Impunity, the Postcolony and the Promise of Justice

By Henrique Furtado

Impunity’ figures in 9 out of 10 lists of the biggest difficulties faced by societies in the so called Third World. Ask anyone for a quick synthesis of the ‘problem’ with African, Asian, Latin American countries and impunity – the absence of punishment for those who violate moral, legal or social codes – will certainly be there, side by side with ‘corruption’, ‘backwardness’ and ‘underdevelopment’. Impunity is a pressing issue in a country pervaded by violence such as Brazil. Currently figuring as the most lethal democracy of the world in absolute numbers, Brazil has witnessed roughly 60,000 assassinations (the same number of American soldiers lost in Vietnam) on average, per year, for the past two decades. The levels of violence in the country trump those of far more discussed international conflicts.


In a recent article published in Security Dialogue entitled On Demons and Dreamers: Violence, silence and the politics of impunity in the Brazilian truth commission, I discuss how the way we understand impunity in the present depends on the way we remember violence in the past. In this sense, Brazil is quite an emblematic case. From 1964 to 1985, an anti-communist military dictatorship ruled in Brazil waging a ‘dirty war’ to defend Western capitalism. Under the military regime, agents of the state were responsible for arbitrary detentions, torture, extrajudicial executions, and forced disappearances. Different claims from human rights activists range from 434 to almost 10,000 fatal victims. More than three decades have passed since the end of the dictatorship and, despite some commendable attempts, none of these crimes were properly punished. Worse, citizen security in the country remains militarised.

The Resistance Memorial, São Paulo/ Taken by author

… the way we understand impunity in the present depends on the way we remember violence in the past…

The transition to democracy in Brazil was defined by a pact of forgetfulness. The elites decided to ‘let bygones be bygones’ and the mass of self-proclaimed liberal good-citizens, who stood as silent bystanders while rights were violated, applauded. This pact of silence, forgetfulness and impunity helped to create a myth among activists, politicians, and social scientists that Brazil lived under a ‘culture of impunity’. In other words, the absence of criminal accountability for perpetrators of violations of human rights in the past was supposed to explain the absurd levels of violence witnessed in the present. As the logic goes, the amnesty of perpetrators led to an abnormal banalisation of violations of human rights. This myth, wholeheartedly supported by the Brazilian truth commission, is part of what I call the ‘politics of impunity’: the belief that violations of human rights in postcolonial societies are abnormal vis a vis the protection of civil rights in ‘healthy’ liberal societies.

In my article I explain how the Brazilian truth commission rightfully defended the punishment of those who participated in systematic acts of state terror in the past. But, more importantly, I also argue that this will never, in and on itself, resolve the systemic problem of violence in Brazil. The military are of course guilty of perpetrating violations of human rights in the past, but they are not guilty of creating a whole ‘culture’ where the lives of certain groups are treated as disposable. A culture that could be easily normalised by a few parsimonious measures of transitional justice. Most victims of violent crime in Brazil today are non-white, young males from deprived communities. Paradoxically, and against the idea of a ‘culture of impunity’, they also form the bulk of the country’s massive prison population. These groups are victimised (and continuously punished) by a system of inequalities (racism, sexism, dispossession) that far transcends the scope of the military dictatorship and that was not sufficiently discussed by the Brazilian truth commission. These inequalities are not specific to the postcolony, they are most certainly not unique to Brazil and they will never be overcome. At least not if we continue to talk about the impunity of the military without fundamentally addressing the violent system they were fighting for.


“Dimming the Sun” and the Implications of a ‘Plan B’ to Prevent Global Warming

By Olaf Corry

What security problems are likely to be involved in developing and using technology to deliberately modify the global climate ?

Some argue that effective global action to prevent global warming is too difficult politically, and that ‘dimming the sun’ should be explored. The idea is that a possible way to reduce climate risks is by limiting the amount of solar radiation that actually reaches the earth. One model involves continuously spraying aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect more light back out into space, and in the process lowering global temperatures. Rather than being seen as a replacement for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such ideas have been presented as a ‘Plan B’ that should be considered to allow extra time for greenhouse gases to be dealt with.

However, there are risks involved in using such high-leverage geoengineering technologies. My article, recently published in Security Dialogue, argues that the ability of geoengineering to reduce climate risks depends, ultimately, not just on technological innovations and avoiding ‘moral hazard’ but, rather,  also depends on avoiding the potential for a new type of  ‘security hazard’ to emerge.


