Dossier: Democracy and Civil Society

A street in Kabul (photo: DW)

Afghanistan after Hamid Karzai

Facing an uncertain future

In Afghanistan, people look with nostalgia upon outgoing President Hamid Karzai. But at the same time, they fear the uncertain future that his successor might very well bring. By Emran FerozMore

Activists attend a silent protest march against a recent rape case in Calcutta, India, 15 June 2013. Photo: EPA/Piyal Adhikary

India's rape problem

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New rape laws must be implemented

A series of brutal gang rapes in India has once again highlighted the rampant problem of violence against women in the country. Despite recent law reforms and harsher penalties, little is being done by the authorities to prevent crimes against women. By Roma Rajpal WeissMore

Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo meets the people. Photo: Getty Images

Indonesian Presidential Elections 2014

Populist versus autocrat

The two candidates in the forthcoming presidential elections in Indonesia could hardly be more different. Prabowo Subianto, former son-in-law of the late dictator Suharto, has adopted a militaristic style, and likes to present himself as a strong leader, while social democrat candidate Joko Widodo is seen as a man of the people and establishment outsider. Christina Schott examines their chancesMore

Fully-veiled woman in a Paris station. Photo: Getty Images

Human rights court upholds burka ban in France

An unfortunate ruling

Does the burka ban supported by the European Court of Human Rights help oppressed women? No, says Heribert Prantl: it's more likely to breed resentmentMore

Gamal Eid (photo: picture-alliance)

Interview with the Egyptian human rights activist Gamal Eid

A warning shot for civil society

Egyptian security forces have seized the current edition the magazine "Wasla", which is published by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). In conversation with Abbas Al-Khashali, ANHRI Chairman Gamal Eid explains the potential political fallout of curtailing freedom of expression in EgyptMore

A "Green Movement" protest in Tehran in June 2009 (photo: Reuters)

Five years after Iran's "Green Movement"

Past and present

On 12 June 2009, millions of Iranians began protesting against President Ahmadinejad's re-election. Five years after these protests were violently crushed and the "Green Movement" failed, this chapter of modern Iranian history is still not closed. By Faraj SarkohiMore

Morocco's King Mohammed VI (centre) with his son and heir, Prince Moulay Hassan (left), and his brother Prince Moulay Rachid (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Democratic change in Morocco

The right king in the wrong monarchy?

The paradox of the political situation in Morocco is that King Mohammed VI seems to want to bring about domestic political change, whereas his entourage, which has grown rich and influential since the country gained independence, is resisting such efforts. By Mohammed HashasMore

Karama co-ordination meeting in Cairo on 7 October 2011 on the occasion of the establishment of the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace (photo: Dominique Margot)

Women's movements in the transitioning Arab states

For dignity, peace and equal rights

Despite all the setbacks suffered by many women's rights groups in the transitioning Arab states, regional co-operation has improved considerably over the past few years. Juliane Metzker takes stockMore

Supporters of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on 3 June 2014 in Cairo (photo: Reuters)

EU election monitors in Egypt

Alienating all sides

The EU wants it both ways: it would like to retain the moral upper hand as the cradle of democracy, while at the same time maintaining good links with Egypt's new leader, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. A commentary by Karim El-GawharyMore

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes his oath at the presidential palace in New Delhi on 26 May 2014 (photo: Reuters)

Indian Muslims' attitudes to the election of Narendra Modi

Apprehension and hope

Many in India, particularly those in the country's Muslim community, are wondering whether India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, will modify his stance on extremism. At the same time, they hope that Modi, who is feted with having brought prosperity to the state of Gujarat, can improve both the economy and the lot of Muslims, who face difficulties and discrimination in their everyday lives. By Roma Rajpal WeißMore

Members of the Sawaiq militia that stormed the GNC on 18 May (photo: Valeria Stocker)

Power struggle in Libya

A permanent state of chaos

Over the course of just ten days, Libya moved through various degrees of state crisis at high speed. It now seems to be back to square one again. From Tripoli, Valerie Stocker takes a closer look at recent chaotic eventsMore

Ala'a Shehabi (photo: Ala'a Shehabi)

The Bahraini activist Ala'a Shehabi

David versus goliath

The Bahraini economist Ala'a Shehabi has taken up the fight for democracy in her native country. In light of the fact that the repression of activists has increased here over the past three years and that the regime is spending millions on PR, hers is set to be a long, uphill struggle. By Iris MostegelMore

Ceremony marking the closure of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi (right) (photo: Reuters)

Federalism and state-building in Yemen

Between transition and stagnation

With the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference and the decision to introduce a federal system, Yemen would appear to be moving forward in its transition process, paving the way for a new constitution and democratic elections. However, things in the country are not as rosy as they might seem at first glance. By Marie-Christine HeinzeMore

An Egyptian woman draped in the Egyptian flag casts her vote (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Presidential election in Egypt

The déja vu state

Hardly anyone doubts that Abdul Fattah al-Sisi will sweep to victory in Egypt's presidential election on 26 and 27 May, restoring the old, repressive Egyptian state. In this essay, Atef Botros outlines why he feels that it is questionable whether Sisi will succeed and be able to maintain his grip on power in the long term.More

Abdellah Taïa (photo: Abderrahim Annag)

Abdellah Taïa's "Letters to a Young Moroccan"

"Listen to the chaos of life around you"

Roughly 80 years on from Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet", the Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa compiled an anthology of letters that plays on Rilke's title. Originally published five years ago in French and Arabic, Taïa's book has now been published in German translation. It brings together 18 Moroccan authors, all addressing the country's young generation in urgent, powerful words. By Christoph LeistenMore

Rajeev Bhargava (photo: imago/Xinhua)

Interview with the political theorist Rajeev Bhargava

"The BJP has to give up its obsession with Muslims"

India's new ruling party has earned itself the reputation of inciting communal tension, and its leader has been accused of turning a blind eye to anti-Muslim violence. Marian Brehmer spoke to India's leading political scientist, Rajeev Bhargava, about Narendra Modi's electoral victory, Hindu–Muslim relations and secularismMore

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