Month: January 2015

Why Assisted Return Programmes Must Be Evaluated

Rejected asylum seekers often resist the legal obligation to return. Consequently, European policy makers tasked with migration managament have turned to so-called ‘Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes’ (AVRRs) to incentivize return to and support reintegration in the country of origin. Such programmes are described as less politically costly, more humane, simpler and cheaper than… Read more »

Legality and Courtesy

In his opinion article in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on 21 January, Per Edgar Kokkvold (secretary general in the Norwegian Press Association) stated the obvious, “It is people who must be protected – and who are protected under current legislation, under the law that prohibits discriminatory or hateful utterances, persecution or insults based on religion… Read more »

Can we Comprehend the Incomprehensible?

In 1945, most of us believed that genocide could never happen again. What happened to Jews and Roma (Gypsies) made such a strong impression on us that we believed that the time was definitively past when people murdered each other simply because they belonged to different races or followed different religions or philosophies of life.

More on the Waning of War

On 22 December I reported in this blog on an article by political science professor Øyvind Østerud 18 December in the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that attacked Steven Pinker and ‘large parts of peace research’ for using ‘relative numbers’, i.e. numbers weighted by population, to assess long-term trends in the severity of war. In my brief… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 4

Tuesday 20 January According to the SPLM/A, its forces are still fighting the SPLM/A (IO) in Lakes state.  At least 11 civilians were killed and three wounded in an attack on Kworijik near Juba in Central Equatoria State. The attack was allegedly carried out by neighboring Mundari raiders. Wednesday 21 January The South Sudan government… Read more »

Surveillance Under Control?1

We cannot make do without surveillance, and even political actors must expect to be kept under observation if they espouse extreme positions. But we must keep surveillance under control. This article tells the story of the information about me that had lain in the files of the police security service and to which I gained… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 3

Tuesday 13 January  Al Jazeera: Inside Story ‘China’s motive in South Sudan’ (video). President Salva Kiir reshuffled the Finance Ministry, replacing Finance Minister Aggrey Tisa Sabuni with David Deng Athorbei. 8 killed, 2 injured in Lakes state revenge attack in Cueibet county. President Salva Kiir warned against attempts to delay the elections and democratic process… Read more »

Are Norwegian Oil Companies making Civil Wars More Likely?

East Africa has become the latest hotspot for oil-and-gas discoveries, but the reserves are located in countries characterized by weak state institutions and social unrest. A number of African countries – several of them with significant Norwegian assistance – are on the threshold of becoming major producers of oil and gas. Does this mean that… Read more »