Well-ordered global politics must therefore be a key component in any such ‘Plan B’ to cool the Earth…  any imagined future comprehensive framework for cooperation on geoengineering rests on some fairly optimistic assumptions about the rationality and temperateness of leaders, and on the effectiveness of global governance in general.

Global Temperatures in 2015- NASA- Public Domain under Wikimedia Commons.

First, even if no major unexpected effects ensue, diverging interests and risk profiles would make the use (or non-use) of geoengineering intensely political. Even keen supporters of stratospheric aerosol injection warn strongly against deployment without adequate global agreements, accountability and oversight. ‘Rogue’ or inadequately governed climate engineering outside a comprehensive agreement could exacerbate threats to international peace and stability. Well-ordered global politics must therefore be a key component in any such ‘Plan B’ to cool the Earth. Although theoretically cheaper than decarbonizing the global economy, any imagined future comprehensive framework for cooperation on geoengineering rests on some fairly optimistic assumptions about the rationality and temperateness of leaders, and on the effectiveness of global governance in general. Incentives to cooperate exist but so do incentives to go it alone, to override objections, to deny compensation to ‘losers’, to geoengineer in somebody’s interests more than others’, or to abuse the technology in other ways.

Moreover, by making the global weather something somebody ‘does’ to somebody else, high-leverage geoengineering potentially risks introducing friend-enemy dynamics into climate politics as a whole. Not only might this make geoengineering effectively unavailable as a Plan B, but by making climate politics part of existing geopolitical rivalries and security dynamics it also risks making Plan A (greenhouse gas emissions reduction) even more difficult to achieve. ‘Security’ is a special category of politics in which so-called ‘normal’ rules and methods are often set aside in favour of exceptional ones due to existential threats, real or otherwise. Such ‘exceptional’ measures could and usually do include violence, secrecy, and a variety of undemocratic measures justified for ‘security reasons’. States deploying geoengineering may, via the climate, appear as existential threats to others. Even ‘random’ weather events could become geopolitically contentious.

Research and further exploration of these technologies should not be ruled out, but the ‘security hazard’ associated with geoengineering should be taken seriously when assessing whether or not new technologies are likely, ultimately, to reduce or exacerbate risks associated with climate change.


Can Peace be Tied up in Patriarchal Fantasies?

Is peace a gender-neutral term? Can peace be tied up in patriarchal fantasies? What is masculinity nostalgia and how does it shape ideals of post-war peace?

Our recent article published in Security Dialogue answers these questions through a case study analysis of Palestinian peace activists. We asked peace activists to talk about how war and occupation might impact their ability to live up to gender norms. One interview in particular stands out for us. When asked about his experiences at checkpoints, a male peace activists told us:

you feel that, OK you can take the humiliation if you are on your own but you don’t want your family or your wife to… see that humiliation or…it affects your ego, it effects your dignity, so you know how it is so especially for men here they feel very proud about their dignity and think maybe macho or something…  To destroy the dignity especially of men by even having young girls, female soldiers interrogate you and sometimes humiliate you at checkpoints. (Interviewee 6)

For us, this interview illustrates the complex way that war and occupation not only cause trauma and humiliation, but cause particular forms of stress related to gender norms. For this man, the humiliation of checkpoints was made worse when his family was there to witness and when young female soldiers performed interrogations. The interviewee went on to explain that both these factors exacerbate the humiliation because they thwart his ability to perform his expected role as a father, protector, and leader of the family.


Through this and other interviews, we observed how war and occupation- particularly checkpoints, changes to the local economy, the presence of occupying forces, and loss of land- can disrupt and produce new gender norms. We were particularly interested in civilian masculinities and the ways in which masculinities might be impacted by conflict and insecurity. The goal was not to downplay or trivialise the very real everyday forms of violence and oppression experienced by men and women in Palestine. We were also not attempting to create a new typology of military masculinities, or assuming that expressions of masculinity nostalgia are fixed categories that will remain relevant for all time. Our main goal was to listen to civilian men how map how they see war and occupation impacting their gender identities.

