Democracy

The Winds of War

Herman Wouk’s 1971 novel The Winds of War traced the romance, bravery, fear, and faith required for American youths to join the military, deploy to the war zones, and confront the mighty Axis threat in the lead-up to WW II. It later became a dramatic TV series.

Argentina: Civil Society’s Urgent Call to Protect Rights

Between the Mafia and the State, I prefer the Mafia. The mafia has codes, it keeps its promises, it doesn't lie, it's competitive. If a company pollutes a river, where is the damage? The sale of organs is a market like any other. Abortion should be considered “aggravated murder”.

Pottery Barn Rules for Gaza

The rule at Pottery Barn is “You break it, you bought it.” It should be for Israel as well. The Netanyahu government’s eight-month long bombing campaign in Gaza, nearly half of the strikes by 2,000 lb. “dumb” or unguided bombs, has destroyed a high percentage of housing units in the territory.

Youth-Led Protests Force Kenyan President’s Hand Over Tax Bill

In a historic first, Kenya's youth have mobilized in large-scale protests to demand that the political establishment listen to them. The Finance Bill 2024, which proposed new taxes across several sectors, was the catalyst for the protests, igniting outrage among a youth demographic that feels betrayed by decades of political promises. These protests, driven by economic and social grievances, escalated dramatically, culminating in clashes with police that led to numerous deaths and widespread unrest.

Violent Deaths by “Small Arms & Light Weapons”: UN Chief’s Warning Dead on Target

Perhaps two of the biggest misnomers in military jargon are “small arms” and “light weapons” which are the primary weapons of death and destruction in ongoing civil wars and military conflicts, mostly in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In a statement last week, at the opening session of the Fourth Review Conference of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was dead on target when he said there is nothing “small” or “ight” about the damage these weapons cause.

When U.S. Officials Show You Who They Are, Believe Them

"When someone shows you who they are,” Maya Angelou said, “believe them the first time." That should apply to foreign-policy elites who show you who they are, time after time.

A Move to Out-Maneuver US Veto on Palestine

The United States—which has continued to use its veto power to block Palestine from UN membership —may be out-maneuvered by a growing new campaign by some UN member states planning to establish full political and diplomatic relations with Palestine outside the confines of the United Nations. The latest recognitions of the Palestinian territory as a sovereign State are by Norway, Ireland, Spain and Slovenia, which comes after the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted -- with 143 votes in favour to nine votes against- - to back Palestine’s bid to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations on last month.

Free Speech Under Siege—across West Africa

Authoritarian overreach is re-defining itself across West Africa, fuelled by armed conflicts, military coups, and electoral manipulation and violence, as the region experiences a decline in democracy.

Power of Acknowledging White Privilege in Addressing Racism Within United Nations

As we commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre this month, organizations and communities should focus on white privilege as it is a critical but often overlooked component of effective racial justice change processes. White privilege, rooted in European-led colonization, provides unearned advantages to white individuals, often unnoticed due to their perception as universal experiences.

Proud to be an Ally: Standing with LGBTQ+ Communities Across the World

The events of this year’s PRIDE month are showing the world the power of inclusivity. It is by only insisting on acceptance, and rejecting criminalization, discrimination and stigmatization, that we can ensure a fairer, safer, future for all. We are all invited to be allies.

Venezuela’s Opportunity for Democracy

Venezuela’s 28 July presidential election could offer a genuine chance of democratic transition. Despite an array of challenges, the opposition is coming into the campaign unified behind a single candidate. Many Venezuelans seem prepared to believe that voting could deliver change. But the authoritarian government is digging in its heels. The opposition reasonably fears the election could be suspended or the government could suppress the opposition vote. Large-scale fraud can’t be ruled out.

Will European Momentum Help Generate a Move to Recognize Palestine as a Sovereign State?

Since the eviction of Palestinians from their homeland pursuant to the controversial Balfour declaration of 1917, the quest for regaining Palestinian statehood has continued as a means towards lasting peace and security within and between Israel and Palestine.

Unregulated Autonomous Weapons Systems Pose Risk to Africa

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on countries to conclude by 2026 negotiations on a legally binding instrument to prohibit Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS).

Chad: Dictatorship Continues by Other Means

On 6 May, people went to the polls in Chad, ostensibly to elect a president who’d usher in democratic civilian rule. Ten days later, the Constitutional Council confirmed there’d be no change: the elected president was the leader of the military-backed transitional government supposedly handing over power, Mahamat Idriss Déby.

Why Protection & Participation of Children Must be Elevated at the UN Summit of the Future

The United Nations will hold the Summit of the Future on September 22—23 this year, during its annual General Assembly. Heads of state and government and their representatives will gather at the UN headquarters in New York, to discuss, agree on, and endorse a multilateral, action-oriented “Pact for the Future” intended to “protect and enshrine the rights of future generations”.

Empowering Women Could Boost Fertility, & Economic Growth in Japan and Korea

Women in Japan and Korea face especially tough challenges juggling career and family. Many young women witness their peers encountering promotion delays after marriage and childbirth, dealing with problems splitting housework responsibilities, and having difficulty finding adequate childcare.

Billions will Vote this Year – LGBTIQ+ People Must not be Excluded

This year has been called the ‘super election’ year, with 3.7 billion people potentially going to the polls. This historic political moment is also an opportunity to reflect on what these billions of voter experiences will look like. Who will vote, who can run for office and who might be excluded from the political process?

Solomon Islands: A Change More in Style than Substance

There’s change at the top in Solomon Islands – but civil society will be watching closely to see whether that means a government that’s grown hostile will start doing things differently.

From Dorms to Demonstrations

The campus protests that have spread to universities in every part of the United States are not about the war between Israel and Hamas, despite the heated rhetoric around this topic. Most of the students who are protesting know little about the conflict, its history and its ramifications for international politics.

Media Freedom Declining Across Europe, With Implications for Rule of Law

A new report has warned media freedom in the EU is close to “breaking point” in many states amid rising authoritarianism across the continent.

Disinformation in the Super Election Year

The year 2024 seems to be a year of big decisions. The European Parliament elections in June and the US presidential election in November… politics and the media are talking of a showdown between democracy and disinformation. Add the elections in Russia and India to that and almost half of the world’s population will be casting their vote this year.

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