Stop Abuse (SA)
HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on respect for equal dignity for all human beings (with humiliation as its violation). To promote the vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we have to build new kinds of relationships, free from abuse, locally and globally.
The list of abuse that entails humiliation is long:
Rape, particularly when used as a "weapon" in war and genocide
Female genital mutilation
Discrimination and harassment of minorities
More... (see also other projects on this web site, e.g. on child soldiers, etc.)
We look for interested people, who would like to develop our WSoapED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.
Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section, since July 2012, she also tags interesting information here.
Inequality damages family life by higher rates of child abuse, and increased status competition is likely to explain the higher rates of bullying confirmed in schools in more unequal countries.
Eckenrode, J., E. G. Smith, M. E. McCarthy, and M. Dineen (2014). "Income inequality and child maltreatment in the United States." Pediatrics, 133 (3), pp. 454-61, doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1707:
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation between county-level income inequality and rates of child maltreatment. METHODS: Data on substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect from 2005 to 2009 were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. County-level data on income inequality and children in poverty were obtained from the American Community Survey. Data for additional control variables were obtained from the American Community Survey and the Health Resources and Services Administration Area Resource File. The Gini coefficient was used as the measure of income inequality. Generalized additive models were estimated to explore linear and nonlinear relations among income inequality, poverty, and child maltreatment. In all models, state was included as a fixed effect to control for state-level differences in victim rates. RESULTS: Considerable variation in income inequality and child maltreatment rates was found across the 3142 US counties. Income inequality, as well as child poverty rate, was positively and significantly correlated with child maltreatment rates at the county level. Controlling for child poverty, demographic and economic control variables, and state-level variation in maltreatment rates, there was a significant linear effect of inequality on child maltreatment rates (P < .0001). This effect was stronger for counties with moderate to high levels of child poverty. CONCLUSIONS: Higher income inequality across US counties was significantly associated with higher county-level rates of child maltreatment. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.
Bookmarks - A Manual for Combating Hate Speech Online Through Human Rights Education
Bookmarks - Combating hate speech online through human rights education is the manual designed to support the No Hate Speech Movement. It gathers activities designed for young people aged 13 to 18, however they are adaptable to other age ranges.
Probe Details Coach's Abuses Against Boy Who Killed Himself
by Jun Hongo, in Japan Times, February 16, 2013
Details of the brutal physical and verbal abuse an Osaka high school boy suffered at the hands of his basketball coach before committing suicide in December have been revealed in a report compiled by an external panel.
Read more on http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/02/16/national/probe-details-coachs-abuses-against-boy-who-killed-himself/#.Ulgl-xCzKwc. We thank Tohru Tada for making us aware.
The Wages of Dignity
by Eleanor J. Bader, in Brooklyn Rail, Friday, July 19, 2013, ZNET
... Fastfoodcrimewave, a Tumblr page, adds a litany of other work-related complaints to those voiced by George and Shaheen. Some examples: "I don't get overtime"; "I don't get paid for time spent counting the register"; "I have to pay if the register is short"; "I have to buy my own uniform." And these are not isolated grumblings. According to an investigation promoted by FFF and released in April 2013, 84 percent of New York City fast food workers in the five boroughs have experienced wage theft, an intentional violation of state labor laws so egregious that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is presently looking into the matter. His corroboration could have major implications for more than 50,000 New York City fast food workers—and produce a ripple effect for the approximately three million laborers who toil in the industry throughout the 50 states. Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, understands that the campaign is fighting a mighty adversary with incredibly deep pockets. How deep, you ask? BusinessInsider.com reported in July 2012 that the top 15 chains in the U.S. raked in a combined $115 billion in nationwidewide sales in 2011...
Read more at http://brooklynrail.org/2013/07/local/the-wages-of-dignity#.
The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).
The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).
Slavery: New Forms of Bondage
30 November 2012 – The 21st century has seen the rise of new forms of slavery, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today in a message to mark the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (2nd December), in which he also urged Member States to increase their efforts in the fight against the dehumanizing scourge....
Read more at www.un.org.
Is Columbus Day a Celebration of Native American Massacre?
Columbus Day is supposed to be the celebration of Christopher Columbus discovering America, but how much of the holiday promotes what happened during colonization? Many people say Columbus Day is a celebration of imperialism, racism and colonization. See video.
Death Penalty for Family Members in India 'Honour Killing'
3rd October 2012
Five members of a family in the Indian capital, Delhi, have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a young couple in 2010. Yogesh and Asha were tortured and electrocuted in a so-called honour killing by members of Asha's family who objected to the union on caste grounds. Asha's parents, her uncle, aunt and a cousin were arrested the day after the crime. They were convicted on Monday. Last year the Supreme Court said honour killings should get the death penalty....
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-19840429
Mau Mau Torture Court Ruling Awaited by Kenyans
Three Kenyans once tortured by British colonial authorities are to learn if they can proceed with their legal claims against the British government. The High Court in London is to decide whether the case should be dropped because of the time elapsed since the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s. The government has already accepted its colonial forces tortured detainees. But it says a fair trial is no longer possible because the events occurred too long ago. One possible outcome of this landmark case is an out-of-court settlement and the negotiation of a welfare scheme to help the elderly Kenyans. However, it could also mean a full trial takes place in the future...
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19832502
Alex Trouteaud on Men Who Buy Sex: A Scientific Research Study
"Easily the most surprising finding from the study was the percentage of men who continued with the ‘transaction’, we’ll call it, where they were knowingly purchasing sex with a child despite multiple warnings that they were about to do so. But still, basically half of the men [42%] [continued with the transaction]. That blew my mind, honestly. It was saddening, too." Dr. Alex Trouteaud, Lead Researcher of the Georgia Demand Study | Meet Justice, LLC.
CURE is a non-profit organisation dedicated solely towards the elimination of ragging and promotion of more positive ways of interaction among seniors and freshers in Indian universities. CURE was started by two students in the year 2001 under the banner of The NoRagging Group. They started with a Discussion group, and an informative website.
The Cure Team includes Harsh Agarwal.
Big Brother Awards International
The Big Brother Award was launched to stimulate public debate about privacy and data protection - or to show misuse of technology and information.
Quilliam is a counter-extremism think tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalised world. Quilliam stands for religious freedom, human rights, democracy and developing a Muslim identity at home in, and with, the West.
Dying For Drugs by Director Brian Woods
Documentary produced in 2003 in the United Kingdom
A powerful international investigation of the global pharmaceutical industry. Every year, many new drugs come to market which offer hope to the sick and dying. They also bring billions of pounds into the coffers of the pharmaceutical industry, making "Big Pharmacy" the most profitable and powerful business on Earth. Two years in the making, this film investigates just how far drug companies are prepared to go to get their drugs approved; what they will do to make sure they get the prices they want and what happens when profits are put before people.
Psychological Violence a Criminal Offence in France
The French parliament has approved a law that makes psychological violence a criminal offence. This means that couples who insult each other repeatedly could now be charged and face up to three years in prison. The law is a part of a number of measures that aim to protect victims from domestic abuse. Critics of the law say that it will be very difficult to define what constitutes psychological violence. The law defines mental violence as "repeated acts which could be constituted by words or other machinations, to degrade one's quality of life and cause a change to one's mental or physical state." "We have introduced an important measure here, which recognises psychological violence, because it isn't just blows (that hurt) but also words," Nadine Morano, the minister for family affairs, told the lower house of parliament. Those found guilty of breaking the new law will face up to three years in jail and a 75,000 euro (£60,840) fine....
"The judge could (also) take into consideration letters, SMSs or repetitive messages, because one knows that psychological violence is made up of insults," Ms Morano said....
See more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10459906.
Porn Ban on Net and Mobiles Mulled by South Africa
Current leglislation bans child pornography but not adult material A South African government official is proposing a complete ban on digitally distributed pornography.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has approached the country's Law Reform Commission to ask whether a change in the law is possible. He has also had talks with the Justice Alliance for South Africa (JASA), a respected group which has written its own draft bill on the issue. Internet security experts have dismissed the idea as "madness".
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10180937.stm.
Malawi Gay Couple Get Maximum Sentence of 14 Years
The pair were arrested after holding an engagement ceremony last December. A judge in Malawi has imposed a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labour on a gay couple convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/10130240.stm.
