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Release Peace: The Magazine

From Around the World

We bring you underreported stories, mostly from the Global South, that rarely make it into the global news cycle. Take a closer look with us at societies, their histories, and the people who make for inspiring stories.

From Around the World: Find the Stories Beyond the Headlines

Access for All: The Story of Years of Protests by Persons with Disabilities in Korea

When police in riot gear showed up to remove persons with disabilities from Seoul metro platform, the struggle between protesters and the authorities had clearly escalated. But was this the right response of the government? And why have 4 long years of protests in Korea still not faded?

Rising Tides, Endangered Lives: Bangladesh

Forty-one percent of Bangladesh's population live at sea level. 2 million people lost their livelihoods after cyclone Sidr hit the country back in 2007. Reports from the UNHCR and ICRC shed light on what is to come.

Dominica’s High Court overturned a colonial-era ban on gay sex. This made Dominica the sixth country in the Commonwealth Caribbean – and the fourth in the Eastern Caribbean – to decriminalise same-sex relations through the courts. ​

The "Left-Behind-Children" of China

The term "left-behind-children" can be taken literally in China. It is caused by the so-called Hukou system of household registration. And it warrants a closer look.

A Country with a Woman Head of State, A Woman Supreme Court President, and 50% Women Ministers

A series of high-profile positions filled by women was not only a sea change for Ethiopia, but also led the country to leapfrog much wealthier nations when it comes to women in politically powerful positions. However, there is more to look into underneath the surface.

Beauty can be deceptive: This country shows us the long-term consequences of war like no other.

To most of the world, Laos represents a beautiful country of rolling green hills and rice paddies. Few know of the dangers lurking just below the ground of this picturesque scene. Since the end of the Vietnam War, Laos has held the unfortunate title of being the most bombed country in human history. The effects of unexploded ordnances from that time go beyond simple safety risks.

A small nation with a vast island chain lies strategically in the Indian Ocean. Two competing political camps try aligning themselves with China or India, respectively. Domestic issues add to the complexities.

Australia: An Entire Town Below the Surface

Imagine a town which functions entirely underground. In the 21st century. Under the Earth's surface, there are restaurants, bars, hotels, restaurants, and homes. For approximately half of the population of Coober Pedy in Australia's Outback, living underground is the norm.

Economic Reforms in India: A Success Story Showing Cracks?

This piece looks at the history of economic nationalism in India and its more recent economic transition guided by liberalisations of industries and increased market access for foreign investors. As so often, India is a story of two tales.

Why HIV Rates Remain High Among Australia's First Nations

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among First Nations People increased from 3.6 to 6.3 per 100,000. Between 2016 and 2019 this saw an increase of 33%, whilst there was a decrease of 22% among the non-Indigenous population. A closer look at centuries of discrimination and misguided policies is warranted.

The Congolese Mine Where the Uranium for the U.S. Atomic Bombs Came From

It was the Shinkolobwe mine in that part of the DRC that provided two-thirds of the uranium used in the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The mine's legacy for the local population lives on. This is a story few will have heard about.

Civil Society Perspective

Inside the Last Absolute Monarchy in Africa

A recognised UN member state that few have heard of, and whose head of state even fewer will know. But his power is virtually unchecked. As this small southern African nation heads to the polls, a closer look seems warranted.

Local Perceptions Matter: How do You Feel About Pro-Democracy Foreign Interventions?

Little covered by most of the world's media outlets, the West African nation of The Gambia provides for an incredible and unique case study on what happens once a dictator is removed from power peacefully...but only due to the help of foreign powers.

Russian Journalists Abroad - And Their Impact in Russia​

A great share of independent Russian journalists see emigration as the only choice to preserve their journalistic -and physical- integrity. But their reporting continues. A new way of journalism seems to emerge, where people in a country are informed by journalists from outside said country.

Where There is Light There is Darkness: Russian Hybrid Warfare Against Georgia

The 2008 war was the first deployment of cyber warfare in any armed conflict globally. Today, Russia's toolbox in Georgia includes much more than that.

Surprising Revelations on When the Police Use Deadly Force in Brazil and the Philippines

Brazil and the Philippines have been in the headlines in recent years over their use of deadly force by the police. A closer look at the data reveals what might contradict some common assumptions.

Some 1 in 5 terrorist acts may be funded with the help of cryptocurrency channels. In 2021, around $7.7 million in assets were subject to Israeli seizure notifications on cryptocurrency accounts reportedly linked to Hamas. Social media likewise play a significant role in soliciting funds.

Welcome to the Sultanate of Sokoto ​

It would be easy to assume that the advent of colonialism in Africa meant the definitive end of the states that had previously occupied the vast lands of the continent. The Sultanate of Sokoto in Nigeria exists to this day. And a leader representing about 80 million people is a case study you should hear about.