Perhaps the most interesting finding- to us- was that male peace activists saw war and occupation as limiting their ability to fulfil their ‘traditional’ gender roles as fathers, breadwinners, and landowners. For them, peace was not only about the absence of war, but also about them returning to what they saw as their rightful place as head of the household, primary breadwinner, and patriarchal leader. Peace is often defined simply as the absence of war or as a gender-neutral and positive ideal. However, some ideals of peace and security assume and are dependent upon ‘the return’ of men to their presumed rightful places at the head of households and as economic providers. In turn, masculinity nostalgia emphasizes the ways that yearnings for peace and security can be interwoven with yearnings for patriarchal gendered orders.

By Czech160 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These interviews helped us to develop the concept of masculinity nostalgia. Nostalgia is generally understood as a longing for the past, or for a set of relationships and experiences associated with the past. Masculinity nostalgia mythologizes peace as a time of patriarchal power, authority, and gender certainty. Masculinity nostalgia is both the yearning for an idealized, secure and peaceful time in which gender roles were presumed to have been clear and uncontested, and a quest for the loss of patriarchal power and gender authority that is associated with insecurity, war and occupation. We argue that gender norms and identities are often impossible ideals that individuals- even in peacetime- struggle to live up to. Masculinity nostalgia seemed almost like a coping mechanism. It allowed men and women to idealise peace as a time when finally- one might be able to successfully perform masculinity.

Conflict and occupation have altered the economic and political environment in the West Bank. Checkpoints, significant changes in industry and economic relations, and migration and displacement have all impacted daily life for Palestinians. Our research shows that these fluctuations in daily life, impact men and women’s capacity to perform and live up to gender norms and ideals. In particular, men are finding it increasingly difficult to perform masculine models of fatherhood, land owners, and breadwinners. These shifts create a particularly perplexing situation: at the same time as it has becomes ever more impossible to perform models of masculinity, there are continued expressions of masculinity nostalgia for these very models of masculinity. In other words, there is both a lamenting of one’s inability to perform masculine ideals coupled with a yearning for these very ideals. The most unique findings of our research are the ways that masculinity nostalgia associates peace, security, and the ‘return to normal’ with men’s ability to reclaim their presumed rightful place in society. This ‘rightful place’ is understood as a time and place where men are in control of both the domestic and national sphere; as the ultimate benefactors of patriarchy. Therefore, masculinity nostalgia emphasizes the ways that yearnings for peace and security can be interwoven with yearnings for patriarchal gendered orders.

The transactional politics of border control in the Aegean

The images of migrants and refugees trying to reach the European mainland by boat are well known. Much less is known about how border surveillance at sea actually takes place. The research for our article ‘Surveillance at sea: The transactional politics of border control in the Aegean’ brought us to the Greek islands Chios and Lesbos. How do Greek coast guards, Frontex officials and military police forces of EU-member states guard the Agean?

By Irish Defence Forces [CCBY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Interviews with coast guards, migrants and their representatives, local authorities and NGOs and field work on a patrol vessel made us aware border control at sea consists of a huge patchwork of practices and techniques. Observations of patrol vessels are shared with authorities on the islands but also with the national coordination center in Athens and the Frontex headquarters (by now called the ‘European Border and Coast Guard Agency’) in Warsaw. Satellite images and information collected by radar travels through a network of professionals and officials. The resulting ‘vision’ of a critical situation in which an unknown boat reaches Greek waters and a decision with regard to a possible intervention has to be made is the outcome of many different hands with many different technologies.

What we found missing in this picture is one crucial group of actors: the migrants themselves. Migrants are not passive objects but form an active part of the scene and create that scene to a certain extent. However, many descriptions of surveillance do not grant them with agentive capacities.

Lambro Halmatic 60 class lifeboat SAR-513, SX6579, of the Hellenic Coast Guard at Marina Zeas CG station. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Copyright (C) 2007 K. Krallis SV1XV

Our research found that the ‘situational awareness’ of border surveillance that ought to provide modes of intervention in a meeting of Hellenic Coast Guard vessels with boats that carry migrants is confronted with people who can prove hard to tow away. Or they can prove recalcitrant to the extent that they enact a change of the definition of the surveillance situation into that of a Search and Rescue missions (SAR). Although the implementation of new technologies often promises to subdue such recalcitrance, our analysis showed how recalcitrance is generated by the interplay of visual technology and the being seen (by migrants) of mobile forms of surveillance technology. Moving between border protection and SAR is a way of dealing with the very resistance that objects perform when being rendered relatable.

