Speaking Out Despite the Cost

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By: Christy Dehus, Arc Solutions Project Evaluation Intern

Journalists are put in the line of fire on a daily basis for documenting human rights violations. Reporting on political killings and torture make them a government target. In Angola, journalist Rafael Marques de Morais is sentenced for revealing atrocities occurring in the diamond mining industry. Calling attention to human rights violations is risky – who will be the defender of the violated?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute international criminals. However, their process is bureaucratic and time intensive. Rafael steps out and documents abuses, killings, and injustices in his book, and for this he is currently being prosecuted by the Angolan government. The criminals that he has brought attention to have yet to be recognized by the ICC. The government has labeled his journalism as slander. International organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have advocated on his behalf, but his protection from the Angolan government is weak.

Arc Solutions participates in advocacy, informing people about and bringing justice to conflict zones. We provide a critical inside source to the conflict and, through this information, support restoration. Independent journalists like Rafael are at risk on a daily basis. We have the power to bring light to the darkest corners of the world, and to expose perpetrators and stand by defenders of human rights like Rafael. As an organization, there is strength in a collective voice. Arc has a committed group of supporters standing for justice and restoration in war zones.  Our strength is in our numbers, which is a contrast to isolated individuals such as Rafael.

Our Boots on the Ground Fund equips our team to do the best work we can. Conflict zones are ambiguous, dangerous, and harbor human rights violators. Corrupt societies breed conflict. But together, a world that handles conflict without inducing human rights violations is possible.

 

About the Guest Blogger: Christy’s research has focused on state building in DRC, the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations in DRC, the history of the Mobutu regime and U.S. influence, and implications of foreign aid in African countries. She has consulted for International Development Exchange, Kaskazi Environmental Alliance, Teach with Africa, and Do Good Lab. She has focused on data management, performance improvement within teams, and organizational effectiveness. She currently lives in Denver, CO and is pursuing her MA in International Human Rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.