Take Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, former director of Harvard’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy and self-described ‘genocide chick’, who advocated war in Libya and Syria, and argued for new ways to arm-twist US allies into providing more troops for Obama’s escalated but unsuccessful war in Afghanistan. This last argument wasn’t successful in 2012, though she was at it again recently when interviewed on Charlie Rose. Or there’s Sarah Sewall, another former director of the Carr Centre, who was responsible for the material on human rights in the reworked US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Or Michael Posner, the founder of Human Rights First, now a business professor at NYU, who, as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour in Obama’s first term, helped bury the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations to investigate atrocities committed during Israel’s 2008-9 assault on Gaza. Or John Prendergast, a former Human Rights Watch researcher and co-founder of Enough, an anti-genocide group affiliated with the Centre for American Progress, who has called for military intervention to oust Robert Mugabe.’
Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen: Interview with Omer Aziz
Sharmini Peries talks to Omer Aziz, a student at Yale Law School and Student Fellow at the Yale Information Society. He discusses Saudi Arabia’s human rights records and its successful effort to block a UN inquiry into the situation in Yemen, one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times. (The Real News)
- UK-Saudi Arabia: the new special relationship
- Jon Snow challenges David Cameron over deal with Saudi Arabia
- Weaponry Makers ‘Put Profit Above Human Rights’ in Trade With Saudi Arabia
- Wikileaks Exposes Secret Deal To Get Saudi Arabia On UN Human Rights Council
- David Cameron insists UK must have close ties with Saudi Arabia
- UK and Saudi Arabia ‘in secret deal’ over human rights council place
- Fury after Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’
- ‘Yemen After Five Months Looks Like Syria After Five Years’
- Yemen’s Hidden War: How the Saudi-Led Coalition Is Killing Civilians
- There are 21 million in need of humanitarian aid in Yemen – please listen
- HRW: Saudi-Led Forces Kill Dozens in Yemen Using US-Made Cluster Bombs
- Extraordinary Brutality Inflicted on Civilians in Yemen: Interview with Vijay Prashad
- UN Official Says Human Suffering in Yemen ‘Almost Incomprehensible’
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Saudi Arabia
American drones strikes may have killed as many as 40 Yemeni civilians over the past year, the UN reported on Monday, offering a tally of the human cost of the long-running US campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen, which has continued amid the chaos of country’s current war.
The data on drone strikes came from the latest report on Yemen issued by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR), which compiled accounts of human rights violations from July 1, 2014 to June 30 of this year.
The US first launched armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over Yemen in 2002, but the bulk of strikes carried out by the aircraft have taken place since since 2011. According to figures maintained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Drone War program, at least 101 people have been killed by confirmed drone strikes in Yemen, plus 26 to 61 others killed by “possible extra drone strikes.” Between 156 and 365 civilians have also been killed in other covert missions since 2002, according to the group.
If accurate, the UN’s estimates would represent a significant rise in confirmed civilian casualties in the country as a result of drone strikes.
- Drone strikes in Yemen
- Obama’s Drone Program Probably Would Have Killed Ahmed the Clock Kid
- Drone Strike That Killed Awlaki ‘Did Not Silence Him,’ Journalist Says
- George W. Bush launched 50 drone strikes. Obama has launched 500.
- The U.S.-Backed War in Yemen Is Strengthening al Qaeda
- How U.S. Strategy Could Empower AQAP in Yemen
- Drone Strikes in Yemen Said to Set a Dangerous Precedent
- Death From Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen
- We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike
- Almost 2,500 now killed by covert US drone strikes since Obama inauguration six years ago
- Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
A new United Nations report says Gaza could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years if current economic trends continue.
The report released Tuesday by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development points to the eight years of economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians there over the past six years.
Last year’s war displaced half a million people and left parts of Gaza destroyed.
The war “has effectively eliminated what was left of the middle class, sending almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid,” the new report says.
With a staggering four in five Yemenis now in need of immediate humanitarian aid, 1.5 million people displaced and a death toll that has surpassed 4,000 in just five months, a United Nations official told the Security Council on August 19 that the scale of human suffering is “almost incomprehensible”.
