This week on the Human Rights Channel, videos from Colombia and sub-Saharan Africa shed light on human rights abuses by state security forces.
Over the course of two days in mid-June, a series of violent attack in the coastal town of Mpeketoni left at least 48 people dead, creating an outcry of shock and anger in response to the level of insecurity in Kenya. What happened next, however, is just as worrying. This video by Ma Vulture tells the story of a fisherman, Mohamed Omar, who was shot by law enforcement during the police operations in Lamu County that followed the attack. Featuring Omar’s own testimony from his hospital bed as well as that of his doctor and father, the video sheds light on the shooting of a civilian, attempts to cover up the crime, and the many questions that remain unanswered six weeks later.
Omar is by no means the first innocent victim of the Kenyan government’s anti-terrorism operations. In April, following deadly explosions in Nairobi’s Eastleigh district, authorities swept up thousands of immigrants, many of them war refugees from neighboring countries, holding them in makeshift detention centers. Many Kenyans have expressed concern that because the militant group, Al Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for recent attacks, authorities are unfairly targeting Muslims in their crackdown on terrorism. Yet in June, when civil society leaders held a rally criticizing the government’s security strategy, several found themselves behind bars for speaking out.
Campesinos of Hacari, Catatumbo have long found themselves at the crossfires of Colombia’s long-running violent conflict between the national police, guerrilla militants, and paramilitaries. This June, a collective of residents declared their community a humanitarian refuge, rejecting violence from all sides. However, that has not kept them safe from the conflict.
In the video, eyewitnesses describe a military operation that took place on July 17 involving helicopters and house raids, as the national police accused residents of belonging to a guerrilla group. See this report from a local human rights organization for more about the raid.
In Cape Town, hundreds of residents who lost their homes during the June demolition of their neighborhood have been given a chance to testify before a commission of enquiry. The community journalism outlet, GroundUp, is covering the enquiry, in which residents have testified about the violent and sudden nature of the mass eviction in Lwandle.
GroundUp also documented the Lwandle eviction in June, and uploaded this footage of a crew of workers overturning a shack. We’re collecting more footage from the eviction and residents’ testimony in this YouTube playlist.
According to a new report by Amnesty International, the Nigerian military is guilty of war crimes including extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses. The allegations are based in large part on video footage obtained and corroborated by Amnesty researchers, showing horrific scenes of mass graves, torture, and abuse.
Video still taken from footage uploaded by Youtube user GroundUp News.