iconic images of human rights violations, photography and journalism

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (87): “Die Flucht”

victim of Die Flucht

victim of “Die Flucht”

German-speaking civilians were sent to Germany from Czechoslovakia

(source)
Sudeten Germans were attacked and painted with Swastikas on their backs for real or perceived Nazi affiliation

Sudeten Germans were attacked and painted with Swastikas on their backs for real or perceived Nazi affiliation

(source)

At the end of and immediately after WWII, millions of ethnic Germans were cleansed from the eastern parts of Europe and sent to the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria, partly in retaliation for wartime cleansing by Nazi Germany. The areas of expulsion included pre-war German provinces as well as areas which Nazi Germany had annexed or occupied.

At least 12 million people - the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16 - were expelled from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland. Those who survived the journey – about 500.000 did not – found themselves among the ruins of Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves as best they could.

This was the largest movement or transfer of any population in modern European history. A part of those fleeing did so “voluntarily”, in fear of the advancing Red Army. Others were forcefully expelled in an effort by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union to redraw the European post-war map and to create ethnically uniform nations and territories. By 1950, the ordeal had ended.

Retaliation and “reparation” were the most commonly cited justifications for the expulsion; ethnic peace was another one: “defusing ethnic antagonisms through the mass transfer of populations”.

To make the horror complete,

tens of thousands perished as a result of ill treatment while being used as slave labor (or, in the Allies’ cynical formulation, “reparations in kind”) in a vast network of camps extending across central and southeastern Europe—many of which, like Auschwitz I and Theresienstadt, were former German concentration camps kept in operation for years after the war. (source)

A gruesome anecdote:

The screams that rang throughout the darkened cattle car crammed with deportees, as it jolted across the icy Polish countryside five nights before Christmas, were Dr. Loch’s only means of locating his patient. The doctor, formerly chief medical officer of a large urban hospital, now found himself clambering over piles of baggage, fellow passengers, and buckets used as toilets, only to find his path blocked by an old woman who ignored his request to move aside. On closer examination, he discovered that she had frozen to death.

Finally he located the source of the screams, a pregnant woman who had gone into premature labor and was hemorrhaging profusely. When he attempted to move her from where she lay into a more comfortable position, he found that “she was frozen to the floor with her own blood.” Other than temporarily stopping the bleeding, Loch was unable to do anything to help her, and he never learned whether she had lived or died. (source)

More here and here. More iconic images here.

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activism, international relations, intervention, photography and journalism, political graffiti

Political Graffiti (136): Cyprus, I Love You

graffiti don't forget cyprus i love you

graffiti at the demarcation line between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus - the sigh reads: "enjoy yourself in this land of racial purity and true apartheid, enjoy the sight of our desecrated chuches, enjoy what remains of our looted heritage and homes"

(source)

More on Cyprus. More political graffiti.

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data, discrimination and hate, human rights maps, international relations, war

Human Rights Maps (112): Ethnic Cleansing of Jews by Nazi Germany

map Ethnic Cleansing of Jews by Nazi Germany

(source, map courtesy of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)

mass deportations of jews

(source)

These are the German concentration camps in Europe:

German concentration camps in Europe

 

(source)

The title of the map below is: “Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A”, from the December 1941 Jager Report by the commander of a Nazi death squad. Marked “Secret Reich Matter,” the map shows the number of Jews shot in the different parts of the Baltic region (with nice coffin drawings, as if coffins were ever needed), and reads at the bottom: “the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000″. Estonia is marked as “judenfrei”.

holocaust map

(source)

holocaust map

(source)

More on the holocaust is here. More maps on ethnic cleansing are here. Some more descriptive information on ethnic cleansing is here, and on genocide here and here. More human rights maps are here.

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data, discrimination and hate, human rights maps, international relations, intervention, war

Human Rights Maps (111): Ethnic Cleansing in Cyprus

ethnic cleansing in cyprus

(source, I don’t think a translation is really necessary here)

In 1960 the Greek and Turkish communities formed a mosaic. After more than 25 years of Turkish occupation of the north of the island and the forced transfer of populations, the two communities – Turkish in the north and Greek in the south – are now strictly separated by a demarcation line. Read the story about the Greek and Turkish interventions in Cyprus here and more specifically here.

More maps on ethnic cleansing are here. Some more descriptive information is here. More human rights maps are here.

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data, discrimination and hate, horror, human rights maps, international relations, war

Human Rights Maps (110): Ethnic Cleansing in Europe After WWII

map ethnic cleansing in Europe after WWII

(source, from “Redrawing Nations: Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948″, Edited by Philipp Ther and Ana Siljak; click on the image to enlarge)

After WWII, millions of ethnic Germans were cleansed from the eastern parts of Europe, partly in retaliation for wartime cleansing by Nazi Germany. Read the whole story here.

Here’s another version of the map:

population flight and expulsions after WWII

(source, click image to enlarge)

More maps on ethnic cleansing are here. Some more descriptive information is here. More human rights maps are here.

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data, human rights violations, international relations, intervention, law, photography and journalism, satellite evidence of human rights violations, war

Satellite Evidence of Human Rights Violations (7): Darfur

Satellite images provide evidence of the destruction of villages in Darfur

Before and after satellite images provide evidence of the destruction of villages in Darfur. See more at http://www.eyesondarfur.org. Copyright 2009 DigitalGlobe

(source, source)

More examples of satellite evidence of human rights violations are here. Something on the advantages of this kind of evidence is here. More on Darfur here.

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culture, horror, iconic images of human rights violations, intervention, war

Iconic Images of Human Rights Violations (37): Muslim Prisoners in a Serbian Detention Camp

Time Muslim Prisoners in a Serbian Detention Camp

Read the whole story here, as well as the general story of the war in ex-Yugoslavia. Other posts on this topic are here. More iconic images of human rights violations are here.

Update January 12th, 2010: commenters tell me that this is a fake…

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governance, human rights and international law, intervention, law, war

Human Rights and International Law (18): Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

The “Responsibility to Protect“, or R2P in U.N.-speak, is a humanitarian principle that aims to stop mass murder, genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It refers initially to the responsibility of states to their own citizens, but in case states can’t or won’t protect their own citizens, other states can step in, respecting the Security Council procedures. However, this is a last resort, especially if the intervention is of a military nature.

The concept is closely linked to, if not indistinguishable from, humanitarian intervention. Often it’s also called the principle of non-indifference, a sarcastic pun on the principle of non-intervention. Some for whom national sovereignty and non-intervention is still the main and overriding rule in international affairs, see R2P as an excuse for Western interference. Noam Chomsky is a notable if unsurprising example. You can read his arguments here. He is, not for the first time unfortunately, joined by a number of governments that risk being a future target.

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

(source, art by Robert Shetterly)

However, most in the West aren’t jumping the queue to enter into a legal obligation that can force them to undertake expensive and risky interventions in the name of humanity. The fact that these interventions aren’t only expensive and risky but often also without collateral benefits, doesn’t help either. R2P is not yet a legal rule, more a quasi-legal rule. Some legal or quasi-legal texts include the concept. The Constitutive Act of the African Union includes “the right of the Union to intervene in a member state pursuant to a decision of the African Union assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity”. The same is true for the Security Council of the UN. The concept was endorsed unanimously by heads of state during the World Summit of 2005, so it can be argued that the principle is part of international common law (i.e. international law established by coherent and unanimous state practice).

More here. More on humanitarian intervention here and here.

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