In solidarity to the 16 days activism against gender-based violence, this article highlights the structural violence that impedes the rights of children with disabilities —including girls— in Kenya. The author Stephen Ucembe, who is an alumni of the international Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, emphasizes the need to protect the rights of children confined to institutional care.
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As global as needed, as local as possible: glocal is a buzzword both in the humanitarian and development fields. According to many, acting glocal is a possible response to the long debate on coloniality in aid, and the key for a new generation of international practices that are more aware, more equal, and more balanced. But recent practices show how also glocalization can be steeped into coloniality: who is deciding what is possible and what is needed? And which voices, among the many that are composing the so-called Global South are being heard?
Humanitarian Observatories Series | Creating a space for Congolese to talk about issues including how widespread sexual abuse is ravaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s humanitarian sector
Sexual abuse is widespread in the humanitarian sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The observatory was set up to discuss, among others, crises that plague the humanitarian sector, including sexual abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Humanitarian Observatory (HO) is a suitable space for academics, civil society, international and state actors to discuss humanitarian governance challenges so to contribute in shedding light on how to go about them sustainably.
International Humanitarian Studies Association Conference 2023: “Humanitarianism in Changing Climates”
The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA), which is hosted at the Humanitarian Studies Centre at ISS, held its biennial conference at the beginning of November in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Held in collaboration with North-South University (NSU), and the Insights Network, the three-day conference featured a huge range of presentations and panel discussions on everything from migration, conflict, humanitarian education; and much more besides. The conference was also an opportunity to elect a new President and Board Members for the Association.
The war between Israel and Palestine has saturated the media with many views on the resulting effects. What about the state of things in Gaza prior to this violent conflict? In this blog, Irene Van Staveren — a professor of pluralist development economics at the International Institute of Social Studies — tickles our imagination to consider the complexities of social problems evident in Gaza prior to October 7, 2023 when the war broke out.
There have been many statements, petitions, Op-Eds and other forms of concern and condemnation from scholars following the resurgence of violence around the impasse between Israel and the Palestinians. This also includes Jewish scholars, such as an open letter from Jewish students at Brown University and another from Jewish writers. Moreover, there have been critical Jewish organisations that have long-supported a Palestinian-centred narrative, including the Promised Land Museum, and in particular their tribute to the late German-Dutch phycisist Dr. Hajo Meyer, Zochrot and Jewish Voices for Peace. In the same spirit, as Jewish employees and students at Dutch universities, universities of applied science and research institutions, we also refuse to stay silent about Gaza, and so present the following statement.
In this blog, Tom Ansell looks through International Humanitarian Law at how cutting mobile network and internet access, such as recent targeting of telecoms by the Israeli military during their ongoing retaliation against Palestinian people in Gaza. Whilst the cutting off of utilities such as electricity and water are considered to fall under a ban on collective punishment, International Humanitarian Law does not mention cutting off communication infrastructures. When we consider how vital phone and internet services are for human dignity, organizing relief efforts, and documenting war crimes or countering misinformation, it might be time to consider the deliberate cutting off internet and telecoms access as a breach of International Humanitarian Law and so a war crime.
International Humanitarian Studies Association conference roundtable and North South University statement on Gaza: “As scholars and practitioners of Humanitarian Studies, we strongly condemn acts of widescale and indiscriminate violence against civilian populations”
This blog is part of a series about the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In this piece, Dorothea Hilhorst (Professor of Humanitarian Studies at ISS, outgoing IHSA President) and Sk. Tawfique M Haque (Professor and Chair of Political Science and Sociology, North South University) present a statement made by participants of a roundtable held at the conference to take stock of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
‘Important and urgent’: this decision-making matrix shows that we need to act now to fight climate change
Climate change was first flagged as a global risk several decades ago, but warnings were not taken seriously. Now that climate change is part and parcel of our daily lives, the need for immediate and concerted action to limit its effects is increasingly being recognized, but there is also strong resistance to the radical change required to do this. In this blog article, ISS Professor of Pluralist Development Economics Irene van Staveren contemplates how the well-known Eisenhower decision-making matrix can help us take climate change seriously. We are already in the ‘important and urgent’ box, she argues — an understanding that should drive us to act.
