Maandelijks archief: september 2013

IWGIA on 24th session of the Human Rights Council


This week in Geneva, the Human Rights Council will negotiate and adopt the annual resolution on indigenous peoples, including recommendations regarding the mandates of the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.On, Wednesday 18, a half-day session will be devoted to a discussion on the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.  We hope the session will influence the Human Rights Council’s Resolution to include indigenous peoples’ own priorities for the World Conference as reflected in the Alta Outcome Document.

During the 24th session, both the UN Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) will present their findings with regards to two crucial issues for indigenous peoples:

More information about the session can be found on the IWGA web site
Indigenous Peoples, Business and Human Rights   

Later this fall, in New York, another report on business and indigenous peoples’ access to remedy and justice will be presented to the UN General Assembly by the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.The report explores the relevance and applicability of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for indigenous peoples affected by business operations and seeks to provide guidance to enterprises, indigenous peoples and governments wishing to safeguard protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during the planning and execution of business operations.

The report particularly calls on governments and enterprises to respect indigenous peoples’ customary law and encourages to further explore the use of customary law as a remedy instrument in conflicts involving indigenous peoples and business enterprises.

Shortcomings of the report
It must, however, be noted that the Working Group is not yet ready to fully embrace some of the core demands raised by civil society regarding regulation of business activities.

Notably, in line with the Guiding Principles, the report encourages states to undertake voluntary measures, but fails to acknowledge that home states of transnational corporations are legally obliged to regulate their operations abroad with regards to human rights.

Take note

Last year, at the First UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, indigenous peoples’ participation was limited but well prepared and successful. To keep indigenous peoples’ rights on the agenda concerted efforts are needed.Registration for side events and participation in the Second Forum on Business and Human Rights is now open.

Out and About 


IWGIA’s director Lola Garcia Alix is attending the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Apart from attending the discussion on indigenous peoples’ rights she will participate in the presentation of the report prepared by the Universal Periodic Review Working Group. Civil society will be able to give comments and discuss the recommendations of the report including from the reviews of Bangladesh, Colombia, Cameroon, and the Russian Federation.Also this week, Environment and Climate Change Coordinator, Kathrin Wessendorf, and Human Rights and Climate Change Advisor, Ida Peters Ginsborg, are attending the High Level Week of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York to support indigenous peoples’ involvement in the post 2015 development process.

Here you can see all the activities involved in the High Level Week (updated regularly)

IWGIA’s Asia coordinators Chris Erni and Christina Nilsson joined our regional partner AIPP for their Executive Council on 17 August in Chiang Mai and used the opportunity for consultations on IWGIAs new Asia Strategy.

Last week in Germany, Asia coordinator Chris Erni participated in an expert workshop co-organised by the World Bank’s FCPF, UN-REDD and Germany’s Ministry for Cooperation. The aim was to identify practical approaches to provide for full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in REDD+ with an emphasis on national decision-making processes.

Latin America
IWGIAs Latin America coordinator, Alejandro Parellada is travelling this week to monitor projects in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. More on this is our next newsletter.

The last week of August, Africa coordinator Genevieve Rose visited our partner organisation UNIPROBA (Unissions-nous Pour des Batwa du Burundi) in Burundi, where IWGIA has supported a land distribution programme from 2007 to 2011. In the community of Bubanza, Rugezia District, Rose witnessed how 85 Batwa families are now able to construct houses, breed cows and do small-scale farming on their land.

Nicaragua Files New Claim against Colombia over San Andres

Nicaragua has launched legal action against Colombia in the International Court of Justice, claiming potentially oil-rich areas in the Caribbean. Last year the court in The Hague ruled that a group of small islands belonged to Colombia, but expanded disputed maritime limits in favour of Nicaragua.

