On the Front Line of Humanitarian Crises: Libya, Central African Republic and Syria
The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law presents:
Monday, 27 April 2015
Held at Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Human Rights Watch's Emergencies Division specialises in responding immediately to major wars and other human rights crises around the world. Specially trained investigators interview witnesses, document war crimes and provide crucial information to the global community about the situation on the ground. Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert will discuss his work at the forefront of humanitarian crises in countries such as Libya and the Central African Republic. Bouckaert will also discuss the current situation in Syria, and Human Rights Watch's damning report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013.
Father Bernard Kinvi will discuss his experience in the Central African Republic after Muslim Seleka forces overthrew the government and unleashed a wave of sectarian violence, prompting a brutal response from Christian militias known as the anti-balaka. Shedding the boundaries of faith, Father Kinvi spent days searching for Muslim survivors, many of whom were children, in order to bring them to safety. Before the conflict eased, Father Kinvi had sheltered hundreds of Muslims despite repeated threats against his life, and continued to care for those too unwell to be evacuated by African peacekeepers in March 2014.
Peter Bouckaert is Human Rights Watch's emergencies director and an expert in humanitarian crises, and is responsible for coordinating the organization's response to major wars and other human rights crises. A Belgian-born Stanford Law School graduate, specialising in the laws of war, Bouckaert is a veteran of fact-finding missions to Lebanon, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Macedonia, Indonesia, Uganda, and Sierra Leone, among others. Most recently, Bouckaert has been in the Central African Republic, where he has conducted investigations into ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed during the current civil war. Bouckaert is featured in the 2014 documentary film "E-Team," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Father Bernard Kinvi
Father Bernard Kinvi is a Catholic priest who directs the hospital at the Catholic mission in Bossemptele, Central African Republic. In early 2014, when sectarian violence devolved into coordinated violence targeting Muslim civilians, Kinvi saved the lives of hundreds of besieged Muslims, whom he gathered from their homes and sheltered in the Catholic Church.