12 November 2010
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1.ICRtoP:New Security Council members must recall their pledge to protect
1.The New York Times - In Myanmar, Opposition Concedes in Vote
2. All Africa - Guinea: Election Commission Announces Early Second-Round Results
1. Kenneth Roth, Human Right Watch - Canada No Longer Leads on Human Rights
2. Commonweal, David Hollenbach - Humanitarian Intervention. Why, When and How?
18 Nov: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law - Responsibility to Protect: When Does the World Have a Duty of Care?
29 Nov: The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies - Recalibrating Norms: Europe, Asia and Non-Traditional Security Challenges
1.New Security Council members must recall their pledge to protect
12 November 2010
Any new member of the Security Council must act to protect populations from genocide and mass atrocities, inherent threats to international peace and security.
In light of United States President Barack Obama’s 8 November 2010 endorsement for India’s pursuit of a permanent seat on the Security Council, current permanent members, non-permanent members, and states, such as India, seeking a permanent seat on the Council, must acknowledge that the protection of populations from genocide and mass atrocities is an inherent part of the Council’s mandate in maintaining international peace and security.
Given the commitment that all Heads of State and government made during the 2005 World Summit to recognize their Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide and other mass atrocity crimes and to take the appropriate measures to prevent and halt these crimes, UN Security Council members should refrain from using the right to veto when exercising this power which could impede on action from the Council.
Current members of the UN Security Council, the recently elected Non-permanent Members of South Africa, India, Germany, Columbia, and Portugal, and future SC members must recall their commitment to the prevention and protection of populations from the most serious violations of human rights and to enact this pledge within their participation in the Council.
On 9 November 2010, the Telegraph reported that Britain will support Brazil’s campaign to gain a permanent seat on the Security Council: see here
For additional information on Security Council reform and the expansion of permanent seats, please visit our sister project at WFM-IGP at www.Reformtheun.org who writes the following:
(…) Given the political divisiveness of the issue, it is important to consider whether adding more permanent seats to the Security Council would do more to advance the Council’s work on international peace and security, or hinder it.
(…) If the Security Council truly wants to increase its effectiveness in maintaining international peace and security, it should seek to expand its membership on a non-permanent basis, adding ten more seats with five-year, renewable mandates, rather than adding more permanent seats with the ability to assert veto power.
See article here
1. In Myanmar, Opposition Concedes in Vote
The New York Times
9 November 2010
The main military-backed party won an overwhelming victory in the first election in 20 years in Myanmar, according to international news agency reports from inside the country, in a vote that was carefully engineered by the military to assure its continued grip on power.
Although there has been no government announcement, officials of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party claimed victory with 80 percent of the vote, according to the reports from Myanmar, and the leaders of the two main opposition parties conceded defeat.
The outcome had been a foregone conclusion, with the election rules slanted to favor two military-backed parties and with opposition parties each contesting only a small fraction of the seats (…)
(…) As many as 20,000 refugees have fled across a river into Thailand since the fighting broke out Sunday, but the violence appeared to have died down Tuesday and the refugees were returning home (…)
(…) The election was widely seen as an attempt to legitimize military rule behind a mask of civilian government, after a half century of unambiguous military rule in the former Burma. The National League for Democracy, headed by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to take part, saying campaign rules were undemocratic and unfair.
Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won the last election, in 1990, but the military annulled the result and clung to power. She has been held under house arrest for most of the last 20 year s (…)
(…) International reaction was sharply split between Myanmar’s big neighbor and supporter, China, and Western nations that have pursued a policy of isolation and sanctions against Myanmar (…)
(…) On Monday, President Obama said, “It is unacceptable to steal elections, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see.”
In a statement, the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said the vote was “insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent.”
The fighting on the border was a reminder of a civil war with a number of ethnic groups that has raged in remote mountains and jungles, far from the politics that consume the cities, since Burma won independence from Britain in 1948. Continuing unrest in parts of the minority ethnic areas led the government to exclude about 1.5 million people from the election (…)
Click here to read full story
Read about flight of refugees after elections here.
Read the SG’s statement on the elections here.
2. Guinea: Election Commission Announces Early Second-Round Results
11 November 2010
Early results of the second round of Guinea's presidential elections show that candidate Alpha Condé is leading his adversary Cellou Dalein Diallo in two of five communes in the capital Conakry and in another three cities, reports Info Plus Gabon.
The head of the election commission, the Malian general, Siaka Toumany Sangaré, made public provisional results earlier this week.
The leader of the Alliance Arc-en-Ciel, Alpha Condé, obtained 69,08 percent and 51,06 percent respectively in the in the communes of Kaloum and Dixim in Conakry, while Diallo managed only 30,91 percent and 48.24 percent in the same electoral districts.
