Lately, issues surrounding mental health have taken centre stage in our society. The efforts of NGOs, healthcare services, and government bodies have made a significant impact by sensitising people’s perception of this topic. Yet, despite this increased coverage and seemingly positive steps towards dispelling stigma and taking preventative action, poor mental health and suicide has become an ever-mounting crisis. Universities and higher education colleges in particular have faced pressure to make drastic changes after figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a doubling in the number of student suicides – 52 in 2000/1 to 95 in 2016/17. In total, approximately 1,330 higher education students took their lives within this period, of which 686 (66%) were male and 452 (34%) were female. Across the UK, many universities are struggling to provide adequate mental health support, with demand for services increasing 50% over the last 5 years as more and more students are presenting symptoms of high levels of stress and anxiety. To tackle this silent epidemic, more focus needs to be placed on preventative measures such as early intervention and the promotion of healthy thoughts and behaviours.
According to the Geneva Convention, the EU is responsible for people who need international protection. The Dublin Regulation, which is part of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), establishes that the first country a refugee enters is responsible for processing his or her asylum application. This system has proven problematic over recent years. Since the European refugee crisis reached its peak in 2015, the necessity of reforming the Dublin Regulation in the spirit of burden-sharing has become clearer than ever. Burden-sharing involves states taking on responsibility for refugees of other states. For example, countries facing less immigration pressure, such as Romania and Poland, would accept a certain quota of asylum-seekers from countries that receive the most migrants, such as Italy and Greece.
Fake news dissemination is the plague of modern society. It interferes with elections, raises fears and inflames conflicts. There is no doubt that society should adopt measures to mitigate the damaging effects of its spread. Many countries have attempted to address the issue of online disinformation; however, it appears that policymakers are failing to adequately confront this challenge. Most anti-fake news laws are assailed as forms of censorship that attempt to suppress opposition. Is it possible to create anti-fake news legislation without infringing upon freedom of speech?
On 14 November, King’s Think Tank’s Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centre hosted a panel discussion on the topic ‘Life at the Edge on Nations: Hong Kong, Kashmir, Catalonia’. The main aim of the event was to create an interactive space for students and expert speakers to discuss the factors which influence the rise of secessionist movements and the identity crises faced by minorities within a region. With a diverse set of panel speakers, the event addressed different secessionist struggles around the globe and identified differences and similarities among various separatist movements.
The last few months have witnessed a social media storm expressing outrage against the violence and killings of protesters who rebelled against the Sudanese government. ‘Blue for Sudan’ was adopted by many social media users, and many changed their profile pictures to blue in solidarity for Mohamed Mattar, a protestor killed in the June 3rd Massacre. The events occurring in Sudan have shocked the world and have since been condemned by Western nations.
Ahead of the 2019 European Elections, French President Emmanuel Macron declared the need for a ‘European Renewal’ in the context of the Migrant Crisis and the rise of Euroscepticism. While Macron’s European Renaissance outlines many ambitious proposals, one arrangement to tackle European migration, namely the creation of a Common Border Force and a European Asylum Office, must be evaluated. This article argues that Macron’s call for a Common Border Force fails to address issues of migration and Euroscepticism. While the initiative proposes an alternative to the Dublin Regulation, it neglects the concerns of Central European member states regarding migration as well as Eurosceptics’ fear of the increasing jurisdiction of the European Union (EU) over National Parliaments.
The momentous efforts of World Health Organisation (WHO) helped eradicate the West African Ebola outbreak, which claimed more than 11,000 lives in the span of two years. On 29 October 2019, the King’s Think Tank Global Health Policy Centre facilitated a simulation of this response. Iya Saidou Conde and Alexandre Robert, two Ebola healthcare workers, helped conduct the ‘Ebola Outbreak Response: Table-Top Simulation’ at Bush House.
Kashmir’s struggle for autonomy was recently subdued when India revoked its special status under Article 370 and abrogated Article 35A, which granted special privileges to the people of Kashmir. India’s government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has considered the rising terrorist attacks, religious violence and lack of economic development in the region as symptoms of the long-lasting privileges granted to the state.
For around a decade, immigration has been among the most salient issues for British voters, and particularly in the years since the decision to leave the European Union, British news coverage has been overwhelmingly preoccupied with Brexit and all of its corollaries. Though social institutions such as the NHS have come to the fore during this period, the issue of the quality of British education has largely been neglected, despite the fact that over half of all voters consistently view education as one of the most significant factors when choosing a party to vote for. When education has featured in contemporary political discussion, it has largely been invoked in relation to immigration, and as such, has been utilised as an ideological cudgel in televised polemics. For these reasons, though many Brits are keenly aware of the existence of education inequality within the UK, few are aware of the extent of the problem, and many continue to view Britain as a meritocratic society.
This is the second of two winning papers from the Policy Hackathon event hosted by our European Affairs and Defence & Diplomacy Policy Centres on 17 October 2019. It was co-written over the course of fifty minutes by a team of students (see below), and edited by our Head Editors for publication on the blog.