DRC, Rape: a multi-media production by Panos Pictures

According to several UN reports, the unregulated exploitation of minerals, used in the manufacture of devices such as phones and computers, has fed a conflict which has raged since 1996. It has directly or indirectly caused the deaths of as many as 6.9 million people, and seen the rape, mostly by armed men, of more than 500,000 women .

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Amnesty International Media Award 2010

Two winning stories in two separate categories for 'Zimbabwe’s Bloody Diamonds' & 'Toxic Jeans'

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Rape – A Weapon of War

Under the cover of war in The Democratic Republic of Congo rape is being committed on a massive scale

In the Democratic Republic of Congo as many as 500,000 women and children have been raped in acts of war. Sexual violence has become so widespread that the UN’s Margot Wallstrom, described Congo as the ‘rape capital of the world’. Medicin San Frontiers (Doctors without borders) says that over half of all the rape cases it deals with worldwide are in DRC.


Oil rich, dirt poor

Angola’s poor await the trickle down from the country's vast oil revenues

Angola continues to have one of the fastest growing economies on the planet.

After four decades of conflict, Angola was a basket case. 1.5m were killed and more than 4m forced to flee their homes. A whole generation missed their education. Infrastructure, political institutions and social services had to be rebuilt, often from scratch.

The pace of development since peace returned has been staggering. Roads, ports, railways, hotels, shopping centres, hospitals, universities—even whole new towns—are rising up out of the bush. The capital, Luanda, has changed out of all recognition.
None of this would be possible without Angola’s vast oil reserves, estimated at 13 billion barrels. Today, the country pumps 1.9m barrels a day, making Angola sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest producer after Nigeria – it is poised to be number one. Oil accounts for more than half of the country’s GDP, 80% of the government’s revenues and 90% of export earnings. Angola has overtaken Saudi Arabia and Iran to become China’s biggest supplier of oil.

All this though has yet to improve ordinary Angolan lives very much.


The dark side of denim

Suppliers to Gap and Levis poison the heart of one of Africa’s poorest countries

Solid waste from garment factories supplying Gap and Levis is being dumped and burned, untreated liquid waste – dark blue dye – is being poured into the Caledon River – polluting drinking water and killing river life.


Amnesty International Media Award 2009

Winner of the Periodicals-Newspaper Supplements category for 'Why do the Italians Hate Us?'

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High tide wins AICA Prize: Communicating the Koyoto Protocol

With photography by Robin Hammond of Panos Pictures, this multimedia piece looks at the island nation of Tuvalu, as the Tuvaluan people become some of the first environmental refugees, a direct result of man-made climate change.

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High tide

Tuvalu is sinking fast, its residents lives determined by the rising tide

The fourth smallest country in the world after Vatican City, Monaco and Nauru, and one of the least populated, Tuvalu, a tiny Island halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, is drowning and fast. Today its 13,000 residents are the most environmentally aware people on earth; their daily lives determined by the tides and the greasy salt water that gathers around their feet every day.

Due to rising sea-waters caused by climate change, in the next decade Tuvalu could be a distant memory on an out-dated world map.


Lithium and the new energy frontier

Does Bolivia’s Salar De Uyuni desert hold the key to the world’s energy shortage?

Energy economists in London, New York and the Middle East predict that this unlikely windblown patch of salt in the Andes, a sea of emptiness with barely 60 tumbledown adobe villages encircling it, could, over the next two decades, become the next Saudi Arabia. Like the Persian Gulf before it in the 1920’s the Salar de Uyuni, or more specifically the vast quantities of Lithium beneath its Northern Ireland size salt table, could hold the answer to the future of transport but the fight to secure it could be one of the most defining energy issues of the next decade.


Opium’s journey

From the Afghan border to the mountains of Tajikistan to the night clubs of Moscow – opium’s journey

The process is repeated all over Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan in Central Asia. The powder is heated, drawn into the syringe, and then into a vein made plump by the tying off of an arm or a leg. En-route to Europe, Dushanbe is not the intended market for the Afghan produced drug. The impoverished state on the border with war torn nation does not hold enough wealth to make any real money. The target is Moscow and then Europe. Smuggling heroin over the porous 800 mile border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan is the easy bit: guards are easily bribed, lorries barely searched. Getting it to Moscow requires more effort. ‘Mules’ are employed to fill capsules with the white powder, and then fill their stomachs with the capsules. They must endure the short flight and then down a bottle of vodka once they reach Russia’s capital in order to throw up and offload their cargo. Often they are themselves addicts – the uncomfortable process helps pay for their addiction.


Prejudice in life, indifference in death

The drowning of two Roma girls in Italy uncovers a people under siege

Alongside a sepia portrait of the revered Capuchin friar, Padre Pio, stand blurry digital prints of 13-year-old Cristina and 11-year-old Violetta Djeordsevic – two Roma sisters whose sudden deaths in the shallow waters of a public beach on Italy’s Amalfi Coast encapsulated the threat of racism in modern Europe. It was a tragedy that, for a time, focused international attention on the ragged edge of Italy’s most chaotic city. The teenagers’ youth and beauty in the photographs, strangely, comes as a shock. Up until now, like most of the world, we had only seen their prostrate bodies, covered by short beach towels, with just their feet left exposed, on the scruffy beach at Torregaveta, a decrepit seaside suburb on the outer edge of the Bay of Naples. It was an image that shocked the Europe: two young Gypsy children lie dead for three hours on an Italian beach while, feet away, a carefree couple enjoy a leisurely picnic. The indifference, picked up by newspapers and TV stations across the world, was seen by the country’s liberal elite to be the final straw. The most senior Catholic in Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, was the quickest to point out the coarsening of human sentiment which the behaviour in Torregaveta represented: “Cristina and Violetta,” he told the Italian media, “had faced nothing but prejudice in life and indifference in death; an unforgivable truth.”


From victim to vigilante

A group of Bosnian rape victims are making a stand against their attackers, and, amidst growing frustration, hunting them down

THE atmosphere inside the bitterly cold office in the rundown urban outskirts of Sarajevo is awkward and brittle. At first nobody utters a word and then the thick black coffee and cheap Russian cigarettes arrive and the women become manic and talkative.

“This is the database,” says Bakira Plesic, pointing to the clumsily assembled rows of shelves behind her; stacks upon stacks of sky-blue books and folders. Inside the files, she says, are tens of thousands of testimonies of women and girls raped during the war in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995.


Climate Canaries

The first victims of climate change? The nomadic pastoralists of northern Kenya

In conference rooms and in academic papers, the experts call it ‘pervasive pre-famine conditions’. In the village, squatting on his brick-sized wooden stool in the red dirt of east Africa, Lokuwam Lokitalauk calls it a death sentence. His curses ricochet round the quiet village and his glaucoma-misted eyes dart off, surveying the stick-like spectres of children drifting listlessly about.