This week's editor

James Ron

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

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Debates and articles from across the openDemocracy website that discuss or are relevant to Europe

¿Último tango en Atenas?

Los pesimistas pronostican una catástrofe social. Pero en Argentina, la crisis de 2001 fue resuelta por los ciudadanos, no por lo banqueros. English

Last tango in Athens?

Doom merchants predict social catastrophe for Greece. But when Argentina defaulted in 2001,  the people - not the banks -  rallied to the rescue. Español

UK nuclear weapons: a source of insecurity?

The UK doggedly maintains an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ but a naval officer has blown the whistle on the system’s inherent insecurity—with its potentially incalculable implications.

Bob Dylan: revolution in the head, revisited

The most influential and original musician of the 1960s generation remains a figure of protean creativity half a century on. The wealth of attention still devoted to Bob Dylan is testament to a career of astonishing range. It also reflects the complex legacy of a formative decade which Dylan’s songs and persona helped to define, says David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 24 May 2011)

Bob Dylan: a conversation

Many celebrations of the great American musician Bob Dylan involve a personal journey through the archives of memory. Here, David Hayes recalls a thrilling series of concerts Dylan performed in 1981...and a late-night encounter.

(This article was first published on 24 May 2011)

Europe's eastern partnership: why Riga matters

Russia's aggression towards states such as Georgia and Ukraine is a crucial test for the European Union. The forthcoming summit in Riga is the moment for a decisive response.

Erdoğan, Syria and the Kurds: be careful what you wish for

A complex political triangulation links the Turkish president with the Syrian imbroglio and the Kurdish question, but his political target is receding.

Press freedom: the dark cloud gathering over Europe

Today is a day to celebrate free media expression—except for those journalists, even in Europe, denied the capacity to do so.

From Tottenham to Baltimore, policing crisis starts race to the bottom for justice

What is it about the police and urban black populations in the US and the UK? The explanation starts with two of the most stretched social hierarchies in the developed world.

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.

Turkey and the Armenian genocide: the next century

For the Armenian diaspora, today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day—but not in Turkey. Perhaps members of the country’s Kurdish minority can help shake up a polarised narrative.

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.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe. (First published in October 2013)

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.

The struggle against anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. And no, that is not because Israel faces ever-growing criticism.

Arms and the men: Sweden’s revoked Saudi arms deal

From the outside, the Swedish snub to the Saudi royals looks like a big triumph for women’s rights over commercial pressures. Close up, the ethical picture is a little muddier.

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.

Settling accounts: what happens after SwissLeaks?

The SwissLeaks scandal around the HSBC bank subsidiary there has highlighted how globalisation can facilitate tax-dodgers. Only a bright spotlight of information can deter them.

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.

The devil is in the details

Conspiracies theories about the Charlie Hebdo attacks come to the fore in France, blaming the secret service, Mossad, and of course the U.S.

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.

Scapegoats for an insecure Europe

The crisis facing Europe could be perceived as a product of conflicting class interests in what Keynes called the capitalism of the casino. All the more important that it should instead be blamed on conveniently stigmatised Others.

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.

Ukraine steels for more unrest as Donetsk bus attack kills 12

The latest violence in eastern Ukraine would lead most observers to think an end to the military and political attrition is not in sight. They would be right.

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.

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.

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. 

Orchestrating democracy in Bulgaria

As Bulgaria heads for the polls for the fourth time in 18 months, is there any hope of political stability? What has caused this severe political crisis and can elections make a difference?

The poverty of European migration policy

Policy on migration in Europe bears more relationship to ideology than evidence. And humanity is sorely lacking.

The failed "mental revolution": Georgia, crime and criminal justice

Crime has been near the top of Georgia's political agenda for a decade. But successive governments have still to address fundamental questions of legitimacy and trust.

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