The International Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers
The pullout of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of the Afghan government has generated a wave of Afghan people fleeing incoming Taliban rule. With the Taliban committed to governing according to fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic law, concerns are particularly heightened for women, ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, journalists, and those who supported the fight against the Taliban. Abroad, governments have debated whether and to what degree to accept asylum-seekers, with many seeking to either offshore asylum processing or contain refugees to the immediate region of southwest and Central Asia. For refugees who do make it out, the intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment across the world’s regions in recent years—including the increasing political power of far-right nativist movements—has created new threats for asylum-seekers in their destination countries.
While politicians and analysts around the world bicker over responsibility and blame, Afghans scramble to exit before the full weight of the new Taliban regime comes down. Here is a collection of reporting on the conditions in Afghanistan for those needing refuge, which countries are offering haven, and reactions from the Afghan diaspora.
Global Protests: #BlackLivesMatter / Anti–Police Violence
Nearly four years ago, Outlas published a catalog of media coverage focused on global protests connected to the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement. Today, the murder of Black American George Floyd by the police has re-galvanized demonstrations across the world’s continents, promoting diverse forms of solidarity across movements focused on affirming Black lives, eliminating racism, and ending police violence.
Floyd’s death is one among many that have pushed people into the streets of cities from Honolulu to East Jerusalem, drawing together accounts of the criminalization of people of color and other minority groups around the world. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters around the world have gathered to interconnect their causes, demonstrating the resilience of a global anti-racism and anti–police brutality movement despite the lull in media coverage in recent years. This collection has gathered more than 150 articles, statements, and multimedia stories documenting the recent surge in protests and their interconnection.
A number of media outlets have mapped the development of demonstrations around the world and compiled media and accounts from protests, summarizing the connections between the diverse sites and expressions of solidarity journalists have uncovered.
The U.S. has experienced more than a week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. His death was the latest in a series of events that had drawn attention to ongoing violence and threats of violence faced by Black people in public space across the U.S., from racist vigilantism in Georgia to a dead-of-night police break-in and murder in New York. Protesters across all 50 states mobilized to contest police violence, prompting spectacular forms of police repression—including tear-gassing, beatings, tasing, and shootings—captured on video and circulated across social media platforms.
Canada has experienced its own widespread condemnation of police violence in the U.S., organizing massive demonstrations from Vancouver to Halifax in honor of the memory of George Floyd. Participants have also drawn attention to recent fatal incidents involving police—including the recent death of Afro-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet—and the disproportionate effects of police violence experienced by Black and Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians of color.
Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and allied Latin American communities have also expressed solidarity with Black Americans, highlighting both the ongoing forms of marginalization experienced by Afro-descendant people in Central American countries and the complex relationships to racism across the Caribbean. Brazil, in particular, has been grappling with an entrenched police brutality problem that overwhelmingly threatens Afro-Brazilians—particularly those living in poor communities. The recent killing of 14-year-old João Pedro has reignited protests, with demonstrators drawing explicit connections to anti-Black police violence in the U.S.
Massive protests across Europe have centered not only the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but also ongoing forms of racism across the continent. In France, George’s death scratched at the wound of the 2016 murder of Adama Traoré in a suburb of Paris. In the UK, protest participants were quick to shut down any attempt to distance the UK from U.S.-style racism, highlighting ongoing discrimination experienced by Black communities in the country. Whether in the commemoration of colonial leaders responsible for the death of millions of Africans or stubborn denials of institutional racism, contemporary manifestations of racism drew the ire of demonstrators of all backgrounds.
Solidarity with protesters in the U.S. found diverse expression across Africa and the Middle East, from a mural in the rubble of an obliterated Syrian building to an open letter signed by dozens of African writers demanding accountability and pressuring African governments to do more. African political leaders, for their part, took the rare step of condemning the situation in the U.S.. But activists across the region also worked to draw attention to local police brutality problems as well, including the killing of autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak by Israeli border security and high levels of violence against women (both by police and by others not held to account by police) in Nigeria.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a range of responses to unrest in the U.S. has emerged. In a tit-for-tat with the U.S. government, Chinese officials have used the situation to draw attention to human rights violations in the U.S. as the U.S. has condemned China for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, police brutality has been a longstanding issue with respect to the treatment of indigenous communities. Thousands of protesters across Australia and New Zealand expressed solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement while also integrating the long history of anti-Indigenous violence into their calls for change. Similarly, the outbreak of protests in U.S. and the resurgence of global anti-racism consciousness provided an opportunity for activists and members of the Papuan diaspora to highlight the ongoing discrimination and violence experienced by indigenous Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian government.
