Crime & Justice

Bangladesh: Election with a Foregone Conclusion

Bangladesh just held an election. But it was far from an exercise in democracy. Sheikh Hasina won her fourth consecutive term, and fifth overall, as prime minister in the general election held on 7 January. The result was never in doubt, with the main opposition party, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), boycotting the vote over the ruling Awami League’s refusal to let a caretaker government oversee the election. This practice, abolished by the Awami League government in 2011, was, the BNP asserted, the only way to ensure a free and fair vote.

Palestine: Nothing Can Justify Genocide, It’s Not the Time for Silence

Far from the mayhem, destruction, and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the South African government argued in the International Court of Justice in the Hague that it had an obligation and a right to bring a case to halt a genocide by the Israeli government and its military.

Fear as Russian Anti-LGBT Law Comes into Effect

“This is what you get after ten years of state propaganda and brainwashing,” says Anatolii*. The Moscow-based LGBT rights activist’s ire is directed at a recent ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court declaring the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organization.

Europe’s Shift to the Far Right and its Impact on Immigration

The recent elections in the Netherlands signals the increasing power of the far right in Europe. The populist party of Geert Wilders, the Party for Freedom, won a decisive, albeit unexpected, victory taking 37 seats out the 150 seat in parliament. Wilders will likely be the head of the next Government. His policies include stopping all immigration into the Netherlands, holding a referendum on leaving the EU, and banning mosques and the Quran.

Latin America Can Boost Economic Growth by Reducing Crime

Crime and violence have long been a top-of-mind concern for households across Latin America and the Caribbean. The region accounts for nearly half of the world's intentional homicide victims, despite representing just over 8 percent of the global population, United Nations data show.

Sudan’s Conflict Needs Civil Society Solutions

It’s recently been reported that the two main protagonists of Sudan’s current conflict – leaders of the armed forces and militia at war since April – have agreed to face-to-face talks. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African body, announced the potential breakthrough – although Sudan’s foreign ministry has since claimed IGAD’s statement is inaccurate, creating further uncertainty.

Freedom, Equality and Justice Lead to Peace

Today we mark a milestone in history: the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As people around the world commemorate Human Rights Day, we must also deeply reflect on the meaning of this historic document and what it takes to achieve peace in the world.

Art and Climate Change

A dark cloud is hovering above human existence. It is a fairly illusory cloud haunting our minds and wellbeing, but also an actual, menacing, mostly invisible cloud that covers the Earth’s entire atmosphere. Saturated by greenhouse gases, this global threat increases with every year, threatening all life on Earth, causing increased flooding, extreme heat, draught, wild fires, rising sea levels, food and water scarcity, as well as diseases and mounting economic loss. This misery, caused by human greed, thoughtlessness, and self-aggrandizement, trigger human migration and armed conflicts.

‘War on Drugs’ Failed and Policies Need Major Overhaul – Report

A major advocacy group has demanded an overhaul of global drug policies as a landmark report is released showing how governments’ complacency has perpetuated a failed ‘war on drugs’ despite its devastating consequences for millions of people around the world.

Argentina Plunges into the Unknown

For many of Argentina’s voters the choice on 19 November was between the lesser of two evils: Sergio Massa, the minister overseeing an economy with the world’s third-highest inflation rate, or Javier Milei, an erratic far-right libertarian outsider promising to shut down the Central Bank, adopt the US dollar as the currency, cut taxes and privatise public services.

The Cries of Gaza Reach Afghanistan

On the morning of 11 November, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, the Director of Gaza's largest medical center, Al Shifa Hospital, sent out an emotional S.O.S. to the world through a television news interview and through the remaining charge on his mobile phone. His plea for an immediate ceasefire on behalf of a hospital under siege and its 700 critically injured and ill patients, 36 premature babies, 400 staff, and the 2000 vulnerable civilians. These people sheltering within the hospital and its garden were heard as far away as Afghanistan yet totally ignored where it counted most- with the men in Israel's war cabinet and Washington; they were busy executing and aiding an illegal war of choice on an unarmed, defenseless hospital and one of the poorest and densely populated places in the world.

