Georgia News | Yazidi Refugees

Iraqi Yazidis in Georgia commemorate anniversary of genocide at hands of IS, but find little opportunity in new home
  • Yazidis near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi commemorated the first anniversary of the Islamic State’s massacre of 3,000 Yazidi men and abduction of 5,000 women and children in Sinjar, Iraq.
  • Yazidis began arriving in Georgia seeking asylum soon after the August violence, but faced a host of issues ranging from the expiration of Georgia’s visa-free agreement with Iraq to the low ($113/month) stipend for families.
  • The community has faced persecution not only from IS, but from the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments, who often refuse to acknowledge a Yazidi culture and identity distinct from Kurds.

“It’s a tragedy, but it has united us, made us wake up and shown us what we can do.”

Read the full story at Al-Monitor.

(Image Credit: Maxim Edwards, via Al-Monitor)

France News | Refugees & Migrants

French riot police use tear gas to evacuate and dismantle Calais refugee camps
  • French police raided and dismantled camps housing more than 400 refugees and migrants in the port city, calling the camps “illegal settlements.”
  • While France has announced plans to build a permanent camp next year, those currently in the area–including many attempting to make their way to Britain–have set up makeshift camps for shelter.
  • BuzzFeed News has included video of the police launching tear gas at individuals and their tents.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)

Colombia News | Indigenous Colombians

Indigenous Colombian communities condemn arrest of leader Feliciano Valencia as blow to autonomy
  • In a blow to Indigenous criminal justice autonomy, Valencia was arrested for the alleged 2008 kidnapping of a Colombian soldier, which community members say involved the soldier’s detention and sentencing to 20 lashes for espionage in Indigenous territory.
  • Delegates from multiple of Colombia’s 84 registered Indigenous communities arrived at the Indigenous Intercultural University of Popayan to organize the Symbolic March for the Freedom of Feliciano Valencia.
  • Valencia had faced the same charges in 2010 but released after the defense argued that Indigenous communities’ right to administer justice in their own territories, guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution, was administered collectively and not just by Valencia.

“They want to delegitimize (a right) that is inscribed in the Constitution and that should prevail over ordinary legal norms.”

Read the full story at teleSUR English.

(Image Credit: via teleSUR)

Lebanon News | Syrian Refugee Youth

Lebanon looks to provide schooling for upwards of 200,000 Syrian children in its schools
  • The education ministry indicated the numbers are an increase of tens of thousands over last year, straining Lebanon’s schooling capabilities.
  • $94 million in international financing has arrived to support the free education of up to 367,000 students–including the 200,000 Syrians–up through middle school.
  • Lebanon has hosted the largest proportion of Syrian refugees relative to its population, with 1.1 million living in a country of 4 million.

Read the full story at Reuters.

Argentina News | LGBT

Argentina lifts ban on blood donations from LGBT individuals
  • After more than a decade of petitioning, LGBT advocates saw another major rights victory in the country as the Ministry of National Health ended its ban on LGBT blood donation.
  • The change specifically targets the pre-donation medical history questionnaire that singled out LGBT individuals for discrimination through questions about gender identity and sexual history.
  • Health officials hope the development will assist in promoting awareness of voluntary donation in an effort to increase its pool of blood donors.

“El cambio de paradigma de grupos de riesgo por el de prácticas de riesgo vuelve a posicionar a la Argentina a la vanguardia mundial en materia de igualdad y no discriminación”

Translation: “The paradigm change from at-risk groups to at-risk practices again positions Argentina in the global vanguard in matters of equality and non-discrimination.”

Read the full story at La Nación (in Spanish).

(Image Credit: via La Nación)

Pakistan Feature | Women

Keeping on Trucking

Shamim Akhtar, 53, has become the first woman granted a heavy vehicle license in Pakistan. Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe profiles the single mother who took up truck-driving in order to support her family and the challenges she faced on the road to her licensing.

Watch the full Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty feature on YouTube.

Tajikistan Feature | Girls

Biking Tradition

Young Tajik girls are taking transportation into their own hands by biking to school, a significant endeavor that can involve up to a 10-kilometer round trip. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty learns why one girl decided to take up the trip.

Watch the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty video on YouTube.