Be kind to one another: a call for contributions

The Humane First Movement (HFM), which is a peace movement in Bangladesh, has launched a new campaign in the light of the COVID19 crisis called: “Be Kind to One Another”. The campaign started on the 21st of June and will run until the 20th of September. Through this campaign, the movement aims to highlight the importance of solidarity and of being kind towards one another. The Bangladesh Workgroup at the Hague Peace Projects has joined this campaign as joint advocates of social cohesion and solidarity.

We are therefore announcing a call for contributions, to spread messages of kindness and solidarity beyond geographical boundaries.

The ongoing pandemic has shown us the importance of being kind to one another, and has highlighted our interconnectedness across divides. Do you have a message to share? Do you want to express solidarity with this campaign?

Here is your chance to participate:

  1. Write a message on a piece of paper about the importance of being kind, and add the hashtags: #bekindtooneanother, #behumanefirst #haguepeaceprojects. Take a photograph of this and send it to us! Please remember to mention/tag us, and also to share it on your own social media accounts.
  2. You are also welcome to share short anecdotes- your own motivational stories of solidarity during the pandemic. Please send to: info@thehaguepeace.org. In the subject, please mention “Submission: #bekindtooneanother.”
  3. Language: English primarily. If not, please include a translation along with your message of solidarity.

Note: HFM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with HPP in 2019, agreeing to collaborate as advocates of social cohesion.

By Shucheesmita Simonti

HELP BEAT CORONA BY FOLDING AT HOME

Coronavirus – What FoldingAtHome are doing and how you can help in simple terms

By Folding At Home (F@h)

Visit their website to join this great initiative!

Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data are helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

By visiting Foldingathome.org you can install their program on your computer to run in the background when it’s idle. This runs mathematical equations for protein folding and sends your computed info back to MIT. Folding at Home has been around for a while now, doing research on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers, Cancer, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Right now though, they are working full time on the Coronavirus!

The Coronavirus

Update on Folding@home’s efforts to assist researchers around the world taking up the global fight against COVID-19:

After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@home team has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes.

Threats to Human Rights Defenders in The Netherlands

Foreign human rights activists who work in the Netherlands or live as refugees are regularly victims of threats, intimidation or even violence. Each time there are clear indications that these incidents are organized by the country of origin, with the aim of preventing the human rights activist living in the Netherlands from talking about the human rights situation in the country of origin. This is one of the conclusions from the report “Threats to Human Rights Defenders in the Netherlands” that The Hague Peace Projects published on 17 February 2020.

The report presents the experiences of fifteen human rights defenders who are currently in the Netherlands. Their stories range from online death threats through social media and the hacking of telephones to more extreme incidents such as following a Rwandan activist on the street, a car driving deliberately into a Congolese activist and the sabotage of a Palestinian activist’s car who was in the middle of a lawsuit against Israeli generals.

Just two weeks ago, NOS reported that one of these activists, Waqass Goraya, a well-known blogger from Pakistan, was attacked on the street. He was beaten in front of his home by an unknown man, while a second man filmed the incident. Afterwards they shouted that they would kill him next time. Prior to this escalation, Waqass had already told the researchers that he was regularly threatened online and reported each of these incidents to the police.

Some Uyghur activists say that they are threatened over the phone directly from China. In their case it is not their own lives that are at stake, but that of their family members in China. And indeed, after they refused to give in to the threats by the secret service, their children, parents, brothers and/or sisters disappeared soon after. These activists live in constant stress and fear of what may have happened to their family in their home country.

All activists make it clear that the threats and intimidation have a much wider negative effect than just their own physical and mental well-being and that of their immediate family. They emphasize that these incidents create fear within the entire migrant community of which they are a part. The real effect of threats and violence, organized from countries with oppressive regimes, is that people in the Netherlands do not feel free to express any criticism about their country of origin.

The result of this research demonstrates a serious problem in The Netherlands. Immediate action is necessary. The Hague Peace Projects calling upon the Dutch Government to organize a focal point at one of the ministries, where human rights activists who are threatened could turn to for help and advice. One central focal point could be the Dutch government to keep an eye on foreign threats and to take rapid action against these and possible reprimand the country of origin. The focal point could also help local police services file reports and launch investigations into these kinds of threats because it has been found that there are still shortcomings in that regard.

