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donderdag 19 februari 2015 19:54

Bulgaria failing to investigate racist attacks

Nadine Nagy: Bulgaria is failing to properly investigate racist attacks fueling “fear, discrimination and violence”. Amnesty International says those subjected to hate crimes have no confidence authorities will probe their complaints.

Attacks rose in 2013 as migrants and asylum seekers from Syria arrived via Bulgaria’s border with Turkey, the human rights group said. Around 1,700 arrived via that route in 2012, increasing to 11,150 the following year, with more than 8,600 crossing the border between August and November.

“Hundreds of people from minority groups have experienced hate crimes and many more have no confidence in the authorities to protect them,” says Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on Discrimination in Europe. “The Bulgarian authorities urgently have to take a strong stand and ensure they are adhering to national and international laws, ensuring human rights for all.”

“Hate crimes are typically investigated as offences motivated by ‘hooliganism’, rather than crimes targeting victims on account of their ethnic origin, migrant status or sexual orientation,” added Amnesty’s report on Bulgaria. “The full extent of hate crimes in Bulgaria and their impact on victims therefore remain largely hidden and unacknowledged, fueling fears within targeted communities, eroding their trust in authorities and delaying the introduction of effective measures to combat these crimes.”

Sofia’s prosecution office opened 80 pre-trial proceedings concerning crimes against ethnic minorities between January 2013 and March 2014.

Amnesty says the data does not reflect reality.

UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, said anti-refugee sentiment, already strong in 2013, reignited in April 2014, when residents expelled three families from a village in central Bulgaria. Then, in September, protesters – including parents and teachers – prevented nine refugee children from starting school, claiming they would not fit in and hold back Bulgarian children.

Amnesty cite the case of an Iraqi asylum seeker, who was attacked with metal knuckledusters by a gang in September 2013. He told the human rights group that police refused to register his complaint, threatening to deport him. Bulgaria’s interior ministry later said two officers were “sanctioned” after an internal investigation.

Last year UNHCR launched a campaign in Bulgaria aimed at softening views towards refugees and asylum seekers.

Roland-Francois Weil, UNHCR’s representative in Bulgaria, said: “This campaign is aimed at influencing the attitudes of the people in the middle who are not sure who refugees are. We are trying to refocus the debate away from numbers of refugees and supposed threats, and rally moderate voices to be heard in the public debate. Too often they are drowned out by the far right.”

Bulgaria had 4,510 asylum applicants from Syria in 2013, Eurostat figures show, the third highest in the EU, after Germany and Sweden.

Bulgaria has a population of around seven million. Its biggest ethnic minorities are Turks (8.8 percent of the population) and Roma (4.9 percent).

donderdag 19 februari 2015 19:37

NAVO versterkt oostflank

Petar Blasic: In het oosten van Oekraïne is het relatief rustig, nadat gisteren de wapenstilstand van kracht is geworden, al beschuldigen zowel de pro-Russische separatisten als de Oekraïense soldaten elkaar van het schenden van het staakt-het-vuren. Voor de NAVO is het bestand geen reden om af te zien van versterkingen bij de Russische grens, die eerder deze maand werden aangekondigd.

Het strategisch gelegen Debaltsevo is een van de steden waar de vrede nog niet is wedergekeerd. Pro-Russische separatisten hebben Debaltsevo, waar zich duizenden Oekraïense soldaten bevinden, omsingeld. Rebellenleider Eduard Basurin gaf eerder al te kennen zich niet aan de wapenstilstand te zullen houden, omdat die in zijn ogen niet van toepassing is op Debaltsevo. “De stad is ons territorium”, stelde hij.

Volgens het Amerikaanse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken is het bestand een mogelijkheid voor de strijders om zich te hergroeperen alvorens een nieuwe aanval in te zetten. Het ministerie toonde foto’s van de stellingen van de separatisten bij Debaltsevo, waaruit onomstotelijk zou blijken dat Rusland – niet de rebellen – daar artillerie (waaronder een aantal raketwerpers) heeft gestationeerd om de stad te bestoken.