Migration Series | Precarity along the Colombia–Panama border: How providing healthcare services to transit migrants can foster new logics of inclusion and exclusion
Transit migrants journeying the Americas to North America often pass through Necoclí, a seaside town close to the Colombia–Panama border and the Darien Gap. Upon their arrival, they frequently require medical attention but can only access emergency medical services. In this article, Carolina Aristizabal shows how a limited healthcare provisioning system designed for immobile populations has been reworked by humanitarian organizations to help transit migrants receive the care they need. She argues that new logics of inclusion and exclusion emerge as a result of such reconfigurations — a development that may lead in some cases to xenophobia in local communities.
Silence on the Afghan deportation drive from Pakistan reveals hypocrisy; the international community must honour its commitment to human rights
With the Government of Pakistan’s announced deportation drive, the situation of Afghan refugees in Pakistan has taken a shocking turn. In this post, three women refugee researchers from Afghanistan, writing with ISS researchers Karin Astrid Siegmann and Saba Gul Khattak, state that the international community is looking on as Afghan refugees in Pakistan risk deportation to and persecution in Afghanistan. Rather than deporting them, these refugees, especially vulnerable groups, should be resettled to third countries or granted asylum in Pakistan. The international community has a duty to help them, they write.
Misinformation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is spreading like wildfire on social media — here’s why we keep reading fake news and what we can do to change it
Can you trust what you read on social media about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Even some of the most popular posts are misleading. With more and more people using social media as their primary news source, how can we make sure that we’re getting accurate information? This question becomes much more relevant in times of conflict, where misinformation could cause widescale violence. In this blog article, Tom Ansell looks at misinformation in times of conflict and what we can do to encourage better reporting in fast-moving and dangerous contexts.
Decriminalizing sex work is a first step towards assuring rights and recognition for sex workers in Belgium — but it is not a silver bullet
Each year, International Sex Workers Day celebrates sex workers’ resistance to the stigmatization, criminalization, and exploitation they face. This year, to commemorate the event, a seminar at the ISS discussed how sex workers’ advocacy resulted in the recent decriminalisation of sex work in Belgium. In this article, Marianne Chargois, Daan Bauwens, and Karin Astrid Siegmann discuss which further changes need to be made to ensure the dignity and rights of sex workers in Belgium.
Gaza is under constant blockade and subject to multiple airstrikes every day — with little regard for avoiding civilian harm. This is a breach of international humanitarian law, which places specific legal imperatives on combatants not only during war but also as occupying forces after war. In this article, Professor of Humanitarian Studies Dorothea Hilhorst critically discusses Israel’s responsibilities in its role as a combatant, as an occupying force, and as a neighbouring country.
Belonging to and longing for the village: how the earthquake in Morocco reveals the importance of the homeland in shaping diaspora identity
What happens when a country gets hit by an unexpected, highly damaging earthquake? How does the aid this country receives afterwards look like when it has a diaspora community of more than one million people? And how does a tragic event such as an earthquake affect those million people and their diaspora identity? While diaspora identity is often defined by referring to the country of origin, in this article Malika Ouacha discusses how the earthquake in Morocco affected her and led her to foster a deeper understanding of her identity as member of the Moroccan diaspora.
As urbanisation continues to surge, especially in the Global South, it is essential to address the myriad issues that contemporary cities face. The recent EADI/CEsA Lisbon Conference provided a platform to consider urban challenges and possible solutions. Tazviona Richman Gambe and Betty Adoch attended three panels, each with thought-provoking discussions on different urban issues. Three main themes emerged from these panels:
The current wave of protests on the A12 highway in The Hague against government subsidies for fossil fuels have been both applauded and condemned. Several scientists have joined the protests in their professional capacity, which has led to questions of whether their activism threatens their independence as scholars. In this blog article, Dorothea Hilhorst responds to the argument of Dutch scientist and writer Louise Fresco in an NRC column last week that academics have no place in protests. All academics/scientists should be wary of their place in society and should use their positions of expertise to advocate for better outcomes, she writes.
