Nigeria is a federal state in west Africa and with its more than 180 million inhabitants, it is a country full of cultural and religious diversity: more than 514 languages and dialects are spoken, in addition to the Islam and the Christianity, countless other West – African religions can be found and a great number of various ethnics collide with each other, which oftentimes lead to conflicts.
The biggest and, politically spoken, most powerful nations are the Hausa and the Fulbe from the north (both Islamic). Together they make up 29% of the population. The Yoruba from the southwest and the Igbo from the south both follow closely with 22% and 18% (both Christian). In addition, up to 400 smaller ethnic minorities join them, for example the Ijaw, Kanuri, Tiv and the Umon.
Over 40 million people belonging to more than 20 different ethnic groups live in Sudan and South Sudan today. Roughly 39% of these people are Arabian and roughly 53% of them are of black African origin. More than 70% of the population are Sunni and approximately 30% belong to African religions or are Christians. According to the 1998 constitution, Sudan has been an Islamic Republic under sharia law since 1983.
The south of Sudan has been an independent state since 2011, despite being blighted by decades of civil war. The province of Darfur (Dar Fur = Land of the Fur people) is roughly the size of France and home to approximately 7 million people. Darfur will be the focus of this article.
You can find the first part of this article here.
The autonomous region Kosovo, whose population is approximately 90% of Albanian descent, was not included in the Dayton Agreement, and was therefore still subjected to repressions by the Serbs. Consequently, the UÇK (Kosovo Liberation Army) started a guerrilla war aiming to unite Kosovo and Albania. The Serbs launched their cleansing campaign once again in order to free their Serbian home country – this time from the Albanians.
Hundreds of Albanians were killed and roughly 200,000 fled to the neighbouring countries, threatening the region’s stability. The European Economic Community sent an observation team (the Kosovo Verification Commission) to assess the situation and to call for a ceasefire. The team came to the conclusion that both sides were committing serious crimes and that a ceasefire would be highly unlikely.
When thinking about Cambodia, we think of rice fields, temples, Buddhist monks, beautiful landscapes and a peaceful, quiet life. Unfortunately, Cambodia was everything but peaceful until the end of the 20th century. It was an absolutist country led by the politics of vengeance. Enemies were tortured and punished disproportionately according to the motto ‘a head for an eye’.
The former Balkan state of Yugoslavia was the victim of an ethnic cleansing campaign, including genocide, during the Bosnian War (April 1992 – December 1995) and the Kosovo War (1998-1999), marking the first genocide in Europe since the end of the Second World War.
Rwanda is a small, densely populated country in Central Africa that is surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Resulting in up to 800,000 deaths within 100 days, the genocide in 1994 is viewed as one of the deadliest to have ever occurred. The perpetrators killed their friends, neighbours and sometimes even their own families with the simplest weapons.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month – when we highlight the events and causes of genocide with the aim to prevent future catastrophes.
Rwanda, Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia and Darfur – all of these genocides started during the month of April and, as such, this month is crucial for highlighting the atrocities of genocide and the reasons why it must be prevented.
#Colonial power meets Aboriginal People
In 1788, the first fleet of British convicts reached the Australian continent under the command of King George III. The British called Australia ‘Terra Nullius’ (‘land belonging to no one’) and staked their claim over it. However, the continent soon turned out not to be uninhabited – the first settlers came to Northern Australia over 60,000 years ago. Leading up to the British invasion in the 18th century, up to 500 aboriginal tribes with an approximate total of 750,000 people had formed. Each one of these tribes had their own language and traditions.
to deny = to refuse to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by most scientific or historical evidence (definition: Oxford dictionary)
denial = refusal to acknowledge an unacceptable truth or emotion or to admit it into consciousness; used as a defence mechanism. (definition: Oxford dictionary)
Every genocide is followed by denial. The perpetrators try to cover their tracks and avoid liability. Death camps and records are destroyed, mass graves are filled up and hidden. They try to discretely hide corpses and intimidate eye witnesses.
Human rights are the rights that are afforded to every human being. Every person, regardless of their origin, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, political views or sexual orientation, has access to the same fundamental human rights which serve as a basis for a life in dignity.