The conclusion of our research is that there is an intimate relationship between the visualization of critical events at sea and the actions that are or are not undertaken. These events can only be understood by taking the active role of migrants themselves into account as they affect the situation. As a result, the policy distinction between border surveillance at sea and search and rescue operations is hard to maintain. Therefor, we conclude a conceptual perspective is required that questions the boundary between border surveillance and ‘Search and Rescue’ at sea and allows for a deeper engagement between the subjects and objects of surveillance and visualization.

US-Jordanian military collaboration and the politics of commercial security

While Jordan – also in light of the threat posed by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ in neighbouring Iraq and Syria – has become one of the largest recipients of US military aid worldwide, research on the nature and effects of US-Jordanian military collaboration remains scarce. Funded through US$ 99 million in US military assistance, the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC), located just north of Amman, lies at the centre of the latter. Established by the US Department of Defense, operated by the US private business ViaGlobal, and owned by the Jordanian army, KASOTC illustrates well the increasing blurring of boundaries between military and business. The centre thus not only offers a base for the training of Jordanian and international Special Forces units, but also for stunt training of actors, military adventure holidays, and corporate leadership programs. With an artificial refugee camp and a fake Afghan village at the core of its simulation of a ‘typical terrorist environment’, KASOTC also demonstrates that the politics of commercial security at the centre is fundamentally based on deeply problematic judgements about the worth of human by D. Myles Cullen (released)

Source: SM KASOTC. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Simulating war

In a recent Security Dialogue article entitled ‘Simulating, marketing, and playing war: US-Jordanian military collaboration and the politics of commercial security’, I attempt to explore in more depth the ways in which US-Jordanian military collaboration at KASOTC operates, and what it comes to entail. I argue that at KASOTC market policies and moral politics vividly interact, as commercial security markets are moralized and imagined moral hierarchies marketized. I suggest that US-Jordanian military collaboration at the centre reinforces a clear distinction between the seemingly apolitical customer, who simulates, markets, and plays war, and marginalized groups, who are simulated as a threat and/or excluded as a potential customer. The politics of commercial security at KASOTC is thus shown to evolve around the hierarchical integration of different identity groups depending on their ability to market the deeply problematic assumptions attached to themselves and/or others.

Jordanian Special Operators give a demostration of an aircraft takedown during a visit from Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., at a military facility outside Amman, Jordan, Apr. 26, 2010. Army photo by D. Myles Cullen (released)

Marketing war

Based on own observations at the centre, qualitative interviews with employees of KASOTC, and the study of leaked embassy cables, I provide an ethnographically informed discussion of US-Jordanian military collaboration as it occurs in its natural setting. Among others, I explore what kind of (in-)security the latter produces for whom and via which processes. Also, I question whether a clear line can be drawn between a ‘new’ human security and an ‘old’ neoliberal mode of governance. Finally, I demonstrate that although US-Jordanian military collaboration at KASOTC may strengthen the Jordanian military’s coercive capacity, it also constructs Jordanians at large as either passive objects waiting to be secured, or directly as security threats.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Conroy.

Playing war

My argument in the article is that processes of commercialization in US-Jordanian military collaboration directly presuppose, create, and reinforce what I call marketable images of ‘the enemy’. These fundamentally evolve around the creation of non-Western insecurities, which means the relegation of marginalized lives to a position of lesser value, and the elevation of others to that of manager, protector, and customer. My emphasis on the vivid interaction of market policies and moral politics is important, as it demonstrates that a critique of prevalent constructions of certain identities and spaces as security threats necessarily needs to situate itself within a larger critique also of the neoliberal economic logics that in the case of KASOTC allow affluent customers to simulate and play war, while those less fortunate have to suffer from its deadly realities.


The Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey and Ontological Insecurity

From 2009 to 2015, Turkey’s Kurdish issue has been marked by successive initiatives aiming to end violence. However, following the June 2015 elections in Turkey, the peace process abruptly came to a halt, with the conflict escalating almost on a daily basis with armed confrontations between the PKK and the Turkish military and police forces. Our article on “Ontological insecurity in asymmetric conflicts: Reflections on agonistic peace in Turkey’s Kurdish issue” introduces and develops the concepts of ontological asymmetry and agonistic peace to make better sense of the failure of the 2009-15 peace process and offer remedies for the future.

