Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro is well known for insults against indigenous people. | Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR | CC BY 2.0

Indigenous Peoples’ experiences: Some observations about the new political era in Latin America

In the last five years, Latin America has entered a new political era with indigenous peoples at the center of these changes. The new governments in the region are promoting revisionist policies regarding past state violence and implementing new policies of indigenous dispossession. However, the observable trend denying indigenous peoples their basic rights, and their participation on issues affecting them, is not only an issue of minority politics, it also draws broader fundamental civil rights and liberties into question.

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The Chernobyl nuclear power plant sarcophagus | Photo: Petr Pavlicek/IAEA via Wikimedia

Chernobyl’s Fallout, Beyond Radiation

“What’s it like, radiation? Maybe they show it in the movies? Have you seen it? Is it white, or what? Some people say it has no color and no smell, and other people say that it’s black. Like earth. But if it’s colorless, then it’s like God. God is everywhere, but you can’t see Him.” Like so many others affected by the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the interviewee in Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, struggled to grasp how something too small to be perceived by our senses could have such an enormous effect on human affairs.

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The concept of territorial peace by the Santos government does not have much to offer to the informal settlement La Primavera | Photo: Max Baum

Territorial peace in Colombia: Not just a rural issue

Within the framework of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the guerrilla organization FARC-EP, which culminated in a historic peace agreement at the end of 2016, the territorial dimension of the violent conflict was conceptualized as a central problem for the first time. Since then, in Colombia, there has been talk about the challenge of establishing a territorial peace. The basic idea is that peace should be built from below, in concrete local spaces, in participatory processes. In this respect, the concept of territorial peace raises several questions. This article discusses a central blind spot: the importance of metropolitan areas in which numerous victims of the conflict can be identified and which have so far received little attention in the discussion about territorial peace.

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Chamber of the Security Council in the main building of the United Nations in New York (Photo: Xander Heinl/photothek.de)

Germany on the UN Security Council: Arria-formula meetings as a tool for crisis management and conflict prevention

Conflict resolution and crisis prevention are two main objectives of German foreign policy. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2019–20, Germany put these topics at the top of its agenda. An informal and flexible meeting format – Arria-formula meetings – can serve as a tool for achieving these goals. Germany should use this format more frequently in addressing impending crises and conflicts in which the Council is blocked, as well as to strengthen cooperation with countries and actors of the Global South.

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South Africa’s newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s first gender equal cabinet.
South Africa’s newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s first gender equal cabinet. | Photo: GovernmentZA | CC BY-ND 2.0

South Africa’s First Gender Representative Government: A New Dawn for Gender Justice?

Late on Wednesday night, South Africa’s newly (re-)elected president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the first ever gender equal cabinet of the country. As a part of his commitment for a “new dawn” for South Africa, Ramaphosa’s cabinet was selected after a thorough, not seen before consultation process. Welcomed from various corners of the country, the new government unsurprisingly drew criticism from main opposition parties. The gender representative cabinet is an important sign towards more serious political efforts to transform the country’s intense gender based inequality. However, given the male dominated networks of the political landscape, the struggle for gender equality in government and society is far from over.

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Health care in danger | Photo: European Parliament | CC BY ND 2.0

How Germany advocates for the protection of aid workers in the Security Council

Germany has made the facilitation of humanitarian aid to one of its headline goals for its 2-year seat on the UN Security Council from 2019-2020, and a main theme for its shared Security Council Presidency with France in March and April this year. With this move, Germany decidedly contributed to make the delivery of relief to suffering populations an issue of ‘high politics’. It gives humanitarian aid the salience it deserves, given the rising need of people in humanitarian crises, as well as the constant violation of humanitarian law. Germany in particular focuses on protecting aid workers by promoting the humanitarian principles. However, this approach is insufficient and contradicted by other international humanitarian aid policies.

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In February 2009, ten thousand protestors gathered in Antananarivo, Madagascar | Photo: © dpa

Whose Charter? How civil society makes (no) use of the African Democracy Charter

In 2007, African Heads of State and Government adopted the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This regional instrument was supposed to “promote the universal values and principles of democracy.” Yet has it had such an effect? With this PRIF Spotlight I shed light on two country cases – Madagascar and Burkina Faso – in which the Charter was (not) used by civil society organizations in their struggle for better democratic governance. If the Charter is to become an effective instrument in the hands of civil society in the future, the African Union will have to invest more in its popularization and active promotion.

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Nils Schmid and Vera Rogova at the Schlangenbad Talks 2018 | Photo: Olga Gladushevskaya
Nils Schmid and Vera Rogova at the Schlangenbad Talks 2019 | Photo: Olga Gladushevskaya

“It is not enough to diagnose a crisis – we also have to actively deal with it.” An interview with Nils Schmid

A crisis or even the end of the liberal, multilateral world order is a frequently-heard diagnosis these days. In her interview with Nils Schmid, Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Vera Rogova asks about possible coping strategies, Chinese and Russian influence and Germany’s current and future role in international politics.

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Preperations for the 1945 San Franisco Conference, a milestone for the current world order
Preperations for the 1945 San Franisco Conference, a milestone for the current world order | Photo: UN Photo | CC BY NC ND 2.0

“Recalibrating European security”?: A reply

Hans-Joachim Spanger rightly points to the main challenges to European security emphasizing that new challenges could only be adequately addressed against the backdrop of the global political changes of the last ten to twenty years. He makes a worrying diagnosis of the current state of European security, and provides some practical recommendations for improving the situation. However, we should not give up upon the existing order with its liberal norms and principles so quickly as this would strengthen those actors that seek to undermine it.

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