Human Rights in North Korea
In the 2018 North Korea-United States Summit, where the U.S. President Trump met with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader, Kim Jong-un, the focus was mainly on human rights in North Korea. North Korea has long been condemned by the U.N. as a perpetrator of human rights violations.

Facts About Human Rights in North Korea

1. 2.6 million modern-day slaves exist in North Korea.

Today, one in 10 North Korean citizens are held in political prison camps known as “kwanliso”. In the camps, prisoners are starved and beaten up while being forced into hard labor by the government officials. Additionally, many modern-day slaves are victims of human trafficking, child exploitation and debt bondage.

2. Political freedom is virtually non-existent.

Political opposition is not allowed under the totalitarian system in North Korea. The state controls all internet access, television and news organizations, allowing only pro-government content. Freedom of assembly and petition are also prohibited.

3. Class status is determined by loyalty.

Individuals are classified under “songbun”, which divides people into groups of “loyal”, “wavering” or “hostile” classes depending on how devoted they are to the government. This classification often determines people’s employment, housing and access to education. It can also threaten their lives.

4. Arbitrary arrests and torture in custody often occur.

The governmental security forces often subject accused political criminals to arbitrary arrest, long-term detention and other tortures including starvation during interrogation. Those accused of major political crimes are often sent to prison camps without trial; emblematic of the lack of human rights in North Korea. In most cases, families are unaware of what happens to their family member. In fact, earlier relatives of political criminals could also be sent to the camps, though this is less common now.

5. Forced abortion occurs as a form of ethnic cleansing.

The majority of refugees going from North Korea to China are women.  They often become victims of rape. Over 5,000 North Koreans are repatriated to North Korea by China every year and once they return to North Korea, pregnant women suspected of carrying “foreign sperm” are forced to have abortions in prison. If not, the suspected half-Chinese children are killed. 

6. Religious communities, especially Christians, are persecuted.

According to Christian watchdog organizations, all traces of the formally large Christian community in the pre-regime North Korea have been wiped out. Suspected Christians are tortured and killed as the state suppresses any religion that poses a threat to the government.

7. North Korea abducts foreign nationals.

Japan continues to demand the return of 17 citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. North Korea has admitted to these kidnappings and further accused of abducting over 3,800 South Koreans. Allegedly, these individuals have been kidnapped so that the North Korean government can learn more about the other cultures as part of their espionage efforts.

8. Despite signing several human rights treaties, these abuses continue.

Following increased concern over human rights in North Korea, North Korea has signed treaties that protect women, children and the disabled’s political and economic rights. Despite this commitment to cooperate with the U.N. and other international bodies, the government continues to refuse to work with the South Korean and U.N. human rights organizations.

9. China recently began enforcing more sanctions on North Korea.

China holds perhaps the greatest leverage over North Korea as one of its major trading partners. Historically, China has not demanded changes to the human rights in North Korea because of China’s own issues with human rights violations. But due to nuclear power concerns, in May 2017, China’s sanctions on North Korea‘s government has increased.

10. Despite little improvement, awareness about these crimes continues to grow.

Though the situation still looks bleak, the information known about North Korea has greatly increased since the 1990s when refugee stories first emerged. Since North Korea has been forced to cooperate somewhat with other global powers, there are efforts to reach people in North Korea via social media so they can learn more about their situation and rights.

Human rights in North Korea might not be improving, but global attention to the situation creates awareness of the threat to life that exists in the country. Going forward, international pressure can eventually ensure that basic human rights are given to the people of North Korea.

Grace Gay
Photo: Google

Facts About Human Rights in Ethiopia

Ethiopia, located at the Horn of Africa, is home to over 100 million inhabitants and is in dire need of human rights reform. Prolonged states of emergency, detention centers and undemocratic laws are leading to notable atrocities within the nation. The government, however, seems to be paying attention to this need and is making progress on certain fronts. As atrocities continue, international organizations are becoming more vocal regarding these issues. The following are 10 important facts about human rights in Ethiopia.

