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Showing posts tagged as "International Crisis Group"
Showing posts tagged International Crisis Group
"Myanmar needs to delegitimise hate speech masquerading as economic nationalism. Such language is anti-democratic, encourages violence, causes instability and undermines much-needed economic development."
—Jim Della-Giacoma, Project Director for Asia at Crisis Group. Read full commentary here.
Pillay incurs Sri Lanka’s wrath | Alan Keenan
Concluding her recent fact-finding trip to Sri Lanka, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government was “heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction… despite the opportunity provided by the end of the war to construct a new vibrant, all-embracing state”.
Pillay’s statement cited a long and growing list of serious human rights problems, including “persistent impunity and the failure of rule of law”.
FULL ARTICLE (IOL News)
Photo: United Nations - Geneva
“Hablar solo de cárcel es simplista y provocador” | Semana
La canadiense Louise Arbour fue alta comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos y fiscal de los tribunales internacionales para la ex Yugoslavia y Ruanda. Desde 2009 preside el International Crisis Group (ICG), un prestigioso centro de análisis de conflictos. ICG presentó hace unos días el informe Justicia Transicional y los Diálogos de Paz en Colombia con una propuesta concreta sobre el modelo de Justicia Transicional en el país (ver semana.com). Arbour estuvo en Bogotá y habló con esta revista.
ARTÍCULO COMPLETO (Semana)
Fotografía: Bryan Pocius/Flickr
You Got a Better Idea? | James Traub
I would like to believe — or maybe I would just like to pretend for a moment that I believe — that the many congressmen and foreign-policy sages who flat-out oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to bomb Syria in response to the regime’s use of poison gas have an alternative in mind. Surely they don’t think, “Let those crazy Muslims kill each other,” or “It’s none of our business.” That would be callous. It would be un-American.
FULL ARTICLE (Foreign Policy)
Photo: Devin Smith/Flickr
"Police inefficiency and repression, combined with a citizenry increasingly taking security into its own hands, is bound to bring even more violence and instability."
—Crisis Group recent report The North Caucasus: The Challenges of Integration (III), Governance, Elections, Rule of Law
The North Caucasus: The Challenges of Integration (III), Governance, Elections, Rule of Law
Moscow/Brussels | 6 September 2013
Stronger democratic institutions are crucial to easing violence in Russia’s North Caucasus, where Europe’s worst armed conflict claimed at least 1,225 victims in 2012 and 495 in the first six months of 2013.
The North Caucasus: The Challenges of Integration (III), Governance, Elections, Rule of Law, the third report by Crisis Group’s project for the troubled region, examines governmental, political and legal issues. Religious and ethnic conflicts, disputes over administrative boundaries, land and resources are important root causes of the deadly violence. These are exacerbated by the state’s incapacity to ensure fair political representation, an independent judiciary, adequate services and economic growth; and, most prominently in Chechnya and in Dagestan, repressive counter-insurgency strategies. A subsequent report on economic and social issues behind the conflicts will complete the series.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Deficits of democratic legitimacy and accountability, grave human rights violations and officials’ impunity have contributed much to the spread of conflict and a sense of the state as often illegitimate, immoral and repressive. Salafis offer in its place an Islamist state they claim would be more virtuous and fair, a project many angered, disillusioned youths find attractive.
Authentic improvement in the quality of governance in the North Caucasus is only possible if democratic institutions, such as direct elections, independent judiciary and rule of law, are established. Fair elections, preceded by competitive political processes, are a prerequisite for holding state officials accountable. The non-competitive, indirect elections of governors by republic assemblies on tap this weekend in Dagestan and Ingushetia are a step backwards.
Effective checks and balances could help ensure the state is not captured by elites. The fight against criminal activities of clan networks should be vigorous and consistent, but strictly within the law. The first measures taken in Dagestan this year give grounds for optimism and should be continued.
The central government should ensure reasonable decentralisation, including greater fiscal and political autonomy of the region’s seven republic governments. It should also simplify bureaucratic procedures for local governments to receive and disburse funds and streamline reporting obligations, while strengthening the state’s monitoring capacity to combat corruption.
“A functioning federal system with a degree of decentralisation and appropriate regional representation in the federal legislature would facilitate the North Caucasus’s integration with the rest of Russia. September 8 elections could have offered a way to improve the quality of governance if held democratically’’, said Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, North Caucasus Project Director. “Such integration is essential for the country’s security, healthy ethnic relations and stability”.
“Conflict in the mainly non-ethnic Russian and Muslim North Caucasus is expressed through a violent insurgency and strained ethnic relations’’, said Paul Quinn-Judge, Europe and Central Asia Program Director. “But lack of democratic institutions, rule of law, and trust in the state fuel much of the instability and must be addressed for tensions eventually to cool”.