Oostflank
Twee weken geleden kondigde de NAVO aan acht nieuwe militaire steunpunten te openen in de omgeving van Rusland. Hiertoe behoren onder meer zes nieuwe commando- en controllecentra in Bulgarije, Estland, Letland, Litouwen, Polen en Roemenië. Ook is er sprake van een nieuw zuidoostelijk hoofdkwartier in Roemenië en een opleidingscentrum in Georgië. Een bestaande voorziening in Szczecin, Polen, wordt uitgebreid tot het noord-oostelijke hoofdkwartier.

De zes commandocentra, waar ook de Amerikaanse troepen gestationeerd zijn, maken deel uit van een breder pakket aan maatregelen van de NAVO die bedoeld zijn om Rusland te ontmoedigen een mogelijke inval in de Baltische regio te doen en die opgesteld zijn als een reactie op de aanval van Rusland op Oekraïne. Andere acties betreffen het verviervoudigen van het aantal vliegtuigpatrouilles in de Baltische regio, het uitbreiden van het aantal in Bulgarije, Polen, en Roemenië gelegerde militairen, alsmede een flinke intensivering van de NAVO vlootcapaciteit in de Oostzee, de Zwarte Zee en de Middellandse Zee. Tenslotte is er ook nog sprake van tientallen militaire oefeningen langs de oostflank van het NAVO-partnerschap.

Oude glorie
De voormalige Deense NAVO-chef Anders Fogh Rasmussen stelde dat de maatregelen bittere noodzaak zijn: “Dit gaat niet enkel over Oekraïne. Poetin wil Ruslands oude glorie herstellen en het land weer laten oprijzen tot de grootmacht die het was… Er is een grote kans dat hij de Baltische staten in zal vallen om uit te testen hoe bereid de NAVO is haar eigen Artikel 5 (dit artikel stelt dat een aanval op één van de staten door de andere staten zal worden opgevat als een collectieve aanval) op te volgen.”

Rusland toonde zich volgend op de bekendmaking van de uitbreidingsplannen van de NAVO op 5 februari verbolgen over de zet. Ruslands NAVO-ambassadeur Alexander Grushko sprakvan een verhoogd risico op een “militaire confrontatie” in de Baltische regio. Verder omschreef hij het opleidingscentrum in Georgië als “provocerend”. Grushko ging in zijn betoog voorbij aan het feit dat Rusland zelf ook een nieuwe basis opent en wel op Cyprus. De nieuwe Russische gevechtsluchthaven komt op slechts 40 kilometer van de Britse luchtmachtbasis in Akrotiri.

Enkele NAVO-leden toonden zich bezorgd over de toegenomen aandacht voor Rusland, omdat gevreesd wordt dat dit ten koste zou gaan van de inspaningen in het Midden-Oosten. Ook zou de hernieuwde focus op Rusland kunnen leiden tot een scheiding tussen noordelijke en zuidelijke bondgenoten. Zo staat de nieuwe extreem-links Griekse regering veel sympathieker tegenover Rusland dan haar voorgangers, hetgeen tot een splitsing binnen de verdragsorganisatie zou kunnen leiden. De nieuwe Griekse minister van Defensie heeft dit echter ontkent en aangegeven dat het land een sterke en betrokken NAVO-partner zal blijven.

Nadine Nagy: A Scottish Government minister has claimed some councillors were not as “enlightened” as they could be about the rights of gypsy travellers and must be educated.

Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights, claimed they did not appear to understand that they were “human beings that have human rights like the rest of us”.

He told Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee yesterday that the government would be soon publishing guidance on official campsite planning and the standards councils were expected to maintain in addition to the preferred approach to unauthorised sites.

Mr Neil said local authorities could be denied grant funding for other projects like new council housing if they failed to comply with minimum standards laid down.

Tensions between gypsy travellers and the settled community have been fraught in areas across the north and north-east for many years.

