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Southeast Asia Migration Routes and Statistics

southeast asia migrant crossingsThe International Organization for Migration has released a map showing the routes taken by boat refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar when they sought shelter in several Southeast Asian countries.

As of May 19, 2015, the IOM estimated that 4,000 refugees are still stranded in the sea while 3,200 have already landed in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Malaysia and Indonesia have initially rejected the refugees but they are now ready to rescue those who have been victimized by traffickers.

The Humanitarian Crisis You Haven't Heard of in Burundi

50000 refugees have fled Burundi ( here at the border with Tanzania)  photo via Jamii Forums

50,000 refugees have fled Burundi (here at the border with Tanzania). Photo via Jamii Forums

Following Burundi President Nkurunziza's announcement of his candidacy for a third term (unconstitutional by Burundi's existing law), a massive humanitarian crisis has hit the country as at least 50,000 refugees have fled the country after scenes of violence were reported in several cities. The occurrence of violence were often posted on social media platforms first under the hashtags #burundichaos or #sindumuja. The following infographic sums up the refugees situation as of May 8:

Ugandan Peace Advocate Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

This is Uganda (ThisIs256) is a platform of talented writers from Uganda who are determined to write positive stories about their country, banishing stories about poverty porn, hunger, Ebola, and tribalism, among others. They seek to represent an authentic, reflective, honest, and objectively balanced study about Uganda that you will never find anywhere else in mainstream western media.

Their latest story is about Victor Ochen, a former internally displaced person who was nominated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker social justice organisation, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the past, AFSC nominated Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King Jr., and US President Jimmy Carter, who all became winners. The organisation unsuccessfully nominated Mahatma Gandhi, who never won the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was nominated five times between 1937 and 1948.

Ochen, 33, founded the African Youth Initiative Network, based in Lira, Uganda, in 2005, which works in medical rehabilitation of victims of burnings, mutilations of all kinds, rape, and psychological torture as well as promotes youth leadership. It has grown to become an international network of medical professionals who help victims rebuild their homes and livelihoods. According to This is Uganda:

What Victor did out of sheer compassion added him to this prestigious list. As a teenager in Abia camp that was home of over 40,000 people, he formed a peace club with his peers in the camp. This initiative angered the elders “Why are you talking about peace that you have never seen?” He was enterprising; he risked his life to burn charcoal to raise his school fees. Then later he joined secondary school and could barely afford time to do his charcoal business so he became a cobbler, he used to repair shoes of kids at school. One day he landed a big job of mending the shoes of the school football team, unfortunately that money was stolen. His hard work and favor from the teachers saw him through high school

Victor’s heart was home even when he worked with straight talk foundation in Kampala, interacting with the people in the field made him realize that the people of northern Uganda wanted more than hand outs but wanted and deserved more. That is when he left his job and started the African youth initiative Network. This initiative mobilizes communities especially the youth to pursue peace and human rights, reconciliation. They offer psychosocial support to the former victims of conflict, most of who suffer severe emotional pain and struggle with forgiveness, they have also supported over 5000 people with reconstructive surgeries especially the women whose lips were cut off, the initiative also supports income generating activities, have formed 100 peace clubs in schools and universities in northern Uganda and over 6000 young people have gone through the peace building and transitional justice programme.

Peruvian Web Users Take the #LanguageChallenge

International Mother Language Day was celebrated on February 21, as a commemoration of the right every nation has to keep its own language, a key element of cultural identification. In Peru, there are 47 native languages, spoken by about 4 million people.

To mark the occasion, the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality of the Ministry of Culture invited Peruvians to participate in the #LanguageChallenge:

It's very easy to participate in the #LanguageChallenge!!We show you how.

The blog La Mula reported what the second edition of the Challenge of Languages was about:

Este sábado 21 de febrero se celebra el Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna y la Dirección de Lenguas Indígenas del Viceministerio de Interculturalidad ha lanzado la campaña Reto de las Lenguas (#RetoDeLasLenguas). En realidad, es un desafío creado el año pasado en las redes sociales de diversos países. Quien lo acepta debe grabar un video en una lengua indígena y retar a otra persona a que haga lo mismo. A la fecha han participado hablantes de lenguas indígenas norteamericanas y europeas, pero aún es poca la participación de lenguas sudamericanas.

