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Upstream Journal

magazine on human rights & social justice

  • The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

    The critical voice of South Sudan: An interview with Mading Ngor

  • Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

    Can we create a framework to help businesses prioritize human rights?

  • More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

    More than 109,000 children work in Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa industry...

The Upstream Journal

Journal

How climate change leads to social justice problems – the example of Kenya

In early May, 2018, a dam burst in Kenya causing floods that killed at least thirty-two people and sent forty-one to hospital. This disaster was not the first of the long rainy season this year, as extreme flooding continued. Indeed, these events have been happening for a long time, impacts of our ways of life that were predicted more than forty years ago.

Along with  the article, you can view a short video about the situation here:

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Journal

Bolivia’s massive supply of lithium, and the implications for the local community of Potosi

Salt flats

Natural scenery of the Salar de Uyuni, one of Earth’s only geological formations you can see with a naked eye from space. If industrialized, this Salar will be transformed into acres of hundreds of evaporation pools. Photo: Iris Gutierrez in Colonialismo extractivista y dependencia con el litio.

The Salar de Uyuni is a vast salt flat spanning almost 11,000 square kilometers in the department of Potosí, Bolivia. Here, high in the arid Bolivian Andes, lie the world’s largest brine deposits of lithium, a light metal used in batteries that power everything from cell phones to electric vehicles. Brine lithium technology has the potential to enable Bolivia to escape its history of resource exploitation and instead become an equitable partner in renewable energy markets.

For the past decade, Evo Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government has financed lithium development. MAS frames this project under “Vivir Bien,” an integral development model that promises Bolivians sovereignty over natural resources. But in December 2017, the state company Bolivian Lithium Deposits invited international investment to help industrialize, in exchange for high ownership stakes. Continue Reading

Journal

The responsibility under law of private companies and the use of force – the case of Tahoe Resources and its mine in Guatemala

On the evening of April 27, 2013, security guards shot protesters outside a silver mine in Guatemala, wounding several. The head of security at the time, Alberto Rotondo, faces criminal charges in Guatemala for ordering the attack but fled the country. The seven men attacked have launched a civil suit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against the mine owner, Tahoe Resources of Vancouver.

In the context of community divided by support for and opposition to the Escobal mine project, many people have faced acts of violence, intimidation and repression. This includes two mine security people, killed by unknown attackers prior to the April shooting. Continue Reading

  • 2018 / Mar
  • By Mathilde Messersi
  • Comments Off on Qui protège les droits des travailleurs dans les plantations de thé d’Assam ?
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Journal

Qui protège les droits des travailleurs dans les plantations de thé d’Assam ?

Imaginez que vous déteniez un emploi qui soit la seule source de revenu de votre famille. Pour 2,10$ par jour, vous devez cueillir des dizaines de kilos de feuilles de thé pour une grande compagnie de thé dans la région d’Assam, en Inde. Les heures de travail sont longues et la charge est lourde.

Assam thé

Photo: Linda De Volder

Selon la loi indienne, votre employeur doit fournir à votre famille et vous-même un logement, des services médicaux, un accès à l’eau potable, à des sanitaires fonctionnels pour femmes et pour hommes. Dans les faits, les sanitaires débordent et vous devez faire vos besoins en dessous des buissons dont vous arracherez ensuite les feuilles. Votre accès à l’eau est restreint et, lorsque vous y avez accès, elle n’est pas potable, ce qui vous causera des problèmes neurologiques et abdominaux. Continue Reading

Journal

La Paz en Colombia y la importancia de la participación de víctimas en el proceso de paz

En el 2002, el pueblo de Bojayá, Colombia, fue el escenario de una de las más brutales masacres ejecutadas el conflicto armado de más de cinco décadas entre el gobierno colombiano y las FARC-EP. Las fuerzas del gobierno fallaron en intervenir mientras las FARC y combatientes paramilitares combatían en medio del pueblo. Alrededor de 500 habitantes de Bojayá buscaron refugio en la iglesia pero un mortero lanzado por los guerrilleros golpeo el techo de la santa edificación matando 80 civiles de los cuales más de la mitad eran niños. Ese día, la mayoría de la población de Bojayá se unió a los millones de colombianos desplazados de sus hogares.