Climate change governance: Why a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) approach is vital for preventing extreme weather events from turning into disasters
Climate change reports and scenarios paint a bleak picture of the present and the future — one filled with extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods, hurricanes, storms, and droughts that could result in the loss of lives, threaten livelihoods, and exacerbate existing problems. But it is too simple to blame climate change for the increase in the number of disasters and for their effects. Today, as we celebrate Disaster Risk Reduction Day, disasters and humanitarian studies scholar Rodrigo Mena argues that a Disaster Risk Reduction approach to governing climate change could be essential for preventing extreme weather events and other climate-related phenomena from becoming disasters.
Extraction was central to the colonization of half of the world in the nineteenth century, having played a key role in enriching already wealthy countries. But while colonization seems to belong to the past, the extractivist mindset based on the notion of extraction continues to pervade all aspects of our lives. In this blog article, a condensed and partial version of the inaugural lecture given by incumbent ISS Rector Ruard Ganzevoort on 12 October 2023, Ganzevoort discusses how extractivism shapes our lived realities and proposes a radically alternative approach to extractivism rooted in compassion.
The recent upsurge of violence in Israel and Palestine signifies a “prelude to genocide”. How could this happen?
The tragedy that has been continually unfolding in Palestine for the past 75 years recently took a dramatic turn when Palestinian armed groups broke through the steel gates closing off Gaza and entered Israel on 7 October 2023. While the details of what occurred are gruesome, but also very unclear, their actions led to a further escalation by Israel, with senior figures in the Israeli government vowing revenge in terms that are tantamount to an incitement to commit genocide. The massive loss of human life and deliberate targeting of civilians has been accompanied by feelings of incredulity. People are asking: How could this happen? In this article, human rights and legal mobilisation scholar Jeff Handmaker provides some context.
Anti-discrimination legislation: findings from a parliamentary investigation and some recommendations
Despite myriad legal provisions in place in the Netherlands to prevent discrimination, it remains a serious issue, permeating all societal sectors and informing government actions and policies, as the recent childcare allowance scandal has shown. Between 2020 and 2022, ISS Rector Ruard Ganzevoort in his capacity as a member of the Dutch Senate chaired a parliamentary committee of inquiry that examined the effectiveness of anti-discrimination legislation. In this blog article, he discusses some of the key findings of the investigation and names six factors that can be considered when seeking to ensure that existing laws effectively prevent discrimination.
Traditionally, Development Studies has been centred around a demarcation between the global North (Europe and North America) and the global South (Asia, Africa, and Latin America). In recent years, there has been growing clamour to throw out this North-South framework – held as outdated – in favour of a new ‘global’ outlook. It sounds harmless enough, but in our recent open access article published in Development and Change, we map out our concerns.
Humanitarian Observatories Series | A humanitarian observatory for discussing heatwaves in South Asia was recently launched — here’s how it wants to improve responses to heatwaves
The heightened vulnerability of the South Asian subcontinent to heatwaves can be ascribed to several interacting characteristics — but these have not been adequately examined and discussed. The Humanitarian Observatory Initiative in South Asia (HOISA) was launched earlier this year in an attempt to bridge this gap by charting the particular risks and vulnerabilities of the region, observing the state of current humanitarian governance processes, and based on ongoing discussions providing recommendations for more effective responses to heatwaves. This article details some of the main dynamics of heatwaves in South Asia considered during HOISA’s first panel discussion, including specific governance challenges that the observatory will focus on.
The recent occupation of the A12 highway in The Hague to protest fossil subsidies has dominated news headlines as protestors blocked the highway en masse for several days in a row. ISS Professor of Pluralist Development Economics Irene van Staveren was one of several academic researchers who joined the protests. In this article, she explains why they decided to appear in academic gowns and refutes several counterarguments scientists, politicians, journalists, and others use to deny climate change or the need for climate action. Neutrality is no longer an option, also for scientists, she writes.
New research published this month gives a better understanding of how and why countries affected by armed conflict are more vulnerable to disasters. In this post, two of the co-authors of this research argue that much of the loss caused by Hurricane Daniel could have been prevented in Libya.
