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Introducing this week's special theme: 'Cities of welcome, cities of transit'

openDemocracy and its partners brought activists, academics, and policy makers together in Barcelona late last July to discuss a way forward for refugee-related activism and city welcome policies. This week we present what we learned.


Introducing this week's special theme: 'Cities of welcome, cities of transit'

openDemocracy and its partners brought activists, academics, and policy makers together in Barcelona late last July to discuss a way forward for refugee-related activism and city welcome policies. This week we present what we learned.


This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.

MM

Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

The damage done by the EU’s revolving doors

José Manuel Barroso is not the only senior European official to go through the “revolving door” into the corporate and financial world.

An open letter on the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

In the face of rising racism, scholars, activists and civil society organisations express their support for the UN Working Group on People of African Descent, and call on the UN to heed the call for reparatory justice.

Theresa May and the love police

In Theresa May’s “One Nation” we are all border guards. Her vision of the Big Society will make us all shrink.

Egyptian women: depression or oppression?

Women continuing to push for change in Egypt are bearing the psychological toll of a rigid post-revolution politics and society.

On megalomania and despair: is Sisi really nuts?

The Egyptian state has composed what looks like a closed circuit of public despair and emotional drainage.

Release Ilgar Mammadov

As Azerbaijan votes on constitutional amendments today, let’s not forget the country’s political prisoners.

Barcelona: city of refuge

Barcelona seeks to welcome refugees and migrants into the fabric of the city, but its efforts have been stymied by the national government.

Toward a more reasonable European asylum system

National governments must cede some control over immigration to EU-level institutions if migrants are ever to be received and dealt with humanely.

Welcoming refugees despite the state

Cities and activists across Europe are fighting their national governments to better welcome refugees.

Introducing this week's special theme: 'Cities of welcome, cities of transit'

openDemocracy and its partners brought activists, academics, and policy makers together in Barcelona late last July to discuss a way forward for refugee-related activism and city welcome policies. This week we present what we learned.

It’s gender that’s a joke, not queerness

Being genderqueer is not about displaying an intellectual image—it’s a matter of life and death.

How did we get the Modern Slavery Act?

The Modern Slavery Act was supposed to make Britain a global leader in the fight against slavery, but where did it come from and does it do what its proponents claim?

Shaping the Modern Slavery Act: a look back

Companies may be more willing to tackle exploitation in supply chains than we think, but they need government regulation to ensure they don’t lose their competitive advantage by doing so.

The problem with the British government's approach to exploitation

The NGO Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) engaged strongly with the British parliament during the drafting of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, but found the government resistant to many of its ideas.

Looking back: the fight to protect domestic workers with the Modern Slavery Act

The Modern Slavery Act represented a chance to restore rights to overseas domestic workers in the UK, but due to strong government opposition those rights remain denied. Why?

The thorny ramifications of the Modern Slavery Act

States resort to criminal law when they either can’t or won’t tackle root causes. The Modern Slavery Act is just another example of applying the stick to ‘solve’ a fundamentally socio-economic issue.

The path to the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015: an oral history project

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act, 2015 was hotly debated by policy-shapers during the drafting process. We take a behind-the-scenes look at one of last year’s most contentious bills.

Exploring the coordinated activism behind the Modern Slavery Act

Civil society organisations campaigned intensely to shape the UK’s modern slavery bill as it went through parliament. The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group’s coordinator explains all that went on behind the scenes.

The Refugee Olympic Team: an illusion of inclusion?

The presence of the refugee team at Rio highlights the need to re-evaluate the nationalistic ideology that surrounds and informs modern global sports.

Theresa May, this is not a ‘crisis of migration’, but a crisis of inhumanity

In a carefully coded speech, the UK Prime Minister categorises people on the move as “threats that we face” alongside war and global terrorism.

Don’t think we’ve forgotten: why Cambodia’s leadership needs to change its tune

Hobbes' state of “continual fear, and danger of violent death,” prevails for those thinkers and artists in Cambodia who dare to dream a different future.

Diversity - what Ofcom needs to do

Ofcom's new CEO has pledged to make diversity and inclusion a priority. The regulator needs to improve or it could face judicial review.

Refugee women in the UK: Pushing a stone into the sea

From personal experience I know that arrival in the UK for asylum seekers does not signal safety, but reform is a ‘chaser game’: refugee women are pressuring the Home Office to improve decision making and end detention, says Beatrice Botomani.

Sports diplomacy: Bahrain’s martial arts venture distracts from human rights abuses

While the use of successful sporting events is a persuasive approach to international relations, it is limited in its ability to disguise Bahrain's true nature.

Israel’s right to exist

The reason why the claimed ‘right to exist’ is problematic is a question of definition, not of dematerialisation. A reply to Mary Davis’ reply.

Russia’s security services are trying to reform their way out of the shadows

10838229_1015976098430355_7234058766256563378_o.jpgSweeping reforms to Russia’s power ministries show that the FSB has the country’s security monopoly in its sights.

 

If the UK intervenes in conflict, we must plan properly for peace

From Bosnia to Iraq to Libya, the UK has failed to learn from its disastrous history of neglecting post-war planning.

What can be learned from recent studies on nonviolent action?

Books about peace are rare when compared to books about war, but a raft of new work expands our understanding enormously (3k words).

A rule of law crisis overshadows the refugee one

This week Greek officials agreed to deport a Syrian refugee back to Turkey. Without guarantees that his rights will be protected this risks contravening the EU’s established rules on asylum and human rights. 

The familiar axes of politics are changing, with momentous consequences

Political identities have changed significantly, and politics has shifted with them.