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This week’s editors

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Cybersecurity should protect us – not control us

In the race to secure against threats, human rights such as privacy, free expression, freedom of assembly are undermined rather than protected.

Mexico: active civil society key to ending culture of impunity

A renewal of democracy should be the means to cleanse Latin America of its history of corruption and abuses of power. But as the Mexican case shows, unless democracy is extended by enhancing civil society, its promise will not be realised.

You faked your life? Towards a culture of protection in UK asylum

To ensure those in need of international protection receive it, attention must be given to the impact of the societal, political and institutional context on decision-makers’ ability to assess an applicant’s credibility. 

The International Criminal Court must fix its anti-African image

The International Criminal Court is often presented as "racist" in Africa because of its focus on indictees from the continent. But the problem lies elsewhere.

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.

On Israel-Palestine and BDS

Those dedicated to the Palestinian cause should think carefully about the tactics they choose.

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.

'Don't even talk to them': Tunisia's forgotten refugees

When international organisations declare a crisis over and refugee camps are closed, what happens to those who remain? Oliver Tringham reports on a pilot community project to restore rights and create livelihoods for refugees forgotten in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Knitted Together: Crafting a culture of welcome for refugee women

A group of women in the UK have created a piece of art to challenge the detention of refugee women. Craft can be a powerful and cross-cultural means to challenge segregation with solidarity, says Rachel Walker.

Academics speak out against the UK Immigration Bill

Researchers are challenging government policy, exposing untruths and contesting the terms of the debate. We must use our freedom to maintain a radical perspective and build an alternative to austerity and exclusion.

Turkey: trade unionism on trial

As the Erdogan government in Turkey takes an increasingly authoritarian turn, trade unionists have been in the firing line. But a mass trial in Istanbul, little noticed by the international media, has not gone entirely the government’s way.

Truth still eludes on UK involvement in rendition and torture

There have been repeated claims of UK complicity in the alleged torture of individuals detained abroad. The government’s latest move in the saga does not suggest a desire to get to the bottom of them.

Deported from Japan: until death do us part

February will see the final judgment in the case of Abubakar Awudu Suraj, a Ghanian national who died whilst being deported from Japan. An interview with his widow highlights States’ powers to regulate migrants' intimate relationships with their citizens.

Rethinking security: from projecting power to preventing problems

The embrace of corporate partners by science and technology departments and the erosion of distinctions between the military and the police have been at the heart of disturbing security trends in the UK and elsewhere. The root causes of insecurity meanwhile go unaddressed.

No accident: why have 19,142 died at Europe’s frontiers?

The recent deaths off the coast of Lampedusa are a gruesome consequence of EU border and immigration control policies that follow the logic of security and restrictionism over human rights and international maritime law, says Nina Perkowski.

Creating a safe haven in the intersection of state racism and structural patriarchy

The UK Feminista’s summer school heard how female asylum seekers fight back against the intersecting injustices they face.

Whose “Mission”? Celebrities, voice and refugees

A new Italian reality TV show is sending celebrities to refugee camps, but for refugees to be able to speak for themselves and convey the message they want to convey, the cameras must be given to refugees themselves, says Nath Gbikpi.

Justice in the UK: back to the 1930s?

Proposals to cut legal aid and judicial review in Britain will make it harder for people fighting for their rights to challenge the government's cuts agenda, and will remove one of the few lifelines to justice for asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented workers, says Kate Blagojevic. 

Don't say 'I told you so'

Notes from EICAvoid the temptation to be smug about it: Snowden's leaks matter, and others will follow.

The Rohingya: bargaining with human lives

One year on from the violence of June 2012, new empirical evidence about the treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Burma, has taken the issue from the realms of international human rights and humanitarian law to that of international criminal law, says Amal de Chickera.

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.

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

The System: shifting the tectonic plates

Russia’s Byzantine system of government has long been a rich subject for study. Could it change? Might it suddenly have to? Possibly, but there are so many vested interests and the upheaval would be considerable. Sergei Guriev reviews the most recent of Alena Ledeneva’s books on the subject

Anti-deportation campaigns: ‘What kind of country do you want this to be?’

A new musical, Glasgow Girls, showcases the power of anti-deportation campaigns as both an expression of human solidarity and an essential device for holding states to account. But their key role, argues Jennifer Allsopp, is to build support for an asylum system that upholds the rights of all.

Is China more democratic than Russia?

On paper, Russia’s political system is an impressive reproduction of Western representative democracy, while the Chinese system remains an unreconstructed autocracy. The reality of the situation is much more complex, says Ivan Krastev.

Dangerous laughter: the mocking of Gender Studies in academia

Gender Studies is an increasingly established and influential area of study and research, however it continues to be the object of sustained mocking within, and beyond, academia.

Philanthropy towards asylum seekers: friend or foe?

Due attention must be given to the decision-making processes and rationales that underpin and politicise philanthropy towards asylum seekers in the UK. There is a danger that philanthropy may become complicit in sealing the borders of the state of exception in which asylum seekers are already positioned, says Emily Bowerman.

In memoriam Valery Abramkin, Russia's prison reformer

Celebrated Russian activist Valery Abramkin has died aged 66. Here we republish extracts from a lecture delivered in 2006, which contains many fascinating insights into the rules of behaviour, hierarchies and relationships within Soviet and Russian prisons. (With a foreword by Mary
McAuley.) 

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.

Yes to ending violence against women, but no to the ‘zero tolerance’ route

The problem with the use of 'zero tolerance' in public discourse is that it makes for good populist politics and rhetoric which generally translates into regressive and ill-informed public policy, especially in the area of criminal justice, says Vijay Nagaraj.

Fear and fury: women and post-revolutionary violence

Putting episodes of post-Arab spring violence against women down to a routine manifestation of patriarchy and its allied misogyny in the societies concerned may unwittingly shield power-holders from more searching scrutiny. What is at stake is no longer just women and their bodies but the body politic itself.

Refugee studies: the challenge of translating hope into reality

It is one thing for rigorous research to influence policy, and another for that policy to then go an and achieve its intended positive outcome. James Souter argues that Refugee and Forced Migration studies has an important, yet ultimately subsidiary role in the task of improving the lives of refugees and forced migrants

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

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