AFRICANGLOBE – A white racist who filmed himself uttering racial slurs while vacationing abroad is to appear in a South Africancourt on Tuesday.
Adam Catzavelos will be making his first appearance on a charge of crimen injuria.
In the online rant, Catzavelos used the word “Kaffir” to refer to Black people while on vacation on a Greek island in 2018.
In his so-called apology, which he also shared on social media, Catzavelos said the damage he had caused with his video was unacceptable and that he had been thoughtless and insensitive.
He said he had shown a complete lack of understanding of what “the people have endured”.
Despite his apology, which some have described as insincere, he was allegedly dismissed from his family business and the school where his children had been enrolled banned the businessman from its premises.
The Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng laid a criminal complaint against Catzavelos and called for swift action to be taken against him.
Catzavelos posted a video of himself online celebrating the fact that there were no Black people at the beach he was on in Greece, referring to them as “Kaffirs”.
He appeared at the Randburg Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said it anticipated that the defence in the case of crimen injuria against Catzavelos would argue that because the alleged offence was not committed in the country, that he cannot be prosecuted.
Spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said the State was ready to make a strong case.
He was expected back in the dock in two weeks’ time.
While the UN-hosted Africa Climate Week takes place in Ghana aiming to strengthen African governments’ responses to the climate crisis, hundreds are dead and millions of people face severe impacts as cyclone hits Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
GLOBAL – Already considered by the UN as possibly the worst cyclone ever to strike Southern Africa, Idai has ripped through villages and towns in three countries over the last few days, taking over 1000 lives and leaving a trail of destruction. With winds of 195 km/h accompanied by lashing rains, Idai has already affected millions of people, causing floods, landslides and ruining crops and roads.
Showing that the threats under debate are real, the cyclone hit the continent at the same time governments, private sector and other stakeholders are meeting at the Africa Climate Week to discuss possible late commitments to stop global warming.
Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader at 350.org, said:
“For a continent already wracked by its severe impacts, cyclone Idai is just another chilling reminder of the reality of the climate crisis. Whilst the most vulnerable communities are facing the real impacts of climate change on the ground, government authorities are yet to come up with real and strong commitments.”
“The government’s inertia and lack of concrete actions to solve global warming are an insult to people facing untold suffering in every corner of the continent, whereas new coal and mining infrastructure and carbon commodification continue to be allowed.”
More than two million people could have been affected across Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and the real death tolls may not be known for many months as the countries deal with a still unfolding disaster. The port city of Beira, in Mozambique, was hit the hardest, with nearly 80 percent of homes and public infrastructures destroyed.
The number of cyclones and extreme floods in Southern Africa have been increasing in the last years due to the change in weather patterns likely caused by global warming. And while some countries appear to be already reducing carbon emissions and moving towards an energy transition that can contain the worse effects of climate change, Africa continues to be an open field for the fossil fuel industry, especially coal infrastructure.
“The solutions to the climate crisis are also well known. They include ending coal extraction and mining in the very short term and stop funding new coal infrastructure – mines or power plants -, while accelerating investments in renewables.
International cooperation and funding from industrialised economies are yet necessary to combat climate change. And such efforts should start by not promoting or funding any fossil fuel projects anywhere in the world.”
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US State Department says al-Shabab retains control over large parts of
the country and has the ability to carry out high-profile attacks using
suicide bombers, explosive devices, mortars and small arms.
Survivors say rape has become “just a normal thing” for women caught up in South Sudan’s civil war
When government forces launched their attack on the village of Bauw in South Sudan’s Unity state in early summer, Nyaduri and several other women fled into the bush.
Their hiding place only gave them protection for so long. Fighters soon followed them.
In the end Nyaduri was spared, thanks to her visibly swollen pregnant belly. But she was made to watch as armed men raped four of her companions.
“If you run they will kill you, so you just close your eyes so you don’t see the rapes,” Nyaduri (not her real name) told us at the UN base near the town of Bentiu, where tens of thousands of people have fled in recent months.
After decades of vicious civil war, the world’s youngest nation enjoyed a brief period of calm after independence in 2011, before being plunged into a fresh conflict.
The violence in South Sudan — often gruesome, sometimes targeting civilians merely for their ethnicity or perceived political allegiance — has displaced 2 million people, and famine threatens too.
But new evidence suggests that the war’s toll on women and girls is particularly horrific.
Surge in Sexual Violence
In late April, South Sudan’s government, using its own soldiers and allied militia fighters, began a multi-pronged military campaign in Unity state to recapture territory held by rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.
Amid the killing of civilians, widespread pillaging of cattle, and destruction of homes, scores of women have been subjected to appalling sexual violence. We documented dozens of cases of rape, including gang rapes. Almost every person we met had heard of or knew someone that government forces or their allied militias had raped. One woman said that rape had become “just a normal thing.”
Another woman told us that she was forced at gunpoint to watch militiamen gang rape her two adult daughters and then torture one of them. “They grabbed [my older daughter] and held her down in a fire and burned her face, her shoulder, and the length of her body,” she said. “They let go of her and left when she caught on fire.”
Women who evaded rape consider themselves fortunate “merely” to have been beaten. Women of all ages, including the elderly, were often battered with ropes or sticks. One woman was beaten so hard she had a miscarriage.