Threats to Human Rights Defenders in The Netherlands

For more information about the research you can contact Jakob de Jonge: j.dejonge@thehaguepeace.org

Onderzoek bevestigt: negatieve berichtgeving over moslims domineert

The Hague Peace Project heeft onderzoek gedaan naar stereotype beeldvorming in de vier grootste kranten van Nederland. Dit was een samenwerking met Stichting NieuwWij en Republiek Allochtonië.

In de beleving van veel Nederlandse moslims maken landelijke media zich regelmatig schuldig aan partijdige, stereotyperende en overmatig negatieve berichtgeving. Deze klachten worden al jaren geuit en zijn ook in verschillende onderzoeken aan de orde gekomen. Het onderzoek Moslims in Nederlandse kranten bouwt voort op deze traditie: de vier grootste Nederlandse kranten zijn drie maanden lang systematisch geanalyseerd. Wat zijn de resultaten? Hieronder staat een samenvatting, hier is het hele rapport te downloaden.

Onderzoeksvraag

De hoofdvraag van het onderzoek is: Hoe worden moslims in Nederlandse kranten geportretteerd? Historicus Tayfun Balçik van The Hague Peace Projects presenteerde op 21 maart in Amsterdam tijdens een bijeenkomst in Pakhuis De Zwijger, in bijzijn van veel publiek en vertegenwoordigers van de Nederlandse journalistiek, de onderzoeksresultaten.

Resultaten

In het onderzoek zijn van november 2018 tot en met januari 2019 alle berichten over moslims in De Telegraaf, Algemeen Dagblad, de Volkskrant en NRC Handelsblad systematisch onderzocht. De kranten hadden in die periode tussen de 573 en 783 berichten waarin het over moslims ging. Deze vijf categorieën komen het meest voor:

  1. ‘Moslimterreur’;
    • 20% van alle berichten over moslims gaat over terrorisme
    • 83% van alle berichten over terrorisme gaat over ‘moslimterrorisme’
  2. ‘Wij-zij nieuws’ – tussen een verondersteld ‘wij’ die vaak als het ‘westen’, ‘de joods-christelijke cultuur’ wordt gedefinieerd en ‘de moslims’ en/of ‘de islam’ die een ‘bedreiging’ vormen vanwege ‘islamisering’, ‘dubbele loyaliteiten’ enz.;
    • 11% van alle berichten over moslims gaat over een botsing tussen culturen
  3. ‘De onvrije moslima’;
    • 8% van alle berichten over moslims gaat over de ‘onvrije moslima’.
  4. ‘Moslims als (ongewenste) migranten/asielzoekers’;
    • 7% van alle berichten over moslims gaat over moslims als ongewenste migranten/asielzoekers.
  5. Pro-diversiteitsberichtgeving (met o.a. berichtgeving over moslimdiscriminatie & diversiteit).
    • 7% van alle berichten over moslims gaat over de diversiteit en de thema’s die spelen binnen de moslimgemeenschap.

Conclusies

Conclusie 1: Negativiteit domineert

De kwantitatieve en kwalitatieve inhoudsanalyse in de periode van 1-11-2018 t/m 31-1-2019 toont aan dat over ‘de moslims’ en/of ‘de islam’ negatieve berichtgeving domineert:

  • Er bestaat een grote consensus bij alle onderzochte kranten over wie ‘terreurdaden’ plegen: individuele moslims en/of moslimgroepen;
  • Het wij/zij denken in termen van ‘het vrije westen’ en ‘de islamitische ander’ is vaak aanwezig in berichtgeving over ‘de moslims’ en/of ‘de islam’;
  • Het stereotype beeld van de ‘onderdrukte moslima’ is vaak aanwezig in berichtgeving over ‘de moslimvrouw’;
  • Moslimimmigratie wordt vooral als een bedreiging gezien en daarom ongewenst.

Deze negatieve zaken komen qua frequentie en intensiteit (taalgebruik) over het algemeen vaker voor in de Telegraaf en het AD dan in de Volkskrant of NRC. Moslims worden in de Telegraaf en het AD vaker met terreur geassocieerd, in deze kranten is het wij/zij denken sterker, wordt moslimmigratie vaker ongewenst beschouwd en komt het stereotype beeld van de onderdrukte moslima veelvuldiger aan bod.

Conclusie 2: Moslimbetrokkenheid in het nieuws heeft vaker een nuancerende werking

Het lijkt erop dat de mate van moslimbetrokkenheid bij de berichtgeving, als nieuwsmakers of als experts dan wel als sprekers namens de moslims, ook bepalend is voor de mate waarin negatief wordt bericht over ‘de moslims’ en/of ‘de islam’.

