This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

This week Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Everyone likes the idea of fair, accountable and effective international institutions to cope with global economic, environment and security issues. But what form should they take? David Held and Paul Hirst argue for gradual reform within. George Monbiot advocates root and branch democratisation of the UN, and the creation of a new economic order. Other contributors identify key dilemmas and suggest creative solutions.

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.

Ebola and global health politics: an open letter

The human toll from the Ebola outbreak is all too evident. A more proactive global health policy is needed to avoid its repetition.

Westphalia to Southphalia

Does the rise of non-western states such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil threaten the dominant model of international politics?

Don’t touch my constitution! Burkina Faso's lesson

A popular uprising in the west African country reflects a wider awakening among citizens and young people across the continent.

Brazil: the road to 2018

Brazil emerges from the 2014 election with a re-elected president, two problems, and four names in mind.

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.

Default or not default? That is the (Argentine) question...

Argentina's president, Cristina Kirchner, refuses to accept that the country has defaulted on its debts. But her denial can only make things worse.

A new, Eurasian, world order

China and Russia are at the heart of the world's shifting power-balance. But current cooperation between them is likely to give way to tension.

Arrested democracy: why Thailand needs a new social contract

The Thai military may think its May takeover has run smoothly but authoritarian dictates and an elite power monopoly will not keep the country together in the longer term.

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.

Due diligence for women's human rights: transgressing conventional lines

On international human rights day, Yakin Ertürk discusses the new vulnerabilities faced by women, including refugee womenand the new opportunities for remedy offered by the international human rights system.

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.

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, says Tom Vickers.

North African diversities: Algeria in flux

Algeria’s circles of power and their relationship to a complex society and history are hard to grasp. Francis Ghilès describes his own route to understanding the country in the post-independence era, when the heavy legacy of the past mixed with the confident idealism of the present.

Justice for asylum seekers: Back to the drawing board, Ms May

The British High Court has found the level of support given to asylum seekers ‘flawed’: a political calculation rather than an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need. We must force reason back into the system, says Sile Reynolds.

Tunisia, from hope to delivery

Tunisia has turned a political corner. But great economic problems remain which require careful management and good government, says Francis Ghilès.

Genocide and justice: where now?

Two decades after the Rwanda genocide, the promised hopes of international accountability for such crimes is in trouble. Andrew Wallis examines the ingredients of a crisis that is both legal and political.

Latin America: re-election and democracy

"Very few are willing to step down and many of those who did are trying to come back." The political ambitions of Latin America's political leaders are reshaping the region's democracy and constitutional practice, says Daniel Zovatto.  

North Korea: elite shame, world test

A credible United Nations report on North Korea demands a humane and practical response to its people's degradation, says Kerry Brown.

France and Rwanda's genocide: a long wait

The belated trial of a suspected genocidaire in Paris highlights the complex political relationship between Rwanda and France. It also reflects problems in the hard road to international justice, says Andrew Wallis.

Putting development to rights: a post-2015 agenda

A lesson of the last decade's work on the Millennium Development Goals is the need to rethink current approaches to development, says David Mepham, the UK director of Human Rights Watch. The key requirement is to see development not just as material improvement, vital though that is, but as a process with human rights at the very heart.

China vs Facebook: intimate rivals

The Chinese state and the United States company are engaged in an epic if undeclared contest over control and wealth-creation, says Kerry Brown.

Brazil in 2013: a historic adventure

A big year in Brazil marked by huge street protests and a major corruption trial creates new tests for the country's democracy, says Arthur Ituassu.

North Korea's family purge

Kim Jong-un's execution of his uncle casts a revealing light on the tensions and weaknesses within the Pyongyang regime, says Charles K Armstrong.

China's visitor: Cameron in Beijing

The British prime minister's trip to China was presented as a mission to expand trade links with an important partner. But whose interests was he really representing, asks Kerry Brown.

Isa Muazu, the hunger striker and us, the monster

A man in detention in Britain is close to death having refused food and drink for over 80 days. The government’s response has been to issue an ‘end of life plan’. His death could be a death sentence for us all.

Chile's coup: the perspective of forty years

The military seizure of power in Chile on 11 September 1973 continues to influence the country's politics, and its reverberations around the world were also to last for decades. Alan Angell, a distinguished scholar of Chile, reflects on the legacy of the coup and the reasons for its enduring impact.

Chile, 11 September 1973: death and birth of a nation

The military coup of forty years ago inaugurated a long period of dictatorship and human-rights violation. But its profound legacy also includes long-term economic and political effects, says Patricio Navia.

The future of Scottish immigration

The depiction of Scotland as being welcoming to newcomers is an important aspect of Scottish national identity, but what are the prospects for immigration reform in the case of Scottish independence? Joanna Wiseman reports from the Edinburgh Festival of Politics. 

The UK migration debate: lessons from America

Why have US activists have been more successful than their British counterparts in building a constructive immigration dialogue within mainstream politics, asks Katy Long.

Poverty: a human rights abuse in the UK

Internationally poverty has been recognised as a violation of human dignity and, when a consequence of government policy, a violation of human rights. What does this mean for women seeking asylum who are forced into poverty in the UK, asks Amanda Gray.

Paraguay: Brazil’s dirty little secret

Paraguayans' resentment of their giant neighbour draws on both long memories and modern inequities. A shady new president may fuel not dampen it, says Andrew Nickson.

Egypt’s coup, liberals' dark chapter

The military's deposition of Egypt's elected president has been welcomed by the Muslim Brotherhood's liberal opponents. This is a historic error that carries big costs and risks, says Khaled Hroub.

Anti-immigrant sentiment: time to talk about gender?

The way in which gender figures in the picture of anti-immigrant sentiment is rarely discussed, yet anti-immigrant sentiment, wherever it is found, represents a rejection of ‘feminized’ populations and a concern with a national illusion that is distinctly masculine.

Lost childhoods: age disputes in the UK asylum system

Children seeking asylum in the UK are regularly disbelieved about how old they are and can end up facing harmful, protracted disputes. The culture of disbelief so often criticised in the Home Office has seeped into some local authorities, says Kamena Dorling.

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