industryterm:ethnic

  • What’s Driving the Conflict in Cameroon?
    Violence Is Escalating in Its Anglophone Regions.

    In recent months, political violence in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon has escalated dramatically. So far, at least 400 civilians and 160 state security officers have been killed in the conflict between the government and an armed separatist movement that, just two short years ago, started as a peaceful strike of lawyers and teachers. How did such upheaval come to a country that has prided itself for decades as a bulwark of stability in a region of violent conflict? And why has it escalated so quickly?

    THE ROOTS OF THE VIOLENCE

    The Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have a special historical legacy that sets them apart from the country’s other eight regions: between 1922 and 1960, they were ruled as a British trust or protectorate while the rest of the territory was administered by France. This is why today, 3 million residents of the Northwest and Southwest regions—roughly 20 percent of the Cameroonian population—speak primarily English, not French. These two regions also use their own legal and educational systems, inherited from the British, and have a unique cultural identity.

    Many analysts argue that the current conflict stems from the intractable historical animosity between Cameroon’s Anglophones and Francophones. Yet if that is the case, it is strange that the violence is only occurring now. Why not in 1972, when Ahmadou Ahidjo, the first president of Cameroon, ended the federation between the Anglophone and Francophone regions, forcing the Anglophones to submit to a unitary state? Or in 1992, when current President Paul Biya held Cameroon’s first multi-party elections, and narrowly won a heavily rigged contest by four percentage points against Anglophone candidate John Fru Ndi? Furthermore, if differences in identity are the primary driver of the conflict, it is quite surprising that Cameroon—one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Africa—has largely avoided ethnic conflict.

    Most Anglophones themselves say that they would be happy to put their national identity above their linguistic one if they weren’t systematically neglected and repressed by Cameroon’s central government. According to a survey from the Afrobarometer, an independent polling and research network, when asked whether they identify more as Cameroonians or more with their ethnic group, the vast majority of respondents in the Northwest and Southwest regions said they identified with these categories equally. Less than five percent said they identified more with their ethnic group. Nonetheless, members of this population have long felt themselves to be treated as second-class citizens in their own country. Anglophones who go to the capital city of Yaoundé to collect government documents, for example, often report being ridiculed or turned away by public officials because they cannot speak French. Separatists argue that this mistreatment and discrimination by Yaoundé, and Francophone Cameroonians more broadly, is grounds for secession.

    Yet regional neglect and mistreatment are not enough to explain the current wave of violence. If they were the root cause, then we should also be seeing separatist movements in Cameroon’s North and Far North regions, where state violence has become endemic in the fight against Boko Haram over the past four years. Moreover, in the North and Far North regions, the poverty rate is higher (more than 50 percent in each, compared to 15 percent in the Southwest and 25 percent in the Northwest) and state investment in public goods such schools, health clinics, and roads is lower than anywhere else in the country.

    To be sure, the Anglophones’ unique linguistic and cultural identity has played a role in the rebellion. But in order to understand why the escalating violence is taking place where and when it is, we must consider not only the Anglophone regions’ exceptional political isolation and relative economic autonomy from the rest of Cameroon, but also the increasing impatience of Africans living under non-democratic regimes.
    WHY THE ANGLOPHONE REGIONS?

    Biya, who last month won his seventh term in office, has been in power since 1982, making him one of the longest ruling leaders in the world. In fact, Cameroon has only had two presidents since gaining independence in 1960. Because the country’s median age is 18, this means that the majority of Cameroonians have only ever known one president. Yet the decline of Africa’s strongmen over the past two decades—most recently Blaise Compaoré in Burkina Faso, Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, and even Jacob Zuma in South Africa—has made Biya’s continued rule increasingly untenable. Democracy may have begun to lose its appeal in many parts of the world, but it remains important to most sub-Saharan Africans. Many Cameroonians with an education and a smart phone consider their president’s extended rule increasingly illegitimate. The political tide currently washing away the strongmen of Africa has made this moment an exceptional one for mobilizing people against the regime.