Source: QuartierLatin1968. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

All conflicts over time become embroiled in a certain set of self-conceptions and narratives vis-à-vis the Other. Ontological asymmetry develops in conflicts when one party is better able to have its narratives recognized and validated. Ontological asymmetry is common in ethnic conflicts because such conflicts often pit state parties with secure existence against ethnic groups with contested status and illegitimate standing. Whereas majority groups can rely on established historical and official discourses to maintain their self-narratives, minority groups face constant challenges.

We find that one notable shortcoming of Turkey’s 2009-15 peace process has been its inattentiveness to the implications of this ontological asymmetry. The non-recognition of the identity narratives of minority groups renders peace processes both easier to initiate and harder to conclude. During the 2009-2015 peace process, this was demonstrated in cyclical patterns of ambitious peace initiatives receiving greater support among the Kurdish public but giving way, at the first sign of crisis, to a rapid and dramatic return to violence, which neither side acted to stem.

Source: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Francis Tyers.

A successful resolution of conflict requires that parties attain ontological as well as physical security.  Ontological security requires the development of new self-narratives where the Other is no longer the enemy.  We find that the peace process in Turkey has not included conscious measures to construct new narratives and has not opened venues for different narratives to coexist and challenge the established conflict narratives. Because both parties perceive the other’s narratives as existential threats, attempts to enforce agreement and reconciliation proved difficult and counter-productive. For future peace attempts, we propose the pursuit of an agonistic peace, characterized by the co-existence of multiple and contestatory narratives, accommodation, and understanding.

Knowledge of practice: Border security fairs in Europe and North America

In my recently published article on Security Dialogue, I focus on how professionals working in the border security industry ‘know’ border security practices. I investigate how border security professionals shape and circulate knowledge of border security practices at their main events – fairs and expos. In the article the reader is brought to four border security fairs across Europe and North America, one of which is the largest border security fair in the industry, Eagle Eye Exposition’s Annual Border Security Expo.

Source: Wikimedia. Idobi. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The first fair I attended in Budapest, at the World Border Security Congress, introduced me to a number of state-of-the-art technologies of border security and surveillance, such as sensors, scanners, and detectors, radars, biometric devices, drones, and even fence-mounted devices, among many others. I learned that these devices are materializations of particular forms of knowledge that is used in practice for social control and surveillance. There were also mostly men at the fairs, where I concluded that gender norms structure knowledge of border security practice.

Source: Gerald L. Nino. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights:

At the fairs we sat through many conference events, including a number of presentations and discussions. It is primarily through these presentations that knowledge is disseminating and circulated, and often I found this knowledge was scarce or shared behind closed doors. So not all knowledge about border security is easily accessed. A number of these presentations used representations of future threats, provoking a palpable unease in the audiences. These images of a threatening future were used to promote certain solutions to security problems. These solutions were often technological, and the presentations were used to facilitate the selling of a product.

I also encountered a number of contradictions at play at the fairs, which raised some important questions about how we respond ethically and politically to knowledge about border security practices. By scrutinizing these fairs we can lay the groundwork for alternative knowledges and alternative practices which can allow us to respond to the deadly effects of border security.

Trouble in Paradise: Contesting Security in Bali

Source: Gitoyo Aryo. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International.

Civil militarism is a widespread phenomenon in Indonesia.  Ethnic and religious militia groups now proliferate across the country, and are particularly evident in the predominantly Hindu island of Bali. While the Indonesian government has sought to enact repressive laws governing the existence of militarized ‘societal organizations’ in an effort to exert some formal control, these groups have continued to grow in number, and in Bali have taken on roles traditionally viewed as within the exclusive remit of the state.

In our recently published article in Security Dialogue, we argue that these groups pose a challenge not only to the state itself, but to the way in which dominant accounts of international relations conceive of security and security agency, in particular the distinction between state and non-state actors. While some Balinese militia groups are allegedly linked to criminal networks, and often involved in inter group conflicts, they also claim to play an active role in their communities as security agents– providing physical protection to their communities and safeguarding the values of these communities. In the process, these groups ultimately take on roles traditionally understood as residing exclusively with formal government. By the same token they do not directly challenge the existence or legitimacy of the state but rather make claims to perform and enact security alongside it. In this sense, they are part of a complicated and crowded security sector in the Balinese context, one that challenges abstract accounts of security in international relations associated with the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

Bali rice fields. Copy Right: Marit Moe-Pryce

Based on six months field research with militia groups in Bali, the article engages with existing debates on the role of non-state actors as security providers before suggesting the utility of viewing the role of militia groups in Bali through the lens of security contestation. Simply, in putting forward an alternative vision of the community in need of protection and the best means of protecting it, militia groups in Bali are engaged in a form of contestation over the exclusive role of the state as security provider, and over the nature of the community itself. Enabled by processes of democratization and decentralization in Indonesia, they are neither agents of state security nor attempting to supplant the state. Rather, they challenge the role of the state as sole security provider, challenge and redefine the contours of political community in Bali, and ultimately serve to point to the limits of traditional accounts of security and security agency in international relations thought.

