In a coup on Monday morning, the armed forces detained the prime minister and other top civilian officials. Soldiers killed at least three protesters and wounded more than 80 as demonstrations broke out across the country.
By now, We’re sure most of us have seen the horrifying photos of ICE agents on horseback, whipping asylum seekers from Haiti. Deportation flights started this week, with the U.S. using a Trump-era rule to deport Haitian asylum seekers before they even have a chance to seek asylum.
2021 brought unprecedented tragedy for Haitians.Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, leaving many parts of the country’s capital under gang control. On top of that, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake this summer killing more than 2,000 people and injuring more than 12,000, and was followed almost immediately by flash floods caused by tropical storm Grace. That has only added to the pressure of getting people to leave.
The U.S. has deported at least 1,400 asylum seekers so far, and thousands more have retreated back to Mexico after hearing about the deportations. If this situation leaves you feeling devastated and angry, here are some actions you can take.
Call your senators and representatives
As outlined by Haitian American author Maika Moulite in this Instagram post, clogging the phone lines of senators and representatives all over the country can help emphasize the urgency of the crisis, and with enough pressure, could prompt the Biden-Harris administration to change policies. Moulite is using a script from the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which can be found here. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), a racial and immigration justice organization, has also created a tool kit to guide you through how to advocate for Haitian asylum seekers.
Unless you’re able to travel to the border and volunteer with organizations providing aid on the ground, the next best thing you can do is donate. Even if you can’t afford to send large donations, setting up regular donations (monthly or biweekly) is the best way to offer sustained support for Haitian asylum seekers, even after Haiti is no longer in the headlines. Here are some organizations to consider donating to:
The Haitian Bridge Alliance has been supporting Haitian immigrant communities in California for years, and is one of the primary organizations currently on the ground in Texas. Its work includes providing supplies, reuniting families, and welcoming the few asylum seekers who aren’t being deported. Donate here.
San Antonio–based Black Freedom Factory is a grassroots organization that is on the ground distributing food and supplies at the border, as well as providing shelter, supplies, and food for newly arrived Haitian asylum seekers in Texas. Donate here.
BAJI is a national organization with staff in Texas that organizes for immigration justice and advocates for Black immigrant communities; it’s currently fighting to stop deportations by the Biden administration. Donate here.
The Haitian Immigrant Bail Assistant Project (HIBAP) helps pay bail to free detained refugees, asylum seekers, TPS holders, and other undocumented immigrants. Donate here.
Since its founding in 2015, Houston Haitians United has worked to connect and uplift Houston’s Haitian community. Now, the organization is on the ground helping run a shelter where volunteers are providing Haitian food and supplies, translation services, COVID tests, and even hairstyling. Donate here.
Undocublack is a support network that advocates for undocumented Black immigrants by building community, providing education and training, and organizing for immigrant rights and racial justice. Donate here.
Border Kindness was founded in 2018 in response to the caravan of migrants from Central America. Since it has continued to provide food, shelter, medical services, transportation, and legal services for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants of all kinds. The group is offering support services to Haitian asylum seekers who have passed through the border. Donate here.
Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition provides food, supplies, and transportation to newly arrived refugees who have gotten through border patrol. Donate here.
Black Immigrants Bail Fund is a collaborative effort from the Haitian Bridge Alliance and the Detroit-based African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs whose ultimate goal is to end the mass incarceration of Black immigrants. Donate here.
Detention Watch Network is a national coalition whose goal is to abolish immigration detention in the United States. It recently hosted a national day of action to stop the deportations and continues to organize for the rights of immigrants. Donate here.
World Central Kitchen is an international organization that goes wherever there are hungry people to feed. It’s currently on the ground in Del Rio, feeding hot meals and fresh fruit to Haitian asylum seekers. Donate here.
In 2026, Senegal will become the first country in Africa to host an Olympic event, when the Summer Youth Olympics will take place in Dakar. Initially set for 2022, the world’s most important sporting tournament for teenagers has been pushed back on account of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The YOG was added to the Olympics in 2010 to give younger athletes ages 14 to 18 the chance to compete.
When the Youth Olympic Games were held in Buenos Aires in 2018, more than 4,000 athletes from 260 countries participated.
Despite the delay, Senegalese leaders are excited to be the first African country to host the YOG but also understand that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with it.
“There are expectations from the whole African continent , and Senegal has to organise games that would live up to the standards of previous Youth Olympics . And because of that, Senegal is going to make sure its a success and serves as a catalyst for mobilizing and engaging Senegalese youth in particular, and African youth in general,” Babacar Makhtar Wade, president of the Senegal Judo Federation, told Voice of America.
Wade, who is also treasurer of the Senegal National Olympic and Sports Committee, says officials are already planning renovations for the games.
