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“You wanted civil society? Well, now you’ve got it”

Amid Russia’s conservative turn, a new brand of conservative civil society is mobilising against freedom of expression. Русский - free thinking for the world

“You wanted civil society? Well, now you’ve got it”

Amid Russia’s conservative turn, a new brand of conservative civil society is mobilising against freedom of expression. Русский - free thinking for the world

This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.


Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Introducing this week's special theme: 'Cities of welcome, cities of transit'

openDemocracy and its partners brought activists, academics, and policy makers together in Barcelona late last July to discuss a way forward for refugee-related activism and city welcome policies. 

Georgia’s politics of piety

Georgia’s church is independent of the state. How long before the state can free itself from the church?

The creeping cull of cultural diversity in Orbán's Hungary

As Viktor Orbán's Hungary faces its 2 October referendum on European migrant quotas, diverse opinion is being silenced through partisan cultural funding.

A life of hope lived in defiance of violence: Rebecca Masika Katsuva

“They think when they’re raped that their lives are shattered. But we’d like them to know that it’s not the end of the world" - Rebecca Masika Katsuva. (1966 - 2016)

Spaces of transit, migration management and migrant agency

Rethinking the 'crisis' narrative among the stories of transit, refuge and hope.

“You wanted civil society? Well, now you’ve got it”


Amid Russia’s conservative turn, a new brand of conservative civil society is mobilising against freedom of expression. Русский


Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’

Refugees and humanitarian workers alike are drained by years of uncertainty, movement, destitution, and the threat of criminal sanction or deportation, created by EU and state policies.

Climate justice meets racism: Standing Rock was decades in the making

The militarized response to activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline—and the Standing Rock Sioux’s fierce resolve—reflect the area's deep racial divides.

Post-humanitarianism in situ: Moria in flames

Did ultra-nationalist locals burn down the hotspot, was it the migrants themselves who did it, or was it the result of agent provocateur actions?

The true significance of the 2016 US presidential election

Hype around Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the race to the White House shouldn't be allowed to conceal the deep issues in American society.

The great Spanish hope: reflections on the 2016 Podemos party conference in Madrid

At first glance, Universidad de Podemos feels like any other rag tag left-wing meeting. But it’s when you dig deeper that the differences reveal themselves. 

Solidarity in European asylum policies: response to a problem or part of it?

Solidarity in EU asylum policies has become a euphemism for bargaining responsibility, and proposed reforms to the Dublin regulations will only entrench that misuse of the concept.

Decolonization—not western liberals—established human rights on the global agenda

Human rights scholarship and advocacy claim to be grounded in universality, yet both are anything but in their privileging the Western role in building an international human rights system. Español

Hungarian 'women's health': stigma and coercion

Political and media institutions in Hungary are promoting a coercive culture of intervention in female bodies under the banner of self-care.

Attached to abuse

A new book by psychotherapist Adam Jukes analyses how both men and women can ‘choose’ abusive relationships, resulting from insecure attachment as children. 

England’s bonfire of children’s rights

A new bill threatens decades of carefully drafted laws designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in care.

Unsafe Turkey, unsafe Europe

We need to look at the profound political, legal and ethical costs of reducing refugee flows.

Solidarity beyond the state: towards a model of solidarity centred on the refugee

The increase in the flows of asylum seekers towards the European Union in recent years has re-awakened the discussion over the meaning of European solidarity.

Mosul, the next target

The complex military operation to seize Iraq's second city from ISIS's grip is a microcosm of the long war.

Introduction to the Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development

This Forum gives a platform to mutual knowledge sharing and support, to empower and enhance the capacities of cities worldwide in managing migration for local development. Who is participating? Why now?

How the UN could develop an Emergency Peace Service – and why it should

Sustainable common security will remain elusive until we identify better universal options to help. A UN Emergency Peace Service would improve operational prevention, protection and possibly more.

Post-conflict in Colombia (19) Uncertainty and fears after the war

After the signing of the peace agreements, doubts remain about their true reach in the context of the country's complex social and security situation. Español

Uzbekistan: who needs elections anyway?

Uzbekistan’s parliament approved the appointment of prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev as interim president of the country. But it is legal? And does the legality matter?

The long year of migration and the Balkan corridor

How European narratives are being challenged by migration movements.

Listening to Refugee Tales on the Pilgrim’s Way

The act of listening and the power of voice constitute the ‘act in the dark’ which can unite us and re-shape the punitive and hostile immigration landscape in Britain.

Blame South Sudanese leadership, not George Clooney

The crisis in South Sudan is a result of its current leadership – the country wasn’t doomed to fail – and its people welcome celebrities like George Clooney who point this out.

Letter to George Clooney

Celebrity activism risks reducing complex political issues to simple morality tales, leading to emotional politics and irresponsible interventions.

What’s the point of prison?

Well over half of all prisoners in the UK have personality disorders and other mental health problems. What are we doing?

After the Umbrella movement, Hong Kong now faces an identity crisis

One of the original founders of Hong Kong’s 2014 democracy protests thinks that increasing dis-identification with Chineseness, on both the level of culture and politics, is pushing the city-state towards uncharted territory.

Two years after the Occupy protests, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council sees a generational shift in politics

Recent elections have injected new demands for self-determination and ideas of localism into the heart of Hong Kong’s law-making body.