To ban or not to ban a terrorist organisation? That is not the only question

Lee Jarvis and Tim Legrand report on their research into how the UK Parliament debates whether or not to extend its list of proscribed terrorist organisations that is based on their article ‘I am somewhat puzzled’: Questions, audiences and securitization in the proscription of terrorist organizations’ published in Security Dialogue Vol 48, Issue 2, 2017

By UK government [OGL 3 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The United Kingdom – like many states around the world and several International Organisations – maintains a list of banned terrorist groups. Seventy-one organisations are presently listed in this way within the UK, making it a criminal offence to belong to or support any of these. This power – known as proscription – is set out in the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000, and empowers the Home Secretary to present to Parliament an order specifying that she believes a specific organization promotes, encourages, or glorifies terrorism, or, indeed, is ‘otherwise concerned in terrorism’. Both Houses of Parliament must debate and assent to any new additions to this list, though they may not amend any proscription orders.

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Dialogue for Freedom, Security and Peace

Security Dialogue is a scholarly journal devoted to thinking clearly, systematically, and critically about world politics and the conditions that facilitate security and peace. Freedom and truth are core values of both the academic project and of democracy: we believe that constant, reflexive dialogue is the only viable path towards peace, equality, and justice within and between societies. Academic freedoms of speech and mobility are essential to modern politics, and are reflected in the legal and institutional frameworks of international relations, such as the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or the 1945 Charter of the United Nations.

On January 27, 2017, US President Trump issued an Executive Order that suspended the refugee resettlement and the issuance of visas from seven identified Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for at least 90 days. We are always concerned when emergencies or crises are invoked to justify radical executive action, including the curtailing of freedoms of mobility, particularly in this case when the justification is clouded, muddled, misleading, or simply perpendicular to the facts. We, as the editorial team of Security Dialogue, have never been moved to comment on specific policies or world events before now, and so it is reasonable to ask what makes this Executive Order worthy of comment when we have remained silent about equally offensive and oppressive policies and events, for instance, the Russian invasion of Crimea, the genocide of the Yazidi’s in Iraq or genocide in Darfur, the Syrian civil war and consequent displacement of millions, and Erdogan’s sweeping restrictions on Turkish academics. We are connected to the community of international relations scholars, and take the production of facts and their verification very seriously. Part of what strikes us as important and different is the blatant indifference to facts upon which the travel ‘ban’ rests, and the vitriolic and divisive hyperbole that fuels it.

Further, the ban is not justified in terms of historical precedent or immediate political context, and cannot fulfil its stated purpose to increase the national security of the United States. More than that, the exclusion of individuals identified by national origin (and effectively, religion) or refugee status which is accorded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and to whom the United States owes obligations under that empowering legislation and specifically contradicts US domestic law, indicates a significant departure from the hallmarks of the contemporary global order, that is the predisposition towards freedom of mobility and international human rights. We are therefore also deeply concerned about the continuing impact of this shift as well as the harms caused immediately by this Executive Order.

As scholars of international relations, we can already see the chilling effect that this policy has on our own academic community. We stand with our colleagues who are and will be affected by this ban both directly and indirectly, and will devote our energies to promoting the values and conditions of openness, exchange, and dialogue that we view as crucial for achieving security.

Editor, Mark B Salter, University of Ottawa

Associate Editors, Claudia Aradau, King’s College London; Marieke deGoede, University of Amsterdam; Emily Gilbert, University of Toronto; Anna Leander, Copenhagen Business School, Anna Stavrianakis, University of Sussex; Maria Stern, University of Gothenburg

Editorial office, Marit Moe-Pryce, Peace Research Institute Oslo; Can Mutlu, Acadia University;Adam Sandor, University of Ottawa


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