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  • Author: Toby Mendel
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The internet is fantastically enabling for the news media, creating previously unimagined possibilities in terms of distribution, audience interaction, and archiving. But it also presents new threats, such as in the area of defamation law, already a significant problem for many media outlets. This paper assesses these problems against international guarantees of freedom of expression and comparative national practice, through both law and self-regulation, highlighting solutions that are more protective of free expression, as well as those that are not. It also probes new ideas such as greater reliance on the right of reply—which the internet enables—and the notion that some spaces on the Internet should be protected against any defamation liability.
  • Topic: Communications, Law, Regulation, Media, News Analysis, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, has published a new report documenting the personal testimonies of men and women who have been detained in drug rehabilitation centers in Cambodia, China, Mexico, and Russia. Each year, thousands of people are locked away in these centers without any real access to medical care or legal recourse. Drug users rarely enter such detention centers voluntarily, and even if they do, they nearly never are allowed to leave at their will. Detention centers often rely on physical abuse, shackles, solitary confinement, and other indignities to "treat" drug addiction and extract labor from the detainees. Moreover, they are often overseen by government authorities, and private companies are allowed to exploit the forced labor inside. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people quickly return to drug use once they are released from these centers. The report, Treated with Cruelty: Abuses in the Name of Rehabilitation, presents the harrowing personal stories alongside commentary about the human rights that are being denied to the individuals who are locked away. Manfred Nowak, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, also adds his voice in an introduction calling for the closure of drug detention facilities.
  • Topic: Health, War on Drugs, Law, Drugs, Public Health, Rehabilitation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Cambodia, Mexico
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: People identified as drug users in many countries are confined to abusive locked detention centers for months or even years. Such detention centers are supposedly mandated to treat and "rehabilitate" drug users, but the "treatment" they receive in some cases amounts to torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. In Treatment or Torture? Applying International Human Rights Standards to Drug Detention Centers, legal experts review common forms of abuse in drug detention centers and show how these practices in many cases are in violation of basic human rights treaties widely ratified by most nations worldwide. International health and drug-control agencies—including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization—all endorse comprehensive, evidence-based drug dependence treatment services. Yet drug detention centers rarely provide treatment that meets these standards. Depending on the country, so-called rehabilitation consists of a regime of military drills, forced labor, psychological and moral re-education, and shackling, caning, and beating. Treatment or Torture? comes in advance of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture—both on June 26, 2011. The report was published by the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, and featured legal analysis by Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International, and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, War on Drugs, Health Care Policy, Criminal Justice, Drugs, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Cortright, George A. Lopez, Linda Gerber-Stellingwerf, Eliot Fackler, Joshua Weaver
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: The effectiveness of UN efforts for peace and security depends on the coordination and integration of Security Council sanctions with other UN programs, agencies, and missions. Significant advances in sanctions policymaking have occurred in recent years. These include the shift toward targeted measures, improved procedures for listing and delisting, more precise Security Council resolutions, and the use of panels of experts for monitoring sanctions and arms embargoes. Many challenges remain, however, including misperceptions about how sanctions work, and poor coordination and inadequate information-sharing among member states and within the organization.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peace, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vladimir Šulović
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since its inception the security studies represent the core of the International Relations, predominantly dealing with the issues of war and peace. In the years following the Second World War security studies have become a synonym for Strategic Studies with a distinct focus on the military sector. However, with the growing complexity of the international relations` agenda, namely with the rise of economic and environmental challenges count, emergence of the new security challenges, risks and threats, emergence of the new international relations` actors, the traditional view of the sole concept of security, that is, its essence, has become too narrow.
