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Nelson Mandela Quotes on ForgivnessForgiveness, depending on individual tolerance and level of wrong-doing, comes easier for some than it does for others. However, it is difficult to find a more selfless, modern-day message of forgiveness than that of Nelson Mandela’s life story. After being imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years, simply for his protest of Apartheid, one might expect that he would hold at least a small grudge. But, as he so eloquently said himself, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela’s quotes on forgiveness inspire many people to follow in his footsteps of compassion.

9 Inspiring Nelson Mandela Quotes on Forgiveness

  1. “In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.” – Long Walk to Freedom (1995)
  2. “We must strive to be moved by a generosity of spirit that will enable us to outgrow the hatred and conflicts of the past.” – 1990 Christmas Message
  3. “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”
  4. “It never hurts to think too highly of a person; often they become ennobled and act better because of it.”
  5. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
  6. Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”
  7. “Reconciliation does not mean forgetting or trying to bury the pain of conflict, but that reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” – From a 1995 speech
  8. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Written during 27-year imprisonment
  9. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. They must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

These nine Nelson Mandela quotes on forgiveness help give a better understanding of the power that lies in forgiving. One consistent trend throughout these Nelson Mandela quotes on forgiveness – and in life itself – is that forgiveness provides a sense of freedom. Often, the verbal and physical abuse that discriminators throw at marginalized groups serves as an emotional shackle. Forgiving the wrong-doer and learning from the experience can help lift the internal weight on one’s soul. Mandela emphasizes how forgiveness can be such a respectable and responsible approach to take when dealing with hate and injustice.

– Fatemeh Zahra Yarali
Photo: Flickr

 

 

Justice for Iraqi Women

The status and protection of women remain a heated topic of discussion in international and national committees, particularly concerning justice for Iraqi women. Iraq‘s government is aware of the violations committed by its previous regime against certain civil community groups. As a result, Iraq’s government has strived to drastically change how they aid and support victimized and often impoverished groups. However, Iraq‘s strategy to reconcile these issues is unique. For example, China encourages its impoverished population to move to urbanized cities, and the United Kingdom encourages participation in its labor market. But Iraq seeks to acknowledge the voices of the victims.

In 2003, Iraq‘s government and the International Center for Transitional Justice partnered with the Human Rights Center of the University of California, Berkeley to create Iraqi Voices. Iraqi Voices is a report based on data collected from in-depth interviews and focus groups. This data represents different perspectives of the Iraqi population regarding transitional justice. There are seven main topics of focus represented in this report: past human rights abuses, justice and accountability, truth-seeking and remembrance, amnesty, vetting, reparations, and social reconstruction and reconciliation.

Hearing Women

Iraq is working to have women and girls meaningfully participate in all stages of decision making. Programs and organizations like the SEED Foundation have worked to ensure this justice for Iraqi women. In particular, the SEED Foundation works to empower and engage the voices of violence and trafficking victims in Iraq. As such, SEED Foundation leaders and activists encourage the meaningful participation of women in sustainable peace negotiations and conflict reconciliation. Through their efforts, the Iraqi Parliament now has a quota setting aside 25 percent of seats for women in provincial councils. By acknowledging these voices, the Iraqi government is helping seek justice for Iraqi women.

Moreover, Iraq has taken strides to bridge the gap between policymakers and victims when addressing the needs of local communities affected by ISIS. To do so, Iraq is considering partnering with or accepting assistance from other nations. While international policymakers seek justice for Iraqi victims, they fail to address the real concerns of affected communities. Instead, they often focus on prosecuting the perpetrators. But affected communities also have more immediate needs. Therefore, this partnership and assistance allow victims of affected communities to participate in prioritizing and creating appropriate policies. Efforts to ensure meaningful participation in Iraq‘s government thus bring about transitional justice. By addressing systemic failures, Iraq’s government brings justice to marginalized victims, including justice for Iraqi women.

Bringing Change

Ultimately, the changes implemented by the Iraqi government aid and empower impoverished and victimized groups, such as women. The inclusion of female voices in politics influences larger discussions affecting women and, as seen as Iraq, helps get justice for Iraqi women.

Jordan Melinda Washington
Photo: Pixabay

Cambodian genocideIn 1975, the Khmer Rouge gained control of the Cambodian government with the intent to transform Cambodia into a communist state. As a result, millions of civilians were evacuated from the cities into labor camps where an estimated 1.7 million died from starvation, torture, abuse and execution.

For four years, the Khmer Rouge under the control of former Prime Minister Pol Pot wreaked havoc in Cambodia, creating one of the most devastating mass killings in global history. While the atrocities today are widely known, there are still many facts about the Cambodian genocide that the general public does not know.

