Transparency is a foundational element of development—without it, the citizens of emerging economies cannot participate in keeping their governments and markets fair and accountable. Of course, governments and market participants are also entitled to a measure of privacy. The trick is in finding the balance, both in substantive law and in fact. In 2014-2015, LIDS Global is going to organize an international research effort to explore this balance.
LIDS Global, as was noted in this blog just a few weeks ago, is this organization’s effort to build partnerships with like-minded student groups all around the world. Our 2013-2014 pilot project was highly successful; LIDS Global coordinated teams from around the world as they explored the link between corruption and development. The finished work will be published later this month.
Building on this success, our 2014-2015 research will focus on the Freedom of Information and its role in development; specifically, how can citizens all around the world use Freedom of Information laws to deter corruption in government officials? In fact, our idea to explore this topic is partly a result of the 2013-2014 research: students from the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka identified … Read More »
This week South Sudan celebrated its three year independence anniversary after voting to secede from Sudan on July 9, 2011. Though 99 percent of the population voted for secession, South Sudan’s transition to independence has been far from smooth. Struggling with economic collapse, civil war, and famine, South Sudan has faced a slow development trajectory and, in fact, has topped Foreign Policy’s 2014 Fragile States Index (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/fragile-states-2014), passing long-time number one Somalia.
Before secession the region of South Sudan contained almost seventy-five percent of Sudan’s oil reserves and prior to independence South Sudan was producing 350,000 barrels of oil per day. Following independence oil was expected to comprise almost 98% of the country’s economy. However, South Sudan, which under Sudan had never developed significant infrastructure, did not have the requisite pipelines or refineries to independently produce and sell their oil. Sudan charged exorbitant fees for use of these facilities attempting to preserve the scheme, which occurred when the countries were united, under which the north and south equally split the profits from the oil. To combat this price gauging South Sudan halted oil production in January 2012. Though this eventually led to negotiations with Sudan, it also resulted in enormous … Read More »
Access to justice for women and engaging informal justice mechanisms
In the U.S., approximately one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The statistic is similar around the world, but the legal and institutional infrastructure to adequately prevent such violence and provide sufficient redress to victims is often completely absent in many developing countries.
In rural Sierra Leone, for instance, I witnessed a woman run to the nearest police station immediately after being beaten by her husband, and with a large open wound on her head. Despite the clear evidence of assault, the police took little action to investigate the crime. In part, this was because they lacked training, capacity and even the resources to attempt to locate the accused, who had fled by then to a nearby city. Because they lack the funding and resources (including an adequate salary), police sometimes ask complainants for bribes to continue the investigation or money for travel and equipment – which means that victims are essentially funding the police, rather than the government. Clearly, cost is a huge barrier for victims who come from poor families or rural regions who live on under $2 a day. Beyond this, the police … Read More »