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Melissa Conley Tyler
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) was established over 75 years ago to promote public understanding and interest in international affairs. In recent years, the AIIA has been increasingly active in promoting its activities to younger members of the community. The AIIA has launched a variety of initiatives to involve young people including Young Professional Networks, careers fairs, schools events and the Young Diplomat Program. This has helped the AIIA reach its present strength of more than 1600 members across seven State and Territory Branches.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Alexander Iskandaryan, Aybars Görgülü, David Barchard, Sergey Minasyan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: After unimaginable steps in recent years, Turkish-Armenian relations have reached a point where full diplomatic relations could be established and the land border between the two countries could be opened. However seven months on from the signing of the historic protocols in Zurich, the process has stalled. TESEV Foreign Policy Program and Caucasus Institute’s new report “Assessing the Rapprochement Process” attempts to analyse progress to this point, identify why the process has stalled and offers recommendations aimed at solving the current impasse. Working in a collaborative fashion, the authors from both organisations identified the following areas where progress can be made: The ratification process must continue. Momentum is fickle and letting the protocols sit and fester is in no one’s interest. Rapprochement is a two pronged process: one involves the technical normalisation of relations and the other is reconciliation between the two societies. Both are extremely important and require both states and society to play a significant and active role. The media in both Turkey and Armenia has a responsibility to create an atmosphere conducive to rapprochement. Unbiased, positive and accurate reporting is far more favourable than the existing sensationalism common on both sides of the border.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East, Armenia
  • Author: Meliha Benli Altunisik, Mustafa Ellabbad
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: The main objective of this study is to uncover different views on Turkey among opinion makers and bureaucrats as well as among the public in the Arab world. To this aim, along with the aforementioned survey data, personal interviews were also conducted and incorporated into the publication. As the report makes clear, not only have Arab perspectives on Turkey become increasingly positive in recent years but also debate of Turkey in the Arab world has become more nuanced.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dilek Kurban, Yılmaz Ensaroğlu
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: There is more to the dominance of “rule of law” or “supremacy of law” in a state than the mere availability of a constitution or laws, or the presence of judicial institutions. Indeed, it is a fact of history that even the bloodiest dictatorships had their idiosyncratic laws and courts. In addition, there are countless historical examples of tyrannical and oppressive policies being implemented through courts. Thus, in paying special attention to the matter, international human rights law emphasizes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “…it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe follows suit: “Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms…” Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in addition, states: “The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.” These and other instruments of law confer on the states substantial responsibilities for the protection of human rights. Of a state’s obligations in that regard, the most important include constitutional and legal recognition of citizens’ human rights, non-interference in individuals’ exercise of those rights as long as such exercise does not violate the freedoms of others, and protection of those rights against interventions by others. These obligations have also become sources and criteria for a state’s claim to legitimacy. In other words, states are now considered to be legitimate to the extent they recognize and protect human rights. As a matter of fact, the protection of states’ rights to sovereignty cannot hold its ground against human rights, thus no state can have recourse to the ‘non-intervention in domestic affairs’ discourse in the face of violations within that state’s borders. The judiciary is the most important mechanism that will check the compliance of government policies and practices with the law and protect citizens’ rights and freedoms. This is why all acts and transactions of the administration need to be subject to judicial review in a state where rule of law prevails. In short, the judiciary is the one and only power that will put the principle of the rule of law into practice. In order for the judiciary to serve that function, that is, to protect human rights, it is indispensable that constitutional and legal arrangements be compatible with human rights law. Put differently, implementing the principle of rule of law necessitates that the law should, instead of siding with the state, have an autonomous standing vis-à-vis the state. The law must maintain equal distance to the state and the citizen. Otherwise, it will not be able to serve its arbitral function between the two sides, and as a result, its legitimacy becomes contested. Considering Turkey in this light, one sees that the legal framework has adopted the ideology of creating a homogenous society and a modern nation, instead of securing all individuals’ rights. Founded as a modern state upon the remnants of the multi-religious, multilingual, and multiethnic Ottoman Empire, the Turkish Republic decided that it would not be possible for it to realize the plans to construct the new nation without denying room to the distinct identities. In line with the secularist and nationalist policies pursued as an outgrowth of this approach, the legal framework underwent a complete overhaul. It has become widely accepted today that Kurds were one of the primary targets of these policies. As a matter of fact, in addition to general legal and constitutional amendments necessary for a Turkey committed to human rights and the rule of law, a number of particular arrangements are also required for a lasting and democratic solution to the Kurdish Question. Constituting the main focus of this report, these arrangements can be broken down into two groups: constitutional and legal. Although the constitutional articles and legal provisions examined in detail and the regulations and statutes which occupy lesser space in the report might appear to have a general character and do not include the words “Kurd” or “Kurdish”, they are essentially instruments aiming to restrict Kurds’ fundamental rights and freedoms and practically causing indirect discrimination against the Kurds. It goes without saying that several administrative measures that do not necessitate any particular legal arrangements must also be taken to solve the Kurdish Question. Discussed as part of the debates on the ‘democratic initiative’, some of these measures include the restitution of names in Kurdish and other languages to places plastered with Turkish names, removal of nationalist slogans etched by the state onto mountain slopes in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern region, changing the militarist names given to schools in the same region, and appointment of Kurdish-speaking public servants in the region to facilitate the use of Kurdish language in accessing public services. Though they are outside the scope of this report, these administrative steps and similar others need to be negotiated upon with Kurdish political representatives and opinion leaders and put in practice soon.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Law, Constitution, Legislation, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Kurdistan
