This week the 2024 annual meeting of the World Social Forum (WSF)
was held in Nepal. There were fifty thousand participants from over 90 countries, exchanging strategies to address the multiple global crises, from climate catastrophes to unfettered capitalism, inequality, social injustice, wars and conflict.
Pakistan’s 8 February election has resulted in an uneasy compromise that few wanted or expected. There’s little indication the outcome is going to reverse recent regression in civic freedoms.
Serbia’s December 2023 elections saw the ruling party retain power – but amid a great deal of controversy.
Civil society has cried foul about irregularities in the parliamentary election, but particularly the municipal election in the capital, Belgrade. In recent times Belgrade has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. That’s one of the reasons it’s suspicious that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came first in the city election.
Iran’s time of public rebellion has ended. The protesters marching, chanting, and dancing under the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ banner have long stopped. And shifting regional dynamics may play to the regime’s favour.
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.
At 400 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Russian journalist Giorgi Chentemirov says he had already been out of the country for six months when the Russian Ministry of Justice labeled him a "foreign agent."
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’.
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.
At the UN SDG Summit
in New York, the Forus global civil society network
is calling for decisive action on SDG implementation. Clearly, as we hit the midpoint towards the "finish line" of the Agenda 2030, progress is stagnating.
On 20 August, Guatemala witnessed a rare event: despite numerous attempts to stop it, the will of the majority prevailed. Democracy was at a dramatic crossroads
, but voters got their say, and said it clearly: the country needs dramatic change and needs it now.
His name is Matiullah Wesa, a girls education campaigner who now symbolises the “war” waged by the Taliban against the education and empowerment of women and girls. Exactly two years since the Taliban took over, Afghanistan is on a downward
trajectory and unfortunately, global attention that was drawn by families chasing planes to flee a few days after the Taliban assumed control of the government has waned over the last two years.
Civic space is deteriorating in Senegal ahead of next February’s presidential election. Recent protests have been met with lethal violence and internet and social media restrictions. Senegal’s democracy will soon face a key test, and whether it passes will depend largely on whether civic space is respected.
The title shouldn’t fool you: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is one of the world’s longest-ruling
autocrats. A political survivor, this former military commander had been bolted to his chair since 1985, presiding over what he turned into a de facto one-party system – and now apparently a dynastic regime.
In Asia, freedom of the press continues to erode, especially in authoritarian regimes where journalists are often targeted in broad daylight.
Freedom of expression is under threat as governments in Southern Africa have enacted laws restricting civil society organizations, says global rights advocacy organisation, CIVICUS, warning that human rights violations are on the increase globally.
As human rights increasingly deteriorate, rights defenders are being violently suppressed. Abducted, detained, tortured, and humiliated, many now live one day at a time. They have been told, in no uncertain times, that anything could happen. They are now asking the global community to stand as a witness.
Zimbabwe holds general elections next month amid growing human rights and press freedom concerns in what analysts say could mar conditions for undisputed poll results.
When Guatemalans went to the polls on 25 June, distrust and disillusionment were rife. First place in the presidential contest was claimed by none of the candidates: it went to invalid votes, at 17 per cent. Many didn’t bother, resulting in an abstention rate over 40 per cent.
Without the means to receive information about what is happening around them, millions of Latin Americans who live in poor remote rural or impoverished urban areas inhabit veritable news deserts, according to an increasing number of studies conducted by journalistic organizations in the region.
Nothing was more predictable than repression. Merely for holding candles and flowers, people were taken away
by Hong Kong’s police.
The occasion was the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 4 June 1989. Hong Kong was until recently home to mass annual vigils where thousands gathered to keep alive the memory of that day. But that’s all gone now in the crackdown that followed large-scale protests for democracy
that erupted in 2019.
Turkey’s election hasn’t produced the change many thought was on the cards. Now women’s groups, LGBTQI+ people and independent journalists are among those fearing the worse.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has led the country for two decades, first as prime minister and then as president, prevailed in the 28 May runoff poll, taking around 52.2 per cent of the vote, with his opponent, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, on 47.8 per cent.