Briefing the 15-member body upon his return from the embattled Arab nation on Aug. 19, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien stressed that the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict and warned that unless warring parties came to the negotiating table there would soon be “nothing left to fight for”.
An August assessment report by Save the Children-Yemen on the humanitarian situation in the country of 26 million noted that over 21 million people, or 80 percent of the population, require urgent relief in the form of food, fuel, medicines, sanitation and shelter.
The health sector is on the verge of collapse, and the threat of famine looms large, with an estimated 12 million people facing “critical levels of food insecurity”, the organisation said.
In a sign of what O’Brien denounced as a blatant “disregard for human life” by all sides in the conflict, children have paid a heavy price for the fighting: 400 kids have lost their lives, while 600 of the estimated 22,000 wounded are children.
- The U.S.-Backed War in Yemen Is Strengthening al Qaeda
- More Than 2,800 People Are Dead in Yemen, So Why Is the Media Silent?
- 4,500 Killed in Yemen in 150 Days of Saudi-Led Bombing
- Civilian Victims in Yemen Will Be Ignored Because US and Its Allies Are Responsible
- Tensions in Yemen May Soon Become a Big Deal to Oil
- HRW Urges Coalition to Stop Using Cluster Bombs in Yemen
- Whose War in Yemen?
- Why Are We Ignoring the War on Yemen?
- The U.S. is enabling a terrible mistake in Yemen
- The US and the War on Yemen
- Yemen: the Lunacy of Empire
- Yemen: This Exotic War Will Soon Become Europe’s Problem
‘Conflict in Iraq has led to nearly 15,000 civilian deaths and left 30,000 wounded during a 16-month period that ended on 30 April, according to a UN report.
The UN’s human rights office and its mission in Iraq said violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses by the Islamic State group, which controls large swaths of Iraq’s north and west, may in some cases amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.
Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops. Isis captured Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul and the majority of western Anbar province in 2014 and still holds large parts of the country, though Iraqi forces have made progress in recent months with the help of a US-led air campaign.
During the 16-month period, the report said, more than 2.8 million people fled their homes and they remained displaced in the country, including an estimated 1.3 million children.
The UN officers did not break down who was responsible for the casualties.’
- UN Estimate: 15,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed in 16 Months, 30,000 Wounded
- Iraqi Civilians Will Die: U.S. Must Get Used to It, Experts Say
- NYT Trumpets U.S. Restraint against ISIS, Ignores Hundreds of Civilian Deaths
- Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990
- UN: Islamic State may have committed genocide against Yazidis in Iraq
- Over 17,000 Iraqi civilians killed in 2014 by ISIS and its enemies, NGO says
- July 2014: Iraqi civilian death toll passes 5,500 in wake of Isis offensive
- Iraq War (2014–present) – Wikipedia
- Casualties of the Iraq War – Wikipedia
‘This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, in which eight thousand people were killed in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The mass killing was the single deadliest event of the Bosnian War, and the most recognized atrocity of the post–Cold War era.
Its significance cannot be overstated: the massacre triggered a NATO bombing campaign that is widely credited with ending the Bosnian War and giving NATO a new lease on life after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ever since, the Srebrenica precedent has been invoked to justify military interventions around the globe.
In 2005, Christopher Hitchens defended the US decision to invade Iraq with an article entitled “From Srebrenica to Baghdad.” In 2011, when Guardian columnist Peter Preston advocated military intervention in Libya, his article began with the words: “Remember Srebrenica?” In 2012, a call in CNN for Western intervention in Syria appeared under the title “Syria, Sarajevo, and Srebrenica.” And a 2014 article on ISIS advances in Syria warned of a possible “New Srebrenica,” with the implication that Western military action was needed to prevent this calamity.
When supporters of military intervention cite Srebrenica, it’s often to insist on the need to dispense with diplomacy and use decisive military force in response to humanitarian emergencies. As a 2006 New Republic editorial succinctly argued, “In the response to most foreign policy crises, the use of military force is properly viewed as a last resort. In the response to genocide, the use of military force is properly viewed as a first resort.” Given the broad way that genocide is now defined, this is a call for interventions without limit.’