  • Author: Dilek Kurban, Konstantinos Tsitselikis
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: This report aims to analyze the implications of reciprocity policies on the day-to-day lives of Muslim and non-Muslim minorities in Greece and Turkey, specifically their impact on the community foundations2 belonging to these minorities. With a specific focus on the property and self-management issues of Muslim and non-Muslim community foundations in Greece and Turkey, the report will try to situate the issue in its historical context and trace the evolution of the ‘community foundation issue’ from Lausanne to the present day. Drawing similarities and differences between the laws, policies, and practices of Greek and Turkish states vis-à-vis their minority foundations, the report will critically assess the progress made to this day as well as identify the outstanding issues. In the hope of contributing to efforts to develop a democratic, sustainable, and just resolution of the problems facing community foundations, the report will propose policy solutions to the governments of Turkey and Greece.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Treaties and Agreements, Law, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Greece
  • Author: Annalise Moser
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)
  • Abstract: When in March 2000, the Security Council expressed for the first time in its history the conceptual acceptance that peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men and affirmed that the equal access and full participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts for peace and security, the international community was charged with expectation. It was welcomed by one and all with considerable enthusiasm hoping that there would be progress in paying attention and respect to the unrecognized, under-utilized and under-valued contribution by women to preventing war and to building peace. During ten years since its adoption, we have seen a tremendous enthusiasm among civil society at all levels in raising awareness, engaging in advocacy and building capacity for the meaningful implementation of 1325. The present Civil Society Monitoring Report by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and its partners being launched on the occasion of the 1325 tenth anniversary is a remarkable example of such a civil society engagement.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Gender Issues, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Women, Peace, WPS
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Albright, Andrea Stricker
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute for Science and International Security
  • Abstract: Adoption of a consensus final document action plan at the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference on May 28 was a significant achievement for the parties to the NPT. It is a particular achievement for the United States, which fought hard for consensus against great odds. Success was even more important because the last review conference in 2005 ended in acrimony and without a final document. The document demonstrates and reinforces international commitment to the global nonproliferation and disarmament agenda. The parties to the NPT have agreed to implement a set of specific actions that cover a wide variety of areas in support of the three pillars of the NPT: nonproliferation, disarmament, and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. These actions are measurable and will provide accountability at the next review conference. The unfortunate news is that the document does not substantially strengthen the nonproliferation pillar of the Treaty, the more urgent priority with regard to the three pillars in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The conference was unsuccessful in significantly advancing support for universal application of the Model Additional Protocol, dealing with noncompliant states such as Iran, addressing withdrawal while a state is noncompliant, and preventing illicit nuclear trade in the wherewithal to make nuclear weapons.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Commissioned by the Open Society Foundations Central Eurasia Project, U.S. Military Aid to Central Asia, 1999-2009: Security Priorities Trump Human Rights and Diplomacy analyzes U.S. military and police aid to Central Asian countries pre- and post-9/11. The research shows that the Pentagon established many new military and assistance programs, and that such programs contain six times the funds that are earmarked for the promotion of rule of law, democratic governance, and respect for human rights. The paper's findings suggest that the U.S. military has acquired an oversized impact on U.S. foreign policy toward Central Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: Central Eurasia
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Rising migration into Europe is now the largest factor of population growth among most EU member states. This trend is manifested in the area of education, where pupils of migrant origin comprise up to half or more of the total number of students in some schools. In these very diverse student bodies, there are higher-than-average rates of academic underachievement and early dropout, which are directly linked to problems of social marginalization, failure to integrate, and future unemployment. The education of migrant children and youth is, therefore, now viewed not only as an economic issue, but also most importantly as a political and human rights issue. As a result, education has become a key instrument in long-term integration and social inclusion strategies, and consequently a key policy area for the EU. This guide is intended as a tool for better understanding EU policies, responsibilities, and funding mechanisms related to the education of migrant children and youth within existing EU agendas on human rights, equal treatment, antidiscrimination, integration, social inclusion, and education and training.
