Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative, the so-called Davos in the Desert, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

As international pressure builds on Saudi Arabia over the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul early last month, the costs for Riyadh continue to rise. The damage to the country’s image and reputation will haunt its political elite for years, especially now that the CIA has blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for having authorized the operation. The backlash was already visible in late October, when many Western political and business leaders at the last minute canceled their trips to Riyadh for the big-ticket Future Investment Initiative, the so-called Davos in the Desert. While […]

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at a festival in his home village of Kanilai, Gambia, May 13, 2014 (Photo by Jason Florio).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss global climate change diplomacy against the backdrop of the G-20 summit. For the Report, Louise Hunt talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Gambia’s first tentative steps toward transitional justice for the crimes committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh, and the potential pitfalls facing that process. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a […]

A migrant walks past anti-immigration posters that read in Spanish “No more illegal immigration. Solidarity begins at home,” Santiago, Chile, Aug. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. The Chilean government began sending Haitian immigrants back to Haiti this month under President Sebastian Pinera’s new “humanitarian repatriation program.” Two planeloads of Haitians have flown out so far under the policy, which provides a free ticket home for any Haitian immigrant who agrees not to return to Chile for nine years. According to Cristián Doña-Reveco, director of the office of Latino/Latin-American studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Pinera is making a populist appeal to rising anti-immigrant sentiment in Chile. In […]

Central Americans riding atop a freight train in Ixtepec, Mexico, in 2012. Since a Mexican government crackdown, scenes like this are rare (Photo by Joseph Sorrentino).

MEXICO CITY—Geovanni Martinez Hernandez fled Honduras after being threatened by one of the most vicious gangs in the Americas: Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. “It was because of my sexual orientation,” said Martinez Hernandez, who is gay. “I just want a place where I can live without being abused, where I can walk without discrimination or fear.” He had hoped to find that in Mexico. But, while traveling alone in late May through Tapachula, a city in far southwestern Mexico bordering Guatemala that is one of the first stops for Central American migrants and asylum-seekers making the trek north […]

Garment workers sew clothes in a factory as they wait for a visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug. 30, 2017 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

What price should workers in Cambodia and Myanmar, two of the poorest countries in the world, pay because of their governments’ severe violations of human rights? The European Union is currently grappling with this question. Under its Everything But Arms trade preference program, the EU provides duty-free, quota-free market access for all imports, except weapons, from states designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries.” On paper, eligible countries are supposed to respect democracy and human rights; in practice, many do not. In Cambodia, the government of longtime ruler Hun Sen has squelched democracy, while in Myanmar, the military […]

Relatives of victims of the regime of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participate in a demonstration to demand information about what happened to their loved ones, Banjul, Gambia, April 17, 2018 (Photo by Jason Florio).

Nearly two years after Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, the transitional justice process is taking multiple forms. But as officials prepare for potential prosecutions and truth commission hearings, there are fears that their work could roil Gambian society, and that Jammeh could evade accountability. BANJUL, Gambia—In July 2005, Martin Kyere, a 25-year-old shoe-seller from Kumasi, in northern Ghana, set off for what he hoped would be a better life in Europe. He took with him a small bag containing some clothes and biscuits, and $1,400 sewn into his underpants. First he traveled to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, […]

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 2, 2018 (Pool photo by Nicolas Asfouri via AP Images).

Earlier this month, on Nov. 7, the State Department announced what appeared to be a significant step forward in relations between the United States and Sudan. A spokesperson said the U.S. would consider removing Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list if it helps Washington advance some of its foreign policy priorities in Africa and beyond—including cooperating on counterterrorism, ending Sudan’s internal conflicts and isolating North Korea. The statement also called on Sudan to improve its human rights record, respect religious freedoms and meet legal claims related to its previous support of terrorist attacks against American citizens. Removal of […]

A man demonstrates operating an electronic voting machine that will be used in Congo’s election, Beni, Congo, Oct 16, 2018 (AP photo by Al-hadji Kudra Maliro).

According to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Constitution, President Joseph Kabila should have left office two years ago. The end of his second five-year term came and went in December 2016, and his refusal to step down at the time led to violent protests, acrimony—and then two more years in power. Now, he says he’s on his way out. Seventeen years after taking office to replace his assassinated father, and in the face of mounting international condemnation, Kabila has agreed to step aside for elections next month in what could be Congo’s first peaceful and democratic transition of power since […]

A rally organized in support of Saudi Arabia after lawmakers voted to support Riyadh in case of any threat to its territorial integrity, Karachi, Pakistan, May 8, 2015 (AP photo by Fareed Khan).

