Tag Archives: Land/Housing/Environmental Justice

China News | Black

People of African descent in Guangzhou face heightened discrimination amid COVID crisis

  • Afro-descendant residents of Guangzhou, home to one of the largest Black populations in China, have reportedly been evicted and rendered homeless, had businesses targeted, been profiled by police, and subject to other discriminatory responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As the country has reported an overall decline in COVID-19 transmission, anti-Black discrimination has been tied to increased fears about the reintroduction of the virus from foreigners driven by misinformation.
  • The situation has ignited a diplomatic firestorm, with African political leaders expressing outrage on social media and the U.S. Consulate General cautioning Black Americans against travel to Guangzhou.

Read

Africans in Guangzhou are on edge, after many are left homeless amid rising xenophobia as China fights a second wave of coronavirus” (CNN | April 2020)

How foreigners, especially black people, became unwelcome in parts of China amid COVID crisis” (ABC News | April 2020)

China fails to stop racism against Africans over Covid-19” (The Guardian | April 2020)

CITATIONS | Global Indigenous Security

Citations:
Global Indigenous Security

Historically tied to forms of settler-colonial social organization and subjugation, Indigenous identities today—including Aboriginal, Native, First Nations/Peoples, and “tribal peoples”—have proliferated alongside contemporary efforts to secure political recognition, concentrate resources, redress historical wrongs and entrenched inequities, and form widespread networks.

The political success of the category, however, has been uneven. In some regions, such as the Americas, states have long recognized Indigenous peoples as coherent social groups with unique interests distinct from non-Indigenous groups. In others, such as much of Asia and Africa, indigeneity remains, at best, only partially recognized, even as governments acknowledge historical priority, cultural and economic distinctiveness, and entrenched territorial connections. Some groups that would in one context be identified as Indigenous avoid or refuse identifying as such, often the result of complex political negotiations. Given the tremendous—and perhaps irreconcilable—diversity that exists between different Indigenous communities, how can the many groups caught in the gravity of the concept of “the indigenous” be discussed together? What commonalities might link them?

Sidestepping the scholarly debate on the coherence of “Indigenous” as a global identity category, this special content collection highlights several thematic “centers of gravity” around which self-identifying Indigenous or “tribal” groups have come to cluster, focusing on issues of material security in line with the broader scope of Outlas as a project. It presents news and resources covering social and political developments affecting i/Indigenous* communities around the world from early 2019 through the present. A snapshot of issues and events shaping global, regional, and local conversations on Indigenous communities, it organizes content around six thematic areas: culture, conflict, health, environment, mobility, and politics. A final section contains links to government, civil society, and international resources of relevance to international Indigenous research and advocacy efforts.

* Although this collection will primarily capitalize “Indigenous” as an identifier, it will distinguish where necessary between contexts involving general conditions of historical distinctiveness with respect to territorial antecedence, livelihood, and/or culture (small-I) and those involving self-identified Indigenous/Aboriginal/Native/First/tribal communities (capital-I).

Continue reading CITATIONS | Global Indigenous Security

Brazil News | Indigenous

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.

Read

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)

Connect

FUNAI

Germany News | Asylum-Seekers

Report indicates attacks on asylum-seekers down in Germany
  • According to police, there were 704 cases of anti-refugee violence from January to June, down more than a third from 2017.
  • The 2018 attacks included 77 on asylum shelters and 627 direct attacks on refugees, resulting in 127 injuries.
  • The reduction has come as immigration debates continue to erupt along political fault lines, including the introduction of “anchor centers” for asylum-seekers awaiting judicial decisions and the limited restart of family reunifications.
Read

Fewer attacks on refugees and asylum shelters in Germany” (Reuters | August 2018)

Germany opens refugee ‘anchor centres’ amid criticism” (Al Jazeera | August 2018)

Family reunification for refugees resumes in Germany” (Deutsche Welle | August 2018)

Israel News | Ethnic & Religious Minorities

Israeli parliament passes law formally establishing country as Jewish nation-state
  • The new basic law codifies a number of ultranationalist principles, including Hebrew as the sole national language, the expansion of Jewish settlement as a national priority, Jewish symbols as national symbols, and a unified Jerusalem as the nation’s capital.
  • Previously, Israel existed formally as a multiethnic democratic state, with Arabic as the second national language and the concerns of Arab Israelis—who comprise a fifth of the population—at least nominally afforded equal weight in matters of national identity and self-determination.
  • While some observers have dismissed the law as largely symbolic, Arab lawmakers and progressive advocates argue it provides the legal ground for segregation and discrimination and reduces ethnic and religious minorities to a second-class citizenship.
Read

Israel Passes Controversial Jewish Nation-state Bill After Stormy Debate” (Haaretz | July 2018)

Israeli Law Declares the Country the ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’” (The New York Times | July 2018)

Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state’ law” (Al Jazeera | July 2018)

Switzerland Research | Black

Countering Racism in Switzerland

Following an uptick in reports of prejudice, harassment, and discrimination over the last decade, several Swiss federal agencies and civil organizations have undertaken research to outline the prevalence and dimensions of racism, discrimination, and racial prejudice in the country, focusing on the ways in which cultural, political, and administrative practices marginalize people of color and exclude them from conceptions of Swiss national identity. Anti-black racism has emerged as a phenomenon of particular concern, ranging from everyday prejudice and harassment to discrimination in housing, employment, policing, and access to public accommodations and services. The continuing growth of Switzerland’s Afro-descendant population—having doubled over the last decade to some 100,000 people—has made countering racism a priority in the integration of new generations of residents, and experts have begun issuing recommendations including increased service provision, media representation, anti-profiling measures, and data collection.

