International Reports 7/2010

This edition of Auslandsinformationen focuses on the emergence and the work of human rights courts. Institutions such as these have the potential to ensure that human rights are observed in regions where such protection has, up to now, been limited.

Expectations of the ASEAN Commission on Human Rights

Unlike the situation in Africa, Latin America or Europe, there has been no regional mechanism for the protection of human rights in place in Asia to date. Only few countries actually have a national commission on human rights. At the same time, the national courts generally don’t exercise a protective function either. The enforceability of fundamental basic rights is therefore only ensured to a very limited extent, if at all, in most countries within Asia.

Initiators for Effective Protection of Basic Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established in 1979 on the basis of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). As an independent body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Court based in Washington D.C., together with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, is appointed to enforce the international law obligations of the American states which arise out of the ACHR and other regional human rights contracts.

Myanmar - Perspectives on Political Change

An “outpost of tyranny” is how former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the political regime in Burma/Myanmar1 during her time in office. This negative assessment of Myanmar’s political situation is widely shared by the West, meaning primarily the US and Europe, where the media and civil society are closely following developments in the country. While human rights organizations and civil society groups in Asia share this critical assessment, Asian governments are restrained in their criticism of Myanmar’s political regime.

Upheaval in Hungary

Fidesz-KDNP Achieves a Clear Two-Thirds Majority and the Socialists Are Voted Out

The Hungarian parliamentary elections of 11 and 25 April resulted in a changed political landscape. What the opinion research institute had predicted as early as summer 2006 has been made by the Hungarian voters into a real political result: a substantial victory for the opposition Fidesz (Civic Union) and their leader Viktor Orbán.

As You Like It - Following in the Footsteps of the USA, Asian Politicians Have Now Also Succumbed to the Charms of Faceb

In April 2010, the “Youth Lab” of the governing alliance in Malaysia, Barisan Nasional (BN), published the results of a survey which showed that more than 60 percent of voters below the age of 35 favored neither the BN nor the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR). The young voters surveyed intend to vote at the next election irrespective of any party-political preferences, based solely on which candidate they think represents more important issues or simply appears more confident.

China´s Digital Revolution - Political Communication in a Virtual World

National borders are increasingly disappearing in our globalized world. New media, such as the Internet, is speeding up these developments. Today, information can be sent around the globe in just a few seconds and accessed by the so-called “global citizen.” The World Wide Web pervades our existence; the young “cyber generation” has grown up with the new technology and is increasingly dependent upon it.


International Reports 6/2010

Since the Internet forms part of reality and is not a parallel virtual space, it has considerable influence on the different political systems and the associated social and economic conditions. Any euphoria about a global digital community is premature in this context. The articles in this issue illustrate how users are affected by these conditions.

Political Communication in the Sub-Saharan Africa and the Role of New Media

There are several difficulties when analyzing political communication and new media in Sub-Saharan Africa. The sheer size of the region and the concomitant political, religious, linguistic and cultural heterogeneity this entails make it almost impossible to make any kind of generalizations, since these differences necessarily result in political methods and behaviors that can, and do, vary greatly from one country to another.

Politics from the Niche

Digital Political Communication as a Source of Information and Exchange Forum for the Opposition

Unlike in Western Europe and most of the new EU member states, political communication in Belarus using new digital media is not discussed with reference to the specific possibilities offered by Web 2.0 for communication between politicians and the public or in relation to digital democracy. Rather, the Internet is considered primarily as a tool for bypassing the censoring in the traditional media (newspapers, radio, and television). This is because no conventional public space exists in Belarus in which people are free to express their political views.

About this series

This periodical responds to questions concerning international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation. It is aimed at access of information about the international work for public and experts.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai) +49 30 26996 3388

Kim Karcher

Portrait von Kim Karcher

Referentin Kommunikation und Vermarktung +49 30 / 2 69 96 - 2387

Gerrit Wilcke

Gerrit Wilcke

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Fabian Wagener

Fabian Wagener

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