COVID-19 has radically changed our lives. Hence, it is crucial to analyze the ways in which the responses of the Tunisian authorities' to the pandemic and the implementation of effective and proportionate security measures have affected the civil rights and individual freedoms of citizens.
In this interview, Mahassen Segni, our Democracy Program Coordinator, speaks to Professor Wahid Ferchichi, Professor at the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences of Carthage University and founder of the Tunisian Association for the Defense of Individual Liberties, about the challenges of having effective COVID-19 measures while staying committed to the protection of individual rights and liberties for the whole period of the crisis.
For more information, please see a follow-up report covering the period from March to July 2020.
Politics are brimming with metaphoric references to games – be it the famous “Great Game” as the diplomatic confrontation of great powers in Asia at the beginning of the 20th century was referred to, the understanding of strategic moves in a region as a “chess board,” war “theatres” or references to the “players,” the strong of them framed as “actors,” the weak as “pawns”, or the crazy ones behaving like “wild cards.”
Put ‘Minorities in the Middle East’ into any search engine and a huge volume of articles are displayed insinuating that ethnic, tribal, family and sectarian affiliations are the only relevant factors needed to aid an understanding of the politics and societies of the Maghreb and Mashreq. Be it the often praised ‘mosaic’ of multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, or the explanation and anticipation of actual and potential conflicts in the Middle East, that are shaped by ethnic, tribal or confessional affiliations, the reading has a flavour of exoticism and orientalism. So for this issue of Perspectives, we decided to ask authors in a broader sense about minority-majority relationships that can, but do not necessarily have to, tackle ethnic or confessional subjects.
On the occasion of celebrating 100 years of Heinrich Boell, the Heinrich Boell Foundation Middle East office has published a graphic novel, a visual adaptation of three short stories of Heinrich Boell in English and Arabic. Illustrations by Raphaelle Macaron, Migo Rollz and Magdy El Shafee, Joseph Kai and Abraham H. Zeitoun.
Governments and corporations are driving the demand for water, land and organic resources of all kinds as never before. Citizens are fighting for their rights and working to preserve their livelihoods. Our study "Tricky Business" shows how the mechanisms of expropriation work.
Countless combinations of tastes and textures shape the rich culinary landscape of the region. Bridging cultural differences and political rifts, food is a common thread for many in the Arabic speaking world. It is an essential part of a nation’s identity and sophisticated recipes are almost an issue of national pride: although most mouth-watering dishes are often the result of a long history of international migration of ingredients.
This year marks 50 years of occupation – a significant period, not only for Palestinians living inside historical Palestine, but indeed first and foremost for them. It means an accumulation of 50 years of dispossession, displacement and oppression, 50 years under threat of being evicted, of losing their fields, springs, orchards and homes. 50 years without political and civil rights, without a future for themselves and their offspring. 50 years of despair and shattered hopes.
Demokratie und Demokratisierung erscheinen derzeit als gefährliche Luxusgüter. Dieses E-Paper bietet einen einführenden Überblick in die Reihe „Stabilität ist eine Illusion“ zu den aktuellen Entwicklungen in zentralen Politikfeldern Ägyptens.
Despite waging a «war on terror» for more than three years, the current Egyptian leadership has failed to provide lasting security. Instead of focusing on the real terrorist threats that do exist, the security approach was exploited to silence and remove political opponents and to squash resistance against authoritarian rule.
When women in the Middle East make the headlines, it is usually as victims. Disturbing stories of the so called 'Islamic State' (ISIS) kidnapping and raping tens of thousands of women are sadly often the ones which stick in the Western memory. But there is more to women's political lives in the region than their victimisation and oppression. We decided to look to the future, present and past in this issue, in order to present an alternative narrative which challenges these representations of women.
When ISIS announced the establishment of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ it fuelled discussions as to whether this would herald the ‘end of Sykes-Picot’ – borders artificially drawn by the colonial powers at the beginning of the twentieth century. But borders are more than ‘lines in the sand’: they divide. While the privileged few may cross legitimately by simply presenting their passport, for most, these borders present difficult if not insurmountable hurdles. People fleeing from war, climate change or economic hardship, attempt to cross the Mediterranean but many drown trying.