Local authorities operate a few official campsites but every year they have to take action to move families on from camps set up on public land.

Last year the government rejected plans from Aberdeen City Council’s ruling administration for a by-law to combat illegal gypsy-traveller encampments.

Asked if he thought councils lacked understanding of the responsibilities they had towards gypsy travellers, Mr Neil said: “Sometimes – I will be quite honest the attitude of local councillors is not always as enlightened perhaps as it should be.

“We have some educational work to do in some areas because they are human beings that have human rights like the rest of us.”

The committee asked Mr Neil what action the government could take if councils failed to properly maintain official campsites.

“There is a possibility at the end of the day of sanctioning the local authority – we could say they do not get grant funding for various things if they do not raise the standard,” he added.

“Why would be throw good money after bad so very often it is the cash that speaks the loudest when you are dealing with local authorities.”

Mr Neil said a marketing campaign would be launched in the autumn to improve awareness and understanding of the gypsy traveller community.

donderdag 19 februari 2015 19:13

Homodating in China met Blued app

Petar Blasic: In China, het land met de meeste inwoners ter wereld, is homoseksualiteit niet meer bij wet verboden. Maar in de conservatieve maatschappij blijft een taboe rusten op ‘homoseksuele neigingen’. Toch weten miljoenen homoseksuele mannen elkaar te vinden dankzij de anonimiteit van internet, zoals met de Chinese homodatingapp Blued. Maar bij Blued gaat het allang niet meer alleen om het aanknopen van seksuele contacten.

Blued is een initiatief van Ma Baoli, een voormalige politieagent. Hij lanceerde Blued in 2012, en inmiddels wordt de app gebruikt door miljoenen Chinese homo’s. Het gratis programma gebruikt de GPS-functie van smartphones om de gebruiker te laten zien welke potentieel geïnteresseerde contacten zich in de omgeving bevinden. De Blued-gebruiker kan een profiel aanmaken, rondhangen in chatrooms, of iemand privéberichten sturen.

Volgens activisten die homoseksualiteit uit de taboesfeer willen trekken, heeft Blued zich echterontwikkeld van een medium voor snelle seks tot een app die veel homoseksuele mannen helpt om een positief zelfbeeld te ontwikkelen en stelling te nemen tegen sociale vooroordelen. De app wil niet enkel de mogelijkheid bieden een date mee naar huis te nemen, maar ook een bijdrage leveren aan de kennisvorming van de gebruiker. Blued besteedt daarom ook aandacht aan bewustwording omtrent hiv; gebruikers kunnen zich laten testen op hiv bij het hoofdkantoor in Peking. Daar worden ze uitsluitend behandeld door homoseksuele artsen en medewerkers, om pijnlijke situaties te vermijden. Overigens worden deze inspanningen ondanks het taboe op homoseksualiteit wel financieel ondersteund door de Chinese overheid.

Om de app gratis te kunnen aanbieden, heeft Blued de samenwerking gezocht met reclameplatform Danlan.org. En met succes, want binnen twee jaar was de app in staat 15 miljoen gebruikers aan zich te binden. Ook Amerikaanse bedrijven participeren in de start-up; Blued kan rekenen op een investering van 30 miljoen dollar durfkapitaal van de Amerikaanse firma DCM Ventures. De waarde van Blued wordt inmiddels geschat op meer dan 300 miljoen dollar.

Voor Ma Baoli is de volgende stap een notering aan de Nasdaq Stock Market. Overigens wil hij het niet laten bij een dating-app voor homoseksuele mannen. Er is al een vrouwelijke versie in ontwikkeling met de naam Pinked.

zaterdag 03 januari 2015 21:13

Is Serbia Controlling Croatia By Blackmail?