In the new case, Nicaragua asked the court to rule on the exact boundary. Colombia rejected the earlier ruling, and denounced the “unfounded pretensions of Nicaragua”. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says the ruling “cannot be implemented” as new international borders can only be fixed by bilateral accords. [. . .] In an statement issued on Monday, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says the possibility of bilateral talks on the dispute were “put off by Colombia’s reaction” to the ICJ ruling.

In the new case, Nicaragua requests an expansion on the borders fixed last year by the court, and “beyond its 200 nautical miles”. The ICJ ruled last November that the San Andres archipelago, which includes three islands and several uninhabited islets, would remain with Colombia. But most of the sea around it would become Nicaragua’s economic zone. The decision was celebrated in Nicaragua at the time. “The court has given to Nicaragua what belonged to us: thousands of kilometres of natural resources,” said Mr Ortega. Last month, Nicaragua announced it would begin drilling for oil and gas in the area.

The Central American nation calculates its territorial waters have been expanded by some 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles), while Colombia says what it would have lost amounts to 75,000 sq km (29,000 sq miles). Other countries in the region are taking sides in the dispute.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli accused Nicaragua of encroaching on his country’s territorial sea. Mr Martinelli said he would sign a letter with Colombia, Costa Rica and Jamaica denouncing Nicaragua’s attitude to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The long-running case has been before the ICJ since December 2001, when Nicaragua first filed its claim. But the dispute goes back much further. The competing claims date from the early 19th Century, when the nations of Latin America were gaining their independence from Spain. Nicaragua and Colombia signed a treaty in 1928 to settle the border and sovereignty of islands in the Caribbean.

But in 1980, Nicaragua’s Sandinista government unilaterally annulled the agreement, arguing that it had been signed under US pressure. In 2007, the ICJ ruled that the treaty was valid and that the sovereignty of three islands, San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, remained with Colombia. The archipelago lies some 775km (480 miles) from the Colombian coast and 230km from Nicaragua.

Voor het origineel bericht:

A dark day in Caribbean history

Verdel Bishop reports on Bruce Paddington’s documentary on the Grenada revolution in this article for Trinidad’s Express.

Almost 30 years have passed since a bloody coup in Grenada saw the assassination of the leader of the People’s Revolutionary Government, Maurice Bishop, along with his colleagues by members of the People’s Revolutionary Army.

Grenada, according to some scholars and researchers, even three decades later, still grapples with the chain of events surrounding the crisis.

As that island readies itself to observe the 30th anniversary of the coup next month, director and producer Bruce Paddington has focused his lens on that island with Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution — a 2 1/2 hour long epic documentary which highlights the revolutionary government of Grenada that came to power by a coup in 1979, and its demise with the bloody killings of October 19, 1983.

The documentary tells the story of the Grenada revolution as never before. Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution (2013), is a feature length documentary (150 minutes) directed and produced by Paddington. It explores the achievements and shortcomings of the People’s Revolutionary Government (1979-1983) as it attempted to forge a new revolutionary society.

It focuses on the year 1983 through use of archival footage and first hand recollections of persons who witnessed the events of October 19; the execution of Prime Minister Bishop and his close colleagues whose bodies were never recovered. This was followed by the American invasion and over twenty years later the gradual release of the prisoners from jail.

The film, with its the multiple perspectives and different narratives, explores this key event in the history of the Caribbean. The eloquence and passion of Maurice Bishop is apparent as he defends the revolution on such critical issues as human rights and the need for a true peoples’ democracy.

The film also includes excerpts from a feature address by George Lamming at a memorial service for Bishop in 1983 as well as the music of calypsonian Brother Valentino.

Paddington felt compelled to create this documentary. He was in Grenada just two months before the coup working on a documentary commissioned by United Nations on Science and Technology. He met with Jacqueline Creft, who was Grenada’s Minister of Education. Creft was killed alongside Bishop at the confrontation at Fort Rupert. At the time Paddington was impressed with what he saw in Grenada. He described the island as a “different type of Grenada”.

