Human Rights Articles

Sterile Politics Leaves Algeria’s Problems Unaddressed

By George R. Trumbull IV
, on , Briefing

Returning the ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika to the presidency for a fourth term, Algeria’s April 17 elections delivered few surprises. Meanwhile, Algerians questioned the legitimacy of the electoral process by staying home in large numbers. Algeria’s competing political platforms—stability versus institutional reform—had surprisingly little to say to most Algerians about the concrete challenges facing the country. more

Turkey’s Rule of Law Eroding as Erdogan, Courts Clash

By Maria Savel
, on , Trend Lines

At a parliamentary group meeting today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed his country’s courts for acting as part of a parallel state undermining his government. With the dispute showing no signs of flagging, WPR spoke with Michael Koplow, a Turkey analyst who blogs at Ottomans and Zionists, via email to review the latest developments and what they mean for the rule of law in Turkey. more

U.S. Struggles to Build Coherent Response to Ugandan Anti-Gay Law

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the NYU School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. The question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law. more

Hungary Risks Putinization, Isolation After Orban Re-Election

By Andrew MacDowall
, on , Briefing

“The outcome of the elections is an obvious, unambiguous mandate for us to continue what we have begun.” So said Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban after his Fidesz party trounced the left-liberal opposition in an April poll that also saw the vote share of the far right top 20 percent. The continuation might entail more of Orban’s centralizing and nationalist policies, as well a tilt toward Russia. more

Renewed Push, Public Weariness Puts Closing Gitmo Within Obama’s Reach

By Ken Gude
, on , Briefing

Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The diminished risks of closing the prison, combined with public war-weariness, mean that what seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his administration—now seems achievable. more

Women's Work: The Impact of Trade on Gender Equality

By Marzia Fontana
, on , Feature

Since the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, many governments and international development institutions have expressed their commitment toward gender equality goals. Most development actors and policymakers, however, remain focused on a narrow interpretation of women’s empowerment as a means to achieve poverty reduction and GDP growth. Less attention is paid to the ways in which economic development can be planned to help women. more

Global Insider: Saudi Shiite Protesters Face Long Odds Against Repression

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

U.S. President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia last week, where simmering dissent and repression in the Shiite-majority areas of the Sunni-dominated country continue to claim the lives of protesters and police three years after the Arab Spring. In an email interview, Stephane Lacroix, an associate professor at Sciences Po who studies authoritarianism and Islamic social movements, explained the status of Shiites in Saudi Arabia. more

Beijing Finds Neither ‘Iron-Fisted Rule’ Nor Development Bring Order to Xinjiang

By Kendrick Kuo
, on , Briefing

On March 1, a group of Uighurs from Xinjiang attacked a train station in southwest China using foot-long knives, killing 29 and injuring 143. The attack was a spillover from Xinjiang’s internal conflict, the source of which is a matter of dispute. Beijing’s attempts to bring order to the region through development, repression and regional coordination have so far failed, leaving it looking for alternatives. more

Time for U.S. to Come Off the Sidelines on Venezuela Repression

By Christopher Sabatini
, on , Briefing

The arrest of two mayors by the Venezuelan government last week demonstrated that repression is ramping up in the oil-producing and deeply troubled country. Sadly, Venezuela’s neighbors are unlikely to do anything about it, and this collective failure to protect democratic norms and human rights has placed the U.S. in the position of coming forward to defend what was once thought to be a hemispheric consensus. more

Unsafe Spaces: Trends and Challenges in Gender-Based Violence

By Janie Leatherman, Nadezda Griffin
, on , Feature

There is not sufficient evidence to determine whether the use of sexual violence in conflict is increasing or decreasing. However, evidence indicates it is widespread. Despite the prevalence of sexual violence in conflict today, we are no longer living in an era of silence and impunity. Nevertheless, the risks of sexual violence are shifting along with changes in the patterns of conflict and the spaces in which it takes place, requiring new approaches to support affected members of communities. more

Full-Spectrum Diplomacy: Crimea Crisis Shows That Norms Still Matter

By Heather Hurlburt
, on , Column

The Crimea crisis has given realists a field day for attacking the belief structures of rules-based internationalists. Ukraine just paid the price of giving up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago, we hear. Integrating Russia into international economic institutions proved meaningless. Human rights and the rule of law don’t matter when great power interests are at stake. The reality, however, is more complicated. more