On October 3rd 2016, Oliver Krischer vice-president of the green parliamentary group in the German Bundestag gave this presentation on the development of environmental policies as policy area in Germany.
The Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) region, faced with tumultuous changes in the last five years, shows a picture of shrinking spaces for civil society activism. In contrast, ecological activism is growing and connecting the fight for climate justice to other demands for community and indigenous rights, gender equality, democracy and transparency.
The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) in partnership with Heinrich Böll Stiftung (North Africa Office) launches “80 Gigawatts of Change, Egypt’s Future Electricity Pathways”, the first report of its kind to be modeled and analyzed by civil society. ‘80 GWs’ models how Egypt’s electricity sector could look in 20 years’ time if technical, social and environmental constraints and community impacts are taken into account.
The Coal Atlas is available in a printed version, in PDF, epub, mobi format and as an online dossier. All graphics and texts are under the open Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA: You can share and adapt the work in compliance with these conditions. All graphics can be found in different formats and can be downloaded here.
This dossier is a collection of articles on the meta-energy issues in Egypt. It captures the social, environmental, economic, and fiscal aspects of the Energy sector. It is part of the Alternative Energy Scenario project under Heinrich Boll Stiftung and the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights which aims to create an equitable energy scenario for Egypt 2035. It is a non-governmental, civil society driven initiative to not only create a vision for Egypt’s energy future, but also anchor it to today’s reality.
The fight against corruption in the MENA region has gone through several ups and downs. Prevention, awareness and purification campaigns aiming to eradicate endemic or systemic corruption have had very little impact. The political will and the good intentions formulated in speeches and conferences during the democratic transitions referred to as the “Arab Spring” have hardly born results. On the contrary, in a phase of restoration of the old regimes, corruption continues to be a real impediment to the progress of our countries towards democracy and socioeconomic development that can offer living conditions that respect human rights and human dignity in a healthy and unpolluted environment.
Rumour has it ... the new Perspectives is out! They are only 'hot air' but anyone who has been affected by rumours is familiar with their unhallowed dynamics, and the serious consequences they can entail. Rumours fulfil social functions. They serve as a medium through which unfulfilled hopes or unspecific fears can be voiced. They bond and drive a wedge between people and population groups at the same time. They can destroy reputations, credibility and even lives. Read here twelve experts from the MENA region discussing the topic!
As a matter of fact the number of nuclear power plants in the world is continually decreasing. At the present time there are still 436 reactors in operation. In the next 15 to 20 years more ageing plants will go offline than new ones coming into operation. By no means will all declarations of intent be implemented. The more energy markets are opened up to free competition, the smaller the chances are for nuclear energy
Sadly, the Middle East has witnessed some of the largest mass displacements of people worldwide over the past decade. As it currently stands, millions of Syrians are fleeing their homes, moving within the country and sometimes far outside of it. Not surprisingly, neighboring states have absorbed most of these people and have managed well under the circumstances. However, the question of how to deal with the waves of those who have lost everything and might not be able to go back in the near future is a huge challenge for the refugees and for host communities, especially since there is no settlement on the horizon.
Issue #5 of Perspectives provides space for on-the-ground analysis by Palestinian writers, thinkers and politicians of very different backgrounds in order to explore the Oslo Accords 20 years after their signing from a Palestinian perspective. Perspectives is a quarterly journal dedicated to highlighting research and debate from authors who mostly live and work in the region. It is jointly edited and published by the three HBS offices located in Tunis, Beirut and Ramallah.
This series of 11 short introductory briefings, written in co-operation with the Overseas Development Institute, has been updated to reflect the latest data available on www.climatefundsupdate.org, the tracking project of ODI/hbf of dedicated climate financing instruments from pledge to project.
In the Arab Gulf Region, one political actor, in particular, is becoming more visible, seemingly more engaged in navigating the uncertainties caused by the fast changes emerging in the region and in filling the gaps in this political scene: The state of Qatar. What is the role Qatar is trying to play in the region and is it being translated internally?
It is almost a year ago that Syrian citizens, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, courageously took to the streets in protest against the decades-long denial of their basic rights by the Assad regime.
The self-immolation of young and jobless Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, being deprived of his vegetable stand and humiliated by the authorities, triggered popular movements and historic events in the Arab World completely unexpected in their magnitude…