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September 21, 2018

The Sami are Fighting for Their Land

The Sami People are protesting a railway that the Finnish and Norwegian governments want to build right through their land linking Finland to the Arctic Ocean. They are hoping this railway will drive business in sectors like mining. The problem is that this project was proposed without the consent of the Sami People who live in the area where the railway would be built. It could have lasting effects on the way the Sami have lived for generations.

The Sami are fighting back by standing in the path of the proposed railway holding up red banners that say “Our Land, Our Future” and “No Consent, No Access.” There are also concerns that this railway would harm the reindeer population because it would cut through grazing paths and destroy the Sami’s livelihoods. This is a continuing pattern all around the world of how governments have little regard for indigenous peoples and their rights as they continue to have their land taken. We continue to stand with Indigenous People and their right to claim their land.

A Crackdown of FGM in Burkina Faso

The mass arrests that happened this week in Burkina Faso is the West African country’s biggest crackdown on female genital mutilation (FGM) to date. More than 30 people have been arrested under suspicion of performing FGM on young girls. This is following earlier reports that around 50 girls were hospitalized due to complications after FGM, with the youngest being 10 months old.

FGM is a practice that is performed to “preserve a girl’s purity” so that she is more appealing for marriage. It’s usually carried out in adolescence and globally affects more than 200 million girls and women worldwide. Burkina Faso was one of the first countries in Africa to ban the practice in 1996, but it’s still prevalent with around 76% of women and girls having undergone FGM. More work is needed in enforcing laws that protect girls from this abuse.

Creative Ways Gazans are Combating the Blockade

The Israeli blockade of Palestine has been in effect for over a decade. Under this restriction, many Palestinians are unable to find work and are essentially cut off from the outside world. For fishermen in particular, because the blockade extends to the sea, they are having a hard time making a living. One fisherman has come up with a creative way to provide for his family and keep plastic out of the oceans.

He used plastic bottles, that were left on the beaches, to make a raft  he could use for fishing. Under the blockade, he’s only allowed to fish a few miles off the coast. It’s still difficult to make a living this way because of the rampant pollution in the oceans due to the electricity crisis caused by the blockade. Much of Gaza’s sewage goes into the ocean, killing the fish that are closer to the shores. Even with these hurdles, many Palestinians are finding ways to live and provide for their families under Israel’s blockade.