The podcast focusing on the connection between human rights and environmental issues.
The Colombian Civil War and Peace Process with Paola and Mary
In this next BONUS episode of the EarthRights Podcast about post-war peace processes, Mel is in conversation with Paola (Colombian national living in the UK) and Mary (PhD student researching the impact of the armed conflict and drug policy in Colombia).
In view of the very recent uprisings and protests going on in Colombia and Europe, Paola and Mary tell us about the history of this conflict, the establishment of FARK, the left wing illegal army and the post war peace process currently in a state of flux. Many social leaders have been killed during these protests; Paola reflects that violence in this way is ingrained in Colombians as a means to solve political issues.
Paola explains about the 50-60 years of civil war, which began in the 1950s, starting back in colonial Colombia when populist figure Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated an violence spread across the country. This lead to the creation of militarised groups, a struggle for power and political exclusion, even which after the civil war prevail today in Colombia.
Paola then reflects personally on what the violence looked like when she grew up in Bogota as a child; petrified of being bombed on a bus or in a shopping centre by paramilitary groups. Mary tells us what it was like visiting Colombia more recently in 2014 during the time of the peace process and how she was surprised at how safe she felt.
Paola and Mary also explain what the FARK is, and how this group was involved in the making of the Colombian peace process to end the long and violent conflict.
Mary provides a lot of insight into Colombia's battle with drugs - Colombians have often been so desperate and destitute they have turned to the coca crop to make some money. The interwoven war on drugs in Colombia has seriously affected the civil war as drugs money has helped to fund militarised insurgent groups but the problems are still unsresolved.
However, as we touched on in last week's episode looking at Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict and peace process, establishing peace is never simple and so we still have a situation in Columbia of great civil unrest, protest and corruption.
The Ethnic Conflict and Peace Process in Sri Lanka with Ovida Dias Gunasekara
In today's BONUS episode, of the EarthRights Podcast Mel and Pippa talk to Ovida about Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict and the problems with peace processes.
In this episode, we start by defining what peace processes are and exploring the difficulties that can occur when other nations intervene with internal conflicts.
Ovi gives a detailed explanation of the deeply routed history of the conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities and how this conflict dates back to the colonial era in Sri Lanka. He believes it is fundamental to uncover the past in order to understand why the rifts between the two ethnic groups began.
Ovi then goes into explain the difficulties of peace processes and why forcing peace onto a nation that has been forced into division in the first place can lead to many difficulties.
But finally and perhaps most importantly, Ovi urges us all, wherever we are from, to recognise that we are all citizens of the world and so while it is important to acknowledge each others suffering, it is essential that we strive for a better future and guarantee human rights in law and practice.
Deviant Leisure or Political Freedom? The History of Berlin's Clubbing Scene with Philipp Reimann
In this timely episode of the EarthRights Podcast, as people experience a new-found freedom in heading out of the year of 'lockdowns', Mel is in conversation with their dancing companion, Philipp Reimann, about the history of Berlin's liberal clubbing culture.
Mel and Philipp talk about the difficult to define right to leisure. Leisure, play time and free time differ from society to society, individual to individual. But dancing and music are certainly one way people choose to spend their free time.
As a human right, leisure and rest are recognised in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in many regional texts such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
The right to leisure and rest may be seen, as Philipp explains, as a framework providing the freedom to choose the way we spend our free time.
“People come together in large numbers from time to time, expecting an experience of unity, uplift, or, at least, diversion. The occasion might be a sporting event, concert, theatrical production, parade…” or indeed, DANCING. (Barbara Ehrenreich)
Dancing enables the dissolution of the self, creates a feeling of oneness, wholeness and unity. It is also very intrinsic to and natural for us humans; Philipp describes the way that babies can feel music and move in time to rhythms even before they can walk.
Dancing is part of the anthropocene, including of rituals and ancient ceremonies. It is always intended to create a feeling of togetherness. And, different dances or music may be seen to characterise or represent different groups in society.
From the documentation of Egyptian slave dancers entertaining their kings; to monarchs during the renaissance period organising dances for people to court eachother; to now, in Berlin, where anyone, including people who have perhaps not fitted into mainstream society, can escape social rules, expectations and hide within the dark walls of clubs.
However, when people do not conform to the mainstream way of spending their leisure time, such as by clubbing, then the activity can be construed as deviant or something the majority population or governments can criticise. In other words, some leisure activities are considered acceptable and others not.
Philipp and Mel explore why Berlin became the epicentre of club culture and gained notority as a space for an alternative way to pursue leisure time. The scene reflects the infamous political and societal situations throughout the 20th century.
They discuss the separation of Germany after WW2, the impact of the Cold War and how the stark divisions between East and West of the wall manifested in Berlin. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, Berlin's clubbing scene really took off - everyone reveled in their then new-found sense of liberty - a feeling not too dissimilar to that which people are feeling now.
Mexico's Border Crisis with Frank Hernandez
Mel and Pippa are in conversation with Mexican journalist, Frank Hernandez for Episode Nine of the EarthRights Podcast about the Mexican border crisis and whether the new Biden administration is a cause for hope or concern.
Frank is currently residing in the U.S., working for the Mid-West Centre for Investigative Reporting, a non profit newsroom in Illinois, which covers agriculture and rural life in the U.S.
Are we chilling in Orwell's 1984? - Media, Migration & Identity with Melis Omalar
For Episode Seven of the EarthRights Podcast, Pippa and Mel are in conversation with Melis Omalar, journalist at Guiti News (an independent news outlet that focuses on migration) and communications assistant at the International Rescue Committee.
Identity is so complex - there are so many different aspects to each person's live. Melis shares with us her experience living in Berlin, Germany as a Turkish-German. She has often felt 'othered' - German people often pre-judge Turk-Germans and. A lot of tension in recent years has revolved around racism and discrimination - one incident Melis draws on is the racist, terrorist attack that took place in Hanau on 19th February 2020.
Based on her experiences as a Turk-German, Melis tells EarthRights about the importance of having a balance and uncovering the nuances in stories about migration - hence her work at Guiti News. She explaines that the mass media forms narratives that are very damaging to the public opinion surrounding refugees and migrants, people often already experiencing trauma.
Language is extremely important and powerful - please read Pippa's article about 'Why language matters'.
For clarification on definitions on migration:
- International Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
- Glossary on Migration (Guiti News)
Creating Climate Justice with Roxane Chaplain
During Episode Seven of the EarthRights Podcast, EarthRights is in conversation with Roxane Chaplain, Personal Assistant to Marie Taussaint at the European Parliament. Together they work on environmental and legal matters at the EU level.
Roxane, Pippa and Mel discuss the concept of climate justice, which means to frame the climate emergency as a political and legal issue rather than one purely physical in nature.
Roxane has also worked for Notre affaire à tous over the past few years and assisted the NGO, along with three other organisations, in taking the French State to Court over its inadequate action in tackling climate change - particularly in view of the Paris Agreement 2015.
Throughout the episode, Roxane explains why the law is an important tool for making governments change and actually take the climate crisis seriously.
Alongside this, the legal concept of rights of nature, which was spoken about at length in Episode 5 of the First Series, is discussed. Roxane tells EarthRights about how giving legal personality to physical entities can help form more reciprocal relationships between nations, people and the environment.
I love the episode with Miles, he is very knowledgable about the area and really got my intellectual juices flowing