‘[…] Over two decades, 14 of the murderers have been convicted at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadžic and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic, await verdicts in trials for genocide. Blame among the “international community”charged with protecting Srebrenica has piled, not without reason, on the head of UN forces in the area, General Bernard Janvier, for opposing intervention – notably air strikes – that might have repelled the Serb advance, and Dutch soldiers who not only failed in their duty to protect Srebrenica but evicted terrified civilians seeking shelter in their headquarters, and watched the Serbs separate women and young children from their male quarry.
Now a survey of the mass of evidence reveals that the fall of Srebrenica formed part of a policy by the three “great powers” – Britain, France and the US – and by the UN leadership, in pursuit of peace at any price; peace at the terrible expense of Srebrenica, which gathered critical mass from 1994 onwards, and reached its bloody denouement in July 1995.
Until now, it has always been asserted that the so-called “endgame strategy” that forged a peace settlement for – and postwar map of – Bosnia followed the “reality on the ground” after the fall, and ceding, of Srebrenica. What can now be revealed is that the “endgame” preceded that fall, and was – as it turned out – conditional upon it.
The western powers whose negotiations led to Srebrenica’s downfall cannot be said to have known the extent of the massacre that would follow, but the evidence demonstrates they were aware – or should have been – of Mladic’s declared intention to have the Bosniak Muslim population of the entire region “vanish completely”. In the history of eastern Bosnia over the three years that preceded the massacre, that can only have meant one thing.’
Will the UN Tackle Impunity for Peacekeepers Who Sexually Abuse Women and Children? Interview with Paula Donovan
Interview from 2nd July with Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World. She is part of the Code Blue campaign, which seeks to end the sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations military and non-military peacekeeping personnel. (Democracy Now)
- Facing ‘peacekeeper babies,’ UN now offers DNA testing
- UN peacekeepers accused of sexually abusing street children in Central African Republic
- Sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers remains ‘significantly under-reported’
- UN Peacekeepers in Haiti Force Girls to Trade Sex for Food, Medicine: Interview with Brian Concannon and Paula Donovane
- UN peacekeepers sexually abuse hundreds of women and minors in Haiti in exchange for food and medicine
- Peacekeepers gone wild: How much more abuse will the UN ignore in Congo? (2012)
- U.N. Peacekeepers and Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: An End to Impunity (2008 Report)
- Six-year-olds sexually abused by UN peacekeepers (2008)
- Peacekeepers ‘abusing children’ (2008)
- UN Child Sex Slave Scandals Continue (2007)
- Child sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers – Wikipedia
‘The United Nations released its June casualty figures. It found that 1,466 people were killed and 1,687 were wounded. The fatalities are the highest since last September and may be due to increased fighting involving security figures and the fall of Ramadi. The U.N. does not attempt to tally deaths among the militants, so these are the absolute minimum figures possible. There is evidence that the Iraqi government is undercounting its dead, and there is no method to count the victims behind enemy lines.
Antiwar.com, using news reports, found at least 3,311 militants were killed and 287 were wounded. Many of these deaths were reported by the Iraqi government, which could be exaggerating its successes. On the other hand, many of the wounded might not have fallen into government hands and therefore are uncountable. In total, 4,777 were killed and 1,974 were wounded during June.’
