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TOPIC: ngos

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Now Has More Landmines Than Any Other Nation — What Can Be Done?

Ukraine became the country with the most landmines in the world. Kyiv has limited resources, so NGOs are trying to help by training soldiers to identify and destroy the potentially deadly devices even while protecting themselves from new assaults from Russian forces.

VASYLENKOVE — Walking along a rough dirt road in this eastern Ukrainian town, Trevor Kirton slowly makes his way, metal detector in hand. "Watch where you step," warns the volunteer de-miner, a veteran of the British army.

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A hundred meters further on lie the pulverized remains of a Ukrainian truck, destroyed after driving over a Russian anti-tank mine. The occupants of the vehicle died on impact. All that remain are a shredded camouflage jacket and some scattered personal belongings on the side of the road. As Kirton crouches to examine a piece of shrapnel, an explosion is heard in the distance, raising a thick column of black smoke.

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NGO Crackdowns Are Spreading, In Both Dictatorships And Democracies

NGOs around the world are facing difficulties as governments criminalize them. The crackdown leaves states less accountable, while the biggest victims are the most vulnerable.

“It just so happens that people who value freedom the most are often deprived of it.”

These words from Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski upon being awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize strike an extra bitter chord now: last Friday a Minsk court sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Founder and chair of Viasna, a Minsk-based non-governmental organization (NGO), Bialiatski had been arrested in July 2021 alongside two of his colleagues for “financing of group actions grossly violating the public order.” The charges were denounced as politically motivated by U.N. human rights experts.

Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko has earned a reputation for its hostility towards human rights organizations and opposition groups. But crackdowns and criminalization of NGOs are not unique to Belarus — indeed, they’re not even limited just to authoritarian regimes.

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Pascoal: Born In Portugal, Citizen Of Nowhere

Born 32 years ago in Portugal to Angolan refugee parents, Pascoal has never been granted Portuguese nationality. Too many people like him live under the threat of being deported to a faraway country they’ve never known.

LISBON – When a team from the European Commission visited Cova da Moura, a suburb of Lisbon, in September, they challenged young musicians in the area to rap about what Europe meant to them. As a reward for their work, the Commission offered a trip to Brussels. But three of the musicians, Pascoal, Hélio, and Heidir, couldn’t even think about it: they didn’t have passports or any form of national ID.

Adriano Malalane, an attorney, says that in the case of Pascoal, “a residence permit is the most he can aim for.”

Pascoal’s birth certificate – the only ID document he has – proves that he was born in the heart of Lisbon. And yet, Portugal does not recognize him as a citizen, and so he lacks any form of national identification

The lack of sufficient ID documents has blocked him from everything from school trips, to sports, to work — or at least, made it very, very difficult.

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NGOs May Be Endangering The Very Migrants They Seek To Rescue


More than 4,500 people lost their lives off the Libyan coast last year. And yet, there have never been so many vessels carrying out rescue missions in the area — from Italian coast guard ships and European operation Eunavfor vessels to those from the border control agency Frontex and others chartered by NGOs.

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Hélène Jaffiol and Hélène Sallon

War Crimes In Gaza? Evidence Against Both Sides

GAZA — Palestinian human rights organizations have used the truce in Gaza to begin their difficult investigation work on a war that has already killed more than 2,000 people. They are among the few NGOs on the ground while global organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, await permission to enter the enclave, which they have been asking of Israel since July 8.

It will take months to substantiate allegations from both sides of international humanitarian law violations. Hundreds of stories, that sometimes mix experienced horrors with overheard rumors, need to be confirmed, and some jealously guarded secrets must be unveiled. On July 23, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that "war crimes" may have been committed by both Israel and Hamas. Legal responsibility will be judged by the principles of the Geneva conventions.

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Grigoriy Tumanov, Elena Chernenko, Galina Dudina and Vladislav Litovchenko

Russia's Crackdown On Foreign NGOs Strains Ties With Europe

MOSCOW - Since February, Russian authorities have been investigating all of the NGOs operating in the country in an attempt to root out any organizations with foreign ties or foreign funding sources.

The entire operation risks further alienating Moscow from Europe – particularly from Germany, after Russian authorities cracked down on two German NGOs operating in Russia.

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Florence Aubenas

Aleppo Diary: Syria's Once Vibrant Business Capital Besieged By War

ALEPPO - As a man cleans his Kalashnikov, another next to him is peeling garlic for supper. At his feet, the assigned cook has left his pistol and his knitting, with the needles stuck inside – it is a striped scarf with the colors of the rebellion. A small fire is lighting up the walls of the abandoned building, which was a "Western and traditional souvenir store" in Aleppo's old city until a few months ago.

Just a few hundred meters from here, the front line zigzags through the narrow market streets of the souk.

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Mel Frikberg

No Signs Of Libyan Healing - Now Its Ex-Gaddafi Supporters Living In Mortal Fear

TRIPOLI – Nafisa Muhammad knows all too well that vengeance is alive and well in post-revolution Libya. “One of my brothers was kidnapped by rebels from Misrata at Benghazi airport," she says. "On his first day at a local detention center, he was beaten to death.”

The 31-year-old woman now lives in a refugee camp in Fillah, in the northwest of Libya. Her cousin was also a victim of the post Gaddafi-era. He was burnt to death along with other loyalist combatants who had remained faithful to Gaddafi. Former rebels locked them in a fire truck, splashed it with gasoline and set it on fire. Footage of mutilated corpses was then sent to their relatives, as payback for the atrocities perpetrated by Gaddafi’s supporters against the people of Misrata during the city’s siege in March 2011. A few months after the revolution, ethnic and politically fueled violence is still very common.

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