Elena Smolenskaya doesn’t hesitate a second when asked what she thinks about the Russian military intervention in Crimea. The 23-year-old Moscow student is convinced that President Vladimir Putin had no choice but to order troops into the country.
Upon meeting an acquaintance after a long time, a young man at a Srinagar drug store asks: “Where did you disappear?” The innocuous question elicits an unexpected reply from the other: “Weigh your words. There are people whose loved ones have really disappeared.”
With the administration of Philippines President Benigno Aquino III devoting much of its political capital to resolving the conflict in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, which has claimed around 150,000 lives over decades, many came to believe in the genuine possibility of a new era of stability and economic prosperity in the region.
The end of the world’s most enduring conflict was always regarded as the essential linchpin of Mideast security. As direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians resume following a three-year hiatus, it seems too late for peace between them - if the declared goal of a peace deal within nine months is achieved - to end the violence unleashed by the ‘Arab springs’.
Slavery. Colonialism. Apartheid. Gender discrimination in voting. All were abolished in most places after longstanding battles - largely in bygone eras.
After ten years of working towards peace and reconciliation in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, following a five-year civil conflict known as the ‘Tensions’ (1998-2003) which left 30,000 people displaced and hundreds unaccounted for, people now go about their daily lives in improved freedom and personal security. But below the surface, untreated post-conflict trauma continues to impact many individuals and communities.
If Herod the Great was a controversial figure of his time, 2,000 years on the controversy isn’t about his legacy; it’s about who holds the rights to excavate and preserve his artefacts.
A Soviet-era 4x4 snores down the muddy road to the front line. It’s another foggy day in the flatlands east of the borders of the tiny and once autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, sandwiched between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Two of the three main objectives of the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal project grapple with how to “save the Dead Sea” and “build a symbol of peace in the region.” With Israeli-Palestinians relations and the Dead Sea at an all time low, questions arise whether the ‘Red-Dead Canal’ (as it is known in environmental jargon) could save not only the hyper-saline desert lake but peace itself.
Seventeen-year-old Afzal is an unusual orphan. Though his father died many years ago, his mother is still alive and living with Afzal’s grandparents and younger siblings in a house not far from the orphanage where the boy has spent most of his teenage years.
Water scarcity is fuelling deadly inter-ethnic wars that continue to claim lives in Kenya, according to government officials. And if nothing is done to educate communities on how to conserve the valuable resource, the situation will escalate, governance experts and environmentalists warn.
The protection of children remains critical in the Central African Republic, where parents willingly give their children to armed groups in exchange for protection and services.
As the world faces possible water scarcities in the next two to three decades, the U.S. intelligence community has already portrayed a grim scenario for the foreseeable future: ethnic conflicts, regional tensions, political instability and even mass killings.
Following Monday’s announcement of the death of long-time Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian civil society leaders and Western rights groups are characterising the turn of events as an opportunity to heal decades of increasingly stark sectarianism.
A rash of recent rape cases has sparked local criticism of the weakness of the justice system in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where inadequate resources and simple incompetence mean survivors of sexual violence hold little hope of obtaining justice.