Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace http://cpt.org/rss.xml en “We will start all over again”: Palestinians face a surge of home demolitions http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/08/19/we-will-start-all-over-again-palestinians-face-surge-home-demolitions <span>“We will start all over again”: Palestinians face a surge of home demolitions</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/19/2019 - 13:05</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/1111-1024x683_1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Early in the morning of 22 July, more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers and government workers arrived to Sur Bahir in the southern area of East Jerusalem and aggressively began the process of <a href="https://mondoweiss.net/2019/07/devastation-outrage-palestinian/">demolishing 70 Palestinian homes</a>. Alongside the sheer magnitude of the destruction, these home demolitions were particularly concerning in that the Palestinian homeowners had permission to build from the Palestinian Authority, as Sur Bahir is located in Area A, and these demolitions could set a <a href="https://www.nrc.no/news/demolitions-in-sur-baher-set-dangerous-precedent-for-palestinian-communities2/">dangerous precedent</a>.</p> <p>Home demolitions violate <a href="https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/index.html">universal human rights</a> and attack the most basic necessity of any family – the need to have shelter and a place to call one’s own. Israeli Occupying Forces have a practice of not only demolishing family dwellings, but also the surrounding infrastructure, such as schools, water cisterns, and community centres.</p> <p>During the month of July, Israeli forces have carried out six demolitions in the greater Hebron area, according to the <a href="https://www.hebronfreedomfund.org/">Hebron Freedom Fund</a>. On 10 July, Israeli bulldozers demolished a caravan in Idhna, a village just west of Hebron, claiming that the caravan was too close to Israel’s apartheid wall – the same reason given for the massive demolitions in Sur Bahir. On 11 July, Israeli forces issued a demolition order for the Hebron home belonging to Issam Tumaizy and an order to halt construction to Palestinian farmer Amjad Islaimaya, both with the reason that they did not have building permits. On 13 July, the Israeli military raided areas of H1 Hebron (under Palestinian Authority control), put up mobile checkpoints, and delivered a home demolition order notice to Mohammed Ali Al-Allami, despite Mohammed having all of the necessary legal documents for his home construction.</p> <p>On 16 July, Israeli forces demolished an irrigation pool that the Ziad al-Jabari family used to water their crops in H2 Hebron, next to the Kiryat Arba Israeli settlement.</p> <p>CPT recently followed-up with brothers Bara’ and Lafe al-Rajabi, whose home in the Jabal Johar neighborhood of Hebron was <a href="https://web.facebook.com/cptpalestine/videos/2695029480572370/">demolished by Israeli forces</a> in June. “We have been here before,” they told visiting CPTers. Israeli military forces destroyed one of their large dairy farms 17 years ago. The brothers commented on their good fortune, compared with many other Palestinians who face demolitions, by saying that at least they still have their original home to live in, overcrowded though it is. The family is not homeless, and they still have each other. However, one of their main challenges is that after placing all of their savings into the construction, the family now has no money left to pay the bill that Israeli authorities presented them for the demolition. “We will start all over again,” they said. “But this time, we will save up for some of the more expensive land in Area A. We will make sure this doesn’t happen to us again.”</p> <p>Demolitions have long been a tool of Israeli settler colonialism. According to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (<a href="https://icahd.org/">ICAHD</a>), Israeli Occupying Forces have demolished over 49,000 structures since 1967. Since 2006, Israeli authorities have demolished at least 1,440 residential units across the West Bank, causing 6,336 Palestinians to become homeless. The rate of demolitions has been increasing, according to <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/data/demolition">UN-OCHA</a>, with Israeli forces demolishing over 201 structures in Palestinian communities and displacing 295 people since the beginning of 2019. The rate of demolitions increased significantly in 2016, with Israeli forces demolishing an average of 14 structures monthly. The highest number of demolitions ever recorded in one month was when Israeli forces demolished 63 homes and other structures in April 2019. The most common reason given by Israeli authorities for <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/theme/destruction-of-property">demolitions</a> is the absence of a building permit or license to build.&nbsp; In reality, according to Oxfam, Israel <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/countries/occupied-palestinian-territory-and-israel/what-oxfams-position-israel-palestine-conflict">denies more than 95% of the applications to build</a> that come from residents in Area C—which includes the area around Hebron and the South Hebron Hills.