10 Facts About Human Rights in Ethiopia

  1. Ethiopia does not have an open political space. The ruling coalition in Ethiopia controls all federal and parliamentary seats. Nongovernmental organizations, independent media and political parties are hard to come by and are being increasingly cracked down by the government.
  2. Violence and unrest have recently characterized the nation. Following mass protests among Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, the government imposed a state of emergency in October 2016 which continued until August 2017. State crackdown ensued, including a militarized response to anti-government protests, mass detention and restrictions on freedom of expression. Another state of emergency was announced in February 2018 and continued for four months.
  3. So-called “rehabilitation camps” are committing abuses. During the state of emergency, over 20,000 Ethiopian citizens have were detained following political unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions. Lack of medical assistance, restriction on family visits, torture methods and other inhuman practices are a staple of these centers.
  4. Violence against women is a grave concern. Female genital mutilation, which is condemned by the United Nations, is still popular. The national prevalence of the practice, which leads to infection, scarring and sometimes death, is around 65 percent. However, changing attitudes regarding the practice has driven down its popularity. The practice was nearly uniform just a decade ago.
  5. Children are facing unique dangers. Forced labor, notably domestic work and textile cutting, is particularly persistent among young people. Children are vulnerable to this practice as the state does not mandate education to a certain age. In 2016, however, the government took steps to reduce child labor, putting legislation in place that prohibits employment agencies from hiring those under the age of adulthood. In addition, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs was granted the ability to revoke licenses of agencies that disobey the regulation.
  6. The Ethiopian state is not proactive in mitigating abuses. The government has not yet allowed the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to investigate human rights violations despite appeals from 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015. The Charities and Societies Proclamation, adopted in 2009, severely confines the effectiveness of human rights organizations. The law forces organizations to register in one of three categories: Ethiopian Charities or Societies, Ethiopian Resident Charities or Societies or Foreign Charities, as well as limits their administrative work to 30 percent of their budget.
  7. The independent media in Ethiopia is being threatened. Journalists are facing a repressive environment in Ethiopia. In April 2017, two of the country’s main television stations, Ethiopian Satellite Television and the Oromia Media Network, were charged under Ethiopia’s repressive anti-terrorism law. In addition, the government has followed the path of other repressive nations, such as Iran, and has gone on to restrict social media in the country.
  8. Somali and Oromia Region’s Liyu police has been committing serious human rights violations. Formed following an attack by the Ogaden National Liberation Front rebel group, the police force has been accused of executions, rape and forced displacement. In fact, Amnesty International has urged the Ethiopian government to disband the unit.
  9. Ethiopia has a long history of an open-door asylum policy for refugees. Ethiopia’s policies toward refugees allow humanitarian protection for hundreds of thousands of sufferers. In September 2017, the nation hosted 883,546 refugees who were held in nearly 30 camps. The nation is also a participant of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, which calls for increased support for asylum seekers and promotes inclusion.
  10. Ethiopia is a member of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Although international organizations have raised concerns about the situation surrounding human rights in the country for years, Ethiopia was elected to the Human Rights Council by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012. The Human Rights Council is tasked with investigating and addressing human rights abuses.

Human rights violations are a major concern which the international community should pay special attention to. In Ethiopia, danger, discrimination and violence are leading to tragedies across the nation. However, the government is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and has made headway in becoming a more welcoming nation for refugees. Still, international and domestic state actors must work together to make much-needed reforms regarding human rights in Ethiopia.

– Isabel Bysiewicz
Photo: Flickr

Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large group of people, usually based on their ethnicity. Although most well-known genocides are in the past, they still occur today. Less-developed countries with high poverty rates are particularly prone to genocidal attacks launched by corrupt governments or terrorist groups. According to George Mason University professor Gregory H. Stanton, the stages of genocide are nonlinear, predictable and preventable. There are ten stages of genocide, and each stage can be stopped if preventive measures are taken.