“They wanted democracy. I had dinner with the Minister of Education Jacqueline Creft, and there seemed to be a type of feeling of hope and the building of a new society. The Minister was confident and hopeful. She wanted to promote what was happening with Grenada. This was in August. There were major problems but she wasn’t discussing the government. There was no threat of anything in the air. Two months after my meeting with Jacqueline Creft she was machine-gunned down. I was shocked to find out what happened,” Paddington said.

Three decades later, Paddington has completed the film which he hopes will be a tool for healing and education. The world premiere of Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution will be screened at the University of the West Indies during the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival on September 20, at 3.15 p.m. Whilst Paddington’s film is being screened, it is not eligible for adjudication as he is the founder and festival director of the TTFF,

The film received a research grant from The University of the West Indies and received post-production and marketing assistance from Columbus Communications (Flow Trinidad), the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company and the Fundashon Bon Intenshon. Filming for the documentary according to Paddington started at a very pivotal time in 2011. Seven men convicted of killing Grenada’s leader — the last of 17 who had been sentenced for the crime, had been released from prison in 2009.

“The country still suffers from painful memories of this period but the healing has begun as all the prisoners have now been released from captivity. Hopefully, Forward Ever: the Killing of a Revolution will play an important role in helping the people of Grenada, and the wider Caribbean, to come to terms with this critical event in its history. A short version of the film was previewed at the Caribbean Studies Conference in Grenada in June 2013, and it was also shown to those who appeared in the film at a private screening to ensure that their views were not misrepresented.

“I wanted to do a major documentary. In June 2011, I went on a research trip where I met with a number of people involved with the coup. It was a good time to start filming I had an opportunity to speak with key people involved — both the victims and the people who were involved with the killings. We actually spoke to the people who admitted to shooting Bishop. It was a very emotional time. People were speaking for the first time publicly on camera. The crew including Princess Donelan, Luke Paddington and Oliver Milne, filmed for hours and hours. We went to Fort Rupert which is now Fort George,” Paddington said.

“It is such a sensitive topic. I had to have two screenings because I didn’t know if both sides, 30 years later, were willing to be in the same room together to view the film. People were almost in tears watching it and we had very spirited debates. Changes were made based on some of the critical comments that we heard, so hopefully the film is as objective as any film can be. I did a lot of research. I went to the Library of Congress which showed the American side of what happened and I also went out to Cuba for archive material,” Paddington said.

“So it’s going to be an educative film, not for profit. It would educate people who were very young at the time including Grenadians because a lot of the material that we used in the film have never been seen before. It is going to be a major education tool and will help in bringing some form of reconciliation,” Paddington said.

Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution will also be screened on September 22, with a question-and-answer segment at Little Carib Theatre from 8 p.m. There will also be a screening and question and answer segment at MovieTowne on September 30 at 8.30 p.m.

Bruce Paddington is the co-designer and lecturer in the BA Film Programme at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, since 2006. Previously he was a lecturer in educational technology, photography and the media. He wrote the strategic plan for the establishment of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (2005) where he works as a consultant.

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Grenada’s church leaders warn against IMF

Church leaders have urged the Grenada government to resist any attempt by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increases taxes and cut social services as the island grapples with attempts at turning around a sluggish economy.

The Conference of Churches Grenada in a statement said that it is deeply concerned about the prevailing socio-economic situation in the country and any attempt to impose additional taxes on the Grenadian population should be resisted. Officials from the Washington-based financial institution are here conducting an assessment of the economic situation in Grenada and the religious leaders reminded the Keith Mitchell administration that many people were finding it extremely difficult to “make ends meet”.

The religious group said in addition that there were a number of people, including those with academic qualifications, who have not been able to find employment and that the social problems here have reached alarming proportions. “It is against this background that we strongly urge our government to resist any pressure to increase taxes or to make further cuts to social, medical or educational services. Revenue can be increased by ensuring that existing taxes are not evaded and that all taxes, especially VAT (Value Added Tax), are efficiently collected from all who are liable,” the religious group said.

