Showing posts tagged as "Louise Arbour"

Showing posts tagged Louise Arbour

4 Mar
Let the U.N. Unmask the Criminals of Sri Lanka’s War | Louise Arbour
Louise Arbour, a former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, is the president of the International Crisis Group
In early 2009, as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, having been herded into an area about the size of Central Park and subjected to relentless shelling. No one has been held accountable for these crimes, and even now the government in Colombo remains intent on burying the past. Only an international commission of inquiry stands any chance of rectifying this omission. So when the United Nations Human Rights Council meets Monday in Geneva, it should seek an investigation. It would be a decisive step toward justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
The 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka, in which ethnic Tamil rebels rose against a government dominated by the ethnic-majority Sinhalese, was regularly punctuated with massacres and rights abuses by government forces, as well as by suicide bombings and other attacks on civilian targets by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Since the government’s crushing defeat of the rebels, the predominantly Tamil northern province has been under de facto military occupation, with widespread reports of serious rights violations against the civilian population.
As the fifth anniversary of the war’s end approaches this spring, Sri Lankan officials say they need more time for reconciliation initiatives to take root. They argue that an international investigation will only further polarize Sri Lanka. They have reacted angrily to a new report by Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, that advocates an international investigation and heavily criticizes the government.
As the International Crisis Group has documented in a series of reports, the government’s postwar policies have entrenched an increasingly authoritarian regime in Colombo, deepened the rift between Tamils and Sinhalese, and drawn dangerous new lines of ethnic and religious conflict. To date, the government has rejected calls by the Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into war crimes allegations against both sides that have been documented by the United Nations secretary general’s panel of experts and by nongovernmental organizations like ours, and to adopt reforms that could foster postwar reconciliation.
The United States, which has a record of leadership within the Human Rights Council, would be the best sponsor for a resolution seeking an inquiry. The other members of the council should give it their strong support. They should also reject the Sri Lankan government’s endless delaying tactics and its global public-relations counterattack, which includes a half-hour infomercial that has been shown on American television.
Momentum for such an investigation is building. Six United States senators, led by Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, called for an international commission of inquiry in a letter sent this month to Secretary of State John Kerry. Three days later a resolution was introduced in the Senate calling for an independent investigation (not necessarily by a commission). Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, other senior European Union politicians and Indian officials also have taken clear exception to Sri Lanka’s failure to pursue accountability for atrocities. Meanwhile, in response to victims’ pleas for justice, a newly elected northern provincial council in Sri Lanka has joined the calls for an international investigation.
But the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected all such recommendations, even when they came from Sri Lanka’s own reconciliation commission. He has also gravely weakened the independence of the judiciary and the police with the impeachment last year of Sri Lanka’s chief justice, placing the possibility of using Sri Lanka’s courts to achieve accountability further out of reach.
An inquiry mandated by an intergovernmental body like the Human Rights Council would produce a more complete record of the scale of civilian suffering, and would challenge the Sri Lankan government’s denials that government forces were responsible for any significant loss of civilian life.
A commission is also likely to uncover evidence of abuses by the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a form that would be hard for Tamils and Tamil organizations to deny. That would deflate a romanticization of the Tigers among Tamils that keeps alive Sinhalese fears that the Tamil insurgency might resume, and also gives the government an excuse for continued militarization and repression.
By showing survivors of wartime abuses that the international community hasn’t abandoned them, a commission mandated by the council could also undercut growing calls by Tamil diaspora organizations for more radical measures, and encourage victims of rights abuses from all of Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious communities (the country’s main faiths are Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim) to continue seeking an end to institutionalized impunity.
Such an inquiry won’t solve all of Sri Lanka’s problems; the island’s crisis of accountability and democratic governance runs too deep and is too complex to be resolved quickly. Nonetheless, increased authoritarianism, Sinhalese ethnic triumphalism and simmering Tamil resentment are clearly not the ingredients for a secure future. Both justice and reconciliation are needed for the Sri Lankan body politic to one day be healed.
The Human Rights Council has an opportunity, and should seize it. A number of the council’s current member states — for instance Chile, Costa Rica, Botswana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Morocco and Macedonia — have led on other human rights issues and should press the council on this one. Sri Lanka’s government is playing a waiting game, hoping the international community will lose interest, while also proffering the crude argument that reconciliation is attainable without justice.
But the costs of doing something now would be very small compared with the years of strife that would be the likely result of letting impunity win in Sri Lanka.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo:  springm / Markus Spring/flickr