How is the war on Ukraine affecting international development? A look at lesser-heard stories about winners, losers, and the unknowns
The impacts of the war in Ukraine — the largest conflict in Europe since the Second World War — are enormous. The war’s ripple effects are permeating international relations, international organizations, and trade. An important question is who is winning and losing, in which ways, and what we can do about it. During the fourth episode of Research InSightS LIVE held on 29 June, three ISS researchers discussed the compounding effects of the war on global development. In this blog, Adinda Ceelen and Isabella Brozinga Zandonadi summarize the key takeaways of the discussion.
On Saturday 9 September, thousands of activists joined Extinction Rebellion in a blockage of the A-12 highway in The Hague, to protest against the 37 billion Euro annual subsidy of the fossile fuel industry in the Netherlands. The amount was established by research collective SOMO and consists of direct subsidies and tax exemptions. On the highway and at the support demonstration organised by several Dutch NGOs there were dozens of professors, wearing their gown joining the protest, among them several professors of ISS. Joyeeta Gupta of the University of Amsterdam and winner of the Spinoza price 2023 spoke at the support demonstration. Here is her speech.
Launch of the Humanitarian Studies Centre (HSC): “Humanitarian Studies is about dignity and it is about humanity”
Humanitarian Studies has been defined by Professor Thea Hilhorst as the study of societies and vulnerable communities experiencing humanitarian crisis originating from disaster, conflict, refugee situations, and/ or political collapse. This definition stemmed from the recent launch of the Humanitarian Studies Centre (HSC) on 31 August, 2023 at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. The HSC aims to build a network of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to collaboratively impact the field of Humanitarian Studies.
Disasters often have severe impacts on human security. But how do disasters impact armed conflict dynamics? When striking armed conflict zones, disasters indeed frequently trigger higher fighting intensity, confirming concerns about a climate-conflict nexus. However, this effect only occurs in a minority of cases, specifically in locations with a high disaster vulnerability. More importantly, disasters can also reduce civil war intensity, for instance by posing logistical challenges to armed groups. While such effects are often short term, they provide important windows of opportunity for relief provision and diplomacy, writes Tobias Ide.
Home is where the heart is, the old adage goes. But home is also a space and a feeling of belonging created through our connections with each other, whether it’s by means of sharing daily experiences, values, hopes and dreams, a place on Earth, or all of these. In this post, Ruard Ganzevoort, who recently joined the ISS as its new rector, shares his thoughts on feeling at home at the ISS and why this feeling arises.
Migration Series | “Us Aymara have no borders”: Differentiated mobilities in the Chilean borderlands
In Chile, recent initiatives to manage migration have been based on nation-state and sedentary imaginaries. These approaches to migration are challenged by the traditionally mobile and trans-national lives of the Aymara indigenous population residing in Colchane and Pisiga Carpa. Focusing on the Aymara residents of these so-called transit communities and initial reception points for migrants and refugees upsets pre-supposed differences between ‘migrants’ and ‘non-migrants’ and invites us to reconsider approaches to mobility.
EADI Conference 2023 | From sunbathing to sunstroke: How should we personally respond to the risks of (severe) heat and heatwaves?
This summer, several weather records have been smashed, with the hottest week ever recorded occurring last week. The heat is becoming a serious problem; some may argue that climate change is on our doorstep and no longer an unimaginable future. But while heatwaves are particularly dangerous, leading to a loss of lives and health risks, above-average temperatures are also risky, even when a heatwave hasn’t been declared officially. In this article, ISS PhD researcher Lize Swartz asks whether we should also be taking action when there are no heatwaves and what role we can play in protecting ourselves—and those around us—from the heat.
Migration Series | From branding to bottom-up ‘sheltering’: How CSOs are helping to address migration governance gaps in the shelter city of Granada
Granada is one of the few Spanish cities that established itself as a ‘shelter city’ for migrants, but despite the city administration’s pledge in 2015 to improve migration governance, bridge divides, and promote community building between migrant and non-migrant communities, selective indifference towards migrants persists. In light of several governance gaps caused by the failure of local authorities in Granada to go beyond the mere branding and enactment of the concept of shelter cities, various civil-society organizations (CSOs) have launched initiatives aimed at alleviating these tensions and are filling the gaps left by local authorities, writes former ISS MA student Christy Gamboa.