‘U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a full investigation after Saudi coalition airstrikes hit a U.N. compound in Yemen. A guard was injured when the office of the U.N. Development Programme in the southern city of Aden was hit Sunday. The United Nations has warned Yemen is one step away from famine as a humanitarian crisis intensifies. We discuss the latest with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reported recently from Yemen.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Millions of Children Face Disease, Malnutrition in War-Torn Yemen: UN
- Rising Water Price Hits Yemenis, Shortage May Become Bigger Problem Than War, Experts Say
- ISIS Car Bomb Kills 28 in Yemen’s Capital
- 1,200 Escape From Major Yemen Prison After al-Qaeda Attack
- Human Rights Watch: Saudi Strikes in Yemen Violated International Law
- Ban Ki-Moon Seeks Investigation After Saudi Attack on Yemen UN Site
- Saudi-Led Jets Bomb Yemen as Hadi Govt Rejects New Talks
- US Drone Strikes Kill Nine ‘Suspects’ in Yemen
- Saudi Intervention Only Fans Yemen’s Flames
- The Many Miseries of Yemeni Families
- Saudi Airstrikes, Fighting Kill Nearly 100 in Yemen
- Syria’s al-Qaeda Leader Praises Chief of Yemen’s al-Qaeda Branch Killed in US Drone Strike
- Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of stirring up trouble in Yemen
- Yemen FM: Houthis in Geneva Were Like ‘Ghosts’
- UN Launches Fresh Yemen Aid Appeal as WHO Confirms Dengue Fever Outbreak
- Yemen Peace Talks Collapse as Pro-Saudi Faction Withdraws
- Yemenis Struggle as Treasured City Deteriorates
- Yemen mediator optimistic as humanitarian crisis worsens
- Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20 million Yemenis facing humanitarian disaster
- Quietly, al-Qaeda offshoots expand in Yemen and Syria
- Yemen’s war-displaced flood into Somaliland
- Neoliberal Policies and Foreign Intervention Fueling Violence in Yemen: Interview with Bilal Ahmed
- HRW: New evidence Saudi-led coalition uses cluster bombs in Yemen
- Saudis Offered Former Yemeni President Saleh Millions to Fight Houthis
- Yemen war will end up harming Riyadh, Iran minister says
‘Harold Koh is the former dean of Yale Law School and an expert in human rights law. As the State Department’s senior lawyer between 2009 and 2013, he provided the Obama administration with the legal basis for assassination carried out by drones. And despite having written academic papers backing a powerful and restrictive War Powers Act, he made the legal case for the Obama administration’s right to make war on Libya without bothering to get congressional approval. Koh, who has now returned to teaching human rights law, is not the only human rights advocate to call for the use of lethal violence. Indeed, the weaponisation of human rights – its doctrines, its institutions and, above all, its grandees – has been going on in the US for more than a decade.
‘Gaza reconstruction is moving at a “snail’s pace” and at this rate, it would likely take 30 years to rebuild the extensive damage from last summer’s Israel-Hamas war, a senior UN official said. Roberto Valent, the incoming area chief of a UN agency involved in reconstruction, blamed the delays on the slow flow of promised foreign aid and continued Israeli curbs on the entry of building material to Gaza.
Speaking in the Gaza City office of the UN Development Programme, he said his tour of destroyed neighbourhoods this week was “very, very disheartening”.
Israel and Egypt have severely restricted access to Gaza since the militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.
After last year’s 50-day war, Israel allowed the import of some cement and steel under UN supervision to ensure the materials would not be diverted by Hamas for military use.
Mr Valent said on Wednesday that the system is too slow and Israel must open Gaza’s borders to allow for the speedy rebuilding or repair of 141,000 homes he said suffered minor to severe damage or were destroyed.’
- UN Report: Israel Committed Unprecedented Devastation and Killings in 2014 Gaza War
- Israel’s Ravagement Of Gaza
- ‘People are losing hope’ – Gaza’s slow recovery from the war
- Gaza’s unemployment rate highest in world, World Bank says
- World Bank: Gaza facing ‘dangerous fiscal crisis’
- Egypt reports 521 tunnel openings destroyed on Gaza border
- Israel doubles water supplies to Gaza
- Gaza: Children in crisis
- How Israel’s war on Gaza blitzed 17,000 jobs
- ‘Gaza Reconstruction Could Take 30 Years’
- Palestinians to Seek War Crimes Charges Against Israel at Hague Court
- US Slams Palestinians’ Israel War Crimes Suit
- UN Gaza Report: Five Palestinians’ Harrowing Stories From the Horror of the IDF Bombardment of 2014
- Israel’s Ravagement Of Gaza
- UN: Possible war crimes by both sides in Gaza
- UN Gaza War Crimes Report May Bolster Palestine’s ICC Case, Experts Say
- Head of UN Gaza Probe Tells Haaretz: Main Message Is Israel Can’t Drop One-Ton Bomb on a Neighborhood
- Gaza ‘war crimes’: Israeli spokesman Mark Regev responds to UN allegations
- UN report blasts Gaza war tactics Israel has defended
- Israel Furious that UN Report on Israel Mentions Israel So Much
- Israeli Officer: Attacking Gaza Medical Clinic ‘Boosted Morale’
- Israel Insists Only 56% of Those Killed in Gaza War Were Civilians
- Hamas blasts ‘unfair’ Amnesty report alleging war crimes in Gaza
- “Kill Anything”: Israeli Soldiers Say Gaza Atrocities Came from Orders for Indiscriminate Fire
‘Twenty million Yemenis, nearly 80% of the population, are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, in a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade imposed by an Arab coalition with US and British backing.
