Daily Archives: Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Truth Lost? Most Military Records of Bangladesh War Missing‏ | PKKH.tv

NEW DELHI: The history of the 1971 India-Pakistan war will never be fully written. Most of the official records of the war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh have been destroyed.

The destroyed files include those on the creation of the Mukti Bahini — the Bangladesh freedom fighters — all appreciation and assessments made by the army during the war period, the orders issued to fighting formations, and other sensitive operational details.

Authoritative army sources said all records of the period, held at the Eastern Command in Kolkota, were destroyed immediately after the 1971 war. This has remained secret until now.

According to at least two former chiefs of the Eastern Command and other senior army officers TOI spoke to, the destruction may have been deliberate.

They say the destruction may have happened when Lt General Jagjit Singh Aurora, the Indian army’s commanding officer on the eastern front, headed the Eastern Command. If true, this would be at odds with Aurora’s image as the hero who led his men to victory and thePakistan army’s surrender in Dhaka.

The sensational fact that the files were missing became known only recently when the Eastern Command was searching for details of the Mukti Bahini camps in order to organize a reception for Bangladeshi veterans.

The Indian Army had housed the freedom fighters in different camps across India, where army instructors trained them in warfare. Later, Mukti Bahini fighters were part of the operations led by the eastern command.

A senior army source told TOI, “We were looking for the details of Mukti Bahini camps. We wanted to know where all were the camps, who were in charge etc. When those files were not available, the eastern army command launched a hunt for the records of the war. That is when we realized that the entire records are missing.”

Lt Gen (retd) JFR Jacob, who was chief of staff of the eastern command during the war and later its head, admitted the records were missing, when asked if this were true. ”When I took over as Eastern Army commander in August 1974 I asked to see the records. I was told that they have been shredded,” he told TOI. He refused to discuss who ordered the destruction of the records.

The army headquarters and various units of the army may have some records of the war, a senior army officer said.

But the picture will never be complete, he said, adding that military records maintained at the nerve center of operations are crucial if one is ever to construct the full picture.

The details are significant as this operation is one of the great success stories of Indian intelligence and the army.

via Truth Lost? Most Military Records of Bangladesh War Missing‏ | PKKH.tv.

Immigrants held in solitary, often for weeks – The Hole | Investigative Reporting Workshop

Workshop filmmaker-in-residence Catherine Rentz, who co-produced “Lost in Detention” for PBS Frontline and the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and New York Times reporter Ian Urbina wrote this story for The New York Times. The Workshop will produce video and radio reports about immigrants in solitary confinement in the weeks to come.

WASHINGTON — On any given day, about 300 immigrants are held in solitary confinement at the 50 largest detention facilities that make up the sprawling patchwork of holding centers nationwide overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, according to new federal data.

Nearly half are isolated for 15 days or more, the point at which psychiatric experts say they are at risk for severe mental harm, with about 35 detainees kept for more than 75 days.

While the records do not indicate why immigrants were put in solitary, an adviser who helped the immigration agency review the numbers estimated that two-thirds of the cases involved disciplinary infractions like breaking rules, talking back to guards or getting into fights. Immigrants were also regularly isolated because they were viewed as a threat to other detainees or personnel or for protective purposes when the immigrant was gay or mentally ill.

The United States has come under sharp criticism at home and abroad for relying on solitary confinement in its prisons more than any other democratic nation in the world. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement places only about 1 percent of its jailed immigrants in solitary, this practice is nonetheless startling because those detainees are being held on civil, not criminal, charges. As such, they are not supposed to be punished; they are simply confined to ensure that they appear for administrative hearings.

Full article via Immigrants held in solitary, often for weeks – The Hole | Investigative Reporting Workshop.

German Holocaust Archive In Bad Arolsen To Open Fully To Public

By Madeline Chambers

BAD AROLSEN, Germany, April 3 (Reuters) – George Jaunzemis was three and a half years old when, in the chaotic weeks at the end of World War Two, he was separated from his mother as she fled with him from Germany to Belgium.

He grew up in New Zealand with no memory of his early years, unaware the Latvian woman who had emigrated with him was not his real mother.

Then in 2010, a letter from the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen changed his life. He discovered his real name was Peter Thomas and that he had a nephew and cousins in Germany.

“I was astonished, thrilled. After all this time, I was an uncle,” Jaunzemis, 71, told Reuters. “You don’t know what it’s like to have no family or childhood knowledge. Suddenly all the pieces fitted, now I can find my peace as a person.”

Yet it took Jaunzemis over three decades of tenacious searching to find the vast archive in this remote corner of Germany where his past was buried.