On Saturday, February 21, we celebrate International Mother Language Day and the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality [of the Ministry of Culture] has launched the campaign the Language Challenge. It's really a challenge created last year on social networks from various countries. If you accept it, you have to record a video in an indigenous language and challenge another person to do the same thing. Until now, indigenous speakers from many North American and European communities have taken part, but we still have a small participation of South American languages.

On Twitter, various users rose to the challenge, such as Quechua speakers Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas:

Excellent video from #Retodelaslenguas by Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas. Now, let's hope that…

This video shows Culina, spoken in Peru and Brazil Amazon regions:

Another Language Challenge from Peru! The so-sexy Nehemías Pino speaking Culina! We have 47 languages!

There is even a video with sign language:

Message in Peruvian sign language for the Language Challenge, I challenge linguistic models from C. Beethoven.

Another video from Cusco:

A video from abroad by a speaker and academic of Shawi, an Amazonian language:

To follow the challenge, which is still going on, follow the hashtag #Retodelaslenguas on Twitter.

‘Western Women Don't Care If They Are Raped on the Roadside,’ Says Saudi Historian

A screenshot of Youtube video. Used under CC BY 2.0

A screenshot of a video on YouTube showing Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon making his infamous claim

Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon says women in the West drive because they “don't care if they get raped on the roadside.” He made the remarks in an interview with Rotana Khalijia, a Saudi-owned television channel aimed at Gulf countries, in his defense of a Saudi prohibition that bans women from driving. The video, which created an outcry online, was shared far and wide on YouTube. 

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving cars. There have been many efforts to break the ban, most recently on October 26, 2013, when dozens of women shared videos driving cars in the day they plan on defying the ban.

The Saudi “historian” notes that:

Unlike riding a camel, driving a car places a woman in danger of being raped, which for Saudi women is a much worse experience than for any women in the western world where women “don't care” if they are raped.

To make his interview worse, he suggested a solution to import “foreign female drivers” to drive Saudi women to prevent a potential rape by contracted male drivers.

Iran's Evin Prison to Become a Park

Cartoonist Touka Neyestani’s take on the news. Image produced for ICHRI, and used with permission.

Cartoonist Touka Neyestani’s take on the news. Image produced for ICHRI, and used with permission.

This post first appeared on iranhumanrights.org and is published here in collaboration with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said last week that the Tehran Municipality is prepared to enter negotiations with the Iranian Judiciary to convert the Evin Prison complex in northwestern Tehran into a public park.

For decades, the notorious Evin Prison has been one of the primary facilities where Iranian political prisoners have been detained, interrogated, tortured, and executed. Some of the worst testimonies about torture and forced confessions at Evin are related to at least three separate wards Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the IRGC operate within the complex, unmonitored by the Iranian Judiciary.

Mapping Cambodia's Land Concessions

Land contracts awarded to foreign companies in Cambodia. Green represents Vietnamese companies, Red areas are Chinese-owned, and Yellow for Malaysian firms. Image from Licadho.

Land contracts awarded to foreign companies in Cambodia. Green represents Vietnamese companies, Red areas are Chinese-owned, and Yellow for Malaysian firms. Image from Licadho.

Licadho, a Cambodian human rights group, has released its dataset of land concessions approved by the government in the past years. The group is now urging the government to release all records related to the land contracts it awarded to domestic and foreign companies. According to activists, many of these concessions were given at the expense of small farmers who were subsequently evicted from their villages.

Defending Internet Free Speech and Anonymity in Ecuador

Organizaciones que del Ecuador, Internacionales y de distintos países que se adhirieron al Manifiesto.

Signatories to the Manifesto for the Freedom of Expression, Anonymity, and Online Privacy in Ecuador.

In the face of government condemnation of anonymity and satire on the Internet, several national and international organizations have signed the Manifesto for the Freedom of Expression, Anonymity, and Online Privacy in Ecuador.

Domestic signatories include Usuarios Digitales and Fundamedios, while some of the international and foreign groups to join the manifesto are AccessElectronic Frontier FoundationDerechos Digitales (Chile), Oficina Antivigilancia (Brazil), Fundación Karisma (Colombia), TEDIC (Paraguay), Acceso Libre (Venezuela), ContingenteMx (Mexico), and Enjambre Digital (Mexico).

