Myanmar’s return to the position of international pariah has created a new opening for Beijing. By moving in where the West, reeling from the junta’s shocking human rights abuses, has been reluctant to step in, Beijing hopes to boost China’s regional influence and secure access to vital natural resources.
Human Rights Archive
A recent visit to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region marked Xi Jinping’s first notable public appearance since his trip to Hong Kong in late June. The visit’s choreography—from the emphasis on economic consumption and production to the racialized undercurrent of Han tourism in China—points to an unsavory truth.
In early July, Sierra Leone’s Cabinet approved the decision to draft a bill conferring a constitutional right to safe abortion. But once passed, the law will only be the first step in ensuring access to safe abortions and other reproductive health services in a country where unsafe abortions have dire health consequences.
Corruption is rampant and inequality is endemic in the Republic of Congo. In many countries, these conditions, combined with the staggering price hikes caused by the war in Ukraine, have led to rises in public anger that have threatened world leaders from Sri Lanka to Ecuador. Yet, despite being in control during the decades when those conditions became entrenched in Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his ruling Congolese Labor Party, or PCT, actually strengthened their grip on power in the country’s recent legislative elections, thanks both to domestic repression and international complacency. Provisional results released by the government indicate that the PCT won nearly 110 seats in the 151-seat National Assembly in the mid-July vote. A second round of voting is […]
After more than nine months of deadlock following parliamentary elections last year, Iraq appears to be on the verge of forming a government. The Coordination Framework, a parliamentary bloc that includes Iran-backed Shiite militias, has nominated Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as its candidate for prime minister. The nomination of al-Sudani by the Shiite bloc could thread the needle, as analyst Hamzeh Haddad writes, by producing an Iraqi government stable enough to make tough but necessary policy decisions, but not so polarizing as to spark a renewed round of civil conflict between rival Shiite camps.
The political left is not always a progressive choice in Latin America, as has become starkly evident in Peru, where the rights of women and the LGTBQ community have come under attack by political leaders from both the left and right. President Pedro Castillo, a former teacher and organizer from the rural province of Cajamarca, won election in 2021 against the right-wing candidate, Keiko Fujimori, with a radical-left platform that was pro-poor—but also socially conservative. Like his opponent, Castillo appealed to conservative religious sentiments that are gaining traction throughout the Americas. The policy impact of that religious stance is now evident, […]
U.S. President Joe Biden’s “summer of diplomacy” continued last week, this time with stops in the Middle East, where he visited two long-term U.S. regional partners, Israel and Saudi Arabia. But unlike recent stops in the German Alps for the annual G-7 meeting or in Madrid for the NATO leaders’ summit, Biden’s meetings in Riyadh, in particular, generated a great deal of criticism and even opprobrium. Ahead of the trip, critics had warned that visiting Saudi Arabia went directly against Biden’s campaign promise to no longer give the kingdom a “blank check” when it comes to its human rights record. […]
On July 5, Algeria celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence with a military parade in the capital city, Algiers, complete with tanks, helicopters and missile launchers, moving along roads lined with the national flag. The event was meant to celebrate a pivotal day in 1962, when the country officially bucked French colonial rule after fighting a brutal, eight-year war of liberation. But for many, the vision of military hardware parading across the capital that sunny, summer day served instead as a reminder of all that has gone wrong since independence. According to Mourad Ouchichi, a professor of political science […]
In what could be seen as petty revenge for Argentina’s legalization of abortion in 2020, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, the chief of government of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, has banned gender-inclusive language in the city’s public schools. The decision, which was announced at the end of June, is the latest development in what many consider a widening war on feminism in Argentina. The main advocates of the ban, the Royal Spanish Academy and the Argentine Academy of Letters, have argued that changing the Spanish language to accommodate gender neutrality would be confusing and, in any case, unnecessary. As […]
