Troops ride in a vehicle near central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 2, 2018 (AP photo by Ludivine Laniepce).

On May 12, unknown attackers killed a Catholic priest and five worshippers in northern Burkina Faso, before burning the church. Two days later, four Catholics were killed in a separate attack in the region. It was the third attack on Christians in Burkina Faso in just three weeks. Then, two weeks later, gunmen raided another church in the region and shot four people dead. The targeting of both Catholics and Protestants in the country comes amid a wider unraveling of security that has killed and displaced Muslims and Christians alike. In this rising crisis, the escalation is outpacing the government’s […]

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses supporters at a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 3, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Leo Alvarez via AP Images).

One month after the failed uprising of April 30 in Venezuela, which opposition leader Juan Guaido had proclaimed as “the final phase” of an effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro, the two sides remain mired in deadlock. The opposition finds itself in a difficult position, riven by internal divisions even as negotiations continue in Norway with government representatives. In the United States, senior Trump administration officials have toned down their rhetoric, even while hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham openly call for the United States to intervene militarily in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation for Venezuelans continues to worsen. In this […]

A protester amid smoke from tear gas during clashes at the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Sept. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Dimitris Tosidis).

ATHENS—Last September, a story consumed Greek media outlets. A fatal altercation had taken place near Omonoia Square, a neglected plaza in downtown Athens known primarily for its small shops, markets and Middle Eastern restaurants. According to initial reports, a knife-wielding drug user had attempted to rob a jewelry store, only to be apprehended by the owner and killed during the fight that ensued. Within hours, the story became a sensation, a fact that had less to do with its details, which were scant, than with Greece’s current political climate. It presented a prime opportunity for New Democracy, the center-right opposition […]

A farmer picks his maize, in Qunu, South Africa, June 12, 2013 (AP photo by Schalk van Zuydam).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. African countries have long maintained some of the strictest regulations on genetically modified agriculture, with only four out of 47 countries across the continent allowing the planting of any genetically modified crops. Some countries, including Kenya and Nigeria, are mulling looser restrictions on imports and cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, but those moves will have limited significance for food security, says Robert Paarlberg, an adjunct professor of public policy at Harvard University who specializes in global food and agricultural policy. In an […]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, center, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, right, attend a ceremony to destroy a haul of seized cocaine, in Katunayaka, Sri Lanka, Jan. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. In February, job advertisements appeared in Sri Lankan newspapers, soliciting male candidates between 18 and 45 years old. According to The Associated Press, the posting said applicants must be male Sri Lankan citizens of “excellent moral character” who can pass a test certifying their “mental strength.” The position? Hangman. For over four decades, majority-Buddhist Sri Lanka has maintained a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, even as judges continued to hand down death sentences for murder and drug trafficking […]

Ugandan soldiers patrol through the Central African jungle during an operation to hunt notorious Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, April 19, 2012 (Photo by Yannick Tylle for dpa via AP Images).

GULU, Uganda—On a Monday morning in March, dozens of people gathered outside the courthouse in this hot, dusty city in northern Uganda. They sipped passion fruit juice as they prepared to watch legal proceedings projected on a canvas screen, which had been set up in the shade. Inside and up three flights of stairs, journalists and representatives of various development organizations pressed together on wooden benches in the courtroom. Lawyers, dressed in black robes, made small talk, though their easy laughter clashed with the gravity of the matter at hand. The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was about to begin. Kwoyelo, […]

A man holds a poster reading “We stand against xenophobia” during a march in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has steadily seeped into mainstream political discourse in South Africa, where immigration has long been a contentious issue as the country is a primary destination for migrants from across the African continent. In the general election earlier this month, both major political parties, the ruling African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance, advocated stricter controls on immigration. In an email interview with WPR, Loren B. Landau, a migration expert at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, discusses the […]

Amnesty International activists protest against human rights violations in Egypt and for freedom of expression on the sidelines of the Egyptian president’s visit to Berlin, Germany, Oct. 29, 2018 (Photo by Paul Zinken for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. The space not just for press freedom but freedom of expression of any kind has dramatically shrunk in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took power in a coup in 2013.* Egypt was hardly a bastion of a free and fair press under previous regimes, but under Sisi, government entities have consolidated their control over nearly every major media outlet. Journalists of all affiliations and nationalities also face a variety of threats to their safety, including harassment, arrests, […]

A man and a woman look at images of people who have been disappeared in the context of Mexico’s fight against drug cartels and organized crime, Mexico City, May 10, 2019 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Mexico’s drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country’s relations with the United States. Last week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion U.S. aid package that has largely funded Mexico’s war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not “want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.” The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five […]

Members of the Muisca indigenous community take part in a demonstration against Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government’s National Development Plan, in Bogota, Colombia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Yulieth Rincon for dpa via AP Images).

