With the emergence of the G5 Sahel cooperation and the creation of a distinct military force – the G5 Sahel Joint Force – military cooperation of the EU in the Sahel has gained new weight. The visit of German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, to the region last week together with recent high-level meetings of the G5-Sahel General Secretary, Maman Sambo Sidikou, and Burkina Faso’s President, Roch M. Kaboré, with the German Government highlight this development. The EU, including Germany and France, are key partners to support security and development in the Sahel. However, current developments in combat zones demonstrate the risk of the operating forces to further fuel conflict and accelerate human rights abuses.
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.
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.
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?
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
The three day surprise and the unprecedented Eid-al-Fitar  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.