Humanitarian Observatories Series | Why it’s crucial for internally displaced persons to participate in the peace process following Ethiopia’s Oromia Conflict
Like the conflict in Tigray, one of the gravest consequences of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Oromia region has been the disastrous level of internal displacement it has given rise to. In this blog, Alemayehu B. Hordofa provides an overview of the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Oromia and shows why ensuring their rights should be at the heart of the peace process in the region. He contends that the peace process in Oromia should give adequate space to the viewpoints of at-risk populations, including IDPs, and that including their concerns in a peace agreement is critical for safeguarding sustainable peace and preventing future conflict-induced displacements.
Migration Series | From caminantes to community builders: how migrants in Ecuador support each other in their journeys
With the deep political and socio-economic crisis, a large number of Venezuelans have fled to other countries, including Ecuador. Many people have journeyed on foot, earning them the name caminantes (walkers/hikers), and have encountered various challenges but also forms of solidarity along the way. This blog centres on the experiences of different actors who have provided aid to caminantes as they traverse Ecuador, turning the one-dimensional idea of migrants and refugees as victims on its head.
In the past few months, several humanitarian observatories have been set up in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Asia as part of a project on humanitarian governance and advocacy. These observatories review humanitarian action in the countries they’re located in and aim to contribute to humanitarian reform from below. In this post, Dorothea Hilhorst introduces this exciting new development and the Bliss blog series that will show what’s happening at the different observatories.
Why are we blocking a highway as scientists? It is a justified response to the violence of climate change
How can scientists help engender societal change, and when is it effective to take the road of activism? This question has become increasingly relevant in the face of the urgent need to address the implications of climate change. In this blog (that first appeared on 1 June 2023 as an op-ed in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant), Professors Thea Hilhorst and Klaas Landsman – both recipients of the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands in 2022 – gave a speech during the occupation of the A12 by Extinction Rebellion. Why did they choose to participate in this action as scientists?
Migration Series | How does a place become (less) hostile? Looking at everyday encounters between migrants and non-migrants as acts and processes of bordering
What happens if people on the move encounter others who by means of their everyday actions and interactions can render environments hostile or who actively try to prevent this? What are the effects of these encounters on the places migrants inhabit and traverse? This article introduces a blog series that highlights a diversity of encounters between migrants and non-migrants to put the reader in the shoes of those who are migrating, crossing borders and/or settling in. Through the series, we aim to show how both migrants and non-migrants navigate terrain that becomes hostile through modern manifestations and practices of nation-state borders amidst so-called ‘migration crises’.
Grappling with unease – together: collective reflections on Migration Studies and Colonialism by Mayblin and Turner
How can scholars tackle the legacy of colonialism in migration studies? Last year, a small group of critical development studies scholars at ISS sought to reflect on this challenge by collectively reading and discussing the book Migration Studies and Colonialism that explores exactly this issue. In this article, we share our observations and discuss two things that we consider vital in meaningful discussions on the topic: the need to move beyond simplistic notions of European colonialism and the importance of meaningful engagement with scholars from the ‘Global South’.
Contemporary debates in agrarian studies have been predominantly focused on land and property issues, at times to the detriment of questions about production and exchange. The large and expanding footprint of contract farming is one example of a relatively neglected – yet significant – dimension of contemporary agricultural systems in the Global South. Farming contracts are one of many forms of coordinating production and exchange that seek to avoid the uncertainty for producers and buyers of finding each other more spontaneously in open markets. Contract farming involves a non-transferable agreement between farmers and buyers that specifies the terms of production and marketing, typically relating to the price, quantity, quality and delivery of the product.