The Conferences of Churches Grenada said that it is supportive of the efforts to create jobs and to find sources of investment funding that can be channelled into productive projects. “We are convinced that further austerity measures are not the way out of Grenada’s debt crisis. We strongly support the Government of Grenada in its resistance against austerity and we are actively mobilising support internationally towards this end,” said the statement. The religious group urged the Mitchell administration to give “serious consideration” to the nine points in the document “A Jubilee for Grenada Now” that came out of a workshop on debt held here in May.

The document prepared by the staff of the IMF argues that to reach a sustainable level of debt Grenada would need to reduce 90 per cent of its present debt. “We support the government’s efforts to achieve this and we again emphasise the point that any reduction in debt must go towards the socio-economic development of our country with a preferential option for the poor,” the church leaders said.

In July, Prime Minister Mitchell presented Parliament with an EC$711 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cent) budget outlining a series of measures he hopes would stimulate a sluggish economy. Mitchell said that the government would move to cut expenditure and that the new economy requires that it puts its fiscal house in order including cutting more than EC$60 million from the recurrent budget this year.

Mitchell said that effective immediately, his administration would implement a freeze on net hiring, saving approximately EC$8 million and that a major challenge would be to manage the payroll, which accounts for 65 per cent of government expenditure.

Voor het origineel bericht:

Haiti Closer to Having Army Again

A USA Today (Associated Press) article announced that Haiti is moving closer to reconstituting a military that was abolished in 1995, with support from Ecuador and Brazil. Here are excerpts:

In a small ceremony in the farming village of Petite Rivere de L’Artibonite, Defense Minister Jean-Rodolphe Joazile greeted the first 41 recruits who recently returned from eight months of training in Ecuador. They will be the first members a national military force that the government of President Michel Martelly wants to revive.

Joazile said they will spend three months working alongside Ecuadorean military engineers among the rice fields in central Haiti to repair roads and work on other public service projects in their impoverished country, which was hit by a devastating earthquake three years ago. “Haiti’s needs are not in the infantry but in technical service,” Joazile said in an earlier interview. “The country is in a state of reconstruction. We need mechanics.”

Almost all of those in the new unit are recent high school graduates. They include 30 soldiers, 10 engineers and one officer and will report to the Defense Ministry. They won’t carry weapons for now but could carry handguns, in three to four years, if either the recruits pay for the weapon themselves or the government receives financing to do so, Joazile said in an interview last week. [. . .] The military support from Ecuador is part of a broader effort to help Haiti to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake, Ecuadorean Maj. Marco Navas said. Navas said Ecuador has given more than $30 million to Haiti since the disaster to develop the country’s infrastructure. One of the first road projects to be tackled by the new recruits is Route National 1, a highway that connects northern Haiti to the capital, and a road from a northern beach resort.

[. . .] Brazil has expressed interest in training 1,500 more recruits, Joazile said. Five hundred would go to Brazil, and a 1,000 would stay in Haiti.

Martelly pledged to restore the National Armed Forces of Haiti while he was a candidate in the 2011 election, but he has backed off the plan as president. Some foreign diplomats have said the Haitian government rather should focus on strengthening its police force, for which there are only 10,000 officers in a country of 10 million people.

The government abolished the military under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after years of military coups and human rights abuses. It would require a vote by Parliament to officially reconstitute an army. That could be tricky as Martelly has few allies in the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

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Caribbean gathering focuses on slavery reparations

Politicians, lawyers and academics gathered Monday in St. Vincent & the Grenadines to advance an effort by more than a dozen regional nations to seek slavery reparations from three European countries that benefited from the Atlantic slave trade, the Associated Press reports.