 

serb-and-croat-flags

Nadine Nagy: The father of Croatia’s current president Ivo Josipovic, Mr. Ante Josipovic, was a very influential member of the communist inner circle during Tito’s Yugoslavia. There is evidence that he has committed some very serious crimes. These crimes resulted from his leadership in the “Ideological Commission” of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. His office was responsible for the execution of over 100 Croatian dissidents and journalists outside of the former Yugoslavia, mainly in Germany. These crimes would almost certainly result in jail time in several EU countries, for the elder Josipovic. Someone in Serbia with access to old Yugoslav archives has the evidence about elder Josipovic and is using it to blackmail not only President Josipovic, but other implicated Croatian officials as well. The end result is that today, there is increased influence of Serbia in the government of Croatia.

Russian President Putin and his team are drawing parallels with Serbian expansionistic tendencies in Balkans, and adjusting their plans in Ukraine. Having learned from the Serbian military debacle with Croatia, they know that having a president who is easily manipulated, or even blackmailed by them in the other country, is a proven shortcut to achieving their goals.

The presidential elections in Croatia were held on December 28th 2014. The election campaign has brought up various issues concerning the disastrous state of the Croatian economy, corruption in the judicial branch of the government and lack of freedom of the press and media. All of these issues are being directly controlled and overshadowed by the personal interests of the Croatian ruling elite, with President Josipovic’s main interest being to keep his father out of jail.

The Republic of Croatia is a member of the EU and NATO; however Serbia’s influence in Croatian institutions has never been greater. The Josipovic/Milanovic government of Croatia has 10 ministers of Ser origin (out of 21 government members), who are pursuing an old Serb dominated-Yugoslav (now they call it regional) agenda rather than Croatian interests.

Croatians paid dearly for their independence from the Serb-dominated Yugoslavia by tens of thousands of young lives in 1990s. The president of Croatia publicly promotes The communist red star as a symbol of pride, although that was the same symbol worn on the uniforms of the army that 20 years ago was destroying Croatian cities like Dubrovnik and Vukovar during the Homeland War.

Moreover, the National Security Adviser to the President of Croatia is also the son of the former chief of the Yugoslav Secret Police, who is presently standing trial for the assassination of several Croatian immigrants in Munich, Germany, during the Yugoslav epoch.

Describing his meeting with President Ivo Josipovic in his recently published memoirs, the former Serbian Ambassador to Croatia Mr. Radivoj Cveticanin cites how Ivo Josipovic provided him with secret court records on criminal proceedings for the war crimes, even before he had become president of Croatia. Mr. Josipovic confirmed he had meetings with the Serbian ambassador, but said he was only giving him books.

All these facts point to the paradox: Croatia – the youngest EU member, that achieved its independence in a bloody war, is being led by the neo-communists who are actively working to drown Croatia in yet another Serbo-Russian-dominated alliance with the Balkan countries.

The people of Croatia who fought so hard for their independence are watching in disbelief all of their accomplishments and dreams being taken away, by media manipulation and by prosecution of victims rather than aggressors.

When Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, everything was controlled by the Yugoslav Secret Police (KOS, UDBA), from every top politician to the last worker at the factory. Tens of thousands of people were paid to spy on their co-workers and neighbors, keep track of their habits and whereabouts, and report any “suspicious activity. As required, anyone could have been pronounced guilty for “activities against the people,” and then convicted to serve a long jail term, or get a life sentence, or even get executed.

In the 1990s Croatians, along with Slovenians, turned towards West and severed their ties with Yugoslavia, which was dominated by the Serbs. The Serbian minority in Croatia tried, with the help of the Yugoslav Army, to stop Croatia’s secession from Yugoslavia. After several years of bloody armed struggle, Croatians managed to militarily defeat the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian rebel forces. As the new Croatian state was formed during the Homeland War, the former Yugoslav communist Secret Police was not dissolved, allegedly because the new Croatian leadership could not risk an “internal war” with the remains of the totalitarian regime. Following the achievement of their centuries-old dream to finally have their own country, Croatia’s original surge in nationalism began to deflate, and by the year 2000 “reformed“ communists came back to power in Croatia. The former Communist Party changed its name to “Social Democratic Party,” yet everything else remained the same. They kept their close relationships with the Serbian minority in Croatia and the Serbs in former Yugoslavia – with the same old communists in their respective positions of leadership.

