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

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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Burma’s much needed ceasefire presents a valuable opportunity, provided the military keeps its promises

By Benedict Rogers

Burma’s Cardinal Bo has repeatedly called for peace for a long time. In a statement last month in support of Pope Francis’ plea for a global ceasefire, he warned that during the COVID-19 pandemic continued armed conflict in Burma (officially known as Myanmar) would have “catastrophic consequences for our nation.”

He urged the military – known as the Tatmadaw – and ethnic armed resistance groups to “lay down all weapons and acts of aggression. Be armed instead with sincerity and truth. Let us take the more difficult path of overcoming differences face to face with courage and intelligence. Don’t hide humanity behind guns. In the end that is sheer weakness.”

The Cardinal, who is also President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, argued that: “Soldiers are unnecessarily endangered by exposure to the unseen viral assassin. Civilians are endangered, even by bombardments purportedly aimed at military targets. Peace negotiations are endangered by continued aggressive threats. An economy under severe strain is put at risk by military adventures. Any spike in contagion in IDP camps, among detained persons, or in crowded spaces, gravely threatens the surrounding populations as well.”

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Burma’s identity crisis

The forced closure last week of three temporary Muslim prayer sites in Yangon is just the latest in a litany of abuses inflicted on Burma’s religious minorities by ultra-nationalist Buddhists. Add this to the decades-long persecution by the Burma Army of non-Burman ethnic minorities, many of whom are also non-Buddhists, and you get a nationwide cocktail of religious intolerance and conflict.

Muslims, Christians, and indeed Buddhists, who oppose the extremists are increasingly living in fear, in a country where ethno-religious nationalism has led to hate speech, intolerance, discrimination, persecution, crimes against humanity and, in one particularly egregious case, genocide.

That is the picture presented by CSW’s new report, Burma’s Identity Crisis: How ethno-religious nationalism has led to religious intolerance, crimes against humanity and genocide, published today. The report is the result of over three years’ work, involving first-hand front-line research, supplemented by information provided by CSW’s contacts in Burma and by other organisations working on these issues. It tells the human stories, it analyses the legislative framework, it assesses the international community’s response and it provides a call for action.

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FoRB on the Frontlines: An atmosphere of self-censorship

In the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December and the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on 9 December, CSW has been speaking with HRDs across South Asia to find out what it means to be a FoRB defender in the region.

Julfikar is a human rights defender working in Bangladesh:

“When friends, well-wishers and colleagues frequently advise me to restrict my movement and leave my country for safety elsewhere, it becomes an indescribable mental pressure. I have been facing this reality for many years now, but it has intensified over the last one year as Bangladesh heads to the national election on December 30.

I have spent 28 years as a professional journalist. During this period, I have witnessed horrific political, religious violence, and brutal terror attacks in the name of Islam. I have investigated and covered many of those traumatic events and closely observed others. There are many more to investigate, but the situation is gradually becoming more difficult for people like me. 

In my career, I have exposed violations of human rights, religious persecution, atrocities, intimidation, war crimes of 1971 and criminal activities, abuse of law, corruption, hate campaign, propaganda and fake news on the social media with ill motives.

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Aleppo Bleeds as the Picture of Another Syrian Child Pricks the World’s Conscience

Many newspapers across the world today have chosen as their main image a photograph of a five year-old Syrian boy who has just survived an airstrike. Like that of another little Syrian boy called Aylan Kurdi, who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea last year, the image has gone viral.

It appears that once again the image of a Syrian child has pricked the world’s collective conscience, igniting renewed efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrian civilians.

Khalid Albaih Syria cartoon credit Khalid Albaih

Image credit: Khalid Albaih https://www.facebook.com/albaih

 Aleppo as a microcosm for the Syrian Conflict

The Syrian conflict has a prominent sectarian aspect for which the battle for Aleppo is almost a microcosm, with the government and Shi’a militia on one side, and the largely-Islamist armed opposition groups on the other.

Within this complex picture, civilians from all sides are increasingly vulnerable as none of the warring parties have shown commitment to or respect for international humanitarian law, especially in terms of non-combatants, freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and other human rights.

Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria used to have 4 million inhabitants. Today nearly half are displaced, either internally or externally.

The city has been a battlefield since 2012, and as the overall situation in Syria has deteriorated relentlessly, attention on the suffering of its inhabitants has ebbed and flowed dependent on fresh atrocities.

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