“We are planning to first renovate three main venues — the Iba Mar Diop Stadium, which will host track, rugby, and other sports. There’s also our Olympic pool, which needs to be renovated. It has an adjacent park, which will host a few events such as the BMX freestyle, basketball 3 on 3, and hockey games. And there is also the Caserne Samba Diery Diallo, where the equestrian-related activities will take place,” he adds.
In addition, Wade says there will be venues outside of Senegal’s capital city that will host beach volleyball, boating, and other events.
Just outside of Dakar in the city of Diamniadio, a 50,000-seat multipurpose stadium is currently being constructed. Senegal President Macky Sall says the stadium will be available for future local and international competitions.
South African comedian Trevor Noah has teamed up with the free language app giant Duolingo to help teach South Africa’s most popular languages.
Zulu and Xhosa are two of the country’s most spoken languages, as they are two of 11 official languages in the country and among the most widely spoken in homes.
Duolingo says it has teamed up with the Trevor Noah Foundation and its partner Nal’ibali, an organization that promotes multilingual reading, to create the courses.
Adding Zulu and Xhosa to Duolingo means there will be three African-language courses offered on the app. The Swahili course, which was added in 2017, has more than 363,000 active users, as reported in QZ Africa.
Trevor, who speaks five languages fluently including, English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Tswana, and Tsonga, says he’s excited that two South African languages will be offered on the app.
“Xhosa because I want to start learning it and speaking it fluently. And then Zulu, just so I can brush up while I’m not in my country,” he told Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn in a discussion about the new languages being added, but warned, “you’re gonna need a whole section in Xhosa just to teach people about the clicks.”
Xhosa, known as the “click-click language” is said to be one of the most difficult languages in the world for native English speakers.
Spoken in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, Xhosa is one of many African languages that use click consonants. There are 18 clicks that get articulated in three different places: the back of the teeth, the roof of the mouth, and the side of the mouth, according to Translate Day.
In addition to Zulu and Xhosa, Duolingo announced that the Austrialnesian language Tagalog, Eastern Polynesian language Māori, and Haitian Creole will also be added to the lineup.
The languages will be offered to the world beginning in 2022.
Jamaican officials are petitioning Britain to compensate them 7.6 billion pounds (around $10.5 billion USD) as reparations for the European country’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, Reuters reports
Reuters reports Jamaican lawmakers are preparing to submit a petition to Queen Elizabeth II seeking billions of pounds in compensation over the enslavement of Africans that generated fortunes for British merchants. Enslaved Africans were forced to work on plantations, cultivating sugar and other crops. An estimated 600,000 Africans were shipped to Jamaica to be chattel slaves, according to the National Library of Jamaica.
Jamaica became an English colony in 1655 after the British seized the Caribbean island from the Spanish. While the country gained its independence in 1962, Jamaica remains part of the Commonwealth, and the queen remains head of state.
When Britain formally abolished slavery in 1834, it paid reparations…to slave owners. As Reuters reports, the British government took out a 20 million pound loan to pay them, and only finished paying the interest payments in 2015, a reminder that history that seems like a distant past is still very much shaping our present.
“We are hoping for reparatory justice in all forms that one would expect if they are to really ensure that we get justice from injustices to repair the damages that our ancestors experienced,” Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s minister of sports, youth and culture, told Reuters.
“Our African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labor to the benefit of the British Empire,” she said. “Redress is well overdue.”
The British government in the 19th century took out a roughly $27-million loan to compensate slave owners after the empire abolished slavery, recently paying off the interest payments in 2015.
Reuters reports Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who is a member of Jamaica’s Labour Party, said the price tag of reparations could be worth some $10.5 billion.
“I am asking for the same amount of money to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners,” he told Reuters.
The petition will be filed pending advice from the attorney general and several legal teams.
Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday to protest a lack of food and medicine as the country undergoes a grave economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.
According to one Cuban, who spoke to the BBC on the condition of anonymity, “there is no food, no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live.”
The outlet further reports that at the crux of the Cuba protests lies the issues that have arisen from American economic sanctions, the Cuban government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and food and medicine shortages. The perfect storm of these three issues has collapsed the country’s economy.
The issues were exacerbated by the Trump administration, according to CNN. During the Trump era, tourists — which power the economy — were limited from visiting, and some even canceled their travel altogether. This further contributed to the failing economy — and it was all but toppled when the pandemic hit.
That’s why Bernie Sanders blamed the American sanctions on the island for the current Cuba protests.
“It’s also long pastime to end the unilateral U.S. embargo on Cuba, which has only hurt, not helped, the Cuban people,” he said.
