Protesters in front of the White House, dressed in red with black hoods over their heads holding a sign that reads: "Free the Uighurs". Another protester to the right holds a sign that reads "Shut down Guantanamo"
Activists protest in front of the White House against Chinese treatment of the Uyghur population. | Photo: Daniel Lobo via flickr | CC BY 2.0

The Xinjiang Police Files and the Visit of the UN High Commissioner: Will This Open Up New Opportunities?

The treatment of the Uyghur population  by the CCP has been an ongoing concern for the last 5 years. Over this time information has leaked from government and security sources which indicates that grave human rights violations and potentially even crimes against humanity have been committed. The UN High Commissioner has recently visited China and the Xinjiang region and in this context the newest significant trove of information was released, showing once more the human rights abuses. Yet it is unlikely that any multilateral action will be taken, outside of diplomatic efforts. As there are few avenues to address these human rights violations in international law, the more diplomatic approach that can be seen in the visit of the High Commissioner should be supported.


Protestors in Tyre/Sour, Southern Lebanon, cheering to a female singer during nonsectarian demonstrations against government corruption and austerity measures that started across the country on October 17th, 2019.
European institutions and organizations active in Lebanon should intensify political cooperation with reformist MPs. | Photo: RomanDeckert via wikimedia commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Reformist MPs Deny Hezbollah Majority in Lebanese Parliament – Prospects for Lebanon after the Elections

The results of the Lebanese parliamentary elections on May 17 showed a decrease in the number of seats claimed by Hezbollah and its supporters, and increases favoring the non-partisan reformist candidates supporting the October 17 protests of 2019. These developments reflect the growing will for change towards a democratic civil society in Lebanon, but they do not come without significant challenges. This blog examines the results of the Lebanese parliamentary elections and discusses the political difficulties in the coming phase; arguing that, given the risks of a power vacuum, the best possibility of democratic states is to support reformist representatives.


Mural of woman and man in black and white with wavy shapes.
Feminist approaches support a rethinking of power relations. | Photo: Asimina Nteliou via pixabay

Feminist Research Perspectives in Peace and Conflict Studies and Consultancy Work

Feminist approaches in peace and conflict studies have been neglected for a long time – but they are currently on the rise. Interestingly, a similar trend may be observed in the practice of peacebuilding. While researchers and consultants base their approaches on similar reflections, their challenges with regard to the implementation of feminist approaches are not quite the same. In this discussion, Samantha Ruppel, feminist researcher at the PRIF, and Alena Sander, a feminist freelance consultant, discuss these differences, and emphasize common goals and opportunities of the feminist approach in peace research and practice.


The picture shows Putin and Lukashenko in the Kremlin monitoring military exercises.
Putin and Lukashenko in the Kremlin monitoring military exercises. | Photo: | CC BY 4.0

How the West Can Avoid the Point of No Return

Fears of a Russian nuclear attack following Putin’s memorable February 24, 2022 declaration of war against Ukraine have fuelled a renaissance of nuclear deterrence and calls for nuclear armament in Europe. Many believe that Russia’s war of aggression was possible because Ukraine had renounced nuclear weapons and deterrence. Consequently, it is argued, nuclear sharing in NATO must now be strengthened and the readiness of nuclear forces in Germany be increased.


People holding signs saying "Russians Against War"
It is in Western countries’ long-term interest to invite Russians to experience other narratives than those distributed by the Kremlin. | Photo: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona | Unsplash License

The Battle for Minds and Hearts of Russians and the Double-sided Effect of Sanctions

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine Western countries have imposed devastating sanctions on Russia. This blog argues that the current sanctions-regime help boost Kremlin-propaganda, ultimately diminishing the possibility that sanctions will procure a popular uprising or help stop the war. Western states and private organisations must avoid cultural and academic sanctions against Russians and explore ways of helping and influencing Russian civil society while comprehensive sanctions against Kremlin-linked entities are in place.


Picture shows Bongbong Marcos on motorcade with supporters
Team Unity leads amongst all groups irrespective of age, education, social or economic status. | Photo: Patrickroque01/wikimedia commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Elections in the Philippines: A Vote for Continuity?

In a few days, on May 9, 2022, the Philippines will elect the successor of outgoing President Duterte. The most likely candidate to become the new president of the Philippines is Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The vice-presidency will most probably go the daughter of the current president, Sara Duterte-Carpio, whose father is responsible for the brutal drug war of recent years. How did this happen, and what does it say about the state of democracy in the Philippines?


Image shows posters in the 2022 French presidential election. Title: "The Poetry of Empty Promises" by Caratello via flickr.
Le Pen and Zemmour have managed to place far-right subjects at the heart of public debate. | Photo: Caratello/Flickr | CC BY NC-ND-2.0

Maghreb policies of Marine Le Pen vs Eric Zemmour: the victory of the „normalized“ far right?

As the first turn of the French presidential election on April 10th comes closer, two far-right candidates have drawn all the attention: Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour. This article argues that their approach toward French-speaking Maghreb countries (Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco) is symptomatic of the difference between a “normalized” and an always more radical far right: while Le Pen seeks to position herself as a serious and pragmatic international partner, Eric Zemmour risks credibility by focusing on resentment about the Algerian war of independence and on the “decline of French” civilization caused by the “migrative invasion” from Muslim North-Africans.


Image shows the Second Peace Conference at The Hague in 1907.
The core of the law of neutrality was established in the Hague Convention of 1907 | Photo: CC BY 3.0

Assistance to Ukraine: Moving away from the neutrality paradigm

The Ukrainian government has requested other states to provide military material, which Germany and other states have acted on. Russia asserts that states making such deliveries are involving themselves in the conflict and would regard such deliveries as military targets and treat them accordingly. Targeting vessels carrying such deliveries is using force against the state sending these materials, which is not allowed unless a state becomes a party to the conflict. Consequently, it is important to determine when a state is no longer neutral and what the difference is between not being neutral and becoming a party to the conflict.


Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security.
Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on threats to international peace and security. | Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Russian allegations of biological weapons activities in Ukraine

Russia has accused Ukraine of working on biological weapons, with the support of and the United States and Germany of providing support. These allegations are unfounded. There are no indications of such activities, which would be prohibited by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Germany, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States are BWC states parties. NATO and Western countries have voiced concerns that Russia may use these allegations as pretext to employ chemical weapons in the war against Ukraine.


Afghan women leaders speak at the UN: “Give us a seat at the table.”
It is obligatory to not forget Afghan women and their families. | Photo: UN Women/ Amanda Voisard | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Acting upon Afghan women’s appeals to inclusive peace

After twenty years of “war on terror” the Taliban took power in Afghanistan on August 15th, 2021, following a hasty U.S. troop withdrawal and a chaotic evacuation. This raises multiple questions and concerns. Retrospectively, it questions the reasonableness and benefit of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, as well as the political peace process that culminated in the Doha agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban in February 2020. In terms of future developments, it also raises concerns about the maintenance of socio-cultural gains as well as human rights in general – and women’s rights in particular.