Tag Archives: Asia Minor & The Caucasus

Azerbaijan News | LGBTQ+ & Women

Azerbaijan capital hosts virtual festivals showcasing LGBTQ+ artists and filmmakers

  • The two-week Queer Art Festival brought together local artists over the theme “Queer x Azerbaijan – My Body, My Identity, My Heritage,” exploring queer and feminist issues in a landscape historically inhospitable to both.
  • In-Visible presents international queer films and educational workshops organized by Salaam Cinema, an independent cultural space in Baku and community for Azerbaijani artists and filmmakers.
  • Locked out of the government-funded arts system, queer artists in Azerbaijan depend on a network of activist organizations as well as the support of international organizations and foreign embassies.

Read

Two festivals bring queer art to Azerbaijani audiences” (Eurasanet | February 2021)

Moving In—Moving On (Trans Europe Halles | 2020)

Azerbaijani artists win fight to save a prayer house-turned-cinema from demolition” (Global Voices | July 2019)

Connect

Queer Art Festival Baku 2020

Salaam Cinema Baku

Turkey News | People of Armenian Descent

Ethnic Armenians targeted by violence flee Istanbul

  • As conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has proliferated in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, anti-Armenia sentiment and demonstrations have targeted the small community of citizens and immigrants of Armenian descent in Istanbul.
  • Some in the community have begun relying on underground transportation networks to flee the country, with memories of the early-20th-century genocide of Armenian people in Turkey fueling fears of escalating conflict.
  • A close ally of Azerbaijan, Turkey closed its border to Armenia in 1993 in response to Armenia’s administrative incursion into the disputed territory, currently recognized internationally as a part of Azerbaijan.

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China Feature | Uyghur

The Transnational Oppression of Uyghur Chinese

Growing paranoia over terrorism by and radicalization of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority has led to the dramatic expansion of state surveillance activities in Xinjiang—where Uyghurs account for nearly half of the population—and abroad. Digital surveillance, travel restrictions, indefinite detention, “reeducation” camps, and the exploitation of intra-community and transnational relationships have dramatically expanded the crackdown on ethnic minorities perceived as threats to the integrity of the state. After fleeing China, Uyghur emigrants find themselves and their families (some of whom remain in China) subject to harassment by Chinese security forces in places as far flung as Istanbul and Washington, D.C. BuzzFeed News and The Globe and Mail have profiled a number of Uyghur Chinese in exile and the oppressive conditions they and their families face, including high levels of distrust and fear of advocacy.

Read

Spy For Us — Or Never Speak To Your Family Again” (BuzzFeed News | July 2018)

How China is targeting its Uyghur ethnic minority abroad” (The Globe and Mail | October 2017)

Additional

‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres” (The Globe and Mail | July 2018)

One in 10 Uyghur Residents of Xinjiang Township Jailed or Detained in ‘Re-Education Camp’” (Radio Free Asia | June 2018)

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Uyghur Human Rights Project

Azerbaijan News | LGBT

Azerbaijan launches offensive against LGBT citizens
  • Dozens were arrested and charged with “resisting police orders” in September according to community activists in the country.
  • A state spokesman denied the raids targeted sexual minorities but rather those who “show a lack of respect”, “annoy citizens,” and whom authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.
  • The government has framed targeting the LGBT community as protecting community health and defending the “traditional” and “moral” values of Azerbaijan against Western attack, tying the LGBT community to Western encroachment.
Read

Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community” (The Guardian | October 2017)

Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer” (EurasiaNet | September 2017)

Gay men and trans women were suddenly rounded up in Azerbaijan. Here’s why.” (The Washington Post | October 2017)

Armenia Feature | Blind & Visually Impaired

Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia

As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.

Read:
How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)

(Image Credit: via Global Voices)

Turkey News | Girls

Outrage erupts over proposed bill in Turkey to clear adults married to minors of sexual abuse charges
  • The bill, approved after an initial reading and set for a second vote, would allow for the indefinite suspension of sentencing for sex “without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” if the perpetrator marries the victim.
  • Women’s rights, children’s rights, and other advocates were swift to condemn the proposed bill, which they argue effectively condones statutory rape and child marriage.
  • Child marriage is illegal in Turkey, but non-civil religious marriages proliferate, particularly in the southeast of the country.

