Democracy

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In a year full of elections and decisions that may strongly impact on the future shape and direction of European integration, we aim, together with you, to discuss the most relevant challenges facing Europe. We cordially invite you to engage in this year’s European Youth Conference.

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On April 2, 2017 Parliamentary elections took place in Armenia. These were the first national elections after the Constitutional Referendum of 2015 which transformed the country from a Presidential into a Parliamentary Republic. An analysis.

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Europe seems to face a more immediate threat than Le Pen. It comes from a central European country whose governing party belongs to the most mainstream European party, the European People’s Party, Hungary.

The civil society is globally under pressure. In many countries governments are restricting the activities of civil society organisations with targeted measures. In this dossier we deliver analysis and background knowledge, whilst exploring new scopes for action for civil societies.

Movements & Participation

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Especially three developments appear to have caused Wilders’ “defeat” in the election. Still, the next Dutch government will chose a centre-right course on social-economic, climate and immigration policies.

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During the 1956 uprising, the coat of arms named after the Stalinist dictator Mátyás Rákosi was cut out of the national flag by revolutionaries - the ground for a workshop arranged by the artists Katharina Roters and József Szolnoki.

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The hostile environment created by the government makes the work of civil society actors practically impossible. To be a human rights activist in Macedonia is to be a person that is constantly threatened, attacked, and demonized.

Feminism & Gender

By honouring Nomarussia Bonase with this award, the jury of the Anne Klein Women’s Award 2017 acclaims the work and commitment of a South African activist who tirelessly advocates for women’s rights, gender democracy, reparation and reconciliation. Nomarussia Bonase is a role model to many.

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Russia is known as a country with a high level of domestic violence. There is no official statistics available, while NGOs concerned with this issue face serious challenges. And now, the Russian legal system has de facto removed an essential protective barrier between assailant and his prey.

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Discrimination in the healthcare system, exclusion from society, limited job opportunities - in South Caucasus LGBTI persons are still victim of discrimination and violation. An owerview of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Net Politics

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In an interview with Heinrich Böll Foundation Brasil, journalist Thamyra Thâmara, from Complexo do Alemão, speaks about the importance of digital media for popular communicators in the favelas–spaces which are stigmatized by the mainstream media and portrayed as impoverished and violent.

Human Rights

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Corporate lobby groups have created a broad network of influence channels around the G20, with the Business20 (B20) at its core. At the G20 Sherpa meeting in Frankfurt on 23-24 March the B20 presents its policy recommendations to the governments. It is time to counterbalance the corporate influence in the G20.

Numerous non-governmental organisations and networks have worked on a discussion paper about the restrictions for civil society all over the world.

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Balázs Tóth is head of the Law Enforcement Program at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a public benefit human rights organisation that provides legal help to refugees, detainees and victims of law enforcement violence. Kristóf Szombati met with Balázs, who has been working for the organisation since 2004, to discuss the challenges faced by civil society organisations in Hungary.

Political Partys

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A new opposition party established in Hungary: Momentum Movement, a youth party formed by mostly 25-to-35-year-old university graduates. Is it merely a moment or the inception of a long-lasting political force in Hungary?

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On April the 2nd 2017 Presidential elections in Serbia took place. The acting prime minister Alexandar Vučić received in the first ballot the absolute majority, thereby he is able to strengthen his power considerably. Our office Director in Belgrade, Nenad Šebek, analyzes the background.

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The radical right-wing populist Freedom Party (PVV) is currently tied for first place in the polls for the upcoming Dutch elections. Is this a clear sign of a radical right-wing populist wave in the Netherlands? What underlies the success of this party? And how can it be compared to other radical right-wing populist parties?

LGBTI

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Where are the interfaces between religion, faith, and LGBTIQ rights? This question was discussed at the conference “Too queer to believe – Religion, social activism and LGBTI rights” which the Heinrich Böll Foundation held in Berlin in conjunction with the Turkish NGO Kaos GL at October 5th, 2016.

In 2006 an human rights experts launched the “Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity” in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. We have talked to some of the co-authors about the significance of the document and its future.

Migration

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Lebanon has seen political stagnation and sectarian tensions for years. Additionally, the country is deeply affected by the war in Syria. To gain a more nuanced understanding of the situation in the country, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung organized a study tour to Lebanon in October 2016.

History

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Ágnes Heller is one of the most prominent philosophers of our time. We talked with her about her experiences during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, about the crisis in Europe and its future, and about coping with the past.

Dossiers

On April 4th 2017, the Hungarian government passed amendments which are obviously directed against the renowned Central European University (CEU), founded by George Soros. In our feature, we collect articles on Orbán’s attack on academic freedom.

October 23 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Our dossier reflects on the relevance of this historical event for present-day Hungarian society and politics.

The global urbanisation presents great challenges for sustainable development. In view of the UN summit Habitat III in Ecuador in this dossier we broach the issue of the cooperation between local governments and the civil society.

Publications

The alignment of G20 policies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is high on the Indian agenda. This paper examines the three areas energy and climate policy; sustainable and inclusive economic growth; and gender equality.

Any international intervention has crucial limits: It can change the rules of the game, but it cannot empower local players. The articles collected in this issue of Perspectives Southeast Europe tell stories about the current challenges of international intervention in Albania,  Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
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Democracy

In many countries around the world people are protesting against injustice, abuse of power, dire living conditions, and they are campaigning for higher standards. In the process new forms of citizens’ participation in political and administrative processes are evolving. We support all attempts to achieve greater democratisation and participation.

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