Let the U.N. Unmask the Criminals of Sri Lanka’s War | Louise Arbour

Louise Arbour, a former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, is the president of the International Crisis Group

In early 2009, as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, having been herded into an area about the size of Central Park and subjected to relentless shelling. No one has been held accountable for these crimes, and even now the government in Colombo remains intent on burying the past. Only an international commission of inquiry stands any chance of rectifying this omission. So when the United Nations Human Rights Council meets Monday in Geneva, it should seek an investigation. It would be a decisive step toward justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

The 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka, in which ethnic Tamil rebels rose against a government dominated by the ethnic-majority Sinhalese, was regularly punctuated with massacres and rights abuses by government forces, as well as by suicide bombings and other attacks on civilian targets by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Since the government’s crushing defeat of the rebels, the predominantly Tamil northern province has been under de facto military occupation, with widespread reports of serious rights violations against the civilian population.

As the fifth anniversary of the war’s end approaches this spring, Sri Lankan officials say they need more time for reconciliation initiatives to take root. They argue that an international investigation will only further polarize Sri Lanka. They have reacted angrily to a new report by Navi Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, that advocates an international investigation and heavily criticizes the government.

As the International Crisis Group has documented in a series of reports, the government’s postwar policies have entrenched an increasingly authoritarian regime in Colombo, deepened the rift between Tamils and Sinhalese, and drawn dangerous new lines of ethnic and religious conflict. To date, the government has rejected calls by the Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into war crimes allegations against both sides that have been documented by the United Nations secretary general’s panel of experts and by nongovernmental organizations like ours, and to adopt reforms that could foster postwar reconciliation.

The United States, which has a record of leadership within the Human Rights Council, would be the best sponsor for a resolution seeking an inquiry. The other members of the council should give it their strong support. They should also reject the Sri Lankan government’s endless delaying tactics and its global public-relations counterattack, which includes a half-hour infomercial that has been shown on American television.

Momentum for such an investigation is building. Six United States senators, led by Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, called for an international commission of inquiry in a letter sent this month to Secretary of State John Kerry. Three days later a resolution was introduced in the Senate calling for an independent investigation (not necessarily by a commission). Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, other senior European Union politicians and Indian officials also have taken clear exception to Sri Lanka’s failure to pursue accountability for atrocities. Meanwhile, in response to victims’ pleas for justice, a newly elected northern provincial council in Sri Lanka has joined the calls for an international investigation.

But the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected all such recommendations, even when they came from Sri Lanka’s own reconciliation commission. He has also gravely weakened the independence of the judiciary and the police with the impeachment last year of Sri Lanka’s chief justice, placing the possibility of using Sri Lanka’s courts to achieve accountability further out of reach.

An inquiry mandated by an intergovernmental body like the Human Rights Council would produce a more complete record of the scale of civilian suffering, and would challenge the Sri Lankan government’s denials that government forces were responsible for any significant loss of civilian life.

A commission is also likely to uncover evidence of abuses by the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a form that would be hard for Tamils and Tamil organizations to deny. That would deflate a romanticization of the Tigers among Tamils that keeps alive Sinhalese fears that the Tamil insurgency might resume, and also gives the government an excuse for continued militarization and repression.

By showing survivors of wartime abuses that the international community hasn’t abandoned them, a commission mandated by the council could also undercut growing calls by Tamil diaspora organizations for more radical measures, and encourage victims of rights abuses from all of Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious communities (the country’s main faiths are Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim) to continue seeking an end to institutionalized impunity.

