16/12/2012

Gun Control: The U.S. as Cowboys and Rogue State

Just prior to the holiday season is perhaps not the best moment to talk about gun control. But the recent shootings in Connecticut, with over 20 children killed, once more raises the question of why the United States cannot pass serious gun control laws. Since the murders in Colorado in 1999, there have been over 31 “incidents”. And the killings seem to be happening at a more rapid pace. In 2012 alone, Oregon, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Wisconsin, Colorado and Seattle have been the sites of shootings. Americans own 300 million weapons; 30,000 people are killed every year.

Lire la suite

04/12/2012

Writing Constitutions: Geneva, the United States and Egypt

No one can deny the importance of constitutions; they are the documents which establish how an organization functions. They are, in essence, the backbone of the rule of law. For both civil society and governments on all levels, constitutions certify how organizations carry out their functions no matter who is in charge.

How are constitutions written? Who writes them? Recently in Geneva, a long process took place to write and have approved a new Constitution for the Republic and Canton. The Constitution that was replaced dated to 1847. The Assembly of 80 who wrote the Constitution was elected from 527 candidates and represented 11 groups who worked for 4 years. The Constitution was approved by the citizens of Geneva. Think of the number of democratic processes that took place: The members of the Assembly were elected, different parties participated, hearings were held, information sessions took place, a website and film kept the population informed, a final version was voted on, there is an additional five years to put all the changes in place.

Lire la suite