Jordan News | LGBT & Secular Artists

Jordan reverses ban on Lebanese band with gay frontman
  • Amman Governor Khaled Abu Zeid had announced the cancellation of Lebanese indie rock group Mashrou’ Leila’s concert in Amman, citing lyrics and belief that the band “violates the traditions and customs of the Jordanian society.”
  • Despite the band’s promotion of gender, sexual, and religious freedom, Mashrou’ Leila claimed to have had no problems performing in Jordan before, where they have given three concerts.
  • Although the travel ban was lifted, the reversal arrived too late for the band to play its scheduled concert, though they have indicated they look forward to playing in Jordan in the future.

Read more:
Mashrou’ Leila: Jordan lifts ban on Lebanese band with gay singer” (BBC)
Ban on Mashrou’ Leila concert triggers controversy” (The Jordan Times)
Jordan lifts ban on popular Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila” (The Daily Star and AP)

Additional:
Mashrou’ Leila (official website)

(Image Credit: Hussein Malla/AP, via The Daily Star)

Peru Feature | Farmers

Big Victory for a Small Farmer in Peru

Peruvian Máxima Acuña de Chaupe may have seemed like an unlikely agent for the deterrence of a major international company’s mining project, but the 47-year-old farmer and mother of four was able to halt U.S.-based Newmont and Peru-based Buenaventura’s joint development of a mine on her 60-acre farm with the help of social media and international organizations. Despite physical violence, arson, lawsuits, and fines, Acuña fought to stop the expropriation of her land and stave off eviction attempts that began back in 2011. A recipient of the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, Acuña has brought global attention to ongoing rights battles as private development encroaches upon territory small, often poor farmers depend on for their livelihoods. The Guardian and El País have profiled Acuña and the centrality of international solidarity in efforts to protect land and environmental rights.

“No sé si la situación se calmará, voy a seguir defendiendo mi tierra, tengo fe y seguiré pidiendo justicia.”

Translation: “I don’t know if the situation will calm down, I’m going to keep defending my land, I have faith and will continue demanding justice.”

Read:
Peruvian farmer wins David-and-Goliath battle against US mining giant” (The Guardian)
La vuelta a la lucha de Máxima Acuña” (El País, in Spanish)

Additional:
Máxima Acuña: Goldman Environment recipient (The Goldman Environmental Prize)
Peru’s Goldman Prize Winner Maxima Acuña’s Life is in Danger” (teleSUR English)

(Image Credit: Goldman Environmental Prize, via The Guardian)

Brazil News | Farmers & Indigenous

Increasing violence plagues Brazilian land rights activists
  • After 50 died in 2015, at least six activists were killed in the first two months of 2016 as land rights groups report increased intimidation, criminalization, and violence committed against them.
  • Activists have sought reform to protect the at times conflicting land rights of small farmers and indigenous communities, particularly in rural states.
  • Brazil has some of the highest land-proprietary inequality in the world, with 1% of the population owning nearly 50% of the land and single families subject to payments from as many as tens of thousands of property owners thanks to a colonial-era law.

Read more:
Brazil land activists facing ‘increased intimidation’ with six killings in 2016” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Indigenous Continue to Face Violence in Reclaiming Territory in Brazil” (Indian Country Today)
Journalist survives shooting at his home in northwestern Brazil” (Journalism in the Americas)

Additional reading:
For Brazil’s 1 Percenters, The Land Stays In The Family Forever” (NPR, August 2015)

Israel & Palestinian Territories Feature | Palestinian Youth

Palestinian Youth, from Classroom to Jail Cell

Comprising nearly half of those who have attempted or carried out attacks against Israelis since October, Palestinian youth have found themselves imprisoned in increasing numbers as a result of Israel’s two-tier criminal justice system. Since October, the number of imprisoned youth has more than doubled to 430, including 103 under the age of 17. While Palestinian families and human rights advocates have called for rehabilitation over punishment, Israeli authorities have cited the severity of the crimes as cause for the imprisonments, which would be illegal were the youth Israeli. The New York Times investigates recent cases of youth imprisonment, from the impact of the media to the effects youth violence has had on Palestinian families and communities.

