by Rhodri C. Williams
As three more months have raced by since my two month report, I thought one more administrative post might be in order before things slow down for the summer. The big news is that readership has gone up steadily with hits per month almost doubling from 732 in April to 1,344 in June. This has been gratifying, coming as my pace in posting has gotten more realistic after the initial burst of of energy last winter. I’ve got some family vacation coming up in July and the beginning of August, but I’m hoping to drop the odd post in myself now and then – and promise to rush any relevant guest posts to press as well.
In terms of content, the last months have seen some general coverage of happenings like the latest meeting of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust reparations, a recent European Court of Human Rights decision on lingering property issues in Bosnia, and the release of a report demanding reparation for abuses in Sudan allegedly facilitated by Western oil companies.
I’ve also tried to maintain a focus on reconstruction, land and shelter issues in post-quake Haiti and pick up on the humanitarian aftermath of the appalling ethnic rioting in Kyrgyzstan. Indigenous land issues have featured in posts on the Sahel and Venezuela, as well as Chile. A bit more of my own work has come in over the last months as well, including posts on a land and conflict course I helped USIP facilitate last month, an online discussion on occupation of public property I’m involved in and a recent publication on the UN Register of Damage.
However, as always, the real added value has been the guest postings. Over the last few months, it has been a pleasure to host:
- Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque’s synopsis of the findings of his recent report for NRC on land issues in Liberia;
- Chris Huggins’ highly anticipated second guest-posting, this time on his research on the global land rush;
- Massimo Moratti’s observations on the long-term effects of property restitution and the return of displaced persons in Bosnia;
- Esteban Leon’s introduction to a new guidance for humanitarian practitioners on land and natural disasters;
- Marcus Cox’s briefing on the lead-up to the Kyrgyzstan referendum; and
- Åsa Henriksson’s backgrounder on the ECOS report on oil extraction and human rights abuses in Sudan.
I’d like to once again thank each of the guest-posters for sharing their insights and encourage others to join them. I am easy on length and formatting, substance and relevance being the key considerations.
As a last point, I have been asked a few times whether I am paid to do this blog. I’m not – and I’m not fishing – but I did want at this point to acknowledge the generous support of the Åland Cultural Foundation (website here, but only in Swedish). I received a grant from the foundation last year to undertake a study on “Collective Rights to Administer Land: From the League of Nations’ Åland Agreement to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.”
While this blog is not itself one of the intended outputs, it has given me an opportunity to undertake some occasionally quite intensive research and analysis of recent developments related to minority and indigenous land rights, all of which is directly relevant to the project. The final result is eventually meant to be published in the Åland Peace Institute‘s report series, but I will of course be happy to bend anyone’s ear on Nordic autonomy regimes and rights of preemption any old time until then.