Such an inquiry won’t solve all of Sri Lanka’s problems; the island’s crisis of accountability and democratic governance runs too deep and is too complex to be resolved quickly. Nonetheless, increased authoritarianism, Sinhalese ethnic triumphalism and simmering Tamil resentment are clearly not the ingredients for a secure future. Both justice and reconciliation are needed for the Sri Lankan body politic to one day be healed.

The Human Rights Council has an opportunity, and should seize it. A number of the council’s current member states — for instance Chile, Costa Rica, Botswana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Morocco and Macedonia — have led on other human rights issues and should press the council on this one. Sri Lanka’s government is playing a waiting game, hoping the international community will lose interest, while also proffering the crude argument that reconciliation is attainable without justice.

But the costs of doing something now would be very small compared with the years of strife that would be the likely result of letting impunity win in Sri Lanka.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE (New York Times)

Photo:  springm / Markus Spring/flickr

19 Feb
Syrian conflict “looking more like a regional war with an epicentre in Syria”, says envoy | Arthur Beesley
The deadlock in Syrian peace talks may yet prompt a revival of demands for a western military intervention in the conflict, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned.
Louise Arbour, the recipient of an award at Trinity College Dublin last night for her work in international law, also said the looming withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan carried potential to destabilise the country itself and the wider central Asian region.
Ms Arbour, a former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, is president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group, an independent non-governmental organisation for the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. In the 1990s she was chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.
FULL ARTICLE (Irish Times)
Photo: Matchbox Media Collective/flickr

Syrian conflict “looking more like a regional war with an epicentre in Syria”, says envoy | Arthur Beesley

The deadlock in Syrian peace talks may yet prompt a revival of demands for a western military intervention in the conflict, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned.

Louise Arbour, the recipient of an award at Trinity College Dublin last night for her work in international law, also said the looming withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan carried potential to destabilise the country itself and the wider central Asian region.

Ms Arbour, a former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, is president and chief executive of the International Crisis Group, an independent non-governmental organisation for the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. In the 1990s she was chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

FULL ARTICLE (Irish Times)

Photo: Matchbox Media Collective/flickr

7 Feb
Le chant des sirènes | Louise Arbour
Tout semble avoir été dit sur la proposition de Charte de la laïcité présentée par le gouvernement du Québec, y compris bien des choses que l’on n’aurait pas dû dire. Il ne reste plus qu’à espérer convaincre celles et ceux qui n’ont pas encore fait leur acte de foi.
Pour ce faire, il faut d’abord traiter des enjeux juridiques que soulève la Charte et, ensuite, de la question plus vaste de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, aspects qui ont jusqu’ici alimenté la vive controverse que l’on sait. Et il faut bien reconnaître qu’à la fin, c’est un choix politique qui devra être fait, par chacun et chacune d’entre nous.
L’ARTICLE COMPLET (La Presse)
Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

Le chant des sirènes | Louise Arbour

Tout semble avoir été dit sur la proposition de Charte de la laïcité présentée par le gouvernement du Québec, y compris bien des choses que l’on n’aurait pas dû dire. Il ne reste plus qu’à espérer convaincre celles et ceux qui n’ont pas encore fait leur acte de foi.

Pour ce faire, il faut d’abord traiter des enjeux juridiques que soulève la Charte et, ensuite, de la question plus vaste de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, aspects qui ont jusqu’ici alimenté la vive controverse que l’on sait. Et il faut bien reconnaître qu’à la fin, c’est un choix politique qui devra être fait, par chacun et chacune d’entre nous.