Ten Stages of Genocide

  1. Classification: Human beings tend to distinguish people into “us and them” at many levels. People can be categorized by their ethnicity, nationality, race or religion. Societies with mixed categories, such as Burundi and Rwanda, are at greater risk of genocide. This early stage can be prevented by establishing institutions that integrate identities and promote tolerance.
  1. Symbolization: Names and symbols are assigned to classified people. They are defined by specific terms, color or dress. Without dehumanization, symbolization does not necessarily result in genocide. Political institutions can ban group marking and hate symbols, but these bans must be supported by popular culture enforcement. Denying symbolization can also be powerful.
  1. Discrimination: A dominant group of people denies the rights of other groups. The powerless group may be deprived of citizenship, civil rights or voting rights. Combatting discrimination requires full political empowerment and citizenship rights for all groups of people. Discrimination on any basis can be outlawed, and individuals can retain the right to appeal if their rights are violated.
  1. Dehumanization: A group of people denies the humanity of another group. One group is regarded as less than human—or even alien—to the society. To prevent dehumanization, hate speech and hate crimes can be outlawed, leaders who incite genocide can have their movement restricted.
  1. Organization: Genocide requires organization and is typically orchestrated by the state. States often use militias, but organization may be informal or decentralized. This stage can be averted by outlawing membership in genocidal militias, banning genocidal leaders from international travel and imposing arms embargos on countries involved in genocide.
  1. Polarization: Extremists may further divide groups by forbidding intermarriage and social interaction. Hate groups may also broadcast polarizing propaganda. This can be curbed by protecting moderate leaders, assisting human rights groups and seizing extremist assets.
  1. Preparation: Plans are made for genocidal killing where leaders propose the a solution to the problem of the targeted group. Leaders disguise genocide as self-defense and may refer to it as “counter-terrorism,” “ethnic cleansing” or “purification.” This stage can be halted by imposing arms embargos and commissions to enforce them; this includes prosecution of incitement and conspiracy to commit genocide, both of which are crimes under Article Three of the Genocide Convention.
  1. Persecution: Targeted groups are identified and separated from the population. Victims may be segregated into ghettos or deported to concentration camps. They are deliberately deprived of resources such as food and water, and their human rights are systematically abused. Genocidal massacres commence. A Genocide Emergency may be declared at this stage, whereby armed international intervention and humanitarian assistance should be provided.
  1. Extermination: Mass extermination begins and quickly becomes “genocide.” At this advanced stage, only rapid and intense intervention can prevent genocide. Refugee escape corridors and safe areas can be established.
  1. Denial: Denial lasts throughout and follows genocide as perpetrators attempt to destroy any evidence that indicates a genocide occurred. Denial can be combatted through legal punishment of perpetrators and education in schools and the media.

Genocide Watch has three levels of Genocide Alerts: Genocide Watch is declared when early warning signs indicate potential persecution, Genocide Warning is called when massacres occur and genocide is imminent, and Genocide Emergency is declared when genocide is underway.

There are currently eight Genocide Emergencies declared to be occurring around the world. Understanding the stages of genocide can prevent further genocidal massacres.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Bride Burning_India
The human rights tragedy of bride burning occurs when individuals drench and burn a female bride using flammable liquid after she has not procured enough dowry money for the groom’s family. Although bride burning occurs in several countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, the practice is most common in India and has been one of the country’s major issues for decades.

Bride Burning

In India, bride burning accounts for the death of at least one woman every hour. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, over 8,000 reported cases of dowry deaths occurred in 2010. This travesty is related to the ancient tradition of dowry and society’s effects of poverty. A dowry is an exaction of money or material goods given to the groom’s family as a wedding token. Most families who require a high dowry do so to advance their economic situations.

Bride burning occurs when the groom’s family believes they have not received enough money for their son at the time of the wedding. The family of the groom may be from a higher caste, publicly known, or just want more money.

Parental Control

Syed, a man from Chennai, India, blames his family’s high dowry as the reason why he is still unmarried at age 35. When he asked his mother why she demands such a high dowry from the bride, she says, “We have spent so much on you, for your education, for raising you and now we will marry you off and most of the money you earn will go to your wife. So she will benefit from all the money we spent on you. For that, they can pay an amount to have our son.”

This story is an example of the views of many Indian parents. Some males are opposed to dowries but in the end, their parents are the determining factor.

Dowry Prohibition Act

In 1961, India established the Dowry Prohibition Act. The law banned paying and receiving dowries and set penalties for violators. Some amendments have been proposed or added in reference to the Act over the years. Additionally, the Indian Penal Code tailored their law in 1983 to specifically tackle dowry-related issues. The Code also added penalties for harassment of a woman by her marital family.

