Author Archives: artypeeps

The Right to be Cold

Carl Soderbergh

I recently chaired a tribunal called “Humanity on Trial” in Stockholm, Sweden. The tribunal focussed on the human impact of climate change and was meant to be taking place in the middle of this century. It looked back on what the world knew as states gathered for the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of 2009. Supposing that the delegations were unable to agree on a binding agreement, the tribunal posed the question why so little was done. Indeed, the Swedish press were full of reports the day before that the Danish hosts had finally admitted that the prospects are now slim of achieving a binding successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, at least at Copenhagen. Continue reading

Part 2 of 2: Apparently all Africans originate from Ethiopia – new discovery at MRG media training

Read Part 1: Team blogging – part of the media training in sunny Kampala

Farah Mihlar_100px

Farah Mihlar

We are championing on. I am still typing away as the 18 participants attending MRG’s Kampala media training add their comments to a blog we are attempting to write jointly. All of the activists represented at this training work with minority communities in some of the harshest political and socio-economic climates. They are almost always excluded and often discriminated against. Continue reading

Part 1 of 2: Team blogging – part of the media training in sunny Kampala

Farah Mihlar_100px

Farah Mihlar

It didn’t take too long to warm up to Kampala. So much of the city felt familiar, reminding me of parts of my home country Sri Lanka. The tropical climate, dark greenery, papayas, mangoes and pineapples. The laidback, friendly, warm culture… sorry… I may be getting carried away here. I am at work, I must assert! (Just for the record and also as my bosses will read this.) I am in Uganda for a five-day media training for community activists, to help them to promote their stories in the international media.

MRG has for many years worked with some of the poorest and marginalized communities in the world, who face constant issues of discrimination. Continue reading

Breaking Turkey’s Taboos

Ara_sq_100pxRising nationalist sentiments in certain circles in Turkey has put minorities in a vulnerable and compromising position. In Turkey ‘insulting the Turkish nation’ is a criminal offence, which someone can be arrested for. MRG’s Ara Iskanderian speaks to a young Turkish human rights campaigner working for DurDe, an initiative seeking to stop racism and nationalism within Turkey. Her name has been left out of the article for her protection. Continue reading

Courtroom hearing or courtroom drama?

Nurcan Kaya_100pxThe 10th hearing in the murder trial of the Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink took place on the 6th July, in Istanbul.  Dink was a popular minority rights activist in Turkey and was assassinated in January 2007.  Ogun Samast, a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist, has confessed to his murder. Nurcan Kaya, MRG’s Turkey Coordinator, was at the trial and reflects upon the theatrical display that overshadowed the trial. Continue reading

“Taking the Ogiek out of the Mau is like taking a fish out of water”

Chris Chapman_100pxChris Chapman, MRG’s Head of Conflict Prevention meets with Kenya’s hunter-gatherer Ogiek community who, in the face of a possible eviction, are fighting to stay back on their traditional lands.

In the Mau Forest Complex, which is home to the Ogiek community, we met Rose, the headmistress of the primary school in Mboroti village. According to the government-determined pupil-teacher ratio, there should be 14 teachers – in fact there are 8. Only 5 are Ogiek. As a result, class sizes vary from 70 to over 90. Continue reading

Small steps towards peace in Jonglei state

Chris Chapman_100pxChris Chapman, MRG’s Head of Conflict Prevention, is in South Sudan running a conflict resolution workshop with communities from the region.

It took us 7 hours to drive the 100 miles from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to Bor in Jonglei state. With Paul from our partner organisation, Pibor Development Access, I am due to run a workshop on resolving conflicts between different ethnic minorities over land and other natural resources. Continue reading