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25 Feb 2018 description

The Open Society Foundations launches new initiative pairing mayors from U.S. mainland cities with mayors of Puerto Rican cities to share expertise and support in rebuilding the storm-ravaged island

It has been five months since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico. More than half a million people are still without power. Tens of thousands lack drinking water, and tens of thousands more are fleeing, seeking food and shelter in Florida, New York and elsewhere. Health care services have been hit hard, and the suicide rate is spiking.

14 Jul 2017 description

“I can’t solve the whole Syrian crisis, but I can do something, for a few people.” The words of Olwen Thomas, from the port of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales, probably sum up the feelings of many people around the world, as we follow news reports about the terrible difficulties that have faced refugee families fleeing the conflict in Syria, as well as other crises around the world.

05 Jun 2017 description

NEW YORK—Kenya’s decision to acknowledge the land rights of the country’s Nubian minority, announced on June 2, 2017, marks a historic victory for community-based efforts to end patterns of entrenched discrimination against the Nubians, the Open Society Justice Initiative said today. 

16 May 2017 description

by Laura Bingham

This April, a mobile registration team was hard at work again in the Kibera neighborhood of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. For five days, a team offered people help in securing national identity cards—a document that also serves as vital proof of Kenyan citizenship—setting up in mosques, car parks and community halls that are frequented by members of the country’s Nubian minority.

19 Apr 2017 description

At a hospital in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, Dr. Zakariya had just started an early morning shift when dozens of patients began streaming in. It was a scene of chaos: patients struggling to breathe, vomiting, convulsing, foaming at the mouth, and losing consciousness.

He said he knew right away that the attack was chemical. “I treated more than 50 patients,” he told researchers at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). “And I saw ten people who died.”

24 Jan 2017 description

In our “Case Watch” reports, lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative provide analysis of notable court decisions and cases that relate to their work to advance human rights law around the world.

13 Jan 2017 description

In our “Case Watch” reports, lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative provide analysis of notable court decisions and cases that relate to their work to advance human rights law around the world.

09 Jan 2017 description

How has the war in Syria impacted access to higher education?

Before the civil war, a quarter of Syrians went on to training or higher education. Five years later, the conflict has put a serious dent in education access for Syrians in the country and those who have been displaced, threatening to create an entire generation without higher education.

04 Nov 2016 description

By Ezzaddean El Safi

Having made strides towards democracy, Tunisia is often hailed as the success story of the Arab uprisings. But the economic woes that triggered the revolts have yet to be addressed. Originating in rural areas where agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy, the protests that led to the Tunisian revolution highlighted the growing regional disparities that have long characterized the country.

26 Oct 2016 description

By Sara Prestianni

Informal encampments for transiting migrants are sprouting all over Europe, from the outposts of Calais, Idomeni, Chios, and Lesbos, to the capital cities of Rome, Athens, and Paris. Manifesting as patchworks of tent cities and makeshift shelters in repurposed buildings, these encampments throw into sharp relief the consequences of Europe’s reception- and border-management policies.

20 Sep 2016 description

UNITED NATIONS/NEW YORK CITY, September 19, 2016 – The Government of Canada, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Open Society Foundations have agreed to launch a joint initiative aimed at increasing private sponsorship of refugees around the world. Research demonstrates that privately sponsored refugees tend to have relatively early, positive integration and settlement outcomes, thanks in part to the social support provided by sponsors.

17 Sep 2016 description

Touching became forbidden; the scent of chlorine permeated the air. Whether directly or indirectly, Ebola, with its pervasive sense of abjection, affected every Sierra Leonean.

The concept of human dignity was central to how development partners, government, and the world responded to this emergency, which devastated the lives of many on a daily basis, as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea weathered the worst health epidemic ever to hit West Africa.

29 Aug 2016 description

Every Thursday for the past five months, eight lawyers and activists have gathered around a conference table in our Madrid office to plan out our response to the European refugee crisis. One goal was to focus attention on the needs of women and children who have been particularly vulnerable to abuses in camps and in transit. Many of these meetings are filled with debates about legal theory, procedure, and strategy. But whenever a team of our attorneys returns from the field, we put those matters aside and listen.

08 Jun 2016 description
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Executive summary

There is a “reasonable basis” to believe that both Mexican government forces and the Zetas drug cartel have committed crimes against humanity against civilians over the past decade, according to this report from the Open Society Justice Initiative and five Mexican partners.

08 Jun 2016 description

During the early years of the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, the U.S. military was killing too many civilians and depriving too many others of basic rights and liberties. By 2008, nearly 40 percent of civilian deaths in Afghanistan resulted from U.S. military operations.

The level of “civilian harm”—the military’s term for killing innocent civilians and causing major political, social, and economic disruption—was adversely impacting the United States’ efforts to defeat the Taliban and weakening the legitimacy of the U.S. and Afghan governments.

01 Apr 2016 description

March 28, 2016 by Charu Lata Hogg

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (CSPA) should be fairly straightforward: the law bans the United States from providing military assistance or arms sales to governments that use children in combat. Simply put, if a country’s government uses child soldiers, it cannot receive military support from the United States.

Except several countries that use child soldiers do.

22 Feb 2016 description

by Larry Attree, head of policy at Saferworld.

The global threat from Islamist militancy keeps on spreading. Armed groups have pledged support for ISIS in 19 countries, and the Taliban, al-Shabaab, and al-Qaeda all remain undefeated. Meanwhile, refugees are fleeing conflict in numbers not seen since World War II.

A reboot of the global war on terror could only make things worse.

14 Feb 2016 description

by Som Niroula & Neetu Pokharel

In Nepal, the state’s unwillingness to guarantee justice and accountability has posed a serious obstacle to postconflict rule of law and respect for human rights. During the country’s internal armed conflict between 1996 and 2006, 13,000 people lost their lives, 1,300 disappeared, and thousands more were tortured or displaced. Although the peace process has been formally concluded and a new constitution was adopted in August, transitional justice and its mechanisms remain unaddressed.