Bad Arolsen contains 30 million documents on survivors of Nazi camps, Gestapo prisons, forced labourers and displaced persons. It rivals Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust centre and the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum in historical value.

However, many people are not even aware it exists. It was only opened to researchers in 2007 after criticism that it was being too protective of its material. Despite sitting on a mountain of original evidence, it is still struggling to get the attention academics say it deserves.

Last year just 2,097 people visited Bad Arolsen compared with the 900,000 who went to Yad Vashem.

Rebecca Boehling, a 57-year old historian who arrived from the United States in January, wants to change that.

“We have a new agenda,” said Boehling, who came from the Dresher Center for the Humanities at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“We’re sitting on a treasure trove of documents. We want people to know what we have. Our material can change our perspective on big topics related to the war and the Holocaust.”

Boehling is the first archive director who is not affiliated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which had managed Bad Arolsen since 1955 with a narrow remit to trace people.

The ICRC handed over the reins to an international commission of 11 countries in January, a step that could help unleash the full potential of the archive for academic study.

Boehling plans to hold international conferences, get foreign students to use the ITS, publish more research and host national teachers’ workshops, although she doubts the 14 million euro budget from the German government will stretch that far.

Personal stories about victims, which the ITS can provide in abundance, are a powerful tool in educating young generations, she said. Currently, events hosted by the archive are attended only by townspeople and groups of pupils from nearby.

Full articlevia German Holocaust Archive In Bad Arolsen To Open Fully To Public.


Immigration archive: coming and going – Channel 4 News

ITN reporters in the 1960s quiz newly arrived immigrants on why they have moved to the UK – as well as asking those leaving these shores about their motivation.

The first large-scale influx of immigrants to the UK began in the late 1940s, with the government encouraging mass immigration to the “mother country” from the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill the gaps in the labour market created by six years of war.

In 1948, the ship MV Empire Windrush arrived carrying the first 500 West Indians tempted by the promise of jobs and better living standards. Although they faced hostility from the trade unions, many found employment with British Rail, the NHS or on the public transport system, but they faced problems finding places to live and dealing with often very overt racism from the white majority.

Immigration on the rise

Immigration steadily increased year on year, until the government introduced curbs in the Immigration Act of 1962 and by 1972 only holders of work permits, or people with parents or grandparents born in the UK, could gain entry – effectively stemming most Caribbean immigration.

Between 1955 and 1962, ITN often sent reporters to quiz those arriving in London on their plans. The first video is a compilation of interviews from 1961 by Desmond Grealy (April 1961) and Brian Wildlake (October 1961) carried out at Victoria Station. After a long journey to a foreign country, it is perhaps not a surprise that the travellers were somewhat nonplussed to find a camera crew and a man with a microphone asking their views on immigration and “Have you got a job?” or “Have you got a place to live?”.

Full article via Immigration archive: coming and going – Channel 4 News.

Immigration Nation: one man’s journey from Somalia – Channel 4 News

Politicians often blame immigrants for not doing enough to integrate into society. But do they know what integration means? Jamal Osman shares his experience of moving to London from Somalia.

Is integration about mixing with the Brits or speaking the Queen’s English? Is it about dressing in certain ways, eating certain food, listening to British music?

In my experience, integration has different connotations for different people. And in my 14 years of living in this country, my interpretation of it has been changing.

At first, I thought integration was about going down the pub and having a pint, which I couldn’t do for religious reasons. Then I developed an obsession with the weather but found it difficult to continue talking about it. Later, I became addicted to eating fish and chips but soon got tired of it.

Today, after all those years, I don’t really know what it means to be integrated.

Who knows where I would be?

I came to this country from Somalia in my early 20s with no family and very little English. It took me two years to be comfortable with life in London: when I got my refugee status and started working full-time.

I became more confident using phrases like, “innit”, “you know what I mean”, and so on.

Like many other immigrants, I appreciate the opportunity this country has given me to better myself and to achieve something in life. The compassionate immigration system allowed me to have the same rights (in most cases) as everyone else.

The generous welfare enabled me to get assistance when I needed it. The high-quality British education improved my knowledge of the world and helped me realise my aspirations.

Who knows where I would be had I not come here.

Full article via Immigration Nation: one man’s journey from Somalia – Channel 4 News.

Southampton’s immigration decade – Channel 4 News

Around 20 per cent of Southampton’s residents were born abroad – making it a perfect place to gauge the pros and cons of being an immigration nation.

In this port city a decade ago there lived just a few hundred Polish immigrants. Now there are more than 8,000 here, along with their restaurants, grocers, butchers and insurance brokers.

