Israel News | Incarcerated Palestinians

Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli facilities win increased visitation rights following hunger strike
  • Incarcerated Palestinians were granted a second visitation day per month following a 41-day hunger strike in the lead up to Ramadan and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s seizure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • Nearly 1,000 protesters took part in the strike, which ended following a deal struck by Israeli prison officials, the Palestinian Authority, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • More than 6,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from throwing stones to murder.
Read

Mass Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli jails ends after visitation deal” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Israel After 40 Days” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike, Israel says it met none of their demands” (The Times of Israel | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Caribbean News | Marginalized Communities

New database catalogs human rights violations for the Caribbean’s vulnerable communities
  • The Shared Incidents Database (SID) will document violations affecting people with HIV, sex workers, people with substance addiction, gay and bisexual men, trans people, vulnerable youth, migrants, and the incarcerated.
  • The database is a collaboration between the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and the Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), based in the Dominican Republic.
  • Human rights and social justice organizations across the Caribbean are being trained in the use of SID, which creators envision as a tool in program development, policy creation, petitioning, and reporting.
Read

Caribbean’s first online human rights database launched” (The Jamaica Observer | May 2017)

New Database Aims to Track Rights Violations of Caribbean’s Most Vulnerable Communities” (Global Voices | May 2017)

Caribbean’s First Online Human Rights Incidence Database Launched” (Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition | May 2017)

France News | Black Women

Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
  • Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
  • Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
  • The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
Read

Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)

Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libérationin French | May 2017)

Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Postin French | May 2017)

Visit

Festival Nyansapo

(Image Credit: via Libération)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

Read

Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Egypt News | Activists & Dissidents

New NGO law severely curtails capabilities of rights organizations and charities in Egypt
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law limiting NGO work to developmental and social work activities and subjecting them to government regulation, with violators facing to up to five years of jail time.
  • NGOs will have one year to come into compliance with the law or be dissolved.
  • Human rights organizations accused the government of attempting to quell dissent, with officials long having accused NGOs of taking foreign money to destabilize national security.
Read

Egypt issues controversial NGO law, cracking down on dissent” (Reuters | May 2017)

The Latest: Egypt’s president ratifies law restricting NGOs” (The Associated Press via ABC News | May 2017)

Egypt’s NGO law aims to ‘erase civil society’” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via Reuters)

Philippines News | Christians

Filipino Christians in Muslim-majority Marawi caught up in Mindanao violence
  • Clashes between Islamist militants and Philippine soldiers in Marawi City have displaced as much as 90% of the city’s population.
  • Militants have torched churches and reportedly taken hostages in the fight against the government, the extension of decades of conflict driven by increased Christian settlement in the region, the desire for more political autonomy by Moro (Muslim) liberation groups, and the rise of international terrorist organizations like the Islamic State.
  • While the Philippine population as a whole is 90% Christian, Muslims comprise the majority of the population in Marawi City, located on the Philippines’ second-largest island, Mindanao.
Read

Christians caught up in Philippines’ urban battle with Islamists” (Reuters | May 2017)

‘They kill defenceless people’: thousands flee Philippine city of Marawi” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Mindanao crisis: A city on fire” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Afghanistan News | Religious Scholars

Religious scholars in Afghanistan one of Taliban’s most frequent targets
  • Over the last 16 years of war in the country, hundreds and perhaps thousands of ulema have been killed, although official numbers are difficult to track.
  • Taliban members surveil sermons to monitor adherence to Taliban interpretations of sharia, both courting and threatening scholars to buttress their power across the nation’s provinces.
  • Religious leaders note that the targeting of scholars is driven by anxiety over scholars’ influence on communities, a desire for ideological control, and the suppression of criticism.
Read

Taliban Target: Scholars of Islam” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Religious scholar shot dead in eastern Afghanistan” (Andalou Agency | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)

South Africa Feature | Black Youth

The Fall Before the Rise in South African Higher Education

Over the last two years, a new set of student movements has situated the South African university as the site of a contentious conflict over higher education’s role in the perpetuation of racial and economic inequality. As the battle has shifted from public representation to economic access in the transformation of Rhodes Must Fall into Fees Must Fall, black South African students have taken on the deeply entrenched systemic and institutionalized inequality of South Africa’s higher education system. But beyond education, the struggle has called on South Africans to examine the “unfinished business of apartheid,” as one scholar has described it. BuzzFeed News investigates the emergence of the new student movements in South Africa and the stories of those driving its evolution.