L’ARTICLE COMPLET (La Presse)

Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

6 Feb
INTERVIEW: Syria aid push signals failure to end war, says NGO | Joseph Nasr 
Deutsche Presse-Agentur met with Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group (ICG) - a non-profit organization committed to resolving deadly conflict around the world - on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference and spoke to her about the Syrian civil war.
DPA: What are the chances of the Geneva talks achieving a diplomatic breakthrough?
Arbour: Syria is sadly an acute crisis that has gone chronic. There is no end in sight. There is no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough. Even if there was some kind of agreement, the will and the capacity of the sides sitting in Geneva to deliver on the ground is very problematic.
(The situation) is very acute and it is going to be very long term. That is why all the efforts are going into humanitarian access. It is an acknowledgement (that they cannot end the conflict). Normally you would want to invest as much as possible to end the conflict, but this is so elusive.
DPA: Is a solution elusive because of the discord between the United States and Russia?
Arbour: It is not just Russia and the United States. It is the whole region. Look at the region surrounding Syria - all the neighbours are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
DPA: What is ICG doing to help bring about a solution?
Arbour: We don’t do mediation - we don’t have an active role - but we try to bring clarity to the understanding of the conflict, not in a superficial way, not in an ideological way, but in a profound way. (This is) so that people understand how the conflict has evolved and morphed.
At the moment, we are very supportive and advocating some kind of humanitarian breakthrough, especially since the conflict has evolved from peaceful protests, to massive repression by the regime, to fragmentation of the opposition, to extremists coming in and controlling large chunks of the country.
At this point, (humanitarian relief) should be the priority. There is a disasterous plight of civilians, and everybody acknowledges it is happening on a massive scale. What is surprising is how the Western world is completely indifferent (to it).
DPA: How do you explain this indifference?
Arbour: I think there is a lot of fatigue and people don’t understand the conflict. They are very suspicious of their own government’s intentions - who are they supporting and why. I think people are very confused. They don’t have a lot of trust in their own leadership, let alone what is happening on the ground.
DPA: The Syria war has already spilled over into Lebanon and Iraq. What are the chances of neighbouring countries being dragged into a full-blown regional conflict?
Arbour: Some people would say we have already passed that point. Earlier on you could have said there is a Syrian conflict, which could spread in the region. A lot of people would now say there is a regional conflict and its epicentre is Syria.
(This interview was originally published by DPA.)
Photo: H İnsani Yardım Vakfı/TURKEY/flickr

INTERVIEW: Syria aid push signals failure to end war, says NGO | Joseph Nasr 

Deutsche Presse-Agentur met with Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group (ICG) - a non-profit organization committed to resolving deadly conflict around the world - on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference and spoke to her about the Syrian civil war.

DPA: What are the chances of the Geneva talks achieving a diplomatic breakthrough?

Arbour: Syria is sadly an acute crisis that has gone chronic. There is no end in sight. There is no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough. Even if there was some kind of agreement, the will and the capacity of the sides sitting in Geneva to deliver on the ground is very problematic.

(The situation) is very acute and it is going to be very long term. That is why all the efforts are going into humanitarian access. It is an acknowledgement (that they cannot end the conflict). Normally you would want to invest as much as possible to end the conflict, but this is so elusive.

DPA: Is a solution elusive because of the discord between the United States and Russia?

Arbour: It is not just Russia and the United States. It is the whole region. Look at the region surrounding Syria - all the neighbours are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

DPA: What is ICG doing to help bring about a solution?

Arbour: We don’t do mediation - we don’t have an active role - but we try to bring clarity to the understanding of the conflict, not in a superficial way, not in an ideological way, but in a profound way. (This is) so that people understand how the conflict has evolved and morphed.

At the moment, we are very supportive and advocating some kind of humanitarian breakthrough, especially since the conflict has evolved from peaceful protests, to massive repression by the regime, to fragmentation of the opposition, to extremists coming in and controlling large chunks of the country.

At this point, (humanitarian relief) should be the priority. There is a disasterous plight of civilians, and everybody acknowledges it is happening on a massive scale. What is surprising is how the Western world is completely indifferent (to it).

DPA: How do you explain this indifference?

Arbour: I think there is a lot of fatigue and people don’t understand the conflict. They are very suspicious of their own government’s intentions - who are they supporting and why. I think people are very confused. They don’t have a lot of trust in their own leadership, let alone what is happening on the ground.