Southampton has been absorbing immigrants ever since the Huguenots fled to the city in the 17th century, and now about a fifth of the residents here were born outside the UK.

While some are relaxed about this, others complain of too many immigrants – one person telling me: “The floodgates are open.”

At St Mark’s primary school 49 languages are spoken by the pupils – among them two types of Zulu and Punjabi.

The school holds Polish coffee mornings to guide parents through their children’s curriculum, while upstairs Miss Kay from Lithuania takes a reception class.

A decade ago the school was classified as 86 per cent white English. Now that figure is 41 per cent. Headteacher Anne Steele-Arnett is positive about the benefits for the children: “This is their norm, this is what they’re growing up with and this will be their strength. They will be able to mix, they will be able to integrate.”

Increased demands

But the pressure on public services is evident. A thousand more babies are being born in the city each year than a decade ago. Another secondary school may have to be built.

via Southampton’s immigration decade – Channel 4 News.

Ad that started Leicester’s multicultural evolution – Channel 4 News

The warnings over immigration shares many of the themes previously aired in the 1970s. Channel 4 News’s Darshna Soni describes one city’s experience of a previous wave of immigrants.

Taking a stroll along Leicester’s Belgrave Road, it is hard to imagine that Ugandan Asians were once warned that they were not welcome in the city.

The area is dominated by Asian businesses and is known as the “Golden Mile”. You can buy anything from incense and idols, to glittering gold in lavish designs and the latest swanky saris.

Yet in 1972, when Idi Amin told 60,000 Asians they had just 90 days to pack their bags and leave, Leicester city council took out an advertisement telling them not to come to the city. Headlined “An important announcement,” it read, “In your own interests and those of your family you should… not come to Leicester.”

The ad, of course, backfired spectacularly. My parents were among thousands who read the ad and were curious to find out why the council would go to such trouble as to take out an ad in the Ugandan papers – and so they decided to come to Leicester to find out. Today, the city has the highest proportion of Asians in the whole country and it is predicted that white residents will soon be a minority.

Biggest assets

The city council has since admitted the ads were a mistake and Leicester describes its diverse communities as its biggest assets. The city is often held up as an example of multicultural success, as Britain’s most ethnically harmonious city.

The ads are a fascinating slice of social history. But if you read them carefully, many of their themes can be found in today’s immigration debates.

They warn of pressures on social housing, education and healthcare – themes that some have been accused of exploiting as Britain prepares to lift working restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians next year. Earlier this year, the coalition government was accused of planning a similar advertising campaign.

via Ad that started Leicester’s multicultural evolution – Channel 4 News.

Immigrant experiences in David Cameron’s Britain – Channel 4 News

Two years ago David Cameron delivered a hard-headed speech criticising new migrants who were unwilling to integrate, writes Kunal Dutta. These groups, he said, had created “disjointedness” in communities that had fuelled local resentment and galvanised support for Ukip and the BNP.

Coming hard on the heels of an election pledge to reduce net migration from “hundreds of thousands” to “tens of thousands” by the end of 2015, it fired the starting gun on immigration reform.

And new figures suggest the target could be met. Net migration fell from 255,000 in the year to 2010 to 163,000 in July 2012.

That has been accompanied by an immigration crackdown, including proposals banning new migrants from social housing waiting lists for at least five years, and restricting access to benefits and the NHS.

Social consequences

Now critics fear there are deeper social consequences that are yet to be understood. In a paper to be published today, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, warns that the drop only tells one side of the story.

Spokesman Scott Blinder says: “For many people, the impact of migration on the ‘feel’ of the community or country they live in may be more important than traditional measures of economic or social impact.”

All of this has caught Labour off guard. Earlier this year Ed Miliband admitted that his party had failed to heed voters’ concerns and said its entire approach required rethinking. In January next year Britain will lift EU working restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania, creating new challenges.

But what is the human effect? As both parties prepare to trade blows on immigration ahead of the 2015 election, how are newcomers to Britain feeling?

Tell us your experiences: #immigrationnation

Shahid Aly

42, a taxi driver from Newport, Wales. Originally from Pakistan (pictured second left)

“Things have got a lot harder since 2011. First of all, the recession has created greater strain. I now work around 15 hours a day because far fewer people are taking cabs than before.

“But the recession has other effects. Newport is changing. There are more eastern Europeans settling here than any time I remember. Many of the new migrants are from Bulgaria and Romania and choosing Newport because it’s cheaper to live here than many other UK cities.

Full article via Immigrant experiences in David Cameron’s Britain – Channel 4 News.