&nbsp; Since the lawyer’s fees, land survey fees, and paperwork for the application can cost thousands of dollars, Area C Palestinians living in overcrowded housing are in a lose/lose situation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt; line-height: 15.693333625793457px; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Cambria; caret-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none;"><span lang="ES-HN"><o:p></o:p></span></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1416" hreflang="en">al-Khalil (Hebron)</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 19 Aug 2019 18:05:45 +0000 Kathy Kern 12251 at http://cpt.org COLOMBIA| Update on Micoahumado http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/08/13/colombia-update-micoahumado <span>COLOMBIA| Update on Micoahumado</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/13/2019 - 12:13</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="338" src="/sites/default/files/8e7d354f-e5ee-4ddf-aa2a-8501bddcff0d.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>On 25 July, CPT Colombia invited you all to stand for peace and justice in Micoahumado. With joy and gratitude we announced that just about 300 people signed the petition to ask the most relevant government authorities in Colombia to <b> </b></p> <ul> <li><b>pay attention to </b>the recommendations of the Imminent Early Warning Report issued in April 2019 regarding the threats resulting of the presence of the National Army and the ELN in the region</li> <li><b>respect </b>the rights and integrity of the detainees and see that they receive due legal process.</li> </ul> <p>Since the early morning of 15 July when nine community members were arrested by state forces and over 400 people decided to protest blocking a main regional road the predicament of Micoahumado has attracted the attention of increasing numbers of people. On 2 August, with representatives from several national institutions, the government carried out a verification mission to Micoahumado with the purpose of gathering evidence on the current situation in the region and collecting the testimonies of the witnesses to the arrests. The community continues to claim that these arrests were carried out with several irregularities.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the Ministry of Interior has only promised more militarization of the region and insists on an unconditional support of the public forces. This response raises great concerns from a human rights perspective. It requires the armed forces to have continuous supervision, appropriate training and mechanisms of accountability, all criteria, which the military often do not meet.</p> <p>CPT Colombia will continue accompanying the community of Micoahumado and support their struggle for peace.<b> If you want to support civil peace initiatives like theirs, please consider donating to Christian Peacemaker Teams so we can continue this work.</b></p> <ul> <li><a data-drupal-link-system-path="node/12225" href="/donate">Donate</a></li> </ul> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 13 Aug 2019 17:13:19 +0000 Kathy Kern 12249 at http://cpt.org Humanitarian Crisis in #Micoahumado, Colombia:  Take Action Now. http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/25/humanitarian-crisis-micoahumado-colombia-take-action-now <span>Humanitarian Crisis in #Micoahumado, Colombia:  Take Action Now.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/25/2019 - 14:27</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="397" src="/sites/default/files/DSC4347_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Since 2002 Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has accompanied farmers and miners in the township of Micoahumado, which lies in the southern region of Bolivar Department. With the accompaniment of CPT and other organizations, the community had the courage to initiate a negotiation process with the ELN guerrilla group and with paramilitaries, demanding both groups respect the community’s humanitarian and civilian areas.&nbsp; The groups agreed to stay away from Micoahumado. The community then formed the Permanent People’s Assembly for Life, Peace and Justice. In the words of its leaders,&nbsp; “the community has lived in relative peace for the past 15 years, until the army arrived last February.”</p> <p>Since 2 February 2019, with the arrival of the national army, the community has been caught in hostilities between the ELN and the Colombian army, and has suffered three assassinations. Facing the humanitarian crisis in Micoahumado, the Defensoría del Pueblo (National Ombudsman Office) issued an Early Warning Report alerting those concerned about the community about its extreme vulnerability and how it has been stigmatized by those in power, due to the historical presence of the ELN. “How is it possible that, after the Defensoría del Pueblo issues an Early Warning Report demanding the Colombian State to guarantee our rights and to take corresponding actions to protect the civilian population, they now arrive to arrest us and infringe even more on our rights?” Pablo Santiago asked the officers of the Defensoría del Pueblo and the local Ombudsman. The Early Warning Report refers to the judicial process against social leaders in 2017, when a judge revoked an order for incarceration after ruling that the prosecutor was seeking media attention and failed to present reasonable proof of guilt. The community considers the detention of farmers a case of “judicial false-positives.”