Angela Merkel Eyes Quick Eurozone Reform
In a letter to France's Le Monde newspaper, Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy set out several initiatives to try to stabilise financial markets by forcing eurozone countries to take a tighter grip of their finances.
The recommendations include:
- stricter monitoring of eurozone member debt
- a financial sector bail-out fund paid for by banks
- a clampdown on credit rating agencies.
The way that Greek finances suffered after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded its government debt "should make us think about the role of credit rating agencies in the propagation of a crisis", the letter says.
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10102642.stm.
'Third Way' for Net Access in US
By Maggie Shiels Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley
... advocacy groups and supporters of net neutrality argue that all web traffic should be treated equally....
Businessweek reported that, shortly after the FCC announcement, shares of major cable-television carriers took a tumble. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevisions Systems, the three largest publicly traded cable operators in the US, all lost around 5%. Cable and phone companies said the new regulations will make it harder for them to justify network investments to shareholders because the FCC might require them to share their pipes with rivals in the future, putting a limit on returns.'
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/8666026.stm.
Bribes Cost Ivory Coast '$300m'
At least $300m (£200m) is paid in bribes at checkpoints in Ivory Coast each year, a business leader says. "Every Ivorian today... has been asked to pay at a road-block," Chamber of Commerce President Jean-Louis Billon told the BBC. He blamed "mafias" operating within both the army and the former rebel New Forces, who still control northern Ivory Coast, for the extortion racket.
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8660679.stm.
Lovebug Set Stage for Cybercrime
The LoveBug did more than just cause a problem in early May, ten years ago. Prior to its release, viruses were written by teenagers for kicks. Similarly spam senders were few and far between because they had to pay for their bandwidth and hosting. The LoveBug showed how to get spam to send itself and how, with a cleverly designed virus that preyed on human psychology and technical failings, malware could rack up enormous numbers.
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10095957.stm.
Australia to Ban Cigarette Logos
Australia has set out plans for new rules forcing tobacco companies to use plain packaging carrying graphic health warnings. From July 2012, manufacturers would be required to drop all colour and branding logos from cigarette packets. The move, billed as a world-first, comes after recommendations were made by the World Health Organisation. Australia also announced a 25% increase in tax on cigarettes, effective from 0001 on Friday.
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8650520.stm.
Britain Bans Use of Cluster Bombs
British armed forces are being banned from using cluster munitions under a law passed by the House of Commons. The law comes after the UK in 2008 signed an international convention outlawing the weapons - which have maimed and killed thousands of people. The bombs were withdrawn from use by the UK in May 2008 and stockpiles are due to be destroyed by the end of 2013. First developed in World War II, they contain smaller "bomblets" designed to cover a large area and deter armies. The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill received the backing of all parties as it received an unopposed third reading in the Commons, having already completed its passage through the Lords. It now goes for Royal Assent...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8584135.stm.
Backless Hospital Gowns Get a Makeover to Preserve Patients' Dignity
Backless hospital gown redesigned
By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News
The traditional draughty and backless hospital gown is getting a Hollywood-style makeover by one of the world's top designers.... Dignified: He said his design means patients can have their modesty covered but still allow medics immediate access through clever "entrance points" in the gown....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8505625.stm.
China to Ban Beating Web Addicts
China's ministry of health has moved to ban the use of physical punishment to treat teenagers addicted to the web, according to draft guidelines. There are dozens of treatment centres offering to wean youths, mostly boys, from spending hours on the web. Many of them are military-style boot camps that rely on tough programmes of physical exercise and counselling. Two boys were beaten at separate camps earlier this year, one died and the other was severely injured...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8344002.stm.
UK Army 'Rrotten', Iraq Probe Told
British soldiers who abused an Iraqi detainee who died in their custody were not just "a few bad apples", a public inquiry has been told. There was "something rotten in the whole barrel", Rabinder Singh QC said. Troops in Iraq routinely used banned interrogation methods they did not think were illegal, lawyers told the inquiry into the 2003 death. The inquiry, led by Sir William Gage, is focusing on Baha Mousa's death, detainees' treatment and army methods. Mr Singh, counsel for Mr Mousa's family and the other Iraqis detained alongside him, said: "This case is not just about beatings or a few bad apples. "There is something rotten in the whole barrel."...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8266699.stm.
Malaysia Delays Caning Beer Woman
The caning of a Malaysian woman for drinking beer has been delayed until after Ramadan, officials have said. Kartika Sari Dewa Shukarno pleaded guilty to the offence under Malaysia's Islamic law and was to have received six strokes of a rattan cane this week. She will be the first woman in Malaysia to be punished in such a way, but has not appealed against her sentence. Malaysia's majority Malays are subject to Islamic laws, while the large Chinese and Indian minorities are not...
See more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8217440.stm.
NZ Votes Against Child Smack Ban
New Zealanders have voted by a wide margin in favour of allowing parents to smack their children, two years after a law banned discipline by force. The legislation was brought in two years ago to try to lower the country's high rate of child abuse. The referendum asked: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?" The referendum is non-binding, and Prime Minister John Key has said he will not change the existing law. Based on preliminary results, 54% of the voting population took part in the referendum, with nearly 90% responding No, the election commission said. The United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, said in 2003 that New Zealand had the third-worst rate of child abuse and neglect of the OECD group of countries.
WHERE SMACKING IS BANNED Austria, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela (Source: Endcorporalpunishment.org)... New Zealand is one of six countries to have banned corporal punishment of children in 2007. The first country to take the step was Sweden in 1979, followed by Finland in 1983 and Norway in 1987...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8214011.stm.
China Web Addict 'Beaten' at Camp
By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
Wu Yongjing, the man who set up the military-style camp, admitted to the BBC that youngsters were sometimes beaten. "Physical punishment is an effective way to educate children - as long as it can be controlled," he said....
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8209422.stm.
Sicilian Hospital 'a Quake Risk'
By David Willey BBC News
Rome Italian officials have ordered the evacuation of a newly built hospital on the island of Sicily after tests showed it risked collapse in an earthquake. The 400-bed complex is in the town of Agrigento, in western Sicily. More than 20 local officials and managers of the construction company are under investigation for fraud. The justice authorities allege that they supplied sub-standard building materials - including concrete made with more sand than cement. It is an emblematic story of Mafia crime - the endangering of the lives of hundreds of patients because the Sicilian hospital structure is unsafe in a known earthquake zone...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8173680.stm.
Jail Over Burundi Albino Murders
One person has been sentenced to life in prison and eight others to jail in Burundi over the murder of albinos whose remains were sold for witchcraft...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8166273.stm.
Abuse of India's Boys 'Is Rising'
By Jyotsna Singh BBC News, Delhi.
Sexual exploitation of boys as young as six is on the rise in India, researchers say...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7738259.stm.
Child Murder Case Shocks NZ Court
Two New Zealand men have been convicted of murdering a three-year old girl, after months of torturing the child. Wiremu Curtis, 19, and his brother Michael, 22, face life sentences for the murder of Nia Glassie. Nia died of brain injuries in hospital on 3 August 2007, two weeks after suffering fatal kicks to her head. The judge in the four-week trial, Judith Potter, wept as she delivered the sentence and thanked similarly shaken jurors for coping with the case...
Nia's mother, Lisa Kuka, 35, who was in a relationship with Wiremu Curtis, was found guilty of manslaughter for failing to protect her child. Nia's cousin Michael Pearson, 20, and Michael Curtis's partner Oriwa Kemp, 18, were found not guilty of manslaughter but were found guilty of child cruelty charges in the complex case. New Zealand's Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro told local media that there had been some consolation for the toddler's tragic death in the fact that justice had been served. Catalogue of abuse The court heard details of horrific abuse inflicted on the three-year old: • She had been kicked, beaten, slapped, jumped on and held over a burning fire • She had been put into a clothes dryer spinning at top heat • Wrestling moves copied from a computer game had been practised on her • She had been folded into a sofa and sat on, shoved into piles of rubbish, dragged through a sandpit half naked, flung against a wall and dropped from a height onto the floor • And she had been whirled rapidly on an outdoor rotary clothes line until she was thrown off. At one point, she was left lying unconscious for 36 hours without medical attention. 'Wider guilt' Neighbours who saw some of the abuse have told reporters they will live with the guilt of not having informed the authorities sooner. Court officials said they had been shocked at how some witnesses found the level of violence in the home to be normal. Prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said investigators could find no obvious motive for the abuse other than bullying. "She was bullied in the worst kind of way. She was singled out, for what reason we do not know," he said. "Both family members and neighbours were aware of the neglect and abuse Nia was subject to," Children's Commissioner Ms Kiro said in a statement. "That they didn't speak out in time is something they will have to live with."...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7734932.stm.