  • Topic: Education, Children, European Union, Youth, Unemployment, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Third in a series prepared by the Open Society Georgia Foundation, this report assesses implementation of the EU-Georgia Action Plan by experts from Georgian nongovernmental organizations. The report identifies and analyzes the problems that hampered the implementation of Georgia's international obligations in 2008-2009 in the following areas: development of a free institutional environment for the efficient functioning of media organizations; measures to improve the business and investment climate, stimulate economic growth, reduce poverty, ensure social equality, facilitate sustainable development, and harmonize economic legislation and administrative regulations; reinforcement of parliamentary oversight as a way to establish good management practices in the field of national security and defence and implement democratic control of armed forces, and expansion of EU-Georgia cooperation in battling common challenges.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Regional Integration, Regional Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: "A Timeline of U.S. Military Aid Cooperation with Uzbekistan" tracks U.S.-Uzbek military cooperation from July 1994 to January 2010. Published by the Open Society Foundations, the paper serves as an appendix to the first paper in this series, "U.S. Military Aid to Central Asia 1999-2009: Security Priorities Trump Human Rights and Diplomacy."
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Uzbekistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This report from the Open Society Foundations highlights the erosion of Afghan confidence in international forces due to civilian casualties, wrongful and abusive detention operations, deteriorating security, and a lack of accountability. This distrust reflects a growing divide between the perceptions of the Western public and policymakers and those of Afghan citizens about the intentions and accomplishments of international forces in Afghanistan. The Trust Deficit: The Impact of Local Perceptions on Policy in Afghanistan recommends that the international community urgently address the underlying policies that are feeding these negative perceptions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, International Security, Military Affairs, Military Intervention, War on Terror, Civilians, Casualties
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: This Open Society Foundations report assesses Uganda's level of preparedness to hold elections in February 2011 and makes recommendations for electoral reform ahead of the elections, if 2011 polls are to be credible. It highlights the disconnect between Uganda's legal framework in theory and that of its implementation in reality, and points to a level playing field in Ugandan politics.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Election watch, Domestic Policy, Polls
  • Political Geography: Uganda
  • Author: Melissa Conley Tyler
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) was established over 75 years ago to promote public understanding and interest in international affairs. In recent years the AIIA has been increasingly active in promoting its activities to younger members of the community. The AIIA has launched a variety of initiatives to involve young people including ACCESS Youth Networks, careers fairs, schools events and the Young Diplomat Program. This has helped the AIIA reach its present strength of more than 1600 members across seven State and Territory Branches.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The aim of this report is to assess the extent of transformation of criminal justice in Moldova almost two decades after independence, and to uncover to what extent the Moldovan criminal justice system still exhibits the characteristics of a repressive state. Criminal Justice Performance from a Human Rights Perspective seeks to determine to what extent the objectives of the criminal justice system are understood and embraced by the criminal justice officials, and to what extent democratic and human rights protections are complied with in practice. The report seeks to understand public attitudes in relation to the criminal justice system and what this means for further reform of the criminal justice system. It also makes recommendations towards the further transformation of the Moldovan criminal justice system.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Democracy, Criminal Justice, Legal Sector
  • Political Geography: Moldova