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This week’s editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

As the European Union enlarges, the continent as a whole - from Madrid to Moscow and Istanbul - is shadowed by terrorism. Richard Torne assesses the political fallout of a civilian massacre on a traumatised Spain. James Appathurai, a leading NATO policy official, argues that the Euro-Atlantic community now needs a confident Europe, in which Russia is a key partner, to share responsibility with the United States in meeting post-9/11 challenges.

Reimagining security

Does security mean defence: tanks and barbed-wire fences? Or can it mean building relationships, confronting inequalities and recognising each other's humanity?

Security services should not have carte blanche

It seems obvious that human rights must be compromised to guarantee security in the face of armed violence. Obvious but wrong.

Multilateral nuclear disarmament: it would be a nice idea

The conventional wisdom among nuclear-weapons powers is that their arsenals can only be dismantled multilaterally, step-by-step—yet the associated co-ordination dilemmas keep proving insuperable.

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

What the EU must do now to halt this tragedy on its shores

There are answers to the Mediterranean migrant-deaths crisis. They just require the European Union, whose foreign ministers met yesterday, to grasp the political nettle.

Europe's war on migrants

The unending series of mass drownings in the Mediterranean of migrants and refugees are not unfortunate tragedies: they are the dread outworking of the occluding of humanitarian concern by the rhetoric of border control.

A responsible nuclear-armed state?

It may sound like an oxymoron but we need a new global conversation which engages all nuclear-armed states en route to disarmament.

Eyes wide shut: Commons Defence Committee and UK security policy

It appears self-evident to a key Westminster committee that global insecurity requires a significant upgrade in UK military capability. Self-evident—and wrong.

Turkey and Armenia: genocide? what genocide?

April 1915 saw the start of the genocide against Armenians and other minorities in the former Ottoman Empire. Erdoğan hopes he can ignore the anniversary and it will go away—while Armenian politics is stuck in victim mode.

Mass surveillance: wrong in practice as well as principle

The paradox of mass state surveillance, as the answer to non-state violence, is that it can overlook the intelligence targeted law enforcement finds and render critical infrastructures vulnerable—never mind threatening fundamental freedoms.

Migrants in the Mediterranean: mourning deaths, not saving lives

For as long as the humanitarian impulse to rescue the desperate and the destitute is trumped by Europe’s focus on border control, the death toll will rise inexorably.

Karabakh truce shaken by gunshots and tough talk

OSCE mediators urge an end to attacks after a month in which the 20-year-old ceasefire was broken in thousands of incidents.

Is there reason to hope for Minsk II?

The last Minsk agreement on eastern Ukraine failed to bring peace. The latest looks similar—but the context has changed.

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit—what next?

The ceasefire agreement in Minsk over Ukraine was better than no outcome at all. But only a little better.

In Ukraine, NATO has ceased to be an instrument of US foreign policy

In the renewed cold war over Ukraine, while Russia’s economy has been weakened by European sanctions, the US is no longer the hegemon it once was—and NATO is under strain.

Ethnicised justice and dealing with the past in ex-Yugoslavia

There was much hope in the international community that the Hague war-crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, allied to domestic proceedings, could point the region to a reconciled future. It was not to be.

Eastern Ukraine: the humanity behind the headlines

The government in Kyiv, aid organisations and the international community must work together to address the humanitarian crisis created by the fighting in the east.

The new cold war Russia (again) won't win

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, burst the 25th-anniversary balloon of the symbolic end of the cold war by warning of a new one, fed by NATO's eastward expansion. An economically weak USSR lost the last one; a still weaker Russia will lose this one too. 

NATO-Russia: time for a change in direction

NATO’s summit this week offers the opportunity to turn the tide against the re-emergence of the cold war in the context of the Ukraine crisis. It is an opportunity, however, unlikely to be taken.

Trapped by borders, a global flotsam and jetsam

They arrive nameless and unnumbered by land or sea but ever-more unregulated migrants across the globe are falling victim to proliferating border-security regimes.

No limits to brutality: deaths at the Greece-Turkey borders

People who fetch up at the borders between Greece and Turkey are treated as if they were less than human, in unaccountable operations for which the European Union must take responsibility.

Azerbaijan challenges Europe's human-rights mettle

As Azerbaijan takes up the six-month chair of the Council of Europe, the deteriorating human-rights situation in the Caucasus state exposes its disregard for its rights obligations and risks further complication by the crisis in Ukraine

Racism: troubling truths

Fighting racism in Europe is not easy when Europe has two hands tied behind its back—debilitated by neo-liberal policies on the one hand and the securitisation of minorities on the other.

Ukraine: what next?

There was a way out of the Ukraine crisis this week, through dialogue and accommodation. But the regime, backed by Russia, chose to pursue victory instead. It will be a Pyrrhic one—but the international community can shorten the agony.

How was he to know? The cracking of the Ukraine regime

Ukraine’s parliament has abandoned the law to curb public protests only recently introduced and the prime minister has resigned. What lies behind these dramatic events?

Undocumented migrants: time to change the European discourse

Most undocumented migrants in Europe are not products of irregular entry and humanitarian crises such as that at Lampedusa are not unavoidable tragedies. As the EU starts work on a new programme on migration it must shift approach from control and surveillance.

Deconstructing detention in Britain

Immigration detention and borders are cultural and historical constructions which criminalise and traumatise migrants. They are neither inevitable nor a given, says Nath Gbikpi.

UKIP on the march in Britain

The success of the UK Independence Party in local elections indicates a lack of trust in mainstream politicians on migration. This leaves the pro-migration lobby with a bigger role than ever, and some challenging questions about how to impact on public opinion

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. 

Is there an alternative to locking up migrants in the UK?

If detention is a tool of war on irregular migration, then the damage on both sides is severe. But this war is not inevitable. There is a significant area of potential common interest in a fair system that works primarily by consent

Detention and human rights in the UK: maintaining the presumption of liberty

Rigorous reviews by a genuinely independent panel could be a significant step away from the routine long-term detention of migrants in Britain, but only a time limit provides a sure safeguard, says Kate Blagojevic

On the streets in Spain: not only the homeless

The monarchy, the political and economic systems, even the judiciary and the church appear to be failing the people of Spain as they face what amounts to a right-wing coup by a Government that legislates by decree. Their only option seems to be to protest on the streets, says Liz Cooper.

Is migration studies failing to defend migrant rights?

With more than 3,000 post graduate students studying migration in Europe each year, a more holistic approach to teaching migration must be part of the solution to help uphold migrants’ human rights, argues Agata Patyna.

The end of “normalization“?

For the first time in its history, Germany has abandoned its allies by abstaining from the vote on Resolution 1973. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War the gap between pretension and reality in German foreign policy seems to broaden again.
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