Niger Ex-slave Wins Landmark Case
A West African court has found Niger's government guilty of failing to protect a woman from slavery in a landmark case for the region. The court found in favour of Hadijatou Mani, who says she was sold aged 12 and made to work for 10 years. A judge ordered the government - which says it has done all it can to eradicate slavery - to pay Ms Mani 10m CFA francs (£12,430; $19,750). Despite being outlawed, slavery also persists in other West African states...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/7692396.stm.
Fritzl Says He Was 'Born to Rape'
The Austrian father who allegedly imprisoned and abused his daughter for 24 years has said he was "born to rape", according to a leaked report. The report by psychiatrist Adelheid Kastner says Joseph Fritzl's mother humiliated him in childhood, creating his need to "possess a human being".Mr Fritzl said he had an "evil streak" and that he "could have behaved a lot worse than locking up my daughter"...
Dr Kastner says Mr Fritzl spoke of humiliating and unprovoked attacks by his mother in childhood. "His childhood made him susceptible to an emotional handicap," she writes, creating the need for him "to possess an entire human being". The report says Mr Fritzl believed incarcerating his daughter, Elisabeth, meant he would have someone "just for me". He believed having children with her would mean she would have to stay with him as she would "no longer hold any attraction for other men". Mr Fritzl speaks of himself as a "volcano" who has a "flood of destructive lava that was barely controllable"...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7684511.stm.
The Practice of "Beasting"
Sgt Russell Price, 45, Sgt Paul Blake, 37, and Cpl John Edwards, 42, were found not guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court. The court had heard that Pte Williams died after being made to do an informal punishment known as beasting. During the trial the prosecution alleged Pte Williams was put through an intense session of physical exercise, or beasting, to punish him for his drunken high jinks. The soldier, of the Second Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment, collapsed and died on one of the hottest days in 2006...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/wiltshire/7532516.stm.
Russia Army Suicides Cause Alarm
Almost an entire battalion of Russian soldiers committed suicide last year, the country's chief military prosecutor has said. A total of 341 military personnel killed themselves in 2007, a reduction of 15% on the previous year. But Sergei Fridinsky said the numbers were worrying and called for a national strategy to prepare men for service. Bullying, often extremely violent, is rife in the army and is the most common reason for suicide...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7425694.stm.
Life Sentence for French Killer
A 66-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison by a French court for murdering seven girls and young women. Michel Fourniret, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes", had admitted kidnapping and killing his victims between 1987 and 2001. It is one of France's biggest serial killing cases in decades...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7423703.stm.
Cluster Bomb Ban Treaty Approved
More than 100 nations have reached an agreement on a treaty which would ban current designs of cluster bombs. Diplomats meeting in Dublin agreed to back an international ban on the use of the controversial weapons following 10 days of talks. But some of the world's main producers and stockpilers - including the US, Russia and China - oppose the move...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7423714.stm.
Facebook Agrees Child Safety Plan
By Maggie Shiels
BBC technology reporter, Silicon Valley
Facebook is to add a slew of new safeguards to protect young users from sexual predators and cyber bullies. At the heart of the changes are efforts to ban convicted sex offenders from the site and finding better ways to verify users' ages and identities. The agreement was announced by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in a deal along with other attorneys general around America...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/7391170.stm.
Fritzl Confesses to 'Addiction'
Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who has admitted holding his daughter captive for 24 years, has said he was driven by an addiction that "got out of control". He also said that he locked his daughter Elisabeth in a cellar dungeon to protect her from the outside world. Mr Fritzl made the statement to his lawyer Rudolf Mayer, which was passed on to the Austrian magazine News. Mr Fritzl said he tried to care for Elisabeth and her children by taking them flowers, toys and books. He fathered seven children with his daughter - one of whom died when very young, three of whom were kept imprisoned in his cellar, and three others who went on to live with Mr Fritzl as his adopted or fostered children. Elisabeth has told police that her father started sexually abusing her when she was 11. In conversations with his lawyer Mr Fritzl admitted repeatedly raping Elisabeth, now 42, on visits to the cellar. "I knew Elisabeth didn't want me to do what I did to her. I knew that I was hurting her. It was like an addiction... In reality, I wanted children with her." "I brought... books and toys for the children, and I watched adventure videos with them while Elisabeth was cooking our favourite dish" (Josef Fritzl, via his lawyer).
"I knew the whole time that what I was doing was not right, that I must be mad for doing such a thing. But despite this, at the same time it became completely matter-of-fact for me that I had a second life, which I led in the cellar of my house." He insisted he still loved his wife, Rosemarie, with whom he has seven children. "Since I can remember, it was my innermost wish to have lots of children - and I considered Rosemarie to be the suitable mother," he said. "The fact is I loved her and I still love her." He said that he had locked up his daughter in 1984 as a way of controlling her behaviour after "she broke all the rules" following the onset of puberty. "I needed to create a place in which I could at some point keep her away from the outside world, by force if necessary," he said. Earlier the Oesterreich newspaper also reported that Mr Fritzl had sought to defend his actions, in comments relayed by his lawyer. Mr Fritzl reportedly criticised media coverage of his case as "totally one-sided", and added that he was "not a monster". "When I went into the bunker, I brought flowers for my daughter, and books and toys for the children, and I watched adventure videos with them while Elisabeth was cooking our favourite dish," News magazine quoted him as saying. "And then we all sat around the table and ate together." He also repeated his claim that he had installed a timer-device on the doors of the dungeon so that if anything happened to him, they would open after a certain length of time. "Had I died, Elisabeth and the children would have been set free," he said. Elisabeth and five of her children are now in care with the Austrian authorities, who are protecting their privacy at a psychiatric clinic.
Please see more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7390806.stm.
Think Tank to Counter Extremism
By Dominic Casciani
Former radical Islamists are launching a think tank to counter the ideology they blame for violent extremism. The Quilliam Foundation says Muslims can discover a form of "Western Islam" by returning to the heart of the faith. Its founding members are all reformed hardliners who say British Muslims should be pioneering a renewed vision free from foreign ideology. The foundation is backed by popular progressive scholars - and is supported by a string of non-Muslim thinkers. The foundation is the brain child of two men who have begun a battle against the Islamist political movement they once belonged to, accusing it of being part of a conveyor belt towards terrorism. The foundation's director is Essex-born Maajid Nawaz who was jailed in Egypt with two other British men for belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical party which recruits young Muslims across the world. Ed Husain, the deputy director, has become a key influence on government thinking after writing a controversial expose of his life as an Islamist...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/7359906.stm.
EU Tightens Anti-Terrorism Laws
By Oana Lungescu
BBC News, Brussels
European Union ministers have agreed to punish incitement to terrorism through the internet...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7355446.stm.
DNA Tests on Texas Sect Children
A Texas judge has ordered that 416 children, removed from a polygamous sect by police, remain in state custody for genetic testing...
The adults in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) group, which broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church more than a century ago when polygamy was banned, say they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs...
Members believe a man must marry at least three wives in order to ascend to heaven. Women are taught that their path to heaven depends on being subservient to their husband...
An expert on children in cults told the court that the girls may have believed that marrying much older men was their free choice because they had been raised in that belief...
"Obedience is a very important part of their belief system," said Bruce Perry. Although many of the adults and children at the YFZ ranch seemed emotionally healthy, the sect's belief system was "abusive", he added. "The culture is very authoritarian."...
Polygamy is illegal in the US, but the authorities have reportedly been reluctant to confront the FLDS for fear of sparking a tragedy similar to the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, which led to the deaths of about 80 members...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/7355779.stm.
Action Urged on Child Abuse Sites
A concerted international effort could see the end of websites that profit by selling images of child sex abuse, a leading action group has said. The UK's Internet Watch Foundation conducted research to identify how many sites trade such images and concluded there are 2,755 such sites worldwide. Of these, 80% are judged to be fully commercial operations. The IWF said this "manageable" number could be eliminated if net firms, governments and police worked together...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7350295.stm.