Brazil Back on the Green Track

Brazil's president Lula da Silva has stepped up legal protections of Indigenous communities, made a slew of appointments to environmental government agencies, and aims to bring deforestation in the Amazon to zero within 7 years. Is it all cheers and joy in Brazil now?

Millions Still at Risk in South Indian Water Dispute

In the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rice for millions is at risk, water levels are at historical lows and 2,000 organisations called for a general strike. A closer look is needed.

The Changing Venezuelan Crisis: From Peril to Peril?

Venezuela has been engulfed in a political and economic crisis for decades, resulting in the largest economic collapse in a peaceful country since 1950, with poverty rates as high as 95% and the mass exodus of over 7 million citizens. In April of 2023, Colombian President Gustavo Petro hosted leaders from 20 countries to discuss the ongoing crisis. A few months on, where do we stand?​

An Interesting Case Study of Chinese Overseas Investment

The Bui Dam emerged 90 metres into the sky above Ghana in record time between 2009 and 2013. Ten years on, what can be said about the benefits and drawbacks for the West African nation and the dam's financier, China?

Countries and Cultures That Disappear Into the Ocean

Despite contributing a combined less than 0.03% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, the island nations in the Pacific will face disproportionate impacts of climate change.

The powerful Volcán de Fuego erupted just before the year 2023 commenced. Other eruptions followed. Perhaps it was a foreshadowing of the political ruptures the country was to face throughout 2023. But its real test is yet to come: in January 2024.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among First Nations People increased from 3.6 to 6.3 per 100,000. Between 2016 and 2019 this saw an increase of 33%, whilst there was a decrease of 22% among the non-Indigenous population. A closer look at centuries of discrimination and misguided policies is warranted.

It raises eyebrows when a president who was not supposed to be on the ballot wins an election. When that election had secret ballots, international observers, and a wide press coverage, it warrants a closer look at how we define democracy.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among First Nations People increased from 3.6 to 6.3 per 100,000. Between 2016 and 2019 this saw an increase of 33%, whilst there was a decrease of 22% among the non-Indigenous population. A closer look at centuries of discrimination and misguided policies is warranted.

Dying to breathe: A case study in air pollution

Imagine living in a place where air pollution can reach 133 times the World Health Organization’s accepted, safe limit. That's the case in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It can serve as a case study for the multitude of reasons causing air pollution. How can a city's air be polluted if located in the least densely populated country in the world?

David v Goliath: A Story of Ecuador’s Indigenous Community

The Waorani indigenous group of the exuberant Southern region of Ecuador are one of 14 indigenous nationalities currently in the country. Indigenous territories cover an 22% of our planet’s natural landscape and house an astonishing 80% of Earth’s biodiversity. In a trend discernible globally, indigenous peoples are banding together to challenge industries destroying their land.

On 31 July, 2023 two countries signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that came as a surprise to many. Largely ignored in the West, their trade relations and direct investments have rapidly increased over the past decade. The partnership might be even more surprising in light of China's amiable relationship with the Russian Federation.

The Multiple Layers of Private Military Involvements in Africa ​

While their tactics and ethics are often criticised, we looked at other factors that seem to be detrimental to peace in the deployment of private military companies (PMCs) on the African continent.

Beyond the current war in Gaza, Palestinian women face sexual violence, a sexualisation of their bodies when visiting family members in Israeli prisons, a dramatic lack of prenatal care, and other traumatic issues. It is vastly underreported.

The Asia-Pacific Coalition for Change: Building Effective Institutions

About 15 years ago aid practitioners and development scholars began advocating for a new approach to aid programmes. What emerged was the Coalitions for Change programme. A case study from the Philippines.

Shedding Light on The Cambodian-Thai Border Industry

The Cambodian-Thai border has a habit of sporadically opening and closing. A Cambodian boomtown situated at the border was once a sleepy agricultural village. Characterised by rapid population increases and economic growth, the town of Poipet has recently splurged on a facelift. Thanks mainly to the patronage of neighbouring Thais, whose own country bans gambling, its casino resorts are turning the town into Cambodia's little Las Vegas. It makes for a fascinating case study on border economies.

"We are going to lose our forests when the company starts operating", explains Anatasia Manong. Although the Awyu tribe that she belongs to is the owner of a customary area of land in Indonesia, they were not notified when a palm oil company started operating within their land.

Distress Calls: The Crisis Faced by Australia's Transgender Community

imagine you seek the help of a doctor or psychologist, but every time you reach out, they assume you are overreacting, or that a childhood trauma or psychological disorder is to blame. All you require is the treatment you desperately need, but it is unattainable. This story will open your eyes.

Not many people, let alone political journalists, have banned from mainland Chinese as well as Taiwan. Wang Zhi`an is one of them. His controversial story highlights the tensions in the region. And it shows how Taiwan's democracy is reported on in China.

