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Ukraine: The Intimate War

By Ilioné Schultz with Marie-Alix Détrie and Maria Varenikova. In three years, the war in Ukraine has resulted in close to 10,000 deaths and more than 20,000 wounded. But another number remains in the shadows: that of victims of sexual violence committed by both pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian forces. Though the issue has been shrouded in silence, sexual humiliation, rape and genital mutilation have slowly become common practice in secret detention centers and makeshift military camps across the country.

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The UN: Allowed to Abuse

By Hélène Molinari and Delphine Bauer. The credibility of the United Nations is regularly soiled by sexual abuse carried out by its civilian and military personnel during peacekeeping operations. Despite its stated “zero tolerance” policy towards sexual abuse, the number of victims continues to rise. Zero Impunity carries out an investigation into the heart of a machine that has a deep-rooted culture of impunity.

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Sexual Violence: the US’s Psychological Weapon Against Terrorism

© Damien Roudeau

By Anne-Laure Pineau and Sophie Tardy-Joubert. In the days following September 11, the United States was still reeling from the attacks on the World Trade Center. Almost everyone was terrified of another attack. In hopes of obtaining intelligence, the Bush administration developed methods of torture to “break” prisoners of the so-called war on terror. These men would be stripped of their humanity, beaten and waterboarded. Less well known is the fact that they were also systematically sexually humiliated and sexually assaulted.

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The DNA of Sangaris

By Justine Brabant and Leïla Miñano. The French Minister of Defense called the French military operation in the Central African Republic a “success”. But when the forces of Operation Sangaris pulled out of the country in October 2016, they left in their wake numerous accusations of rape and sexual assault, some involving minors. In at least one case, a child may have been born of this abuse. While the French judicial system is taking its time to investigate these accusations, the list of victims may be growing.

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Child Rape: The Other War Crime Carried Out By the Assad Regime

By Cécile Andrzejewski and Leïla Miñano, with Daham Alasaad. In the six years that war has ravaged Syria, almost every crime imaginable has been committed against its people. They’ve been massacred, tortured, bombed and subjected to chemical weapons. Yet there is another crime, which, until now has been wrapped in a veil of silence: child rape. And yet, in Syrian government prisons, at regime checkpoints and during raids, Assad’s forces are systematically abusing the children of opposition figures in total and utter impunity.

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One Year in Berlin

By Rama Jarmakani. I have not felt such inner peace for a very long time. For the last four years I haven’t slept and I have forgotten what fear is. Today, it’s been a month since the life that I abandoned. I feel like a little girl who ran under a blanket to protect herself from the cold. I did not leave anything for her to remember me by, I just put a lot of kisses on her forehead, left her at the border and walked away.

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Making Films in Conflict Zones

Copyright: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

This year’s Berlinale had a quiet, unassuming novelty in store: for the first time, the festival screened a film from Manipur, one of the tribal states in northeastern India. In “Lady of the Lake”, director Haobam Paban Kumar tells the story of a fisherman who is threatened by the local government with immediate eviction from his native home. When Tomba accidentally finds a gun on one of the floating islands of Loktak lake, he sees a chance to overcome his self-imposed paralysis and paranoia. But he seriously underestimates the violence triggered by the mere possession of a gun. ABWAB talked to Haobam Paban Kumar about the difficulty of making films in conflict zones, at the intersection of documentary and fiction.

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SIBE: Dual Degree for Academic Newcomers

It is currently not easy for newcomers with academic qualifications to enter the job market in Germany. In order to bring academic job seekers and German companies together, the Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) has launched the brand new programme "Perspectives" which will allow newcomers to obtain a dual degree. Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) is a private, state-approved German university with 20 years of experience in international programmes. Several of SIBE's courses integrate academic study with practical work experience in a partner company.

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Sorry, you are an overqualified refugee

Reaching a final definition of the word “refugee”, to be easily found in dictionaries, easily classified, easily put in practice and dealt with, has been the focus on German sociologists over the past two years. What we witness of late is an ineffectual controversy concerning the classification of refugees as war refugees or economic migrants. Thousands of articles, news reports and surveys show astonishment at refugees taking out smartphone wrapped up in nylon from their wet pockets upon reaching the shores of one of the Greek islands to reassure their loved ones that they have reached the European Mainland safely. And one cannot help but ask, is the use of smartphones unsuitable to qualify as a refugee? Must a refugee be helpless, destitute, illiterate and poor to win the title? What about the university degrees, experience and qualifications that a large number of the newcomers hold? Should one be branded as an “economic migrant” if they aspire to a job that befits his or her scientific and practical qualifications? Disappointment and frustration seize many, especially those who have completed their academic achievements outside Europe and used to have prosperous careers in their home countries. Those people today suffer mainly of two contradictory factors: First, their woes are underestimated because their appearance does not match what is expected by stereotypes on refugees; Second, their skills in different fields are underestimated and their employment confined to unpopular, difficult and less paying fields like restaurants and nursing. A large part of refugees, especially those with university degrees, need to continue in language courses after level B1 in order to increase their chances to find the right job. However, this is rather arduous as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) covers the integration course costs only up to that level. Today, we ...

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German woman to refugees: Thank you for coming to Germany

By Kerstin Hack This is what I want to say to all of you: thank you for coming to Germany! When I think of all of you who came to my country in last year or before that, I feel deeply thankful. There are two reasons for my thankfulness. The first one is related to our history. My nation has been partly or fully responsible for starting two huge wars and killing millions of people because of their political views, their sexual orientation or because of their race like Jews, Romans and others. 70 years ago we were the most hated nation on planet Earth. Both of my Grandfathers were involved in these wars. I do not know if they killed people whose grandchildren now come back to us – i.e. from former Yugoslavia. And then many people in my nation asked God to forgive us and asked other nations to forgive us and did what we could do to repair some of the damage. And we received mercy from God and from people. We could rebuild our nation, we could also rebuild trust. There might be some of you who came to our nation simply because it is rich. That´s ok. But I believe that most of you chose Germany because you trusted that we would treat you well. This brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for coming to us. I know that this is not your first choice. Many of you have lost everything you owned, people you love and some of you even lost their health. I cannot really imagine what it is like, or feel it the right way. I wish that you did not have to come here;. not for our sake, but for yours. I wish you could ...

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