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Serbian Government Agency Publishes Personal Data of Over 5 Million Citizens

Screenshot of part of the documents containing personal information of citizens that were available on the official site of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia. Image by SHARE Foundation, used with permission.

Screenshot of part of the documents containing personal information of citizens that were available on the official site of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia. Image by SHARE Foundation, used with permission.

A link from the official website of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia began circulating on social networks in early December 2014. The link led to 19 gigabytes of text files on the agency's site that revealed the personal information of over 5 million Serbian citizens who had registered for free stock of state-owned companies in 2008. The files included the full names of citizens who had registered, as well as their Unique Master Citizen Numbers (JMBG), a number given to each citizen from which a birth date, place of birth and other information can easily be deduced.

The link was caught on Twitter during the week of December 8, 2014, by the legal team of SHARE Defense, the think tank unit of local non-government organization SHARE Foundation that conducts research and offers legal aid in the realm of human and civic rights. The foundation's team analysed the documents and reported the issue to the office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Serbia. The links were removed from the agency's website in the afternoon hours of Friday, December 12, but it is impossible to know who downloaded the information in the meantime.

Citizens have started reacting on social networks, many calling this an “unforgivable” offense by a government agency. Twitter user Vladan Joler tweeted a common sentiment:

The biggest security breach in the realm of information systems protection and citizens’ privacy to date in RS [Republic of Serbia] @ShareConference http://t.co/WO96P4IBTU

— Vladan Joler (@TheCreaturesLab) December 15, 2014

It remains unclear why the documents were published on the site, if by mistake or otherwise. The office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection took on the case immediately and it is expected that it will follow through with an investigation.

In the meantime, SHARE Foundation's legal think tank team has warned any and all who have downloaded the data that any use of part or all of the information in these files would represent a a criminal offense and has recommended that anyone who has retained a copy of any or all of the documents delete them permanently.

Film: A Ugandan Transgender Girl Fights for Her Right to Love

Rough Studios, a small Swedish production company, has released the first episode of a documentary series about being transgender in Uganda:

We enter the life of Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan transgender girl who was forced to flee to Kenya after being “outed” as homosexual in one of Uganda's major tabloids. It is a story about love, hate and being transgender, in one of the worlds most homophobic places.

Our goal with this film has always been to make a difference. Whether it is to change peoples hearts, their perception of a transgender person or the prejudice people have towards the LGBT community.
Uganda is a country which for long have been criticized for the discriminations against the LGBTI community.

‘Grito de Guerra', a Cumbia Composed to Fund the Family of #Ayotzinapa Victims

Mexican artist Michelle Solano has composed “Grito de Guerra,” a song set to the rhythm of cumbia that intends to raise funds to support the family of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa Normal School students, who disappeared on September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero state, Mexico.

According to TV network CNN, the students were intercepted and taken away by police forces at the behest of the local mayor, and had set members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel on the abducted students. In the ensuing clash, six people were killed and 25 were injured, with 43 others remain missing.

Global Voices has dedicated special coverage to the Ayotzinapa case.

Do You Know What Sustainable Fashion Is?

After watching Sweatshop TV series, where three Norwegian youngsters travel to Cambodia to discover the miserable living conditions of garment industry workers, Rut Abrain reflects on sustainable fashion.

Sustainable garments are those that take care of the environment on the electing their raw materials and their manufacturing processes. Likewise, those that respect human rights of individuals involved in the manufacturing and promote a fair international trade, without unfair competition. Rut invites us to reflect on responible use and explains thatl although there is mo regulation for sustainable fashion, there are seals that certify it:

- El más reconocido es GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), la norma líder mundial en el procesamiento de textiles hechos con fibra orgánica, que incluye criterios ecológicos y sociales, y sustentada por certificaciones independientes en toda la cadena de provisión textil.

- Otros como Textile Exchange, también conocido como Organic Exchange, que opera a nivel internacional y está comprometido con la expansión responsable de sostenibilidad textil.

