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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Brazil, a crisis of representation

A protest wave in Brazil embodies new ideas of political community that challenge the country's old social practices and centralised structures, says Arthur Ituassu.

Armed Forces Special Powers Act: India' mediaeval law in Kashmir and its northeast

The continued existence of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is a black mark on India's record: effective military dictatorship cannot accord with respect for human rights. Is the nation that prides itself on being the world's largest successful democracy lying to itself?

Turkey’s silent minority standing proud for the first time

Ten years of majoritarian style AKP rule has turned Turkey into a polarized country, increasingly torn apart between contrasting worldviews and lifestyles.

Encouraging stronger engagement by emerging powers on human rights

Resentment of the west is making emerging powers hold back when they could be using their strengths and experiences to challenge the world’s abusive regimes. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights. Español, العربية, Português.

Can China be a normative power?

Until now, the west has been attempting to tell China how to behave when it comes to human rights. But things are changing. Increasingly, China is engaging in international debate over rights. Does China aim to redefine the norms? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights. 中国语文, Español, العربي.

Miliband's speech on welfare in Britain opened up new political space

With Labour's move, the shape of Britain's welfare state is clearly entering a period of fundamental realignment.

The incoherence of British Euroscepticism

There are three main arguments for how Britain would cope with a role outside the EU - it is hard to say which is the most misguided.

¿Puede China ser una potencia normativa?

Hasta ahora, el Occidente ha intentado dictar a China cómo comportarse con relación a los derechos humanos. Pero las cosas están cambiando. China cada vez participa más en el debate sobre derechos. ¿Es posible que China pretenda redefinir las normas en el futuro? 中国语文Englishالعربي.  


到目前为止,西方总是试图告诉中国在人权问题上应该如何行动。但是事情真在改变。中国越来越积极介入有关人权的国际辩论中。中国要在未来重新定义国际规范吗? EnglishEspañol, العربي.

Iran, a cautious opening

The election of a reformist president in Iran realigns the geopolitical stars, and brings the possibility of diplomatic progress on Syria.

Confronting disorder in Brazil

Let’s try to define vandalism. Vandalism is the act of destroying what is important and valuable for the culture and history of a nation. So it is quite clear to me who is actually doing vandalism here.

The alpha tragedy of the beta male

The announcement of the Putin divorce was unexpected and unprecedented for a Russian leader. What made him decide to do it now, when the marriage apparently broke down years ago? Was it an act of alpha courage or a politically disastrous beta move? Daniil Kotsyubinsky looks at the ramifications.

Kill or cure?

In Russia, homophobia is not just an attitude, but government policy, with new legislation reinforcing traditional hostility to sexual minorities and violence against gay people as common as ever. Svetlana Reiter discussed the situation with psychologist Vladimir Shakhidzhanian.

More than 150 medics urge Obama to let them treat Guantánamo hunger-strikers

Detainees on hunger-strike at Guantánamo Bay say they don't trust their military doctors. 153 doctors from ten countries offer their services to visit, examine and advise the detainees.

Times of hope and despair: lessons of democracy from Gezi resistance

The latest developments translate as the end of justice and legality as we know it. What we are experiencing is a ‘state of exception’ par excellence, in Agamben’s terms, as the rhetoric of ‘necessity’ is creating a ‘space devoid of law’.

This week's window on the Middle East - June 19, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Libyans say no to militias.

Illusions and realities surrounding Iran’s presidential elections

All the opposition groups, almost without exception, had called for the boycott of the elections. Had Iranian voters listened, a worse candidate would now have won the presidency. 

A transatlantic corporate bill of rights

This week G8 leaders hail the opening of EU/US Free Trade negotiations as 'a once in a generation opportunity' to create jobs and growth. But behind the rhetoric, leaks of the secretive negotiating mandate suggest that its real intent is an undemocratic power grab by corporations at the expense of the public interest, affecting everything from health and workers rights to the ennvironment. 

Democracy on ice: a post-mortem of the Icelandic constitution

In spite of clear popular support, Iceland's new crowd-sourced constitution was recently killed by politicians. An ex-member of the constitutional council sheds some light on what happened - and why there might still be some hope for this unique experiment.

All quiet on the Italian front?

After the seemingly unending crisis that followed this February's elections, Italian politics seem to have finally found some stability. And yet, recent events may be the sign of greater trouble to come.