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The US Military's Shameful Failure to Protect Civilians

Eight years ago, it looked like the U.S. military was making progress in reducing the harm its operations caused to civilians. The counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan meant winning the hearts and minds of the population. Lessons from the Vietnam…
Pentagon building
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Japan’s defence ministry claims the program, which includes combat training, will inspire change from within. That’s not going to happen.

Japan was one of the first governments to issue a statement after the Myanmar military staged a coup on February 1 last year.  Within hours of events unfolding in Naypyitaw, the Japanese leadership expressed “grave concern” and…
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Xi Jinping’s tenure has been marked by harsh crackdowns on human rights activism.

“I refuse to accept the idea that the state’s authority can’t be opposed, challenged, or interrogated. In the face of power, I would always be at a disadvantage, I knew, but I was a born contrarian, and there’s no other way for me to live except by…
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On October 28, Egypt’s Interior Ministry released a slick, heavily produced video showcasing a new state-of-the-art prison mega-complex. The Wadi El Natrun Correctional and Rehabilitation Center complex is supposed to replace 12 prisons that currently…
A satellite photograph of Scorpion Prison taken in September 2016. Inmates suffer abuses in secret and are denied most access to the outside world. Satellite imagery
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By suspending tournaments in China over treatment of Peng Shuai, the WTA placed rights over profits. How will the International Olympic Committee react?

“None of this is acceptable, nor can it become acceptable,” said Steve Simon, CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), in a statement announcing the suspension of its tournaments in China, earlier this month. That decision was made in…
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‘The lack of consequences for the crimes committed in Tigray has made it easier for warring parties to commit further atrocities.’

A full year has passed since Eritrean government forces massacred Tigrayan civilians in Ethiopia’s historical town of Axum. But survivors of the massacre and of other atrocities in Tigray are still no closer to accessing justice and redress – an…
Priest on his way to church in Axum, Tigray region, Ethiopia on January 25, 2011.
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Despite its official condemnation of the coup, Japan continues to move towards normalizing ties with the junta

Since the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, the junta’s security forces have killed nearly 1,300 people, arrested more than 10,000, and continue to detain nearly 7,400. The junta-controlled courts have sentenced 65 people to death, including 2…
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How a Public Good Became a Tool of Personal Power

(New York) – The Chinese Communist Party does not usually air its dirty laundry in public. So it was an ominous sign last month when official Chinese media reported startling allegations against a disgraced senior police official: Sun Lijun, a former…
Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, left, reads his oath of office in front of Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the inauguration ceremony in Macao, December 20, 2019.
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Israel, Like China, Has Weaponized Surveillance Technology to Suppress Peaceful Dissent

Tech-enabled control of a persecuted population. Abusive facial recognition. Severe restrictions on movement. Branding peaceful dissent as “terrorism”. For many readers, the scenario brings to mind China’s mass human rights violations against…
A display shows surveillance technology capable of analyzing body motion for specific actions like fighting, theft or fall during Security China 2018 in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.
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A New York Times exposé on a previously undisclosed attack on dozens of noncombatants in Syria is indicative of DOD’s impunity.

Pentagon leadership cannot – or will not – fix its civilian casualties problem. It’s long past time for Congress to step in. On November 17, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “we are committed to protecting civilians and getting this right...We have…
A view of the Capitol Building in Washington October 15, 2013.
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Hearing on Techno-Authoritarianism: Platform for Repression in China and Abroad

Chairman Merkley, Chairman McGovern, distinguished Members of the Commission, thank you for the opportunity to speak on this issue dear to my heart. I owe my presence here today to the relative internet freedom China once had, and to the respect for…
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By reforming its own system, Egypt can influence positive changes in other countries in the region and lead the way for clear and accessible legal gender recognition mechanisms.

August 26 should have been a day of celebration for Ezz Eldin, a 26-year-old transgender man, but it ended in tragedy. He bled to death after he was prematurely discharged following a gender-affirmation surgery in an underground clinic…
The transgender pride flag.
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Shortly after Denmark began telling Syrian refugees that parts of Syria are "safe" and stripped them of their temporary protected status, I talked to a 31-year-old refugee who voluntarily returned to Syria from Jordan in December 2020. He told me…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
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Still Major Emitter Despite Coal Phase Out Announcements

“Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history.” Those were the words in July of Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26). With world leaders gathered in Glasgow this week, the need to phase out coal has never…
Steam billows out of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Huai'an in east China's Jiangsu province, July 20, 2021.
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Demand — for lumber, meat, soybeans, and other goods — is driving deforestation around the world. And China is a major customer.

“We need to have deep reverence for nature,” China’s President Xi Jinping told a crucial summit on biodiversity earlier this month. Yet he failed to mention that the Chinese government allows the import of millions of tons of beef, soy, and…
Fires near Novo Progresso, Brazil on August 23, 2020, burned land deforested by cattle farmers.
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A ChinaFile Conversation

In what many observers have termed a “regulatory crackdown,” a wave of new legal restrictions and bans on business, technology, and entertainment has broken across China over the past several months, with what appears to be escalating velocity…
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a phone screen remotely addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 22, 2020. 
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Myanmar’s Coup Built on Years of Failed Accountability

On August 1, Myanmar’s commander-in-chief, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, dressed in civilian clothes, made a televised speech six months to the day after leading a coup that thrust the country back under brutal military rule. Amid claims of establishing a…
Anti-coup protesters run from teargas deployed by the police during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar, March 1, 2021.