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Editor’s note: Criminal injustice
Harsh punishment, militarized policing, and extrajudicial killings do not make societies safer, writes Christopher Shay. Yet, even in countries where criminal justice remains elusive, grass-roots organizers, especially in concert with politicians and researchers, can hold governments to account.
The big question: What legacies of colonialism prevent indigenous peoples from achieving justice?
World Policy Journal asked experts from Canada, Kenya, Australia, and Chile how colonialism impedes justice for indigenous peoples.
The standing of trees: Why nature needs legal rights
A global movement is attempting to transform the legal systems that govern humankind’s relationship with the environment. Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s Mari Margil argues that we must stop treating the planet as if it exists only for human exploitation and recognize the fundamental rights of nature.
Legalized authoritarianism: How Egypt’s lawmakers codify oppression
The Egyptian government has repeatedly violated the law with arbitrary arrests, torture in detention, and forced disappearances. But in the past, Egyptian legal expert Mai El-Sadany says, at least these measures could have been challenged in court. Today a person may be subjected to the same abuses without recourse or appeal.
Rape and the president: The remarkable trial and (partial) acquittal of Hissène Habré
Khadidja Zidane told a stunned Senegalese courtroom that Chad’s former president, Hissène Habré, had raped her. But judges ruled that her testimony came too late, and Habré was acquitted of the charge. Kim Thuy Seelinger writes that the case raises a crucial question: How can we balance survivors’ readiness to disclose with defendants’ right to know the full charges against them?
Investing in murder: Honduran farmers sue World Bank’s lending arm for fueling land conflict
Lawyer Lauren Carasik argues that the World Bank’s private-lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, has stoked a bloody land dispute in Honduras by funding the oligarch-owned agribusiness behind the violence. Now, with Carasik’s help, the Honduran farmers are taking the World Bank Group to U.S. federal court.
A body does not just combust: Racism and the law in Germany
Oury Jalloh, an asylum-seeker from Sierra Leone, burned to death chained to a mattress in a German holding cell. Eddie Bruce-Jones, a senior legal lecturer at University of London’s Birkbeck College School of Law, writes that the mistakes in the investigation and prosecution of Jalloh’s case reveal patterns of institutional racism that many Germans are unwilling to confront.
Map room: Crime and xenophobia in Europe
Europeans are increasingly afraid of refugees fleeing war and violence in Syria and Iraq. World Policy Journal compares data from eight European countries, and concludes there’s little connection between refugees, crime rates, and xenophobia.
Dignity, not deadly force: Why procedural justice matters for modern policing and democracy
While police around the world acquire military-grade weapons and surveillance technologies, researchers have reached a different consensus: To reduce lawbreaking, officers should listen to the accused, exhibit evenhandedness, and show basic courtesy. University of Chicago law professor Aziz Z. Huq concludes that the health of a country’s democracy may even depend on it.
“Please don’t mind our tattoos”: Singapore’s re-entry programs for the formerly incarcerated
Singapore has transformed its prison system over the last 20 years to focus on rehabilitation, and recidivism rates have fallen by nearly 50 percent. But Baz Dreisinger finds that the government’s push to employ former prisoners is driven more by an abundance of low-level jobs than any moral calculus.
Anatomy: The world behind bars
World Policy Journal visits prison cells in the U.S., Nicaragua, Norway, and Japan.
“I won’t be silenced”: A conversation with Sen. Leila de Lima
Prison walls cannot muffle Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s fiercest foe. From her cell, Sen. Leila de Lima calls the 71-year-old ruler a “geriatric dictator wannabe” involved in “mass serialized murder” and says history will vindicate her.
Year one: A new start in Germany
Photographer Diàna Markosian worked with Milad Ahkabyar, a high school student in Düsseldorf, Germany, to document his first year in Europe. Milad and his family fled violence in Afghanistan and are still waiting to hear if they can legally stay in their new home.
Marching as to war: Trump’s new militarism
President Donald Trump’s Hobbesian worldview is pushing U.S. national security policies to harsher, meaner places, according to Fordham University’s Karen J. Greenberg.
“My heart is always scared”: The simmering mental health crisis for rape victims in war
Support for victims of sexual violence is underfunded nearly everywhere, but the need for mental health services is particularly acute in conflict and post-conflict zones. Skye Wheeler, a women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, examines the uphill battle to provide care for rape survivors.
Brothers in arms: Why Russian ultranationalists confronted their own government on the battlefields of Ukraine
Why are Russian ultranationalists fighting Kremlin-backed rebels in Ukraine? Journalist Leonid Ragozin investigates the “internationalist” ultranationalists whose brand of extremism cuts across borders.
The new Berlin: Offbeat, disruptive, and imperiled
Berlin’s gritty, inventive, do-it-yourself underside attracted droves of young, educated people. But now the tides of gentrification threaten the city’s quirky demeanor. World Policy Institute fellow Paul Hockenos explains how Berlin’s artists and residents are fighting back.
Aiding and abetting: Why Western fundraising fails to stop the spread of AIDS
International organizations have repeatedly deceived donors to secure ever more funding for AIDS-relief efforts. Ross Benes discusses the incentives for biomedical companies and groups like UNAIDS to mislead the public, while cheaper, more effective solutions remain underfunded.
The end of poverty in China: A tale of two villages
President Xi Jinping has staked his reputation on an ambitious goal: eliminating absolute poverty in China by 2020. Josh Freedman compares two nearby towns in rural Hunan province to reveal the limitations of China’s poverty alleviation campaign.
Infographic: Justice forgotten
About 3 million people around the world who are currently behind bars have not been convicted of a crime. World Policy Journal investigates the uses and abuses of pretrial detention.