Africa

Madagascar’s vanilla wars: prized spice drives death and deforestation

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As the price of pods has soared so has violence – and forest defenders are increasingly risking their lives to protect precious wildlife habitat from being felled for profit Jonathan Watts The Guardian The vanilla thieves of Anjahana were so confident of their power to intimidate farmers they provided advance warning of raids. “We are coming tonight,” they would write in a note pushed under doors in this remote coastal village in Madagascar. “Prepare what we want.” But they either undervalued ... Read More »

Mauritania court gives toughest sentence for slave owners

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Two slave owners in Mauritania have been jailed in a country where slavery remains widespread but convictions rare, activists say. BBC The sentences of 10 and 20 years are said to be the toughest-ever for the crime in the West African country. Slavery was outlawed in 1981 but 1% of the population are still living in bondage, human rights groups say. Black people of certain ethnic groups are often enslaved as domestic workers by lighter-skinned Mauritanians. The country has jailed ... Read More »

‘I Do Not Feel Free’: The Women Trapped in Domestic Work in Egypt

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They hear about the abuse and know they will be working illegally, but young women still travel to the Middle East to work as domestic workers. News Deeply To help understand why, photojournalist Jihad Abaza documented the lives of three migrant women working for a family in Egypt. CAIRO – Linda* has missed two of her sisters’ weddings. She has not seen her nephews grow up. When she speaks to her father on a video call, she notices that he is aging, ... Read More »

Kenya payout for mother made to deliver on hospital floor

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A woman who was physically abused and left to deliver her baby on the floor of a county hospital in Kenya has been awarded $25,000 (£18,000). BBC In the landmark ruling, a Bungoma high court judge said Josephine Majani’s rights were violated as she gave birth. Mrs Majani said nurses had slapped and verbally abused her in 2013 and left her to deliver her baby in full view of the public. Her ordeal was secretly captured on camera by a ... Read More »

South African farmers are trapped in a brutal reality – and my family is a victim of it

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My father-in-law was beaten to death last September on his sugar-cane farm, 60 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg, a regional city in South Africa. Glenn Freeman Brisbane Times Civil rights group AfriForum suggests there is, on average, 680 farm attacks and 94 farm murders in South Africa each  year – almost two attacks a day and two murders a week over 18 years. Critics of Peter Dutton’s latest contentious proposal – a special humanitarian intake of South African farmers – should consider ... Read More »

‘Women must take a stand to defend, heal the nation’-Kah Walla

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Journal du Cameroun Cameroonian politician and Human Rights activists. Kah Walla says it is about time women take up thier stand as mothers of the nation to defend and heal the land. The Human Rights Activist who is also the President of the Cameroon People’s Party, made the remark earlier this month, while leading about 150 women from nine towns and 5 regions in Cameroon in a march against what they term injustices and bad governance for decades. “As Mothers ... Read More »

No country, no rights, no hope

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The legal no-man’s land inhabited by stateless people like the Rohingya is a major human rights issue, which urgently requires more attention By Professor Michelle Foster and Timnah Baker, University of Melbourne PURSUIT Said Imasi was raised in a refugee camp in North Africa, and spent his childhood in orphanages and on the streets of mainland Europe. His mother died when he was six-years-old and he has no information about his father. Said believes he was born in the Canary ... Read More »

In Uganda, Unmarried Women Must Fight to Keep Their Homes

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For unmarried women living with their partners in Uganda, there is no law – legal or customary – to stop them from losing their homes when their relationships end. Amy Fallon News Deeply KAMPALA, UGANDA – After almost two decades living with a man nearly twice her age, who first got her pregnant when she was 15, Jane Zamukunda finally had one small comfort: a nice home that she felt was… Her partner and father of her three children had bought a piece ... Read More »

Developing countries at risk from US rate rise, debt charity warns

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Jubilee Debt Campaign says 126 nations spend more than 10% of revenues on interest Larry Elliott The Guardian The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned. The Jubilee Debt Campaign said a study of 126 developing nations showed that they were devoting more than 10% of their revenues on average to paying the interest on money borrowed – the ... Read More »

Somalia clans secure peace with death sentences and hefty fines

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Two rival Somali clans have signed up to a groundbreaking peace deal which aims to end the cycle of revenge killings. Will Ross BBC Following three weeks of mediation, the rival Sa’ad Yoonis and Ba’iido clans in the disputed Sanaag region reached an agreement on harsh new rules. Now, anyone found guilty of carrying out a revenge killing or vendetta will face a death sentence. The family of the perpetrator will also have to pay fine a $100,000 (£72,000). There ... Read More »

UN backs ‘free, fair, credible’ July elections in Zimbabwe

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Vote will be the first big test for Emmerson Mnangagwa who became Zimbabwe’s president in November. Al Jazeera The United Nations has voiced its support for a plan to hold elections in Zimbabwe  in July. The elections, which have not yet received a specific date, will be the first big test of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who became Zimbabwe’s president in November after the military ousted Robert Mugabe, 93, who ruled for 37 years. A statement by UN Development Programme administrator Achim Steiner… UN backs ‘free… Read More »

Worse than Oil? The Geopolitics of the Banana

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Attracting encroachments to national sovereignty by rapacious Washington-connected multinational corporations and the meddling attentions of their powerful home country; stunting reform and economic development at every turn; breeding economic dependency; firmly controlled by foreign companies and giving little beneficiation to the country of production; upending and undermining political institutions; and… Bhaso Ndzendze ModernDiplomacy These are ringing accusations which bring to mind one natural resource –oil. Certainly not the banana. This is somewhat understandable; oil more readily lends itself to the… ... Read More »

Tunisian women march for inheritance

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Hundreds of women took to the streets in the Tunisian capital on March 10 to demand equal inheritance rights as men, a subject often seen as taboo in the Arab world. TUNIS-Reuters Hurriyet The North African Muslim country grants women more rights than other countries in the region, and since last year has allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. But the protestors marching to the parliament building in Tunis on March 10 said they wanted to be compared with ... Read More »

Arsene Wenger: Why some Arsenal fans are comparing him to Robert Mugabe

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When is a football manager like a controversial ousted ruler? Arsenal twitterdom has found an innovative way to call for an end to Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure as manager: by comparing him to former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Reha Kansara BBC Comparisons between the two men have been the basis for jokes all season long, but the meme really took off after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Brighton over the weekend. And the heat on Wenger has only continued in advance of Thursday’s ... Read More »

A Hidden Face of War

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The impact of conflict is rarely seen through the prism of reproductive health. Isabelle Arradon ICG Yet women and girls routinely face sexual and gender-based violence during war and its aftermath, maternal mortality is endemic in conflict-affected areas and amplifying women’s voices is critical to removing risks to their well-being. A few years ago, a woman in her sixties outside Banda Aceh in Indonesia told me about the rape and other torture she had endured during the conflict between the ... Read More »

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

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Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. ICG In this Q&A, our West Africa Program Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces. What do we know about the 2 March attacks in Ouagadougou? The attacks represent an alarming escalation for Burkina Faso in terms of organisation, ... Read More »