Condé also won in the three important towns of Fria, Coyah and Boffa with 51,28 percent, 60,43 percent and 67,73 percent respectively while his challenger won 48,74 percent39,26 percent and 32,27 percent in the same towns(…)
(…) General Sangaré cautioned the public not to accept any results other than those announced by the commission. He also announced the arrest of four persons on Monday accused of distributing fictitious results (…)
It will be recalled that in the first round held in June, Cellou Dalein Diallo won 43,60 percent of votes while Alpha Condé won 18,63 percent. The commission noted that voters' participation in the areas announced is estimated at between 52 and 72 percent and that results of other areas will be announced as soon as they are available
Radio France Internationale reports that Diallo's followers are already contesting the results and have asked the election commission to annul results in two towns – Siguiri and Kouroussa – believed to be Condé strongholds.
The electoral commission has promised to investigate the allegations.
Click here to read full story
Read about ICC calling for calm in Guinea as election results are announced
1. Canada has lost its voice in moral affairs
12 November 2010
The following is an excerpt of a speech delivered Wednesday night in Toronto by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, an independent organization dedicated to defending human rights around the world:
(...) I have long been an admirer of Canada’s role in the world. Canada created the modern concept of UN peacekeeping. It once stood at the forefront of global efforts to promote human rights, such as the fight against apartheid. When HRW wanted a governmental partner to help create a treaty banning landmines, we came to Ottawa. A Canadian chaired the negotiations to launch the International Criminal Court and he then served as the new court’s first president.
Because of the values that informed its dealings with the world, Canada punched above its weight. It was a nation to be contended with.
It is thus with considerable sadness that I see Canada in recent years shying away from being a strong moral voice on international issues. Like most Western nations, Canada contributes few peacekeepers.
Ottawa seems to have abandoned concepts that it once promoted, such as the responsibility to protect people facing mass atrocities. When HRW sought a governmental partner to lead our recent campaign to ban cluster munitions, we had to go to Norway, instead of Canada.
The Canadian government is the only Western one to let its citizens languish in Guantanamo.
The government tried to cover up and deny allegations that Canadian soldiers surrendered Afghan detainees knowing that would likely be tortured.
The government endorsed a free trade agreement with Colombia even though hundreds of Colombian trade unionists had been murdered with impunity. Once a government that regularly stood with victims of human rights abuse, Canada, these days, mostly stands aside.
For the sake of the many downtrodden and persecuted of the world who once depended on Canada’s assistance, and hope to do so again, HRW wants a return to a Canadian foreign policy built around respect for human rights.
Full article here
See published Op Ed by Kenneth Roth here
2. Humanitarian Intervention. Why, When and How?
David Hollenbach, Commonweal
3 November 2010
In the aftermath of the 1990s genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, an International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty was convened in order to determine the legitimacy of acting across national borders to stop grave human-rights violations. In 2001 the commission issued its report, The Responsibility to Protect.
That report’s core ideas were endorsed by most of the world’s countries through the UN General Assembly, which declared in 2005 that “each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity,” and that should any state fail to meet this responsibility, the international community has the right and obligation to act in its stead—by peaceful means if possible, and if necessary by armed force.
(…) The responsibility to protect (R2P) has generated passionate disagreement. Political “realists” hold that foreign policy should be determined by national self-interest, not moral responsibility to other nations and peoples (…) Some post-colonial thinkers see R2P as a form of neoimperialism—in effect, a twenty-first-century version of what France called its mission civilisatrice, the “civilizing mission” that incorporated large swaths of Africa and Southeast Asia into la plus grande France. The Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani argues in his book Saviors and Survivors that R2P, with its focus on crises in Africa, masks “a big-power agenda to recolonize Africa,” an attempt by strong nations to justify imposing their will on weaker ones.
Other African thinkers disagree, among them the Sudanese scholar and diplomat Francis Mading Deng, who argues that a state’s sovereignty derives from its responsibility to the people it should be protecting, and that when a government fails in this responsibility—as Sudan has failed the millions of persons displaced by its north-south war—it has already compromised its sovereignty. Pope Benedict XVI, meanwhile, explicitly endorsed R2P in his 2008 speech at the United Nations affirming the centrality of human rights in international politics, and subsequently restated this support in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate.