    In spite of these democratic headwinds, Biya has managed to maintain his legitimacy in some quarters through his cooptation of Francophone elites and control of information by means of the (largely Francophone) state-owned media. He has masterfully brought Francophone leaders into government, offering them lucrative ministerial posts and control over various government revenue streams. Importantly, he has not been excessively repressive—at least not before the current outbreak of violence—and has gone out of his way to uphold the façade of democratic legitimacy through holding regular elections, allowing a relatively unfettered (although weak) independent media, and having a general laissez-faire attitude toward governing.

    The state media and elites within the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement are stalwart defenders of the president, operating whole-heartedly on the fictitious assumption that the regime is democratic. Many Cameroonians, especially those isolated from independent media, opposition parties, or information from outside of the country, earnestly believe this narrative. Another survey by the Afrobarometer conducted in 2015 before the outbreak of violence, showed that the presidency is the second most trusted institution of the state, after the army. It also showed that only ten percent of Cameroonian respondents believe that their country is not a democracy.

    In contrast, the Anglophone regions’ relative distance from both Biya’s networks of patronage and influence and the Francophone state media puts them in a unique position to see the autocratic nature of the regime and rebel against it. Although 75.4 percent of Francophone Cameroonian respondents said they trust Biya “somewhat” or “a lot,” in the Afrobarometer poll, only 45.5 percent of Anglophones felt the same way. Part of the reason for this is easier access to criticism of the Biya government. In electoral autocracies, opposition parties are often the only institutions that consistently voice the view that the regime is not truly democratic. The strongest opposition party in Cameroon—the Social Democratic Front (SDF)—is headquartered in the Northwest region, thus further exposing Anglophones to narratives of state repression. Other parts of Cameroon do not have occasion to become as familiar with opposition party politics. In the most recent 2013 elections for the National Assembly, for example, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement ran completely unopposed in 13 of the country’s 83 electoral districts.

    In comparison to other parts of the country, such as the north, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions are also more economically autonomous from Yaoundé. They have a robust cross-border trade with Nigeria, successful plantations in the Southwest, and fertile farming land. They are not overly-reliant on the export of primary resources, such as oil or timber, which funnels through state-owned corporations. And they are not as poor as, for example, the northern regions, which face chronic food insecurity. The Anglophones thus have not only the will, but also the resources to rebel.

    THE SUCCESSION QUESTION

    Unfortunately, an end to the crisis is nowhere in sight. Last month, Biya won his seventh term as president with 71.3 percent of the vote. The already unfair election was marked by exceedingly low participation in the Anglophone regions—just five percent in the Northwest—due to security fears. Meanwhile, Biya has responded to the separatists with an iron fist. He refuses to negotiate with them, instead sending in his elite Rapid Intervention Battalion (trained by the United States and led by a retired Israeli officer), which has now been accused of burning villages and attacking civilians in the Northwest and Southwest. But as long as the violence does not spill over into the Francophone regions, the crisis will likely not affect the president’s legitimacy in the rest of the country. Moreover, Biya remains staunchly supported by the West—especially France, but also the United States, which relies strongly on Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram. The separatists, meanwhile, remain fractured, weak, and guilty of their own atrocities against civilians. Apart from attacking security forces, they have been kidnapping and torturing teachers and students who refuse to participate in a school strike.

    It is extremely unlikely that Biya will make the concessions necessary for attacks from separatists to stop, and the fluid nature of the insurgency will make it difficult for state security forces to end the violence. The scorched earth tactics on both sides only work to further alienate the population, many of whom have fled to Nigeria. It seems likely that a resolution to the crisis can only happen once the questions of when Biya will step down and who will replace him are fully answered. Right now, there is only unsubstantiated speculation. Many assume he will appoint a successor before the next presidential elections, scheduled for 2025. But if there are any surprises in the meantime similar to the military move against Mugabe in Zimbabwe or the popular uprising against Compaoré in Burkina Faso, a transition may come sooner than expected. A post-Biya political opening might provide a way for Cameroon’ s Anglophones to claim their long-awaited autonomy.