Read:
Surge in Palestinian Youths in Prison Tests Israel’s Justice System” (The New York Times)

Additional reading:
Israeli forces detain two Palestinian children over alleged stabbing plans” (Ma’an News Agency, via Al Bawaba)
Leaderless Palestinian Youth, Inspired by Social Media, Drive Rise in Violence in Israel” (The New York Times, October 2015)
Palestinian youth devise a new, personalized approach to the Intifada using social media” (Ma’an News Agency, via Al Bawaba, October 2015)

(Image Credit: Rina Castelnuovo/The New York Times)

Argentina News | Workers

Thousands from Argentina’s main unions protest economic policies in Buenos Aires
  • Demonstrators took to the streets to protest currency devaluation, inflation, and massive layoffs stemming from new President Mauricio Macri’s economic policies.
  • Union leaders delivered speeches accusing the government of shifting the burden of economic stabilization onto workers and demanding measures to protect job security.
  • The mass demonstration took place ahead of International Workers’ Day, with leaders threatening to strike if the government ignored their concerns.

Read more:
All five umbrella unions hold massive demonstration against Macri’s policies” (Buenos Aires Herald)
En un multitudinario acto, las centrales obreras reclamaron por los despedidos, inflación y Ganancias” (La Nación, in Spanish)
Argentine unions flex muscle in anti-government street protest” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: via La Nación)

Costa Rica News | African Migrants

Costa Rica looks to deport hundreds of African migrants
  • An estimated 600 African migrants have become stranded in the country in an attempt to reach the U.S., and the Costa Rican government is attempting to deport them despite the high costs of repatriation or resettlement in a third country.
  • The country is dealing with an ongoing crisis involving thousands of stranded Cubans, who because of border closures have found themselves unable to continue on their trek to the U.S.
  • The government has reportedly received around 200 applications for asylum since late March and denied all of them.

Read more:
600 US-bound Africans stranded in Costa Rica after officials block route” (The Guardian)
Deporting 600 migrants back to Africa could be expensive, and impossible” (The Tico Times)
Deportation Will Be The Final Solution For African Migrants Who Re-enter Costa Rica IllegallyDeportation Will Be The Final Solution For African Migrants Who Re-enter Costa Rica Illegally” (QCostaRica)

(Image Credit: Public Security Ministry, via The Tico Times)

Guinea Research | Women & Girls

Female Genital Mutilation in Guinea

Despite political and social efforts to eliminate the practice, female genital mutilation (FGM) has continued unabated in Guinea. The West African country has actually seen support for the ritual increase in the last couple of decades, and the trans-ethnic prevalence of the procedure has made FGM rates in the country one of the highest in the world. The UN recently released a report on the current state of FGM in Guinea and the cultural difficulties in ending the practice, including anti-Western sentiment, social norms, and religious traditions.

96% (2005) vs. 97% (2012)

Percentage of Guinean women aged 15-49 subjected to FGM

96.8% (urban) vs. 97% (rural)

Percentage of women subjected to FGM by area of residence

92% (low-income) vs. 68% (higher-income)

Percentage of women subjected to FGM by socioeconomic status

69% (currently aged 20-24) vs. 61% (currently aged 45-49)

Percentage of women cut prior to the age of 10 (2012)

65% (1999) vs. 76% (2012)

Percentage of Guinean women who support FGM

Read:
Rapport sur les droits humains et la pratique des mutilations génitales féminines/excision en Guinée (UN Human Rights report, in French)
UN report reveals increasing incidents of female genital mutilation in Guinea, including on infants” (UN News Service)

Additional:
Fact sheet: Female genital mutilation (World Health Organization)