DPA: The Syria war has already spilled over into Lebanon and Iraq. What are the chances of neighbouring countries being dragged into a full-blown regional conflict?

Arbour: Some people would say we have already passed that point. Earlier on you could have said there is a Syrian conflict, which could spread in the region. A lot of people would now say there is a regional conflict and its epicentre is Syria.

(This interview was originally published by DPA.)

Photo: H İnsani Yardım Vakfı/TURKEY/flickr

17 Dec

Join the Crisis Group conversation!

Watch Louise Arbour and Kofi Annan on the responsibility to protect, Comfort Ero on the militarisation of peacekeeping, Thomas Pickering on UN Security Council reform, and George Soros on the breakdown of the rule of law.

Crisis Group’s annual briefing brings serious thought to foreign policy’s hardest questions.

YouTube

3 Dec
Pursuing Peace Together: Make a Meaningful Gift This #GivingTuesday
Dear Friends,
Last month I shared how your support enables our work in Afghanistan, Syria, the Central African Republic and Colombia. This #GivingTuesday – as we welcome significant steps toward peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and via the Iran nuclear accord – I want to thank you for standing with us in our collective efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. Your involvement keeps us on the frontlines.
Overcoming Violence in Mexico
As drug-related violence continues to claim thousands of lives, we are calling on the Peña Nieto administration to enact reforms and seize the opportunity for Mexico to serve as a model for other countries grappling with a similar cycle of violence. 
“Without significant institutional reforms, efforts to combat violence will be useless; on the other hand, with reforms coupled with programs aimed at the poor, there is hope to end this devastating problem”. Javier Ciurlizza in Proceso.
Easing Conflict in the North Caucasus
With the approach of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Moscow wants quick solutions for Europe’s worst armed conflict. We are pressing authorities to end repressive counter-insurgency tactics that risk exacerbating religious and ethnic disputes and focus on addressing the root causes of this deadly violence. 
“Facilitating the North Caucasus’s integration with the rest of Russia, is essential for the country’s security, healthy ethnic relations and stability”. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia in The Challenges of Integration.
Building Stability in Mali
Following the French military intervention, we continue to draw attention to the need to restore the north of the country to government control and for a rapid and meaningful dialogue by all national and international interlocutors. 
“Indeed, this war is not won and Mali’s challenges remain legion. Failing to address them systematically… will pose dangers not just for Mali’s stability but for the stability of the entire Sahel”. Jean-Hervé Jezequel in our African Peace Building Agenda blog.
Thanks to you we are able to shed light and provide new thinking on these conflicts, whether they are headline news or largely forgotten by the wider world. This #GivingTuesday we invite you to consider making a gift to support our mission to prevent conflict and end wars. Together we are making a difference.
Thank you,
Louise Arbour 
President & CEO 
International Crisis Group
Donate Now
Photo: Robert Raines/Flickr

Pursuing Peace Together: Make a Meaningful Gift This #GivingTuesday

Dear Friends,

Last month I shared how your support enables our work in Afghanistan, Syria, the Central African Republic and Colombia. This #GivingTuesday – as we welcome significant steps toward peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and via the Iran nuclear accord – I want to thank you for standing with us in our collective efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. Your involvement keeps us on the frontlines.

Overcoming Violence in Mexico

As drug-related violence continues to claim thousands of lives, we are calling on the Peña Nieto administration to enact reforms and seize the opportunity for Mexico to serve as a model for other countries grappling with a similar cycle of violence. 

“Without significant institutional reforms, efforts to combat violence will be useless; on the other hand, with reforms coupled with programs aimed at the poor, there is hope to end this devastating problem”. Javier Ciurlizza in Proceso.

Easing Conflict in the North Caucasus

With the approach of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Moscow wants quick solutions for Europe’s worst armed conflict. We are pressing authorities to end repressive counter-insurgency tactics that risk exacerbating religious and ethnic disputes and focus on addressing the root causes of this deadly violence. 

“Facilitating the North Caucasus’s integration with the rest of Russia, is essential for the country’s security, healthy ethnic relations and stability”. Ekaterina Sokirianskaia in The Challenges of Integration.

