Showing posts tagged as "UN"

Showing posts tagged UN

16 Sep
Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford
After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.
"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."
FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)
Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford

After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.

"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."

FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

5 Sep
Gulf of Guinea: A Regional Solution to Piracy? | Thierry Vircoulon & Violette Tournier
Acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea represent more than a quarter of worldwide reported attacks. Steadily increasing since 2007, maritime insecurity in this region affects the trade of 455 million people. It affects the shipment of five million barrels of oil per day (Africa’s total is nine million), accounting for forty per cent of European and twenty-nine per cent of American imports. In its December 2012 report The Gulf of Guinea: The New Danger Zone, Crisis Group analysed the emergence of this problem and recommended a two-pronged, long-term response: building a regional maritime security architecture and improving the economic and security governance of the states in the region. While the region is working to develop the security architecture, it also needs to tackle the illicit economic dimensions of the overall situation. In addition, lessons learned from the securing of the Straits of Malacca (which inspired a similar effort in the Gulf of Aden) should be shared with African countries.
FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blog)
Photo: The Maritime Regional Architecture in the Gulf of Guinea/CRISIS GROUP

Gulf of Guinea: A Regional Solution to Piracy? | Thierry Vircoulon & Violette Tournier

Acts of piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea represent more than a quarter of worldwide reported attacks. Steadily increasing since 2007, maritime insecurity in this region affects the trade of 455 million people. It affects the shipment of five million barrels of oil per day (Africa’s total is nine million), accounting for forty per cent of European and twenty-nine per cent of American imports. In its December 2012 report The Gulf of Guinea: The New Danger Zone, Crisis Group analysed the emergence of this problem and recommended a two-pronged, long-term response: building a regional maritime security architecture and improving the economic and security governance of the states in the region. While the region is working to develop the security architecture, it also needs to tackle the illicit economic dimensions of the overall situation. In addition, lessons learned from the securing of the Straits of Malacca (which inspired a similar effort in the Gulf of Aden) should be shared with African countries.

FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blog)

Photo: The Maritime Regional Architecture in the Gulf of Guinea/CRISIS GROUP

20 Jun
Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box
The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.
Within days, the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered parts of north-western Iraq and revealed the fragility of a country ruined by sectarianism, hollowed-out institutions and high-level, pervasive corruption. Accumulated grievances of Sunnis in the area meant that ISIL pushed against a house of cards. But its possibilities are limited and a kneejerk international military intervention risks stoking the conflict instead of containing it. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box , outlines necessary actions by Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the wider international community to end the harmful course of events and reverse its underlying drivers.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
ISIL’s advance has highlighted all that has been wrong with the Iraqi government’s Sunni strategy, which sacrificed political reforms in the interest of fighting “terrorism” - a term used for all forms of Sunni violence but not for Shiite equivalents. This strategy enhanced polarisation and prepared the ground for the successful jihadi push in the north. International actors collectively failed to exert the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to change its policy.
Despite their recent conquests, jihadis are not on the verge of storming Baghdad, nor is an all-out civil war inevitable. It could, however, be triggered by a disproportionate Iraqi Shiite and Iranian response that would cause Sunni ranks to close around the jihadis.
Iran and the U.S. should avoid a precipitate military response. Deployment of Iranian troops, who would be seen as a Shiite-Persian occupation force in Sunni-Arab territory, would bolster the jihadis’ standing further. The U.S., instead of rushing to send advisers, special troops or air power, should lay out plainly what it is willing to do to help Iraq address the ISIL challenge militarily but base its help on the premise that the government immediately implements overdue political reforms.
Iraq should form a genuine government of national unity, with meaningful Sunni inclusion and based on the recent election results, as the basis for national reconciliation.
ISIL’s rise is largely due to the growing integration of the Iraqi and Syrian arenas. Any lasting solution must be based on an integrated approach to those two arenas, possibly on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution if the Council’s disunity on Syria can be reduced.
“Under Prime Minister Maliki, the security apparatus has been undermined, parliament made toothless and other institutions gutted” says Maria Fantappie, Iraq Analyst. “All could see it, but it took swathes of the country falling to jihadis to put the extent of state deterioration in perspective”.
“A U.S. military response alone will achieve very little and could even worsen the situation”, says Peter Harling, Senior Middle East and North Africa Adviser. “Counter-insurgency cannot be successful without an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’, an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’, and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to build”.
FULL REPORT

Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box

The jihadi surge is the tragic, violent outcome of steadily deteriorating political dynamics. Instead of a rash military intervention and unconditional support for the Iraqi government, pressure is needed to reverse sectarian polarisation and a disastrous record of governance.