Hoewel het zeker niet altijd het geval is, geldt het volgende mechanisme bij een meerderheid van de behandelde thema’s: hoe hoger de moslimbetrokkenheid zelf in de nieuwsverhalen, des te minder de negatieve framing.

Dit mechanisme wordt ook bevestigd bij het aanbod van ‘pro-divers nieuws’ in de berichtgeving. In kranten waar de moslimbetrokkenheid hoger is, is er ook meer ‘pro-divers’ nieuws: dat geldt voor de Volkskrant en de NRC.

Lees hier het hele onderzoek.

 

Peace Polls 2018- What We Read In The Polls

By Yoanna Daskalova

 

The 2018 Peace Perceptions Poll was conducted at a time of rampant global conflicts rendering millions of people traumatized, injured, killed or displaced. It is a context of international great power rivalry and incessant downgrading of global norms such as human rights protection and adequate provision of humanitarian aid. The Poll inquired into the views on peace and conflict of more than 100,000 people from 15 countries. It spanned countries with active and virulent crisis such as Nigeria, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo- DRC, to states that enjoy relative peace and stability such as the UK, Hungary and the US. Among the multiplicity of questions, were perceptions and experiences of violence, visions of security and peace and ideas for governmental policies on conflict resolution. Overall, the respondents share a concern for the inefficient but growing global trend towards short-term crisis response. They emphasize on the pressing need to invest in long-term conflict resolution, or sustainable peacebuilding. The latter strategy is firmly based on eradicating the undergirding causes of conflict whilst equipping societies with the tools to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. Importantly, whilst the findings demonstrate the diversity of experiences when it comes to various conflicts in diverging circumstances, it illustrates the common aspirations and ideas that people have on building and maintaining peace (Peace Perception Polls 2018).

 

            Specifically, the way peace and conflict were conceived of in the eyes of people living in relatively stable versus conflict-ridden areas, tended to diverge significantly. Whereas those living in some of the most dangerous environments, such as the DRC, Syria or Nigeria shared a common optimism about the future prospects of peace, their counterparts in mostly peaceful UK, Brazil, the US or Hungary felt way more pessimistic about peace and security. Among the most prevailing concerns were terrorism, harassment by state authorities, criminal violence, religious, ethnic and tribal conflict, and domestic violence. Moreover, among the many factors underpinning ideas on positive peace or the general absence of violence, were resolution of disputes without violence, the presence of less amounts of crime and violence, the ability to vote in national elections and the possibility to earn enough money as to support a family. However, the respondent indicated few necessary conditions for the realization of the aforementioned factors. Within these, political and economic inclusion were ranked the highest. Herein, particularly in South Africa and the DRC political exclusion was perceived at highest levels. Additionally, political corruption was another cause for the lack of political agency, and as such was felt mostly among respondents from Nigeria, Ukraine and South Africa. Notwithstanding the amounts of fake news and propaganda prompting violence and discrimination that permeate social media and the internet, both of them were ascribed a central role when it comes to growing levels of exerted political influence. Finally, concerning governmental policies on promoting peace and conflict resolution, the most common responses spanned resolving the primary reasons for eruption of conflicts, increased educational tools on peacebuilding, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools, rebuilding infrastructure damaged by war and deploying diplomatic and dispute mediation instruments (Peace Perception Polls 2018).

 

If you want to delve into the details of responses and statistics discovered in the Poll, read the full report here: https://www.international-alert.org/sites/default/files/Organisation_PeacePerceptionsPoll_Ed2_EN_2018.pdf

 

 

One Young World Community Dinner

One Young World community dinner went down on the eve of 19th October, 2018. The visit included 25 One Young World delegates (from Germany, Switzerland, Belize, Republic of Moldova, Singapore, Bangladesh, Ireland, Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium,The United States, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Portugal and Monaco) who were very inspirational in their thinking and demeanor. Our special visit that evening came from: Deputy Mayor Saskia Bruines, The Hague’s alderman for Education, Knowledge Economy and International Affairs. The director of The Hague Peace Projects, Jakob de Jonge welcomed the invited guests giving them a warm introduction.

One Young World 2018 delegates got to interact on with The Hague Peace Projects on a wealth of topics. Key on the discussion table were areas that focused on – peace and dialogue in various conflict areas such as : Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, Bangladesh, The Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia. The evening gave the One Young World delegates in attendance, clear insights of dealing with conflict areas by the use of various projects centered on education and culture, media and journalism and research and advocacy. An emphasis on clarity to the situation on ground were demonstrated by selected speakers.

