People take part in a protest condemning a deadly crackdown last month in Khartoum, Sudan, July 18, 2019 (AP photo by Mahmoud Hjaj).

Earlier this month, Sudan’s ruling military council and the opposition pro-democracy movement reached agreement on the broad outlines of a power-sharing deal. The document lays out a three-year roadmap toward free elections and permanent civilian rule. But the two sides have yet to agree on key details, and the opposition is continuing to demand accountability for a bloody crackdown by the military in June that left more than 100 people dead. In a sign of the process’ shakiness, a planned negotiating round was canceled this week in response to the killing of five schoolchildren by security forces during a peaceful […]

Lamin Saidykhan, a migrant from Gambia, in the “Ghetto,” a squatter settlement on the outskirts of Rome, Italy, Nov. 2018 (Photo by Jason Florio).

Late last year, a decree abolishing humanitarian protections for migrants in Italy became law. Pushed by far-right leader Matteo Salvini as part of a crackdown on migrants and refugees, the law threatens to drive Italy’s migrant community further to the margins as anti-immigrant sentiment rises across the country. ROME—Things were looking up for 21-year-old Gambian migrant Lamin Saidykhan in early November 2018. Two years after arriving in Italy via a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, he had finally been granted humanitarian protection status by the Italian government, which would allow him to legally stay and work in the country for […]

Rather than wait out their asylum application process, Central American asylum-seekers board a bus to return home, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, July 2, 2019 (AP photo by Christian Chavez).

Since the early days of his administration, U.S. President Donald Trump has made multiple attempts to limit asylum—an international right defined by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights—as part of an often-virulent anti-immigrant platform. From his so-called Muslim ban to reports this week that his administration is mulling efforts to punish the Guatemalan government by banning its nationals from entering the United States, Trump has shown an alarming lack of understanding of international norms about refugees and asylum-seekers. His administration’s moves to further dissuade migrants and would-be refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S. have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis […]

A supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wears a parasol in the colors of the Venezuelan flag and with the picture of the late Hugo Chavez, at a pro-government rally in Caracas, May 20, 2019 (DPA photo by Pedro Mattey via AP).

Back in 1996, during a six-month stay in Ecuador, I was invited by an economist to attend a workshop he was leading in an agricultural community in the western foothills of the Andes. The economist and the local nongovernmental organization he worked with were seeking to educate smallholder peasant farmers about the market forces that determined the prices of their crops. The goal was for them to rationalize their yearly planting decisions based on current market conditions, rather than to simply repeat them unchanged from year to year. At the end of the workshop, which introduced basic economic concepts like […]

Smoke rises from an explosion after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, May 5, 2019 (AP photo by Hatem Moussa).

SDEROT, Israel—For the Ozeri family, as for many others in Sderot, a small Israeli town just half a mile from the Gaza Strip, the children’s bedrooms double as bomb shelters. That’s where Adina Ozeri, her husband and their five children all slept the weekend of May 4. Throughout that weekend, “Code Red” public address alerts pierced the air, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza fired over 600 rockets into Israel in a span of two days. Four Israeli civilians were killed and dozens wounded in this latest round of violence, including one man who left his bomb shelter for […]

Women who fled drought line up to receive food distributed at a camp for displaced persons in the Daynile neighborhood on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, May 18, 2019 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. In the short term, it is critical to respond to the immediate food shortages being caused by persistent African drought conditions. But the search for more lasting solutions may actually mean looking back to traditional systems. Persistent drought conditions across large swaths of Africa have left tens of millions in need of food assistance, particularly in the semi-arid eastern and southern regions of the continent. These areas are on the forefront of the fight against global climate change and will be increasingly hard-pressed to […]

People, one carrying a Bolivian flag, in a boat at the Isiboro river, on the outskirts of San Miguelito, part of the Tipnis reserve, Bolivia, July 29, 2012 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

La Paz, BOLIVIA—President Evo Morales wants Bolivia to become the “energy heart of Latin America,” producing many times more electricity than it consumes and exporting it all across the continent. The key to these grand ambitions will be hydroelectric power, with several megaprojects planned. But these dams are proving controversial for their social, environmental and economic consequences—and for the way the government is trying to push them through. There are three main projects at different stages of development. The Rio Madera complex is a set of four dams in the northeast of the country, near the border with Brazil; two […]

Health workers take their shift at a treatment center in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 13, 2019 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Africa Watch will be off the next two weeks. It will return Aug. 9, with Andrew Green curating the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The Ebola outbreak that began in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo more than a year ago is now officially a global health emergency. The World Health Organization declared the epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, or PHEIC, after declining to do so on three previous occasions. The reconsideration followed the virus’ spread to the city of Goma, a major regional hub home to a million people. […]

Iraqi protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, in central Baghdad, Iraq, June 21, 2019 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

Over the past few summers, as scorching heat meets a growing dissatisfaction with their government’s inability to provide basic services and employment, Iraqis have taken to the streets to protest. These demonstrations have occurred primarily in southern Iraq and in Baghdad, where violence has been relatively contained for several years now. To many Iraqis, protest is the only voice they have left. They view the formal political and electoral process as just reinforcing the same elites who have repeatedly failed them since the U.S. invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein. Last summer’s protests in Basra, however, altered the dynamics […]

First lady Melania Trump walks with Ghana’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, as she arrives at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Earlier this month, The New York Times created a mini furor on the internet with a job listing for someone to lead its coverage of East Africa. The announcement described it as an opportunity “to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and shores of Tanzania.” It went on to speak of the region’s “many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China,” among others. Whether as afterthought or sop, […]

A monument with the names of those killed during the 2004 Lukodi Massacre by the Lord’s Resistance Army, in Lukodi, Uganda, July 2019 (Photo by Sophie Neiman).

GULU and KAMPALA, Uganda—Deep scars cut into the flesh of Docobella Loremoi’s ankle. He was abducted by Joseph Kony’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army in 1988, and later injured in a battle between LRA rebels and government forces. Some 30 years on, the wound still causes him pain. He is unsure if bomb fragments remain in his leg and cannot afford an X-ray. Loremoi is just one of many victims suffering mental and physical trauma resulting from the 20-year LRA insurgency, during which an estimated 2 million people were displaced in northern Uganda. Last month, Uganda’s Cabinet finally approved a new […]

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed at a press conference on the Financing for Sustainable Development Report at U.N. headquarters, in New York, April 4, 2019 (DPA photo by Luiz Rampelotto via AP Images).

Four years ago, to great fanfare, U.N. member states endorsed a sweeping blueprint for human progress known as the Sustainable Development Goals. Intended to guide global development efforts through 2030, the 17 SDGs, as they are known, are ambitious in the extreme. They range from eliminating extreme poverty—everywhere—to ensuring human health at all ages. Collectively, the goals are backed by a whopping 169 targets, each with various indicators. In September, world leaders will gather in New York for a quadrennial SDG summit to answer the question former mayor Ed Koch used to ask his constituents: “So, how am I doing?” […]

A couple kisses outside the Constitutional Court as they wait to hear the final decision on same-sex marriage, in Quito, Ecuador, June 4, 2019 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Ecuador’s highest court ruled last month that the country’s prohibition on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The 5-4 verdict was a victory for LGBT activists in the heavily Catholic country, but it is not immediately clear that the decision will be accepted among all segments of Ecuadorian society, according to Amy Lind, the Mary Ellen Heintz Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. In an email interview with WPR, she explains how Ecuador’s Constitutional Court reached its decision and why the benefits of this ruling may only immediately be felt by the most “privileged” same-sex couples […]

Rohingya refugee children shout slogans during a protest at Unchiprang refugee camp, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Nov. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Dar Yasin).

Last month, the United Nations released a blistering report about its own recent track record in Myanmar, the source of one of the world’s worst refugee crises. Written by an independent investigator but commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the report documented the “systemic failure” by U.N. agencies in dealing with the humanitarian suffering caused by Myanmar’s state crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims. That failure continued even as abuses escalated over the past five years, ultimately resulting in such atrocities that the U.N.’s own fact-finding mission has called for Myanmar’s top military leaders to be investigated on charges of genocide […]

A portion of a report from government auditors reveals images of people penned into overcrowded Border Patrol facilities, photographed July 2, 2019, in Washington (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Reports of overcrowded and inhumane conditions in detention centers that the Trump administration is using to house migrants and asylum-seekers, mostly from Central America, have given rise to a fierce debate in the United States. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has repeatedly referred to the camps as “concentration camps,” which critics say is inappropriate given that term’s association with the Holocaust. Yet while the uniqueness of the Nazi extermination camp system must be recognized, concentration camps are not out of the ordinary. They can be found all over the world at various times in history, as the journalist Andrea […]

Smoke rises from a garbage incineration plant in Wuhan, China, Jan. 9, 2015 (Photo by Dong Mu for Imaginechina via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The central Chinese city of Wuhan put a garbage-burning power plant on hold this week after days of protests against the project. Following a police crackdown, local officials, apparently caught off guard by the protests, have pledged to consult with residents before moving forward. The demonstrations highlight the recurring failure of local authorities in China to provide transparency and address safety and environmental concerns over government projects. Waste-to-energy incineration plants like the one proposed in Wuhan are especially controversial. […]

Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington and a Democratic presidential candidate, unveiling part of his climate change policy at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, Washington, May 16, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott this week. A little more than two years since he announced in the Rose Garden that the United States was “getting out” of the Paris climate change agreement, President Donald Trump was in Japan, the sole leader at the G-20 summit to disagree with a modest communique once again committing the international community to taking on climate change. It laid bare America’s isolation under Trump on an issue that much of the world—and indeed more and more of the American public—consider increasingly dire. Climate change has hardly […]

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