Coinciding with the Global Land Grab conference held at the University of Sussex, three leading commentators debate the politics of land deals; contrasting a World Bank "code of conduct" perspective with more critical analysis looking at human rights and labour issues.
Burma/Myanmar is undergoing yet another humanitarian crisis while entering a new critical political stage. In the Kokang region, an opium ban was enforced in 2003, and since mid-2005 no more poppy growing has been allowed in the Wa region. Banning opium in these Shan State regions where most of the Burmese opiates were produced, adds another chapter to the long and dramatic history of drugs, conflict and human suffering.
The possible domino-effect of the Arab Spring makes African dictators tremble in their boots. What are the parallels and what are the differences? Will an African Spring take place and how will it look?
The problem facing Obama is that of constructing “Mubarakism” without Mubarak, that is, to guarantee the continuity of the pro-American autocracy through an acceptable replacement recruited from the ranks of the regime.
It remains unclear what the Western allies were hoping to achieve through their intervention in Libya; but one thing is clear, civilians are still dying as the violence continues, and the UN Secuity Council's mandate went outside the goals of the UN charter.
The numerous rounds of talks held since the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 in Brazil under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been called “the most important negotiations ever undertaken in the history of humankind.” This is no exaggeration. Catastrophic, irreversible climate change represents the gravest threat today to human civilisation.
The current law prohibits drug use and punishes possession for personal use with internment and forced treatment. Domestically, a legal market for coca leaf has always existed and Bolivia is trying to change the international legal regime for the coca leaf.
In Peru, coca leaf consumption has never been criminalized and a state-controlled licensing system exists for its cultivation and distribution. With regard to other drugs, in 1982, Decree 122 established that dependent users shall no longer be punished for possession of drugs for immediate personal consumption, but only when a medical certification is provided to prove the dependency.
On 17 December 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire in protest at a police beating after he resisted attempts to confiscate the cart that he used to sell vegetables and fruit. His desperate action prompted a wave of protests - first in Tunisia and then across the whole of the Middle East - as public anger at pervasive corruption, police brutality, unemployment, neoliberal economic policies, rising inequality and persistent human rights abuses exploded to the fore.
This section explores the underlying causes of the uprisings, debates the military intervention in Libya, examines the ongoing constraints on democratic movements, and looks to highlight the implications of changes in the Middle East for Western powers and their main ally, Israel who have supported autocratic dictatorships to facilitate ready access to oil, support the 'War on Terror' and act as a repressive buffer for migration into Europe.
Pietje Vervest is an economic anthropologist. She has specialised in the European Union's trade and investment agenda and in the international investment regime.
At TNI she coordinates the Economic Justice Programme and the Myanmar in Focus Programme, is part of the Coordination Group of the Seattle to Brussels network and is the European anchor of the Asia-Europe People's Forum.