Immigration archive: Ugandan Asians in Leicester (1972) – Channel 4 News

In 1972, Idi Amin expelled Uganda’s Asians, many of whom were British citizens and settled in the UK. At the time, ITN visited Leicester to find out how immigrants were coping.

On 4 August 1972, the then president of Uganda, Idi Amin, gave the Indian and Pakistani minorities in the country 90 days to leave, accusing them of hoarding wealth and sabotaging the economy, writes Ian Searcey.

Many of the displaced were British citizens and as a result emigrated in their thousands to the UK, where they waited in various refugee camps, including Greenham Common in Berkshire and Stradiahall in Suffolk, for new homes and work.

Many headed for Leicester, a key city in the resettlement programme, as it had the largest Asian community in Britain at that time (and still does in relation to its size).

Full article via Immigration archive: Ugandan Asians in Leicester (1972) – Channel 4 News.


Immigration Nation: how tolerant is modern Britain? – Channel 4 News

The political sabre-rattling, rarely subdued, has been particularly shrill of late. Andy Davies introduces our series on how Britain is responding to the challenge of immigration.

Accused once of being too scared to discuss the topic, now politicians can’t seem to shut up about immigration.

In recent months we’ve seen party leader after party leader grab the headlines, adopting a now familiar-looking “benign belligerent” role on the issue. The message, crudely, goes something like this: we like immigrants (as the speeches usually always start), but woe betide anyone who takes the p***. Or as David Cameron recently put it: “While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration… ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare”.

Recently the Labour leader Ed Miliband devoted an entire party political broadcast to immigration, a first for his party. While Nick Clegg weighed in with his Liberal Democrat version: “Tolerant Britain, zero-tolerant of abuse”. For critics, this is the stuff of “dog-whistle” politics, triggered, they say, by sheer panic at the rise of the UK Independence Party. The main political parties merely call it a more mature and honest debate.

Full Article via Channel 4:  Immigration Nation: how tolerant is modern Britain? – Channel 4 News.

Events: Launch event for the new edition of St Antony’s International Review: ‘The Gendered Refugee Experience’

Events: Launch event for the new edition of:

St Antony’s International Review: ‘The Gendered Refugee Experience’

Thursday, 23 May 5:30-7:30pm

Room 3, Queen Elizabeth House (QEH)

Launch of The Gendered Refugee Experience, 23 May 2013

Launch of The Gendered Refugee Experience, 23 May 2013

You are warmly invited to attend the launch event for the new edition of St Antony’s International Review: ‘The Gendered Refugee Experience’ (Vol. 9, No. 1). All are welcome to attend the event and there is no need to RSVP.

Panel discussion featuring:

Latefa Guemar

Visiting fellow at the LSE Gender Institute, currently pursuing a PhD on Population Movement and Policy at Swansea University. She was forced to leave Algeria following personal attacks on her family as a result of her husband’s work as a journalist. Her PhD is on Women of the New Algerian Diaspora: Online Discourse, Social Consciousness and Political Engagement. Latefa is also accredited OISC Level 1&2 immigration advisor and has extensive experience supporting women in their asylum applications. Latefa has a particular interest in gender issues in forced migration, Diasporas and identities.

Dr. María Villares Varela

James Martin Fellow, research assistant at the Oxford International Migration Institute. María is interested in immigration, labour markets and employment relations, with a particular focus on entrepreneurial strategies as a means of social incorporation into host societies, from a gender perspective. María has recently completed her PhD thesis, entitled ‘Immigration and Entrepreneurship in Spain: the Differential Mobilization of Financial, Human and Social Capital’, at the Sociology Department at the University of A Coruna (Spain).

Discussion begins at 6pm. Reception from 5.30pm.

Please direct any queries to STAIRjournal@gmail.com

See Also: Politics in Spires – Launch of current issue of the St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR): “The Gendered Refugee Experience”.

The introduction to the above article states that:

‘I do not believe that gender equals women—a fact that has been neglected,’ says Dr. Barbara Harrell Bond, in an interview found in the newest publication of the St Antony’s International Review (STAIR), entitled “The Gendered Refugee Experience”. Set to launch on 23 May at 17:00 in Queen Elizabeth House the issue addresses gender as a dimension in claims for asylum and, more centrally, as a central component in post-flight experiences. More details about the launch can be found here.


Calls for papers: Special issue of ‘Intervention’ on psychosocial work and peacebuilding

Call for papers: Special issue of ‘Intervention’ on psychosocial work and peacebuilding

Although there is increasing attention for the complex relationships between individual trauma and the larger social contexts in which they occur, we still have only a fragmented understanding about the ways in which psychosocial interventions and practices in conflict and post-conflict situations influence long-term collective social processes of peacebuilding, reconciliation and other forms of social transformation. Identifying and describing the key determinants of psychosocial projects that could contribute to wider social transformation would represent a major contribution to the field of Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in post-conflict settings. In order to address the shortage of systematic attention for the links between peacebuilding and MHPSS work ‘Intervention, the International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict’ will prepare a special issue on this topic.

