In late November, Algeria adopted new laws regulating the media and journalism, characterized by the government as allowing for more press freedoms. But considering the government has done so much to eviscerate freedom of expression and tame independent journalism in Algeria, that characterization doesn’t hold weight.
One year after U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, great power competition is still driving Washington’s Africa policy. So while the summit did produce some positive outcomes, engagement with civil society remains limited and human rights protection continues to be placed on the back burner.
It makes sense that a continent that is home to 54 countries and 1.2 billion people would also house many contradictory developments. Africa features several of the world’s fastest-growing economies and a burgeoning middle class. But much of the continent remains mired in debt, burdened by conflict and beset by elites clinging to power.
On Oct. 31, the Biden administration restored Mauritania’s trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, despite Mauritania not having fully eradicated forced labor and slavery. A closer look at several other aspects of U.S.-Mauritania relations may shed light on the Biden administration’s decision.
There has perhaps been no more polarizing figure in the realm of U.S. foreign policy than Henry Kissinger, who died last week at age 100. His realpolitik approach undoubtedly led to some success. But it also led Kissinger to advocate for policies whose moral grounding was dubious and whose foreign policy value was questionable.
While women’s rights have become a mainstream issue, societal change when it comes to gender equality has lagged. And in many countries where legal protections of women have made gains, they have faced a backlash. Meanwhile, gender-based violence remains a scourge, despite the emergence of the #MeToo movement.
Globally, human rights remain under assault, whether by populist movements desperate to gain power or authoritarian governments eager to maintain it. At the same time, the populist rise has invigorated civil society efforts to protect historically marginalized communities.