Top Iranian Dissident Threatened
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi has described receiving an increasing number of death threats. They included notes pinned to the door of her office building in Tehran, warning her to "watch your tongue". Ms Ebadi, an outspoken critic of Iran's leadership, said she had forwarded the threats to the chief of Iranian police. She said last month: "When you believe in the correctness of your work, there is no reason to be afraid of anything." In an interview, she told Reuters news agency that Iran's human rights record had regressed in the past two years, saying more dissidents were being jailed and more people were being executed. Ms Ebadi, 60, won the Nobel prize in 2003 for her work in defending human rights. She has received death threats before, but in a statement on Monday, she said: "Threats against my life and security and those of my family, which began some time ago, have intensified." One of the anonymous, handwritten threats said: "Shirin Ebadi, your death is near." They warned her against making speeches abroad, and defending Iran's minority Bahai community. The Bahai faith is an offshoot of Islam, regarded as heretical by Iran's Shia establishment...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/7347047.stm.
Google Tackles Child Pornography
By Maggie Shiels
BBC News, San Francisco
Google engineers have adapted a software program to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web. Google has created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division. The program uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse. Google says its aim in teaming up with the centre's Technology Coalition Against Child Pornography is to develop solutions that would make it harder for people to use the web to exploit children or traffic in child pornography.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/7347476.stm.
Row over Nigeria Nudity Picture
A female Nigerian politician badly beaten by a local MP is standing by the publication of a revealing photograph showing her injuries in a hospital bed. Habiba Garba told the BBC she wanted people to see the reality of violence against women in northern Nigeria...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/7267481.stm.
Outcry in SA over 'Racist' Video
Several white students in South Africa face criminal charges after allegedly forcing black campus employees to eat food that had been urinated on. A video has surfaced which appears to show the students instructing five elderly workers to drink beer and perform athletic tasks...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/7267027.stm.
A Survivor's Tale of Fear and Starvation in Ukrainian Famine of 1930s by Peter Duffy
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
NEW YORK: Daria Schulha Kira recalls huddling, 75 years ago in a small village in eastern Ukraine, with her three siblings as Communist Party officials ransacked their home looking for grain. "Your government needs your food," she remembers the armed men shouting. "Then they took iron bars and poked in the walls and the floors, looking for anything they could find"...
Please read the entire article at http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/19/europe/ukraine.php.
UK 'Should Outlaw Paying for Sex'
The sex trade fuels human trafficking, says Ms Harman
Commons Leader Harriet Harman has told the BBC she wants the law to be changed to make it illegal to pay for sex. She said ministers were to look at how Sweden brought in such a law, and said a "big debate" was needed in the UK...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/7153358.stm.
Rape Case Ruling Shocks Australia
A judge's decision not to jail nine men guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community has triggered outrage in Australia.
The offenders were either placed on probation or given suspended sentences for the 2005 rape in the Aurukun settlement, in northern Queensland...
The offenders came from some of the most powerful and prominent Aboriginal families in Cape York, while the victim's family had a lower status, The Australian reported...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7136269.stm.
Survival Names 'Terrible Ten': Key Abusers of Tribal Peoples' Rights in 2007
To mark UN Human Rights Day (10 December) Survival has named the 'terrible ten': the key abusers of tribal peoples' rights in 2007. Indonesia, Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Botswana, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Malaysia are all highlighted.
Tribal peoples in West Papua face appalling violence at the hands of the Indonesian military, experiencing killings, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture while their lands are exploited by the Indonesian government and foreign companies.
In Botswana, the government evicted the Bushmen from their land in the Central Kalahari in 2002, and continues to prevent them from returning home, despite a landmark court ruling in 2006 that declared the evictions 'unlawful and unconstitutional'.
Cattle ranchers occupying Guarani Indian land in Brazil are hiring gunmen to target the Indians. This year two Guarani leaders have been murdered and two Guarani women raped in land conflicts, while at least 26 Guarani have committed suicide.
Peru is home to an estimated 15 of the world's last uncontacted tribes and all of them are facing extinction as the government opens up their territories to oil companies and illegal loggers flood in. The Peruvian president recently suggested the tribes didn't exist.
The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode in Paraguay are the last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin. But powerful logging companies are destroying their forest at breakneck speed, and the government is failing to protect them.
In Malaysia, the tribes of Sarawak have had their land taken to make way for logging, dam construction and oil palm plantations. The government has told the nomadic, hunter-gatherer Penan that they have no land rights until they 'settle down' and start farming.
Despite supposedly being liberal democracies, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA were the only countries to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was approved by the General Assembly in September this year. 143 countries voted in favour.
Please read more at http://www.survival-international.org.
Tribal People at Risk of Extinction from Diabetes
Read the Survival's report, Progress can kill, at http://www.survival-international.org/campaigns/progresscankill.
Conference on Child Slavery
An international conference is to be held on all aspects of child slavery at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, UK in association with AntiSlavery International, Gilder Lehrman Center, Yale University and Free the Slaves on November 27-28 2008.
Following our highly successful conferences on Modern Slavery (November 2006), and Unfinished Business (May 2007), WISE is now organising a conference, in conjunction with partner organisations, to examine all aspects of child slavery worldwide, including bonded labour, trafficking, domestic servitude and child labour more generally. This is a first call for expressions of interest in attending and in giving workshop papers. Also visit WISE's website www.hull.ac.uk/WISE.
Gunman 'Had Links to US Suspect'
A student who gunned down eight people in a Finnish school reportedly chatted online with a teenager accused of plotting a school attack in the US. Pekka-Eric Auvinen discussed the Columbine school massacre and exchanged videos with Dillon Cossey, a lawyer for Mr Cossey told the Associated Press. Material found on Auvinen's computer suggested online contact with the US student, Finnish police said. They said they had not yet talked to US counterparts about the possible link.
Please see more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/7091539.stm.
Turkey Moves to Change Speech Law
The Turkish government says it will change a controversial law restricting freedom of expression. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said a new bill would be put before the Turkish parliament in the coming days...
Please read more on http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7081747.stm.
Umoja: How an African Village is Banning Violence against Women
Violence against women can be stopped. That conviction underlies the life's work of Rebecca Lolosoli, an Indigenous Samburu woman from Kenya who has transformed her life and her community. Rebecca is the founder of Umoja, a women-run village in rural Kenya which has declared itself a "Violence against Women Free Zone"...
Please read more at http://www.madre.org/programs/pe/speakers_fall06.html.
'Missed Chance' on Smacking Ban
The review found many parents opposed a total smacking ban
The decision not to ban smacking is a "missed opportunity" to protect children from violence in the home, says England's children's commissioner...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7062424.stm.
Indigenous Rights Outlined by UN
The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples after 22 years of debate. The document proposes protections for the human rights of native peoples, and for their land and resources. It passed despite opposition from Australia , Canada , New Zealand and the United States . They said it was incompatible with their own laws. There are estimated to be up to 370 million indigenous people in the world. They include the Innu tribe in Canada , the Bushmen of Botswana and Australia 's Aborigines. Campaigners say they are under greater pressure than ever, as developers, loggers, farmers and mineral extractors move in on their land.
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/6993776.stm.
Colored Tags for Arabs' Luggage at Ben Gurion Airport Discontinued
By Zohar Blumenkrantz and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents
www.haaretz.com, update 07/08/2007
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz announced on Tuesday that Ben Gurion International Airport security would no longer mark the luggage belonging to non-Jews with colored tags, in order to spare these passengers embarrassment.
Instead, Mofaz explained, the luggage of non-Jewish passengers will be stamped with the same color sticker as the Jewish passengers, only with a different number. In the past, the color of the sticker on the passenger's luggage would indicate to airport security personnel the level of security check they must administer.
This practice mainly affected Arab passengers.
The security checks at Ben Gurion have been denounced by many in the Arab sector as degrading. "We're talking about frequent degradation of Arab passengers, which causes great anger and frustration," MK Nadia Hilou (Labor) said in January, adding, "I won't leave this subject alone until it has been resolved."
Read the entire article at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/890855.html.
US Urges 'Comfort Women' Apology
US lawmakers have called on Japan's government to formally apologise for its role in forcing thousands of women to work as sex slaves in World War II.
The symbolic and non-binding resolution was passed during a vote in the House of Representatives...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6923352.stm.
