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Human Rights

Hunting Witches in Papua New Guinea

In early April, an elderly woman named Helen Rumbali was accused of being a witch and killing a member of her village by using dark magic. She was taken from her home by an angry mob, tortured for over 12 hours, and eventually beheaded in public. In the West, words like magic and sorcery usually conjure up images of fictional ... Read More »

A Shadow over the Anniversary of Dutch-Russian Relations

A while ago, I had a visit from a friend from Moscow. No, it was not Vladimir Putin, who has arrived to the Netherlands today to mark off the 400 year anniversary of Russian-Dutch relations. But both visits had something in common: they both reminded me of the situation Russian gay people are in. My friend came to the Netherlands ... Read More »

Don’t Mention the Genocide – Hidden Armenians in Turkey

In two years Armenians will commemorate the centenary of the attempted extermination of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.  While Turkey’s gross denial of the genocide will likely continue, a part of the Turkish population is starting to reveal their true  -Armenian- identity.  It is hard to estimate how many Turks are actually secret ... Read More »

Bitter sweet chocolate

14th of February: Valentine’s day… a day dedicated to love and romance. Tomorrow, thousands of people all over the world will buy their loved ones little pluche teddybears, red roses and of course delicious chocolates. In Japan, the tradition is that women give chocolates to men and there are even different kinds of chocolates with different meanings attached to them. ... Read More »

The Mountain That Eats Men

Until recently, Bolivian tourist brochures mostly focused on the highest capital in the world (La Paz) the salt planes of Uyuni.  Today, one can ‘experience’ the hellish conditions deep in the ‘mountain that eats men’, making the mines the newest must-see attraction of Bolivia. This men-eating mountain in Potosí is also named Cerro Richo (Rich Mountain), derived from the exorbitant ... Read More »

Philippine Overseas Labour Office

The great volume of labour exported by The Philippines is sometimes referred to as ‘modern-day slave trade’. Over one-fifth of the Filipino working-age population are migrant workers in other countries. The case of the Middle-East best illustrates this spider’s web of unfree labour. The huge Philippine labour export has not only been pushed by a major shortage of jobs at home, ... Read More »

Forced sterilization: Transgender reality in Europe

In Sweden an attempt to reform a law prescribing forced sterilization in case of a gender update on ID cards failed earlier this year. There is a happy and excited atmosphere in Südblock, a casual bar in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The reason is the celebration of the long night against discrimination. The queer/ trans-scene has gathered to celebrate. While the party ... Read More »

Mission Morocco: Not Aborted

When people make up a story about a military exercise and then lock up a port just to keep you from entering a country, you are probably not their favourite person. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch activist and doctor, is one of those nuisances. In this case, to Morocco.  In early October she and her colleagues from the Dutch NGO “Women ... Read More »

Neo-Nazi’s in Mongolia

The popularity of the  political party ‘Golden Dawn’ in Greece is a sad evidence of the  re-emerge of fascist thought in the world. Hitler’s ideology still seems to appeal to extreme-right groups in Europe, yet now it has also found supporters in a rather odd place –the cold, windy steppes of Mongolia. Asian men wearing army clothes decorated with Nazi ... Read More »

Recurring Problems in South Africa

From the 18th until the 26th of September, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visited the Netherlands. Tutu became world-known in the 1980s during the apartheid regime in South Africa, and as an outspoken critic of this regime, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. On the 20th of September, Tutu was invited to the Dutch television programme College Tour (see Uitzending ... Read More »