But the real answer isn’t that simple. While protests are common in the United States and enshrined in the Constitution. They’re forbidden in places like Cuba, where protesting against the government will result in arrest and incarceration. That’s what’s happening to these protestors — and according to the BBC, the only reason we know about it is that the Internet is shining a light on all of it.
For Sanders, though, the Cuba protests speak to a larger need of the people that’s no longer being met by their government.
While this is not to say that American-style democracy is the correct choice for Cuba — the Batista administration was just as corrupt and murderous as the Castro regime — it is to say that anything’s better than what they have now.
For his part, President Biden is supportive of the Cuba protests.
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said in a statement.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday, calling it a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.”
First Lady Martine Moïse was hospitalized following the overnight attack, interim Premier Claude Joseph said.
Mr Joseph said that “all measures had been taken to guarantee the continuity of the state”.
Haiti was already in a precarious political situation before the assassination, having grown increasingly unstable and disgruntled under Moïse. The president ruled by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections and the opposition demanded he step down in recent months.
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph said in a statement from his office. “Democracy and the republic will win.
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, the streets were largely empty in the Caribbean nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince, but some people ransacked businesses in one area. After the attack, gunshots could be heard throughout the capital.
Joseph said police have been deployed to the National Palace and the upscale community of Pétionville and will be sent to other areas.
Joseph condemned the assassination as a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act”. He said some of the attackers spoke in Spanish but offered no further explanation.
Moise has faced fierce protests since he took office as president in 2017, with the opposition accusing him this year of seeking to install a dictatorship by overstaying his mandate and becoming more authoritarian – charges he denied.
In addition to presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was due to have a constitutional referendum in September after it was twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kingdom of Eswatini is one of the most unique and controversial states in the SADC Region. The nation’s Constitution gives the king absolute powers, and the monarchy has been in power since 1986. Although the nation holds elections every five years, the exercise of absolute powers by the monarchy has seen recent human rights protests by Eswatini citizens for the government to reform the Constitution. The protest actions began on the 20th of June 2021 in the Manzini region when the nation’s youth took to the streets, demanding the right to democratically elect a prime minister. The pro-democracy protesters defied an overnight curfew to call for constitutional reforms as tensions increased in Africa’s last absolute monarchy. These protests have led to internet shutdowns and the injuring and alleged killing of protestors. Protestors and human rights activists have accused the king of running a repressive government and evading calls for reforms in Eswatini. The king has also been accused of using public coffers to fund a lavish lifestyle off the backs of 1.5 million citizens, most of them subsistence farmers. As a result, the protestors are calling for a democratic government that will serve the people’s interests.
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) July 1, 2021
Pro-democracy protest action erupts in Manzini and Mbabane
Following the peaceful protest actions on 20thJune 2021, later that week the acting Prime Minister Themba N. Masuku issued an order suspending the delivery of memorandums, which hampers citizens’ freedoms of association and expression around development concerns. Following the circulation of a video from King Mswati’s children mocking the people who were demanding democracy in eSwatini, this became a spark to a fire which had already been set and led to a further series of protests.
“I was kicked all over the body, held by my genitals and bundled into a police van to Siphofaneni police station” – Mcolisi Ngcamphalala, the deputy general secretary of the Communist Party of Swaziland
On 28th June the protesters gathered in the streets of Manzini and Mbabane, carrying pamphlets as well as blocking major roads and burning tyres, while they sang and petitioned for constitutional reforms. The policemen intervened in the protests, firing gunshots and using tear gas on the protesters, leading to severe injuries and fatalities. The peaceful protests led to serious violence when there was an interaction between the protesters and the security forces. Security forces also set up roadblocks to prevent some vehicles from accessing the capital, Mbabane. In the country’s townships and rural areas, security forces have reportedly been going from house to house, dragging young people out of their homes and beating them. There was an allegation that King Mswati could not withstand the pressure caused by the uprisings, to the extent of fleeing from the country into South Africa, but the Eswatini government deniedthese allegations. The Eswatini opposition party explicitly highlighted that at least 21 people have been killed and 250 injuries by the police officials. There has also been a video in circulation showing the military forceing citizens out of their homes and assaulting them after accusing them of being the masterminds behind the protest actions.
“We slept with the sound of gunshots and woke still to gunshots fired…The looting and destruction of property became intense” said Mbongwa Dlamini, head of the Swaziland Teachers’ Association told AFP News Agency
Protestors arrested for protesting
The protest action that unfolded in Siphofaneni in the Lubombo region resulted in protestors and human rights activists being arrested. As a result of this protest action, it is alleged that over 47 protesters were detained by the security officers. The arrests mainly targeted human rights activists and political opposition leaders. Zanele Maseko whom is a vice-secretary of the Women’s League of the People’s United Democratic Movement was one of the political opposition leaders who was arrested during the protest action. The main purpose of the protest was to call for democratic reforms in Eswatini, this includes the demand for citizens to elect a prime minister. The current regime permits King Mswati together with cabinet members to be the only one who are eligible to elect the prime minister.
