Sierra Leone: On Sexual Violence as National Emergency

Sexual violence and rape are now a national emergency in Sierra Leone. President Julius Maada Bio declared it so last month. He set up an ambitious series of measures to address the issue in the west African country, such as free hospital care to victims, special police and court divisions, life imprisonment for perpetrators of rape against minors, and a phone hotline.

In this short piece for The Globe Post, Caitlin Ryan and I argue that while this move has brought renewed attention to the issue, the attention derived from an emergency declaration is not only ineffective in stopping the violence but depoliticizes it by separating the violence from the broader structural power relations that make sexual violence and rape possible in the first place.

Read the piece here.

Women activists in the DRC and the politics of Hybrid Clubs

The Conversation publishes today a short article on the conclusions of my research on women’s movements in the DRC. In the article, I demonstrate that “Contrary to current media narratives about the DRC, my research shows that Congolese female activists are resourceful, independent citizens who know how to run effective campaigns. It also shows that local and international humanitarians are varied and multiple.” To read the article, please click here.

The top 5 issues for IR in 2018

In the Duck of Minerva, I have written a blogpost on what I consider will be the top 5 issues for International Politics in 2018.

“2017 was not a great year for international politics. The sentence I heard the most during conferences and other academic gatherings was that “the global order is in crisis.” Granted. It all started in 2016 with the victory of Trump, Brexit and the No to the Peace Agreement in Colombia. Nationalist ideologies have nothing but grown in 2017, when the victories of Marine Le Pen in France and of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands all of a sudden seemed plausible. Luckily, they did not materialise. We also had auto-proclaimed nations that demanded independence, such as Catalonia or Kurdistan. To top it all, the far right did win elections in Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. This nationalist move is having consequences across the world. In the Libyan costs migrants are being sold as slaves by smugglers or are locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic needs, after the European Union’s enactment of its policy of helping Libyan authorities intercept people trying to cross the Mediterranean and return them to prison.”

To read the blogpost, please, click here.

On the Catalan referendum

On October 1st, Catalonia celebrated a referendum on independence that had been declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal. The referendum day was marked by police violence and a sense of chaos that was echoed by the international press. In the Duck of Minerva I write about my take on the situation. Please, click here to read more.