04 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy

NPWJ press release

Supporting the Fight against Female Genital Mutilation: Promoting Women's Rights by Demanding the Full Enforcement of Law
European Parliament, Brussels, 06 Feb 2019

On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), Differenza Donna NGO, l’Institut de Santé Génésique/Women Safe (France) and La Palabre (Belgium), in cooperation with MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri (President of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament), organise a roundtable entitled “Supporting the Fight against Female Genital Mutilation: Promoting Women's Rights by Demanding the Full Enforcement of Law”, at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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Transparency International: 'Crisis of democracy' and corruption go hand in hand
Deutsche Welle, 04 Feb 2019

A collective global failure to control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy across the world — that's the verdict of the latest Corruption Perceptions Index, published by nonprofit NGO Transparency International.
"With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe — often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies — we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens' rights," said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International.
The annual report ranks countries according to perceptions of public sector corruption rather than documented evidence of corruption, and grades countries on a scale from zero to 100, with zero denoting a "highly corrupt" country and 100 meaning a country is "very clean."

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Draw Me a Catastrophe: Working Through the Traumas of the Syrian Civil War
Haaretz, 04 Feb 2019

“Where are all the people in your boat?” Shireen Yaish asks the little boy who drew a picture of a refugee boat all in black. “They all died,” he responded.
“Where are all the kindergarten children in the playground you drew?” Yaish asked a girl. “They were killed,” came the answer.
Yaish is a Jordanian psychologist who established the Kaynouna art therapy center in 2012, about a year after the slaughter of the Syrian civil war began. Now she treats hundreds of refugee children living in camps in Jordan, in addition to mothers who have experienced trauma.

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Kurdistan’s Curious Democracy
The National Interest, 31 Jan 2019

It’s been over a year since the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) independence referendum where over three million people voted overwhelmingly in favor of separating from Iraq. Much like their Iraqi brethren, Syria’s Kurds have also benefited handsomely from the civil war, now controlling cantons in northeastern Syria. Presently, both regions are seen as models for democracy in the Middle East, and the Kurds enjoy a level of autonomy and freedom of which their ancestors could only dream. But this freedom is a privilege afforded to few. For years, major Kurdish political parties and their associated militias have relied on repressive governance to maintain and expand power in their respective regions. Kurdish authorities in Iraq and Syria aren’t ready for democracy, they’re ready to rule, and there’s a stark difference between the two.

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The Pope’s historic visit to the Arabian peninsula
Economist, 31 Jan 2019

CHRISTIAN PILGRIMS are not often seen in the Arabian peninsula, where Islam was born. But they are flocking to one of its emirates, Abu Dhabi, for its first papal mass on February 5th. More than 100,000 are preparing to pack the Zayed stadium, adorned with a big cross, to celebrate the Eucharist with Pope Francis. Hotels are full of pilgrims chanting hosannas. Some hold standards bearing the Christian dove of peace tweaked with wings the colours of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag. The pope is “a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood”, says Muhammad bin Zayed, the crown prince, de facto ruler and papal host.

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