Millions form “women’s wall” for gender equality across Kerala
- Organizers reported that some five million participants turned out to form a 385-mile chain across the southwest Indian state of Kerala, stretching from Kasaragod in the north to Thiruvanthapuram in the south.
- Although the demonstration was broadly framed as promoting gender equality, it emerged following protests targeting women who attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple, a Hindu shrine that has historically banned women of “menstruating age” (defined as between the ages of 10 and 50).
- The ban was formally struck down in September 2018 by the Supreme Court after having been enforced judicially since 1991, but protesters have continued to prevent women from entering.
“Women form a fortress against gender inequality” (The Hindu | January 2019)
“Millions Of Women Formed A 385-Mile-Long “Women’s Wall” To Protest Gender Inequality” (BuzzFeed News | January 2019)
“Sabarimala temple: Indian women form ‘620km human chain’ for equality” (BBC News | January 2019)
Brazilian president strips indigenous affairs agency of land reservation capability
- President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree shifting the ability to create and define the boundaries of indigenous land reservations from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Bolsonaro previously announced intentions to loosen environmental and indigenous protections, even as farming and mining groups carry out armed attacks against indigenous communities.
- The order was the first of Bolsonaro’s presidency, issued only hours after taking office.
“Bolsonaro strips agency of right to decide native land in Brazil” (Agence-France Presse, via Yahoo! News | January 2019)
“Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro rolls back Indigenous tribe protections” (The Associated Press/Reuters, via ABC News | January 2019)
“Brazil’s FUNAI Calls Army to Help Protect Isolated Indigenous Tribes” (The Rio Times | December 2018)
The Entrenchment of Neo-Slavery in Libya
One year after video showing black migrants and asylum-seekers being auctioned off in Libya shocked the Global North, the trafficking of sub-Saharan African migrants in the country continues unabated. Smugglers shepherding groups through the dangerous trans-Sahara journey extort and abuse migrants before selling those without the means to pay to rural farmers, urban industrialists, and even the official detention centers run by Libya’s Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration.
The country’s fractured territory, across which militias and rival governments vie for power, has inhibited efforts to end human rights violations. Compounding the problem have been aggressive European efforts to end the flow of arrivals across the Mediterranean, with countries like Italy and Malta now refusing to accept ships containing rescued migrants. Evaporating public interest globally and the exhaustion of political will threaten to exacerbate the problem as the crisis disappears from the European and American public eye.
“Inside The Country Where You Can Buy A Black Man For $400” (BuzzFeed News | December 2018)
“Executions, torture and slave markets persist in Libya: U.N.” (Reuters | March 2018)
“Migrants Captured In Libya Say They End Up Sold As Slaves” (NPR | March 2018)
Desperate and Dangerous: Report on the human rights situation of migrants and refugees in Libya (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights | December 2018)
Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion: Abuses against Europe-bound Refugees and Migrants (Amnesty International | December 2017)
Asylum-seekers increasingly attempt dangerous cross-Channel trek to the U.K.
- Patrol operations in the English Channel have led to the rescue of asylum-seekers attempting to reach the U.K. by small boats, which French and British officials claim is driven by organized smuggling.
- More than 200 have arrived in the U.K. by water since November, which represents more than a tenfold increase from last year.
- Migrants have begun turning to aquatic travel as the British and French governments have increasingly targeted land-based vehicles for inspection and closed shelter camps.
“More migrants and refugees try to reach UK via English Channel” (Al Jazeera | December 2018)
“Five migrant boats rescued in English Channel” (BBC News | December 2018)
“Migrants risk death at sea to reach Britain as prices spike on traditional routes” (CNN | December 2018)
Vietnamese tourists killed in bomb attack in Egypt
- Three tourists and their Egyptian guide were killed by a roadside bomb blast near the Giza pyramids, which left an additional 10 injured.
- The tourists had been on their way to a light and sound show at the pyramids.
- The attack was the first fatal one involving foreign tourists in more than a year, with Egypt’s tourism sector having begun to mount a comeback following years of political turmoil.
“Bomb kills three Vietnamese tourists, Egyptian guide near pyramids: officials” (Reuters | December 2018)
“Bomb in Egypt Strikes Bus Full of Vietnamese Tourists, Killing 4” (The New York Times | December 2018)
“Deadly roadside bomb strikes tourist bus” (CNN | December 2018)
Chinese workers injured in Baluchistan suicide attack
- At least five—including three Chinese mining workers—suffered injuries when the van they were riding in was attacked by a suicide bomber outside Dalbandin, southwest of Quetta.
- The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), a separatist group, claimed responsibility, one of a number of attacks in the region targeting Chinese-backed projects in the region.
- Chinese migrant workers in Pakistan number in the tens of thousands, with the Pakistani government seeking to grow the region’s infrastructure and the Chinese government expanding its Belt and Road initiative throughout Asia.
“Five wounded in attack on bus ferrying Chinese workers in Pakistan” (Reuters | August 2018)
“Suicide Bomber Attacks Chinese Engineers in Pakistan” (VOA News | August 2018)
“Beijing condemns suicide attack on bus carrying Chinese engineers in Pakistan” (South China Morning Post | August 2018)
Israel denies Palestinians with cancer access to treatment as medication dwindles
- The Israeli government has indicated that six Gazan women suffering from cancer can travel to the West Bank (despite its lack of treatment capability) or abroad for treatment.
- The women had previously been denied exit from the Gaza Strip because they are related to members of Hamas—a common punishment disproportionately burdening women—and continue to be denied permit to travel to East Jerusalem, where Palestinian hospitals are located.
- The Gaza Health Ministry also announced the termination of its chemotherapy treatments in Gaza hospitals due to depletion of medical supplies, which cannot be replenished due to the recent tightening of the Israeli military blockade.
“Israel Proposes Gaza Cancer Patients Be Treated in West Bank, Where Treatment Is Unavailable” (Haaretz | August 2018)
“Roundup: Gaza suffers escalating medicine, humanitarian goods shortage by Israeli blockade” (Xinhua News Agency | August 2018)
“Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment” (The New Yorker | June 2018)