Enduring civilisation, enduring empire?

The "Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation" exhibition at the British Museum leads to the overarching question of who is authorised and best equipped to tell the story of the artefacts displayed, and on whose terms.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Enduring civilisation, enduring empire?

The "Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation" exhibition at the British Museum leads to the overarching question of who is authorised and best equipped to tell the story of the artefacts displayed, and on whose terms.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

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It's time for feminists to Get In, not Lean In.

The practice of patriarchy as a form of social governance has brought us to the brink of a planet crisis. The current model is bankrupt. In the run up to the UK general election in 2015, Finn Mackay urges feminists to engage in all forms of political participation.

A safe space to reclaim ‘normal’

When a distorted ‘normal’ oppresses our daily lives and experiences, Ché Ramsden says that feminist conferences like Feminism in London 2014 are not only useful for education and discussion, planning and strengthening activism, but are excellent forms of respite from mainstream misogyny.

Interrupting the implacable: fighting the Detained Fast Track

The UK Court of Appeal will hear an appeal this week over the lawfulness of automatically detaining asylum seekers while their appeals are heard. The era of expansion of this practice is already over and further change is likely. 

Avoidable injustices: the way to prevent violence against women

We want to end violence against women, but is it really preventable? New research from Uganda adds scientific muscle to the political argument that we can, if we transform the gender power relations that sustain it.

Missing and murdered: Am I next?

Canada offers its Indigenous women a quality of life degraded by disproportionate danger, fear, and aggression. As a country we must hold ourselves accountable for this caustic legacy of colonialism.

The Fall: extreme violence as a distorted mirror of post-conflict Belfast

The most watched drama on the BBC for 20 years,The Fall, is about a serial killer in Belfast who murders and 'poses' his women victims in the nude. Is the violence gratuitous, or does it capture the current post-conflict mood and mindset of Belfast?

Claiming rights, facing fire: young feminist activists

The increased violence against young women human rights defenders needs to be matched by funders prepared to respond more directly to the priorities identified by young people. Ruby Johnson says shifting the framework of how funders work with young people is essential.

Confronting Ebola in Liberia: the gendered realities

In Liberia 75% of those who have been infected or killed from Ebola are women. Last month, a rapid assessment and gender analysis of the outbreak concluded that a gendered perspective on prevention, care, and post admission care is imperative.

Helping the Other: particular experiences, universal outlooks

London’s synagogues have set up drop-in centres for destitute asylum seekers and human rights groups are campaigning to end immigration detention. Shauna Leven and Sam Grant explore how the British Jewish community uses its particular history to motivate its work with migrants in 2014. 

How we treat children in the UK: the dark side of our soul

If the Conservatives' plans to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights are implemented, the fundamental right to a fair trial would be demolished, and the duty to act in the best interest of the child may well be eroded.

UK: indifference to ending discrimination against women

More than 30 years years after the British Government signed up to the Convention to Eliminate all Forms of Discrimination against Women the CEDAW Committee responsible for monitoring its implementation has censured the UK for its poor record, and failure to mitigate the impact of austerity measures on women.

'Shariafication by stealth' in the UK

Access to justice is being denied in the UK in the shadow of neoliberalism and religious fundamentalism. Minority women are being denied the right to participate in the wider political community as citizens rather than subjects.

Northern Ireland: a transformative strategy for women, peace and security

Moving beyond the paralysing difference of opinion about whether the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland constituted an armed conflict, women peacebuilders have produced a strategic guide which places international women, peace and security goals in a domestic framework for action.

Animals or slaves? Memories of a migrant detention centre

One man tells of his experience of being incarcerated in the UK for three years for being a migrant, and why the memories of violence and conflict in Brook House – where he attempted suicide – will never leave him.

Being Malala

Recipients of humanitarian awards often invite controversy. In Pakistan, religious and political identities are valued more than the contributions of such recipients. Malala Yousafzai may have the Nobel Peace Prize, but she remains the target of criticism from Pakistani conservatives and also many 'progressives'.

A police cell is no place for the young and vulnerable

Self-inflicted deaths in custody are at a ten-year high in the UK. Many of those who kill themselves have been locked in police cells because no alternatives are available. Campaigners welcome a new government initiative but say it needs much better funding. 

Secularism at risk in Sub-Saharan secular states: the challenges for Senegal and Mali

Secularism is being challenged in several Sub-Saharan African states which have long guarded it as a principle of governance. Its preservation is important for the protection of women's citizen rights from religious interventions. In French.

