Human Rights Articles

French President Francois Hollande inspects arms confiscated from ex-Seleka rebels at a French military base in Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 28, 2014 (AP Photo/Sia kambou, Pool).
In Context

Why the International Response in CAR Can’t Contain the Violence

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

Despite a cease-fire in July and a U.N. mission in September that raised hopes of restoring order, the crisis in the Central African Republic flared up again last month. No one has been able to stem the bloodshed between the mainly Muslim Seleka and the mostly Christian anti-Balaka militias. more


In Context

U.S. Reform Agenda in Myanmar on Shaky Ground

By Maria Savel
, , Trend Lines

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Myanmar, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN summit. The visit, two years after Obama’s first to the country, comes amid growing concerns over Rohingya minority rights and stalled constitutional reform. more

Justice Deferred: Rule of Law in Central America

By Michael Allison
, , Feature

One of the primary historical causes of political violence in Central America has been the absence of democratic rule of law. Since the 1990s, reformists have mobilized to strengthen institutions in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. However, these efforts have been for the most part unsuccessful. more

Waiting for Disruption: The Western Sahara Stalemate

By Jacob Mundy
, , Feature

The Western Sahara conflict is fast approaching its 40th anniversary with no end in sight. A web of geopolitical interests keeps the conflict in a permanent state of limbo. Therein lies the paradox: The peace process now exists to contain the conflict, but only a crisis will save Western Sahara. more

The Politics of Advocacy: Setting and Vetting the Global Agenda

By Charli Carpenter
, , Feature

A U.N. conference this year on fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” raises the question: Why do some issues and not others attract global policy attention? This article explores the channels through which humanitarian concerns are guided from grassroots activism to the highest levels of the international political agenda. more

Diplomatic Fallout

U.S., Russia Duel Over Humanitarian Interventions in Iraq and Ukraine

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

There has been a lot of talk about humanitarian interventions over the past week. Russia has pressed for a “humanitarian mission” to the war zone in eastern Ukraine. While telling Russia to back off, the Obama administration has launched air strikes in Iraq against the forces of the Islamic State. The humanitarian case for American action is clear. It may nonetheless also have unwelcome consequences. more

With More Evidence of Assad War Crimes, Is Transitional Justice Possible in Syria?

By Frederick Deknatel
, , Trend Lines

Last week, a former Syrian military photographer appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee with thousands of photographs allegedly showing widespread torture and killing in Bashar al-Assad’s jails. Amid the geopolitical wrangling over the Syrian civil war, the photographs have reignited calls for transitional justice and accountability for atrocities committed there, whenever the fighting stops. more

Special Report

A Year of Conflict and Crisis for Africa

By The Editors
, , Report

As President Barack Obama convenes a summit of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington focused mainly on economic opportunity, security and health crises continue to undermine the continent’s potential. But while Western powers continue to wield influence, it is increasingly Africa’s leaders who are driving events. more

International Law Solutions Fall Short for Israelis, Palestinians in Gaza Conflict

By Lolita Brayman
, , Briefing

As the death toll in Gaza rises, legal definitions of what is permissible in war have been bitterly contested. International law defines war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the classifications are difficult to apply. Through the grey areas of international law, both sides have found new ways to blame each other. more

Why the Republic of Congo Has Sent Tens of Thousands of Migrants Back to DRC

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

Over 130,000 migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been deported from or otherwise driven out of the neighboring Republic of Congo since April. The U.N. has declared these expulsions “an acute humanitarian crisis.” The deportations have shocked many observers, some of whom attribute the crackdown to the political needs of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the strong man in Brazzaville. more

Migrant or Refugee? U.N. Joins Tense U.S. Immigration Debate

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

The rapid influx of migrants from Central America, many of them children, into the United States from Mexico has created political and logistical turmoil in Washington. The United Nations and others have pushed for the United States to treat at least some of these children as refugees, given that many are fleeing violence and deprivation back home. That could have a major impact on U.S. immigration policy. more