Democracy

World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in MyanmarPersecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces has escalated to its worst level in years, becoming one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. Editorial The Age So extreme is the systematic brutality against this stateless, downtrodden and demonised minority of 1.1 million people in a nation of 54 million, 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, that the United Nations is suggesting it is tantamount to ethnic cleansing ... Read More »

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

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Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. Rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics. ICG Executive Summary The August 2017 attacks by al-Yaqin or Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which the Myanmar government has designated a terrorist organisation, have pushed Rakhine state into renewed ... Read More »

Turkey Can Forget About EU Membership

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Turkey will never become a member of the European Union, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally said so in public. Michael J. Totten World Affairs Journal “The fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU,” she said in an election debate with her opponent, Martin Shulz. “I’ll speak to my colleagues to see if we can reach a joint position on this so that we can end these accession talks.” The only thing surprising here ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

A new multilateral world without the US

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A global consensus is emerging without the US. Canada and other countries that rely on a liberal world order must reinforce key multilateral institutions. Colin Chia Policy Options Can multilateral cooperation keep the international order going with the most powerful country acting as dead weight? Canada is adopting a broad foreign policy posture that presumes the answer is yes. With the US taking a hard line in NAFTA negotiations and seeing the bilateral relationship in “win-lose” terms, upholding a broader ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC rebels reborn as legal party

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Colombia’s FARC former guerrilla group has re-launched itself as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, sealing its transformation into a leftist political party following its disarmament after a half-century civil conflict. Hurriyet The name controversially retains the same acronym and the revolutionary spirit of the communist guerrilla group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing a peace deal last year. The party was set to hold a formal launch ceremony on Sept. 1 on Bolivar Square, near ... Read More »

Guatemala Stumbles in Central America’s Anti-corruption Fight

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Guatemala’s fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organisation. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position. Arturo Matute ICG What is happening in Guatemala? A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America’s most corrupt countries may now be ending. The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Violent evictions of refugees in Rome reveal inhumanity of modern democracy

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“If they throw something, break their arm,” a police officer was overhead on video saying to anti-riot police on August 24 who were running after refugees and migrants near Rome’s central train station. Mariangela Palladino The Conversation The migrants were gathering there after police violently removed a group who had been occupying the city’s Piazza Indipendenza. Five days earlier, when around 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants and refugees were forcibly evicted from a nearby squat on via Curtatone, some emptied ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

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It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »

Dutton should learn to live with lawyers helping in matters of life and death

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Mandatory detention and boat turn-backs have been proposed – and rejected – in the past. How have we moved from a humanitarian approach to this cruelty? Claire Higgins The Guardian <linkrel=”stylesheet”type=”text/css”href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/4c4e9fc6f6275cf538d9f9f274cb7afd/content.css”/> Lawyers who defend asylum seekers, the immigration minister believes, are ”un-Australian”. Peter Dutton is not the first minister to level criticism at asylum seeker advocates. But history shows that things could – and should – have turned out very differently. Speaking in the wake of news that the Turnbull ... Read More »

Churches offer sanctuary to asylum seekers affected by welfare crackdown

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Australia’s Christian churches are offering sanctuary to 100 asylum seekers caught up in a Government welfare crackdown affecting those who were originally transported to Australia for medical treatment. Lexy Hamilton-Smith ABC Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said those whose treatment had been finalised would no longer receive financial assistance from the Government. The asylum seekers have been meeting with Immigration officials over the last two days to discuss cuts to their assistance. However, if they can find a way to ... Read More »

Turkey’s Downward Spiral

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It is becoming harder by the day to make sense of the strategy behind Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy choices—assuming there is one at all. Marc Pierini Carnegie To Turkish analysts, Ankara’s policies may make sense. For Western politicians and analysts, including eternal hopefuls, summer 2017 will be remembered as a time when Turkey spiraled downward into more rule of the arbitrary, increased political inconsistencies, and aggressive postures on the international scene. It is becoming harder by the day to ... Read More »

France’s Macron sees popularity fall to 40 pct

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French President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity rating slumped a further 14 points in August to hit 40 percent, following a sharp 10-point drop the previous month, according to a poll released on Aug…. PARIS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also saw his popularity fall nine points over the same period, with 47 percent now satisfied with his performance, the Ifop poll carried out for the Journal du Dimanche newspaper… Macron has seen his popularity plunge 22 points since ... Read More »

50 years of hurt: Togo protesters vow to continue

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After years of government stalling, demonstrators are demanding electoral reforms, including the reinstatement of term limits. BY FARIDA NABOUREMA African Arguments On Saturday 19 August, shocking images of the bodies of protesters being carried on stretchers started flooding social media in Togo. That day, thousands of citizens had taken to the streets to demand democratic reforms and the restoration of the country’s 1992 constitution. Calling for change after half a century of rule by the Gnassingbe family, demonstrators marched to chants of ... Read More »

Washington lobbying firms receive subpoenas as part of Russia probe

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Lawyers for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, have issued subpoenas to several prominent Washington lobbying firms as the probe examines the finances of two former Trump campaign advisers, according to people with knowledge of the requests. Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger  The Washington Post The subpoenas asked the firms to answer questions and provide records regarding their interactions with the consulting firms led by Michael Flynn, a former national ... Read More »