The dangerously optimistic global climate finance agenda: why blended financing and domestic resource mobilization won’t help close the climate finance gap
The global climate finance agenda in its current form is insufficient for tackling climate change and fostering a green transition across the globe. Calls to close the massive climate finance gap that prevents developing countries from accessing much-needed funds often rely on the expectation that domestic resource mobilization and blended finance can help close the gap. In this article, we demonstrate why this expectation seems wildly optimistic and argue that instead of relying on insecure trends, global policy makers should take action by developing policies that grant a bigger role for public money and innovative monetary solutions.
Development Studies must always be critical, or it becomes just an apology for the status quo, for exploitation, for the reproduction of inequality within and between nations, and for the destruction of the conditions of life on Earth.
Earth Day Series | How spending time in urban green spaces can counter our children’s biophobia and improve the wellbeing of older adults
In a recent BLISS blog, we argued that outdoor nature education programmes in primary schools can help combat eco-anxiety among children. As young people have fewer and fewer direct encounters with nature, they come to fear or misunderstand it. Spending time learning through nature outdoors can help prevent this from happening. But adults can also benefit from being outside: an ongoing project shows that spending time in urban green spaces can enhance the well-being of older adults. To ensure that urban green spaces are suited for intergenerational use, they may need to be adapted.
Earth Day Series / Honour thy financial commitments: climate funds promised at COP27 won’t reach vulnerable countries unless these things are done
When the COP27 summit was kicked off in Egypt in November last year, there was hope that some progress would finally be made in financing climate action. But Hao Zhang, who attended the summit, observes that although efforts seem to have been stepped up, there is not yet reason for optimism. In fact, COP27 was marked by the failure of government leaders to truly commit financially to meeting climate goals. While the past year has witnessed devastating disasters, a potential economic downturn and energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, geopolitical unrest, and the aftermath of Covid pandemic, this is not enough to justify the lack of commitment, she writes.
Myanmar’s Spring Revolution is now in its third year since the February 2021 military coup. Despite facing brutal repression including arson attacks and aerial bombardment by Myanmar’s state security personnel, ordinary people across the country are continuing to resist the return to dictatorship. What explains the extraordinary resilience of their civil disobedience and armed resistance efforts?
Mujeres Indígenas Profesionistas Trabajando para Transformar las Ciudades en México: Reflexiones Metodológicas
Las prácticas de investigación continúan sin reconocer la multiplicidad de puntos de vista, experiencias y conocimientos de las diversas personas involucradas en los procesos investigativos, pasando muchas veces por alto los significados que las personas dan a sus propias vidas y a la realidad, y silenciando así las interpretaciones subjetivas. En este blog compartimos algunas reflexiones sobre la metodología desarrollada en el marco de un proyecto sobre el Derecho a la Ciudad con mujeres indígenas en Guadalajara, México. Pensar la investigación como un sistema vivo, compuesto por numerosos engranajes movilizados por el trabajo colaborativo, puede ayudarnos a investigar de forma más consciente y responsable, escriben Azucena Gollaz y Marina Cadaval.
Scholars at risk: why the Dutch system for protecting persecuted scholars is failing and why the government urgently needs to get involved
In the past, scholars facing persecution have regularly been received by Dutch universities, which have provided them with a safe space to continue conducting their research in times of adversity. In 2019, the Dutch system for providing a safe haven for such scholars collapsed – an event that went largely unnoticed at the time. Ever since, efforts to help scholars have been mostly futile, largely because the bureaucratic hurdles to providing a safe space are more or less insurmountable. In this article, Linda Johnson explains how and why the Dutch system for supporting refugee scholars has become ineffective and suggests what should be done about it.
A rise in the number and scale of political tensions between countries in the Global North clearly signal the return of geopolitics; the war waged by Russia on Ukraine is a key example. But while such conflicts are widely reported on, a new geopolitics emerging in the Global South, while equally significant, is often overlooked and should be receiving more attention, writes Wil Hout, ISS Professor of Governance and International Political Economy.
Year in and year out, academics send themselves halfway across the world to attend conferences. In an age in which flying for leisure is fast becoming a taboo, are such conferences in which academics and their universities pay large sums of money to converge for brief moments to present their research and to network also becoming impermissible? And are they even more concerning when they take place in ‘exotic’ places at convenient moments – are destination conferences a thing, and are they a problem?