</p> <p>Despite the recommendations of the Defensoría del Pueblo and official public complaints of increased violence issued by the community, in the early morning of 15 July 2019, the police and the national army arrested nine people. According to the testimony of community members, the public forces entered violently, shooting, breaking doors and causing damage to the houses, dragging people out by force and in the presence of children. They did not allow the detainees to put on their clothes and shoes. Then, when the community approached the military base where the authorities were holding the detainees, the army responded with tear gas and additional violence.</p> <p>To read more about the military invasion and the arrests, click <a href="https://www.newsclick.in/Colombia-Peasant-Leaders-Arrested">here</a>.</p> <p>Please sign this letter to the relevant authorities to request their immediate attention to the extremely risky situation for the community of Micoahumado, the implementation of the recommendations of the Early Warning Report, their respect for due process and the judicial guarantees for those who have been arrested.</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.ecapcolombia.org/en/2019/07/humanitarian-crisis-in-micoahumado/">Sign the petition</a> and help us amplify the voices of Micoahumado and all the people in the South of Bolivar!</b></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 25 Jul 2019 19:27:45 +0000 Kathy Kern 12244 at http://cpt.org PALESTINE: Passage through the checkpoint--experiences of Palestinian women in Hebron http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/18/palestine-passage-through-checkpoint-experience-palestinian-women-hebron <span>PALESTINE: Passage through the checkpoint--experiences of Palestinian women in Hebron</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/18/2019 - 12:04</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/123-1024x683_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>In the Israeli-controlled H2 area of al-Khalil (Hebron), Palestinian women and girls moving around their neighbourhoods encounter a number of obstacles to their freedom and security vis-a-vis Israeli military, border police, and settlers. The checkpoint, however, is an unpredictable and isolated site of male control, where no one can see what happens, or guess how long the passage might be. At one of the 21 permanently-staffed&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/content/movement-restrictions-west-bank-roads-tightened">checkpoints in H2</a>, a woman might have her ID checked, bags inspected, or encounter demands that she submit to a body search, often when no female soldiers are present.</p> <p>During community meetings with CPT, women living or working in H2 Hebron reported that military personnel periodically ask them to remove their hijabs and other articles of clothing when going through the checkpoint turnstile. The soldiers know that the regular pressure for the women to expose themselves is stressful and degrading to women, yet they often disregard if not actively undermine respect for their gender, cultural or religious rights. The pattern of male-conducted ‘security checks’ by Israeli forces in Palestinian neighbourhoods, and accompanying abuse of power, clearly violates international treaties on basic human rights. The UN Human Rights Committee specifies, “Persons being subjected to body search by State officials, or medical personnel acting at the request of the State, should only be examined by persons of the same sex.”*</p> <p>Women in the community describe Israeli personnel forcing them into the uncomfortable or dangerous position of having to stand up in defense of their rights to refuse inspection, from visual checks to strip search. Other outcomes include longer detention of 20 minutes or more, Israeli forces sending them elsewhere for additional ‘security checks’ and continued harassment – often ultimately without female soldiers ultimately inspecting them.</p> <p>Palestinian teachers working in H2 explain furthermore that, although the soldiers know who they are – and perhaps because of this – these soldiers regularly stop and search them. Sometimes after the soldiers check their IDs are checked, they must go to the police station for escalated investigation, preventing their arrival to work on time, and interfering with their students’ right to education. While navigating certain barriers, female teachers also note soldiers deliberately shutting heavy metal gates on them so as to hit the women’s bodies, injuring hands and feet. Forced transfer to additional security sites under male military escort, as well as routine closure of roads and checkpoints, which require them to take alternative routes through alleys and residential areas, create additional risks and insecurities for women and girls.