It is interesting that today no one in Croatia is providing answers to simple questions like:

Who were those snitches (secret agents), communist prosecutors, judges and reporters who made the media serve as judge and jury, even before the cases had reached the courts? Where are they now? Tito’s dictatorship had fearmongering executioners, responsible for hundreds of thousands deaths. Where are they now?

It sounds incredible, but Croatia fought the economic crisis by drastically raising taxes, which ruined the already weakened economy. Croatia is applying old economic models, already forgotten by other former communist countries. Instead of reforming the economy and cutting the government costs, Croatia continues to borrow and sell off national treasures, while increasing taxes. As of today Croatia is the EU member with the highest VAT (value added tax) at 25 percent, and with the highest unemployment rate, especiallyamong young professionals who seek their future elsewhere. For a country of 4.5 million people, the departure of 2,300 medical personnel in the years 2013 and 2014 amounts to an exodus. They left to look for work in other EU countries, the U.S. and Canada.

On the other hand, no one in the government  wants to provide the reasons why there were no EU funds claimed by any Croatian agency or any government body in 2014, despite over 1.5 billion euro budgeted by the EU for Croatia!?

Populism is the key lever in neo-communist actions everywhere. One can see the examples in Eastern Europe and in the countries of Central and South America. In Croatia the executive branch of the government has control over the judicial branch (particularly the prosecution) and direct control of the media.

Many state prosecutors are former Yugoslav communist secret police officials or their close relatives, and many present judges are the same ones that used to preside over the communist trials. The Croatian media scene is dominated by the same people who used to glorify former dictator Tito. The current head of the national television, the “HRT,” is Goran Radman, himself the last president of Tito’s communist youth organization. This well-rehearsed team sends to jail or fires someone every week because of “corruption,” in order to distract people’s attention from the real problems. The vast majority of cases involve political opposition leaders.

The media is served a steady stream of “secret” witness depositions, demonstrating how the country is being robbed. At the same time the attention is drawn away from the real problems, concealing the fact that the fleecing of the country is carried out by the government itself.

Increased taxes, no investments, no encouragement for private investment projects, halting the funds earmarked by the EU – all this seems to be the hallmark of the Josipovic’ regime.

Intense pressure is being exerted by the media and the government against the few remaining courts and judges who do not side with the government’s neo-communist politicians. Some Croatian judges admit: “It is better for the ones I convict to end up in the media, than for me not convicting them.”

Everyone in Croatia is scared of the media. They are privately owned, and tightly connected with the structures of the previous Yugoslav communist regime. Even the Journalists Association, although formally a trade organization, is politically active and skewed to neo-communist side. It seems as if their headquarters is serving as the campaign headquarters for the current president.

According to the latest polls 76 percent of Croatians think that the country is headed in a wrong direction. Nevertheless the incumbent president chose the campaign message of, “this is the right way.” He is a master of populism, who is otherwise a professor of law with an honorary doctorate from the University in Kalingrad, Russia, and a PhD thesis with the title “Arrests and Incarceration.” He has followers in Serbia and others who have a hard time adjusting to the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

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is een journalistiek magazine dat op internet verschijnt. Het merendeel van de artikelen wordt door vluchteling-journalisten en andere migranten geschreven. Met Nederlandse journalisten als gast.

 


ovidiusex Ponto

In 8 na Chr. verbant de Romeinse keizer Augustus de dichter Ovidius naar het verre Tomi (het huidige Constança in Roemenië) aan de Zwarte Zee, in de provincie Pontus. Ovidius schrijft daar zijn bekende Epistulae ex Ponto (Brieven uit de Zwarte Zee). Deze bundel bevat poëtische verzoekschriften die hij naar vrienden en invloedrijke Romeinen schreef om voor hem bij de keizer te bemiddelen om in zijn lotsbestemming te herzien. Ex Ponto is in de geschiedenis door verschillende schrijvers gebruikt als metafoor voor ballingschap.