The three-day conference is the first major step forward since the Caribbean Community announced in July that it intended to demand compensation for slavery and the genocide of native peoples from the governments of Britain, France and the Netherlands. Representatives from all the member nations and territories of Caricom, as the group is known, are attending the gathering.

St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is leading the effort trying to force the region’s former colonial powers to pay reparations, said the matter is a “fundamental, defining matter of our age.”

“The European nations which engaged in conquest, settlement, genocide and slavery in our Caribbean must provide the reparatory resources required to repair the contemporary legacy of their historic wrongs,” said Gonsalves, who takes over the rotating leadership of Caricom at the start of 2014.

Gonsalves and other Caribbean officials say coming up with a financial estimate for reparations is critical for coming to terms with the lingering legacy of slavery in the region. Historians and economists will assist in the process.

There has been no monetary figure mentioned yet, but the St. Vincent prime minister said reparations must “bear a close relationship to what was illegally or wrongly extracted and exploited … from the Caribbean by the European colonialists, including the compensation paid to the slave owners at the time of the abolition of slavery.”

At the time of emancipation of slaves in 1834, Britain paid 20 million pounds to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of some 200 billion pounds ($315 billion) today.

The Caribbean governments have brought on the British law firm of Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for a group of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the so-called Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

Firm lawyer Martyn Day said the Caribbean nations are seeking to negotiate a settlement “based on the impact of slavery on Caribbean societies today.”

“All the Caricom countries are keen to seek resolution amicably with the former slave nation states like Britain, France and the Netherlands,” Day said at conference.

But, he said, if that does not succeed, they will go to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest judicial organ.

Gonsalves said he expected all Caricom’s member states will have their representatives include a strong message about reparations in their speeches at the U.N. General Assembly next week.

“The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy (that) exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” he said.

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Caribbean Sex Workers Demand Equal Rights

Though prostitution in many Caribbean states remains illegal, support groups and sex workers organizations have been rising up across the region and have been working close with civil society and international groups. The Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition met at the end of August to discuss constitutional rights, fair working conditions, health care, education, and respect:

At the Montego Bay meeting, the members of the Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition declared that “sex work is work and must be recognized and treated en par with other professions where labour conditions are just.”

The group has also thrown out a call for the decriminalization of sex work. They also pointed out that sex workers have the same human rights and duties as all other people and they ought to be respected at all times since they value themselves like everyone else in society, with equal rights and justice.

The group is calling for the rights of sex workers to also be respected and is demanding that sex workers be allowed equal opportunity rights to work, to health care, education, food and shelter and retirement benefits.

The group has also released a number of other demands of Caribbean governments which includes:

“Respect and protect human and constitutional rights and create legislation, policies and practices which effectively protect these human rights. Respect our right to livelihood and freedom to work Respect our right to freedom of movement and migration Provide non-discriminatory health and social services and:

• Ensure the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Program, and other agencies recognize the different sub-populations of sex workers and design programs that respond to their needs.

• Partner with and train health care workers to effectively provide services for sex workers, including unconventional health services, such as mobile clinics.

• Ensure that sex workers are not subjected to compulsory HIV testing by employers.”

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How Caribbean Organized Crime is Replacing the State

In Caribbean locations like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, criminal groups have established clear-cut alliances with political parties and sectors of the state. By doing so, they are arguably bringing benefits to certain marginalized communities that the state has long proved incapable of serving properly.

Good or evil? When policy-makers and the general public actually pay attention to the debate on the social effects of crime, complex realities tend to be boiled down to this dichotomy.

This dichotomy is why government policies too often entail simplistic measures of suppression in drug-plagued communities. Such a strategy clashes with the reality lived by those most affected by criminal violence: poor and disfranchised populations, living in marginalized neighborhoods.

The problem with this dichotomy is that it obscures any meaningful understanding of a complicated phenomenon. Organized crime has become embedded in some Latin American and Caribbean societies to the point of becoming a parallel power, with interests that overlap with politicians, bureaucrats, and law enforcement officials. The confluence of all these factors defies any simple, conventional response.

