Watch Mark Schneider, Crisis Group’s Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America, discuss UN accountability in Haiti on CBC News
Showing posts tagged as "united nations"
Showing posts tagged united nations
The World Failed Sri Lanka. And Continues to Do So. | UN Dispatch
By Mark Leon Goldberg
The top story buzzing around the UN today the soon-to-be-released report on the failure to protect civilians caught in the final days of the Sri Lankan civil war. Parts of the report were already leaked to the BBC, and Ban Ki Moon is expected to make it public tomorrow. The short story is that there was a massive and system wide failure to prevent the slaughter of an estimated 40,000 ethnic Tamils in five short months in the winter and spring of 2009. (To put that in perspective, there has been an estimated 30,000 Syrians killed in over a year of violence.)
What we know about those final days is stunningly awful. This International Crisis Group report and this UN Commission of Inquiry report describe a months-long massacre of innocent civilians caught between Tamil Tiger insurgents on one side and government forces on the other. The insurgents used civilians as human shields, and the government decided to shoot through those shields to get to the Tigers. Hundreds of thousands of people were trapped in an area the size of Central Park, subjected to daily mortar fire and indiscriminate killing. The Sri Lankan government said they were going after terrorists. That may be true, but they did so by killing tens of thousands of civilians in the process.
Photo: United Nations - Geneva/Flickr
Human rights in Sri Lanka take center stage at the United Nations | Public Radio International
By Angilee Shah
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance introduced a bill last week impeach the country’s Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. On Monday, hundreds of people, including lawyers and opposition leaders, protested the impeachment in front of the Supreme Court in Colombo.
The bill was introduced on the same day that Sri Lanka underwent a regular review of its human rights record as a member of the United Nations — a review that goes on every four years.
“It’s ironic and telling that on the very day that Sri Lanka’s case is heard before the Human Rights Council that the government chooses to launch an impeachment process against the chief justice,” said Alan Keenan, Sri Lanka Project Director at the International Crisis Group. “That tells you both how arrogant they are and the degree of contempt they have for international institutions and their own institutions as well.”
Photo: Garret Clarke/Flickr
DRC: Tough bargaining with armed groups | IRIN
Since May, the M23 rebellion by a group of army mutineers has allowed a number of armed groups to expand and take back territory from the government.
According to the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), there are now more than 30 armed groups in the eastern provinces. Most of these probably number a few hundred or less, but some might play an important role in the confrontation between the army and the M23.
The conflict currently looks like a stand-off, despite a seemingly huge imbalance of forces. The think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) estimates that the army recently had 7,000 troops deployed against the M23, which numbered only around 1,000. Both sides have been reinforced, with Human Rights Watch and other observers alleging that units of the Rwandan army have supported the M23 during major engagements.
Photo: Al Jazeera English/Flickr
By Robin Lustig
Is Nigeria about to invade Mali? Sorry, let me rephrase that: is a UN-backed regional intervention force about to restore order in Mali?
In fact, the two questions amount to the same thing, following a resolution passed by the UN security council last week that could well pave the way for military intervention in a country that’s rapidly becoming one of the world’s most troubling security hot-spots.
Photo: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection/Flickr
The real Rule of Law is substantive and encompasses many human rights requirements. It reflects the idea of equality in a substantive way: not just that no one is above the law, but that everyone is equal before and under the law, and is entitled to its equal protection and equal benefit.
Only this understanding of the Rule of Law would prevent a law being enacted to regulate the use of torture, for example. Under this substantive understanding of the rule of the law that would be impossible — no matter how well promulgated that law were, nor how equitably it were enforced. Properly understood in this fashion, the Rule of Law would also prohibit the enactment of a law that would deprive women of the right to vote, or otherwise offend fundamental human rights guarantees.
Under this substantive understanding of the Rule of Law, rules serve a higher purpose than the mere orderly regulation of human conduct; laws must also enhance liberty, security and equality and strive to attain a perfect coincidence between law and justice.
This is a tall agenda both at the national and the international level, but it is the one that the Rule of Law commands. It requires that laws be just, and justly enforced."
—A statement by Louise Arbour, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group, on the occasion of the High-level Meeting of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law
‘Between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, between the strong and the weak, it is freedom that oppresses, and the law that sets free.’
(52e Conférence de Notre-Dame, 1848)
So said Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, a French ecclesiastic, preacher, journalist and political activist who re-established the Dominican Order in post-Revolutionary France, in 1848.
And he was right. The purpose of law in a free and democratic society is to liberate, not to restrain. It is to create a safe and just environment in which human conduct is regulated and power is constrained so that maximum freedom and safety is attained by all.
In our eagerness to promote the Rule of Law, we often confuse three competing visions of it. One is institutional, one procedural, and one substantive."
A statement by Louise Arbour, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group, on the occasion of the High-level Meeting of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law
Mali: Imminent Intervention, Uncertain Future | UN Dispatch
By Penelope Chester
“The next six months will be crucial for the stability of Mali, Sahel and the entire West African region, as the risks are high and the lack of leadership at all levels of decision-making has so far been obvious,” notes the ICG briefing. The complex nature of the crisis in Mali is compounded by the fact that there are many other diffuse regional dynamics at play. There is an opportunity for the transitional government to work together with ECOWAS and the UN to resolve the immediate crisis in the north, while engaging regional and global partners in the more long term fight against extremism, criminality and insecurity in the Sahel region.
Photo: US Army Africa/Flickr
A Familiar and Painful Story Is Playing Out in Sudan | Al-Monitor
By EJ Hogendoorn, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director
As the UN General Assembly meets, fighting between the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile grinds on, displacing entire communities and producing a humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands are subsisting in internally displaced camps — and 200,000 more have been forced to flee abroad — where their main hope for survival lies in shipments of international aid. Yet, despite two memoranda of understanding signed by Khartoum, rebel fighters and international players — agreements that, among other points, require aid be delivered without interference — shipments are not getting through to those who need it most.
Photo: Julien Harneis/Flickr
Mali Risks Second Coup Without Intervention, Crisis Group Says | Bloomberg News
By Rose Skelton
Mali may face a second coup and West Africa risks the spread of religious extremism if there is no international support for the country’s response to armed groups that have taken control of the north, according to the International Crisis Group.
All scenarios are possible in the landlocked nation, “including another military coup and social unrest in the capital,” the Brussels-based group said in an e-mailed report published today. That may create “chaos that could allow religious extremism and terrorist violence to spread in Mali and beyond.”
Photo:The U.S. Army/Flickr