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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Hugh Brody is a renowned scholar, filmmaker, and advocate of the integrity of indigenous and hunter-gatherer societies. Here, he tells the stories of people seeking to reclaim their land.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe.

One year on from the 'Go Home vans' flop: has the Home Office learned anything?

The UK government seems immune to criticism of its hostile approach to immigration, but the decision to return home for any migrant is not a simple one. Rather than obscuring evidence, the government must be transparent about what really constitutes a solution.

UK Detention Inquiry: a step in the right direction

A parliamentary inquiry, launched today, will hear from people directly affected by immigration detention. Will the mass incarceration of migrants finally be recognised as a political concern worthy of public scrutiny and debate, asks Eiri Ohtani.

Live from Lampedusa: The Freedom of Movement

Nicholas De Genova introduces The Charter of Lampedusa.

Belonging in Northern Ireland: portraits of the individual migrant

A new art project is challenging Belfast’s reputation as the ‘race hate capital of the UK’, revealing an important gap between the presentation of migrants as a political category and their own experience and identities, says Sonia Banaszczyk.

Journeys of great uncertainty

Asylum seekers arriving in the UK are dispersed to make their own way to major cities in remote regions to be interviewed by the Home Office. Most arrive disorientated and harassed before a long interview that will determine their future. Acts of hospitality are lifelines in this hostile system.

Refugee women in the UK: fighting back from behind bars

The experience of female asylum seekers is distinct to their gender, particularly when survivors of rape and torture, perpetrated by male state officials, are imprisoned and guarded by men here in the UK. Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi reports on the campaign to set them free.

Black, male, care leaver, seeking asylum: access to higher education in Britain

Despite their determination and aspiration, many young asylum seekers are being barred from higher education by multiple discriminations. The current inquiry on Race and Higher Education must recognise this fact.  

20 years of arbitrary detention in Britain

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Campsfield, the immigration removal centre which heralded a mass expansion of detention and opened the door for profit in immigration control in Britain. Yet outside the prison and within, there are voices of dissent, says Bill MacKeith.

UK immigration control: children in extreme distress

Alarming numbers of parents are being separated from their children indefinitely in the UK for the purposes of immigration control. It is difficult to imagine any other situation where children could have such scant attention paid to their welfare, says Sarah Campbell. 

Botswana, the Bushmen/San, and HIV/Aids

The catastrophic HIV/Aids pandemic in southern Africa threatens even its most vigorous economy, Botswana. But it is displacement and dispossession that create the greatest vulnerability to HIV. And it may be that rights to land and a people's level of confidence in their own identity are a central means of protection against ravaging illness. Is this what we can learn from the Botswana margins?

The absence of war

Even in remote areas of Namibia and Botswana, and in the Inuit region of Nunavut in Canada, the distant Iraq war enters social discourse and everyday encounters. War is both near and far. Hugh Brody journeys to a landscape where territory, history and mind all meet, to ask: are the world’s indigenous people ancestors or contemporaries of the rest of mankind?

'You have to have a story' - Aboriginal memory and opportunity

The history of Australia is often told as a story of how settlers made productive use of an empty land, thus saving Aboriginal peoples from destitution. Modern Aboriginal land campaigns are based on different rememberings, finds Hugh Brody. They ‘reclaim’ the past as well as ‘claim’ the present, and in the process weave a unique tapestry of memory, ownership – and opportunity for a future.

The Bushmen/San: real, pure, or just themselves?

In southern Africa, there is intense debate about how ‘real’ is the claim of Bushmen/San people in the southern Kalahari area to their land and even their identity. The challenge to them often questions their lack of ‘purity’. At its core, says Hugh Brody, is an assertion of power that seeks to entrap. In response, we need to observe what is actually happening in San lives today, where the creative and the impure are finding modern expression.

In memory of Elsie Vaalbooi

A century-old woman died two months ago near the South Africa–Namibia border. Her knowledge of N|u, a rare language of the southern Kalahari, was a key element in the campaign by the Bushmen/San people to recover their ancestral lands. In paying her warm tribute in his first From the edge column, Hugh Brody sees her life as a window on to key contemporary questions of identity, history, and belonging.

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