That is the perverse reality that many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are experiencing today. Organized criminal groups have gradually transformed both societies, creating violent, yet resilient political and social orders based on a precarious balance of illicit activities like drug trafficking.

The victory of evil? Yes and no. In both countries, homicide rates have doubled in the last seven years. Yet despite the negative impact of this increased insecurity, these same criminal groups provide opportunities and resources, occasional employment, and protection to those who live in the most-affected neighborhoods. That is something the state has not been able to do, and which elected officials cannot or will not accomplish during their four-year terms in office.

The type of criminality that has penetrated these — and other — Caribbean societies behaves very differently from ordinary street crime. Like plants that are “heliotropic” and always look for sunlight, let’s call this criminal behavior “statetropic.” By that we mean criminal organizations that gear themselves towards the state. Statetropic powerbrokers offer profits to public officials in order to gain their allegiance and protection.

Statetropic criminals prefer a scenario in which both high and low-level civil servants benefit from criminal activities. In turn, this puts the state in the untenable position of enforcing the law, while at the same time serving as an instrument exploited by criminal forces.

Statetropism is a useful term for describing conditions in Latin American and Caribbean democracies, but it manifests itself in different ways. Sometimes the state itself becomes an endorser of alternative political and social orders, by explicitly transferring power to non-state actors. This is the case in Jamaica and Haiti, where criminals groups (posses, yardies, and paramilitary forces) have become part of the political system. These criminal organizations have established clear-cut alliances with political party members and sectors of the state, which in turn transfer welfare resources to local powerbrokers, helping the government establish political control in garrisoned areas.

The phenomenon is now occurring in Puerto Rico as well, in public housing blocks called “cacerios.” Two of the biggest ones in San Juan municipality, Nemesio Canales (1,500 units) and Llorens Torrens (2,000 units), have the highest density concentration of gangs. These criminal gangs played a critical role in allowing former ruling party the New Party for Progress (PNP) to win multiple victories in the last three municipal elections.

Here you have two important types of powerbrokers. On one hand, there are political castes, based on family ties, that inherit the available political spots in most of the municipalities. On the other hand, there are gangs that have carved out territory for themsleves in these enclosed communities. This power sharing between politicians and politicized gangs in these neighborhoods compensates for the weakness of the state, ensuring a tenuous political stability that cuts across several political cliques.

In other cases, the state is so weak that it basically relies on clientilistic relationships with individuals, rather than the gangs. In either case, these individuals and criminal groups end up assuming state-like functions in these socially ostracized communities. They quickly learn how to capitalize on opportunities such as local elections, social protests, and land seizures. They are a daily presence for people’s needs in poor barrios, and sometimes they accomplish these needs in a more consistent and efficient way than politicians do.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be violent actors who assume the basic functions of the state in poor neighborhoods, when the state proves unable to do so. In the Dominican Republic, for example, the state’s inability to provide basic social services and employment — despite repeatedly promising to do so during elections — drew non-violent actors such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), churches, and community-based organizations to assume those functions. More recently, however, these functions have been taken over by criminal groups.

Is there anything to learn from the way criminals do business, based on these experiences in the Caribbean?

There are a few conclusions we can draw. First, there is the well-developed capacity of criminal groups to adjust to new environments and to change the rules accordingly in these areas. This allows them to create new forms of social control and identify potential alliances in communities that are already socially isolated.

Second, it’s evident that in some ways, these criminal groups become the eyes and the ears of these communities. They know what people want and need, and will take advantage of this as a way to foment loyalty and confidence.

Third, by exercising hard and soft power, they become a type of regulatory power, preventing disorganized street crime from expanding within these communities. At the same time, organized criminal groups become enforcers of social control: mediating disputes, establishing collectively sanctioned forms of behavior among residents, and sometimes protecting them from outside offenders (including abusive police actions). So to speak, organized criminal groups grant protection, in exchange for being protected by the community.