In 2014, the National Commission for Women in India proposed several amendments to the Dowry Act. These amendments would redefine the word “dowry” and included penalties and provisions for misuse of the act. Although these amendments did not prove favorable, they were a step in the right direction in bringing forward legislation to protect women.

Several women’s rights organizations in India help provide victims with places to stay and counseling sessions. The government also started numerous grass-roots organizations to provide family counseling. The incentive is to promote, mediate, and strengthen family ties.

With the help of global awareness and proposed legislation, India will be able to tackle its patriarchic and misogynistic perspective towards women and the poor. One way to prevent bride burning can be through education, narrowly tailored laws and greater public awareness.

Needum Lekia

Photo: Flickr


Magnitsky is a Russian last name that began to take on a meaning of corruption, theft and fraud in 2009.

After Russian auditor Sergi Magnitsky died in a Moscow detention center, people all across the world demanded his killers be brought to justice. Because he attempted to expose Russian official corruption, many say that his murder was not only unjustified, but reactionary.

Although the U.S. was not directly involved, they passed a bill to positively impact and lighten tensions between Russian citizens and the Russian government.

Since then, Magnitsky has been a term used to apply to varying forms of corruption. Global Magnitsky is a term used to describe human rights abuses and enslavement that are either directly or indirectly endorsed or overlooked by governments and large organizations.

Many have accused countries like Saudi Arabia, Balochistan and Qatar for frequently violating the rights of their civilians. Others have also shunned the abuses of organizations like FIFA for their corruption and abuse.

The U.S. Congress seems somewhat determined to change the situation.

The ‘Global Magnitsky Human Rights Act’ is a bill circulating the U.S. Senate. The bill, which is sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), the intent is to “impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, and for other purposes.”

Being introduced in January of 2014 and then reintroduced in January 2015, the bill has yet to reach the Senate floor. However, it has earned the sponsorship of Senators like Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John McCain (R-AZ).

Global Magnitsky is also being addressed by a plethora of other organizations.

Most recently, the Israeli government is being critiqued by the Human Rights Organization for the police treatment of Palestinian minors.

Erin Logan

Sources: Congress, Russian Untouchables, Forbes, HRW 1, HRW 2
Photo: BW Images

Videre est Credere equips local activists with small, hidden video-capable technologies. The tools give oppressed communities the power to capture and distribute recorded evidence of human rights violations surrounding them.

The name literally means “to see is to believe” in Latin. CEO Oren Yakobovich and Board Chairman Uri Fruchtmann founded the project in 2008. The international charitable organization is based in London, and since its launch, it has trained more than 500 activists in how to effectively plan, create and deliver useful footage.

The methodology is simple. First, local activists receive training on how to safely document effective and convincing footage. Then, Videre collects, verifies, re-verifies and distributes the evidence free-of-charge to those who can turn it into actual change on the ground.

The video cameras and distribution equipment are provided through personal training in security, filming and verification. Videre’s security process is of the utmost importance as it is responsible for data storage, communication encryption, counter-surveillance and authenticity.

Videre works with numerous influential allies including international decision-makers, courts, lawyers, civil society, local communities and a global media network of over 100 media outlets, according to the Videre site. Prior, these distribution clients are agreed upon by Videre, its partner organizations and trusted advisers.

Videre then gathers and processes the footage itself. The organization’s local networks label points of interest so that the undercover recorders have an idea of what to capture. These plans consider what images Videre needs, where they will have the most impact, and what risks are involved, according to the Videre site. Further, the evidence is analyzed by a series of tests from forensic testing to special verification teams in the field. Videre archives all materials in the case of future court cases, briefings or the like.

Constant feedback is also available throughout Videre’s work.

Videre’s six central goals are to strengthen freedom of speech, enhance accountability and justice, protect human rights defenders, expose human rights violations, deter violence and political intimidation, and empower oppressed communities.

So far, the Videre team has enlisted hundreds of human rights activists in several countries around the world. Videre evidence has been used in court, decision-making, NGO advocacy and the media, surrounding issues like political intimidation, corruption, political manipulation of aid and female genital mutilation.