</p> <p>One female teacher living in al-Khalil (Hebron) described a particularly disturbing incident. While a soldier searched her at the checkpoint, she caught him trying to plant a knife in her purse: “I stopped him and told him I could see what he was doing.” She was afraid that he would accuse her of an attempted stabbing as an excuse to detain or even kill her. This fear is based in the reality of multiple cases of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/israeli-forces-must-end-pattern-of-unlawful-killings-in-west-bank/">extrajudicial killings</a>&nbsp;of women and girls, often connected to allegations of attempted attacks or possession of knives. The shootings of local Hebron girls, 18-year-old Hadil al-Hashlamoun; Dania Jihad Hussein Ershied, aged 17; and 14-year-old Kuleizar al-Eweiwi during 2015-2016 remain in the city’s collective memory.</p> <p>The harassment and violence that Palestinian women and girls face in navigating the Israeli roadblocks impact the way they move through their communities and access opportunities and healthcare. As CPTers journey with them, they see that some women are speaking up in defense of their rights, refusing body searches and questioning soldiers, while some are going further to support others facing harassment and violence. One female human rights defender described her efforts to open up the conversation among young women in her community, acting as a focal point or informal hotline to share information and talk about their experiences.</p> <p>Female educators also have a key role in leading girls and their families in preserving a sense of normal life and community amidst the checkpoints. At a local girls school, one principal has created a beautiful, child-friendly environment quite different from other schools in the area. Her intention is to make the school a place “where students can breathe.” The school has hosted workshops providing psychosocial care for children coping with trauma, as well as hosting community workshops around women’s rights, and responding to emergencies to improve family relations and resiliency. Educators are some of the strongest actors in defending the rights of children and their families, advocating as community leaders near the checkpoints, and negotiating the safe passage of students in the streets.</p> <p>Palestinian communities, struggling to ensure the rights and honour of women and girls, face immense challenges to transform cycles of gender-based violence under the weight of military Occupation. With each headline of Palestinian women assaulted or killed at checkpoints, it is all the more important to recognize the efforts and the resistance of women right where they are. As a starting point, we must look and listen for the stories women and girls tell from behind the barriers, on the margins, in their classrooms, in their homes, where they are the center of family life, and in their communities, where they keep people connected across structures of division and violence</p> <p><i>With thanks to the women and girls, teachers and community leaders who shared their stories with CPT.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>*Human Rights Committee, General Comment 16, (Twenty-third session, 1988), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.1 at 21 (1994).</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1416" hreflang="en">al-Khalil (Hebron)</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 18 Jul 2019 17:04:55 +0000 Kathy Kern 12242 at http://cpt.org PALESTINE: Life in the Seam Zone Village of Al-Seefer http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/12/palestine-life-seam-zone-village-al-seefer <span>PALESTINE: Life in the Seam Zone Village of Al-Seefer</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/12/2019 - 13:25</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/6V7A6944-2-1-1024x683_0.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>On Saturday 1 June, during Ramadan, two CPTers were accompanying community partners in at-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. While they were there, the Bedouin community in Al-Seefer invited the CPTers to share an iftar meal with them and the CPTers accepted with delight.</p> <p>Al-Seefer village is in the Seam Zone, meaning the village lies within Palestinian West Bank territory between the 1949 Armistice Line (the internationally recognised border between Israel and Palestine) and the Separation Barrier that Israel has built, allegedly for “security” reasons. The village is surrounded by Israeli settlements that are illegal under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and there is an Israeli military checkpoint close by. Palestinians living there, even though they are still in Palestinian territory, are cut off from the rest of the West Bank and require special permits to enter the Seam Zone.