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The Upstream Journal

A magazine on social justice since 1975

  • 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

  • 2017 / Jun
  • By Chloé Mour
  • 0
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

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  • 2017 / May
  • By Roland Selinger
  • 0
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

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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

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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

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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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Journal

Uruguay – Truth, Justice, and Gender Inequality

2009 protest

May 20th, 2009 – Annual March of Silence to honour the victims of Uruguay’s last dictatorship. Photo: Flickr user Nae

Fifty years ago, Beatriz Benzano was a member of Uruguay’s militant leftist Tupamaros.  The Tupamaros, made up predominately by middle-class youth, sought to redress the country’s rising rates of inflation, unemployment, and bureaucratic corruption through violent insurrection.  In 1972, Benzano was captured by state forces and confined in Punta de Rieles Prison for four years.

She recounted her prison experience in a lecture to the Faculty of Law at the University of the Republic in 2014, in which she spoke about the degradation she and her fellow female dissidents were subjected to. “Forced nudity, exposed to the gaze of troops and officers; fondling and groping; degrading and offensive insults; the violation of one’s body, again and again, with sticks or bugs, with electric prods on the genitals, and with huge dogs snooping the breasts and genitals.” Continue Reading

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Journal

Lumad people claim their language and identity despite extreme violence

ALCADEV students

At the ALCADEV school, “the youth learn alternative farming not only for individual growth but also for the development of their communities and for reinforcing collective pride and identity as indigenous people capable of taking an active role in shaping the country’s future.”

Early in the morning of Sept. 1, 2015, members of the paramilitary group Magahat – apparently acting with the support of nearby soldiers – murdered three Lumad leaders in their village. The victims included the executive director of the school, Emerito “Emok” Samarca. Local people were told they too would be killed if they didn’t leave the area, so 4,000 of them fled, mostly to an evacuation camp in Tandag City.

This was not a singular attack on indigenous people, or “Lumad” as they refer to themselves. Their community school, the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), had been previously subjected to “killings, torture, forced displacement, and harassment of residents, students, and educators” by paramilitary groups, Human Rights Watch stated shortly after the attack. In November, for example, a satellite school of ALCADEV was burned down by men in military uniforms, destroying an electrical generator, sewing machine, farm tools and seeds. Continue Reading

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Journal

Romance and Patriarchy in the 21st Century: The Bride Abductions of Kazakhstan

Bride abduction

Bride abduction. Photo by Gazbubu Babayarova

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been actively pursuing the path of cultural revival on every level, from transforming the northern swamps into a modern capital with a yurt-shaped entertainment center to strengthening the role of the Kazakh language. Yet the inevitable challenge that accompanies such a revival, especially after roughly seventy years of the local culture being repressed by the Soviet Union, is how to reconcile traditionalism with modernity and eliminate the less welcome vestiges of the past.

One such issue is the questionably traditional bride abduction practice that has been on the rise since the 1960s. Just recently, on November 18, 2015, the 24KZ national news station reported that police were investigating a 28-year-old man in Charyn, a village in the south of Kazakhstan who admitted abducting a woman and bringing her to his house for the purpose of marriage. He claimed that there was no malice in his actions. The parents of the woman – a 21-year-old from the same village – had contacted the police, claiming that their daughter was held captive against her will.

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Journal

Derrière l’homophobie en Ouganda, l’évangélisme américain

Frank Mugisha, au centre, en compagnie de militants LGBTI, lors d'une parade de la fierté homosexuelle, en 2013.

Frank Mugisha, au centre, en compagnie de militants LGBTI, lors d’une parade de la fierté homosexuelle, en 2013.

Le lundi 24 février 2014, le président ougandais Yoweri Museveni promulguait à Kampala l’Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA), une nouvelle législation visant à empêcher la «promotion» de l’homosexualité en Ouganda. La loi s’ajoutait alors à l’ancienne législation, héritée de la période coloniale, qui criminalisait déjà l’homosexualité. Or, bien que le projet de loi ait été allégé de ses articles les plus radicaux – tels que la peine de mort pour les «récidivistes» -, la législation adoptée a conservé plusieurs articles controversés, dont l’obligation légale de dénoncer tout homosexuel présumé.

La nouvelle avait à l’époque suscité une vague de protestation de la part des organismes de protection des droits humains et nombre de pays occidentaux avaient fermement condamné la mesure. Certains, comme les Pays-Bas, premier pays du monde à légaliser le mariage homosexuel, avaient même immédiatement gelé leurs programmes d’aide à l’Ouganda, chiffrés en millions de dollars. Le président Museveni, pourtant initialement opposé à la loi, avait alors réagi sur le ton de la bravade, déclarant notamment: «je conseille aux amis occidentaux de ne pas faire [du sujet] un problème», car «ils ont beaucoup à perdre». Continue Reading

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Journal

Changing atitudes – the people with disabilities of Uganda

For the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3 2014 we have updated an Upstream Journal article published in 2005 on the rights of the disabled in Uganda.

Most physically disabled people had no access to wheelchairs or crutches. Many were seen by their families as curses or bad omens. In rural areas they’re at high risk of extreme poverty because of the lack of access to education, health care, housing and employment.

Some innovative advocacy at the local level in Uganda.

Some innovative advocacy at the local level in Uganda.

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