LAHORE, Pakistan—When Muhammad Afzal awoke one August morning to go to his job at a textile mill in the industrial city of Faisalabad, he expected the day to unfold much like any other. But while he was at work on the factory floor, a man named Mohammad Shah approached him with an unexpected offer: How would he like to travel to Saudi Arabia? It was 2005, and Afzal—then in his early 30s—had never left Pakistan. He was immediately tempted. The son of poor farmers, he had no education, and he knew that his life in Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third-largest city, was […]

A masked protester stands next to a banner depicting thousands of victims of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs during a protest rally in Quezon city, the Philippines, July 23, 2018 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

The slaying earlier this month of a prominent human rights lawyer in the Philippines who worked on behalf of poor suspects accused of drug-related crimes has sparked a renewed outcry over President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs. The lawyer, Benjamin Ramos, was gunned down by two unidentified assailants on Nov. 6—the 34th lawyer to be killed since Duterte took office in 2016. In an interview with WPR, Imelda Deinla, a research fellow at the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance, explains why Philippine lawyers are being targeted and how this wave of violence is affecting the […]

Tanzanian President John Magufuli, then a candidate, at an election rally in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Khalfan Said).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. In the three years since John Magufuli became Tanzania’s president, he has shown little interest in responding to criticism, no matter its source. This is perhaps unsurprising for a man known as “The Bulldozer,” a nickname that dates back to his tenure as a hard-charging minister of public works. Magufuli’s administration has become notorious for restricting press freedom, creating an unsafe climate for opposition politicians and promoting regressive policies on women’s rights. He has also pursued populist economic policies […]

A supporter of presidential candidate Fernando Haddad waves a banner near a vendor selling shirts featuring the eventual winner, Jair Bolsonaro, Brasilia, Brazil, Oct. 26, 2018 (AP photo Eraldo Peres).

For decades, Latin America looked like one of the great success stories of democratization. One after another, countries that had been ruled by dictatorships broke the shackles of military rule and embraced free elections. Strong majorities across the region consistently agreed that democracy was the best system of government. But that progress masked the shallow roots of Latin American democracy. Today, even if military coups seem safely relegated to the past and Marxist insurgencies have been soundly defeated, the future of democracy in the region is far from assured. That’s the conclusion of an alarming new report by the respected […]

South Korean Lee Chun-sik, center, a 94-year-old victim of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before the end of World War II, arrives at the Supreme Court in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

Japan’s relations with its neighbors have long been haunted by residual acrimony over atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the Empire of Japan during World War II. Politicians in China and South Korea maintain that Japan never properly atoned for its imperial transgressions, rankling Japanese officials. Those historical issues returned to center stage in recent weeks, due to a long-running case before the South Korean Supreme Court in which four Korean men sought damages from a major Japanese steelmaker that forced them to work without pay during World War II. On Oct. 30, the court ruled that the defendant, […]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, fifth from left, poses for a group photo with ASEAN leaders prior to the start of the ASEAN Plus China Summit in the ongoing 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, Singapore, Nov. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Leaders from across the Asia-Pacific region are in Singapore this week to kick off a series of summit meetings. In the absence of any major breakthroughs on trade or security, the focus is on the competition for influence between the United States and China—a narrative driven by dueling op-eds from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. “Our nation’s security and prosperity depend on this vital region, and the United States will continue to ensure that […]

Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, leave a temporary shelter early in the morning in Queretaro, Mexico, Nov. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).)

Late last week, the Trump administration declared in a proclamation that it would deny asylum applications to anyone who entered the country through illegal ports of entry, even though it has been clear for months that asylum-seekers are being denied access at official ports of entry. It was the latest attempt by the administration to discourage migrants, primarily from Central America, from coming to the United States. In the recent pre-election fervor, President Donald Trump likened the caravan of Central Americans, which is slowly making its way north from Honduras and into southern Mexico, to an invasion. Yet the latest […]

The Financial Times Asia news editor, Victor Mallet, right, and Andy Chan, founder of the Hong Kong National Party, during a luncheon at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, Aug. 14, 2018 (AP photo).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. On Friday, Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was denied entry into Hong Kong, only a month after authorities there declined to renew his work visa, ostensibly in retaliation for Mallet’s involvement in hosting an event that featured a political activist who supports Hong Kong’s independence from China. In an interview with WPR, Cedric Alviani, the East Asia bureau chief for Reporters Without Borders, known as RSF, explains why journalists and observers are increasingly concerned about a push by Chinese […]

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the opening session of the Paris Peace Forum at the Villette Conference Hall in Paris, France, Nov. 11, 2018 (SIPA photo by Eliot Blondet via AP Images).

Peace is complicated. That is the overriding, if unintended, message of this week’s Paris Peace Forum, a new multilateral conclave initiated by the French government to commemorate the end of World War I. The organizers claim that the event is based on the “simple idea” that “international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.” That is pretty much where the simplicity ends, however. Over 100 groups from around the world are in Paris to present their ideas about peace to 2,500 participants. Their approaches to the issue are, to put it mildly, eclectic. One organization hopes […]

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