Democracy

Cameroon: Divisions Widen Ahead of Presidential Vote

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The risk of violence around the 7 October vote is greatest in Anglophone regions, but other parts of Cameroon could also be affected. ICG The government should take steps to curb divisive rhetoric and declare a ceasefire, even if only temporary, with Anglophone armed groups. What’s new?  Cameroon’s presidential election on 7 October comes at a tense moment. The country is torn between the fight against Boko Haram in the Far North and the Anglophone conflict in the Northwest and ... Read More »

British PM May backs heterosexual civil partnerships

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday that heterosexual couples will be allowed to enter into a civil partnership, previously a union only available to those of the same sex. The government says the move will provide greater security for unmarried couples and their families. Civil partnerships were introduced in Britain in 2004, giving gay couples similar legal rights to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals. Since 2014, same-sex marriage has also been legal in England, Wales ... Read More »

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

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In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Australia has become a human rights backwater

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The litmus test for human rights in Australia is how it treats the most disadvantaged within the community, and on this measure, Australia has become a backwater, according to two leading legal… Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Speaking to Lawyers Weekly ahead of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and National Justice Project Dinner, being held in Sydney on Friday 26 October, UTS law professor and director of research at… “We have failed to integrate a human rights framework into our legal system ... Read More »

Welcome to Europe’s ‘club’ for populists

20160226 - BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Parti Populaire chairman Mischael Modrikamen during an interview in Brussels, friday 26 February 2016

A Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist want to unite the far right. By Maïa de La Baume and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico Populists of Europe, unite — in suburban Brussels! That’s what an unlikely pair — a Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist — hope will happen with The Movement, the first ever “club” for Euroskeptics and populists. “We are building a club that will bring people together, whose members we will help … like ... Read More »

Russia: new research shows even authoritarian regimes struggle to pass laws

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When we think of parliaments in non-democratic states, we often think of a room full of raised hands. This compelling image of unanimity conveys a simple idea: that these assemblies are stuffed with loyal servants of the ruling elite. Ben Noble The Conversation Rather than scrutinise, challenge, amend, and block initiatives from the government, they provide guaranteed support. Rather than act as a check on executive power, they provide symbolic, merely ceremonial approval. Or that’s how the conventional wisdom goes. ... Read More »

New terror laws: Suspects, children to be locked up without a warrant

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New counter-terrorism laws that enable the government to lock up children as young as 14 were enshrined on Monday. Chloe Booker The Age The laws allow police to detain terror suspects without a court order or a warrant for up to four days. Children aged 14 or above may be held for up to 36 hours. Suspects, including those who have never been convicted of a terrorism offence, will now be unlikely to be granted bail or parole. Meanwhile, police ... Read More »

Can Europe save itself?

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LONDON — One of the key arguments of the populists who have continued to attack the European Union’s legitimacy is that they represent the will of the people and embody freedom and democracy in a… Michael Cottakis The Washington Post While this is disingenuous, it contains a grain of truth. The E.U., after all, is not a democratic system. And while it has sought to reform for some time, those efforts tend to miss the point. One of the best ... Read More »

Britain’s Constitutional Responsibilities to the Republic of Cyprus: Past, Present and Future

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Thank you for your kind invitation to this inaugural seminar, I am honoured to have been invited to such an important event in relation to the Constitutional role of Britain according to the Constitution of The Republic of Cyprus. Anna Theologou * When I entered politics 2 years ago I promised myself that I will always speak the truth and my mind and adhere to my principles even at the expense of political cost, because I was never font of ... Read More »

The Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee 1960 and the Responsibilities of the UK Government

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Britain’s Constitutional Responsibilities to the Republic of Cyprus: Past, Present and Future Introduction. The Basic Documents (a) The Lancaster House Agreements  The Prime Ministers of the UK, the Kingdom of Greece and the Turkish /Republic, Harold Macmillan, C. Karamanlis, A. Menteres, on 19 February 1959 signed a Memorandum in London setting out the Agreed Foundation for the Final Settlement of the Problem of Cyprus. Dr. Christos Clerides * The representatives of the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community declared that they ... Read More »

Jeremy Hunt to Brussels: Don’t turn EU into ‘prison’

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British foreign secretary says ‘it was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.’ Charlie Cooper Politico BIRMINGHAM, England — European leaders risk turning the EU into a “prison” that other countries will want to leave if Brussels punishes the U.K. with an uncompromising Brexit deal, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Sunday, comparing the… In a combative speech at the Conservative party’s annual conference in Birmingham, Hunt, addressing EU leaders directly, said rejecting Theresa May’s so-called Chequers plan for Brexit would ... Read More »

Australia must demand Myanmar war crimes tribunal, says investigator

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The Morrison government should use its regional clout to demand a peacekeeping mission and war crimes tribunal in response to humanitarian crimes in Myanmar, says a top Australian investigator. Nick McKenzie & Nicole Precel The Age Michael Stefanovic, an Australian seconded to the US State Department’s Myanmar inquiry, said he was horrified by the evidence he had gathered. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is grappling whether to use the term genocide to describe the Myanmar military’s attack on members ... Read More »

The destructive American fad Australia needs to avoid

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Politics since World War II has been dominated by the ideological struggle along Marxist economic lines. The working class versus the capitalist class. In the Australian labelling, Labor against Liberal. Peter Hartcher The Sydney Morning Herald That framework is in the process of being overlaid, and even overwhelmed. Politics increasingly is becoming a clash of identities. The US is leading the way, with Europe close behind. Because there’s no American fad too stupid for Australia to ape, we’d better pay ... Read More »

Why US top court is so much more political than UK’s

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The composition of the US Supreme Court is about to change and the nomination of its potential new member, by some accounts unlike any other, has revived discussions about how political the selection is. BBC The debate is unlike any the UK has when justices at the Supreme Court are replaced, as a different appointment system means their political views are rarely publicly known and, according to experts, do… US: A president’s choice In the US, the nine-member Supreme Court ... Read More »

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Regional Elections Test a Brittle Status Quo

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The fallout continues to settle after Iraqi Kurdistan’s fraught independence referendum one year ago. Maria Fantappie ICG In this Q&A, our Iraq Senior Adviser Maria Fantappie surveys the political landscape ahead of the first regional legislative elections since the plebiscite. What’s at stake in the 30 September elections? Voters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq will choose the 111 members of the Kurdistan National Assembly, in the fourth election since the body was founded in 1992 and the… At stake, ... Read More »

Costa Rica Launches Initiative on Environment and Human Rights

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“For All Initiative” Promotes Gender Equality in Global Environmental Treaties Marcos Orellana HRW Today, Costa Rica will launch an initiative aiming to make gender equality and human rights integral components of global environmental agreements. Costa Rica’s Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr will launch the For All Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level segment. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are expected to join the launch in New… ... Read More »