</p> <p>During the iftar meal, the residents of Al-Seefer shared with members of CPT Palestine more about life in the Seam Zone. The villagers, about 60 in total (13 families), may not enter Israel, and their friends and family in the West Bank cannot visit them since they do not have the required permits. Israel has trapped them in what is almost a prison with little access to the most basic of facilities like water and electricity, and their children struggle desperately to access their right to an education. <a href="https://www.unicef.org/adolescence/oPt_62454.html">According to UNICEF</a>, what should be just a 15-minute walk to school is usually about an hour as children have to negotiate their way past Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint, pass through a scanner, have every bag searched, and sometimes have to remove their shirts for “security reasons.” In addition, not only do the villagers face the constant threat of home demolitions, but the Israeli authorities also impose strict bans on building permanent structures, and some existing houses are falling derelict as a result.</p> <p>Compounding the villagers’ problems, Israeli settlers often harass and intimidate them. These harassments have included settlers regularly throwing stones at Palestinians, making holes in their water tanks, and destroying their olive and fig trees with chemicals.</p> <p>In addition, the Israeli government has a policy of “forcible transfer” for such Bedouin communities as Al-Seefer so that it can significantly expand many existing settlements. In response to international criticism of this policy, Israel is constructing urban relocation centres for the Bedouin, but they are entirely unsuitable for semi-nomadic people who simply want to cultivate their lands and tend their animals. Abu Khamis, the leader of another Bedouin community, has described this forcible transfer into townships “like Guantanamo to the Bedouin.”</p> <p>One has to ask how the Israeli authorities can use security as an excuse for these human rights abuses.&nbsp; Moreover, how can they negotiate peace based on dignity, mutual respect, and equality when they treat the Palestinians so appallingly?</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1419" hreflang="en">South Hebron Hills</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 12 Jul 2019 18:25:34 +0000 Kathy Kern 12240 at http://cpt.org Turkish Bombs Target Vacation Destination in Iraqi Kurdistan. http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/11/turkish-bombs-target-vacation-destination-iraqi-kurdistan <span>Turkish Bombs Target Vacation Destination in Iraqi Kurdistan.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/11/2019 - 07:19</span> <div><p><img alt="The view of Amedi from Kani Motel." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/59a826c98419c278e3fc88a4/1561899965095-BD4Z8PCAKVNLCX7FIC38/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kFxe9SL9DLSyrSnD0IetuQRZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpwLKFqVG1y8_MjuzNh43VtjRRK0a-RU6m3I3kxh3e83YEC-FwmQ-KuGuZGye_Vcn6g/resize+2.jpeg.JPG" /></p> <h6>The view of Amedi from Kani Motel.</h6> <p>Amedi is an ancient city in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan where people from all over Iraq come to enjoy the historic atmosphere, cool weather and beautiful mountains.&nbsp; It is a tourist destination for people fleeing the heat during the summer months. The Kany Motel and Tahini factory, owned by Kak Ayub, is a favorite of many traveling families and vacationers seeking rest and relaxation.&nbsp; With its cool gardens, beautiful view of the mountains, and amazing hospitality, Ayub’s motel has also been a welcome stopping place for CPT’s Iraqi Kurdistan team over the past decade. Tahini made by Kak Ayub and his small staff has travelled the world, as it is said to be one of the best tahinis in the region and a favourite of CPTers visiting Iraqi Kurdistan. Ayub has hosted many CPT delegations, team trips and even a CPT wedding in his hotel over the years. Unfortunately, CPT’s last trip to visit Kak Ayub was under very different circumstances.</p> <p>On 12 June 2019, The Turkish military dropped a bomb within Amedi, just a few blocks from The Kany Motel and Tahini Factory. The bomb landed just in front of a gas station and a plant shop on the main road. Two workers at the plant shop were injured, the large cement roof of the gas station collapsed, and a huge hole made by the impact still blocks half of the road. Luckily, the gas station was vacant and had no fuel in its tanks or the incident could have been catastrophic.&nbsp; Even so, the explosion did break a large water main.</p> <p><img alt="Ayub with the CPT team outside of his motel and tahini factory." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/59a826c98419c278e3fc88a4/1562501858242-CRZ9Y4QY9QIOCQ8T4OYO/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kKrPXt5izb4XR62xSx3l111Zw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpwxlVrSIFLTXD6Yi1NdkwWk-BjrZfvgGTytBLJ1IqDCIe19UD97cBdUgznaKdi2joM/Copy+of+amedi.jpeg" /></p> <h6>Ayub with the CPT team outside of his motel and tahini factory.