– Lin Sabones

Sources: Videre Est Credere, TED
Photo: Wired

On March 27, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to open an investigation in Sri Lanka, based on allegations of human rights abuses and other crimes related to the civil war in Sri Lanka that ended in 2009.

In a press release, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the resolution “reaffirms the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance.”

In 2009, Sri Lanka’s 26-year- long and extremely bloody civil war ended when Sri Lanka’s military defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Earlier in March, Sri Lanka detained two well-known human rights activists for 48 hours under their anti-terrorism laws. The government has also denied allegations of human rights abuses, brought to them by various human rights groups.

The resolution calls on the UNHRC’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an investigation in Sri Lanka based on allegations of human rights violations on both sides. The 47 members of the council voted 23 to 12 for the resolution, with 12 members choosing to abstain.

Kerry went on to say that the HRC is “deeply concerned by recent actions against some of Sri Lanka’s citizens, including detentions and harassment of civil society activists.”

Navi Pillay, the UNHRC high commissioner, had previously wanted to investigate human rights violations in the country because he believed that the country’s authorities had not made a great deal of progress in their own investigations.

This investigation has been called “long overdue,” as two years after the war ended in 2009, the HRC passed a resolution that commended Sri Lanka’s way of bringing the war to a close.

Prior to the vote on March 27, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the HRC Ravinatha Aryasinha was not in favor of the resolution that would open a new investigation. Aryasinha said that the resolution would be a “grave threat to the sovereignty of U.N. member states” and that the resolution also went against international law.

Pakistan’s ambassador Zamir Akram also protested the resolution claiming that it based on political motives rather than about human rights. Akram also questioned whether the UNHRC had the resources to open the investigation at all.

India chose to abstain from the vote, claiming that it was concerned about going forward with an independent investigation. This decision was off-putting, as many nations expected India to support the independent investigation. In the past, India supported “tamer” resolutions regarding the war and supported previous proposal to open investigations.

The UNHRC’s investigation will focus on the bloodshed and violations that occurred at the end of the war in Sri Lanka. It was reported that approximately 40,000 civilians were killed at the end of the war, largely due to military offensives.

Additionally, the resolution calls for continuous monitoring of human rights conditions in Sri Lanka. The United States has said that it is important to improve human rights in Sri Lanka in response to the continuing abductions, torture, and extrajudicial killings that are taking place.

– Julie Guacci

Sources: The New York Times, U.S. Department of State, BBC News
Photo: The Independent

In 2013, 26 women were killed in the West Bank and Gaza by their relatives. This number is double the number of Palestinian women killed in 2012. These so-called ‘honor killings’ are perpetrated by male family members who kill a female family member who is suspected of shaming the family. Human rights activists are calling for a change in the law saying that killing for family honor is just a socially acceptable form of violence against women.

The rise in the killings is attributed to tough economic times and a historical leniency when facing punishment for these crimes. Poverty in Palestine has also been on the rise in the last few years. Pressure has been put on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to repeal sections of laws on the books that allow for short sentences for the perpetrators of honor killings. Many times, perpetrators only face a couple of years at maximum.

Reasons for honor killings vary. One woman was killed by her father for allegedly using a cell phone to talk to a man. Another woman was killed by her brother while praying who later claimed that he acted to preserve the honor of his family. People who claim that they killed to preserve honor are almost always treated less harshly than they would be otherwise.

Former legislator Hanan Ashrawi has repeated called on Abbas to repeal sections of laws that discriminate against women but hasn’t gained much ground. She placed blame on male politicians who put women’s issues on the back burner in favor of other issues they deem more pressing, such as establishing the state of Palestine and ending the Israeli occupation. “We are fighting for freedom and human dignity,” she said. “How can you deprive women of all these things?”

– Colleen Eckvahl

Sources: The Washington Post, Haaretz
Photo: Forqudsday

In 1995, Hillary Clinton took the stage at the fourth annual United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing. She listed the atrocities and violations committed against women and girls around the world.

Although women comprise half of the human population, they are 70 percent of the world’s poor and two-thirds of women are illiterate. Women in the informal labor economy remain unprotected and at risk of exploitation. Girls around the world are at risk of sexual violence, rape, domestic abuse and child marriage.

