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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Against the criminalisation of foreign fighters with the discourse of terrorism

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Last week, interior ministers of the 15 countries sitting at the UN Security Council met to discuss foreign fighters. They did so as part of the follow-up of Resolution 2178 (2014), which defines foreign fighters as people “who travel or attempt to travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality, and other […]

When could I start considering the possibility of anti-homeless spikes?

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These spikes were installed in the entrance of a luxury block of flats in South London. Somebody took the picture and sparked a rapid reaction on social media. Both the local Council and the Mayor of London urged the owners to remove them as soon as possible. I don’t know if they are still there. […]

What matters in the EU debate? Numbers, authorship or content?

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I attended yesterday an event organised by the European Institute of the LSE. The title was: “European Parliament Elections: What is at stake?” The speakers were Stuart Wheeler, UKIP treasurer, Maurice Fraser and Sara Hagemann, from LSE, and Mark Leonard, director of ECFR. The event was supposedly chaired by John Peet, Europe editor of The […]

Ruggie versus Ecuador: Will a human rights norm ever emerge regardless of Western support?

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In September 2013, a number of countries issued a joint statement in favour of an international treaty on business and human rights. The statement was drafted by Ecuador and signed also by the African Group, the Arab Group, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru. These countries believe that a legally binding […]

A normative defence of a foreign policy in line with human rights

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This article was originally published in Dialogue, issue 6, winter 2013. In the last two decades, norms and beliefs have put on weight in scholarly research in international relations. Traditional (neo)realists would still insist that international relations are only about one predetermined goal, that is, survival. Nonetheless, among those willing to accept that there is […]

Mapping human rights or how to sieve governments’ words into the bowl of facts

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I will be honest with you: I tend to dislike the idea of categorising human rights violations with numbers. If human rights are indivisible and interdependent, how can we say that the violation of this right deserves a “4” while the violation of that one will do with a “2”. Does that mean that two […]

Are freedom, social justice, democracy and human rights appealing outside the West?

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The puzzle is probably as applicable to Europe as to the rest of the world. Looking at the way intelligence agencies have been spying over European citizens, or at the “legacy of poverty” that the austerity policies are leaving behind, we can legitimately wonder if freedom, social justice, democracy and human rights are at all […]

Mr. Hague, considering Western Sahara, Morocco is not a strong example of peaceful reform and progress

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A few days ago the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, met the Prime Minister of Morocco, Abdelilah Benkirane. In a short press note, the Foreign Office said that “Morocco stands as a strong example of peaceful reform and progress in North Africa, and the UK will continue to support the government’s reform process”. Perhaps the […]

NSA surveillance confirms the realist paradigm, and I am not happy about that

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Only a few days ago I briefly presented the research of my life, which I have just started and deals with the influence that human rights make on foreign policy making in Europe. In particular, at the moment I am reading and thinking about why countries choose to embrace and foster certain human rights norms […]

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