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/cameroon/2018-11-08/whats-driving-conflict-cameroon?cid=soc-tw
    #Cameroun #conflit #Cameroun_anglophone #violence #différent_territorial #autonomie

  • OHCHR | Committee on the Elimination of Racial #Discrimination reviews the report of China
    https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23452&LangID=E

    GAY MCDOUGALL, Committee Co-Rapporteur for China, raised concern about the numerous and credible reports that in the name of combatting “religious extremism” and maintaining “social stability”, the State party had turned the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region into something that resembled a massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy , a “no rights zone”, while members of the Xinjiang Uyghur minority, along with others who were identified as Muslim, were being treated as enemies of the State based on nothing more than their ethno-religious identity. The Co-Rapporteur noted reports of mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, and estimates that upwards of a million people were being held in so-called counter-extremism centres and another two million had been forced into so-called “re-education camps” for political and cultural indoctrination. All the detainees had their due process rights violated, while most had never been charged with an offense, tried in a court of law, or afforded an opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention.

    #Chine

  • [Forum] | Trump : A Resister’s Guide | Harper’s Magazine - Part 11
    https://harpers.org/archive/2017/02/trump-a-resisters-guide/11

    y Kate Crawford

    Dear Technologists:

    For the past decade, you’ve told us that your products will change the world, and indeed they have. We carry tiny networked computers with us everywhere, we control “smart” home appliances at a remove, we communicate with our friends and family over online platforms, and now we are all part of the vast Muslim registry known as Facebook. Almost 80 percent of American internet users belong to the social network, and many of them happily offer up their religious affiliation. The faith of those who don’t, too, can be easily deduced with a little data-science magic; in 2013, a Cambridge University study accurately detected Muslims 82 percent of the time, using only their Facebook likes. The industry has only become better at individual targeting since then.

    You’ve created simple, elegant tools that allow us to disseminate news in real time. Twitter, for example, is very good at this. It’s also a prodigious disinformation machine. Trolls, fake news, and hate speech thrived on the platform during the presidential campaign, and they show few signs of disappearing now. Twitter has likewise made it easier to efficiently map the networks of activists and political dissenters. For every proud hashtag — #BlackLivesMatter, #ShoutYourAbortion, the anti-deportation campaign #Not1More — there are data sets that reveal the identities of the “influencers” and “joiners” and offer a means of tracking, harassing, and silencing them.

    You may intend to resist, but some requests will leave little room for refusal. Last year, the U.S. government forced Yahoo to scan all its customers’ incoming emails, allegedly to find a set of characters that were related to terrorist activity. Tracking emails is just the beginning, of course, and the FBI knows it. The most important encryption case to date hinged on the FBI’s demand that Apple create a bespoke operating system that would allow the government to intentionally undermine user security whenever it impeded an investigation. Apple won the fight, but that was when Obama was in office. Trump’s regime may pressure the technology sector to create back doors in all its products, widen surveillance, and weaken the security of every networked phone, vehicle, and thermostat.

    There is precedent for technology companies assisting authoritarian regimes. In 1880, after watching a train conductor punch tickets, Herman Hollerith, a young employee of the U.S. Census Bureau, was inspired to design a punch-card system to catalogue human traits. The Hollerith Machine was used in the 1890 census to tabulate markers such as race, literacy level, gender, and country of origin. During the 1930s, the Third Reich used the same system, under the direction of a German subsidiary of International Business Machines, to identify Jews and other ethnic groups. Thomas J. Watson, IBM’s first president, received a medal from Hitler for his services. As Edwin Black recounts in IBM and the Holocaust, there was both profit and glory to be had in providing the computational services for rounding up the state’s undesirables. Within the decade, IBM served as the information subcontractor for the U.S. government’s Japanese-internment camps.

    You, the software engineers and leaders of technology companies, face an enormous responsibility. You know better than anyone how best to protect the millions who have entrusted you with their data, and your knowledge gives you real power as civic actors. If you want to transform the world for the better, here is your moment. Inquire about how a platform will be used. Encrypt as much as you can. Oppose the type of data analysis that predicts people’s orientation, religion, and political preferences if they did not willingly offer that information. Reduce the quantity of personal information that is kept. And when the unreasonable demands come, the demands that would put activists, lawyers, journalists, and entire communities at risk, resist wherever you can. History also keeps a file.

