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Genocide - Srebrenica (Never Again)

I discovered this video over at the Srebrenica Genocide Blog.

“A highly talented Bosniak hip-hop artist commemorates more than 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica genocide through a song that is both inspiring and emotionally moving. The song you're about to listen is unquestionably one of the best hip hop creations in a long time. Our rating: 10/10. Simply perfect! We're proud of you Jusuf!” - Srebrenica Genocide Blog

I have to agree.  The production in this song is world class and it is definitely on par with other international hip hop acts of today.  It is an emotional song and the video footage is disturbing and horrifying at times.  There are details about the band and how to purchase the album over at Srebrenica Genocide Blog as well as a free, authorised download.

The Srebrenica massacre occurred in July 1995.  8,000 Bosniak men and boys were removed from their homes, murdered and buried in mass graves.  Subsequent to the murder of their husbands, brothers, fathers and children, 25,000 to 30,000 women were forcibly removed from the area and subjected to a campaign of rape and ethnic cleansing.  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) unanimously declared the event to be an act of genocide in 2004.

Recommended Blog: alenow.org

Abolish-Liberate-Emancipate-Now

Abolish - Liberate - Emancipate NOW is the simple message behind the blog alenow.org.  Run by Matthew Jack, a Federal Agent in Washington DC, the blog “intends to provide news, discussions and resources on social justice topics such as, Human Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, Modern Day Slavery, Holocaust Issues and Genocide”.

The blog is frequently updated and is full of relevant news from both America and the international arena.  One of the biggest messages from this blog is that human trafficking is not just something that happens in third world countries, it is alive and well right inside urban, first world America.

This blog is one of those that I have discovered that has immediately made me want to be a better blogger.  It is a truly inspiring blog that makes me realise that I can make a difference and there are people out there in the world who want to make a difference too.  Not only does Matthew give you the news and the lowdown on human trafficking, he tells you exactly how you can make a difference too:

5 Steps to Fight Human Trafficking with a Movie Night

10 Things Teens Can Do To End Human Trafficking

I’d certainly recommend adding alenow.org to your RSS feed reader today.

Khmer Rouge “First Lady” Charged With Genocide

Ieng Thirith
AFP/Archives/Heng Sinith

Another former high ranking Khmer Rouge official has been charged with genocide following the charges brought against three former Khmer Rouge officials last week

Reuters reported yesterday that Ieng Thirith has been charged in relation to the slaughter of Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minorities during the brutal 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge era.

Ieng Thirith (wife of Ieng Sary who was charged on Thursday with the same offence) was arrested in November 2007 and apart from a brief court appearance in May 2008, she had not been in court since.  She was charged with crimes against humanity and accused of “murder, imprisonment and other inhumane acts” committed during her role as Minister of Social Affairs.  Ieng Thirith was instrumental in organising the massive purges of the Khmer Rouge regime and as she has much blood on her hands, it is ironic that she was also head of the Red Cross Society.

Khmer Rouge leaders charged with genocide

Public gallery of Cambodia Tribunal
Public gallery during testimony of S-21 survivor Vann Nath on 29 June 2009 [Source: ECCC]

This is massive news.  As I explained in the article What is Genocide?, international tribunals have determined only two cases of genocide to have taken place since the Genocide Convention was created in 1948.  News in this week is that three former Khmer Rouge leaders have been charged with genocide and this is in addition to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity that were brought against them previously (see: Khmer Rouge trial update from 2 November).

Link: Tribunal charges 2 Khmer Rouge with genocide [Associated Press]

On 16 December 2009, news broke that the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) had charged Nuon Chea and Ieng Sary with genocide in connection with their involvement in the deaths of members of Cambodia’s ethnic Cham and Vietnamese communities.   The AP article explains that the predominantly Muslim Chams were amongst the few that actively resisted the Khmer Rouge regime and their rebellions were brutally suppressed.  The Khmer Rouge regime also launched bloody attacks against Vietnamese border villages and in fact, it was Vietnam’s response to these attacks that eventually toppled the regime in 1978.

Link: Genocide charge for Cambodia's K.Rouge ex-head of state [AFP]

Then on Friday 18 December 2009, the ECCC brought the same charges against Khieu Samphan.  The court also accepted charges of homicide, torture and religious persecution against Khieu Samphan.

Interestingly, the AFP article notes that the only reason the mass killing of up to 1.7 million Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime is not classified as genocide is because the perpetrators were also Cambodian.

Final arguments have been heard in Kaing Guek Eav’s trial and a verdict is expected next year.  I daresay they’ll announce the verdict before embarking on the next cases.

Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day 2009 End Discrimination

Today is Human Rights Day and it was on this day in 1948 that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.  The UDHR has become a universal standard for defending and promoting human rights and I discussed the declaration back in July: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The basic foundation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that "all human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms".

Every year on 10 December, Human Rights Day is observed and celebrated around the world and some of today’s events in South Africa, New York and Geneva are listed on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website.

The focus of Human Rights Day 2009 is non-discrimination.  Despite stating some 61 years ago that all humans were born equal, that we all had inalienable rights, millions of people worldwide fight against discrimination each day.

The realisation of all human rights - social, economic and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights – is hampered by discrimination. All too often, when faced with prejudice and discrimination, political leaders, governments and ordinary citizens are silent or complacent”

Source: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Discrimination is perhaps on of the most tangible areas in which every day people can get involved in the struggle for global human rights.  Take a look at your workplace and how certain workers or classes of people are treated.  It is okay to tell people that racism is not okay, that all workers should be treated equally and that in the workplace, no one is actually better than anyone else.

People often discriminate because they can get away with it or because they think that others around them agree with such behaviour.  Be firm in your principles and slowly but surely you might come to change the world around you.

Complacency is discrimination’s best friend


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