- Un tercer sello es Oeko-tex, que se dedica al control de las sustancias nocivas. Se definen como un sello de garantía para todo tipo de productos textiles inocuos para la salud.

- The best known is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), world leader standard in organic fabric processing, that includes ecologic and social critera, supported by independent certifications all along the textiles supply chain.
- Others such as Textile Exchange, also known as Organic Exchange, that operates internationally and it's commited with responsible expansion of textile sustaintability.
- A third seal is Oeko-tex, in charge of damaging sustances. They are defined as a seal of guarantee for all harmless textile product.

You can follow Rut Abrain on Twitter.

This post was part of the twenty eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

Iranian Facebook User Sentenced to Death

Soheil Arabi was sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Mohammad on the Facebook.The Revolutionary Guards arrested Soheil Arabi on November 2013. Iranian Twitter user Velgard tweeted below about this, explaining that Arabi is only a 30 year old Iranian who is not a political activist, but merely “one of us.” Several bloggers and Facebook users were arrested in last twelve months.

Mexico: What's Next? “Our Beloved Departed Deserve Respect”

From Merida, Andres Mayorquín reflects on the sentimients of Mexicans once they have been part of the marches for the disappearance of student teachers. Some ot them are already tired and they  wonder if ti's worth it to take the streets. The mistrustful ones want Mexicans stop protesting and use their time “to work harder, to stop giving bribes, to respect others’ liberty or be more productive, to stop the whining”.

The opposite is no longer enough in Mexico, concludes Marroquín. Three proposals to this question: “What shall we expect or do with all this movement unleashed after the disappearance of the teacher students that ended up representing all the disappeared, murdered, kidnapped and attacked of the country?”:

Primero que nada, negarnos radicalmente a la violencia… La mayoría no queremos más agresión, queremos paz, queremos encontrar mejores formas de relacionarnos unos con otros en nuestra sociedad diversa y queremos justicia, que respete la dignidad de cada uno de nosotros.

[...]

Tercero, desarrollar una propuesta concreta…una legislación sobre la revocación de mandato, la formación de una Comisión de la Verdad, hacer obligatorias y públicas las declaraciones patrimoniales de los servidores públicos y sus familiares, facilitar los requisitos de las candidaturas independientes, una regulación sobre los legisladores plurinominales.

First of all, we radically reject violence… Most of us don't want more aggression, we want peace, we want to look for better ways of relating with each other in our diverse society and we want justice, they the dignity each of use deserves might be respected.

[...]

Third, elaborate a concrete proposal… a legislation about power revocation, the formation of a Truth Commission, make wealth declarations mandatory and public for pubilc servants and their family members, make easier for independent candidates to run for office, a regulation about multi-member legislators.

Visit Se hace camino al andar, Andrés Mayorquín's blog. You can also interact with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+

This post was part of the thirtieth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 24, 2014.

Tokyo Marches in Solidarity With US Protesters #TOKYO4FERGUSON

Two recent court decisions in the US exonerating police officers who killed two black men — 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 43-year-old Eric Garner in New York — has sparked demonstrations across the country. The African American Youth Travel Program (AAYTP) organised a protest against police brutality, racism and injustice on December 6 in solidarity with the protests in the US and around the world. 

One protest occurred in Tokyo.

Ayotzinapa: Duality of Internet Denunciation

Vero Flores Desentis, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), reflects on Internet users’ behavior regarding the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa and rubs salt in the wound of those of us who use cyberspace for worthy causes, and calls us to an in-depth examination of our conscience: are denouncing and indignation on the Internet enough to make a change or do they just represent a simple catharsis? Thus, the author points out the duality of Internet denunciation regarding the events in Ayotzinapa:

Creo que es un tema que duele a la sociedad, y duele mucho. Lo que me sorprende es la dualidad de la denuncia social. Por un lado, cada vez tenemos más acceso a plataformas que nos sirven para denunciar o para establecer públicamente algún posicionamiento frente a un tema, y cada vez somos más las personas que las utilizamos. Y estas denuncias son una herramienta muy poderosa de denuncia social sin duda. Pero por otro, la denuncia ahí se queda, no hay un eco de ejecución que realmente ayude a disminuir los casos que lamentablemente siguen sucediendo.

