Middle East & North Africa

Lebanon: A Lion Pit for Journalism

Our deadliest nightmare is back: Political assassinations in Lebanon is back with the horrific murder of Luqman Slim, a vocal critic of Hezbollah. Slim’s assassination is the first killing of a high-profile activist and outspoken journalist in years. What do the political assassinations in Lebanon tell us about the history of this country?

Yemen Heads towards Worst Famine World has Seen in Decades

Yemen is heading towards the worst famine the world has seen in decades, the United Nations Security Council was warned in a briefing yesterday.

“Why Was I Ever Born”– Righting the Wrong

The bombing continues unabated. The explosions are heard in the distance. A family with seven children is cowering in fear in a corner of their shack, not daring to step out, dreading instant death from shrapnel or a sniper’s bullet.

Peace in Yemen, But not Without Women’s Role in Peacebuilding

The armed conflict in Yemen which has lasted six years, has killed and injured over thousands of civilians, displaced more than one million people and given rise to cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages and threats of famine. By the end of 2019, it is estimated that over 233,000 Yemenies have been killed as a result of fighting and the humanitarian crisis. With nearly two-thirds of its population requiring food assistance, Yemen is also experiencing the world's worst food security crisis. The United Nations has called the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “the worst in the world”.

Is Turkey a Proof that Religion and Democracy Cannot Coexist?

Over the years, Turkey has survived three Coup d'état in which its military forces took power, in 1960, 1971 and 1980. The coup in 1997, was carried out in a “post-modern way”, where generals sat down with the then prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan and forced him to resign. However the turning point in Turkey has been the failed coup attempt in July 2016, which has till date been one of the bloodiest coup attempts in its political history, leaving 241 people killed, and 2,194 others injured.

Helping Survivors of Violence Seek Justice through Forensic Science in the West Bank

Violence, especially against women and girls, is a worldwide systematic human rights violation that has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, 243 million women and girls aged 15 to 49 have suffered sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last year.

A Grey Cloud Over Lebanon: Mental Health Burdens

Humankind is no stranger to the destabilizing events of 2020. The state of the global economy and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the headlines. In this ever escalating global crisis, Lebanon, has been facing what can only be described as unimaginable hardships. For the past year the country has seen challenges which have resulted in an utter state of hopelessness and rapid deterioration in mental health of many of its citizens.

Lebanon: How to Build Back Better after Political and Economic Crisis

Lebanon must “shield and preserve” the skills, knowledge, and experience of its people in order to move forward with its development, according to Christophe Abi-Nassif, the Lebanon programme director for the Middle East Institute (MEI).

Feminist Movements Continue to Battle Culture of Impunity in Egypt

Ten years ago on this day, January 25, one of the biggest revolutions in the world took place in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, as protestors poured into the streets chanting slogans of “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice”, demanding one of the region's longest-serving and autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Three weeks later, on February 11th, Mubarak stepped down as president, leaving the Egyptian military in control of the country.

“Their Hope for a Brighter Future Inspires Us All”

Looking back upon 2020, we all bear the scars of a devastating year; none so much as girls and boys around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education for over 1.6 billion children and youth globally and continues to do so. It has also deepened socio-economic inequities and heightened insecurities around the world, further impacting the lives of girls and boys everywhere. Ongoing, protracted conflicts, forced displacement and the worsening climate crisis were no less forgiving.

Imprisoned Saudi Activist and Other Rights Defenders Seek Justice in 2021

Two events generated significant interest and global solidarity in the final days of December 2020. A court in Saudi Arabia handed down a five years and eight months sentence to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul for publicly supporting women’s right to drive. Nicholas Opiyo, Ugandan human rights lawyer and defender of persecuted members of the LGBTQI community and political opponents of the president was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges of ‘money laundering.’ Nicholas Opiyo was granted bail on 30 December following an outpouring of global support for his activism for justice. In handing out the verdict to Loujain Al-Hathloul, the court partly suspended her sentence raising hope that she might be released from prison in a couple of months due to time already served.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine a Potential Biological Weapon in Reverse?

If the coronavirus is not deemed a biological weapon, is the heavily-publicized Covid-19 vaccine in danger of being weaponized when over 159,000 Palestinians who have tested positive in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are being denied treatment during a deadly pandemic?

Afghanistan’s Historic Year: Peace Talks, Security Transition but Higher Levels of Violence

While Afghanistan ends a historic year, filled with the hope for peace as the government and Taliban sat down for almost three months of consecutive peace talks for the first time in 19 years, it was also a year filled with violence with provisional statistics by the United Nations showing casualties for this year being higher than 2019.

Getting Children in Lebanon Back to School Amongst Multiple Crises

Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.

Discriminatory Laws Still Holding Women Back in the Middle East

Decades of aggressive efforts to create equal opportunities for women, shatter the glass ceiling and build a more inclusive society only ends up in failure, when the key stake holders refuse to acknowledge discriminatory laws, socio-cultural and religious set ups that continue to threaten progress made by the female work force.

Biden’s Opportunity To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Recently I had an opportunity to brief a group of European diplomats and journalists on a variety of conflicts, with a focus on the Middle East. During the Q&A I was asked which of the region’s conflicts Biden should tackle first.

The Lebanese Disaster

The 26th of September, the Lebanese prime minister Mustapha Adib stepped down after less than a month on his post. The president, Michael Auon, stated: ”Lebanon will be going to Hell if a new government is not formed soon.” The question is if his nation is not there already. A horrifying image of the state of the nation was provided on the 4th of August when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in a dockside hangar, blew up in an explosion killing more than 190 people, injuring 6,500 and damaging thousands of buildings.

A Feminist Perspective from Middle East & North Africa on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since before the COVID-19 pandemic, feminists across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been increasingly shedding light on the global shifts that will shape the Future of Work. From their perspective, those shifts would mainly be driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the impact of climate change and the looming global care crisis.

Water Security in Jordan is Crucial to Maintaining Stability in the Country

Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world, raking the fifth most water-stressed nation in an analysis by the World Resources Institute.

Peace in the Middle East

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI, The League of Nations mandated that Britain administer Palestine. The London administration was quite ineffective, in part, due to the contradictory promises which were made to the Arabs, to the Zionists and to France, the other colonial power which divided the territory with Britain.

Syria’s Children Remain at Immense Threat of Rape and Recruitment by Army: Report

Children in Syria are facing the brutal brunt of the ongoing civil war in the country, now rendered further paralysed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and United States sanctions. At the Sept. 15 launch of the report investigating human rights violations in Syria by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, experts warned that in addition to the already ongoing conflict, “newer forms of violence” was on the rise.

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