Building Stability in Mali

Following the French military intervention, we continue to draw attention to the need to restore the north of the country to government control and for a rapid and meaningful dialogue by all national and international interlocutors. 

“Indeed, this war is not won and Mali’s challenges remain legion. Failing to address them systematically… will pose dangers not just for Mali’s stability but for the stability of the entire Sahel”. Jean-Hervé Jezequel in our African Peace Building Agenda blog.

Thanks to you we are able to shed light and provide new thinking on these conflicts, whether they are headline news or largely forgotten by the wider world. This #GivingTuesday we invite you to consider making a gift to support our mission to prevent conflict and end wars. Together we are making a difference.

Thank you,

Louise Arbour 

President & CEO 

International Crisis Group

Donate Now

Photo: Robert Raines/Flickr

18 Nov
Centrafrique : Louise Arbour demande à l’ONU d’agir au plus vite | Christophe RIGAUD
Il y a eu la dictature sous Bozizé, il y a maintenant le chaos sous Djotodia. Huit mois après la prise du pouvoir par les rebelles de la Séléka, la Centrafrique n’est aujourd’hui plus vraiment sous le contrôle de l’Etat. Le nouveau président Michel Djotodia, issu de la rébellion, peine à maîtriser ses troupes qui commettent violences, pillages et vols à répétition. Même la capitale, Bangui, n’est pas sécurisée. Que dire alors des zones reculées comme Bossangoa, Bouca ou Bouar, où s’affrontent désormais ex-rebelles de la Séléka et des miliciens proches du président déchu Bozizé. Plane également le risque d’un conflit religieux entre musulmans (majoritaires dans l’ex-rébellion) et les chrétiens… conséquence malheureuse du coup d’Etat de la Séléka.
Lire tout l’article (Afrikarabia)
Photo: Brice Blondel/Flickr

Centrafrique : Louise Arbour demande à l’ONU d’agir au plus vite | Christophe RIGAUD

Il y a eu la dictature sous Bozizé, il y a maintenant le chaos sous Djotodia. Huit mois après la prise du pouvoir par les rebelles de la Séléka, la Centrafrique n’est aujourd’hui plus vraiment sous le contrôle de l’Etat. Le nouveau président Michel Djotodia, issu de la rébellion, peine à maîtriser ses troupes qui commettent violences, pillages et vols à répétition. Même la capitale, Bangui, n’est pas sécurisée. Que dire alors des zones reculées comme Bossangoa, Bouca ou Bouar, où s’affrontent désormais ex-rebelles de la Séléka et des miliciens proches du président déchu Bozizé. Plane également le risque d’un conflit religieux entre musulmans (majoritaires dans l’ex-rébellion) et les chrétiens… conséquence malheureuse du coup d’Etat de la Séléka.

Lire tout l’article (Afrikarabia)

