Burkina Faso’s People, Opposing an Autocrat, Feel Let Down by the UN

The fast-moving people-power coup that ousted a longtime leader of the landlocked West African country of Burkina Faso took not only powerful nations and international institutions by surprise — including the United Nations, France, the United States, the African Union and African regional groups — but also the Burkina protesters themselves. The demonstrations started in … Read more

Shadowy Militias Spread Terror in Rural Myanmar

He is a young man whose name or exactly where he lives in the Burmese countryside cannot be published because he fears retribution when he returns to Myanmar from a visit to the United Nations headquarters. Speaking in English, learned from books and private tutors, he details the harsh treatment people away from major urban … Read more

As Africa’s Population Growth Explodes, Its Children Lose Out

Malian Boy

Among a clutch of new studies surveying the fate of children globally in 2014, a year that may be remembered as the most violent and catastrophic in more than half a century, Unicef has looked into the future of Africa and found that an unexpectedly persistent population boom is not only robbing children of opportunity, … Read more

The US-African Leaders Summit in Washington Leaves Malians Blasé

BAMAKO, Mali — As the first United States-African leaders summit opens this week in Washington, D.C, it is hard to hear Malians in their capital drum up enthusiasm for it. President Barack Obama has invited 50 African heads of state — excluding those from Central African Republic, Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe — to meet with … Read more

 

US State Department Says the Senate Blocks American Diplomacy Globally

All eyes may be on Secretary of State John Kerry and his seemingly tireless, though exhausting, travels from continent to continent as multiple crises unfold around the world. Now the State Department has lashed out at the United States Senate for denying him and American diplomacy the backup they need by stalling confirmation of appointments, … Read more

Ramos-Horta Defends ‘Weak, Poor’ Guinea-Bissau

Until recently, José Ramos-Horta led the United Nations’ peace-building mission in Guinea-Bissau, stepping in a year and a half ago as the country reeled from a coup in 2012 and the UN’s former chief there, Joseph Mutaboba, quit his job under concerns for his safety. Ramos-Horta, 64, is a former president of Timor-Leste, which won independence … Read more

India’s Election Begins, With Voters Numb to Nepotism and Corruption

Indian election

India opened the polls on April 7 for another of its uniquely epic elections. In nine stages of staggered voting that stretch into mid-May, allowing election officials, observers and law enforcement teams to move from place to place, 814 million voters are registered to cast ballots across a country one-third the size of the United … Read more

An African Elected Head of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Martin Chungong of IPU

The Inter-Parliamentary Union has elected Martin Chungong of Cameroon as its secretary-general, the first African and the first non-European to lead the organization in its 125-year history. Chungong, a former member of the Cameroonian parliament, has been the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s deputy secretary-general under Anders Johnsson, of Sweden, who officially retires on June 30. Chungong has also been director of programs … Read more

 

Parliamentary Group Warns of Political Perils as 2014 Elections Loom

Bangkok demonstration November 2013

  A committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union met in mid-January, as a busy year of elections globally was beginning, to confront the human-rights violations and sometimes lethal abuse suffered by 262 members of national legislatures in countries that often call themselves democracies. From Jan. 13 to 17, the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s committee on the human rights … Read more

Malians Produce a Smooth Election, Desperate for Stability

Bert Koenders of the UN in Kidal, Mali

  Malians elected their first president since an interim president was installed after the 2012 coup and French military action in 2013 against incursions by Islamic jihadists. In a run-off vote on Aug. 11, amid blanket rain and rampant mud in Bamako, the capital, Malians there and beyond put Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 68, a former … Read more

A Tale of Sierra Leone and Striving for Transparency

Britain, the world’s major center for investment in the extractive industries, is reviving the international debate on how open management of mining can prevent conflicts. The issue was raised in a Security Council meeting on June 19, after a seven-year hiatus on the subject in that setting. It was also discussed at the Group of … Read more

The Real Test of Mali? Holding a Presidential Election in July

Malians-bathing-in-Gao

BAMAKO, Mali — Here in the capital, far from the fight against the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in the north of the country, people are still overwhelmingly supportive of the French military intervention, which began early this year to oust the jihadists. They are also still comfortable with the presence of French and African-led troops … Read more

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hopelessly Divided

Ćumurija Bridge, Sarajevo

It was the 29th minute of the decisive World Cup qualifying match in March between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece. A midfielder, Zvjezdan Misimovic, a Bosnian Serb, delivered a beautiful pass to a striker, Edin Dzeko, a Bosnian Muslim, who headed the ball into the goal. The multiethnic teamwork led to two more goals and 3-1 victory, … Read more

The Stanley Foundation’s New Venture in Digital Publishing

USAID Kenya

A new bimonthly newsletter, called The Latest, has made its debut from the Stanley Foundation, the nonprofit group based in Muscatine, Iowa, that works on peace and security issues through the promotion of good governance and justice worldwide. Keith Porter is also the new president of the organization, having been promoted from director of policy … Read more

Giving Parliaments a Bigger Role in Good Governance

Ireland's representatives at IPU Main Assembly meeting 2012

Armed with a five-year strategy to strengthen the influence of national legislatures around the world, the Inter-Parliamentary Union is supporting international gatherings of legislators to discuss their role in fostering democracy, good government and effective development policies beyond the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals. The next meeting, with parliamentarians from Asia, Africa … Read more

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