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Civil Wars and Displacement  

Ayşe Betül Çelik

The growing number of civil wars in the post-Cold War era has been accompanied by a rising number of forcibly displaced people, who either stay within the borders of their own countries, becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs), or cross borders to become refugees. Although many studies have been conducted on the reasons of conflict-induced displacement, various questions remain of interest for the scholars of international relations, especially questions pertaining but not limited to the (a) gendered aspects of conflict, displacement, and peace processes, (b) predicting possible future displacement zones, and (c) best political and social designs for returnee communities in post-civil war contexts. Most studies still focus on the negative consequences of forced migration, undermining how refugees and IDPs can also contribute to the cultural and political environment of the receiving societies. Considering that there is a huge variation in types of conflict, motivations for violence, and the resulting patterns of displacement within the category of civil war, more research on the actors forcing displacement, their intentions, and subsequent effects on return dynamics can benefit research in this field. Similarly, research on return and reconciliation needs to treat displacement and return as a continuum. Paying attention to conflict parties in civil war bears the potential for new areas of exploration whose outcomes can also shed light on policies for post-civil war construction and intergroup reconciliation.

Article

The Politics of Digital (Human) Rights  

Ben Wagner, Andy Sanchez, Marie-Therese Sekwenz, Sofie Dideriksen, and Dave Murray-Rust

Basic human rights, like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and privacy, are being radically transformed by new technologies. The manifestation of these rights in online spaces is known as “digital rights,” which can be impeded or empowered through the design, governance, and litigation of emerging technologies. Design defines how people encounter the digital world. Some design choices can exploit the right to privacy by commodifying attention through tactics that keep users addicted to maximize profitability; similar design mechanisms and vulnerabilities have facilitated the abuse of journalists and human rights advocates across the globe. But design can also empower human rights, providing novel tools of resistance, accountability, and accessibility, as well as the inclusion of previously underserved voices in the development process. The new capabilities offered by these technologies often transcend political boundaries, presenting complex challenges for meaningful governance and regulation. To address these challenges, collaborations like the Internet Governance Forum and NETmundial have brought together stakeholders from governments, nonprofits, industry, and academia, with efforts to address digital rights like universal internet access. Concurrently, economic forces and international trade negotiations can have substantial impacts on digital rights, with attempts to enforce steeper restrictions on intellectual property. Private actors have also fought to ensure their digital rights through litigation. In Europe, landmark cases have reshaped the international management of data and privacy. In India, indefinite shutdowns of the internet by the government were found to be unconstitutional, establishing online accessibility as a fundamental human right, intimately tied with the right to assembly. And in Africa, litigation has helped ensure freedom of speech and of the press, rights that may affect more individualsas digital technologies continue to shape media. These three spheres—design, diplomacy, and law—illustrate the complexity and ongoing debate to define, protect, and communicate digital rights.

Article

Transitional Justice  

Marc Polizzi

The shift toward transitional justice (TJ)—the use of judicial and nonjudicial means to address systematic human rights atrocities in post-authoritarian and post-civil-conflict states—originated in the modern era with the creation of international tribunals after World War II. The tribunals’ construction demonstrated a drastic change in international norms, shifting responsibility from the state to individual perpetrators. Later, the “third wave of democratization” ushered in a flurry of new efforts in post-authoritarian regimes throughout Latin America, including the addition of truth-telling mechanisms and amnesties to protect perpetrators from prosecution. Since then, several new forms of TJ have been introduced in a variety of post-authoritarian and post-conflict settings, with several academic disciplines aiming to understand the variation in experiences and efficacy of these processes. The uniqueness of this literature lies in the interplay between the scholarship, activists, and practitioners, which has influenced the way the TJ field developed, and ultimately, how it conceptualizes justice. The trajectory of the scholarship has been a shift from normative-exploratory orientations to empirically driven studies. Further, different conceptualizations of justice (i.e., retributive justice, restorative justice, and reparative justice) became associated with specific TJ mechanisms, an association that often determines how their long-term success is judged. Finally, two important, enduring issues for future research to address are: whether, and to what extent, gender is incorporated into the TJ process, and improved methodologies that model the temporal and political dynamics involved in the implementation of TJ and its outcomes.