I think this is something that hurts society. What amazes me is the duality of social denunciation. On one hand, each time we have more access to platforms that allow us to denounce or set publicly some position about a given topic, and each time more people use them. And these condemnations are a very powerful tool for social denunciation. Burt on the other hand, the denounce just stays there, there is no echo of carrying out that really helps reducing the cases that, unfortunately, keep coming.

Fotografía extraída del blog Mujeres Construyendo, utilizada con autorización

Image from Mujeres Construyendo blog, used with permission.

Vero adds that just as in other disturbing cases, social networks channel our outrage about Ayotzinapa, although making it public doesn't change the situation. To change something, we must act outside the cybernetic world, changing our actions.

You can follow Vero Flores Desentis on Twitter.

This post was part of the 28th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

A March in Solidarity with Migrants Who Perished Trying to Reach Europe

Human Chain in Strasbourg (Photo Suzanne Lehn)

Signs at the March in defense of migrants in Strasbourg (Photo Suzanne Lehn)

“Europe is fighting its own make-believe enemy”: This is the message that a dozen of associations in defense of migrants wanted to convey when they organized a human chain between the tramway station “Droits de l'Homme (Human Rights)” and the EU Parliament station in Strasbourg on November 26. In order to put Human Rights back at the core of Europe” and oppose the policy adopted by the European Agency of Border Control Frontex, protesters held signs that narrate the tragic plight of migrants trying to reach Europe. For the past 20 years, more than 20,000 migrants have died or disappeared trying to make the journey from their hometowns into Europe.   

Here are a few photos of the event :

chaîne humaine migrants

The Human chain in front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Les participants attendent leur tour de parole avant de se diriger vers le Parlement européen (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Protesters are taking turn speaking up as they move toward the parliament (photo Suzanne Lehn)

Dans le fond, la Cour Européenne des Droits de l'Homme (photo Suzanne Lehn)

In the background, the European Court of Human Rights (photo Suzanne Lehn)

11-Year-Old Girl Starts Petition Calling for Mexican President's Resignation

Captura de pantalla de la campaña Personas que quieren la renuncia de Peña Nieto en la plataforma Change.org

Screenshot of the people who want the resignation of Peña Nieto campaign on the Change.org platform.

Political activism is not exclusively reserved for young people and adults. This was demonstrated by Sofia, an 11-year-old Mexican girl who decided to collect signatures calling for the resignation of the president of her country, Enrique Peña Nieto. These are her reasons.

Peña Nieto no le ha respondido como se debe a los familiares de los estudiantes desaparecidos, se fue a China y tiene una casa de 80 millones de pesos.

Peña Nieto has not responded as he should have to the families of the missing students, he went to China and he has a house costing 80 million pesos (approximately 5.88 million dollars).

This initiative caused many positive reactions. For example, some decided to sign in order to demonstrate to Sofia and other Mexican children (as well as adults) that having a better country is possible, and to remind those who govern that people placed them there and that the people can remove them. Sofia's mother said:

Yo no tengo idea de cómo se destituye a un presidente. Pero ojalá pueda de verdad llevar esas hojas a alguna parte que ayude a Sofía a sentir que su esfuerzo vale la pena, que lo intentamos a toda costa. Fui incapaz de decirle que no lo hiciera, que era casi imposible. No puedo cortarle las alas. Esta generación viene con fuerza, con fe y determinación, y con un concepto de lo que es decente y justo que ya quisieran muchos para un fin de semana.

I don't know how to dismiss a president. But, hopefully one can take those papers somewhere so that Sofia can feel that her efforts were worth it, that we tried at all costs. I was unable to tell her not to do it because it was almost impossible. I couldn't cut her wings. This generation is full of strength with faith and determination, and with a concept of what is decent, something that many want for a weekend.

The petition was placed on the Change.org platform and already has 10,500 signatures at the time of this post.

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