Almost 20 years later, Clinton’s speech is still remembered for being a firm declaration of women’s rights on the international stage. Not only was it a message for the Chinese government, but a call to countries around the world to promote women’s rights as human rights.

As a United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton continued to promote women’s rights and empowerment both domestically and internationally. During her four-year tenure, she visited 112 countries, spreading awareness of human rights abuses.

Since leaving the State Department in 2013, she became involved with a new project: the Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further women’s rights.

Although there has been much progression in the 21th century, Clinton warns that there is little data to accurately measure the advancement made in women’s rights globally. This foundation seeks to record and analyze the progress of women by collecting data and figures from traditional and digital sources.

This concrete data will show world leaders how advancing women and human rights is linked with economic development. By empowering and including women in its economic and social life, communities and families are enhanced and can reach their full potential.

On February 25, 2014, Clinton spoke at Georgetown University’s annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security. The former Secretary of State held that men are also responsible for advancing and protecting women’s rights and that it is not purely a women’s issue. Men, boys, women and girls all suffer from violence and discrimination against females.

Hillary Clinton remains a strong and popular potential candidate for the 2016 Democratic Nomination for presidency. As a woman and potential nomination candidate, she is subjected to greater and unequal focus on her physical appearance, her age, and her hairstyles. And although Clinton has proved her strength, wisdom and determination for decades as a Senator, First Lady of the United States and U.S. Secretary of State, she is still affected by sexism and the widespread notion of what women should and should not aspire to be.

“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely -and the right to be heard,” Clinton said in 1995.

– Sarah Yan

Sources: Eloquent Woman, MSNBC, Huffington Post
Photo: ABC

The region of West Papua does not make the news often; in fact, it rarely merits a news blurb in most Western headlines. However, West Papua is arguably one of the most under-reported cases of exploitation an indigenous groups in the 21st century.

Since 1969, the people of West Papua have been in conflict with the government of Indonesia in one way or another. The University of Sydney’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies put out a report stating that for the better part of 40 years, the people of West Papua have been under the boot heel of the Indonesian Security forces.

The report goes on to state that due to wide scale incursions by Indonesia’s armed forces, West Papua has seen over 100,000 of its citizens die and much of its national resources depleted.

A report by The Guardian also notes the devastating effect that Indonesian resource extraction is having on the people of West Papua. It notes the case of the Mooi people, who are one of the 250 indigenous tribes that are having their way of life destroyed due to the deforestation of their lands by timber and palm oil companies.

The oceans off the coasts of West Papua are also being devastated due to nickel mining in the area, which is flooding the bountiful coral reefs with polluted sediment.

It is not only the eco-system of West Papua that is being destroyed. Even though it has been close to 45 years, the Indonesian military is still cracking down severely on people who are part of the Free Western Papua Movement.

Last year, the Free Western Papua Movement’s Facebook published the photo of a dead Papuan named Edward Apaseray, who was reportedly tortured and killed by the Indonesian Special Police Forces for being a “separatist.” The Diplomat, a current affairs magazine for the Asian-Pacific region, published a report in which a recent study noted that in West Papua, an incident of torture occurred every six weeks for the past half-century.

The human rights organization Tapol that monitors human rights abuses in West Papua published the story of Yawan Wayeni. He was a tribal leader and formal political prisoner who was tortured and killed by Indonesian security forces in brutal fashion.

The media have long overlooked the plight of the people of West Papua. It has only recently begun to receive real traction in Western media. The International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP) is a group of politicians around the world who support the right self-determination for the people of West Papua.

One of its members, Benny Wenda, an exile from West Papua, recently had an article published in which he decried the recent statement of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who stated that things in West Papua are “better and not worse.”

West Papua is one of the forgotten atrocities of the 21st century; the responsibility making sure that it does not continue to be rests with us and our elected officials. The Arab Spring occurred with the help of Facebook and a determined populace. The plight of West Papua needs the same type of support from those who have the ability to stand up to the Indonesian government.

– Arthur Fuller

Sources: Amnesty International, The Guardian, Tapol,  The Diplomat, The University Of Sydney, Tapol,  CNN, The Guardian, Tempo, Australia News Network
Photo: London Mining Network