Study

Recommandations sur le thème du racisme anti-Noirs en Suisse (Federal Commission Against Racismin French | December 2017)

Incidents racistes recensés par les centres de conseil (Federal Commission Against Racismin French | April 2017)

Rapports sur la discrimination raciale en Suisse (Federal Department of Home Affairs, in French | 2012-2016)

Read

Racism in Switzerland: ‘People of colour are automatically perceived as foreigners’” (The Local | January 2018)

 

U.S. Feature | Poor & Low-income Women

The Haunting of U.S. Housing by Sexual Exploitation


Source: WBAL-TV/YouTube (October 2015)

Each year, hundreds of lawsuits against agencies and individuals associated with housing management in the U.S. are filed, the tip of the iceberg of rampant sexual misconduct and abuse disrupting housing security for poor and low-income women. Landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, security officers, and housing program managers have demanded sexual favors from tenant women in exchange for continued residence or program coverage, including qualification for Section 8 housing. A combination of an affordable housing crunch, long wait times for housing program intake, the threat of homelessness via retaliation, and the consequences of eviction on future housing access have left many women vulnerable to sexual exploitation and many men engaging in coercion with impunity.

While the lack of robust national studies and uneven state reporting practices on sexual harassment in housing have long obscured the problem, legislators have introduced House and Senate versions of a bill to amend the Fair Housing Act with explicit anti-harassment language and federal agencies have announced steps to target exploitation, including piloting an initiative to identify reporting barriers. Similarly, advocates have begun building consciousness amidst the burgeoning national conversation on gender-based sexual misconduct driven by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Read

A woman’s choice – sexual favours or lose her home” (BBC News | January 2018)

HUD charges Wichita landlord with housing discrimination after alleged sexual harassment” (KWCH-TV | November 2017)

Justice Department Announces Initiative to Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing” (U.S. Department of Justice | October 2017)

Watch

Complaints of Sexual Harassment in Public Housing Go Ignored” (The Real News Network | September 2017)

Justice Department sues KCK Housing Authority for sexual harassment” (KSHB-TV | October 2015)

Study

Fair Housing Act

Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing Act (Proposed Senate bill)

Combat Sexual Harassment in Housing Act (Proposed House bill)

Sexual Harassment and Fair Housing Toolkit (Equal Rights Center)

Memo: Questions and Answers on Sexual Harassment under the Fair Housing Act (U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development)

Connect

National Fair Housing Alliance

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development: Fair Housing

Report

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (fairhousing@usdoj.gov1-844-380-6178)

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (1-800-669-9777)

 

Zimbabwe News | White

Zimbabwe looks to reverse Mugabe-era land reform policies amidst economic instability


Source: CGTN America via YouTube

  • Since independence, the land ownership reform and redistribution of farmland from the white settler minority to the indigenous black majority has been central to Zimbabwean politics, with most viable land having been legally restricted to white owners and large—largely white-owned—corporations in the colonial era.
  • The government began allowing for the seizure of white-owned farms without compensation after a period of voluntary land sales, and some militant groups and security forces occupied farms and drove out their owners.
  • Following the effective coup that brought about the end of President Robert Mugabe’s nearly three decades of rule, the new government, led by former Vice President Emmerson Mnangawa, has begun returning expropriated land to white farmers in an attempt to stabilize the fragile economy.
Read

Ululations, tears as white Zimbabwean farmer returns to seized land” (Reuters | December 2017)

White Zimbabwean farmer get back land seized under Robert Mugabe rule” (Sky News | December 2017)

Additional

Why Zimbabwe has failed to sate the yearning for land and to fix rural hunger” (The Conversation | December 2016)

Robert Mugabe admits Zimbabwe’s land reform flaws” (BBC News | February 2015)

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)

India News | HIV+

India passes nondiscrimination law securing rights for people with HIV
  • The first of its kind in South Asia, the law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, education, healthcare, and public accommodations such as restaurants and calls for the establishment of an ombudsman to monitor violations.
  • An estimated 2.1 million people live with HIV in India, with some 1 million currently receiving treatment.
  • Some advocates for the positive community argued that the law does not go far enough to guarantee free treatment for the afflicted.
Read

Parliament clears landmark HIV Bill” (The Hindu | April 2017)