Bullying to Death
A 17-year-old girl and two men have been jailed for "bullying to death" a vulnerable man in Cornwall. Steven Hoskin, 38, of St Austell, was tortured and then taken to a viaduct and forced to hang from railings...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/cornwall/6922504.stm.
Police Plea on Genital Mutilation
The Metropolitan Police is offering a £20,000 reward for information which would bring to justice anyone involved in female genital mutilation.
The campaign is being launched at the start of the summer holidays, during which young girls - mainly from African communities - are thought most at risk. Mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural reasons.... This is child abuse. It is not an attack on anyone's culture, it is an attack on anyone who commits this horrendous abuse of children (Alastair Jeffrey, Metropolitan Police)...
Read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6291218.stm.
Cyber-Bullying Gathers Pace in US
One third of US online teenagers have been victims of cyber-bullying according to research by the Pew Internet Project.
The most common complaint from teens was about private information being shared rather than direct threats.
Girls were more likely than boys to be targets and teens who share their identities online are the most vulnerable, the survey found.
But teenagers still think that the majority of bullying happens offline...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/technology/6245798.stm.
Paul Potts: Somebody coming out of bullying...
A very hands-on example of the healing that is entailed when a person comes out of bullying and humiliation, out of feeling insignificant and a nobody, into dignity, is the recent emergence of Paul Potts as a singer. Watch him on YouTube, see how the faces of the jury members change from skepticism to astonishment, then to awe and wonderment. Watch how the singer’s voice and face expresses a mixture of love and warm humility. Read the blogs and see how people appreciate Potts’s ability to convey something that is beyond this Earth, and how lacking technical proficiency or less than comme-il-faut outfit is of no importance. He does not sing for money and not even for the love of singing – he seems to have a love relationship with beauty that is so majestic that it seems to come from outer space and at the same time from the deep wisdom of his soul that transcends pain through this beauty.
See "Paul Potts reveals he considered suicide," and see, for example, this blog at http://theologica.blogspot.com/2007/06/paul-potts.html:
"I did listen to Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma and was not moved, in fact I shut if off as he and his singing was boring. No emotion. As for technical defects of Paul Potts singing... who cares? His performance made the hairs on my back stand up... Paul Potts may start a new genre of music which is long overdue..."
YouTube is overflowing of Paul Potts, see, among others:
First, have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA !
Then see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-Pv-0vpxSc
Then see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbzRJqe1X-o
Finally see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OvFbMSNw2c.
And read about his coming out of humiliation into dignity.
Egypt Forbids Female Circumcision
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab Affairs Analyst
Egypt has announced that it is imposing a complete ban on female circumcision, also known as genital mutilation.
The announcement follows a public outcry after a young girl died during the operation...
Please read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/middle_east/6251426.stm.
Dealing with Humiliation
A restaurant inside Volterra maximum security prison near Pisa has become Italy's most exclusive eatery.
Read A Meal You Can't Refuse, VOLTERRA, Italy, June 25, 2007:
(CBS) The clang of a prison door is not generally associated with fine dining. But then you've probably never considered spending a night inside a 15th century fortress that is one of Italy's most secure jails — where the cooks and waiters are murderers, bank robbers, drug dealers … and don't ask what else, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports. Bruno the entertainer is doing 25 years for stabbing his girlfriend 25 times in a public square in broad daylight. The dapper chap in the brocade waistcoat is a Sardinian bandit. Whether or not your waiter is a "made man" is left up to your imagination. The evening costs about $35 and the food and wine are donated, so most of the money goes to charity, and the rest is split among the 27 inmates who do the work...
Read more at http://www.cbsnews.com/.
NZ Passes Disputed Smacking Bill
A controversial law effectively banning parents from smacking their children has been passed by New Zealand's parliament. The legislation closes a legal loophole that allowed parents to use "reasonable force" to discipline their child...
Smacking is banned in some European countries, but is not in most parts of the world.
New Zealand has a poor record of abuse and neglect of children when compared with other developed countries. PM Helen Clark has said in the past that she hoped the law would correct that."New Zealand has on its conscience that our rate of child death and injury from violence, including in the home, is appalling," she said.
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6660451.stm.
A Volatile Young Man, Humiliation and a Gun
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times
Thursday 19 April 2007
... But a close look at the patterns of murderous violence in the U.S. reveals some remarkable consistencies, wherever the individual atrocities may have occurred. In case after case, decade after decade, the killers have been shown to be young men riddled with shame and humiliation, often bitterly misogynistic and homophobic, who have decided that the way to assert their faltering sense of manhood and get the respect they have been denied is to go out and shoot somebody.
Dr. James Gilligan, who has spent many years studying violence as a prison psychiatrist in Massachusetts, and as a professor at Harvard and now at N.Y.U., believes that some debilitating combination of misogyny and homophobia is a "central component" in much, if not most, of the worst forms of violence in this country.
"What I've concluded from decades of working with murderers and rapists and every kind of violent criminal," he said, "is that an underlying factor that is virtually always present to one degree or another is a feeling that one has to prove one's manhood, and that the way to do that, to gain the respect that has been lost, is to commit a violent act"...
Please read the entire article at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041907P.shtml.
Online Child Abuse Complaints Up
Reports of websites that contain images of child abuse have continued to climb in the last year, a report has shown.
In 2006, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) investigated more than 31,000 reports of sites that contained alleged images, an increase of 34% since 2005...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/6549717.stm.
Ugandan Adultery Law 'Too Sexist'
Uganda's adultery law has been scrapped by the Constitutional Court because it treated men and women unequally.
The law made it an offence for a married woman to have an affair, but it allowed a cheating husband to have an affair with an unmarried woman...
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/6528869.stm.
Rule of Thumb
A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination.
It is often claimed that the term originally referred to the maximum thickness of a stick with which it was permissible for a man to beat his wife. This explanation for the origin of the term was popularized in the opening of the 1999 movie The Boondock Saints.
Linguist Michael Quinion, citing the research of Sharon Fenick, notes that there are some examples of a related usage historically — most notably with regard to a supposed pronouncement by a British judge, Sir Francis Buller. However, it is questionable whether Buller ever made such a pronouncement and there is even less evidence that he phrased it as a "rule of thumb"; the rumoured statement was so unpopular that it caused him to be lambasted as "Judge Thumb" in a satirical James Gillray cartoon. According to Quinion, the term "Rule of Thumb" was first documented in English in 1692, long before Buller's reported pronouncement. The first known usage of the phrase "rule of thumb" in direct reference to domestic violence was in 1976, in the book Battered Wives by Del Martin...
Please read more here: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Rules+of+thumb.
The Child Trauma Institute
The Child Trauma Institute provides training, consultation, information, and resources
for those who work with trauma-exposed children, adolescents, and adults.
1971: Calley Guilty of My Lai Massacre
Lieutenant William Calley has been found guilty of murder at a court martial for his part in the My Lai massacre which claimed the lives of 500 South Vietnamese civilians.
The 27-year-old commander could receive the death penalty or life imprisonment after the massacre which saw US soldiers open fire on civilians in My Lai and neighbouring villages in central Vietnam in March 1968...
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/29/newsid_2530000/2530975.stm/.
Protest Disrupts Slavery Service
A lone protester has interrupted a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey marking the 200th anniversary of the act to abolish the slave trade.
The event, attended by the Queen and Tony Blair, was almost over when human rights campaigner Toyin Agbetu began shouting: "This is an insult to us"...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/6497935.stm.
Carer Guilty of Abusing Children
A woman who punished three young children in her care by ramming sticks down their throats has been convicted of abuse spanning 20 years. Eunice Spry, 62, from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, was convicted of 26 charges and cleared of 12 charges...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/6469849.stm.
Norway Sued by Children of Nazis
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC News, Strasbourg, France
A group of Norwegians who were fathered by German soldiers in World War II are suing the Norwegian authorities at the European Court of Human Rights. The former war children claim they suffered widespread abuse and discrimination after the war.
During the war the Nazis encouraged liaisons between German troops and Norwegian women. It was part of a plan to breed an Aryan master race of blonde-haired, blue-eyed babies for the Thousand-Year Reich. As for the infants produced by these affairs, most became known as Lebensborn Children. In post-war Norway they became targets of abuse, often bullied, beaten, even locked away in mental institutions just because their fathers had been German soldiers. Now, 150 war children are seeking justice at the European Court of Human Rights. They are suing the Norwegian state for having failed to protect them after the war and for discriminating against them.
