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Kolpona.

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When the street children of Dhaka were asked why they flock to the people who wear the "green hand" and the ones who call themselves “Wrestling Beans”, they all say the same thing – we trust them, they listen, they understand and they care.

On one such day, in early November, the team came across a teenage girl named Kolpona; her name meaning ‘fantasy’ or ‘imagination’. Tragically none of the team could imagine the challenges she has to face.

Bride Kidnapping in Armenia

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The head of a prominent Women’s NGO said “Bride kidnapping does not exist in Armenia”, a direct contradiction to the reality throughout Armenia. Indeed on the surface, a bystander would agree; in the public sphere bride kidnapping is neither talked about nor studied. However, through the medium of independent surveys and interviews, data was collected which revealed an overwhelming prevalence of this silent but powerful legacy in Armenia.

The calm between the storms

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In the cool month of November the Restless Beings Bangladesh team sip tea with some of the street children. Through these moments the team have come to witness how the children go about their day. Despite facing events and deprivations that no child should experience they have an acute appreciation of the simple things in life.

The team have endeavoured to capture these fleeting moments, insignificant to passers-by but monumental to their make up. 

Restless Beings at the House of Lords

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Monday 10th December 2012

Monday saw a very busy day for Rohingya advocacy - we delivered a presentation at the House of Lords, a student meeting at London School of Economics, delivered an interview to an independent film maker who is charting recent persecution towards Rohingya and finally the UK airing of the Al Jazeera documentary, 'The Hidden Genocide'.  

Restless Beings...

“Denial of the Right to Education to Romani Children”

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On Wednesday 28th November 2012 I attended a talk on behalf of Restless Beings at Essex Human Rights Centre entitled “Denial of the Right to Education to Romani Children” delivered by Victoria Vasey, Legal Director at the European Roma Rights Centre.
 
The talk discussed the landmark decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human
Rights in DH and Others v Czech Republic and the situation in the Czech Republic 5 years on. The
issues raised by the case are symptomatic of many of the educational difficulties faced by the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe today, which feed into the problems faced in the UK.

Yasmin's story.

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Yasmin is an 18 year old girl in general secondary education, who called our partner rehabilitation centre Sezim for emotional aid through the helpline funded by your donations.

One night Yasmin was on her way home when she was offered a lift by a ‘family friend’. She had met him on several occasions but never actually had any direct dialogue with this ‘family friend’. As she got into the vehicle, she saw that there were two other men present - automatically she felt something stir. Something was wrong.

Roma Rights: Who are the Roma?

Accurately defining the term “Roma” is a challenging, almost formidable task. There is no universally accepted definition, and the term is often used interchangeably with “Rroma”, “Gypsy”, “Traveller”, “Romani”, “Sinti”, “Ashkali”, “Manouches”, “Kalé” and other titles. This is problematic for a number of reasons.

Firstly, incorrect usage creates and perpetuates harmful stereotypes in society. For example, the media have frequently used the term “gypsy” instead of “Gypsy” displaying ignorance of their cultural identity as a recognised ethnic group. Additionally, some Roma people object to the use of the term “Gypsy” altogether perceiving it as derogatory and inaccurately linked to “Egyptian” where it was once believed Roma people had originated from.

The next phase of our Roma Engage Project

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Since the Roma Trail Campaign last year, we have been busy with our Restless Beings Roma project researching and building links with the community in the UK, all in line for an exciting project to be revealed in 2013!

Over the coming months we’ll be publishing a series of articles explaining the various issues faced by the Roma in the UK in more detail, whilst describing and evaluating the various legal and social strategies designed to tackle them.

Rohingya Persecution Continues Despite Obama’s Visit; Fears of Sterilisation

This morning (November 26th) we have had reports that medical workers and security guards arrived at  the Rohingya village Sin-Gri-Daung of MinBya Township. Their unannounced arrival is suspected to be part of an attempt to set up the initial stages to carry out the widely reported scheme of sterilisation of Rohingya women under the age of 50, as ordered by President Thein Sein. Previously sterilisation had been seen as a key manner to restrict the Rohingya population from continuing to increase and to further expel them from their homes to countries elsewhere. The very real fear is that this is now being enacted. Moreover, violence continues as Rohingya youths are targeted, either being beaten by local police and military forces, being accused of crimes they haven’t committed (Tan-Seik village) and confiscating their fishing equipment which is vital to their trade (Tan-Ran-Daing village).

UN 'failed civilians of Sri Lanka'

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Sri Lanka has been engulfed by civil war, between their Government and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) for 40 long years. And yet hardly anyone knows about it. During the last stages of this war in 2009 the Sri Lankan army went on its final offensive; triggering a last brutal confrontation between the two sides. The government side, not surprisingly, prevailed aided by its size and technology as well as the world's indifference.

For the civilians caught in the crossfire (in the northern districts of the tiny Indian Ocean island) during these final months, their last shred of hope rested with the United Nations - established in 1945 to "maintain international peace and promote cooperation in solving international economic, social and humanitarian problems". However, the UN did anything but this during those final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war.