Photo: Brice Blondel/Flickr

15 Nov
Open letter to the UN Security Council on the Central African Republic | Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group
Excellencies,
The Security Council must take decisive action this month to prevent further deterioration in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the coup by Seleka rebels on 24 March, the state has collapsed. Lawlessness and disorder prevail throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bangui. 
The CAR faces four main challenges:
1. A security crisis: Banditry is rife in the provinces but also the capital, where Seleka fighters attack civilians, hijack vehicles belonging to UN agencies and NGOs and recently shot an African peacekeeper and a humanitarian worker. This banditry has triggered the establishment of local self-defence groups and clashes between Muslim and Christian communities that fuel insecurity and deepen the risk of violence against civilians. 
2. A humanitarian crisis: The humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening, with mounting reports of large-scale human rights abuses. According to OCHA, more than 1.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, including about 400,000 persons displaced within the country and 64,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. 
3. A stalled political transition: Deteriorating security limits the ability of the transitional government to begin implementing the Libreville agreement and the N’Djamena summit’s decisions. Transitional institutions are in place, with a roadmap elaborated, but they have been unable to restore security and restart basic services. The political transition that began on 18 August should conclude in eighteen months with free and fair elections that members of the transitional government are prohibited from contesting. 
4. A collapsed state: The CAR is in complete disarray. Ministries have been looted, state infrastructure has been destroyed in the provinces, fiscal revenues are close to zero, and civil servants have fled to the capital. In short, the country can not deliver the most basic public goods. 
The Security Council adopted Resolution 2121 only nine months after the Libreville agreement, which partly explains why political and military means to support its implementation were lacking. Resolution 2121 seeks to reinforce and widen the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and calls for the establishment of an African Union-led international support mission for the CAR (MISCA) – both welcome steps. Now, however, the Council must act faster, initially to help those on the ground restore law and order and then to reverse the country’s chronic fragility. Under a Chapter VII mandate, it could greatly contribute through the following steps:
To stabilise the situation on the ground
1. Provide emergency support, with appropriate funding, for the earliest and full deployment of the AU-led MISCA force and encourage the AU to ensure:
a. deployment of a mission with a clear focus on civilian protection and restoration of law and order;
b. a significant police component; and 
c. establishment of a secure environment conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population.
2. Mandate French forces to contribute to the restoration of law and order.
3. Encourage French forces and other countries to provide much-needed intelligence support to MISCA.
4. Encourage African countries to provide additional, capable and well-equipped troops to MISCA.
5. Ensure the swift design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program in coordination with the transitional authorities and potential donors.
6. Deploy UN peacekeepers to secure UN offices and their personnel, the DDR camps and Bangui airport. 
To facilitate BINUCA’s support to the transitional authorities
7. Authorise BINUCA to support the transitional authorities to:
a. restore law and order by assisting in the design of an emergency plan to restore and redeploy the CAR police, “gendarmerie” and judicial and penitentiary services, first in Bangui, then in the provinces;
b. prepare and implement a comprehensive security sector reform with the assistance of other partners; and
c. restore and redeploy the civilian administration in the provinces in coordination with MISCA and other partners.
8. Authorise an electoral assessment mission to propose an action plan, budget and realistic timeframe for the conduct of credible elections.
9. Authorise BINUCA to assist, together with donors, transitional authorities improve their capacity to manage natural resources.
The CAR has suffered repeated cycles of instability and violence since the 1990s. Urgent and concerted international action is required now to halt its slide into chaos and prevent conflict. As a first step, the Security Council should ensure effective support to the AU-led mission. Failure to take swift action risks further destabili¬sation that imperils not only the CAR and its people but also the entire region.
Sincerely,
Louise Arbour
President & CEO
FULL LETTER (International Crisis Group)
Photo: Bureau intégré des Nations Unies en Centrafrique/Flickr

Open letter to the UN Security Council on the Central African Republic | Louise Arbour, International Crisis Group

Excellencies,

The Security Council must take decisive action this month to prevent further deterioration in the Central African Republic (CAR). Since the coup by Seleka rebels on 24 March, the state has collapsed. Lawlessness and disorder prevail throughout the country, including in the capital city, Bangui. 

The CAR faces four main challenges:

1. A security crisis: Banditry is rife in the provinces but also the capital, where Seleka fighters attack civilians, hijack vehicles belonging to UN agencies and NGOs and recently shot an African peacekeeper and a humanitarian worker. This banditry has triggered the establishment of local self-defence groups and clashes between Muslim and Christian communities that fuel insecurity and deepen the risk of violence against civilians. 

2. A humanitarian crisis: The humanitarian situation is rapidly worsening, with mounting reports of large-scale human rights abuses. According to OCHA, more than 1.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance, including about 400,000 persons displaced within the country and 64,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. 

3. A stalled political transition: Deteriorating security limits the ability of the transitional government to begin implementing the Libreville agreement and the N’Djamena summit’s decisions. Transitional institutions are in place, with a roadmap elaborated, but they have been unable to restore security and restart basic services. The political transition that began on 18 August should conclude in eighteen months with free and fair elections that members of the transitional government are prohibited from contesting. 