Global Insider: Maintaining Power-Sharing in Burundi’s Army Top Priority in Current Crisis

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Authorities in Burundi are seeking the arrest of an opposition leader after clashes between opposition party members and police, deepening a political crisis sparked by proposed constitutional changes that would allow the president to run for a third term. In an email interview, Stef Vandeginste, a lecturer in governance, development and conflict at the University of Antwerp whose research focuses on Burundi, explained the factors behind the country’s worst political crisis since its 12-year civil war ended nearly a decade ago. more

Iran’s Structural Constraints Limit Rouhani’s Domestic Agenda

By Rouzbeh Parsi
, on , Briefing

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani was elected on a ticket of change in domestic and foreign affairs. His constituents hoped for an easing of the political atmosphere and a reversal of the economic decline that has impoverished the country in the past 3-4 years. Yet the ability of Iranian presidents to affect the trajectory of foreign policy has often surpassed their ability to do the same in domestic matters. more

Strategic Horizons: For the New Autocrats, America Needs a New Strategy

By Steven Metz
, on , Column

Every day seems to bring news of another nation slipping into political crisis. It's hard to know what nation will next fall off the cliff, but it's a sure bet that some will. But instead of adjusting to what will be a decade or more of turbulence, the United States is clinging to an old mode of statecraft predicated on a relatively stable international system with a consistent cast of sovereign states. more

World Citizen: Venezuelan Opposition Tries New Strategy of Confrontation

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

The Venezuelan opposition has shifted gears and is steering down a new path, carrying a message that there is no time to wait for change. The decision to take a more confrontational approach comes in an environment of growing popular discontent, with an accelerating downward economic spiral and increasingly harsh living conditions under the late Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, President Nicolas Maduro. more

Afghanistan After America: In Isolated Kabul, Power but Little Control

By Kathy Gilsinan
, on , Trend Lines

Twelve years after the Taliban seemed to disappear from Kabul overnight, the Taliban and other insurgent groups have demonstrated the ability to stage regular attacks within the city. The steady pace of suicide bombings in the heavily fortified capital contributes to the perception of the vulnerability of the Kabul-based central government and casts doubt on its ability to provide security in remote provinces. more

One-Family Rule: North Korea's Hereditary Authoritarianism

By Charles Armstrong
, on , Feature

Recent events in Pyongyang have showed the world that North Korea's succession from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un was not as smooth and orderly as it had appeared. But the fact remains that the North Korean regime has remained in power for more than 60 years under the unbroken leadership of three generations of the Kim family. To evaluate the future of North Korea, it is critical to understand how the hereditary leadership system has developed historically, its current state and its future prospects. more

Dual Powers: Repression and Participation in Iran

By Manochehr Dorraj
, on , Feature

The Iranian revolution of 1979 that overthrew the last ruler of the Pahlavi dynasty was one of the largest mass movements of the 20th century. This massive “participation explosion,” however, did not culminate in the creation of a democracy. Instead, the Islamic Republic of Iran as a political project since its inception has been a contradictory phenomenon in which the tension between the republican and the Islamic ideological components of the regime had to be worked out and managed. more

Big Tent: Ethiopia's Authoritarian Balancing Act

By Terrence Lyons
, on , Feature

When Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s leader of more than 20 years, died in August 2012, many anticipated significant and potentially destabilizing change. However, Ethiopia was never a one-man dictatorship. Rather, the ruling EPRDF party is key to understanding Ethiopia’s stability and the regime’s ability to remain in control of a diverse country of some 90 million, divided into a complex set of ethnic groups, in a poor region that suffers terrible levels of conflict. more

Myanmar Assumes ASEAN Chairmanship at Critical Time for Domestic Reforms

By Megan M. Roberts
, on , Briefing

Having followed a rapid reform agenda over the past two years, Myanmar took on the ASEAN chairmanship on Jan. 1. Domestically, much attention this year will be devoted to preparations for the highly anticipated 2015 national elections, hoped to be the culmination of the reform agenda. The three issues at the top of the list are the constitutional review, the peace process and the rise of sectarian violence. more