Important Facts About the Cambodian Genocide

  1. Unlike other genocides in which specific ethnic groups are targeted for execution, the Cambodian genocide had no exceptions and would single out doctors, teachers, minorities, people with an education, children and even babies.
  2. Pol Pot wanted the nation to revert to a self-sufficient way of living where money had no influence in society. This led to the forced evacuation of cities into the rural communities for a “fresh start.”
  3. Among the near two million dead were an estimated 100,000 Cham Muslims and 20,000 Vietnamese.
  4. While some facts about the Cambodian genocide gained international recognition, it lacked an international investigation due to the United States’ recent loss in the Vietnam War and the hesitance to become involved in the region again.
  5. In the years following the calamity, Cambodia began opening up to the international community again with survivors sharing their stories and recollections. With horrific facts about the Cambodian genocide coming to light, Hollywood created the movie “The Killing Fields” based off of victims’ firsthand experiences. This film brought worldwide attention to what was, just a few years earlier, internationally neglected.
  6. The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, otherwise known as the ECCC, was established in 1997 with the assistance of the United Nations. The purpose of the tribunal was to try the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge for the mass crimes committed during the genocide.
  7. Pol Pot faced a show trial in 1997 where he was sentenced to house arrest. He died just less than a year later, never facing a real trial for his crimes and leaving millions of affected people without the chance to bring him to justice.
  8. Victims were allowed to actively participate in the trial proceedings as complainants and civil parties, giving them the satisfaction of justice being enforced. The amount of victims present during each case varied from 94 to 4,128.
  9. Throughout the trials, three offenders were convicted and four were charged for allegations pertaining to crimes against humanity, homicide, violations of the 1956 Cambodian Penal Code, breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and genocide.
  10. The closing statements for the final case lasted nine days in June 2017 and the final judgment is expected to be presented in 2018.

The Cambodian genocide itself may have only lasted four years but the effects from it will continue to last for years, decades and even centuries. The Cambodian people will continue to rebuild their nation and their own lives, working toward a better, more peaceful future.

– Samantha Harward
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Guinea-Bissau
While the nation does possess legitimate political rights, including free and fair elections, lack of human rights in Guinea-Bissau continues to make victims out of its citizens. As of 2016, these included abuses such as corruption of government officials as well as violence and discrimination of women and children.

The list continues on, according to the U.S. Department of State. Other abuses included unfair and abusive treatment of detainees, lack of due process and human trafficking. No effective action was taken against the perpetrators of human rights in these situations.

In particular, prisoner detention stands out as one of the most grotesque human rights abuses. The conditions of detention facilities are life-threatening, according to the state departments.

“Cells lack running water, adequate heating, ventilation, lighting and sanitation. Detainees’ diets were poor and medical care was virtually non-existent,” stated the human rights report in 2016. The means by which detainees arrive in these deplorable conditions often violates another human right, lack of due process, as authorities often “arbitrarily” arrest and detain people.

Police are, for the most part, ineffective and corrupt, which might result be a result of their lack of regular payment by the state. Lack of funding results in insufficient of training as well as scarce resources for police to carry out their duties properly. Unfortunately, almost all levels of law enforcement are susceptible to coercion, threats and bribes, including the attorney general’s office.

Consequently, unlawful arrests continue to be made, violating human rights in Guinea-Bissau. These include arrests without warrants and the holding of detainees for longer than the permitted period of time. Additionally, military detainees were often not informed of charges against them.

To add to the human rights abuses conducted throughout the justice system, the independent courts, including judges, were “poorly trained, inadequately and irregularly paid and subject to corruption.”

It appears that those accused of suspected of crime in the state have very little security, as human rights in Guinea-Bissau are not enforced. Furthermore, there continues to be no administrative means of addressing human rights violations.

Little progress had been made in improving these conditions, and the justice system remains extremely weak to this day. One of the only few actions of accountability undertaken by the state was in July 2015 in the Oio region, where three officers were sentenced to imprisonment for human rights abuses.

Investigations continue to be made by human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International. The citizens of Guinea-Bissau are desperately in need of intervention from the international community.

Melanie Snyder

Photo: Flickr

fight for justice
The rape and hanging of two young girls in Uttar Pradesh, India on May 27 ignited outrage and protest amongst women in India. The teenage girls, aged 14 and 15, were found hanged from a tree and allegedly raped after going missing from their home the previous evening, after they went to go out to the bathroom. As a reaction against the horrific incident, women in a distant village, Kerala, displayed their grief and support. Their demonstrations to fight for justice were powerfully silent.

Unlike previous protests against incidences of rape, the women displayed a powerful silence. They stood in the open, wrapped in banners that were tri-colored, connoting the Indian flag. There were no signs, no shouting, and no marching, but rather humming quietness. They left their shoulders and legs bare, creating a façade of nakedness. Their objective was to utilize their bodies as a symbol of protest; as a ‘political weapon’. They stood to represent that the permissiveness of sexual assault against women in Indian is wrong. They called for the end of sexual violence.

According to the National Rape Records Bureau, registered rape cases in India have increased by 900 percent over the past 40 years. In the past 6 weeks alone, there have been two separate and gruesome cases of rape aside from the incident in Uttar Pradesh. Amidst the horror and atrocity, the government has remained unyielding.

Despite the female activists’ valiant attempt to shake the government, the protests in Kerala almost proved to be counterproductive. Instead of mobilizing support around the cause, their unique demonstration caused condemnation and fury. News reporters flocked to the scene, creating headlines mocking their “inappropriate exposure.” The news spread throughout India and became the focal point of the demonstration, rather than the purpose of the demonstration itself  (to demonstrate that sexual assault is wrong).

Above all, the Kerala government took action against the peaceful demonstrators. The five women, all activists of a group named Sthree Koottayma, were arrested for causing a ‘public nuisance’ and for their ‘obscene act.’

Unfortunately, this is no anomaly in India. Women of a lower caste are often victims of rape, and the government is a passive perpetrator. India remains to be a feudal society with historical prejudices that impede progression toward gender and social equality. For authoritative and prominent men, lower class females are legally considered “fair game.”

Activist groups like the Sthree Koottayma are a source of inspiration for women throughout India. Their symbolic protest encourages Indian women to reclaim their identities and autonomy over their bodies. They may not be rewriting India’s outdated laws, but they are resilient in their fight for female justice.

–Samantha Scheetz

Sources: The HinduGulf NewsIBN LiveGlobal Voices Online