</h6> <p>Ayub was at the motel when he heard a large explosion and the building started to shake. The families at the hotel became frightened and tried to flee the town. All but one family left, but the incident was not over. Twenty minutes after the first bomb landed, the people of Amedi heard another loud explosion and the mountain next to the motel began to rumble and shake.&nbsp; Turkish warplanes circled overhead through the night and into the next day. Traffic blocked the main road for hours.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><b>“Imagine not feeling safe to walk in the streets,” Ayub said as he recalled the events of that evening.&nbsp;</b></p> <p>For several decades the Turkish military has carried out operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Often these airstrikes take place in remote areas where small villages and shepherd communities live. Ayub said this was the first time he recalled the Turkish military directly targeting the town of Amedi. Residents of Amedi say they saw no PKK members in the area and still wonder why Turkey targeted their town.</p> <p><img alt="The gas station in Amedi after being hit by a Turkish airstrike." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/59a826c98419c278e3fc88a4/1561899892558-TAS6KR1MKXTCOHGYG2R9/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kFpPZGNi4HJqfsssJ5uShXRZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpwJVldmLmaWAGZsoeyODo8DyFaQGN-nAtiNnjxG5Z7UZA0TgFrkKUD0egGUmQ8R4VA/100_5334.JPG" /></p> <h6>The gas station in Amedi after the Turkish airstrike</h6> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 11 Jul 2019 12:19:40 +0000 Kathy Kern 12239 at http://cpt.org Grassy Narrows members crawl across Bay Street in Toronto as a symbolic witness http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/09/grassy-narrows-members-crawl-across-bay-street-toronto-symbolic-witness <span>Grassy Narrows members crawl across Bay Street in Toronto as a symbolic witness</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/09/2019 - 09:12</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/20190620_141045-1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Photo: Murray Lumley</h6> <p>by David Milne</p> <p>On 20 June, several members from Grassy Narrows First Nation crawled across Bay Street in downtown Toronto toward the front doors of the building holding the office of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Their chief and elders, many in wheel chairs, looked on. They were enacting how the Canadian government forced them to beg for help and restitution from the effects of mercury poisoning.&nbsp; Once they reached the entrance on their hands and knees, they collapsed, demonstrating how even when they crawl and beg, they are left in the street to die.&nbsp; This action took place in the middle of the 2019 River Run, in which hundreds of people joined the members of Grassy Narrows march through the streets of Toronto demanding justice.</p> <p>Between 1960 and the early 70s the Reed International Paper Company in Dryden, Ontario dumped 9 thousand kilograms of methylmercury into the English-Wabigoon river system.</p> <p>Mercury poisoning, also known as Minamata disease, has terrible effects that include hearing and vision loss, muscle weakness, and neurological impairment, among others. Mental illness and suicide accompany the physical effects of the disease.</p> <p>A recent study determined that 90% of the Grassy Narrows First Nation population and its neighbour, Whitedog First Nation, suffer some effects of mercury poisoning.&nbsp; That percentage includes youth as well as the elderly.</p> <p>For decades the provincial and federal governments stalled, trying to suppress the facts of the deadly effects of mercury poisoning. They pointed fingers at each other but took little action.</p> <p>The current Canadian Federal government promised to build a treatment home for the sick in the community of Grassy Narrows but to date only 1% of the money has reached the community.&nbsp; Some money has been set aside for compensation but the community members have seen little of it.</p> <p>When the mercury poisoning came to light in the 1970s, the commercial fishery, a source of employment for many in the community, shut down. Fish, a staple of the Grassy Narrows diet, became toxic.</p> <p>As a settler and one of over 450 supporters taking part in the 2019 River Run, I could feel only shame that members from Grassy Narrows felt they had to beg for help. Yet they have been coming to Queen’s Park for a decade and petitioning the current Prime Minister and his predecessors to take action.</p> <p>Despite the shame, I still found hope in the respectful silence and attentiveness of onlookers as the march wound its way through downtown Toronto on a busy Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>I hope too that some of you will visit Grassy Narrows’ Facebook page, <a href="https://you.leadnow.ca./petitions/deliver-immediate-and-comprehensive-mercury-justice-for-the-people-of-grassy-narrows">sign the petition</a>, and/or call or write our Prime Minister demanding justice and redress for the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. &nbsp;A donation to help defray their expenses would also be appreciated.