Bojaya eglisia

Alrededor de 500 habitantes de Bojayá buscaron refugio en la iglesia pero un mortero lanzado por los guerrilleros golpeo el techo de la santa edificación matando 80 civiles de los cuales más de la mitad eran niños. Photo: agenciadenoticias.unal.edu.co

Trece años después, en diciembre del 2015, las FARC volvieron al pueblo. Esta vez, sin embargo, la presencia de las FARC era parte de un organizado acto simbólico. Víctimas de la masacre de Bojayá y sus familiares regresaron a la misma iglesia a escuchar las disculpas y el reconocimiento de responsabilidad de parte de representantes de las FARC y del gobierno. Continue Reading

  • 2017 / Jun
  • By Chloé Mour
  • Comments Off on La Côte d’Ivoire, un pays «gay-friendly» ?
Journal

La Côte d’Ivoire, un pays «gay-friendly» ?

Sa renommée de terre d’asile pour les minorités sexuelles est à nuancer. Retour sur un mythe qui persiste.

M Njaboué

M. Njaboué, conseiller psychosocial au sein d’Alternative Côte d’Ivoire

Parmi les pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, la Côte d’Ivoire est souvent perçue comme un havre de paix social et juridique vis-à-vis des minorités sexuelles. Pour Philippe Njaboué, conseiller psychosociale au sein de l’organisation Alternative Côte d’Ivoire depuis quatre ans, son travail de longue haleine est pour lui la preuve que le havre de paix ivoirien est illusoire.

«On dit que ça n’existe pas la violence, que c’est un eldorado — ça c’est faux», assure-t-il.

Déconstruire le mythe

Les associations qui luttent pour le droit des minorités sexuelles se comptent sur les doigts de la main en Côte d’Ivoire, et leur quotidien n’est pas toujours rose. En 2014, les locaux d’Alternative, situés à Abidjan, ont été saccagés par plusieurs riverains, et ce de manière préméditée et coordonnée. Continue Reading

  • 2017 / May
  • By Roland Selinger
  • Comments Off on Children adopted abroad, and the problems they may face
Journal

Children adopted abroad, and the problems they may face

Taj Rowland is a business owner and father of two in Utah. Upon meeting him, one might be convinced he is a born and bred American. Yet his past is far more complex than meets the eye.

“I remember being put into a van, then later transferred to a jeep, and driven about three hours away until we reached the orphanage,” Rowland said in an interview for this article. Born with the name Chellamuthu, he was one of thousands of victims of the trafficking in children for profit. Continue Reading

Journal

Peace in Colombia, and the importance of victims’ participation in the process

In 2002, the town of Bojayá was the scene of one of the most brutal massacres in five decades of conflict between the government of Colombia and the FARC rebel group. Government forces failed to intervene as the FARC and paramilitary combatants fought in the middle of the town. About 500 locals sought refuge in the community church, but a mortar launched by the guerrillas hit the church roof, killing 80 civilians, mostly children. On that day, many of the people of Bojayá joined the millions of Colombians displaced from their homes.

Bombed church

The church in Bojayá, after the attack. 80 people, mostly children, were killed in the explosion. Photo: agenciadenoticias.unal.edu.co

Thirteen years later, in December, 2015, the FARC returned to the town. This time, the FARC’s presence was part of an arranged symbolic event. Victims and families of the Bojayá massacre came back to the same destroyed church to listen to the FARC and the Colombian government representatives recognize the atrocities and apologize for the horrors they committed.  Continue Reading

  • 2016 / Jul
  • By Roland Selinger
  • Comments Off on Affording Nairobi street children the rights they deserve
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Journal

Affording Nairobi street children the rights they deserve

Nairobi street children

Glue sniffing is common among street children. Estimates of the number of street children in Kenya range from 30,000 to 250,000. Photo: Undugu Society

When people walk through the city streets of Nairobi they are often confronted by the pleading hand of a child. Street children, called chokoras in Kiswahili slang, are outcasts of everyday society in Kenya. They are seen wandering through the city in search of shelter, drinking water and food, in their daily activities of begging, substance abuse and evading arrest.

The alternatives to being on the street are limited to anything from abusive homes to underground social circles, says Juma Assiago, an urban safety expert in the UN-Habitat’s Safer Cities Programme. “What is not good, with the question of having children on the streets, is that they did not have another option.” Continue Reading

Journal

Le Cachemire, une destination de rêve?

De grandes étendues, d’immenses lacs et rivières, de très hautes montagnes, une faune et une flore uniques, un environnement préservé, un climat doux… L’immensité à portée de vue, un paysage qui fait rêver. Le paradis sur terre! Mais tout n’est pas parfait au paradis… Le gouvernement, contaminé par la corruption, ne défend pas l’environnement contre les chaînes de grands hôtels.

Kashmir

La ville de Pahalgam en hiver. Malgré son climat relativement doux (la température en hiver reste aux alentours de zéro degré celsius), une quantité importante de neige due à l’altitude y tombe pendant les mois les plus froids. (Crédit photo : Showkat Ahmad)

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