudan: Lessons from Egypt”