</p> <p><a href="http://bit.ly/Donate2Grassy">http://bit.ly/Donate2Grassy</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/20190620_141126.jpg" width="600" /></p> <h6>Photo: Murray Lumley</h6> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1404" hreflang="en">Indigenous Peoples Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1397" hreflang="en">Canada</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 09 Jul 2019 14:12:52 +0000 Kathy Kern 12237 at http://cpt.org IRAQI KURDISTAN:  “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably” —Turkey bombs shepherds around Bagova http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/04/iraqi-kurdistan-until-we-have-peace-we-can-not-live-comfortably-turkey-bombs <span>IRAQI KURDISTAN:  “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably” —Turkey bombs shepherds around Bagova</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/04/2019 - 11:03</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/resize%2BCopy%2Bof%2BIMG_6123_0.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>Aihan was looking after his family’s flock of sheep when the Turkish bombing began.</h6> <p>As villagers from Bagova led our CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan team down the road we were all keenly aware of the large Turkish outpost lined with razor wire and bunkers of sandbags looming just over the next hill to the left. We were also aware of the large mountain to the right, a suspected area of operations for the PKK. We scanned the hilltops for military movement, but it wasn’t until we stopped that we noticed the young boy tending his family’s sheep in the field between these two forces. He was in that same field three weeks earlier, unnoticed by fighter jets, as Turkish bombs rained down.</p> <p>On 7 June 2019 an armed clash between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish soldiers stationed at a Turkish outpost near Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan broke out. As a response, the Turkish military sent planes and drones to bomb the surrounding hills and valleys. The bombs sent deadly shrapnel flying throughout the area and the impact caused windows to break in neighboring villages.</p> <p>Aihan, age 13, was with his mother tending to their flock of sheep that day. When the Turkish Air Force began to bomb, the two of them were stuck on the side of the mountain. Aihan told CPT that, with their herd, they made their way as fast as they could down to the main road. Aihan told CPTers that he was so terrified by the falling bombs that he passed out in the field. Aihan’s father, Kak Sanhan, quickly drove from their home in Bagova to help his family escape. Kak Sanhan told CPT that as they began to flee the area, a bomb fell near their truck. The explosion killed seventy-two of their animals and forced their truck off the road where it flipped over four times. Kak Sanhan’s wife, Shems Khan, was badly injured as the truck rolled. She had a severe wound on her head requiring several stitches and sustained injuries to her arm. Three weeks later Shem’s injuries are still visible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="450" src="/sites/default/files/resize%2BCopy%2Bof%2BIMG_6092.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>A local villager pointing out an area that is frequently bombed.</h6> <p>Residents of four neighboring villages spoke to CPT on June 20, 2019. In this area raising cattle provides an important source of income. All the villagers had stories of shepherds trapped in fields, animals dying and people taking cover behind rocks during Turkish bombings. “We only need peace” one man told CPTers. Villagers said that either the Turkish outpost or the PKK needed to leave. All the villagers agreed on one thing, that a diplomatic and peaceful agreement needed to be reached soon. Kak Sanhan added, “Until we have peace, we can not live comfortably.”</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 04 Jul 2019 16:03:04 +0000 Kathy Kern 12236 at http://cpt.org Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 July 2019  Borderlands http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/03/prayers-peacemakers-3-july-2019-borderlands <span>Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 July 2019  Borderlands</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Wed, 07/03/2019 - 11:08</span> <div><h6><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="341" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.05.53%20AM_0.png" width="600" /><br /> From the Office of the Inspector General <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2019-07/OIG-19-51-Jul19_.pdf">report</a></h6> <p>Pray for all those detained in concentration camps at the U.S./Mexico Border and in other U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Facilities.&nbsp; Give thanks for those who are trying to shine a light on the racist and misogynistic Border Patrol culture that is threatening the lives and the health of the children, women and men held in these camps.&nbsp; Inspire people on the outside to find creative ways to confront and overturn this evil, before it turns into something worse.