In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America – or rather the Caribbean islands; the American mainland was ‘discovered’ shortly after that. It was, however, by no means uninhabited. The American indigenous population, colloquially known as ‘Indians’, colonised the continent more than 12,000 years ago when northeast Asian inhabitants crossed the Bering Strait.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority of Myanmar. They are mainly located in the northern state of Rakhine, near the border to Bangladesh. For decades, they have been systematically discriminated against by law and by the Buddhist population of the country. The 1982 nationality law does not recognise the Rohingya as citizens, even though they have been living in the Myanmar for generations. They are therefore considered stateless and are, consequently, often deprived of their fundamental human rights. They are denied an identity and a home; they are not allowed to study, work, travel, marry or to practice a religion. They are not given any identity documents and can therefore not apply for citizenship or refugee status. Because of their situation, they are often exploited or abused.
In terms of absolute taboos, torture comes a close second only to genocide. It is a crime against humanity with the sole purpose of deliberately and systematically putting another person through as much pain as possible. The consequences don’t only affect the victims and their families, but society as a whole. Torture is one of the most violent attacks on human dignity and human rights in general. It is therefore officially prohibited according to various national and international conventions and agreements and cannot be ignored, even in the extremest of situations.
#The destruction of the European Jews 1941 – 1945
Read Part 1 here
#The destruction of the Jews in …
In 1939, Poland was home to more Jews than any other European nation – approximately 3.3 million. All Jews living in areas occupied by Germany were forced to live in ghettos, and later deported to various concentration camps.
The Nazis set up the first concentration camp on Polish soil in Chelmno. It was in operation intermittently between December 1941 and January 1945. Mainly Jews from ghettos in the Polish town of Lodz were brought there. Approximately 300,000 Jews, as well as 5,000 Sinti and Roma, were killed with only three gas vans.
Th destruction of six million Western and Eastern European Jews occurred steadily over the course of the Second World War. Concrete evidence of any annihilation order written by Adolf Hitler has never been found. As such, the assumption is that the decision to commit genocide was made gradually.
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.