Tag Archives: Land/Housing/Environmental Justice

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.