Read

Poor, Gifted, and Black” (BuzzFeed News | May 2017)

Additional

The faces behind South Africa’s Fees Must Fall movement” (CNN | October 2016)

(Image Credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)

South Korea News | Gay & Bisexual Men

South Korean soldier convicted of same-sex sexual activity
  • South Korea’s military court sentenced him to a six-month suspended prison sentence under the Military Criminal Act, which will lead to a dishonorable discharge.
  • While same-sex relations are not illegal for civilians, the South Korean military code criminalizes homosexual activity by military personnel, among which all able-bodied men must serve for two years.
  • Human rights organizations have reported that military leaders have ordered the revelation and tracking of gay military members, though the army has denied the allegations.
Read

South Korean military court hands army captain suspended prison sentence for having gay sex with fellow soldier” (The Independent | May 2017)

Korean soldier convicted of gay sex” (The Korea Times | May 2017)

South Korean soldier given suspended jail term for gay sex” (BBC News | May 2017)

South Africa Feature | Low-Income & Working-Class Black

The Entrenched Legacy of Housing Segregation in Cape Town

Like many global metropolises, Cape Town faces conflicts over how to secure housing rights for low- and middle-income households inflected by histories of racist social engineering. Cape Town’s situation is complicated by the legacy of housing apartheid in South Africa, which continues to render historically white-only neighborhoods financially inaccessible for many black households and threatens to uproot others as the high tide of gentrification approaches. A number of media outlets have recently examined the persistence of housing segregation in the city and political and guerrilla efforts to promote inclusive urban planning and secure affordable housing rights for black Capetonians.

Read

‘End spatial apartheid’: why housing activists are occupying Cape Town” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Profile: How gentrification is creating a new apartheid in South Africa” (The National | May 2017)

We must end Cape Town’s housing ‘apartheid’ – think-tank” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp, via The Guardian)

U.K. News | Muslims & Ethnic Minorities

Reported hate crimes double in Manchester in aftermath of bombing
  • Some 56 hate crimes were reported in the two days following the bombing in Manchester by a Briton of Libyan descent, a twofold increase over the 28 in the two previous days (the average amount, according to law enforcement).
  • Incidents included bomb threats, intimidation, slurs, and racist graffiti across the city.
  • Community members noted a significant number of incidents had gone unreported and expressed frustration at the expectation of apologizing on behalf of all Muslims while being subjected to anti-Muslim abuse.
Read

Manchester attack: Hate crime ‘doubles’ after incident” (BBC News | May 2017)

Muslim leaders in Manchester report rise in Islamophobic incidents” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Manchester sees rise in hate crimes after attack” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters, via The Guardian)

U.S. News | Racial & Religious Minorities and Allies

Attackers connected to white supremacist groups kill 3, wound another in Oregon and Maryland
  • In College Park, MD, black college senior Richard Collins III was stabbed and killed in an unprovoked attack by a 22-year-old white man on the University of Maryland-College Park campus.
  • In Portland, OR, two white men were killed and another injured after intervening as a neo-Nazi white supremacist yelled anti-Muslim rhetoric at two Muslim women on a train.
  • The attacks follow a number of high-profile incidents and an uptick in reported identity-based terrorism following the election of President Donald Trump, whose campaign was marked by anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric and a willingness to court and promote white-supremacist supporters.
Read

University of Maryland Fatal Stabbing Investigated by FBI as Possible Hate Crime” (NBC News | May 2017)

Man shouting ‘anti-Muslim slurs’ fatally stabs two men in Portland” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Spread of Hate Crimes Has Lawmakers Seeking Harsher Penalties” (The New York Times | April 2017)

(Image Credit: via The Baltimore Sun)

Indonesia News | Gay Men

More than 100 arrested and 2 publicly flogged as Indonesian authorities target gay men
  • Jakarta police confirmed that 141 men had been rounded up at a sauna party and jailed, subject to pornography charges.
  • In the conservative province of Aceh, two men, aged 20 and 23, were subject to public whippings after having been caught having sex, a new application of religious provincial law in a country that does not officially criminalize same-sex relations.
  • Increased anti-gay sentiment in the country is seen as part of a rising wave of hardline Islamism in the country, which has in recent years been praised for its secular, relatively liberal social gains.
Read

Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Two men publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex” (Reuters | May 2017)

Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh” (BBC News | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via BBC News)

Russia News | Gay Men

Russia begins investigation into abduction, torture, and massacre of gay men in Chechnya
  • Government officials reportedly launched an investigation as international pressure increased following reports from human rights organizations about the rounding up of gay men into camps.
  • Gay Chechens have allegedly been held in extrajudicial detention and subjected to physical and psychological abuse including beatings, electroshock torture, outing to family, and murder.
  • President Vladimir Putin was reportedly briefed by the country’s human rights ombudswoman and is set up for a showdown with Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of the republic.
Read

Russia investigates ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Chechnya’s anti-gay pogrom: Too much even for the Kremlin?” (The Christian Science Monitor | May 2017)

‘They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me’” (Human Rights Watch | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Arden Arkman/AP, via The Christian Science Monitor)

Australia News | Indigenous

Indigenous leaders in Australia seek formal legal and political representation with government
  • More than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander leaders met in Uluru to discuss political recognition, agreeing formal treaties were necessary beyond proposed symbolic representation in the constitution.
  • The government issued an apology for historical injustices in 2008, although community leaders and activists have sought legal commitments to reparative measures beyond symbolism.
  • The push is likely to face strong opposition as the Australian Constitution has only been amended eight times in 44 attempts in its 116-year history.
Read

Uluru talks: Indigenous Australians reject ‘symbolic’ recognition in favour of treaty” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Australia’s Aborigines seek treaties in drive for more than symbolic change” (Reuters | May 2017)

Why doesn’t Australia have an indigenous treaty?” (BBC News | May 2017)

Additional

The Australian Constitution

(Image Credit: Calla Wahlquist/The Guardian)