East Timor, also called Timor Leste, is part of a small island in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by Australia and Indonesia. And if you allow yourself a short trip there by Google Maps, you first believe to have arrived in paradise with white beaches and turquoise blue water. But the small country has a terrible story to tell, because the road to independence was long and bloody.
Guest Post by Vasilina
The aim of this post is to show the importance of the United Nations (UN) in inter- and intrastate conflicts on the example of Myanmar. The article will focus on the work of the UN and its agencies as well as their impact on the conflict in Myanmar.
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.
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 mass murder of the Assyrian people and the Pontic Greeks is tied to the genocide against the Armenian people. The Young Turks’ aim was to set up a Turkish empire with one language and one religion, declaring Jihad (Holy War) on all non-Muslim minorities. In total, 5 million Christians were evicted, islamised or killed.
The Muslim state of Pakistan was founded in 1947, as a result of religious conflicts in British India. The country consisted of two geographically separate areas. West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were not only spatially separated by 1,600 km by India, but were also culturally and ethnically divided. The population of Pakistan was predominantly Muslim, while there were between 10 and 12 million (approximately 13% of the population) Hindus alongside Bengal speaking Muslims in Bangladesh.
April 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. More precisely, on the 24th April 2015 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. The murder of nearly 1,5 million Armenians had been forgotten for a long time but is now acknowledged by all states except Turkey. With an additional 250,000 Assyrians and 350,000 Pontic Greeks killed in this genocide, it counts itself amongst the three big genocides of the 20th century, along with Ruanda and the Holocaust.
# The genocide against the Iraqi Kurds
The Kurdish people form the fourth largest community in the Middle East and have been victim of cruel human rights violations many times before – such as in Dersim, Turkey.
The conflict between the State and the Kurds had been smouldering for decades but only developed into genocide when Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party came into power.1