Terror Did Not Strike Indiscriminately

22nd JULY 2011: a terrorist killed 68 young people and bombed the Government Quarter, where he killed nine people and injured many more, because the ‘Labour-Party state’ was promoting ethnic, religious and political diversity.

Democracy and the constitutional state are threatened when the Labour Party, or other political parties, become the targets of violent attacks, writes Trond Bakkevig. Photo: Paal Sørensen


“Then they came for me —
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Thus, the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller concluded his soul-searching poem following the defeat of the Nazi regime.

“We got nothing in return for being restrained,” says the Labour Party Youth League (AUF), which calls for a confrontation with the ideas that led a terrorist to kill its members. The terrorist targeted the AUF because they defended and reflected society’s ethnic, religious and political diversity.Read More

Democracy’s Scars: Adorno’s Lecture on Right-Wing Radicalism

The battle against fascism is never over; it must be fought anew by each generation and we must never forget what this ideology stands for.

Theodor W. Adorno’s book is a wake-up call, because of its unfortunately continued relevance, writes Katrine Fangen.

NPD in Würzburg, Germany. Photo: Christian Horvat / Wikimedia Commons

Liberal democracies are fragile and fascist tendencies will always constitute a threat, claimed Adorno in a lecture he gave to the Socialist Students at the University of Vienna in 1967. Adorno died two years later, at the age of 66.

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Humanitarian Biometrics in Yemen: The complex politics of humanitarian technology

The introduction of biometrics in Yemen is a prime example of challenges related to the use of biometric solutions in humanitarian contexts. The complexity of the situation in Yemen needs to be acknowledged by policy makers and other stakeholders involved in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.

Map: Georgina Berry / PRIO

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Lessons from a Decade of South Sudanese Statehood

The catastrophic levels of instability that have engulfed South Sudan since 2013 demand a restructuring of governance and security institutions to alter the tragic trajectory of Africa’s youngest state.

The Protection of Civilians (POC) site near Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan. Photo: JC McIlwaine / UN Photo

South Sudanese are observing the 10th anniversary of statehood with deeply mixed feelings. Children born during the post-independence period have seen nothing except misery and deprivation, with two out of five malnourished. Adults who hailed independence with excitement in 2011 are likely part of the 35 percent of the population that is displaced or count among the war’s death toll.

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Why Did Muslims Become the New Enemy in Norway and Europe?

Anti-Muslim views have become more widespread in Europe over the past 30 years, but it is important to distinguish between criticisms of certain forms of Islamic practice and the belief that Muslims are taking over Europe.

Mosque in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Oskar Seljeskog / Flickr / CC-BY 2.0

People with anti-Islamic views wish to restrict Muslim immigration and Islamic religious practices. In their view, Islam is a homogenous, totalitarian ideology that is threatening western civilisation. When we talk about anti-Muslim racism, the attitudes concerned are so generalizing that all Muslims are lumped together, regardless of whether they are secular Muslims or fundamentalists. In other words, we are talking not only about criticism of a set of religious ideas, but about attitudes that dehumanize and generalize a whole group in the population.Read More

What a Year with No Travel Taught Us about the Future of Fieldwork

For many researchers working on projects that spanned international borders, the imposition of travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a rapid change in ways of working. Drawing on their own experience and those of colleagues of carrying out fieldwork during the pandemic, Talitha Dubow and Marta Bivand Erdal propose practical recommendations to support a more collaborative mode of fieldwork, which might be among the building blocks for a ‘new normal’ following the pandemic.

Photo: Richard Allaway / Flickr

As researchers based in Europe engaging in research about migration in Africa and in Asia, over the past year we have relied (or, to be accurate, relied even more heavily) on collaboration with local researchers to do fieldwork as and where it was both possible and safe.

Collaboration with research partners around the world is certainly not a ‘new’ research practice, but neither was this necessarily ‘standard practice’ across the board, pre-pandemic. Fieldwork has also been the site of considerable reflection and discussion around the decolonisation of knowledge, an issue which has been brought to the fore in new ways, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.Read More

After The bomb: The Securitization of the Norwegian Government Quarters 2011-2021

July 22, 2011, at 15.25, a bomb placed inside a white van exploded next to the H-bloc (‘Høyblokka’) where the prime minister’s office was located. Eight people were killed in the blast: most were government employees, and some were passing by. More than 200 people were injured. Additionally, the explosion caused enormous material damage. Later that day, 69 people, most of them children and youth, were executed at Utøya. Many more were severely wounded.

Oslo government building after the terror. Photo: Henrik Lied / NRK Beta / CC BY-SA 2.0

In the decade following this attack, Norway has struggled to come to grips with the political implications of the attack: 22 July was not a natural disaster.

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Power Sharing and Gender Equality

Since the rise of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325, power sharing has been widely used as a peace-building tool after civil conflict and is also key to the institutionalization of democracy. Power sharing arrangements have been instrumental to terminating civil wars in Lebanon, Bosnia, Nepal, Burundi, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Illustration: UN Women / Neelabh Banerjee / Flickr

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Cultural Heritage and Renewable Energy: How Bujagali Hydro-Electricity Generation Project sparked a latent conflict

The Bujagali hydropower dam, on the Bujagali Falls, is located on the Victoria Nile on Dumbbell Island, in Jinja. It is an important hydropower project in Uganda, and was initially approved in 1994 as the lowest cost option to increase power production in the country with a total cost of its implementation at $800 million thus naming it “Africa Power Deal of the Year 2007” by Project Finance magazine.

Women resettled by the Bujagali Dam. Photo: International Rivers / Flickr

Upon its commissioning in 2011, the dam was expected to have an output of 250 MW and boost the slow economic growth, which was at the time attributed to a severe shortage of electricity in Uganda. However, the decline in water levels of the Victoria Lake has continuously affected its efficiency.

The construction of the dam left over 8,700 people displaced, resettled or lost assets. In 2001, some 35 households with about 350 members were resettled in Naminya. Those who refused relocation to Naminya instead moved to Mbiko. These were two resettlement areas where Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL) had an obligation of providing clean water, land titles, schools, a health centre, markets, boats, fishing nets supply and roads but failed. This deprived those resettled and worsened their living conditions.Read More

Do Cease-Fires in Syria Work? We Checked the Data.

Our research looks at 10 years of truces in Syria.

A Syria Relief aid worker carrying an emergency foodpack. Photo: Edwardtheeduard / Wikimedia Commons

A missile attack last weekend in northern Syria left a hospital in ruins and further casualties in a residential area. But these types of attacks have become less common in Syria. Although this civil war remains among the most devastating global conflicts, the number of fatalities has decreased over the past couple of years, and in 2020 in particular.

What prompted this decline? The ACLED data on fatalities in Syria reveals a sudden decline after March 5, 2020, and a relatively low level of violence since. That’s the date on which Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a cease-fire in Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria.

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