Transition To Democracy Often Long And Difficult
The Transition To Democracy Is A Long And Painful Road
Libya. Egypt. Iraq. . . . . . The list of nations struggling to make the transition from autocracy to democracy is long. And those transitions historically are not achieved in a matter of years, but often decades, contend Isobel Coleman and Terra Lawson-Remer.
“History suggests that transitioning countries’ move toward genuine substantive democracy characterized by resilient majority rule, free and fair elections, and strong minority and civil rights protections will be slow. The bad news is that for countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Myanmar it’s likely to be a long and bumpy ride.”
In their new book, Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, Coleman and Lawson-Remer examined the experiences of eight countries as they made their way toward a more democratic system of government.
One of the “takeaways” from their research is that policymakers should not immediately discount nations “born of violence, but to proceed with caution in abetting armed revolutions, and to resist the great temptation of favoring deals between elite groups over the messier, slower, but more reliable support of home-grown mass mobilizations.”
They suggest active involvement by the international community through efforts to build civil societies and also to support local civil society organizations, as well as independent media outlets.
Cambodia’s Democracy Endangered Weeks Before Elections
Coleman and Lawson-Remer’s user’s guide might be helpful in Cambodia, whose “democracy” is teetering just six weeks before national elections. While there is an absence of the violence that marked elections during the reign of the Khmer Rouge, the stain of corruption and a lack of freedom remain.
As reported by The Diplomat, opposition parliamentarians were summarily stripped of their membership by representatives of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the state-run media have limited air time for non-ruling parties to 30 minutes per day.
United Nations Report Highlights Refugee Crisis According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 45 million people with living in a state of displacement at the end of 2011, including 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum-seekers, and 28.8 million people forced to flee within the borders of their own countries.
The annual Global Trends report does not include those who have been displaced or forced to flee Syria in 2012. Africa (2.8 million refugees) is the second largest producer of displacement in the world, while Asia is the biggest.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards tells Voice of America that the crisis extends beyond Syria.
“You have, just in the last year some very serious refugee crises – some new ones and some continuing ones in Africa. You have the Mali situation. You have a big crisis in Central African Republic. Now we are seeing recent displacement across borders from northeast Nigeria. We continue to have Africa’s world war – the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
He adds that as long as conflicts continue, so too will the struggle of displaced persons and refugees.
First World Technology Meets Third World War
In a disturbing demonstration of the mix of modern technology and old hatreds, Somali militant movement al-Shabab took to Twitter shortly after it completed a deadly attack on United Nations’ forces in Somalia with a series of boastful messages.