In 2019, the year before the coronavirus pandemic began, a series of popular uprisings erupted in a large number of countries. That included Chile, where public discontent finally boiled over following an increase in public transportation prices. After dozens had been killed in the unrest, the Chilean government took the protesters’ grievances seriously, and then-President Sebastian Pinera agreed to a dramatic course of action: The country would rewrite its constitution. The following year, in the middle of the pandemic, nearly 80 percent of Chilean voters agreed to the plan in a national referendum. The country was jubilant. Now, nearly three years after those initial protests, the proposed new […]
This spring, Malta was crowned the top European country for LGBTQ rights and freedoms by the annual ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index for the seventh year in a row. The Mediterranean island country didn’t just win the top spot. It dominated the rankings, with a score of 92 percent—nearly 20 points above its nearest competitor, Denmark. This recognition did not come to Malta via a high-priced PR campaign or effort to “brand” Malta as the LGBTQ dream destination. Rather, it is the result of good policymaking that ensures rights for LGBTQ people on the three islands that make up the country. However, given that […]
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, headlines spread claiming that a new iron curtain had fallen across Europe. Russia’s economic and political isolation, they claimed, had come hand-in-hand with digital isolation. As the United States and its allies introduced technological sanctions against Russia, numerous Western tech companies also stopped doing business there, making their products and services unavailable to Russians. At the same time, the Russian state had moved quickly to block any websites that offered information about the war, especially those that criticized the Kremlin’s actions. It is well-known that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees an open and […]
In the second round of Colombia’s election last month, voters faced a choice between Gustavo Petro, a far-left former guerrilla, and Rodolfo Hernandez, a candidate regularly described as a “right-wing populist.” Many citizens who define themselves as centrist and wanted to vote for a moderate candidate found themselves struggling to decide which of these extremes was worse. Second-round polarization has become a common theme in Latin American presidential elections. In the past year, presidential candidates from ideological extremes in Chile, Peru and Colombia made it to second-round votes, while more traditional and centrist candidates missed the cut by large margins. […]
It would be an understatement to say that the 21st century has not been a good one for democracy. As has been well-documented, democracy has been losing ground for years in ways both subtle and blunt. Now comes another growing trend, this one spreading quietly, in a seemingly innocent fashion, whose damage to democracy could be even more intractable, because it brings welcome changes to daily life along with its potential for harm. We’re talking here about the rise of artificial intelligence, or AI. Or, more to the point, we should be. AI is already an important part of daily […]
Chinese President Xi Jinping toured Wuhan last week in what amounted to a victory lap, triumphantly walking through production facilities and industrial sectors in the city that was the coronavirus pandemic’s Ground Zero when it emerged in December 2019. Xi’s visit was significant for two key, if distinct, reasons. One was to inspect “Optics Valley,” a burgeoning technology hub that symbolizes China’s ambitions to develop home-grown innovation and boost self-reliance. As with many of his visits to manufacturing facilities and incubators for critical technology sectors across China, Xi took photos with key personnel at the manufacturing sites and spoke about […]
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health rolled back half a century of federally protected reproductive rights and reverted the authority to regulate abortion to the states. The ruling was celebrated by anti-abortion advocates and met with outrage from reproductive justice supporters. At the international level, it has been condemned by United Nations human rights officials and U.S. allies alike. It has also become a propaganda tool for U.S. enemies: The Taliban referred to the ruling to point out U.S. hypocrisy on women’s rights and argue that the sanctions against them should be […]
A year ago, in July 2021, a prominent environmentalist was killed in Kenya. Joannah Stutchbury had been a vocal critic of a development project that was about to begin construction in Kiambu forest, a protected area of more than 1,000 acres near Nairobi, the capital. A third-generation Kenyan with British ancestry, Stutchbury had been fighting against the illegal corporate takeover of these lands when she was shot dead while clearing branches outside her home. On the global stage, Kenya has a reputation as a center for wildlife conservation work, boasting 24 national parks, 15 national reserves, six marine parks and […]