Within days, the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) conquered parts of north-western Iraq and revealed the fragility of a country ruined by sectarianism, hollowed-out institutions and high-level, pervasive corruption. Accumulated grievances of Sunnis in the area meant that ISIL pushed against a house of cards. But its possibilities are limited and a kneejerk international military intervention risks stoking the conflict instead of containing it. The International Crisis Group’s latest briefing, Iraq’s Jihadi Jack-in-the-Box , outlines necessary actions by Iraq, Iran, the U.S. and the wider international community to end the harmful course of events and reverse its underlying drivers.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • ISIL’s advance has highlighted all that has been wrong with the Iraqi government’s Sunni strategy, which sacrificed political reforms in the interest of fighting “terrorism” - a term used for all forms of Sunni violence but not for Shiite equivalents. This strategy enhanced polarisation and prepared the ground for the successful jihadi push in the north. International actors collectively failed to exert the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to change its policy.
  • Despite their recent conquests, jihadis are not on the verge of storming Baghdad, nor is an all-out civil war inevitable. It could, however, be triggered by a disproportionate Iraqi Shiite and Iranian response that would cause Sunni ranks to close around the jihadis.
  • Iran and the U.S. should avoid a precipitate military response. Deployment of Iranian troops, who would be seen as a Shiite-Persian occupation force in Sunni-Arab territory, would bolster the jihadis’ standing further. The U.S., instead of rushing to send advisers, special troops or air power, should lay out plainly what it is willing to do to help Iraq address the ISIL challenge militarily but base its help on the premise that the government immediately implements overdue political reforms.
  • Iraq should form a genuine government of national unity, with meaningful Sunni inclusion and based on the recent election results, as the basis for national reconciliation.
  • ISIL’s rise is largely due to the growing integration of the Iraqi and Syrian arenas. Any lasting solution must be based on an integrated approach to those two arenas, possibly on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution if the Council’s disunity on Syria can be reduced.

“Under Prime Minister Maliki, the security apparatus has been undermined, parliament made toothless and other institutions gutted” says Maria Fantappie, Iraq Analyst. “All could see it, but it took swathes of the country falling to jihadis to put the extent of state deterioration in perspective”.

“A U.S. military response alone will achieve very little and could even worsen the situation”, says Peter Harling, Senior Middle East and North Africa Adviser. “Counter-insurgency cannot be successful without an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’, an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’, and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to build”.

FULL REPORT

10 Apr
"In at least five locations, South Sudanese seeking protection have been targeted and killed by armed actors in or around [UN] bases."

—from today’s report, South Sudan: A Civil War by Any Other Name

15 Nov
"The [Central African Republic] 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."

—from Louise Arbour’s open letter to the UN Security Council

5 Jun
Examining Iraq’s Latest Upsurge In Violence | NPR Morning Edition
Sectarian violence has flared in Iraq a year and a half after the departure of American forces. The U.N. reported that more than 1,000 people were killed there in May, the deadliest violence since the height of the insurgency during the U.S. occupation. For more on what’s causing the chaos, Linda Wertheimer talks with Joost Hiltermann, an Iraq expert with the International Crisis Group.
Listen to the interview here.

Examining Iraq’s Latest Upsurge In Violence | NPR Morning Edition

Sectarian violence has flared in Iraq a year and a half after the departure of American forces. The U.N. reported that more than 1,000 people were killed there in May, the deadliest violence since the height of the insurgency during the U.S. occupation. For more on what’s causing the chaos, Linda Wertheimer talks with Joost Hiltermann, an Iraq expert with the International Crisis Group.

Listen to the interview here.

8 May
"Timor-Leste deserves praise for the success with which it has implemented pragmatic policies designed to bring rapid stability following the 2006 crisis."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Timor-Leste: Stability at What Cost?

"The greatest challenge facing this government will be to make progress in providing economic opportunities without exhausting national wealth. It will have to prioritise the search for more sustainable employment for a rapidly growing workforce, driven by one of the world’s highest birth rates."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Timor-Leste: Stability at What Cost?

