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Hungary is to demolish critical NGOs with new bills

In recent weeks civil organisations in Hungary have been kept busy by a law package that the Government has drafted. It bears the name “Stop Soros” and would restrict freedom of expression and freedom of association as well as refugees’ right to protection.

By Nóra Köves

"What has happened in Zimbabwe is a political fraud"


The power shift in Zimbabwe was a military coup, says Brain Raftopoulos. To prevent the consolidation of a new authoritarian state, the international community has to be careful not to prioritise stability over democratisation.

By Claudia Simons, Brian Raftopoulos

Natural ressource struggles: Shrinking spaces for civil society


Governments and corporations are driving the demand for water, land and organic resources of all kinds as never before. Citizens are fighting for their rights and working to preserve their livelihoods. Our study "Tricky Business" shows how the mechanisms of expropriation work.

Trans, intersex, queer: Germany’s highest court makes groundbreaking ruling

The German Federal Constitutional Court has ordered the legislature to provide a third gender option beside male or female in the country’s birth registry – or else do away altogether with information on gender in civil status. This puts Germany in a position to play a leading role in Europe on this issue.

By Leo Yannick Wild

Opening Speech: Towards Accountability for International Crimes in Syria


A coalition of Syrian civil society, activists and lawyers have filed criminal complaints in Germany against some high-ranking Syrian officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction. A first step towards justice for the victims and survivors of all crimes committed in Syria.

By Barbara Unmüßig

Tragic consequences of rising resource extraction in Latin America


The production of raw materials in Latin America leads to blatant human rights violations and conflicts. Without a strong civil society and the responsibility of European consumers, the settlement of resource-related conflicts becomes impossible.

By Dawid Danilo Bartelt

At the core of the war in Syria

No matter how complex and religiously driven the conflict in Syria may seem, its basic constellation is this: A regime with powerful allies wages a war of annihilation against wide parts of its own population. How could it get to this point? And what is the very least we can do?

By Bente Scheller

“Proof that history can be changed”


For decades, Russian civil rights activist, historian, and German scholar Irina Scherbakova has been working to shed light on the repressive policies of the former Soviet Union. This Monday, she was awarded the Goethe Medal.

By Simone Brunner

Goethe Medal 2017: "Language is the key"

The 2017 Goethe Medals are themed “language is the key”. The recipients Urvashi Butalia, Emily Nasrallah and Irina Scherbakowa take a courageous stance on subjects tabooed in their societies – from violence against women to the politics of remembrance.

"It became my mission to locate women's voices"


Urvashi Butalia is one of India’s foremost feminists. On the occasion of her receiving Germany’s Goethe Medal on August 28, 2017 in Weimar, we have talked to her about her work as a publisher, feminism, writing and politics in India.

By Axel Harneit-Sievers

Hostile takeover: How Orbán is subjugating the media in Hungary

Viktor Orbán and his closest allies have taken control of most of the Hungarian media. Journalists at loyal outlets are expected to closely follow instructions from the state apparatus; in exchange, they receive advertising money from government institutions.

By Krisztian Simon, Tibor Rácz

AfriqUPrising! Protest Movements in Africa

Africa is uprising! In this dossier African activists picture the political protest in their countries, they share their visions for a better future and give an outlook on how they are expanding their movements.

Syria’s Disappeared

Over the past years, tens of thousands of men, women and children in Syria havee become subject to forced disappearances in Syria. On July 12, the film "Syria's Disappeared" was screened in which survivors of Syrian prisons and relatives of some tortured to death speak out.

By Bente Scheller

Veronika Móra: “Solidarity is a very strong force”


In Hungary, NGOs are now required to register as “civic organisations funded from abroad” if they receive financial support from a foreign source. The government is trying to delegitimise any organisation that criticises certain government policies, says Veronika Móra.

By Silja Schultheis