Dutch government announces inquiry into violent twilight of colonialism in Indonesia
Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced an investigation into the violent conflict between the Dutch military and Indonesians that took place from 1945 to 1949.
The Dutch government has begun to admit to a host of war crimes during the colonial war including mass killings, torture, and summary executions, with the conflict having brought about the death of at least 100,000 Indonesians.
Indonesia was a Dutch colony from 1800 to 1949 and is widely recognized as having contributed significantly to the contemporary wealth of the western European nation.
More than 100 arrested during anti-Black Pete protest in the Netherlands
Despite a day-long ban, demonstrators took to a holiday festival in Maassluis to protest the ongoing national reverence for Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), a controversial figure black Dutch and allies say perpetuates racist stereotypes.
The figure has been under fire for years as its status as a national holiday tradition has been called into question for its ties to the Netherlands’ racist colonial history, including by the U.N.
Adding to the controversy is the frequency with which Black Pete is performed by white people in blackface in parades and other celebratory events.
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests→
European court rules brothel owners in Amsterdam must share language with sex workers
The European Court of Justice ruling sided with the city of Amsterdam, which blocked the application of a brothel owner to run a Red Light District window rental space because the owner could not communicate in the language of some of the workers.
The business owner had his business plan denied because he rented to Hungarian and Bulgarian immigrant workers who did not speak Dutch and whose languages the owner did not speak.
The court cited the safety of women, human trafficking vulnerability, the prevention of sex work by minors, and pimping deterrence as justifications.
Spain and the Netherlands look to phase out blackface Christmas traditions
Madrid authorities announced that they will cast an actual black person in the role of Balthazar this year rather than continue the tradition of blackening the face of a white person.
In The Hague, education officials announced that elementary schools will no longer engage in the “Black Pete” tradition, which paints Santa’s helpers in blackface.
While cities across Spain are increasingly abolishing holiday blackface, the Netherlands has seen staunch resistance, with a majority of its citizens rejecting the idea that Black Pete is a racist practice.
“This change is much more than just anecdotal. … Given the increasingly large community of colour in our city, it seems absurd that this role continues to be represented by a person with their face blackened.”
Public assembly banned in Hague neighborhood as unrest swells following death of unarmed Aruban man during police arrest
Mitch Henriquez, a resident of the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, died of apparent asphyxiation from a chokehold while being arrested by The Hague police on Sunday after allegedly falsely claiming he had a gun.
Following more than 60 arrests and escalating violence, the mayor issued a temporary ban on public gatherings of more than three people and “dangerous objects” in the predominantly immigrant Schilderswijk district.
The Hague police department has come under fire from rights organizations, journalism investigations, and community members for its targeting of immigrants and foreigners.
Amsterdam finds a quarter of immigrant residents dissatisfied with bilingual education in the city
The city council conducted a survey on the education of international workers’ children, finding the students distributed amongst traditional Dutch schools (45%), international schools (40%), and bilingual-stream schools (15%).
The city’s international schools were found to have significant barriers to entry including long waiting lists and high fees, with only 20% of employers providing financial assistance.
Primary schools will soon be able to offer 15% of lessons in English, French, or German in an effort to promote mutilingualism among young children.
Protests in Saudi Arabia following the anti-Shiite suicide bombing, assisted suicide debates in the U.K., Myanmar’s anti-Rohingya protests, Russia’s community for parents and their gay children, immigration reform’s stumble in the U.S., Dubai’s motorcycle women, and 45 other stories in this week’s news rounds…Continue reading The Mid-week Rounds→
Israel nixes bus segregation plans, the U.K. takes strong stance against undocumented immigrant labor, Russian bill looks to criminalize abortion procedures, a British Muslim woman takes on ISIS through poetry, Ireland celebrates passing of same-sex marriage referendum, and 35 other stories in this week’s news rounds…Continue reading The Week’s Rounds→