25 Apr

Watch Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director Comfort Ero and Communications Director Scott Malcomson at the UN launch of our recent report on Mali

20 Feb
Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn
Colombo/Brussels  |   20 Feb 2013
As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to open its 22nd session next week, the Sri Lankan government has made no meaningful progress on either reconciliation or accountability and instead has accelerated the country’s authoritarian turn, with attacks on the judiciary and political dissent that threaten long-term stability and peace.
Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the government’s recent consolidation of power and sets out critical steps for an effective and coordinated international response.
“The Rajapaksa government’s politically motivated impeachment of the chief justice last month reveals both its intolerance of dissent and power sharing and the weakness of the political opposition”, says Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Project Director. “By incapacitating the last institutional check on executive power, the government has crossed a threshold into new and dangerous terrain. It is threatening prospects for the eventual peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections”.
Analysts and government critics have warned of Sri Lanka’s growing authoritarianism since the final years of the civil war, but the impeachment has considerably worsened the situation. The removal of the chief justice completes the “constitutional coup” initiated in September 2010 by the eighteenth amendment, which revoked presidential term limits and the independence of government oversight bodies.
Sri Lanka is faced with two worsening and interconnected governance crises. The dismantling of the independent judiciary and other democratic checks on the executive and military will inevitably feed the growing ethnic tension resulting from the absence of power sharing and the denial of minority rights. Both crises have deepened with the government’s refusal to comply with the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)’s March 2012 resolution on reconciliation and accountability. While it claims to have implemented many of the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) – a key demand of the HRC – there has in fact been no meaningful progress.
The government has conducted no credible investigations into allegations of war crimes, disappearances or other serious human rights violations and has rejected the LLRC’s recommendations to establish a range of independent institutions for oversight and investigations.
The international community has a number of tools at its disposal to encourage Colombo to account for the deaths of up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of the war; to halt the current trajectory towards authoritarianism; and to build a country for all, not just some, Sri Lankans.  Chief among these are the levers of the UN, including the HRC, Sri Lanka’s reliance on development assistance and the prestige of hosting the forthcoming heads of government meeting of the Commonwealth.
“Strong international action should begin with Sri Lanka’s immediate referral to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and a new resolution from the HRC calling for concrete, time-bound actions to restore the rule of law, investigate alleged war crimes and rights abuses, and devolve power to Tamil and Muslim areas of the north and east”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, who have struggled to preserve their democracy, deserve stronger international support”.
FULL REPORT

Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn

Colombo/Brussels  |   20 Feb 2013

As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to open its 22nd session next week, the Sri Lankan government has made no meaningful progress on either reconciliation or accountability and instead has accelerated the country’s authoritarian turn, with attacks on the judiciary and political dissent that threaten long-term stability and peace.

Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the government’s recent consolidation of power and sets out critical steps for an effective and coordinated international response.

“The Rajapaksa government’s politically motivated impeachment of the chief justice last month reveals both its intolerance of dissent and power sharing and the weakness of the political opposition”, says Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Project Director. “By incapacitating the last institutional check on executive power, the government has crossed a threshold into new and dangerous terrain. It is threatening prospects for the eventual peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections”.

Analysts and government critics have warned of Sri Lanka’s growing authoritarianism since the final years of the civil war, but the impeachment has considerably worsened the situation. The removal of the chief justice completes the “constitutional coup” initiated in September 2010 by the eighteenth amendment, which revoked presidential term limits and the independence of government oversight bodies.

Sri Lanka is faced with two worsening and interconnected governance crises. The dismantling of the independent judiciary and other democratic checks on the executive and military will inevitably feed the growing ethnic tension resulting from the absence of power sharing and the denial of minority rights. Both crises have deepened with the government’s refusal to comply with the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)’s March 2012 resolution on reconciliation and accountability. While it claims to have implemented many of the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) – a key demand of the HRC – there has in fact been no meaningful progress.

The government has conducted no credible investigations into allegations of war crimes, disappearances or other serious human rights violations and has rejected the LLRC’s recommendations to establish a range of independent institutions for oversight and investigations.

The international community has a number of tools at its disposal to encourage Colombo to account for the deaths of up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of the war; to halt the current trajectory towards authoritarianism; and to build a country for all, not just some, Sri Lankans.  Chief among these are the levers of the UN, including the HRC, Sri Lanka’s reliance on development assistance and the prestige of hosting the forthcoming heads of government meeting of the Commonwealth.

“Strong international action should begin with Sri Lanka’s immediate referral to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and a new resolution from the HRC calling for concrete, time-bound actions to restore the rule of law, investigate alleged war crimes and rights abuses, and devolve power to Tamil and Muslim areas of the north and east”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Sri Lankans of all ethnicities, who have struggled to preserve their democracy, deserve stronger international support”.

FULL REPORT