One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back: Women Tango with Reproductive Rights

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 9, September 2022

RiseUp4AbortionRights protest in Lafayette Square, September 2022. Source: Victoria Pickering via Flickr.

Stephanie Wild
University of Cape Town

It is often assumed that progress is linear. This assumption is seen when looking at human rights. The usual formula begins with an activist group. Members of civil society take action to change injustices that they see within society. At the point where civil disobedience and protest becomes unmanageable, government officials are pressured into making legislative changes. From there, a societal mind-shift occurs. At this stage, disenfranchisement becomes frowned upon. This is the formula to progress. However, the reality is not so straight-forward. Rather, progress ebbs and flows. It is in flux. 

This is keenly seen when looking at the world’s attitude towards women’s rights and bodily autonomy. For one, the US is now reversing the steps forward taken by feminist activists in the 1970s. More specifically, in 1973 the US Supreme Court ruled that the Texas ban on abortion was unconstitutional. This case, known as Roe v. Wade, paved the way forward. The ruling did not only apply to Texas. Rather, any undue state restriction on abortion became unconstitutional. On June 24th, 2022 this all changed. The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which removed 50 years of legal protection for women seeking safe abortions. Due to legislation in place prior to the 1973 ruling, abortion was automatically outlawed in many states as a result of the overturning. Other states took action to implement bans. As a result, abortion is now banned across a number of US states, namely Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The consequence is that women today find themselves fighting the same battle fought by the activists of the early 1970s.  Continue reading

China’s Sharp Power

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2022

A series of paintings of communist leaders lined up along a Hong Kong road, 2016. Source: Flickr.

Roman Štěpař
Charles University

If we understand geopolitics as a “representation of space”, then the Indo-Pacific region can be seen as an emerging geopolitical hotbed in which major powers struggle not only for control but also for discourse of values and worldviews. In this particular geopolitical competition of values and mindsets, a sharp power is gradually gaining prominence, and in the Indo-Pacific region, China is at the center of the action.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lessons of Gorbachev’s “failure” were passed on to Chinese citizens. They denounced Moscow’s ideological neglect for this catastrophe and warned that it was possible that it would happen in China as well. Chinese foreign policy has as a result been transformed. After 40 years of remarkable rise, China has now clearly demonstrated its desire to lead the world by reasserting itself in a position that its leaders consider “historically correct.”

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Political Risk to the Mining Sector in South Africa

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2022

Randfontein Mine, Johannesburg, November 2014. Source: Paul Raad via Flickr.

Ndzalama Cleopatra Mathebula 
Institute of Risk Management South Africa

Generally defined, political risk is the expected cost or loss incurred by a business due to political decisions, events, and actions. With the evolution of the discipline, it is not only government or organizations that can generate  political risks, but also labour unions and civil society that can emanate risks. The South African mining sector includes abundant political risk yet is an attractive investment destination given its large platinum, gold, and coal reserves.

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Why the UN Fails to Prevent Mass Atrocities

Violent Incidents and Reporting Bias in the South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2017 to 2022

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2022

UN forces in Minembwe, South Kivu taken on 2 April 2019. Source: Delphin Ntanyoma.

Delphin Ntanyoma
Erasmus University

Fidele Sebahizi
Liberty University

Prosper Baseka wa Baseka
Bircham International University

1. Introduction

This study includes preliminary analysis of 324 violent incidents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recorded by Kivu Security Tracker (KST) and 29 reports of the United Nations Peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as Mission de Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation du Congo (MONUSCO).[1]

Since its creation and deployment in 1999, MONUSCO is now facing unprecedented protests as local populations in Eastern DRC are demanding its immediate withdrawal. Between July 25 and July 26, 2022, protesters from the main cities in North Kivu and South Kivu stormed MONUSCO bases in Beni, Butembo, Goma, and Uvira to express their anger at the 22-year-long UN mission’s failure to stabilize the region.  Following these incidents, including the one that took place at the Uganda-DRC border, it is believed that 32 civilians and 4 peacekeepers died. Continue reading

Genocide in The People’s Republic of China

Violations of International Criminal Law in the Suppression of Falun Gong

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 7, July 2022

Caylan Ford

ABSTRACT

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, circa 2000. Source: Falun Data Infocenter.

In July 1999, the Communist Party of China launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice believed to have as many as 70 million adherents. Since that time, hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained without due process in prisons, reeducation-through-labour camps, detention centers, and “black jails.” Torture and other high-pressure methods are used to force adherents to renounce their beliefs, sometimes resulting in deaths, while official sources and state-run media agencies depict the group as evil and openly call for its “complete eradication.”

In response to the suppression campaign, Falun Gong adherents outside China have sought to invoke the concept of universal jurisdiction to bring charges against senior Chinese leaders alleging torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. This essay assesses the claims of genocide committed against the Falun Gong by making reference to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. It argues that while some aspects of the Falun Gong case are unique—such as the potential ambiguity of the group’s religious identity—the suppression of Falun Gong would likely satisfy the convention definition of genocide. Continue reading