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Poland, among 10 states, is taking an extraordinary step by joining EU on May 1st. The sensitive balance of EU and the future of the new member states are about to change. The vital step in sustaining this balance is the ability and timeliness of adjustment processes for both Poland and the EU.

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A reassessment of the age of the European Parliament could theoretically put the EU as a political system on a par with other new democracies in transition. Applying such theories of transitology through the comparative politics paradigm to analyze the EU might offer a more appropriate benchmark for studies into institutional developments, particularly of trans-national agents such as the new EU level parties. By considering the characteristics of the EU, this essay evaluates the merits of a transition-comparison with reference to several aspects of the EU: institutions; actors; civil society and legitimacy. The discussion considers the implications and problems of this new approach.

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Even with foreign military surveillance, Afghanistan's democratization may become no more than a paper tiger and Iraq's a solid clay pigeon for ethnic groups to shoot at. So suggests a post-war comparative study of (a) the democratization mandates, (b) structures and procedures envisioned, and (c) the implementation record. Depending on how welcome foreign troops are in other ethnically divided societies today, they too may find their fate between the paper and pigeon roles.

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This article criticizes the nature of relations between the West and the Islamic world by suggesting that current relations of "co-optation" are not beneficial to either party.

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Four decades of the American embargo against Cuba have not led to significant political change on the island. It's time to contemplate a more effective policy against Castro: allowing unlimited investment and travel to Cuba. This will strengthen the nascent democratic movement already present there and promote real change from within, but a policy reversal this drastic will take political willpower that's unlikely in an American election year.

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Several institutions exist in El Salvador to monitor and enforce compliance with human rights standards by multinational corporations (MNCs). However, their effectiveness varies strongly as they differ in terms of legitimacy, resources and sanctioning power. Comparing these institutions, the article comes to the conclusion that many of them are largely ineffective. The most effective one is a special Salvadoran institution, GMIES, created on the basis of a voluntary agreement between MNCs and NGOs, which combines NGO independence with MNC cooperation.

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For several years now, Israel has been running a secret detention center, known as "Facility 1391", where a number of detainees have been held in unclear circumstances. After the NGO HaMoked filed a number of petitions regarding the enforced disappearance of Palestinians, the State Attorney's Office had to recognize the existence of the secret prison before the Supreme Court of Israel. This study presents the known facts about the covert detention site and attempts to show, in light of both international and domestic law, how the conditions of incarceration and the interrogation methods used by the General Security Service at Camp 1391 constitute grave violations of human rights.

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Human rights abuses in Sub-Saharan Africa are increasing the risk of HIV transmission to women and girls throughout the region: an overview of rights violations and relevant international law.

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