The militia fighters also abducted women and girls. Some raped women before kidnapping them as “wives” while taking others to put to work. Women and children were sometimes made to carry looted goods or to herd stolen cattle away from their villages on journeys that could last several days. Women were also forced to cook for fighters and were beaten as they worked. Many women are likely still in captivity.
The recent government offensive has prompted around 100,000 people in Unity state to flee their homes. Since April, 30,000 of them have sought refuge at the UN camp near Bentiu. Although UN peacekeepers protect the camp, women and girls remain at risk of sexual violence inside the camp, especially when collecting water or using unlit latrines at night. And leaving the camp poses threats too, especially the four-hour trek to collect firewood that requires crossing front lines around Bentiu.
The sheer scale of the crimes committed in the past few months is shocking, but the brutality of the assaults is sobering, too. Not only were many women gang raped in full view of others, but those who were too badly injured to attempt the journey to the UN camps and were left behind to fend for themselves.
Dealing with Atrocities
South Sudan’s justice system simply does not have the capacity to deal with crimes on this scale, and the government lacks the political will. These abuses have persisted because of decades of impunity.
The UN Security Council urgently needs to step in. It must either help establish an independent hybrid court or refer crimes committed in South Sudan to the International Criminal Court. The Security Council should also establish an arms embargo on both government and rebel forces.
Such moves may not help end the conflict, but they could help break the horrific cycle of violence engulfing South Sudan.
Unlike Nyaduri, who could only shut her eyes to escape the horrors unfolding in front of her, the international community has a choice. Its choice should be to open its eyes, see, and act. The women of South Sudan deserve no less.
Joshua Belete saw Libya, in North Africa, as a stopover, one leg in a journey that would lead to a better life in Europe.
But like thousands of other migrants from across Africa, Belete got stuck. He ended up at a United Nations refugee encampment in Tripoli, Libya’s capital and largest city.
For some, like Belete, entrapment happens on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean, when the Libyan coast guard reels migrants back and throws them in detention centers. Others never leave shore; instead, they’re cornered by militants or human traffickers, imprisoned and cut off from their loved ones.
“We didn’t even have clothes,” Belete told VOA by phone. “It’s been a long time, and we have nothing.”
After the coast guard brought him back, Belete spent six days in a detention center. He was then taken to Ain Zara, in western Libya, when a conflict broke out between militants and people in the town. Refugees like Belete spent days without food or water, before the United Nations intervened and brought them to Tripoli.
Belete is one of the lucky ones. Many others are kept captive and tortured, their hopes for new beginnings replaced with a brutal existence of torment and extortion that repeats, day after day.
In search of solutions
When African heads of state and government meet at the Summit of the African Union next week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, they’ll discuss ways to better help refugees and internally displaced people like Belete.
Around the world, more than 68 million people have been forced from their homes, according to the United Nations. Many come from Africa, but it’s also Africa — and not Europe — that hosts the majority of migrants and refugees.
“African migrants go to other African countries where they can be integrated much more easily,” United Nations Secretary General António Guterres told VOA, “and where they face much less problems of xenophobia and racism than when they move to other continents.”
Unlike the rest of the world, Guterres said, Africa benefits from a regional convention for managing internal displacement.
That’s permitted an organized response to forced displacement.
“We need to pay tribute to the generosity of African countries,” Guterres said. “You have African countries, practically without exception, with their borders open to refugees fleeing conflict or persecution. You have enormous solidarity in relation to those refugees.”
The United Nations wants to bring a similar level of coordination to the global stage in the hopes of addressing flashpoints like Libya. In December, the intergovernmental body adopted two compacts designed to improve how the global community manages migration and responds to refugee crises.
The U.N. hopes to use the first compact, focused on migration across borders, to stem forced migration, make migration paths safer and help migrants integrate into their new communities.
The second compact focuses on providing protections to refugees by empowering both origin and host countries, improving refugees’ access to resources and encouraging more “third-country solutions.”
The compacts aren’t legally binding, but they do provide a holistic blueprint that could improve how the world manages migration — if member states play their part.
That’s a concern for Guterres, who worries that developed nations aren’t pulling their weight.
“I would like to see in other parts of the world, especially in richer parts of the world, the same generosity that I have always seen in Africa,” Guterres said.
‘We have scattered’
One country far from the borders most refugees seek to cross that’s stepped up is Canada.
Ottawa has resettled 150 African refugees living in slave-like conditions in Libya. The government plans to take in 500 more in the next two years under its resettlement program, The Canadian Press, the country’s national news agency, reported Wednesday.
But that’s just a fraction of the people trapped.
Libya has become a major chokepoint for refugees from across Africa seeking asylum in Europe. With the country’s infrastructure and civil society in tatters after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, militants, traffickers and bandits have thrived. Migrants look for passage to Europe across the Mediterranean but face brutal conditions in one of Africa’s most lawless states.
Idris Adem ended up in the same U.N. center as Belete after following his own harrowing path.
After making it to sea, he too was brought back to Libya, where he found himself in storage houses with migrants from Somalia, Comoros, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Distinct cultures, ethnicities, languages, all ensnared in an unforgiving place that reduces living to survival.
“We have scattered, and we find ourselves here,” Adem told VOA. “And some of us are here at the U.N., and some of us were kidnapped again and taken backward and returned.”