In attendance were the founders of the Yangambi Foundation – Angélique Mbundu and Dady Kiyangi, Katrina Burch of the Hague Hacks, Ewing Ahmed Salumu– Congolese Journalist, Valentin Akayezu- Human Rights Lawyer and Activist, Alena Kahle – Bangladesh- work group writer.

Catering credits  went to Ya_Laziz Catering who made sure the One Young World delegates had a delightful feast and pleasant ambience.

Images right below:

Valentin Akayezu Human Rights Lawyer, addressing the crowd.

One Young World delegates

Ewing Ahmed Salumu, Congolese expert journalist and Angelique Mbundu, founder of Yangambi Foundation

 

Angelique Mbundu, OYW delegate and Dady Kiyangi

 

Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Saskia Bruines and Jakob de Jonge, Director of The Hague Peace Projects.

One Young World delegates listening in to the address.

 

OYW delegates have a chat before their last course.

Smiles that tell it all. ( From the left: Jakob de Jonge, Dir. The Hague Peace Projects, OYW delegates and Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Saskia Bruines.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin Kabika Congolese expert (right) and OYW delegate for Belize, Kylah Ciego.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catering initiative, Ya Laziz, that savored the OYW diner’s taste buds – Instagram handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Catering Credits: Ya Laziz

#Ya_Laziz_ Catering

@YaLazizCatering

 

Menu

——

Starters

Lentil soup with Turkish bread

Main Course

Yoghurt & cucumber

Moussaka

Rice, biryani flavor + nuts

Fatoush, Syrian Salad

Dessert

Mhalabe

Traditional rice pudding!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Guest Program :

7.30pm – Guests coming in – Welcome refreshments

7.45pm – Welcome word ( Dir. The Hague Peace Projects – Jakob de Jonge)

–  Special honor visit  ( Deputy Mayor,The Hague – Saskia Bruines)

7.50pm –  Starter course – 1st presentation at the end the course – (Kitchen/Restaurant Team) – (Mohammed, Yasmine and Linde -welcome and-Ya Laziz- project background)

8.10pm– Dinner- (main course) – Hello and welcome mention from our team at Hague Peace Projects end the course

– Hague Hacks – Katrina

-Ewing, Valentine ( diaspora influence) + special guest : Angelique Mbundu and Dady Kiyangi  -iAfrica Film Festival and Yangambi Foundation-iAFF

-Green economy- Alena Kahel

9.00pm – Dessert + tea/coffee

9.10pm – Question and Answer session + Interactions (OYWs + The Hague Peace Projects Team)

-The question of and quest of/for Peace

-Green economy

-Talking change

-The Hague Hacks -technology + justice and peace

9.55pm– Vote of thanks ( Jakob de Jonge)

10.00pm– Guests leave at their own leisure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narratives of hatred and division might drastically change the Indian elections

By Alena Kahle

It’s a Wednesday evening, and a group of Master’s students from The Hague’s International Institute for Social Sciences has organized a get together at The Bookstore Café. Chairs are pulled together under the books stacked up to the ceiling, and a crowd pours in. Indian students are chatting with their fellow batchmates, and are eager to provide insight into a politically divided world they have left behind physically, but by far not mentally.

In April 2019, the Indian populous will vote for its direct representatives. Whatever party wins most seats will effectively run the government, drive policies, and decide the direction the country will take. But even despite the vast diversity that exists in the party horizon, options are limited. The political left is fragmented, and the main opposition, so it is claimed, is led by a man incapable of presenting himself in the right way.

The students’ narrative takes the listeners on a journey: When in the last elections the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took over, hopes were high. The general electorate was carried away in the euphoria coming out of the election campaign, and nationalism surged not because of hatred for outsiders, but because of pride for the own success. This nationalism has turned. One student vividly describes the nature of television and news, and explains how they feel every message being published is designed to support the ruling majority in fear of being otherwise shut down. Ostensibly political TV debates, if they are not government-narrated, have turned into one big reality TV show. Being a true Indian patriot has become synonymous with supporting economic growth at all costs, and the ruling party has already banned Greenpeace and is shutting down any group that favours promoting social justice over excessive growth.

In this election campaign, the strength of the BJP, the ruling party, seems to be that its “growth-first” policy is at first glance uplifting the life quality of many. But its true strength, the evening shows, is the BJP since winning the last elections has fostered a narrative of societal division. One student describes BJP as a corporation more than a party, which throughout its current rule has managed to bond its voters while marginalizing its opponents through its narrative.

