Wahid Baloch and the plight of ‘missing persons’ in Pakistan

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Wahid Baloch, a prominent activist, was allegedly detained by security forces earlier this year. Baloch has now been reunited with his family but there’re thousands of other Baluchistan activists whose fate is unknown.

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Why are Afghan Shiites being targeted?

23 November 2016, by Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Masood Saifullah:

Afghanistan has seen a surge in terror attacks targeting the country’s minority Shiite community. Observers say the attacks are aimed at undercutting the government’s credibility and exacerbating the sectarian tensions.

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It’s Not Only about Illegal Migration & International Law: The Uighur Conundrum

21 July 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Image by mike.benedetti

There is much media attention on Thailand’s latest deportation of more than 100 Uighur back to China, which was officially confirmed on 9 July 2015. The asylum seekers which entered the South East Asian country illegally got subsequently detained by the Thai immigration authorities and held in custody for over a year. In order to find a solution, the Royal Thai government finally decided to hand them over to China ‘under the agreement that their safety is guaranteed according to humanitarian principles’. Nevertheless, Bangkok had to face immense criticism by the international community, especially through human rights organisations and the United Nations. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, proclaimed he is considering the deportation of the Uighurs as ‘a flagrant violation of international law’. Additionally, in several countries such as Turkey and Germany, remarkable protests broke out not only to express solidarity with the Uighurs but also to formulate grievances about the manner in which deportation was carried out.

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Crackdown on Islamists: Bangladesh’s New Campaign against Jihadi Terror in Perspective

24 June 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Earlier this month, Bangladesh’s security forces carried out a nationwide crackdown on radical Islamists in the country. The main part of the campaign ran over several days and included interventions by thousands of police and paramilitary personal, led to the arrest of more than 11,300 people.

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Bangladesh executions: What could be the repercussions?

23 November 2015, Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive interview with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Recent executions of two opposition leaders in Bangladesh have drawn international criticism. But expert Siegfried O. Wolf tells DW it is crucial for the South Asian country to bring the 1971 war criminals to justice.

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Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus

8 October 2015

Image by Marianna Karakoulaki

Afghanistan has experienced close to four decades of perpetual violence wars, political upheavals, and religious and ethnic clashes, resulting in millions of Afghans fleeing to neighbouring countries for protection. Facing the Soviet invasion after the Saur revolution and the ensuing civil conflict, between 1979 and the early 1990s approximately [1] six million escaped to Pakistan and Iran, marking the first exodus of Afghan refugees. Continue reading “Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus”

Nepal constitutional reform an uphill battle

25 September 2015

Nepal is once again trying to change the nature of its political system. After the end of a 10-year Maoist insurgency in 2006, it is drafting a new constitution. Due to numerous unfortunate political undercurrents, numerous interruptions meant the constitutional-building process was delayed for more than seven years. Finally, on 20 September 2015 Nepal has formally adopted a new constitution, the first to be drawn up by democratically elected representatives after centuries of autocratic rule.

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Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: Entrenching Democratic Change

29 August 2015; by Siegfried O.  Wolf

Image by Vikalpa | Groundviews | Maatram | CPA

Rather a Referendum than a Vote

On Monday, August 17, Sri Lanka’s 15 million strong electorate went to the national polls for the second time this year. Among analysts, there is no doubt that this was not only a ‘popular vote’, which decided over the new composition of the country’s 225-seat-parliament, it was also a referendum regarding the basic nature of Sri Lanka’s political culture. Continue reading “Parliamentary Elections in Sri Lanka: Entrenching Democratic Change”

Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”

Rohingya Crisis and the ‘Boat People’ Conference: Towards a Regional Solution?

18 June 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Image by European Commission DG ECHO

To respond to the ‘alarming rise in the irregular movement of persons in the Indian Ocean’, the Royal Thai Government organized the ‘Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean’ on May 29th, 2015 in Bangkok. Subsequently seventeen countries convened in Thailand’s capital to address the then called ‘boat people problem’ in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. Among the participants [1]were high-level representatives of the five most affected countries namely Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. The fact that Sri Lanka, India as well as Afghanistan joined this significant event underpins the fact that the ‘boat people’ crisis is an issue which involves not only the intersection between South Asia and South East Asia but also the respective subcontinents on the whole. Continue reading “Rohingya Crisis and the ‘Boat People’ Conference: Towards a Regional Solution?”