Read more:
Turkish ruling party sparks uproar with sexual abuse bill” (Reuters)
Turkish bill to clear men of child sex assault if they marry their victims” (AFP via The Guardian)
Turkey: Thousands protest against proposed child sex law” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Sedat Suna/EPA, via The Guardian)

Turkey News | Advocates & Critics

Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
  • Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
  • Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
  • More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.

Read more:
Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)

Turkey News | Gay Refugee

Gay Syrian refugee decapitated, body found in Istanbul
  • Muhammed Wisam Sankari’s violently mutilated body was found in the Yenikapi neighborhood of Istanbul on July 25, two days after he left his house in Aksaray.
  • Friends reported that Sankari had feared for his safety and that police and other officials had been slow to respond to concerns.
  • Sankari had also reportedly been raped in the months before his death and had been attempting to gain refugee status for resettlement outside of Turkey.

Read more:
Syrian gay refugee killed in Istanbul” (Kaos GL)
Missing gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul” (The Guardian)
Gay Syrian man beheaded and mutilated in Turkey” (BBC)

(Image Credit: via Kaos GL)

Armenia News | Yazidis

Largest Yazidi temple in world in plans to be built in Armenia
  • Funded by a Moscow-based Yazidi businessman, the temple (Quba Mere Diwane, or “All Will Come Together”) is set to be built in the village of Aknalich, near the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
  • Though set to be the physically largest, the most theologically sacred temple will continue to be Lalesh, a pilgrimage site located north of Mosul in northern Iraq.
  • Yazidis are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Armenia, with their community expanding as the global diaspora has ballooned in the wake of systematic persecution by the Islamic State.

Read more:
Armenia to House World’s Largest Yazidi Temple” (EurasiaNet)
World’s largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia” (The Guardian)
Largest Yazidi Temple to Be Built in Armenia” (The Armenian Weekly)

(Image Credit: Maxim Edwards via The Guardian)

ClimateWatch | Turkey

ClimateWatch
Turkey’s “Purge”

The recent attempted coup by a faction within Turkey’s military has left the country in the throes of uncertainty, further increasing citizens’ and human rights watchdogs’ already pronounced concerns about the future of civil liberties in Turkey. Ground zero for the attempted overthrow of the government were Ankara and Istanbul, home to journalists overrun on the air by military forces and ordinary citizens called into the streets by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan via FaceTime.

Daylight illuminated the deaths of nearly 300, the wounds of the 1,400 injured, and the beginning of a so-called “purge” that has further endangered groups already vulnerable under Erdogan’s regime: political critics, journalists, and intellectuals. Women, too, found themselves targeted amidst the instability, and Turkish Kurds worry that the aftermath will further heighten anti-Kurd sentiment.

But the coup attempt and retaliation are only the latest in Turkey’s security woes. Terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara, conflict with Kurdish militants and pro-Kurd advocates, ongoing intimidation and blackouts of journalists and political dissidents, and a regional refugee crisis have upended the tenuous stability in the country secured through a 2013 ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the restoration of Erdogan’s government was seen as a victory for democracy, Turks and observers alike fear what measures Erdogan, already intolerant of dissent, will take in its wake.

Here is a look at coverage of the destabilizing security situation for at-risk communities in Turkey: Continue reading ClimateWatch | Turkey

Turkey News | Travelers

Dozens from more than 9 countries dead, hundreds injured after attack on Turkey’s main airport
  • Three suicide attackers killed at least 41 and wounded 239 more in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.
  • At least 23 victims were Turkish, while others killed included people from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
  • Over the last year, Turkey has experienced multiple terror attacks as the government faces threats from the Islamic State, political divisions between Islamists and secularists, and violent conflict with Kurdish separatists.