Fourth, these statetropic criminals know to organize themselves as fluid structures, in contrast to the vertical and hierarchal structures adapted by, say, state forces such as police squads. When gangs grant protection to residents in exchange for being shielded by the community, they are breaking the monopoly of power and violence that police and enforcers try to establish in those communities.

Finally, by functioning as a more fluid, elastic organization, they are able to expand into different social groups and foment new partnerships. They are also able to grant recruits incentives to perform their jobs well, and thus maintain loyal ascription to their organization.

These are all functions that criminal organizations perform in impoverished communities, as seen in several Caribbean nations. The very complexity and variety of these functions is precisely what makes it so simplistic to reduce the public debate about organized crime as an issue of “bad gangs” versus “good government.” Even as criminal groups do plenty to destabilize the societies where they operate, it’s also worth bearing in mind that in some areas, they may step in and perform functions that the state has long neglected.

*Lilian Bobea has a Ph.D. from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and a M.A. from SUNY Binghamton, New York. She is a Caribbean Security specialist and a professor at Bentley University, Massachusetts and FLACSO, Dominican Republic.

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Chinese reggae band aims for global success


Reggae music may have originated in Jamaica, but a band from China has latched on to the sound and is building on the genre to create something pretty unique., Jamaica’s Observer reports.

Long Shen Dao’s distinct sound is now attracting fans around the world.

Music acts from China, Japan and South Korea are taking the West by storm. The Asian pop stars are reaching beyond their home markets and achieving global success.

Perhaps best known is South Korean singer Psy, whose video and dance Gangnam Style attracted billions globally. Dreaming of similar success is Beijing-based Long Shen Dao, China’s first ever reggae band.

“Reggae is one of the easier genres of music with which to communicate with listeners,” said band member Guo Jian.

But Long Shen Dao wants to be seen as more than just a Bob Marley tribute act. “It’s a mix of several different influences. Reggae is where we start, but then we bring in electronic music, traditional Chinese music and others,” Guo said.

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Tropisch Koninkrijk

Hedendaagse kunst uit de Caraïbische landsdelen

De tentoonstelling ‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ in Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle vindt plaats in het kader van de viering ‘200 JAAR KONINKRIJK’ en geeft een uitgebreid overzicht van de hedendaagse beeldende kunst van Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba en St. Eustatius. Met werk van twintig kunstenaars, onder wie David Bade, Yubi Kirindongo, Ras Mosera, Herman van Bergen, Magumbo Muntu, Winfred Dania en Ciro Abath, presenteert het museum een grote variëteit aan kunstvormen: van klassieke schilderijen tot moderne installaties. Een aantal kunstwerken wordt speciaal voor de tentoonstelling op locatie gemaakt. De Nederlands-Caraïbische kunst onderscheidt zich door haar sterke internationale oriëntatie en multiculturele gelaagdheid.

‘Cross culture and cross time’
‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ brengt de laatste artistieke ontwikkelingen op de voormalige Nederlandse Antillen onder de aandacht. Het gaat om internationaal georiënteerde schilder- en beeldhouwkunst, video, film, fotografie, keramiek en installaties. De kunst van de Caraïben wordt vooral in Midden-Amerika getoond, onder andere op de biënnales van Santo Domingo en Havanna. Kenmerkend is de zoektocht van de bewoners van de verschillende eilanden naar een eigen identiteit. Curaçaoenaar Felix de Rooy vatte de kern van deze zoektocht samen met de slogan: ‘Cross culture and cross time’. Een bepalende factor in de kunst van de Nederlandse Caraïben is de Afrikaanse- en Indiaanse erfenis. Daarnaast manifesteert zich binnen de mix van culturen de invloed van Nederland en Europa en ook die van het Midden-Oosten, want sommige kunstenaars op Curaçao en Aruba hebben Joodse en Libanese voorouders. Belangrijke thema’s, behalve de diaspora, zijn geschiedenis, religie, mythen en gebruiken, alsook de huidige sociaal-politieke situatie en niet te vergeten de overweldigende natuur. In veel gevallen ontstaat een boeiend spel van ‘fusions’ en een multiculturele gelaagdheid die de unieke positie van de zes Caribische eilanden in het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden onderstrepen.