Numerous Palestinian, Israeli, international and UN organizations as well as scholars have called Israel an apartheid and settler-colonial regime. The City of Amsterdam has historically acted against South Africa’s apartheid regime, yet the same is not happening now in relation to Israel’s apartheid regime. At a recent panel discussion on anti-racism, Jeff Handmaker talked to renowned anti-apartheid activists about the role the city could and should play in condemning Israel’s oppressive and racist actions. It is important that Amsterdam affirm its cultural heritage as a space for solidarity anti-racism, he writes.
Women’s Week 2023 | From young girls to “bush wives”: Armed conflicts are traumatising girl soldiers in Africa, and post-conflict peacebuilding and rehabilitation efforts could be making it worse
As armed conflicts persist across the world, children are repeatedly recruited into armed groups as soldiers, robbing them of their childhood. While some estimates reveal that girls comprise almost half of all child soldiers, they feature less prominently in post-conflict peacebuilding and rehabilitation efforts. Esther Beckley in her research explores the disproportionate impacts of war on girl soldiers, exposes the gender blindness of post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, and calls into question the legitimacy of peacebuilding programmes.
Women’s Week 2023 |“I am a girl, not a woman”: how recognizing diverse girlhoods can foster the inclusion of young mothers in debates on womanhood and girlhood.
In Uganda, young mothers are predominantly called women, although some young mothers contest that representation and prefer to be called girls. The normative insistence on categorizing young mothers as women despite girlhood being a transitional phase locks young mothers in an in-between category, a space in which they can be neither girls, nor children, nor women. International Women’s Day celebrations further risk widening the gap between such girls whose daily realities centre on survival, writes Annah Kamusiime. The need to recognize diverse girlhoods is a first step in ensuring that girls are included in discussions on womanhood and girlhood.
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, here’s a list of articles we’ve published on women’s struggles for gender equality
Today, International Women’s Day is celebrated globally. To mark the occasion, we’re showcasing the blog articles on women’s struggles for gender equality that we’ve published on Bliss over the past five years. We hope that the articles inspire further action and discussion. Happy International Women’s Day!
Transformative Methodologies | Professional indigenous women acting to transform urban spaces in Mexico: methodological reflections
Research practices often still do not adequately recognize the multiple points of views, experiences, and knowledges of those we work with. In the process, the meanings that people give to their own lives and to reality are often overlooked, which silences subjective interpretations. In this blog, we share some reflections on the methodological process developed while carrying out a project about the right to the city with indigenous women in Guadalajara, Mexico. Thinking of research as a living system comprising numerous collaborative gears turned and interlocked by different types of support can help us do research more mindfully and responsibly.
The response to the OccupyEUR protest and an invitation to a survey on the university as a ‘brand’ are provocations, writes professor of Social Theory Willem Schinkel. They flatten what a university actually is.
Last year, Sri Lanka faced its worst economic crisis to date, accompanied by political upheaval that left its population reeling as they struggled to make ends meet. In this article, Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits briefly outlines how things played out in 2022, showing that while the crisis has had a devastating impact on the country’s stability and prosperity, 2023 signals a time for action – and change.
The politics of ethnicity: are political elites in Bolivia using indigenous discourses to win elections?
In Bolivia and elsewhere in Latin America, indigenous peoples have sought greater inclusion and more rights and freedoms for many decades. While it appears that they have been somewhat successful in doing so, in reality, their lives have not changed much. Political promises to act on their behalf have not been honoured and they remain excluded and marginalized. The link between poverty and being indigenous persists. In this article, Alvaro Deuer Cenzano, ISS 2018-2019 Alumni, shows why it’s important to study the role of elites in perpetuating these social injustices, arguing that the instrumental use of ethnic discourses to win elections may be strongly contributing.
Both scholars and practitioners engaged in either researching or advancing legal mobilization recognize that law can be used to guide legal interventions seeking to trigger transformative justice. A persistent question faced by legal mobilization practitioners and researchers alike is: who are we mobilizing for, and with whom? As a member of the Legal Mobilization Platform (LMP), I sought to answer this question during the platform’s launch on 12 January 2023 in The Hague.