Read more:
Islamic State prime suspect after suicide bombers kill 41 at Istanbul airport” (Reuters)
Victims in Istanbul Airport Attack Reflect City’s International Character” (The New York Times)
At Least 41 Killed Including 13 Foreign Nationals In Attack On Istanbul Airport” (BuzzFeed News)

(Image Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)

Turkey News | Press Advocates

Three press rights advocates arrested in Turkey
  • Erol Onderoglu (Reporters Without Borders), Sebnem Korur Fincanci (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey), and Ahmet Nesin (author) were charged with spreading terrorist propaganda.
  • Now held in pre-trial detention, the three guest-edited an edition of Ozgur Kundem, a pro-Kurdish rights newspaper subjected to multiple investigations and lawsuits as part of the government’s crackdown on Kurdish separatist groups and their supporters.
  • President Tayyip Erdogan has come under international fire for his campaign against critical journalism in Turkey, which has seen journalists imprisoned, television stations taken off the air, and publications seized and shuttered.

Read more:
Turkey arrests raise further concerns over press freedom” (AP via The Guardian)
Reporters Without Borders representative, two others jailed in Turkey” (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Turkey arrests three prominent press-freedom campaigners” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

Turkey News | LGBT

Istanbul LGBT and transgender marches banned following threats
  • The Istanbul Governor’s Office revoked organizers’ assembly permits following threats from conservative groups, particularly Turkish ultranationalists.
  • Organizers criticized the government response as kowtowing to anti-LGBT parties rather than increasing security and protecting the LGBT community’s right to assemble.
  • Coinciding with Ramadan, Pride Week in Istanbul is scheduled to take place from June 19-26, with the main LGBT parade originally planned for the final day.

Read more:
Governor’s Office bans LGBT Pride march in Istanbul” (Hürriyet News Daily)
Turkey bans Istanbul gay pride due to ‘security fears’” (Al Jazeera)
Istanbul authorities ban transgender and gay pride marches” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: via Hürryiet News Daily)

Germany News | Turkish-German Politicians

Turkish-German lawmakers receive death threats following Armenian Genocide resolution
  • Germany’s 11 MPs of Turkish descent received the threats following the passage of a resolution to recognize the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Turkey as genocide.
  • Targets included Cem Oezdemir, the leader of Germany’s Greens Party who had pushed for the resolution.
  • Officials have been advised against travel to Turkey after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan publicly accused them of betraying their Turkish heritage.

Read more:
After threats, security concerns for German MPs with Turkish roots” (Reuters)
Report: German MPs advised not to visit Turkey” (Deutsche Welle)
German-Turkish war of words intensifies after ‘genocide’ vote” (euronews)

(Image Credit: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Citations | Refugee Education

Citations
Education for Refugees, from Preschool to Professorship

Global emergencies like war, natural disaster, and health pandemics have uprooted families and disrupted education at all levels as displaced students have been deprived of access to schools. Students in early childhood, primary, secondary, and higher education as well as teachers, professors, and other educational professionals have experienced delayed educational and professional development during times of crisis, disabling dreams and prospects for the future. Whether in Malaysia, Greece, or Lebanon, displaced communities have struggled to adjust to lost livelihoods, new cultures, and uncertain futures.

As the average duration of displacement has dramatically increased over the last three decades, international humanitarian organizations have been pressed to develop long-term programs and partnerships to replace short-term emergency educational provision. These challenges have been compounded by the disproportionate burden of education in emergencies shouldered by developing countries, where refugee populations vastly outnumber those in high-income countries. Over time, the educational pipeline has come to look less like a pipe than a funnel, with progressive exclusion and decreasing resources constraining opportunity as refugee children age. Workarounds developed in earlier stages have at times installed barriers for students at more advanced education stages as credentialing standardization and selective admissions disadvantage students from newly developed, temporary, and informal educational institutions outside of the national curriculum.

From connected learning hubs in refugee camps in Kenya to elementary classrooms in Canada, technological innovation and international coordination have worked to connect displaced students to well-resourced institutions and support educational continuity through crises. Meanwhile, new momentum in the development of transnational platforms for educational financing, advising, and service delivery has reinvigorated the global education community and increased commitment to education for all, regardless of circumstance. Here is a look at select recent news, features, and open research on and resources for global refugee education and scholar protection: Continue reading Citations | Refugee Education