Australia: Reconciliation Back to Square One?

Australia had the chance to take a step forward in redressing the exclusion of its Indigenous people – and chose not to. In a referendum held in October, voters rejected a constitutional amendment to establish an institution for Indigenous people to have a say on matters that concern them.

COP28: Climate Summit in Closed Civic Space

The need to act on the climate crisis has never been clearer. In 2023, heat records have been shattered around the world. Seemingly every day brings news of extreme weather, imperilling lives. In July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres grimly announced that ‘the era of global boiling has arrived’.

Forced Labor: Exposing Dark Web of Fisheries Labor Abuses

It is a terrifying life experience, cut off from the world and trapped in forced labour aboard fishing vessels, often in high seas or seas beyond the territorial waters of any state. The fishers are isolated under hazardous and horrific working conditions under limited regulatory oversight. More than 128,000 fishers were trapped in forced labour aboard fishing vessels in 2021 alone.

Hurricane Otis and the Indifference Toward the Children of Acapulco

Acapulco is a paradise. A port of golden sunsets, toasted sand, and deep blue sea. Its dream beaches captivated the hearts of Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor. US President John F. Kennedy chose its shores to spend his honeymoon with Jackie Kennedy. Its luxury hotels and the untamed sea made it the most famous tourist destination in Mexico.

Women and War

In 1968, the tobacco company Philip Morris introduced a new cigarette brand called Virginia Slims. Under the slogan “You’ve come a long way, baby” it was exclusively marketed to women. The advertising campaign exploited the civil rights movements of the 1960s, indicating that those cigarettes were enjoyed by strong, independent, and liberated women. A blatant lie – why would “independent” women choose to poison themselves with a commodity which each year causes more than 480,000 deaths in the US alone – nearly one in five deaths? Another question arising from this deceitful ad is: “How far have women come on their way to independence and liberation?”

The Hamas-Israel Conflict

The world and the Middle East do not need another violent conflict. This is a region that has experienced far too much violence over the years. Hamas’ desperate attacks on innocent civilians was intended to provoke an Israeli overreaction that would, among other things, jeopardise Israeli diplomatic negotiations with the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and create generalised anxiety within Israel. It was also aimed at demonstrating Hamas’ military capacity and vengeance for years of a humiliating blockade of Gaza. Kidnapping Israeli civilians was callous and brutal but part of a plan to use hostages as bargaining chips around the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

How to Defend the Environment and Survive in the Attempt, as a Woman in Mexico

The defense of the right to water led Gema Pacheco to become involved in environmental struggles in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, an area threatened by drought, land degradation, megaprojects, mining and deforestation.

Maldives Election: What Now for Civil Society?

Ahead of the presidential election, Solih faced accusations of irregularities in his party’s primary vote, in which he defeated former president Mohamed Nasheed. The Electoral Commission was accused of making it harder for rival parties to stand, including the Democrats, a breakaway party Naheed formed after the primary vote. The ruling party also appeared to be instrumentalising public media and state resources in its favour. Solih’s political alliances with conservative religious parties were in the spotlight, including with the Adhaalath Party, which has taken an increasingly intolerant stance on women’s and LGBTQI+ rights.

Where is India Heading?

Some time ago I watched the Indian blockbuster RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt). It received universal praise for direction, screenwriting, cast performances, soundtrack (which won an Oscar) and thrilling action sequences. RRR is filled with gore; bodies beaten, pierced and torn apart. An overblown combination of Quentin Tarantino and Bollywood, far away from Satyajit Ray’s emotionally moving films, as well as Bollywood’s romantic comedies and mythological dramas. RRR never pauses for breath. The two male protagonists are supermen, not exposing many recognizable human traits, even if they might occasionally sing and talk about love. Hard to understand, since the few women of the story are cut-out clichés.

Bahrain’s Political Prisoners: Resistance Against the Odds

Maryam al-Khawaja’s journey home ended before it had begun: British Airways staff stopped her boarding her flight at the request of Bahraini immigration authorities. Maryam was no regular passenger: her father is veteran human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, in jail in Bahrain for 12 years and counting.

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