Dossier: Democracy and Civil Society

Joko Widodo (photo: Getty Images)

Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo

Comfortable among the people

Indonesians have chosen Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, to be their next president. He won more than 53 per cent of the vote in July's election. His rival Prabowo Subianto refuses to concede defeat and has taken the matter to the Constitutional Court. Observers doubt the court will accept his claim that the election was stolen. By Edith KoesoemawiriaMore

Members of an Islamist militia firing rockets at Tripoli Airport (photo: AP/dpa)

Clashes between rival militias in Libya

The battle for Tripoli

Like Benghazi before it, the Libyan capital, Tripoli, is now mired in chaos and violence. General elections held a month ago were not able to prevent the escalation in the conflict between rival militias. What triggered this development and what does the future hold for this troubled North African nation? By Valerie StockerMore

Muslims demonstrating after Friday prayers in Brooklyn, New York, to show their solidarity with the US after the 9/11 attacks (photo: Reuters)

Snowden revelations

NSA spied on prominent US Muslims

After 9/11, every Muslim was a potential suspect. Under President George W. Bush, the FBI and NSA read the e-mails of Muslim lawyers and activists even though they had no convictions and there was no evidence that any of them had committed a crime, called for jihad or sympathised with al-Qaida. Even a Department of Homeland Security employee was under surveillance. By Matthias KolbMore

Women in Libya

High hopes brutally dashed

The 2011 revolution raised Libyan women's hopes that they could in future play a more active role in society and politics, leading to the establishment of many women's rights groups. However, the militias' power games and ongoing violence are putting the progress achieved thus far at risk. By Valerie StockerMore

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

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