Nigerian Elections 2015: INEC staff in Abuja
Nigerian Elections 2015: INEC staff in Abuja | Photo: IIP Photo Archive | CC BY NC 2.0

Security Challenges to the 2019 Election in Nigeria

The upcoming general election in Nigeria might not be of intrinsic interest for most citizens. Despite a good track record of many peaceful transitions of power through elections, there are concerns about the security situation. This affects not only the general level of security in the country, but also the election process itself and the role of incumbent government officials trying to influence the process in their favor.

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ELN guerrilla poster, National University of Colombia
ELN guerrilla poster, National University of Colombia | Photo: Julián Ortega Martínez | CC BY SA 2.0

War returns to Colombia

On January 17, the National Liberation Army (ELN) attacked the General Santander Police Academy in Bogota, resulting in 21 deaths and more than 70 wounded. Beyond the sheer number of victims, the attack is notable because it targeted a well-protected facility in the heart of the Colombian capital. In the wake of the attack, the government definitively ended the faltering peace negotiations with the ELN in Cuba.

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A minke whale in the antarctica
A minke whale in the antarctica | Photo: ravas51 | CC BY SA 2.0

Is the commercial whaling ban in danger? Japan’s withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission

After decades of whaling under an exemption for scientific research, Japan withdrew from the International Whaling Commission last month, formally resuming commercial whaling. What effects will this have on the commission, and the international ban on commercial whaling in general? While the ban has been weakened over the past decades, the recent withdrawal does not necessarily sound the death knell. Rather, it could also mean the end of decades of deadlock in the commission. More broadly, the Japanese exit raises questions of dealing with international challenges through inclusive institutions and commissions – Should inclusivity be pursued at any cost, or can it be productive to proceed on different tracks?

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Rodrigo Duerte
Rodrigo Duerte | Photo: Prachatai | CC BY-ND 2.0

Populism, executive assertiveness and popular support for strongman-democracy in the Philippines

Populists are supposed to thrive on their ability to mirror, condense and radicalize popular demands ignored by establishment politicians. This sketch on the election-promises and later policies of Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte suggests that their success is less dependent on any pre-existing radical popular demands, but on their authenticity as leaders who get things done […]

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Incarceration
Incarceration | Photo: graphik_h | Free use

Land of the Free and Incarcerated: Mass Incarceration of People of Color in the US

Over 2 million people are currently locked up either in a US jail or prison. When also including people on parole and probation this number shoots up to a staggering 6.84 million. To put this into perspective, the US population makes up only 5 percent of the world´s population but holds 25 percent of the global inmate population – no other country in the world puts this many people behind bars. Furthermore, it is disproportionately the black population that is locked into the system of mass incarceration. Examining the issue of black mass incarceration in more detail, a strong argument can be made that this system maintains and perpetuates a racialized social order severely marginalizing people of color.

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He will not divide us.
He will not divide us. | Photo: Alisdare Hickson | CC BY SA 2.0

“Othering” Across and Beyond the Pond

We should be aware of “othering” as a phenomenon increasingly influencing the way we think and talk about the transatlantic relationship. We need to ensure that mechanisms of “othering”—so convenient to us and so skillfully employed by populist actors—do not unduly distort and amplify the existing differences that we need to work out.

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Der Hauptsitz der FAO in Rom
Der Hauptsitz der FAO in Rom | Photo: Carolin Anthes, HSFK

Mainstreaming The Human Right To Food Within The Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations: The Rise And Decline Of An Agenda For Change

The international community has committed to achieve zero hunger by 2030. This year’s World Food Day message by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) rightly reminds us: “Our actions are our future!”-“A #ZeroHunger world by 2030 is possible.” At the same time, the latest assessments on global food and nutrition insecurity point to an aggravated situation for hunger, with currently around 821 million suffering from severe hunger, demonstrating a structural rather than temporary challenge.

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"Paint Your Voice" Event in Colombia
"Paint Your Voice" Event in Colombia | Photo: United Nations Photo | CC BY NC ND 2.0

Reducing the gender gap in the Colombian peace implementation: the participation of homemakers in the local peacebuilding

The peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been considered as one of the most inclusive peace agreements. However, in comparison to men, women are engaging less in participatory peace implementation mechanisms, such as community meetings that identify needs and projects to develop conflict-affected regions. An analysis of survey data reveals that not all women, but particularly those that self-identify as homemakers, tend to participate less in civic organizations that promote engagement in community meetings.

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Is there a chance for peace in Afghanistan? | Photo: ResoluteSupportMedia | CC BY 2.0

After the Afghan Eid Truce, Is There a Path for Peace?

The three day surprise and the unprecedented Eid-al-Fitar [1] truce (15-17 June, 2018) between the Afghan government and the Taliban was welcomed locally and internationally. The truce was offered by the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the condemnation of extremism and violence by religious scholars and clerics in Jakarta and Kabul. It was for the first time in the last 17 years that Afghans have celebrated the occasion with joy and without fears of war and violence. The Taliban fighters without fright of arrest or detention entered the cities, villages and towns to offer Eid-Prayers and met their fellow countrymen and family members. The internet and local media have captured scenes of Afghan soldiers and Taliban fighters embracing each other. The truce was welcomed with the hope that this might be the first important step towards a long enduring path of peace in the country.

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Stimmzettel der Wahlen 2018 | Photo: Hedda Gabler | CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New Alliances and Old Traditions in Turkish Politics

For the first time in Turkey, political parties were allowed to build electoral alliances for parliamentary elections, and curious alliances did enter the political stage. Especially the “Nation Alliance” (Millet İttifakı) which was initiated by the centre-left main apposition CHP, the nationalist IYI Party and the small religious party SP constitute an interesting case. This ideologically hybrid alliance aimed to attract different segments of the society in order to overcome the AKP’s majority in parliament. The Nation Alliance, however, won only 33,94% whereas the so called “People’s Alliance (Cumhur İttifakı)” composed of the AKP and the MHP gained 53,66%. This contribution to the blog aims to analyse whether there is more behind the Nation Alliance than short-term election tactics.

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