    #Silicon_valley #Fichage #Médias_sociaux #Chiffrement #Ethique

  • The world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis is taking place in Myanmar. Here’s why. - Vox
    https://www.vox.com/world/2017/9/18/16312054/rohingya-muslims-myanmar-refugees-violence

    Entire villages have been burned to the ground. Women have been raped. Rohingya refugees report that soldiers shot at them as they fled. Along the border with Bangladesh, there are reports that the military has laid land mines to ensure those fleeing won’t return. Though independent observers have no access to the region, the Myanmar government now says 175 villages in the region — 30 percent of all Rohingya villages — are empty.

    “We are hearing really horrendous stories of people who have survived by the skin of their teeth,” Paolo Lubrano, an Oxfam worker in Cox’s Bazar, a town on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, told me by Skype Friday morning. Lubrano described “dire violence” and an enormous number of very young, and very traumatized, Rohingya refugees. Among those fleeing Myanmar, he added, are many pregnant women who have been walking for three, four, or even five days to find safety.

    The military calls the campaign a “clearance” operation against an insurgent terrorist military group. They claim the crackdown is in response to a series of armed attacks on border police by Rohingya militants on August 25 that left 12 officers dead, the second such type of attacks in the past 12 months. But observers say that though armed Rohingya insurgents exist, their overall numbers are small, and they are poorly equipped. And the crackdown has affected the entire ethnic group.

    Meanwhile, in a Facebook post on Sunday, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of Myanmar’s military, was dismissive: “They have demanded recognition as Rohingya, which has never been an ethnic group in Myanmar.”

    Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, has dubbed this crisis a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Some are going further — saying the country is tipping toward crimes against humanity and even possibly genocide. On September 14, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke out about the “horrors that we are witnessing occurring in Burma.”

    • Exclusive: Facebook Silences Rohingya Reports of Ethnic Cleansing
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-rohingya-activists-say-facebook-silences-them

      Rohingya activists—in Burma and in Western countries—tell The Daily Beast that Facebook has been removing their posts documenting the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people in Burma (also known as Myanmar). They said their accounts are frequently suspended or taken down.

      The Rohingya people are a Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma. They face extraordinary persecution and violence from the Burmese military; military personnel torch villages, murder refugees, and force hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

      Human rights watchdogs say the persecution has intensified in recent months, and a top UN official described a renewed offensive by the Burmese military as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh. Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for reduced military cooperation with the Burmese government because of the violence.

      Rohingya people trying to use social media to share information about the attacks on them tell The Daily Beast they have had their posts removed and their accounts shut down, and that they hope Facebook stops silencing them.

      A Facebook representative told The Daily Beast the company would look into the situation. “We want Facebook to be a place where people can share responsibly, and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience,” said Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja in a statement. “That’s why we have Community Standards, which outline what type of sharing is allowed on Facebook and what type of content may be reported to us and removed. Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards. In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards.”

      Facebook is currently facing substantial criticism for what appears to be an indifferent attitude toward promoting divisive material. Last week, ProPublica revealed that the network sold ads tailored to “Jew haters.” Days earlier, The Daily Beast reported that Russian front groups used Facebook to

  • Before the flood: can the Bunong culture survive Cambodia’s Sesan II dam?
    https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/before-the-flood-can-the-bunong-culture-survive-cambodias-sesan-ii-da
    Encore une histoire de #barrage

    When completed, the Lower Sesan II dam will inundate 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres) of forest and force 5,000 people to relocate, activists say.
    The Bunong, an ethnic minority group whose livelihood and culture depends on the river and the forest, will be among the most affected by the dam.
    Even before the dam is completed, Bunong villages like Kbal Romeas have been divided, as some residents accept compensation packages while others staunchly refuse to leave their land.

    #Cambodge #peuples_autochtones #terres

  • The Inaccuracies of South Asian Maps | The Diplomat

    http://thediplomat.com/2015/02/the-inaccuracies-of-south-asian-maps

    An otherwise excellent Washington Post article last week featured a map of where the Pashtun ethnic group lived Afghanistan and Pakistan that triggered a pet-peeve of mine: the fact that many non-political maps of South Asia are inaccurate. By inaccurate, I do not mean to say that they are deliberately wrong. Indeed, the Washington Post ethnic map of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan is generally correct in its basic contours. However, it is not so in its details, and the zone of Pashtun inhabitation seems splashed around throughout Afghanistan, without a level of accuracy that I would think be necessary for such a map.