Norway has, in the past, offered limited compensation to former Lebensborn Children but the authorities have never accepted responsibility for alleged cases of harassment dating back up to 60 years...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6429565.stm.
Tribal Peoples Not Stone Age and Primitive Say Experts
Survival International Press Release, 5 March 2007
The Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA), the UK's professional body for anthropologists, has condemned the use of terms like 'stone age' and 'primitive' to describe tribal and indigenous peoples alive today. The condemnation comes in the wake of controversial comments made on the BBC by Baroness Jenny Tonge, the Liberal Democrat peer, who called the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert 'stone age' and 'primitive.'
The ASA has become the latest supporter of Survival International's campaign against racism in the media which challenges the use of terms like 'stone age', 'primitive' and 'savage' to describe tribal and indigenous peoples. Other supporters include prominent journalists such as John Simpson, John Pilger and George Monbiot.
The ASA statement reads, 'All anthropologists would agree that the negative use of the terms 'primitive' and 'Stone Age' to describe [tribal peoples] has serious implications for their welfare. Governments and other social groups... have long used these ideas as a pretext for depriving such peoples of land and other resources.'
Documentary by Kiri Davis Shows How Black Children Still Prefer White Dolls...
Kiri Davis is a young filmmaker whose high school documentary has left audiences at film festivals across the country stunned -- and has re-ignited a powerful debate over race.
Richest 2% Own 'Half the Wealth'
By Andrew Walker
Economics correspondent, BBC World Service
The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute. The report, from the World Institute for Development Economics Research at the UN University, says that the poorer half of the world's population own barely 1% of global wealth. There have of course been many studies of worldwide inequality. But what is new about this report, the authors say, is its coverage.
It deals with all countries in the world - either actual data or estimates based on statistical analysis - and it deals with wealth, where most previous research has looked at income.
What they mean by wealth in this study is what people own, less what they owe - their debts. The assets include land, buildings, animals and financial assets.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/business/6211250.stm.
UN Secretary General's Statement on Elimination of Violence Against Women 2006
Message on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November 2006
Violence against women causes untold misery, harms families across generations, and impoverishes communities. It stops women from fulfilling their potential, restricts economic growth, and undermines development. When it comes to violence against women, there are no civilized societies.
Last month, I issued an in-depth study which showed that half of humankind lives under this threat -- in every continent, country and culture, regardless of income, class, race or ethnicity. This is so, even though we live in a world order where human rights have been recognized in law, and guaranteed in international instruments; even though we have learnt that the enjoyment of human rights is essential to the well-being of the individual, the community and the world; even though, at the 2005 World Summit, leaders pledged to redouble efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
Fighting this scourge requires us to change a mindset which is still too common and deep-seated. To demonstrate, once and for all, that when it comes to violence against women, there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses.
For years, women’s organizations and movements round the world have worked tirelessly to take violence against women out of the private domain and into the public sphere -- into the arena of State accountability. Many States have enacted and implemented effective laws, and provided comprehensive and gender-sensitive services to victims. And there has also been progress in creating international standards.
It is time to take these efforts to the next level. We in the United Nations must play a stronger, better coordinated and more visible leadership role. Member States must do more to implement the international legal and policy framework to which they have committed themselves. And all of us must form strong and effective partnerships with civil society, which has such a crucial role to play on this issue at every level.
Together, we must work to create an environment where violence against women is not tolerated. By mandating me to undertake the in-depth study, UN Member States have signalled that they are ready to do that. Now, with the study and its recommendations in hand, we must summon the necessary political commitment and resources. On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, let all of us -- men and women alike -- join forces in this mission. - Kofi A. Annan
Europe 'Must End Domestic Abuse'
Spain's prime minister has launched a campaign against domestic violence in Europe, calling it one of the worst forms of human rights violations. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was speaking to hundreds of delegates from the Council of Europe's member states. According to the Council, almost a quarter of women in Europe have suffered physical or sexual attack.
Mr Zapatero said there could be no room for such abuse and that women must not feel abandoned by society. "Fear, pain and humiliation are incompatible with a project for a decent society," Mr Zapatero said.
Breaking the silence:
In Spain, some two million women say they have been the victims of psychological or physical abuse. Mr Zapatero has described domestic violence as Spain's "greatest national disgrace". The Council of Europe has called for increased awareness of the problem of domestic violence.
It says "risk factors", including a patriarchal culture, gender stereotypes and low income, must be addressed. The Council of Europe says that stopping the complicit silence surrounding domestic abuse is one of the campaign's main goals...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/6189162.stm.
PILOTS: An Electronic Index to the Traumatic Stress Literature
The PILOTS database is an electronic index to the worldwide literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health consequences of exposure to traumatic events. It is produced by the National Center for PTSD, and is available to the public on computer systems maintained by Dartmouth College. There is no charge for using the database, and no account or password is required. As of August 2006 there were 30,290 references (almost all including abstracts) in the database.
China Official Admits to Torture
A senior Chinese official has made a rare admission about the extent of the use of torture in getting convictions in China's courts. Wang Zhenchuan, Deputy Procurator General, said at least 30 wrong verdicts were handed down each year because torture had been used. Mr Wang said the real number could be higher, according to state media. Confidence in China's justice system has been seriously undermined by recent high-profile wrongful convictions. A butcher executed for murder in 1989 was proved innocent when his alleged victim was found alive, while a man was freed after 11 years in jail when his wife, whom he was accused of killing, was also found alive. Mr Wang's unusually frank comments appeared to be part of a campaign to tackle problems in the judicial system, and shore up public trust. He said suspects' rights needed to be protected by stopping the use of illegal interrogations involving the use of torture. He said illegal interrogation existed to "some extent" in local judicial practice. "Nearly every wrongful verdict in recent years is involved in illegal interrogation," he said, according to the official Xinhua news agency...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6164408.stm.
Child 'Adult Mental Care' Scandal
By Alison Holt
Social Affairs correspondent, BBC News
Treating children in adult psychiatric wards is a "national scandal", says the Children's Commissioner for England. Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green told the BBC he fears children leave in a poorer condition than when they went in. A report to be published next week by the charity Young Minds warns there are not enough emergency beds for children with mental health problems. Almost 1,000 under-18s spend time on an adult ward in a year, with more than half of those admissions inappropriate...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/6165062.stm.
Inquiry into Prison Care of Young
By Alison Holt
BBC News, Social affairs correspondent
The Home Office has agreed to an independent inquiry into the treatment of young people with mental health problems in the prison system. The BBC has learned the investigation will concentrate on the case of one young girl. She was taken to hospital 20 times in two years after self harming whilst in young offenders institutes. The girl - who can't be named - was jailed when she was 17 for assault and robbery. She had been in care and had a history of mental health problems. But despite continually cutting herself and trying to take her own life in prison, it took a court injunction to get her moved to a secure psychiatric hospital...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/6169736.stm.
Broken Home Linked to Psychosis
People from broken homes may be more prone to psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, research suggests. Researchers said their findings suggest the illnesses are not simply brain diseases, but linked to factors such as social adversity. They found much higher rates among black people, who were also more likely to come from broken homes. The study, by London's Institute of Psychiatry, will appear in the journal Psychological Medicine. These findings suggest social factors can also contribute to the onset of illness...
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/health/6169120.stm.
Alliance of Civilisations
"Peoples who feel that they face persistent discrimination, humiliation, or marginalisation are reacting by asserting their identity more aggressively" (Alliance of Civilisations report, 13th November, 2006).
The Alliance of Civilisations, which includes Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, dismisses the notion that a clash of civilisations is inevitable, but says that swift action is needed. The group argues that the need to build bridges between Muslim and Western societies has never been greater. They say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with Western military interventions in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, contributes significantly to the growing sense of resentment and mistrust that mars relations among communities. See the report at www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/AllianceofCivilisation13_11_06.pdf.
PC-ES, The Committee of Experts on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
In the coming years, the Council of Europe’s work to promote and to reinforce children’s rights will stem from the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government (Warsaw, 15-16 May 2005). This includes also the work to be carried out to protect children against sexual exploitation and abuse.