Verf, brons en sumpiñas
De twintig kunstenaars op de tentoonstelling gebruiken de meest uiteenlopende materialen, van traditionele media als verf en brons tot afvalproducten en organisch materiaal. Zo maakt Herman van Bergen speciaal voor ‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ een reusachtige muur van sumpiñas, de typische doornstruiken van Curaçao. Hij geeft daarmee een stekelig commentaar – ook letterlijk – op de in meerdere opzichten gespleten gemeenschap op zijn eiland. Heleen Cornet toont een reeks poëtische aquarellen op doek, gemaakt in het tropisch regenwoud van Saba. Zij laat daarbij geluiden van de eilandbewoners overgaan in klassieke muziek van Benjamin Britten. Yubi Kirindongo is in Nederland onder meer bekend van zijn deelname aan ‘ArtZuid 2011’ in Amsterdam. Werk van zijn hand bevindt zich in de collectie van museum Beelden aan Zee en is als langdurig bruikleen te zien in de beeldentuin van Museum de Fundatie bij Kasteel het Nijenhuis in Heino/Wijhe. David Bade werd uitgenodigd voor ‘ArtZuid 2013’. In 2010 was een overzicht van zijn werk te zien in het GEM in Den Haag. Voor de beeldentuin van Museum de Fundatie maakte hij in 2012 de sculptuur Ins Blaue, de kolossale oranje ridderfiguur, die jaarlijks afreist naar het Lowlands-festival in Biddinghuizen. Beide kunstenaars tonen op de expositie in Zwolle hun meest recente werk.

Eerste museale overzicht
‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ is het eerste grootschalige museale overzicht in Nederland van de hedendaagse beeldende kunst van alle zes eilanden in het Nederlands-Caraïbische gebied. In totaal zullen zo’n 130 objecten geëxposeerd worden. Bijzondere aandacht gaat uit naar de specifieke ontwikkelingen en achtergronden van deze kunst, waaronder de relatie met Nederland. De van oudsher sterke culturele band tussen Nederland en de overzeese gebieden blijkt onder meer uit de nauwe samenwerking van het Instituto Buena Bista op Curaçao en Ateliers 89 op Aruba met de Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam en andere Nederlandse kunstinstellingen.

‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ werd samengesteld door kunsthistoricus en publicist Maarten Jager. Hij selecteerde de volgende kunstenaars: David Bade, Herman van Bergen, René Emil Bergsma, Ruben La Cruz, Yubi Kirindongo, Tirzo Martha, Felix de Rooy & Kirk Claes, Evelien Sipkes, Ellen Spijkstra (Curaçao); Ciro Abath, Stan Kuiperi, Elvis Lopez, Osaira Muyale en Ryan Oduber (Aruba); Nochi Coffee en Winfred Dania (Bonaire); Ras Mosera (St. Maarten); Heleen Cornet en Glenda Heyliger (Saba); Magumbo Muntu (St. Eustatius).

Bij de tentoonstelling verschijnt een drietalige catalogus (Nederlands / Papiaments / Engels), met bijdragen van Maarten Jager, Adi Martis, Felix de Rooy en Maaike Staffhorst, die wordt uitgegeven door Uitgeverij de Kunst. ‘Tropisch Koninkrijk’ is mede mogelijk gemaakt met steun van de Provincie Overijssel en het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds. Hoofdsponsor is Koninklijke De Gruijter & Co., overige sponsors zijn Maduro & Curiel’s Bank N.V. en BCD Holdings.