This week's editor

James Ron

James Ron hosts this week's openGlobalRights theme: public opinion and human rights.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Dogs, water and coffins: an untold story of British torture in Iraq

The UK has engaged in abuse and torture during the ‘War on Terror’ whilst, simultaneously, maintaining that its actions are driven by the ideals of democracy and human rights.

Redefining the poor as “terrorists”

Most so-called “terrorist” activity is a by-product of neoliberalism’s on-going crisis and its marginalisation of a growing proportion of the world’s population. 

The poetry in the pity

War remembrance is one of the oldest and most enduring forms of art in the western tradition. Our literary culture begins with the legacy of how to remember and commemorate a war to end all wars.

Geopolitics and international state crime: an accountability black hole

There is a conspiracy of silence around victors’ justice within the United Nations and in global diplomacy, as if it is embarrassing even to call attention to such a fundamental deficiency in the implementation of international criminal law.

State crime, civil society and resistance: lessons from Tunisia

What the state proclaims as legality can in reality be crime on a grand scale. What it defines as crime may instead be resistance to state crime. Only organised civil society can expose these truths.

American torture--past, present, and future?

Make no mistake. Getting even this partial and redacted report into public view is a real victory for everyone who hopes to end state torture. But it’s just the beginning.

Resistance in Occupied Western Sahara: women defining a society

Although men and women both actively participate in resistance projects, Sahrawi women facilitate most of the communication between non-violent activists from one city to another in this under-reported struggle.

Making local ceasefires work in Syria

Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.

Leaderless no more

The rise of new left leaders such as Alexis Tsipras in Greece and Pablo Iglesias in Spain reflects a new desire for leadership and political representation at odds with the neoanarchist culture that has for long dominated the radical left and influenced the movements of 2011.

Human rights essential for holding states to account

Time and time again, regardless of political persuasion, when people are asked if they support, say, the prohibition against torture or the right to life, the answer is a resounding yes.

Extremism and 'Prevent': the need to trust in education

‘Prevent’ is the part of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy designed to respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism and extremism. Are its priorities self-defeating? There are promising alternatives.

Whatever happened to winning hearts and minds?

European governments risk adopting the same counter-productive approaches towards the latest Islamist groups and fighters as they did against al-Qaeda.

The European Kurds rallying to fight IS

With Kurds in Iraq and Syria under attack from the Islamic State, many young Kurds in Europe have been joining resistance forces—a trend occluded by the media focus on European-born jihadists.

Tracing the impact of the Ferguson uprising in Turkey

It seems that the time has come for Erdogan to return the favour and make a similar phone call to Obama. He has an excuse to do so now, which can only spell more heartache.

Israel in the Arab consciousness: friend or foe?

Maged Mandour

The events of the Arab Revolt have dramatically shifted the position of Israel in the region. Arab regimes have moved from rejecting the existence of Israel to accommodation, to implicit cooperation, in some cases, open cooperation.

When the people wanted to bring down the Syrian regime: Hezbollah as a counter-revolutionary proxy

The fruits of heroic resistance are feeding regional interests rather than the people that resisted. The proxy role of Islamic resistance is becoming a bargaining tool in regional diplomacy.

Nuclear survivors' testimony: from hell to hope

Participants at the HINW Conference were screened for nuclear contamination yesterday, before listening to testimony from survivors mobilising for the abolition of nuclear weapons in what Pope Francis called "our common home."

Call for the release of Ahmed Maher

The Egyptian activist and leader of the April 6 Youth Movement languishes in jail with countless others, as western governments resume business as usual with an increasingly oppressive Egyptian state.

Russians resisting war and repression

There are segments of the Russian population that, even in a politically inclement environment, bravely voice their open opposition to Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Gay in Gambia: not a joke

Gambia rushed through its new criminal code in relative secrecy. With political opposition and activist groups thwarted, the international community has a responsibility to speak out. 

Time to end the ambiguity

Israel needs to decide, once and for all: is this an occupation or not?

Is a boycott of Israel inconsistent? Yes and No

A recurrent challenge in controversies over boycotting Israeli policy is consistency. But what is problematically inconsistent is not the singling out of Israel, but the charge of inconsistency itself.

Palestinians in Syria struggle for bread and agency

Rather than being 'neutral', Palestinians in Syria find themselves caught in a deadly grip between Assad's regime on the one hand and extremist groups on the other.

Can pluralism be taught?

Human conflict is unavoidable, but violence is not. By facing up to the ‘unacceptable’ we can learn to live with difference. 

The tale of the useful bulldozer

A single incident in the air war against the Islamic State offers a lesson in its character.

Between Scylla and Charybdis: life in Pakistan’s tribal frontier

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas touching Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan suffer a toxic mix of state and non-state violence and neglect. The consequences are unlikely to be good.

Do we all live in Bhopal now?

A Greenpeace study finds 473 US chemical facilities each endangering 100,000 or more people with a Bhopal magnitude disaster on its 30th anniversary.

Turkey: seeing Kurdish politics through a narrow prism

With its stance on Kobane, Ankara is in danger of undoing advances in the Kurdish peace process. It must act boldly now to set things back on course.

British perfidy in Greece: a story worth remembering

It was the day, seventy years ago this Tuesday, when the British Army at war with Germany switched their allegiance, opening fire upon – and arming Greek collaborators with the Nazis to fire upon – a civilian crowd in Syntagma Square.

The fog of war

Tweets are emerging as a novel form of incriminating evidence in a rapidly changing terrain of modern warfare. What ought to be their evidentiary value and legal status under international law of armed conflict?

The Cold War was a success compared to this

As long as the radical left held to the democratic rule of law, they were given the space to articulate their views. They didn’t flee to communist walhallas, but remained in the sights of the intelligence services.

Changing the behaviour of male perpetrators of domestic violence

Domestic violence shows no sign of abating. There is growing recognition that working with male perpetrators - alongside intervention and protection for women - is essential to reducing the violence that kills two women every week.

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

Hijacking Europe and denying Eurasia

It makes moral and political sense to integrate Ukraine into the west as soon as possible. But for clueless western leaders, the only way to do so is to reaffirm the non-European character of Russia.

IS – a threat to the structure of international law?

The theological and ideological basis for IS’s struggle visualizes this as a fight against the spiritual power centre of European public international law: Rome.

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