Democracy

Social Media – the New Testing Ground for Sri Lanka’s Freedom

Journalists and media activists have cautioned against Sri Lanka’s newfound press freedom as the country heads to the polls in 2020. Separate incidents of hate-speech against a Muslim minority—and the subsequent shutdown of social media platforms—and the harassment of reporters critical of the country’s opposition have led some to believe that the changes in media independence could reverse.

United Nations Compact Must End Child Detention

World leaders must commit to ending child migrant detention during United Nations negotiations next week, a human rights group said.

The Voice of Argentina’s Slums, Under Threat

Between the dimly-lit, narrow alleyways of Villa 21, only 30 minutes by bus from the centre of the Argentine capital, more than 50,000 people live in poverty. It was there that La Garganta Poderosa (which means powerful throat), the magazine that gave a voice to the "villeros" or slum-dwellers and whose members today feel threatened, emerged in 2010.

Church and Conflict in South Sudan

Throughout fifty years of struggles, South Sudan’s different churches have remained one of the country’s few stable institutions, and in their workings toward peace, have displayed a level of inter-religious cooperation rarely seen in the world. 

Democratic regression: The “English” turn

Gideon Rose made an astute observation in editing the May/June 2018 Foreign Affairs cover story on the current “democratic regression”. “We have seen this movie before,” he quoted a Latin friend of his on the concurrent predicament, “just never in English.” That may be the missing element behind this “regression”: populism may be a popular explanation, since it brings to the fore many of the disturbing developments within mature democratic countries; stalled economic growth in these same countries also finds immense currency as a democracy detractor; historically-bent scholars never miss the beat to push the cliché that what goes up (for example, whatever led Francis Fukuyama to proclaim an “end of history” in the early 1990s), must eventually not only come down, but also begin climbing again. And so the story goes.

Trump is Here to Stay and Change the World

Donald John Trump, 45th and current president of the United States, has been seen in many illustrious circles as an anomaly that cannot last. Well, it is time to look at reality.If we put on the glasses of people who have seen their level of income reduced and are afraid of the future, Trump is here to stay, and he is a result and not a cause.

Ethiopia to Return Land in Bid for Peace with Eritrea

The utterly inconsequential-looking Ethiopian border town of Badme is where war broke out in 1998 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, lasting two years and devastating both countries. 

From Fake News to a Fake Death

When news broke on May 29th that journalist Arkady Babchenko had been murdered in Ukraine, serious questions about the safety of journalists in the country were raised.

Kenya Can End the Moral Indignity of Child Labour

On 12 June every year is the World Day Against Child Labour. In the world's poorest countries, around one in four children are engaged in work that is potentially harmful to their health.

How Democracies Die and Economies Grow

There are two prominent themes of contemporary development discourses, both lacking a consensus, as reflected in academic research and in their popular versions in bestseller books. One of these is about finding the reasons for the decline of democracies since the late 1980s and the early 1990s when the erstwhile military rule and dictatorships gave way to democratically elected regimes in many developing countries. A representative book on this is Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War by Steven Levitsky and Lucan A Way. Levitsky has also recently co-authored another bestseller, How Democracies Die, with his Harvard University colleague Daniel Ziblatt. The second theme is about how the quality of governance could explain why some countries economically prosper and others do not. On this, one of the best-known books is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, co-authored by two well-known political economy experts, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. The two themes, though interrelated, are quite distinct, and much confusion is created by not recognising these as such.

Greece: SDGs a Way to End Economic Crisis?

Seven years after being on the verge of a financial collapse, Greece is now seeing better times. Its economic accounts have clearly improved but what is not under the spotlight is how the Greek people are still paying for the effects of the crisis.

Human Rights Must Be on the Table During U.S.-North Korea Talks

Human rights issues must be included in next week’s United States-North Korea summit in order to create a “sustainable agreement”, said a UN expert.

Afghan Electorate: Basic Needs Must be met Before Political Progress can be Ensured

After four decades of perpetual conflict, Afghanistan rolls into two consecutive election years – parliamentary this year, presidential the next. But the country and its people are going through even tougher times than usual with continued displacement and a looming hunger crisis.

President Al-Sisi Pursues Repressive Track with New Wave of Arrests

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who was re-elected in March, continues the repression of regime opponents. Critics view the situation as increasingly dangerous. “There is no logic anymore,” says one.

Nepal: Where Abortion is Treated as Homicide

Less than thirty years ago the likelihood of a mother dying due to pregnancy or childbirth in Nepal was one of the highest in the world. In 1990 UNICEF estimated that the rate was 901 women or girls out of 100,000 - significantly higher than any of its neighbours.

Why Israel Dropped Out of the Security Council Race: Not Enough Votes

From the start, it was a closely watched contest pitting Germany, Belgium and Israel against one another for their regional bloc’s two seats in the next term on the United Nations Security Council. Israel has never held a seat on the Council, and as it celebrates its 70-year membership in the UN in 2018, the country was aiming high for the June 8 election.

Zimbabwe’s Long Road to Gender Parity

Zimbabwe goes to the polls in July for the first general election since the departure of Robert Mugabe, and the jockeying over who will represent the country’s major political parties is in full throttle.

Why Would an Immigrant Support Trump?

Giuseppe DiMarco is 83 years old. He has recognized the U.S. as his home for over 30 years. In the aftermath of World War Two, DiMarco fled an impoverished farming town in Southern Italy in the pursuit of advancement and the promise of wealth he had never known.

Media Watchdogs Fear a Chill in Slovakia

International media watchdogs, EU politicians, journalists and publishers have condemned Slovak police investigating the murder of a local journalist after one of his colleagues claimed she was interrogated for eight hours before being forced to hand over her telephone – potentially putting sources at risk.

Indigenous Peoples Recover Native Languages in Mexico

Ángel Santiago is a Mexican teenager who speaks one of the variations of the Zapotec language that exists in the state of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico. Standing next to the presidential candidate who is the favorite for the July elections, he calls for an educational curriculum that "respects our culture and our languages."

Chile, an Oasis for Haitians that Has Begun to Run Dry

A wave of Haitian migrants has arrived in Chile in recent years, changing the face of low-income neighbourhoods. But this oasis has begun to dry up, thanks to measures adopted by decree by the new government against the first massive immigration of people of African descent in this South American country.

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