What is HIV/AIDS Bill? All your questions answered” (The Indian Express | April 2017)

India takes flawed first step towards ending HIV and Aids prejudice” (The Guardian | April 2017)

(Image Credit: Jayanta Dey/Reuters, via The Guardian)

U.S. News | Native American

Designation of two new national monuments works to protect integrity of Native American lands
  • President Obama designated two new national monuments, placing more than 1.6 million acres of land under federal stewardship and protecting the areas from development and looting.
  • The Bears Ears National Monument comprises 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah, which includes more than 100,000 Native American cultural and archaeological sites and will be jointly managed by federal and indigenous leaders.
  • The Gold Butte National Monument, located in southern Nevada, encompasses 300,000 acres that include sites of Native petroglyphs and critical habitats.

Read:
Two New National Monuments Created in Utah and Nevada” (Scientific American | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (The New York Times | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (EcoWatch | December 2016)

(Image Credit: UIG/Getty Images, via Scientific American)

Global News | Palestinians

U.N. Security Council passes resolution condemning Israeli settlements in West Bank following U.S. abstention
  • The 15-member council passed the resolution 14-0-1 after it was taken up by members from four countries following its withdrawal by Egypt under pressure from U.S. President-elect Trump and Israel.
  • Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, on the increase in recent years under the conservative government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, have involved the expropriation of land from Palestinians and the demolition of Palestinian villages.
  • Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., defied pressure from Trump, U.S. legislators, and conservative Israeli lobbyists in abstaining, paving the way for a united international declaration of the settlements as in violation of international law.

Read more:
U.N. Security Council demands end to Israeli settlements, U.S. abstains” (Reuters)
Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end” (BBC)
U.S. Abstains as U.N. Security Council Votes to Condemn Israeli Settlements” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Brazil News | Indigenous

Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
  • Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
  • A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
  • A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.

Read more:
Temer government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda” (Mongabay)
Brazil’s plan to roll back environment laws draws fire: ‘The danger is real’” (The Guardian)
Brazil budget cuts put uncontacted Amazon tribe at risk, say activists” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/The Guardian)

Madagascar Feature | Chinese & Malagasy

The Ambivalent Xenophobia in Chinese-Malagasy Relations


Source: AFP YouTube

The history of Chinese immigration in Madagascar is a complex tale that begins during the era of 19th-century French colonialism and continues into the contemporary era of globalization. Now entrepreneurs and investors rather than imported labor, the new generation of Chinese immigrants has concerned itself less with integration than with taking advantage of trade and investment opportunities in the island nation, at times to the detriment of the environment and local economic practices. Currently, more than 800 businesses have expanded the Chinese-national population to nearly 100,000, alarming many Malagasy and prompting accusations of politicians “selling off” the country. Over the last few years, international media have begun to examine the complicated relationship between xenophobia, economic exploitation, and fears of imperialism fueled by colonialism anxieties in a politically precarious country still wracked by poverty.

Read:
A Madagascar, la forte présence chinoise passe de plus en plus mal” (AFP, in French)

Additional:
Madagascar protests halt activity at Chinese gold mine” (News24, October 2016)
Madagascar’s Chinese Vanilla” (Al Jazeera, April 2015)
Who Knew? Madagascar Has Africa’s Third Largest Chinese Population” (ChinaFile, March 2015)
China’s rosewood craving cuts deep into Madagascar rainforests” (The Guardian, February 2015)
Influx of Chinese transforms the landscape of Madagascar” (The South China Morning Post, August 2013)
Chinese people in Madagascar (Wikipedia)

ClimateWatch: U.S.

ClimateWatch
The U.S. in the Era of Trump


Source: euronews YouTube

The conclusion of an election that saw an historic clash over the values of diversity, inclusion, and the meaning of “America” has brought with it a surge in uncertainty for minority and other historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. The damage was extensive: the nearly year and a half of campaigning saw ethnic and religious minorities disparaged, immigrants targeted, women (including his opponent) subjected to misogynistic abuse, the mainstream press caught in the crosshairs of an anti-media campaign, and rhetorical and symbolic resonances in speeches and advertising that drew white supremacists and other far-right extremists out of the woodwork.

In what ways has Trump’s election reshaped the social and political climate for vulnerable American populations, including women, Latinos, black people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities? How is the post-election retreat from data showing racial resentment as the highest predictor of Trump support endangering reality-based solutions for vulnerable communities, politicians, and analysts? And how has his rise to power connected to and amplified similar right-wing, ethno-nationalist politics globally?

Whether and how American conservatives and the Republican Party—now set to hold power in all three branches of government—are able to manage a resurgent coalition of ethno-nationalist voters as well as the capacity for progressive and Democratic activists to create social, political, and legal structures to protect vulnerable communities will determine what life in Trump’s America will look like for the at-risk. This ClimateWatch rounds up a number of key news items, analyses, and commentaries providing insight on what has happened and what could be on the horizon. Continue reading ClimateWatch: U.S.