Marinha_no_Rio Americas 

The fight over Río de Janeiro’s favelas

In the 1970s, major cities in Brazil like São Paulo or Río de Janeiro witnessed a massive influx of people from the countryside. At the time, more and more Brazilians were looking for an affordable place to live near the cities, as the urban centers offered a new range of income opportunities. Slowly, these newcomers occupied the cities’ wastelands, thereby founding the now well-known favelas. According to the 2010 Census, 11.25 million people live in the shanty towns spread all around the country, most of them located in the states of…

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Bildschirmfoto 2017-01-29 um 15.03.42 Sub-Saharan Africa 

The human story behind the “Virunga” movie

In April 2014, the Academy Award-nominated movie Virunga caused a worldwide outcry against the oil extraction in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s last mountain gorillas. Only several weeks later, oil multinational SOCO International agreed to withdraw from Virunga and eventually sold its production shares in Bloc V, an area covering over one third of the park. Apart from the Virunga fimmakers, NGO heavyweights Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, the WWF, and some brave park wardens mentioned in the movie, who…

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20352638644_301f4e4872_k Middle East and Maghreb 

We mustn’t turn a blind eye on Yemen

The war and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is one of those that tend to be forgotten in public debate in the West over other pressing issues such as the wars in Ukraine and Syria, and their consequences for Europe. On February 18 this year, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect noted that “One year after the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, the world is witnessing the erosion of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law…

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A MONUSCO Peacekeeper stands near the wreckage of a nepalese armored vehicle which was hit the previous year in an ambush from ADF militia in the Beni region, the 13th of March 2014.   © MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti Sub-Saharan Africa 

Islamist terrorists in the Congolese jungle? Myth and reality of the ADF

In December 2014, the renowned Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an article entitled „The ADF militia in Congo Kinshasa – Islamism in the heart of Africa”. Like other pieces in international media, the article claimed that the group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a phenomenon of typical violent Islamism and that the group has links to known jihadist groups such as al-Shabaab or Boko Haram. In addition, ADF has also been officially identified by the Congolese government and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in…

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img_3976 Sub-Saharan Africa 

The Rainbow Revolution: Why the South African students’ movement #FeesMustFall stands for much more than tuition fees

A “Rainbow Nation” was Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s idea of post-apartheid South Africa. It was 1994, apartheid had been abolished, Nelson Mandela got elected for President, the hopes of the mainly black South African population were high that their future would be a better one: A future in peace and social justice. Today, more than 20 years after Mandela’s release, universities all across the country are repeatedly being closed, destroyed and torched, foreigners are being chased away from their homes and businesses and miners’ strikes are being shot down by national…

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