Darfur 'Genocide Crosses to Chad'
Chad's government has accused Sudan of "exporting the genocide" in Darfur across the border.
It says there have been "numerous victims" of recent clashes between Arabs and non-Arab groups just across the border from Darfur.
Earlier, a minister said that more than 100 people had been killed in separate clashes in south-eastern Chad.
Eastern Chad and Darfur have a similar ethnic make-up and the two governments have swapped charges of backing rebels.
Chad's government called for UN peacekeepers to be deployed along the border area.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/6124538.stm.
World Citizens Reject Torture, BBC Global Poll Reveals
A majority of people around the world are opposed to torture even if its purpose is to elicit information that could save innocent lives from terrorism, according to a BBC World Service poll of more than 27,000 people in 25 different countries.
The poll shows that 59 percent of the world’s citizens are unwilling to compromise on the protection of human rights while 29 percent think governments should be allowed to use some degree of torture in order to combat terrorism.
Most Americans (58%) are against any use of torture. But opposition to torture in the United States is less robust than in Europe. The percentage of Americans favoring the practice in certain cases (36%) is one of the highest among the 25 countries polled.
The survey of 27,407 respondents across 25 countries was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork from May through July 2006.
Read more here.
Russia Soldier Jailed for Abuse
A Russian soldier has been sentenced to four years in jail for abusing a conscript soldier so badly that his legs and genitals required amputation.
Sgt Alexander Sivyakov was the main defendant among three soldiers accused of abusing Andrei Sychev, 18.
The case has made headlines in Russia for highlighting army brutality.
The BBC's Moscow correspondent says the incident could return to haunt Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, who has been tipped for a future presidential bid.
More than 6,000 soldiers were victims of abuse last year, the military has said.
The case sparked an outcry in Russia, with liberal groups using it to demand an end to conscription to the armed forces.
The Kremlin has refused to end the draft, under which all Russian men between 18 and 27 must spend two years in the military.
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/.
In Chechen’s Humiliation, Questions on Rule of Law
By C. J. Chivers, published August 30, 2006
ARGUN, Russia, Aug. 26 — The humiliation of Malika Soltayeva, a pregnant Chechen woman suspected of adultery, was ferocious and swift.
Malika Soltayeva, shown in a recent photo, was tortured by men who served as the police. Ms. Soltayeva, 23, had been away from home for a month and was reported missing by her family. When she returned, her husband accused her of infidelity and banished her from their apartment. The local authorities found her at her aunt’s residence. They said they had a few questions. What followed was no investigation. In a law enforcement compound in this town in east-central Chechnya, the men who served as Argun’s police sheared away her hair and her eyebrows and painted her scalp green, the color associated with Islam. A thumb-thick cross was smeared on her brow.
Please read the entire article at www.nytimes.com.
Sangoma / Muti / South African Traditional Healers / South African Witchdoctors
Factnet exposes destructive cults, fundamentalism, mind control, and mental coercion/torture as Amnesty International addresses physical torture.
In South Africa, the killing of living creatures, animals and people, their painful screams, and their body parts, are seen to be a potent magic to wake up the ancestors' spirits and be heard by them.
Chat users to report child abuse
Users of Windows Messenger can now report suspected sexual predators of children with a mouse click.A "report abuse" icon will soon appear on the chat software as a result of work by the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Users will be encouraged to click the icon when they suffer or witness inappropriate sexual contact. CEOP said, if necessary, reports would be passed to police forces around the world to track down sexual predators.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5279164.stm.
Declaration on Indigenous People's Rights
On UN Indigenous People's Day (9 August), Survival welcomes the UN Human Rights Council's historic vote in favour of the declaration on indigenous people's rights. Canada and Russia were the only two countries on the council to vote against the declaration.
The Stine Sofie Foundation
The Stine Sofie Foundation is the only organisation in Norway who speaks on the behalf of children who are exposed to violence and abuse. The foundation also focuses on preventing/exposing criminal offences towards children as well as strengthening their position in the legal system.
In the backwaters of two little girls being murdered in Baneheia, Kristiansand in August 2000 the foundation was founded by Ada Sofie Austegard and Bente Bergseth. They both have experiences of violence; Ada Sofie lost her daughter in the brutal killings, while her friend Bente has been through legal procedure twice because of sexual abuse in her childhood.
The main goal of Stine Sofies Stiftelse is to enable children to understand and tell when something is about to happen (prevention) or has happened (expose).
People all over Norway support our work by memberships and gifts to the foundation. This enables us to do an extensive job with information in legal and political arenas as well as in schools and in media where we focus on children's legal rights.
Today we have around 40.000 members.
UK Calls for Guantanamo Closure
The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has called for the closure of the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. He is reported to have serious doubts about whether the indefinite detention of "enemy combatants" is legal or fair. In a speech in London, he said the camp had become a symbol of injustice and its existence was "unacceptable". State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the US did not want to release people who might "end up on the battlefield" or commit terrorist acts. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has called the camp in Cuba an "anomaly". But in the strongest worded condemnation yet from a British government minister, Lord Goldsmith said: "The existence of Guantanamo remains unacceptable.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4759317.stm.
France Remembers Slavery Victims
A French envoy has said her country did profit from slavery as it officially commemorates the victims of the trade for the first time. "It profited from the commerce in human beings... ripped from the African homeland," Junior Co-operation Minister Brigitte Girardin said in Senegal. She was visiting a notorious slave island off the coast of Senegal. In Paris, President Jacques Chirac said facing up to the colonial past was a "key to national cohesion". He opened an art exhibition in Paris's Luxembourg Gardens while other cities and venues around France held their own ceremonies for Slavery Remembrance Day - the first such event in an EU state. Wednesday's day of commemoration was ordered by Mr Chirac, on the fifth anniversary of the passing of a law by the French Senate recognising slavery as a crime against humanity. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were taken by French ships from Africa to plantations in the Caribbean before France banned the practice in 1848.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4756635.stm.
Net Censorship Spreads Worldwide
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website
Repressive regimes are taking full advantage of the net's ability to censor and stifle reform and debate, reveals a report. Written by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) pressure group the report highlights the ways governments threaten the freedom of the press. The report has a section dedicated to the internet and the growing roster of nations censoring online life. This censorship is practised on every continent on Earth, said the report.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4973114.stm.
Russian Racism 'Out of Control'
Racist killings in Russia are "out of control", according to a report by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International. The report into violent racism shows that at least 28 people were killed and 366 were assaulted in 2005. This year there have already been a number of high-profile cases, including the death of a Senegalese student.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4969296.stm.
Amnesty: Torture "Widespread" in US Custody
Torture and inhumane treatment are "widespread" in US-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere despite Washington's denials, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. In a report for the United Nations' Committee Against Torture, the London-based human rights group also alleged abuses within the US domestic law enforcement system.
Please read more at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050306Z.shtml.
Bosnian Film Triumphs in Berlin
A Bosnian film has won the Golden Bear award at the 56th Berlin Film Festival. Grbavica, by director Jasmila Zbanic, looks at the aftermath of the mass rape of women during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war.... "War in Bosnia was over some 13 years ago and yet war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic (former Bosnian Serb leader and army commander) still live in Europe freely," Ms Zbanic said. "They've not been captured for organising the rape of 20,000 women in Bosnia. This is Europe and no one is interested in capturing them," she added. Michael Winterbottom dedicated his award to the three men which inspired his film.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4723960.stm.
A Woman in Berlin: An Endless Cycle of Female Humiliation, Berlin 1945
by Wyatt-Brown, Anne (2006), iIn Social Alternatives (Special Issue "Humiliation and History in Global Perspectives"), Vol. 25, No. 1, First Quarter, 2006.
Abstract: William Ian Miller (1993) and Vladimir Bukovsky (2005) describe how humiliation can affect all parties in an interaction. Their analysis illuminates the problems facing the anonymous author of A Woman in Berlin. All three parties, the Russian soldiers, the diarist, and her fiancé reacted differently to humiliating circumstances. Although the diarist could not overcome all of her symptoms caused by the abuse, using her keen analytical mind saved her from the temptation of perpetuating the cycle of violence and humiliation so well described by Evelin Lindner (2002) The diarist's experiences shed light on the fate and trauma of countless thousands of women caught in the throes of chaos and war.