Syria Statement | International Crisis Group
Assuming the U.S. Congress authorises them, Washington (together with some allies) soon will launch military strikes against Syrian regime targets. If so, it will have taken such action for reasons largely divorced from the interests of the Syrian people. The administration has cited the need to punish, deter and prevent use of chemical weapons - a defensible goal, though Syrians have suffered from far deadlier mass atrocities during the course of the conflict without this prompting much collective action in their defence. The administration also refers to the need, given President Obama’s asserted “redline” against use of chemical weapons, to protect Washington’s credibility - again an understandable objective though unlikely to resonate much with Syrians. Quite apart from talk of outrage, deterrence and restoring U.S. credibility, the priority must be the welfare of the Syrian people. Whether or not military strikes are ordered, this only can be achieved through imposition of a sustained ceasefire and widely accepted political transition.
To precisely gauge in advance the impact of a U.S. military attack, regardless of its scope and of efforts to carefully calibrate it, by definition is a fool’s errand. In a conflict that has settled into a deadly if familiar pattern - and in a region close to boiling point - it inevitably will introduce a powerful element of uncertainty. Consequences almost certainly will be unpredictable. Still, several observations can be made about what it might and might not do:
A military attack will not, nor can it, be met with even minimal international consensus; in this sense, the attempt to come up with solid evidence of regime use of chemical weapons, however necessary, also is futile. Given the false pretences that informed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and, since then, regional and international polarisation coupled with the dynamics of the Syrian conflict itself, proof put forward by the U.S. will be insufficient to sway disbelievers and scepticism will be widespread.
It might discourage future use of chemical weapons by signalling even harsher punishment in the event of recidivism - an important achievement in and of itself. Should the regime find itself fighting for its survival, however, that consideration might not weigh heavily. Elements within the opposition also might be tempted to use such weapons and then blame the regime, precisely in order to provoke further U.S. intervention.
It could trigger violent escalation within Syria as the regime might exact revenge on rebels and rebel-held areas, while the opposition seeks to seize the opportunity to make its own gains.
Major regional or international escalation (such as retaliatory actions by the regime, Iran or Hizbollah, notably against Israel) is possible but probably not likely given the risks involved, though this could depend on the scope of the strikes.
Military action, which the U.S. has stated will not aim at provoking the regime’s collapse, might not even have an enduring effect on the balance of power on the ground. Indeed, the regime could register a propaganda victory, claiming it had stood fast against the U.S. and rallying domestic and regional opinion around an anti-Western, anti-imperialist mantra.
Ultimately, the principal question regarding a possible military strike is whether diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict can be re-energised in its aftermath. Smart money says they will not: in the wake of an attack they condemn as illegal and illegitimate, the regime and its allies arguably will not be in a mood to negotiate with the U.S. Carefully calibrating the strike to hurt enough to change their calculations but not enough to prompt retaliation or impede diplomacy is appealing in theory. In practice, it almost certainly is not feasible.
Whether or not the U.S. chooses to launch a military offensive, its responsibility should be to try to optimise chances of a diplomatic breakthrough. This requires a two-fold effort lacking to date: developing a realistic compromise political offer as well as genuinely reaching out to both Russia and Iran in a manner capable of eliciting their interest - rather than investing in a prolonged conflict that has a seemingly bottomless capacity to escalate.
In this spirit, the U.S. should present - and Syria’s allies should seriously and constructively consider - a proposal based on the following elements:
It is imperative to end this war. The escalation, regional instability and international entanglement its persistence unavoidably stimulates serve nobody’s interest.
The only exit is political. That requires far-reaching concessions and a lowering of demands from all parties. The sole viable outcome is a compromise that protects the interests of all Syrian constituencies and reflects rather than alters the regional strategic balance;
The Syrian crisis presents an important opportunity to test whether the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran can work together on regional issues to restore stability;
A viable political outcome in Syria cannot be one in which the current leadership remains indefinitely in power but, beyond that, the U.S. can be flexible with regards to timing and specific modalities;
The U.S. is keen to avoid collapse of the Syrian state and the resulting political vacuum. The goal should thus be a transition that builds on existing institutions rather than replaces them. This is true notably with respect to the army;
Priority must be given to ensuring that no component of Syrian society is targeted for retaliation, discrimination or marginalisation in the context of a negotiated settlement.
Such a proposal should then form the basis for renewed efforts by Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint United Nations/Arab League envoy, and lead to rapid convening of a Geneva II conference.
Debate over a possible strike - its wisdom, preferred scope and legitimacy in the absence of UN Security Council approval - has obscured and distracted from what ought to be the overriding international preoccupation: how to revitalise the search for a political settlement. Discussions about its legality aside, any contemplated military action should be judged based on whether it advances that goal or further postpones it.
Photo: Matt Ortega/Flickr
Crisis Group dice que acelerar el proceso de paz sería un error a largo plazo | EFE
El International Crisis Group (ICG) advirtió este jueves de que ceder a la “creciente presión para concluir” cuanto antes el diálogo de paz entre las Farc y el Gobierno colombiano sería un error a largo plazo y señaló varios vacíos en la agenda de las negociaciones, especialmente con las víctimas.
"Ambas partes podrían estar tentadas a conformarse con un acuerdo expedito (…), pero sería un error en el futuro", aseguró la entidad fundada en 1995 para ayudar a prevenir y resolver conflictos en el informe "Justicia Transicional y los Diálogos de Paz en Colombia", presentado este jueves en Bogotá.
ARTÍCULO COMPLETO (El Pais)