Our Perspective

      • Nepal: Seeking justice for a father's murder

        04 Oct 2013

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        Suman Adhikari, third from the right, protests against impunity in Nepal.

        My father was a school teacher at the Sanskrit high school in our village. He was also a social worker and an activist at Amnesty International. During the conflict, Maoist fighters approached him and demanded a quarter of his salary. But my father said he would not give money to support the torture and killing of innocent people. One day in 2002, while he was teaching class, the armed fighters tied his hands and feet and dragged him away. They tied him to a tree not far from our home and shot him. They said that anyone who touched the body would suffer the same fate. There were many similar episodes of violence across the country. People were brutally tortured and killed. Though my family and I couldn't get our father back, we decided to do something in his name to help others. Today, we provide scholarships at my father's school for students who are poor or affected by the conflict and, through the Conflict Victims Orphans' Society, we help children who lost their parents. But justice is still not a reality. After the peace agreement in 2006, we hoped that the truth commissions and the government would bring the perpetrators Read More

      • Bosnia and Herzegovina: The war in people's minds | Amir Kulaglic

        04 Oct 2013

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        Kulaglic shows his escape route from Srebrenica, which involved walking through the woods for seven days and nights. (Photo: Sigrid Lupieri/UNDP)

        I was born in Srebrenica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and have lived there all my life. There were always tensions between Serbs and the Bosnian Muslim minority, but I couldn't quite believe there would ever be a war. I was mistaken. In 1992, [when the conflict started] many members of the Bosnian community fled into the woods. But I had a frail, elderly grandfather, an aging father, and my mother and step-father refused to leave their homes — so I stayed with my family. In May, they shot my father. He was a fragile man with a walking stick and not a threat to anyone. As the conflict intensified, tens of thousands of displaced people from around Srebrenica came to the city seeking shelter. In 1993, the UN Security Council declared the city a weapon-free haven. Despite this, after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, men and boys fled from the city, which was surrounded by the military. Through a systematic effort by Serb forces in Bosnia, more than 8,000 boys and men between the ages of 14 and 75 were murdered. I managed to escape into the woods and reach a safe area in Tuzla, after walking for seven Read More

      • Guatemala: Proud to be a Mayan | Juan de Dios

        04 Oct 2013

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        Victims' memorial museum in Guatemala City. Photo: UNDP Guatemala

        I am a Mayan from Guatemala. Though I am proud to be an indigenous person, discrimination against us is a serious problem. Especially in the private sector and in the government, we rarely reach high-level positions and are often seen as a source of cheap labour. I come from a family of people who were displaced by conflict. When I was nine or 10 years old, my father was persecuted and tortured by the military during Guatemala’s civil war, which lasted between 1960 and 1996 and destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were indigenous Mayans. During the war, 45,000 Mayans were abducted by security forces and “disappeared,” 200,000 families were displaced and 2.5 million children became orphans. After my father was tortured, my family, including my seven brothers and sisters, was forced to move to a new region. However, our troubles were not over. We were thrown out of our new home once again because the government planned to build a hydroelectric plant. When we resisted leaving our homes, the government labeled us enemies of the State and began organizing massacres of women, children and newborns, which nearly wiped out our communities in 1981 and Read More

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