The students are worried. They raise issues of anti-Muslim hatred, and one student brings up that they feel history is being rewritten to paint Muslims as invaders of the culture, and to promote Hindu unity, in a country where diversity fuels hospitality. The evening has taken a turn from just being about politics. It has expanded to encompass a worrying change in society. The elections in April 2019 are bound not only to decide whether divisions have managed to become deeply entrenched in society, but also whether politics will continue to tackle problems that are not those in need of being addressed.

Over thirty thousand people of Indian origin live in The Netherlands, with its largest group living in The Hague.[1] Compared to the population of 1.3 billion India itself had in 2016, this number might appear small, but those abroad have proven to make their voices heard, and address concerns about their country’s future to the world.[2]

As author, I have communicated with the organizers of the event to confirm that the article did not misinterpret comments made at the event. I therefore hope to have accurately portrayed the opinions and current events in India. The live stream of the video can be found at https://www.facebook.com/international.scholas/videos/502272256955036/

[1]  CBS StatLine – Population; sex, age, origin and generation, 1 January”. statline.cbs.nl. Retrieved 15 September 2016.

[2] “World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision”ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September2017.

Vredessymposium 21 September

On the 21ste of September, International Peace Day, the umbrella organisation Vredesmissies Zonder Wapens, will organize a peace symposium where they honour three young peace activists as peaceheroes (vredeshelden). One of them is our very own colleage Tayfun Balçik!

We are very proud with this nomination! If you want to be part of this historical moment, please send an email to: vredesmissieszonderwapens@gmail.com

Read the full program here in Dutch

Date: 21 September
Location: City hall, Grote Kerkplein 15 Zwolle
Time: 13:00 – 18:00

#WeWantJustice

Protests led by youth are met with violence;

attempts of dissent are suppressed.

In Bangladesh, mass outrage over two teenagers killed in a road crash escalated into a social movement, with high school students stepping out on the streets, holding placards demanding for road safety and the resignation of the Shipping Minister, Shajahan Khan. Shajahan Khan’s insensitive remarks about the death of the students sparked the outrage. Road safety is a major issue of concern in Bangladesh. Research indicates that last year more than 4200 people lost their lives in road accidents in Bangladesh.

Over the past few days, several images and videos have gone viral on Facebook, which testify to the allegations of brutal violence committed by the police and the Bangladesh Chhatro League (the student wing of the Awami League). BCL has been accused of thrashing and molesting journalists. On Saturday, August 4th, mobile internet was suspended for 24 hours and many complained about a lack of connectivity. Many believe this was done to suppress the dissent, since the issue was not being covered enough by local media and subsequently protesters and supporters of the movement went online to share updates, using Hashtags and tagging international media houses’ social media accounts. Many social media influencers reported that they received thousands of emails and messages from Bangladesh. Some social media influencers, including Drew Binsky, uploaded videos expressing their solidarity and concern.

Shahidul Alam, a renowned photographer and social activist, told Al Jazeera that the movement is not solely being driven by the demand for road safety: other issues too are causing public dissent. The latest update that Shahidul Alam was detained—as reported by Dhaka Tribune—has since been shared by many people on social media. However, according to Dhaka Tribune, the police have denied these allegations. Earlier the same day, Aparajita Sangita, an online activist, was detained but released afterwards—as confirmed from her Facebook account.

We, at the Hague Peace Projects, express our solidarity with the youngsters and condemn the attempt to suppress the voices of dissent through brutal violence, arrest and the suspension of the internet. 

References:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/bangladesh-officials-restrict-internet-student-protests-180805071428323.html

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2018/08/05/btrc-no-directive-issued-to-suspend-broadband-internet-service

https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2018/07/31/minister-shajahan-khan-apologises-for-insensitive-remarks-about-deaths-of-students-in-crash

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/bangladesh-mass-student-protests-deadly-road-accident-180802174519088.html

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2018/08/05/photographer-shahidul-alam-picked-up-from-his-home

https://www.facebook.com/drewbinsky/videos/1859932040710383/

GLR August Meet-Up Facing Burundi

On August 31,  Great Lakes Region Monthly Meeting theme is centered on : ‘Facing Burundi’

Topical discussion surrounding the situation of the Great Lakes region with emphasis on Burundi

This event will include:

–       A historical background of the political crisis of Burundi

–       The common misunderstanding of happenings within Burundi

–       Solidarity and mobilization among Burundians

–       How the diaspora and international community can contribute

–       An hour for question & answer session

 

 

June Recap: