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  • Author: Ellinore Ahlgren
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether frequent engagement with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the body of independent experts monitoring the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is linked to improved compliance with women’s rights commitments. It further explores whether the relationship between treaty body interaction and compliance holds for states that have made reservations to articles concerning women’s rights. Data from state reports submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and indicators from the Social Institutions and Gender Index show that frequent engagement with the body is associated with improved equality for women, irrespective of state reservations. The results from this study challenge the idea that reservations undermine global governance regimes and are detrimental to human rights. Finally, this paper illustrates how compliance mechanisms work using a case study from Iraq. Through participation in the report-and-review process, states engage in negotiation around contentious areas of women’s rights with experts, civil society and the public, which facilitates respect for women’s rights.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Governance, Women, Compliance, Case Study
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Ivona Shushak Lozanovska, Vesna Shapkoski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: The international community has significantly increased its focus on the improvement of justice systems around the world, in recent years. With the increase in effort and interventions in the sector, there has been a need to create tools to assess justice systems, to identify the main elements affecting the workings of the justice machinery. In a context of increasing interest and engagement in justice systems reform, the ability of citizens to access justice institutions to address their needs has come to be seen as an essential element of development, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The Republic of North Macedonia has been dedicated in a certain amount to improving the access to justice following these global trends. However, the pandemic has brought to the surface many obstacles in the realization of these efforts and imposed serious issues that need to be further solved. In this paper, we will elaborate on the present situation in North Macedonia from the personal experience of law clinics and civil society organizations that work and contribute closely on this issue. Furthermore, we will identify particular points that need to be advanced and relevant stakeholders to be engaged, to improve the situation, and bring justice closer to everyone.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Justice, Pandemic, COVID-19, Legal Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Macedonia
  • Author: Hamid Eltgani Ali
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
  • Institution: School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo
  • Abstract: Sudan’s path to democracy has been a rocky one, and there are several key players who need to ensure it never returns to an autocratic state.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Centerpiece
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: From civil strife in Syria to the war in Yemen to US-Iran tensions, Shi'a groups are emerging as major players on the geopolitical landscape. The 200 million Shi'as around the world comprise 15–20 percent of all Muslims, yet little is understood about their culture, historical legacy, and political dynamics. Shi’as are the majority sect in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain, and comprise substantial minority groups in Africa, South and Central Asia, and countries throughout the Middle East. Last fall, the Weatherhead Center launched the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs to support advanced research on the diverse manifestations of Shi’ism, and to encourage rigorous scholarship on the political dynamics of its role in the Middle East. The project supports scholarship that increases understanding of the intersection between religion and politics in Islam by engaging political scientists, historians, policy makers, religious leaders, and other specializations at the WCFIA. It was a busy first year, replete with talks on important events in Islamic history, the geopolitics of Iraq, the US-Iran confrontation, and more. The project launched the online platform Visions, which offers advanced commentary on all aspects of Shi’a thought, politics, and society. Additionally, project members have travelled to Baghdad and Erbil in Iraq for field work and academic conferences, as well as to the United Kingdom to present research and conduct outreach. Team members have also travelled to various cities across the United States to give presentations and interactive workshops—including to Muslim-American communities in Dearborn, Michigan (home to the largest Arab-American population in North America) and Orlando, Florida—on the topic of religious pluralism, youth activism, Islamic thought, and civil society. Directed by Payam Mohseni, lecturer at Harvard University, the project is funded in part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. We asked Payam Mohseni and project chairs Melani Cammett and Ali Asani about the motivations behind the Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Religion, Military Strategy, Political Activism, Domestic politics, Pluralism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rodrigo Fagundes Cezar
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI)
  • Institution: Instituto Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (IBRI)
  • Abstract: This article uses the Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) method to examine the combinations of conditions that explain the length of World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes that invoke General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs’ (GATT) General Exceptions (Article XX). Using the Brazil-EC controversy over retreaded tires as an example, the work underscores the importance of the mobilization of civil society organizations such as NGOs and think tanks in association with power asymmetry and/or veto players. The article contributes to understanding the causal complexity and empirical heterogeneity of “exceptional” disputes (disputes in which a party invokes GATT’s General Exceptions).
  • Topic: Civil Society, World Trade Organization, Domestic politics, Trade Wars, Compliance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kevin Appleby
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal on Migration and Human Security
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) provides a blueprint for nations to manage migration flows through multilateral cooperation. Nations are best served by partnering with a wide range of societal actors to implement the objectives of the GCM. Such civil society actors may include non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, the private sector, trade unions, and academia, among other relevant stakeholders. Each of these actors brings unique strengths to the implementation of the GCM, filling gaps in the care and protection of migrants. They perform tasks that governments are unable or unwilling to undertake, especially in the area of irregular migration. A “whole-of-society” approach is the most effective method for managing migration humanely and in concert with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration, Non State Actors, Humanitarian Crisis, Non-profits
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ramtane Lamamra
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: To translate the vision of the 2013 Solemn Declaration into action, the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns by Year 2020 (AUMR) was adopted by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in 2016. The AUMR was to be executed by the AU Commission in collaboration with key stakeholders, including regional economic communities; economic, social and cultural communities; organs of the AU; the United Nations (UN) and civil society organisations. Speaking to this endeavour, the 33rd AU Ordinary Summit took stock of achievements and challenges encountered in implementing this flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020. It further sought to devise a more robust action plan, informed by the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the AUMR, for a peaceful and prosperous Africa. Conflicts have robbed Africa of over US$100 billion since the end of the Cold War in 1991. The continent has unfortunately witnessed some of the world’s biggest fatalities, food and humanitarian crises and the erosion of social cohesion, coupled with the total breakdown of economies and decimation of the environmental and political landscape. It is worrisome to see countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali and Libya continuing to witness persistent levels of armed conflict, and the decolonisation conflict in Western Sahara is remaining unresolved for so long. The threat posed by COVID-19 has considerably slowed the momentum of the silencing the guns agenda and has abruptly added to the existing challenges, slowing down the attainment of peace and development
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Peace, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic
  • Author: Ayanda Ntsaluba
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Recognition of the nexus between foreign policy and public health is not new; it has found episodic expression that tended to dissipate, only to re-emerge with time. This has been the case because traditional notions of advancing national interests through foreign policy have tended to be anchored around the fields of trade and defence, with health seen as part of so-called “low politics”. This has tended to underplay the foreign policy dimensions of health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Ebola, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Zurab Elzarov
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The implementation of the Library of Peace project was a model of successful cooperation between UNAMID, the Government of Sudan (State Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth), UNICEF, civil society and the public library personnel
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Jahanzed Khan, Rana Muhammad Adeel-Farooq, Kashif Akram, Muhammad Sharif Abbasi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The debate regarding the influence of corruption on economic growth is increasing. Therefore, this study examines the impacts of corruption on economic growth of developing South Asian Economies between 2002-2017 period. The study uses fixed effects, random effects and robust least square estimators for the empirical estimation. The outcomes show that in developing South Asian countries corruption is working like grease and enhancing the economic growth. Nevertheless, the study based on the theoretical and empirical literature recommends these countries to formulate policies to lower corruption as it harms the institutional quality, adversely affects the investment decisions of the firms, system of meritocracy, and is considered globally as a moral decay of the society. These all in turn, in the long run adversely affects the economic growth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Economic Growth, Economic Theory
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, Naheed S. Goraya
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Afghanistan is a country with strong cultural norms and a male-dominated society, comprising 49% of women population. The plight of Afghan women is embedded in long history of the country. Decades old war has led 90% of Afghan women without education (aged 25). In war- torn countries around the world, thousands of women are deprived of education. The displacement and the predominance of norms or ideologies dampen the very idea of education for women. Most of the schools are far enough and the children, predominately the girls, have no easy access there. Girls do stay at home following the gender norms. However in post 2001, there have been significant developments regarding female education and their participation in public life. The most important contribution was the adoption of National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA1), 10 years strategic framework (2010-18). The paper argues that the girls‘ education in Afghanistan requires to be looked through the lens of culture. It will analyze the other barriers to women education and explore the facts how they are unequally treated in terms of access to all levels of education in the country. However, there is a long way to meet the challenges regarding women education. It will conclude with the idea that it is undoubtedly true that countries can develop where there is no gender discrimination with regard to ducation politics and social and economic rebuilding. Only gender-oriented tasks can rule out inequalities in conflict-affected societies and transform them into peaceful societies of respect and equality.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Women, Feminism, Equality
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East
  • Author: Zahid Mahmood, Muhammad Iqbal Chawla
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: While broadly speaking the framework of separation of power is not fully executed which has caused institutional tangle in the history of Pakistan, however, the main objective of this research paper is to re-investigate the relationship between the civil and military leadership in the period 2013-2018. The elemental premise of this article is that the civilian and military leadership has generally squabbled during the civilian rule. This paper contends that this wrangle has left a majority of people of Pakistan with undelivered promises and their woes have generally multiplied. Generally speaking, perception abounds that form over substance approach proliferates in the present democratic set-up. There is an impression that the military schemes surreptitiously to destabilize the civil governments if the latter does not play to the whims of the former. The relations between the two power-centres embittered during the period 2013-2018 and it is generally believed that such tensions led to events like the dharna (sit – in) by the PTI/PAT, Tehreek-i-Labbayak protests/sit-ins and the disputed election results of 2018. Right or wrong, but there is an impression that military has generally tried to transgress its limits and meddled in the affairs of the civil administration in order to punish the ‘corrupt civilians’ for their corrupt practices. The relationship of civilian and military leadership in this article discusses specifically the instances which created tussles between both the leadership during the 2013-2018 periods. Again, the civilian leadership is facing the charges of corruption and since the matter is sub- judice, this paper constraints from considering these politicians corrupt or innocent but the main argument of the paper is that whether it is direct or indirect military interference the main allegation against the politicians is corruption. Therefore, this paper will try to find the answer to the following queries: what is the conduct of the civil governments how the civilians irritate the military and other institutions why the military takes interest into the civilian matters and why military needs to policing the civil governments and what factors caused the downfall of Mian Nawaz Sharif government. The underlying hypothesis of the study is that the theory of separation of power is not fully implemented in Pakistan which has been causing institutional clash and powerful institutions overpower the weaker and in case of Pakistan’s parliament is the weakest institution. However, this paper will like to recommend to go for the basics of democracy ‘Separation of power’ to ensure continuation and consolidation of democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Political Power Sharing, Military Government, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East
  • Author: Javid Raza Naseem, Abdul Basit Mujahid
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Political ideology of Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Amir Muhammad Khan (1910-67) was based on the perception of a highly educated but conservative feudal. He advocated status quo in almost all the matters including foreign relations. He advised Ayub Khan not to switch over to China because it would antagonise U.S.A. He was not so optimist about the solution of Kashmir issue. His pragmatic approach favoured the peaceful method of negotiation instead of confrontation. General perception portrays him as a typical landlord who was averse to education and freedom of press. Evidences from history reveal that there is a partial truth in it. He liked a responsible press which should not be left unbridled. Bengalis of East Pakistan made the bigger chunk of the total population of Pakistan. He, as a non-Bengali of West Pakistan, was apprehensive of their strength in numbers. Anti-One Unit politicians were secessionists in the eyes of Nawab so were dealt severely. He treated his political rivals according to their strength and ambitions. He was suspicious of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto because he (Bhutto) was too ambitious to be trusted. He allegedly victimized Chaudhri Zahoor Elahi because Chaudhri had desired to replace him. Mawlana A. Sattar Niazi, Habibullah Paracha and Pir of Makhad Sharif used to challenge his supremacy in his native area so Nawab had to deal them harshly. It can be derived that his political outlook reflected the mindset of a typical feudal lord.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Political Activism, Elections, Leadership, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East
  • Author: Ayesha Farooq
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: This paper discusses the socio-demographics of a village in Punjab named „Mohla‟. Socio- demographic variables include description of age distribution, sex composition, family structure, castes and marital statuses of the people. Description of respondents‟ attributes such as educational and occupational statuses are also inclusive of this study. The researchers used quantitative approach and data collection was done through probability survey to ensure objectivity and reliability of the results. Household Enumeration Forms were used to collect the information regarding age, sex, households and castes. On the other hand, interview schedule was developed to gather information from the respondents. Decade-wise sources of water supply and domestic material possessions are also analyzed. These time series data are indicative of the development that has taken place over the fifty years, this is expected to have influence on the socio- structural changes in the rural community.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Population, Inequality, Caste
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Middle East
  • Author: Inayat Kalim, Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi, Areeja Syed
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The preface of the Indian Constitution declares India a sovereign, democratic, republic, and socialist state. Later on through the 42nd amendment, socialist and secular terms were incorporated into the constitution. Indian social order is known to be a multi-cultural and multi- religious society on account of an assortment of castes, religions, and cultures. Within all that disparities, Muslims form the main minority in the state. However, a clear-cut pluralistic discrepancy between the theory and practice of the Indian constitution is obvious. Indian Muslims are deprived of cultural, religious, and political rights due to the escalation of Hindutva policies throughout the Modi reign. The continued Kashmir dispute and the recent Pulwama attack intensified India- Pakistan animosity and the root cause seems to be the rise of Hindutva in India. For that reason, the authors delve into the matter and strive to present a descriptive analysis on the rise of Hindutva in India and the illicit silence of the international actors on this grave Indian fanaticism.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Religion, Minorities, Discrimination, Secularism
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Wai Ling Yeung, Clive Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Political organizations with links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are active inside Australia’s two main political parties and using their growing influence to promote Beijing’s interests.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Multiculturalism, Elections, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Tahira Jabeen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Since the introduction of the Policy for Regulation of INGOs in Pakistan, 2015 and the draft Regulation of Foreign Contribution Act 2013-15 (RFCA),the state-civil society relationship in Pakistan has been once again in jeopardy. This paper examines the issue of regulating civil society organizations in Pakistan, considering the unique composition of Pakistani civil society, its role, and the existing legal framework while drawing on examples from the region. Based on the analysis, it is recommended that due to the importance of associational life in the development and democratization of Pakistan, civic organizations should be regulated in the light of the constitutional provisions, which consider rights to association as basic human rights.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Non-Governmental Organization, Regulation, State
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, Punjab
  • Author: Sebastien Girard Lindsay, Jean-François Savard
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, the Canadian state is in the process of reaching out to Aboriginal communities. Public organizations must therefore be actively involved in integrating Aboriginal people into their communities so that they are representative of Canadian society as a whole. The question of the perceptions of Aboriginal employees becomes crucial because it may be a factor that facilitates or restricts the access of these people to public organizations. As such, Aboriginal people have a special, complex and rich relationship with the military. It seemed relevant for us to study the perception of the Canadian military with Aboriginal people. Using the theory of social representations, this research exposes the structure of these perceptions. We have discovered that the military perceives the army through the prism of excellence and legal authority. Thus, the perception scheme is not a priori an obstacle to the integration of Aboriginal people, but there are indeed prejudices and stereotypes on the periphery of the representational structure. These prejudices and stereotypes could constitute an obstacle to the effective integration of this population.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Military Affairs, Indigenous, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Julius Tsal
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi initiated people-to-people (P2P) exchanges to the United States for agricultural scientists and university leaders from the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia. An initial study tour in the spring of 2018 focused on mitigating the devastating agricultural damage from the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), and a second tour in the fall of 2018 focused on higher education leadership. Despite political sensitivities and logistical hurdles, such people-to-people programs increase participants’ understanding of the United States and give them an unbiased, first-hand experience of American civil society, its culture of innovation and democratic values. For otherwise isolated Abkhaz thought leaders, these experiences directly counter Russian anti-Western propaganda and demonstrate the benefits of Georgia’s pro-Western choice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Imperialism, Propaganda
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia, North America
  • Author: Ibrahim Ayberk, Sait Akşit, Ali Dayioğlu
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This study presents the importance of patron states for de facto states within the context of Turkey-Northern Cyprus relations intending to highlight how and in what ways the Turkish Cypriot civil society is influenced by this relationship. It analyses the societal dissent in Northern Cyprus through a detailed study of the leading role played by trade unions given the conjectural developments since the early 2000s and argues that this differentiates Northern Cyprus from other de facto states. With the case analysis of Northern Cyprus, this study aims to contribute to the gap on the study of de facto states’ domestic affairs and the influence of patron states on the societal structures of these entities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, State, Emerging States, Unions
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus, Mediterranean
  • Author: Katherine Meyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: In 2017, the Global Terrorism Database reported 2 402 incidents of terrorism in Africa.1 Perhaps this number is not shocking when considering the extensive international media coverage over the past decade, displaying headlines detailing terrorism-related violence erupting in African countries such as Mali and Libya. Even so, this number is marginally lower than the annual tally over the past five years.2 Counterterrorism strategies by African governments, foreign powers such as France, and multilateral efforts from the African Union, among others, have contributed to the decline. However, to begin to disregard terrorism as an extreme risk on the continent would be a grave mistake. The threat must be considered not only for its intensity, but for its reach as well. Given the pervasiveness of terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel region, international scholars and practitioners have given their attention to analysing and mitigating the threats in these regions. Yet, recent terrorism-related violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Tanzania demonstrates the need to carefully consider the risk of terrorism spreading south-east. The key characteristics that have rendered many of the North African and Sahel countries vulnerable to increased terrorism also exist in southern and eastern Africa; these include poverty and unemployment/underemployment, fragile state governance and civilian grievances. Considering further the poor response to terrorism by the DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania governments, better response mechanisms for this region are needed. Based on the insufficient capacity to protect against the nascent but potentially expanding terrorism, this article argues for urgent attention to be brought to building state resilience that will successfully confront and reverse the spread of terrorism in southern and eastern Africa. This requires developing strong leaders who can make necessary socio-economic and political system changes.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Terrorism, Governance, State Building, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma, Gilbert Tinashe Zvaita
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On 8 May 2019, South Africans went to the polls to elect a government of their choice. This election was South Africa’s sixth since the country held its first democratic election in 1994. Twenty-five years later, questions are being asked about whether the ruling party has delivered on its electoral promises since its victory in the April 1994 election. These and other questions have arisen due to the country’s socio-economic challenges such as increasing youth unemployment, massive public-private sector corruption and deep-seated inequality. These challenges have resulted in renewed calls for political alternatives. This search for political alternatives is evidenced by a significant increase in the number of new political parties that have formed since 1994 – over 40 political parties contested the May 2019 election in various parts of the country. In spite of the growth in the number of political parties, the question that has not generated sufficient debate in either political and policy circles is the role of the youth in South Africa’s democracy, and in electoral processes in particular. This article reports on the findings of a socio-anthropological research study on society, politics and electoral processes in South Africa, conducted as part of an international research project titled Re-examining Elections after African Experiences.1 The article provides an analysis on what the electoral process and voting specifically means to South African youth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Democracy, Anthropology
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Jean Pierre Misago
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: By demonstrating that local governance facilitates the occurrence of xenophobic violence by providing what I term favourable micro-political opportunity structures, the article argues that governance is a key determinant of xenophobic violence in South Africa and of collective violence generally. Research evidence (from extensive comparative empirical data and the global literature) informing this argument sits incongruently with the common and widely accepted understanding of governance and its relationship with collective violence. It shows that some aspects of this relationship are misunderstood and others are yet to be examined. Indeed, theoretical predictions in this regard indicate that collective violence and other forms of contentious collective action tend to occur in societies where mechanisms of social control have lost their restraining power. This article challenges these predictions by illustrating that, in most cases, xenophobic violence occurs in areas where social controls are strong and actually a facilitating factor. Further, the article indicates that the biggest misunderstanding of the relationship between governance and collective violence lies in interconnections yet to be examined. Such an examination would reveal the predominant role of governance, not only as a determinant, but particularly because of the significant role it plays in the making of violence co-determinants.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Discrimination, Violence, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Montana Hunter
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This article explores the use of crowdsourced volunteer battalions by the Ukrainian government in response to Russian aggression in the Donbas region. It examines the weakness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, contributions of civil-society, and the creation, development, and combat operations of volunteer battalions. The use of crowdsourcing provided the emergency military force that the Ukrainian Government needed to stabilise the Donbas region in the face of the 2014 Russian-backed separatist offensive. The article concludes by raising concerns that the negative consequences of crowdsourcing war, while mitigated by actions taken by the Ukrainian Government, have the potential to return if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: I would like to share some reflections on the challenges facing democracy and democratization. But I would like to begin on a personal note. I received my master’s degree some 50 years ago this spring. Like today, it was an era of great turbulence. Our best and brightest civilian leaders had involved America in a distant war. Our soldiers were in an impossible position, bogged down inside an alien culture, unable to distinguish friend from foe. Here at home, America was divided along geographic, racial and cultural lines. Overseas, critics called our policies arrogant, imperialistic and doomed to fail.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Democracy, Social Media
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Hiroyuki Tosa
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to offer some reflections on how to interpret the International Criminal Court (ICC)’ s fractious relationship with Africa in the context of the historical lineage of a dual structure of the global constitutional order and further scrutinize its implications for life cycles of the international norm. First, we begin by setting out the ICC process (norm emergence) led by middle power sand global civil society during the early post-Cold War period. We then scrutinize the limits of this new normative order by focusing on its dualistic nature, as well as the asymmetrical relation between the Global North and the Global South, in particular African countries. Finally, we reexamine the remaining injustice issue inherent in the liberal normative order by paying attention to structural problems such as the predatory capitalism behind the serious humanitarian crisis, which international judicial interventions seem to have superficially mask.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Judiciary, Norms, International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Global South
  • Author: Laleh Ispahani, Ryan Knight
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The US is experiencing an unprecedented erosion of democratic institutions and norms under the Trump administration. While constitutional checks and balances are holding for now, we are seeing the kinds of challenges that have presaged a shift toward authoritarianism in other countries. If not countered, this kind of “constitutional regression” can develop into something that looks like a more lasting authoritarian condition, with institutions that are so hollowed out as to be ineffective, and with impact that outlives the Trump administration. Since November 2016, American civil society’s reform sector has adjusted, adapted, and innovated to meet these challenges. To facilitate their success, the philanthropic sector must likewise adapt. The Open Society Foundations (OSF) are a global philanthropy whose mission is to foster open societies in place of authoritarian ones.[i] Our founder, George Soros, was born in Hungary and lived through the Nazi occupation of 1944 to 1945, which resulted in the murder of over 500,000 Hungarian Jews. In 1947, as Communists consolidated power in Hungary, Mr. Soros left for London where, ultimately, he studied philosophy with Karl Popper, author of The Open Society and Its Discontents, at The London School of Economics and Political Science. In 1956, he emigrated to the US, where he worked in the worlds of finance and investment. He has used the fortune he amassed to support philanthropy that reflects Popper’s philosophy—that no ideology is the final arbiter of truth, and societies can only flourish when they allow for democratic governance, freedom of expression, and respect for individual rights.[ii] Mr. Soros began his philanthropy in 1979, giving scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid who might lead their country out of closed and authoritarian conditions, and into ones governed by democratic principles, respect for the rule of law, protection of the rights of minorities, and civil and political liberties. In the 1980s, he applied the same principles to help promote the open exchange of ideas in Communist Hungary, and across Eastern and Central Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the Foundations started as an effort to help those in countries emerging from more closed or authoritarian conditions, in 1996, OSF launched its first US-based programs; as Mr. Soros wrote in 2006, “America was an essentially open society [but] even open societies are open to improvement.” Since then, OSF and leaders of civil society have worked to protect democratic society and its institutions in the US and in over 140 countries around the world. At OSF, our guiding principle is that the world is imperfect, but that what is imperfect can be improved. With that comes a commitment to examining our own role in the world, a constant questioning as to whether our philanthropy—what we fund, and how we fund it—is responsive to the most pressing issues facing the world as it really is, and not as we perceive it to be. Still, even though we have spent the last two decades supporting U.S.-based efforts to counter what we view as threats to the American democratic project (e.g. the influence of big, secret money on politics, restrictions on the right to vote, the criminalization of poverty, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, a bipartisan tendency toward government secrecy), to date, we viewed that work as part of a project to ensure that a largely sound framework was improved so that it lived up to its promise. As we reflect on conditions a year after President Donald Trump’s election, however, we think that the US is experiencing an unprecedented erosion and hollowing out of democratic institutions and norms, and could be derailed from this course of improvement. This prompts us to consider how OSF might work differently in order to allow our civil society grantee institutions to more assiduously protect against further decline. Together, these shifts in civil society and philanthropy could erect the bulwark needed to counter both the threat of constitutional regression and the more remote risk of a total constitutional breakdown. These reforms are significantly informed by rights organizations and foundations operating in other countries that are contending with threats to democratic government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edyta Pietrzak
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Polish Political Science Yearbook
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: The article presents the entitled fields in the framework of their mutual influence. The notion of the public sphere is valuable for understanding the role that civil society plays in transitional justice processes. However transitional justice often reduces the idea of civil society to NGOs and ignores the social movements and civil engagement in the public realm that can be perceived as integral to the creation of new cases for understanding justice in transition. This fact results in the lack of perception of the civil society place in transitional justice processes. Thus the presented paper is based on hermeneutics, critical discourse analysis and dialogue between various theoretical approaches.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Transitional Justice, Public Policy, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This article is an attempt to interrogate Zimbabwe’s national unity and reconciliation efforts through one of its key organs, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC). It contends that while the NPRC potentially represents a first attempt at resolving Zimbabwe’s violent past, the central premise on which both the Commission and the government’s broader national unity and reconciliation policy are based is critically flawed. The unity that the government seeks to achieve as a vehicle for reconciliation relies upon a negation of accountability, itself a core component of national healing and reconciliation that allows for an open and honest engagement with Zimbabwe’s dark and gruesome past. The problem is further compounded by what has been seen by many as the government’s unwillingness to engage honestly and genuinely with the past, possibly because a good number of past and current serving senior government officials fear implication. The article also highlights some of the complexities that continue to characterise the national mood as far as national healing and reconciliation is concerned. For example, proposals were made recently at an Exchange Seminar of Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo to have the NPRC’s mandate stretch from as far back as the 11th century. How to address all these issues holistically, given the limited time the Commission has before its official expiry, is something the Commission must be innovative about. These challenges demonstrate the mammoth task the NPRC has, and the responsibility it shoulders.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Nationalism, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Zimbabwe