4. A collapsed state: The CAR is in complete disarray. Ministries have been looted, state infrastructure has been destroyed in the provinces, fiscal revenues are close to zero, and civil servants have fled to the capital. In short, the country can not deliver the most basic public goods. 

The Security Council adopted Resolution 2121 only nine months after the Libreville agreement, which partly explains why political and military means to support its implementation were lacking. Resolution 2121 seeks to reinforce and widen the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) and calls for the establishment of an African Union-led international support mission for the CAR (MISCA) – both welcome steps. Now, however, the Council must act faster, initially to help those on the ground restore law and order and then to reverse the country’s chronic fragility. Under a Chapter VII mandate, it could greatly contribute through the following steps:

To stabilise the situation on the ground

1. Provide emergency support, with appropriate funding, for the earliest and full deployment of the AU-led MISCA force and encourage the AU to ensure:

a. deployment of a mission with a clear focus on civilian protection and restoration of law and order;

b. a significant police component; and 

c. establishment of a secure environment conducive to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population.

2. Mandate French forces to contribute to the restoration of law and order.

3. Encourage French forces and other countries to provide much-needed intelligence support to MISCA.

4. Encourage African countries to provide additional, capable and well-equipped troops to MISCA.

5. Ensure the swift design and implementation of a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) program in coordination with the transitional authorities and potential donors.

6. Deploy UN peacekeepers to secure UN offices and their personnel, the DDR camps and Bangui airport. 

To facilitate BINUCA’s support to the transitional authorities

7. Authorise BINUCA to support the transitional authorities to:

a. restore law and order by assisting in the design of an emergency plan to restore and redeploy the CAR police, “gendarmerie” and judicial and penitentiary services, first in Bangui, then in the provinces;

b. prepare and implement a comprehensive security sector reform with the assistance of other partners; and

c. restore and redeploy the civilian administration in the provinces in coordination with MISCA and other partners.

8. Authorise an electoral assessment mission to propose an action plan, budget and realistic timeframe for the conduct of credible elections.

9. Authorise BINUCA to assist, together with donors, transitional authorities improve their capacity to manage natural resources.

The CAR has suffered repeated cycles of instability and violence since the 1990s. Urgent and concerted international action is required now to halt its slide into chaos and prevent conflict. As a first step, the Security Council should ensure effective support to the AU-led mission. Failure to take swift action risks further destabili¬sation that imperils not only the CAR and its people but also the entire region.

Sincerely,

Louise Arbour

President & CEO

FULL LETTER (International Crisis Group)

Photo: Bureau intégré des Nations Unies en Centrafrique/Flickr

11 Nov
Entrevue avec l’honorable Louise Arbour | Franco Nuovo
Présidente de International Crisis Group Louise Arbour est interviewée sur la programme de radio Dessine-moi un dimanche.
Ecouter tout l’interview (Radio Cananda)
Photo: Coalition for the ICC/Flickr

Entrevue avec l’honorable Louise Arbour | Franco Nuovo

Présidente de International Crisis Group Louise Arbour est interviewée sur la programme de radio Dessine-moi un dimanche.

Ecouter tout l’interview (Radio Cananda)

Photo: Coalition for the ICC/Flickr

28 Oct
Louise Arbour on ICC and R2P | Matthew Waxman
Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, delivered a very powerful critique last week of existing doctrines and frameworks for promoting international justice, humanitarian protection, and rule of law. Her tough assessment of the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine are especially noteworthy because Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice, previously served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.
FULL ARTICLE (Lawfare)
Photo: United Nations - Geneva/Flickr

Louise Arbour on ICC and R2P | Matthew Waxman

Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, delivered a very powerful critique last week of existing doctrines and frameworks for promoting international justice, humanitarian protection, and rule of law. Her tough assessment of the International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine are especially noteworthy because Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice, previously served as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

FULL ARTICLE (Lawfare)

Photo: United Nations - Geneva/Flickr