Monday, 28 March 2011


'The harsh everyday realities of life for the majority of people on the African continent lend an urgency to African studies, a deep-felt and sincere aspiration to make scholarship relevant and not simply an activity of the ivory towers'
Abrahamsen, R

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Women, Rape and The Congo

I've just watched the BBC's 'The World's Most Dangerous Place for Women'.

This programme follows a woman going to the Congo after leaving when she was three, she visits her family and then moves on to visit the war-stricken East.

This programme has stunned me.

I've been utterly shocked at the inhumanity of some human beings.

One woman told her story of when soldiers broke into her house; she explains how her husband was attacked with a machete - they cut off his limbs, then his intestines, and he was still pleading with them until they cut out his heart - she was then forced to chew and eat his penis before being laid onto him and raped by 12 men.

Another woman's story was shared of how she was raped and impregnated with twins. When they were 3 years old she was raped again, one of the twins were murdered, and the other also raped. Children as young as 6 months have been raped in the DRC.

When a woman is raped, due to the stigma carried with rape, she is sent out of her home, unwelcome everywhere.

I don't understand how we can sit back and allow this to happen. Civil war has been in the DRC for over 10 years, and yet the UN hasn't intervened.

With such brutality, something must be done...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Human Trafficking, EU Directive

Last week I was asked to write a briefing for a parliamentarian regarding the EU Directive for an internship application. (though it wasn't actually going to parliament)

The EU Directive was on Human Trafficking, it would bring in more regulations on human trafficking and therefore make a greater stance against it.

The UK had decided to opt-out of the Directive, even after the coalition government had said that fighting human trafficking would be of great importance.

This meant that the UK were saying 'no' to placing an increase of difficulties on traffickers. They were showing a lenient stance toward human trafficking. This would have been a grave problem with the Olympics arriving in 2012.

Thankfully, due to increased pressure from civil society groups, the UK have decided to opt-in to the EU Directive. Requiring the UK to place a tougher stance against human trafficking, to provide adequate support for those that have been trafficked (especially children), and to provide better training for those dealing with trafficking situations (police, prosecutors, care workers).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Church and the oppressed

So I'm currently sat in the National Library of Wales doing some research for an essay on the causes of the Rwandan genocide and I've come across a fascinating piece. 

It is a piece by a missioner in Rwanda. 

One passage I think is incredibly vital:

"The Church in Rwanda failed to plead their cause perhaps because, in the Anglican Church at least, the leadership was exclusively Hutu. It raises the issue as to whether the Church should speak up for any group treated unjustly or only when the Church's interests are threatened? In our own context, if a Muslim minority is being discriminated against and treated unjustly, do we protest on their behalf or remain silent because we see Muslims as in competition with us for the religious allegiance of our people?"

"There has been a failure to see that abuse of human beings, created in the image of God, is a very serious issue that the Church cannot ignore if it is to be true to its Lord"

This is such an important thing to remember; as human rights abuses are seen on a global scale, the Church must act, even against those "in competition with us".