The issue will contain papers produced by researchers involved in the multi-site research project: ‘Trauma, Development and Peacebuilding: Towards an Integrated Psycho-Social Approach’ led by Brandon Hamber and Elizabeth Gallagher of the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at the University of Ulster, UK. This research project, that concluded in 2012, resulted in a series of case studies analysing different psychosocial initiatives in areas that have been deeply affected by violent conflict, such as Guatemala, the occupied Palestinian territories, Kashmir, Mozambique, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

We would also like to add case studies from other areas. Therefore we invite articles and field reports on this topic. We are particularly interested in papers that link field-experiences with psychosocial programming and practices to theories of social transformation, peacebuilding and reconciliation. Intervention contains three types of article:

1. Peer-reviewed articles (around 5000 words): externally reviewed by three independent experts. Papers in this section usually follow the structure of scholarly papers and use the headings: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion/Conclusion).

2. Field reports (around 2500-4000 words): practice-oriented papers describing and analysing programmes or approaches in mental health and psychosocial support. The papers are reviewed by (guest) editors.

3. Personal reflections: (around 800-1600 words): short pieces exploring the relation between mental health and psychosocial work in post-conflict settings and personal life experiences of the authors.

Detailed instructions can be found in the ‘Instructions for Authors’ and on our websites (see below)

Brandon Hamber, guest editor

Elizabeth Gallagher, guest editor

Ananda Galappatti, editor

Peter Ventevogel, editor in chief

Deadline for submissions: 1 July 2013

Only electronic submissions will be accepted. See: www.editorialmanager.com/int

For more information please contact Peter Ventevogel (peter@peterventevogel.com) or visit the following websites:

www.interventionjournal.com (articles of 12 month and older, available for downloading free of charge) www.interventionjnl.com (publisher’s site).


Events: Migration and Asylum Policies in Europe (workshop), Oxford, 6 June



Location and date: Oxford, June 6th – 7th 2013

Contact: carolina.kobelinsky@sant.ox.ac.uk

The main goal of this workshop is to provide an ethnographic gaze on the process of adjudication in asylum proceedings in different countries across Europe. The contributors will explore some of the following questions: What is the articulation between political and administrative roles in the policy process? What is at stake when judging asylum seekers? How do explicit and implicit values, principles and emotions inform the practice of adjudication? How are they shared by judges, interpreters, lawyers, caseworkers, police officers and NGO advocates involved in the screening process? To what degree do institutional locations – the courtroom, police office, detention centre, international zone – mediate decision-making? How can the ethnographer engage with the field when it is crammed with mistrust?

*The two sessions will be held in the Seminar Room European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Rd, Oxford

Day 1


Othon Anastasakis (Director of ESC & SEESOX, St Antony’s College, Oxford) Carolina Kobelinsky (St Antony’s College, Oxford)


Chair: Caroline Oliver (COMPAS, Oxford)

15:30 Nick Gill (University of Exeter), Melanie Griffiths (University of Exeter) Fair and Consistent? Exploring court-based factors in asylum appeal decision making in UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Hearing Centres


16:45 Zachary Whyte (University of Copenhagen) In dubious process:

Uncertainty, failure and communities of malpractice in Danish asylum centers

17:45 Robert Gibb (University of Glasgow) Asylum Interviews, Transcription Processes and ‘Mental Gymnastics’: The Role of Protection Officers in the Production of the Interview Record in French Refugee Status Determination Procedures

Day 2


Chair: Kirsten McConnachie (Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford)

9:30 Anthony Good (University of Edinburgh) The role of facts in asylum determinations

10:30 Barbara Sorgoni (University of Bologna) True lies. Asylum adjudication practices in Italy


11:45 Karen Akoka (University of Limoges), Carolina Kobelinsky (St Antony’s College) Preserving Asylum, Discarding Asylum Seekers Representations and Practices in French Proceedings


Moderator: Dimitrios Gkintidis (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

Covenor: Carolina Kobelinsky, 2012-2013 Deakin Fellow

Logistics: Jelena Majerhofer & Dorian Singh

The workshop is organised in the context of the 2012/2013 Deakin Visiting Fellowship at the European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. It is sponsored by the Maison Française d’Oxford and kindly supported by Paola Mattei (European Studies Centre).