R2P’s success in drawing support from human-rights advocates like Deng as well as from Catholic leaders, including the pope, reveals the extent to which it is informed both by standards of international human rights and by the Catholic moral tradition (…)
(…) A strong sense of the unity of the human family does not negate the important role of states. How to know, then, when international interventions are called for? The answer is helpfully articulated by the principle of subsidiarity, a concept first explicitly formulated in modern Catholic social thought but now routinely invoked in secular contexts. Subsidiarity holds that more distant powers should intervene in people’s lives only when nearer agencies cannot or will not take the necessary action. Governments have the prime duty to protect the rights of their own citizens; only in emergencies does the responsibility move to the international community. Sovereignty and territorial integrity, while remaining important values, are ultimately limited by the unity of the human family and the right of all human beings not to face abominable abuse (…)
(…) The responsibility to protect is first and foremost a negative duty. Every state has a grave obligation not to inflict harms that “shock the conscience of mankind”—just as the international community has a prima facie duty not to intervene in the internal affairs of independent countries, and should enter the picture only when states fail in their duties. This built-in restraint should reassure those who see R2P as a wedge for neoimperialism. Only if a state engages in the gravest of human-rights violations, or fails to protect its people against such crimes, is intervention potentially justified.
Responsibility can also take positive forms. Within individual states, protecting human rights, after all, requires that citizens do more than simply leave each other alone: they must use their freedom to create the kind of political and economic institutions needed to secure human rights effectively. The international community also has positive duties under R2P, including helping to prevent the gravest rights abuses from occurring. Consider the intense diplomatic activity following postelection violence in Kenya three years ago. When interethnic violence began ominously to resemble the first stages of the genocide in Rwanda, Kofi Annan, Condoleezza Rice, and several African heads of state descended on Nairobi and pressed the contenders for the Kenyan presidency to share power in a coalition government. The coalition remains fragile, and a stable future for Kenya depends in part on implementing the rule of law through a constitution ratified earlier this year. But events in Kenya show that international agents can in fact take successful preventive action.
Positive exercise of R2P also means building peace where conflicts cause grave human-rights violations. In 2005, the United States, the United Kingdom, Kenya, and other countries pressed the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to reach a peace agreement ending the decades-long war between Khartoum and southern Sudan. In line with this agreement, a January 2011 referendum in southern Sudan will decide the question of secession from Khartoum. Since the South would take much of Sudan’s oil with it, there is real danger that a vote for independence could lead to renewed war (…)
(…) The hardest questions for proponents of R2P, of course, concern military intervention. Following the International Commission’s argument, intervention is strictly governed by the norms of just war developed in Catholic tradition and now codified in the law of armed conflict. The UN has restricted just cause under R2P to the gravest abuses of human rights: genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Military action must be a last resort, taken only when nonviolent, diplomatic efforts have failed. The harm caused by military intervention, moreover, must be proportionate, and there must be a reasonable hope that such intervention will succeed (…)
(…) In my judgment, R2P today demands serious and sustained effort by the international community, including the United States, to prevent Sudan from falling back into war following the coming referendum.
Click here to read full article
1. Responsibility to Protect: When Does the World Have a Duty of Care?
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
18 November 2010
Keynote Speaker: Honorable Gareth Evans, AO QC, Chancellor, Australian National University and President Emeritus, International Crisis Group
The event will be moderated by Sheri Rosenberg, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Director, Program in Holocaust and Human Rights Studies and Director, Human Rights and Genocide Clinic
Click here for more info
2. Recalibrating Norms: Europe, Asia and Non-Traditional Security Challenges
The Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies
29 November 2010
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Katja Weber, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Time: 3.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue: Conference Room 1, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, S4, Level B4.
This seminar seeks to investigate ways to address non-traditional security (NTS) threats where the principal concern is not to safeguard territorial sovereignty per se, but individuals. The speaker argues that European Union (EU) countries, in conceptualising sovereignty in terms of ‘constitutional independence’ (a qualitative rather than quantitative measure), have made some progress with regard to addressing NTS challenges. EU member states acknowledge that, as long as sovereignty remains intact, there is no reason to insist on complete political autonomy. Hence they may elect to curtail their freedom of action if they derive concrete benefits in doing so. In the last decade, despite there having been encouraging signs of several Asia-Pacific countries interpreting the non-intervention norm less stringently, the norm still gets in the way of much-needed multilateral, multi-level, multi-faceted efforts to improve human security in the region. Since states as members of the international community not only have rights but also obligations, what is needed, the speaker argues, is a careful recalibration of sovereignty-related norms that stand in the way of improved human rights. In other words, the speaker will draw on her previous work on institution-building and the voluntary curtailment of freedom of action to ascertain ways to empower actors at various levels who interpret the non-intervention norm less stringently and equip them with the tools needed to address the domestic roots of regional problems that threaten human security.
Click here for more info