The Stories from the Middle East

Read about the refugees whose husbands & fathers fought for ISIS

The Dark Art of Hostage Diplomacy

A city in the desert: Welcome to NEOM

Let us take you on a journey to the once bustling city of Aleppo, whose economy has been transformed during the current civil war. Once an ancient trade hub, Northern Syria is now a paradise for smugglers and looters. Syria exemplifies how an economy (dis-)functions in times of war. Where there is loss for many, there is opportunity for some...

Policies & Practice: Gender Dynamics and Parental Leave Policies in Georgia

An insightful UNDP survey sheds lights on gender dynamics in the caucasus nation of Georgia. A new paternity leave law is yet to make an impact with Georgian families. This article looks closer at policies and practices of gender equality in a country often hidden away from global attention.

A Landmark Referendum in Cuba

In September 2022, Cuba overwhelmingly voted to progress the rights of women and of the LGBT+ community in a referendum on the country’s Family Code. The outcome will be a game changer. It was also only the second time in 45 years that Cubans have had the opportunity to express their political beliefs in a democratic form.

Turkey’s Historical Place in the Black Sea

Turkey boasts the second-biggest armed forces in NATO. Turkey partially blocked Russia's access to the Black Sea. Yet Turkey has not participated in the West's sanctions against Russia. Its trade with Russia has even increased. In a nutshell: It's complicated.

The 2022 Rise in Terror Attacks in Israel

Only ten months after the 2021 Gaza War and Israel’s Guardian of the Walls Operation, Israel finds itself in yet another cycle of violence. The wave of terror that swept through Israeli cities between March and June 2022 has been one of the most severe Israel experienced throughout the past two decades. While earlier attacks have been concentrated mainly in the area of greater Jerusalem, this year the violence has spread to places all across Israel.

Our Running Series on Looking at Structural Phenomena

A Look at Approaches to Development Practice

Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: A Taboo Too Long

The Fate of the BRICS

China is Starting Into a new Century

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China and also the start of a new era of China’s reform. Addressing all aspects of China’s development, its latest 5-Year Plan is highly significant in being the first one to embark on China’s quest to build a fully modernised socialist country. But the shifting global geopolitical landscape could proof a challenge...

+ Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century +

An Impressive Achievement: Nature has Constitutional Rights in this South American Country

A significant task for humanity in the 21st century is to recognize its dominant -and often detrimental- role in shaping the planetary environment. One country has an ecocentric part in its constitution and enshrines RoN (rights of nature). Largely unnoticed, it might just be the role model the world has been looking for.

Peace in Mexico - The Women Who Make it Happen

The National Women’s Institute in Mexico created the MUCPAZ Initiative, a grassroots women’s network that collaborates with public institutions to prevent gender violence. The MUCPAZ Initiative represents a cutting-edge endeavour deploying local and gender-balanced peacebuilding paradigms.

The shadow of history: Cameroon's struggles for peaceful coexistence.

Previously ruled by Germany, Cameroon was partitioned after Germany’s defeat in the First World War, with France being handed 80% of the country, whilst Britain was to rule the remaining 20%. It was during this colonial-era split that tensions began to rise between the French-speaking and English-speaking communities. Today, little has changed.

Why did the Soviet Union Apply to Join NATO?

Yes, the Soviet Union applied for membership of NATO in 1954. But was NATO's very reason of existence not to defend its members against a potential Soviet threat? What is almost forgotten today could have changed the security dynamics of the Cold War for decades. Did the USSR carry out a stroke of diplomatic genius or was it all smoke and mirrors?

Afghanistan and the Fragmentation of the Taliban

Within the last two decades, the Taliban have been everchanging, taking on various shapes and sizes. It is a fascinating case study on the phenomenon of "rebel group fragmentation" - that is until they took the thrown of Afghanistan's government in August of last year.

The Basic Income Grant Debate in South Africa

Holding the spot as the most unequal society in the world, based on the GINI coefficient, South Africa’s socio-economic challenges are multifaceted. In the past, the liberation government deployed social grants to vulnerable parts of the population, but has expressed hesitation to financially assist working-age adults who are out of employment. That might be about to change.

The Steady Rise of Biometric Technology in Africa

From colonialism to democracy, the collection of biometric information has a longer history on the African continent than many would believe. With the continent's population still growing rapidly and (mobile) internet access spreading to even the most rural of areas, this article shares some insightful and perhaps surprising examples of biometric technology in Africa with you.

This is the (blurry) line between peace and conflict.

You might picture Sri Lanka as a country with beautiful landscapes and a wonderful Buddhist heritage. But since Sri Lanka's independence in 1972, its ethnic diversity has been a driving force of tensions that resulted in a civil war between the Tamil nationalist group, also known as the Tamil Tigers, and the Sinhalese government. Today, more than a decade after the end of the conflict in 2009, a peacebuilding process is still underway.

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