La laïcité à l’épreuve dans les États laïques d’Afrique au Sud du Sahara : Les défis pour le Sénégal et le Mali

La laïcité est mise à l’épreuve dans plusieurs États d’Afrique subsaharienne qui l’ont gardé comme principe de gouvernance. Or sa préservation est importante pour les femmes, car elle permet de protéger leurs droits citoyens de toute intervention religieuse qui n’a jamais été aussi conservatrice et liée à la ‘droitisation’ complice du politique.

Power and solidarity at the grassroots

In an age of professionalization, both of politicians and of activists, the journey of self-taught politicization of the Focus E15 mothers is a remarkable one – and an example of genuine, grass-roots politics in Britain. 

Redecorate, repopulate: what next for the E15 mums?

A group of young mothers have petitioned local government and occupied abandoned homes in Newham, London, calling for ‘social housing not social cleansing’. Here they discuss the growing movement to combat the housing crisis and prevent evictions.

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

The Secularism Conference taking place in London this weekend is a chance to hear activists who are transforming human rights. As western academics teach that secularism has had its day, many activists from the global south consider that it is vital to oppose the religious right.

Human trafficking: from outrage to action

If we are to have any chance of addressing trafficking, we should work towards the elimination of labour recruitment fees; advocate for a global minimum wage; and look at ways of criminalizing the knowing or reckless use of the services of a victim of trafficking.

Immigration detention in the media: anarchy and ambivalence

Alongside calls for the reduction or ending of immigration detention, we must demand more balanced coverage from our media. Melanie Griffiths reports on two decades of ‘riots’ and fires inside Campsfield which is on track to become one of the biggest detention centres in Europe.

The common factor: sexual violence and the Egyptian state, 2011-2014

We must conceptualise the epidemic levels of sexual violence in post-revolutionary Egypt at least partly as “state violence”, and resist the state’s attempt to selectively appropriate women’s rights. Every post-revolutionary Egyptian regime has the blood of women on its hands.

Conscientious objection: Virginia Woolf's ideas live on

In her 1938 essay Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf defined patriarchy, militarism and nationalism as sources of war. Marta Correia explores how Women in Black Belgrade are acting out Woolf's call to 'disobedience' - and paying a price.

Assata Shakur: on race and racism

Tales from black revolutionaries are vital in contextualising what has come before, and how it informs the present.  Reni Eddo-Lodge reviews Assata Sahkur's autobiography and argues that her hindsight and observations are vital in a society that’s still stuck on how to live together.

Promoting the global secular alternative in the ISIS era

While many of us watch in horror as ISIS advances, and fundamentalist ideas spread across religious traditions around the world, Maryam Namazie and Marieme Hélie-Lucas - secular feminists from Iran and Algeria - told Karima Bennoune why they are convening the International Secular Conference in London.

Migrant vs non-migrant: two tier policing

Growing police engagement in immigration enforcement distorts people’s rights, fosters mistrust and does the police a huge disservice. But the blurred lines that are emerging in London's communities are just part of a more general criminalisation of migrants.

Feminism and men: time to stop making excuses

Emma Watson has launched the UN’s ‘He for She’ campaign with a fiery speech calling on men to take action against violence and discrimination against women. Nikki van der Gaag charts the growing movement of men for gender equality.

Abortion rights: victory for women in Spain

As the political analysts get into their stride over the Spanish Government's decision to back down over mediaeval reforms to the current abortion law, citing everything from conspiracy theories to a feminist victory, the Catholic Church has taken a beating and is busy churning out hate messages.

Breaking the gridlock of climate change negotiations: learning from allies

An empowered civil society is itself an enforcement mechanism of human rights, transforming the human rights system from a legalistic framework into a powerful tool for social change. The climate justice movement is well placed to make use of this tool, and women are well positioned to lead.

Your fatwa does not apply here

Karima Bennoune has won the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction with her book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. She spoke to Deniz Kandiyoti last year about the path that led her to collect these stories. 

A once in a lifetime chance to protect the world's girls

Every day, we see more headlines documenting the severe rights abuses girls suffer. The primary cause of death for girls age 15-19 is now suicide. As UN leaders open the debate on the next frontier of global development, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect the human rights of girls.

Climate and Indigenous Peoples: the real dispute at the UN

With both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit underway at the UN, far more important than official declarations will be who is allowed to speak and to be heard. Whose voice matters in this clash of worldviews.

The UN should not let Sudan get away with murder

When the UN Human Rights Council meets this week to discuss the human rights situation in Sudan, will member states condemn the targeted attacks on civilians and mass forced displacement caused by Sudanese forces? Or will they keep sending a strong signal that Sudan can, and will, continue to get away with murder?

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