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="331" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.04.06%20AM.png" width="600" /></p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="292" src="/sites/default/files/Screen%20Shot%202019-07-03%20at%2010.04.47%20AM.png" width="600" /></p> <p>From the Office of the Inspector General <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2019-07/OIG-19-51-Jul19_.pdf">report</a></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1396" hreflang="en">Borderlands</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1409" hreflang="en">Mexico</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 03 Jul 2019 16:08:41 +0000 Kathy Kern 12235 at http://cpt.org A CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan delegate wishes more people would visit the people there. http://cpt.org/cptnet/2019/07/02/cpt-iraqi-kurdistan-delegate-wishes-more-people-would-visit-people-there-0 <span>A CPT-Iraqi Kurdistan delegate wishes more people would visit the people there.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/26" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathy Kern</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:49</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/p4_0.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>The CPT Delegation in Rawanduz, enjoying the beauty of Kurdistan.</h6> <p>by Patrycja Wibe</p> <p>The CPT delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan in March 2019 was a unique opportunity for me to learn about life in the region, and to meet people and organisations whose stories usually don’t appear in the international media. Where I come from, all we hear about Iraqi Kurdistan is either the fight against ISIS or the question of independence, when there are so many other issues affecting people’s lives: from daily power cuts to cross-border bombings from Turkey and Iran. The political situation is complex and often hard to understand for outsiders, and the people we met may be divided by their political views, but all of them want peace, freedom and justice.</p> <p>The villagers who had to leave their houses and lands or lost their family members due to the cross-border bombings want these assaults to stop and the Turkish military bases to withdraw from their country. They want to live and work their lands without the fear of military attacks and displacement. The journalists and civil society activists want to carry on their work without the fear of arrest and harassment.</p> <p class="text-align-center">&nbsp;</p> <p class="text-align-center"><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="672" src="/sites/default/files/P2_0.JPG" width="353" /></p> <h6 class="text-align-center">Dida’s town of Sidekan is the victim of numerous Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombardments. Her family struggles to maintain gardens and work amidst the conflict.</h6> <p><br /> The people we met often felt neglected by their government. As one woman from a village affected by cross-border bombings said, “We sit on an ocean of oil, but have no heating for our homes.”</p> <p>We visited an Assyrian Christian village that is unable to get funding for necessities like a proper road or irrigation system for their fields, because they lack political connections.</p> <p>The work that CPT’s partners in Iraqi Kurdistan do against all the obstacles is impressive. Many people have paid a heavy price for their peaceful activism: arrests, blackmail, harassment, and even exile from their country. Some political parties try to suppress freedom of speech and expression by detaining activists and journalists like Sherwan Sherwani and Ghodar Zebari, under the false pretext of being a threat to national security. As Sherwan Sherwani said, “they believe party security is national security”.</p> <p>The authorities also try to bribe independent journalists by offering them work with the government or political parties. But they refuse to give up their principles and moral values and carry on exposing human rights abuses, political corruption, and by organising peaceful demonstrations.</p> <p>I was very moved by the youth group from the town of Ranya, who, despite its lack of resources work on environmental and social awareness issues, and was preparing a tribute for a dog cruelly burned to death. The younger generation is establishing civil society organisations that are independent from the political parties and working for justice and equality for all.</p> <p>I wish that more people could come and discover the rich and diverse cultures of the Kurdish, Yezidi, Assyrian, Arab and other people of Kurdistan, experience their hospitality, and support their peaceful activism.</p> <p>One journalist said that perhaps he hasn’t been killed because of the international involvement in his case. I think that international solidarity is crucial to support human rights activists and organisations in the region.</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/p3.JPG" width="600" /></p> <h6>Participating in an Alternatives to Violence Project activity with the youth group in Ranya.</h6> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 02 Jul 2019 15:49:52 +0000 Kathy Kern 12234 at http://cpt.org