Since President Ivan Duque took office last summer, Colombia has seen an uptick in violence against human rights advocates and community leaders, particularly from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Observers point to the Duque administration’s hostility toward the landmark peace accord with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that was struck in 2016. The agreement contained a number of provisions designed to protect the country’s vulnerable groups, but the Duque administration is refusing to implement them. In an interview with WPR, Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, director for the Andes at the Washington Office on Latin America, […]

Gabriela Hernandez, executive director of the nonprofit New Mexico Dream Team, holds up an image of Roxana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died in U.S. custody, Albuquerque, N.M., June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Hudetz).

The desperation of daily life in Honduras is driving thousands of people to join other Central American migrants in their long march northward toward what they hope is asylum and safety in the United States. Yet the situation is especially grave for those who are LGBT, in particular gender non-conforming men and minors. Perhaps that was why the first people to reach the U.S. border in the widely publicized migrant caravan last November were 85 LGBT people. “LGBT people band together to protect each other,” says Aaron Morris, the executive director of Immigration Equality, which advocates for LGBT immigrants to […]

An endangered Agalychnis annae, commonly known as a Blue-Sided Leaf Frog, at the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica, in Heredia, Costa Rica, Oct. 21, 2009 (AP photo by Kent Gilbert).

Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES, put out a call to arms to save endangered species and ecosystems. The body’s report, titled “Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,” was based on the work of hundreds of scientists and thousands of scientific studies. It warned that no fewer than a million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction around the globe. “Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history,” the report lamented—and humans are to blame. We have long taken the innumerable goods that nature provides […]

North Korean men ride their bicycles in Pyongyang, North Korea, Feb. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Though the government maintains a stance that they are illegal and undesirable, the use of drugs in North Korea, particularly crystal meth, appears to be growing as state actors profit from its production and sale. The use of illegal drugs in North Korea appears to be on the rise. Radio Free Asia reported that crystal meth was popular as a gift during February’s Lunar New Year holiday, and the Daily NK, a Seoul-based news site, recently reported that drug addiction is increasingly prevalent among the country’s youth. The appeal of crystal meth, which is widely produced in North Korea and […]

Antonio Garcia, a negotiator for the National Liberation Front, a Colombian rebel group, left, and Israel Ramirez Pineda, the group’s commander, at a press conference, Caracas, Venezuela, March 30, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

HAVANA, Cuba—A judge in Colombia last week ordered President Ivan Duque to notify the United Nations Security Council about the progress made in peace talks with guerrillas from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which the government ended earlier this year in the wake of an ELN bombing. The ruling came after two senior Colombian politicians had sued Duque, claiming that he had neglected to inform the U.N. and the guarantor countries—Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Brazil and Norway—about the state of the negotiations. The judge said that Duque had failed to “give substantive explanations or reasons” for suspending the talks. The […]

Guatemalan military officers carry the coffin of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt to his burial site at a cemetery in Guatemala City, April 1, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

It has been more than two decades since the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala came to a close. Yet in both countries, transitional justice is still a goal, rather than a reality, and recent progress risks being undermined by powerful forces intent on blocking accountability. For this week’s in-depth report, Anna-Catherine Brigida spoke with survivors of civil war-era atrocities who have campaigned—in some cases successfully—to make the alleged perpetrators of those atrocities stand trial. She also examined efforts by officials allied with former military regimes to use legislation and the courts to revive amnesty provisions. In this week’s […]

Colombian President Ivan Duque and Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez, left, take part in a march to repudiate terrorism in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Nine months into his tenure and still finding his footing, Colombia’s president is close to a bitter legislative defeat on one of the country’s most charged political issues: peace. Ivan Duque’s attempt to roll back parts of Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace accord already went down by a 110-44 vote in Colombia’s House of Representatives on April 8. The Senate went through a series of gyrations last week, initially rejecting Duque’s initiative 47-34 before ultimately sending the issue to a top court that is likely to rule against the president. It’s bad news for Duque, but good news for Colombia’s peace […]

A banner depicting slain Guatemalan Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi at a rally to mark the 12th anniversary of his murder in Guatemala City, April 26, 2010 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

LA JOYA, El Salvador—On a Thursday morning in October 2017, Rosario Lopez, a 72-year-old Salvadoran woman with square wire-rimmed glasses and dark, gray-speckled hair pulled into a bun, took the stand in a small courtroom in northeastern El Salvador. She had been called to provide testimony in a trial stemming from the worst atrocity of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. The massacre had unfolded in and around the small mountain village of El Mozote in December 1981, still in the early period of a grueling, grinding conflict between the military government, which took power in a coup in 1979, and […]

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