Copts complain of Discrimination and Harassment: Knife Attacks on Egypt Churches
Copts make up an estimated 10% of the Egyptian population of about 70 million. They complain of discrimination and harassment, and there have been a series of clashes between Muslims and Copts over the years.
One person has been killed and at least 12 others injured by knife-wielding attackers at three churches in northern Egypt, police have said.
Read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4909378.stm.
'Honour Killing' Brother Jailed
A 19-year-old Turkish man has been jailed for nine years and three months by a German court for shooting his sister in a so-called "honour killing". Ayhan Surucu had confessed to shooting his sister Hatun Surucu, 23, at a bus stop in a Berlin suburb last year. Two other brothers were cleared of charges of conspiring to murder her. Prosecutors said the brothers felt dishonoured by their sister, who lived on her own with her son after leaving a cousin she had been forced to marry. The death of the 23-year-old shocked Germany and led to street protests by Turkish women....
Hatun Surucu was the sixth victim of honour killings among Berlin's 200,000-strong Turkish community in as many months. The German police listed 45 cases between 1996 and 2004 - with 13 in Berlin....
The killing led to a wide debate in Germany about honour killings. Muslim leaders in Berlin were at pains to stress that there was no basis for honour killings in the Koran. But they were also criticised for not making a clear condemnation of them.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4905758.stm.
Alliance for Women’s Equality (AWE)
AWE is a federally recognized nonprofit organization that seeks to advance gender equality and help build sustainable organizations that protect and promote women’s and girls’ rights. We focus on four issues pertinent to women and girls:
Advocating for Safe, Affordable Childcare
Ending Violence Against Women
Helping Women with HIV/AIDS
Stopping Child Sex Trafficking
AWE provides educational programming, including:
• Nonprofit Organizations: Capacity building programs and seminars for nonprofit organizations in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, and communications.
• Corporations: Diversity training and internal diversity network programming designed to create dialogue about issues pertinent to women and girls.
• General Public: Grassroots activism and leadership training for young women and girls within the City University of New York (CUNY) college system.
• Research: Proprietary research on areas of concern to women and girls globally.
My Lai Massacre Hero Dies at 62
Hugh Thompson Jnr, a former US military helicopter pilot who helped stop one of the most infamous massacres of the Vietnam War has died, aged 62. Mr Thompson and his crew came upon US troops killing civilians at the village of My Lai on 16 March 1968. He put his helicopter down between the soldiers and villagers, ordering his men to shoot their fellow Americans if they attacked the civilians. "There was no way I could turn my back on them," he later said of the victims. Mr Thompson, a warrant officer at the time, called in support from other US helicopters, and together they airlifted at least nine Vietnamese civilians - including a wounded boy - to safety. He returned to headquarters, angrily telling his commanders what he had seen. They ordered soldiers in the area to stop shooting. But Mr Thompson was shunned for years by fellow soldiers, received death threats, and was once told by a congressman that he was the only American who should be punished over My Lai. A platoon commander, Lt William Calley, was later court-martialed and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the killings.
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4589486.stm.
Last 'Gang of Four' Member Dies
The last remaining member of the so-called Gang of Four that led China's Cultural Revolution has died, the government said on Friday. [...] Once dubbed "the killer with the pen" by the Chinese media, he wrote a famous article that signalled the start of the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Hundreds of thousands of people were driven to suicide after suffering mental and physical harassment by gangs of young Red Guards professing to follow Mao's teachings. [...]
Please read the entire article at
Man Jailed for Africa Sex Tourism
A sex tourist arrested in Milton Keynes has been jailed indefinitely for making trips to Africa to abuse poor children. [...] "You plied them with meals, treats and alcohol and then you sexually abused them in the most appalling ways,"
Judge Roger Chapple. [...] Kilpatrick, himself a victim of child abuse, was now "deeply ashamed" of his behaviour and wished to apologise for the pain and distress he had caused, said his defence lawyer Andrew Vout. [...]
Please read the entire article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/4588496.stm
Public Rape as Transgression of Traditional Limits
(quoted from Lindner's book "Making Enemies Unwittingly")
One of the most gruesome examples of humiliation as a weapon is rape. William Sampson, a Canadian imprisoned and tortured in Saudi Arabia, professes that he felt violated and degraded by being raped in a way the other brutalities could not achieve. Rape, systematically employed and carried out "efficiently," seems to have as its primary aim to humiliate and thus enfeeble the opponent, with all other "gratifications" such as dominance, masculinity, or sexual pleasure being secondary. Interestingly, employing public rape as a "weapon" seems to be a relatively new tactic, at least with respect to the extent it was recently perpetrated in such places as Somalia, Rwanda, or South Eastern Europe.
Asha Ahmed, Information/Dissemination Officer at Somalia Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, explained to me on January 11, 1999, in Nairobi, that the ICRC invited historians from all Somali clans to do research which resulted in the Spared from the Spear booklet. 1 This booklet shows that women and children traditionally were "spared from the spear" and that Somali war code explicitly protects civilians against warrior onslaughts. Women were not to be touched. Women embodied bonds between clans, moving freely, even in wartime. Asha Ahmed pointed out:
"When you look at this booklet, the Geneva Convention is all in there! At first the Geneva Convention was like Latin to the Somalis! But the Geneva rules are theirs already! Usually, women were not touched; consider the ancient practice of blood feud. Rape may have happened in the chaos of war, but not planned in the way it is today. Today it is orchestrated in order to 'send a message to the enemy.'" 2
Former Somali Ambassador Hussein Ali Dualeh confirmed the "novelty" of public rape and its reverberations in an interview on January 9, 1999, in Nairobi (see also Lindner, 2000a ):
There is one thing which never was part of traditional quarrelling between clans, and this is rape, especially mass rape in front of the family. This is new. It happened for the first time when Siad Barre's dictatorial regime sent soldiers to annihilate us. Soldiers raped our women in front of their husbands and families.
"We Somalis are united through our common ethnic background; we speak one language, and are all Muslims. Why are we divided today? Humiliation through rape and its consequences divides us. The traditional methods of reconciliation are too weak for this. It will take at least one generation to digest these humiliations sufficiently to be able to sit together again.believe me, humiliation, as I told you before, was not known to the Somali before Siad Barre came to power! It is a 'tradition' that young men of one clan steal camels from another clan, and sometimes a man gets killed. But women were never touched, never. There might have been a rare case when a girl was alone in the semi-desert guarding her animals, and a young man having spent a long time in the desert lost control and tried to rape her. She would resist violently, and at the end the solution would perhaps be that he had to marry her. But mass rape, especially rape in front of the family, this never happened before, this is new!" ( Lindner, 2000a, p. 343 ).
Human Rights Watch (1996) confirms the systematic application of rape. In attacks on Tutsis before 1994, women and children were generally spared, but during the genocide - particularly in its later stages - all Tutsis were targeted, regardless of sex or age. The widespread incidence of rape accompanied the increase in overall violence against groups previously immune from attack. "Rape was a strategy," said Bernadette Muhimakazi, a Rwandan women's rights activist. "They chose to rape. There were no mistakes. During this genocide, everything was organized. Traditionally it is not the custom to kill women and children, but this was done everywhere too." Other Rwandans characterized the violence against women as: "the humiliation of women;" or "the disfigurement of women, to make them undesirable;" or "total disrespect for the worth of women." 3
We might wonder why new forms of atrocities, such as systematic rape, have been increasingly employed in recent ethnic cleansings, genocides, and quasi-genocides. Clearly, traditional confines are being transgressed. Perhaps rape is more humiliating and consequently more hurtful on the background of the human rights message than in a pure honor context. Human rights see every human being as endowed with the same level of inviolable dignity while honor codes define different levels of violability. The hurtfulness of rape might be heightened by the human rights message and thus turn rape into a more wounding tool. Furthermore, also the fact that women gain in status in human rights contexts (since all human beings are treated as equal in dignity) may provide the act of hurting women with a potency that was absent before. Hurting what is valuable has more impact than hurting what is invaluable.
1 International Committee of the Red Cross Somalia Delegation, 1997.
2 In regions that practice blood feud, women are untouched, and have to assume all the duties that their males cannot carry out anymore because they have to stay indoors out of fear to be killed. Albania experienced an upsurge of these practices after the downfall of the communist regime that had outlawed them. Thousands of men are currently confined to their own homes, while their women move freely.
3 Human Rights Watch, 1996, p. 41.