The joint statement stresses that anonymity on the Internet is not a crime:

  • Reprobamos cualquier acto de violencia como consecuencia del ejercicio de la libertad de expresión o de cualquier otro derecho.
  • El anonimato es parte esencial de la estructura descentralizada de Internet. Esta es una característica intrínseca de su arquitectura y diseño, y forma parte de la esencia de la comunicación en línea.
  • El anonimato es una herramienta fundamental para ejercer plenamente el derecho a la libre expresión, ya sea en Internet o fuera de ella.
  • La difusión de datos personales de quienes usan legalmente el anonimato constituye una amenaza a la integridad de las personas, promueve la censura y afecta el control legítimo que la sociedad debe realizar de la actividad pública.
  • Mientras no se cometan delitos tipificados, el anonimato debe ser garantizado por el Estado y todos sus entes, de acuerdo a la Ley.
  • Intimidar o direccionar a grupos para el ataque virtual o físico a personas, independientemente de su posición política, puede derivar en polarización y violencia en la sociedad.
  • Consideramos que los recursos públicos deben brindar las garantías suficientes para promover el libre ejercicio de nuestros derechos también en plataformas digitales.
  • We condemn any act of violence as consequence of exercising the freedom of expression or any other right.
  • Anonymity is an essential part of the decentralized structure of internet. This is an intrinsic characteristic of its architecture and design and makes part of the essence of online communication.
  • Anonymity is a key tool to fully exercise the right to free expression, whether online or offline.
  • Sharing personal information from those who use anonymity legally is a threat to the integrity of individuals, promotes censorship and affects legitimate control society has to make of public activity.
  • As long as no categorized crime is committed, the State must be ensure anonymity, according to this law.
  • Intimidating or addressing groups for virtual or physical assault to individuals, regardless of their political position, may end in polarization and violence in society.
  • We consider that public resources must provide enough guarantees to promote free exercise of our rights also on digital platforms.

Check here to read the Manifesto for the Freedom of Expression, Anonymity, and Online Privacy in Ecuador.

#JesuisKenyan Trends in Francophone Social Media to Show Support for Garissa Victims

Twitter users show support for Garissa victims via Arnaud Seroy on twitter

Twitter users show support for Garissa victims via Arnaud Seroy on twitter

On April 2, 2015, at least 147 people were killed by gunmen on the campus of Garissa University in Kenya, according to Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre (KRCS). The center also reports that 79 people were injured and 587 people were evacuated at this stage.

The suspected mastermind of the massacre is the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

The tragic accounts of the shooting by survivors triggered a show of solidarity worldwide. The francophone world, still weary after the Charlie Hebdo attack, responded by showing solidarity with the Garissa victims on social networks with the hashtag #JesuisKenyan (to mirror the hashtag #JesuisCharlie). It was the second most trending topics on Twitter in France on April 3.

Here are a few of those posts:

147 died in the horrific #terrorist attack against education and our future. Let's show solidarity #JesuisKenyan

Not enough talk in the media about the terrorist attack at the university in Kenya, are 147 dead not enough ?! HORRIBLE #JesuisKenyan

Iran Releases British-Iranian Goncheh Ghavami After Arrested for Attending a Volleyball Match

26 year old British-Iranian Goncheh Ghavami was arrested in Iran on June 2014 for protesting for equal access for women during sporting events. She was arrested after she attempted to attend a men-only volleyball match at Azadi Indoor Stadium in Tehran. International petitions have been ongoing for her release, until her release on March 31, 2015. Her brother Iman Ghavami posted on petition.org, where many had signed for her release of the news:

Mar 31, 2015 — I have big news for you.

Today I can tell you that Ghoncheh is free! As we were celebrating Iranian New year, Iranian Government wiped out the rest of my sister's sentence. Ghoncheh will not have to spend another day, another hour in prison.

This is amazing news and I wanted you to hear from me directly. You stood by us during those difficult months. You gave my family courage and hope. The uncertainty of autumn and the dark clouds of winter have gone. And the sun once again is shining for my family. Spring is here.

My mum has finally become her old happy self and has found peace again. My mum and I will not forget your generous support and thank you sincerely. Together we brought Ghoncheh home. Ghoncheh also asked me to thank you all for your support. 

This has been the best spring for my family. Hopefully this spring brings happiness and peace to all Iranians and all of you. 

Iman

 

 

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