The brutality of the army in Swaziland on its people is shameful!!!
Let the people have freedom and democracy as they wish!
— Andile Ncube (@AndileNcube) June 30, 2021
Activists and CSOs condemn human rights abuses
The government proceeded to introduce a curfew from 6pm to 5am in order to halt the protests, citing rising corona virus cases. Lucky Luckele, a spokesperson for the Swaziland Pro-Democracy Solidarity Network indicated that he witnessed 28 human rights activists being shot dead by police since they proceeded with the protests despite the curfew. A brewery partially owned by King Mswati III and other properties in Mbabane and Manzini were also torched during the series of protest actions.
“I can hear gunshots and smell teargas. I do not know how I will get home, there is nothing in the bus rank, there is a strong presence of riot police and the army” Vusi Madalane, a shop assistant in Mbabane told Reuters Agency
On the 1st of July, the South African government highlighted that it was concerned about the developments in Eswatini and urged the Eswatini security forces to exercise restraint to protect the lives of people as well as property. The Economic Freedom Fighters, one of South Africa’s opposition parties, conducted a solidarity protest by shutting down the South Africa-Eswatini border for the government of Eswatini to promote and protect its citizens’ human rights at the Mananga border post. Furthermore, the African Union has released a statement calling for “immediate steps to protect lives of citizens and their property” in Eswatini.
Internet shutdown hampers information circulation
Several activists and residents in Mbabane reported that the internet was shut down from about 4:30 p.m. local time on June 29th until around 9 a.m. on June 30th. The reasons for the internet shutdown are not certain, however, activists allege that it is an effort to stop the spread of information about the protest. On 30th June 2021, media groups African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Panos Institute Southern Africa, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) sent a joint petition to acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku to ensure that the internet, social media platforms and all other communication channels are open, secure and accessible regardless of the protests currently taking place in Eswatini.
— #EswatiniProtests🇸🇿 (@iamnokulunga_D) July 1, 2021
“The government of Eswatini has ordered network providers Eswatini Post and Telecommunications, Eswatini MTN and Eswatini Mobile to turn off internet connectivity as protests continue in the country.”Lucky Luckele, Spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity Network said on Twitter
South Africa’s highest court found former President Jacob Zuma guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in prison on Tuesday, a landmark move in the country’s long-running corruption saga.
The Constitutional Court of South Africa ordered that Zuma present himself at a police station in his home town of Nkandla or Johannesburg within five days.
In a scathing judgment, Justice Sisi Khampepe ruled: “There can be no doubt that Mr Zuma is in contempt of court.”
The order stems from Zuma’s refusal to appear at an anti-corruption commission to answer questions about his alleged involvement in corruption during his time as president. Zuma has repeatedly denied the allegations.
While the judgement has been welcomed by various politicians, law experts and ordinary citizens, it has been touted as “political targeting” by fervent supporters of Zuma. Additionally, there is also some skepticism as to whether Zuma will actually see the inside of a prison cell. This is after all, South Africa and stranger things have happened.
Judge Khampepe said that Zuma attempted to corrode the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court by conducting a “politically motivated smear campaign” against it, the commission and the judiciary.
“This is a historically significant moment,” said Karam Singh, head of legal and investigations at Corruption Watch, an anti-graft non-governmental organisation. “For the first time in South Africa, we are seeing a former head of state held directly accountable by way of a prison sentence.”Read some of their reactions on social media below:
Today is a day to celebrate. Our Court System is still independent and still works. Jacob Zuma has been found guilt… https://t.co/J9QLlgZ1jR
— Bronaldo Gouws 🇿🇦 (@Bronaldo Gouws 🇿🇦)1624955869.0
#JacobZuma People who think Jacob Zuma will be jailed haven’t learnt a thing about politicians and the justice syst… https://t.co/j7NEfZiVZC
— That🌞 Cool 🏅Guy (@That🌞 Cool 🏅Guy)1624956749.0
Jail or no jail we will never leave nor forsake Zuma. We are with you Nxamalala #JacobZuma
— Marxist (@Marxist)1624956326.0
I wish Zuma doesn’t present himself to the law enforcement within 5 days. I want to see something 🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂I want to s… https://t.co/sAmocphpr0
— The Lord Of Engineering (@The Lord Of Engineering)1624957948.0
Sad but proud moment for SA’s democracy: no-one should take pleasure in the sight of a former president going to ja… https://t.co/c4X6SvIfvf
— Richard Calland (@Richard Calland)1624956591.0