    This is a problem, and not merely an academic or esoteric one. Because the demographics of a province or region in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India are important to demarcating provincial boundaries, governance, administration, and education, they matter. Additionally, historical maps of the region face similar problems – a lack of exactitude – that can be problematic, especially as territorial claims and arguments about traditional civilizational boundaries or spheres of influence matter in South Asia. While it is true that pre-modern mapping in South Asia did not display the level of accuracy that modern maps do and that South Asian norms of territoriality were different, there is still no reason that modern mapmakers should not try to be accurate in mapping ethnic groups and historical boundaries. A similar level of accuracy can be seen in historical and demographic maps of Europe, including those of the Roman Empire.

    #cartographie #asie #propagande #manipulation

  • Africa’s borders split over 177 ethnic groups, and their ’real’ lines aren’t where you think | Mail & Guardian Africa

    http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-01-09-africas-real-borders-are-not-where-you-think

    Via Elisabeth Vallet toujours

    If we were to redraw Africa’s borders to have each ethnic group in their own country, we would have at least 2,000 countries
    Sign in Botswana: turn left for Namibia, right for Zimbabwe and Zambia. (Photo: Flickr/ Guitarfish).


    Sign in Botswana: turn left for Namibia, right for Zimbabwe and Zambia. (Photo: Flickr/ Guitarfish).

    AFRICA’S arbitrary borders have done much to foment strife and instability on the continent. Partitioning communities, the argument goes, has led to artificial borders, ethnic struggles, and spurred civil conflict and underdevelopment.

    Look at a map of Africa and you will notice the many clean lines. Nearly half (44%) of Africa’s borders are straight lines or follow lines of latitude or longitude, splitting at least 177 ethnic groups in two or more countries.

    It’s obviously impractical to have all Africa’s ethnic groups with their own country, simply because Africa is such a diverse place. If we were to redraw Africa’s borders to have each ethnic group in their own country, we would have at least 2,000 countries.

    #afrique #frontières

  • The politics of nation-building: making co-nationals, refugees, and minorities | Harris Mylonas

    What drives a state’s choice to assimilate, accommodate, or exclude ethnic groups within its territory? In this talk, Harris Mylonas speaks on his book, The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities (Cambridge University Press, 2013), in which he argues that a state’s nation-building policies toward non-core groups – any aggregation of individuals perceived as an ethnic group by the ruling elite of a state – are influenced by both its foreign policy goals and its relations with the external patrons of these groups.

    Through a detailed study of the Balkans, Mylonas shows that how a state treats a non-core group within its own borders is determined largely by whether the state’s foreign policy is revisionist or cleaves to the international status quo, and whether it is allied or in rivalry with that group’s external patrons. Mylonas injects international politics into the study of nation-building, building a bridge between international relations and the comparative politics of ethnicity and nationalism. This is the first book to explain systematically how the politics of ethnicity in the international arena determine which groups are assimilated, accommodated or annihilated by their host states.

    http://www.rsc.ox.ac.uk/news/the-politics-of-nation-building-making-co-nationals-refugees-and-minoritie

    #nation #nationalisme #réfugiés #asile #migration #minorité #construction_nationale

  • Creating digital maps to help preserve cultural heritage of Russian community

    http://phys.org/news/2014-01-digital-cultural-heritage-russian.html

    Indigenous communities from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula are dealing with an issue of great concern – the possible impending loss of the Itelmen language, which, in the community of 4,000, is only spoken by roughly one dozen elders.

    To ensure that younger generations of the Itelmen ethnic group retain their heritage, University of Arizona anthropologist Benedict Colombi and Tatiana Degai, an Itelmen student pursuing a doctorate in American Indian Studies at the UA, have been working with the community in partnership with Google Earth Outreach, a program supporting non-profit organizations raising awareness of global issues, to create interactive and engaging digital maps of locations that hold cultural and historic significance.

    The maps will be customized versions of Google Maps, with information specific to the Kamchatka area, located in far eastern Russia. The maps will be accessible to the world just like other Google maps, although some of the information specific to the community – such as hunting areas – will be visible only to the Kamchatka community.

    #cartographie_participative #russie #kamtchatka #peuples_autochtones