Washington and London have quietly tried to persuade the Saudis, who are leading the coalition, to moderate its tactics, and in particular to ease the naval embargo, but to little effect. A small number of aid ships is being allowed to unload but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the desperately poor country depends, are being blocked.
Despite western and UN entreaties, Riyadh has also failed to disburse any of the $274m it promised in funding for humanitarian relief. According to UN estimates due to be released next week 78% of the population is in need of emergency aid, an increase of 4 million over the past three months.
The desperate shortage of food, water and medical supplies raises urgent questions over US and UK support for the Arab coalition’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war since March. Washington provides logistical and intelligence support through a joint planning cell established with the Saudi military, who are leading the campaign. London has offered to help the Saudi military effort in “every practical way short of engaging in combat”.’
- Yemenis struggle as treasured city deteriorates
- Yemen Peace Talks Collapse as Pro-Saudi Faction Withdraws
- Yemen mediator optimistic as humanitarian crisis worsens
- Yemen’s Main City Of Aden Ravaged By Malaria And Dengue
- UN launches fresh Yemen aid appeal as WHO confirms dengue fever outbreak
- Seeds of destruction: Yemen civil war ripping society apart
- Rare Look At The Humanitarian Toll Of Yemen’s Civil War
- Yemen ‘Hangs In The Balance’ As War Rages
- Ban Ki-Moon Calls for Immediate Humanitarian Truce in Yemen
‘The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.
The leaked report is a UN analysis of correspondence between the Moroccan government and the country’s permanent ambassador to the UN in Geneva and later New York, Omar Hilale, in the period from January 2012 to September 2014. The Moroccan correspondence was made public last year by an anonymous source using the @chris_coleman24 Twitter handle.
The Moroccan correspondence appears to show that the north African country intercepted internal UN communications; made significant donations to the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the expressed intention of influencing the body; lobbied to cancel fact-finding missions to the area by senior officials; and attempted to stop a mandate to monitor human rights abuses being given to the UN peacekeeping mission in the territory.’
- Western Sahara Is Still Bleeding Under the Complicit Silence of the UN and Spain
- Shadow of Impunity: Torture in Morocco and Western Sahara
- Western Sahara’s ‘conflict tomatoes’ highlight a forgotten occupation
- Western Sahara: Africa’s last colony
- U.N. renews Western Sahara mission, but without rights monitors
- Obama Ignores Morocco’s Illegal Occupation and Human Rights Abuses
- The EU is supporting a brutal military occupation in Western Sahara
- Morocco/Western Sahara – Human Rights Watch
- Western Sahara conflict – Wikipedia
- Western Sahara profile – BBC
‘Conflicts around the world cost $14.3tn (£9.1tn) last year, 13% of world GDP, says a survey on global peace.
That amount is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said.
The divide between the most peaceful and the least peaceful nations was deepening, the annual report added.
Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation, whilst Syria is the least.
Libya saw the most severe deterioration over the course of 2014, according to the Australia-based IEP says.
The Middle East and North Africa now ranks as the world’s most violent region, overtaking South Asia which received that ranking for 2013.’
- Global conflicts on the rise
- Global cost of conflict reaches $14.3tn, says report
- Report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)
- Global Conflict Tracker – Council on Foreign Relations
- Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990
- Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite
- Human Rights Watch: Rise in Extremisim Linked to War on Terror
- What the Pentagon Wants in a New AUMF: Perpetual Warfare
- If the war on terror fuels terrorism, how does terrorism actually end?
- Eritrea: “Rule of Fear, Not Law”
- Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda
- The brutal dictatorship the world keeps ignoring
- Home Office weighs bleak UN report on rights abuses by Eritrea government
- Eritrea: Last in the World Press Freedom Index for the past eight years
- Eritrea accuses UN of ‘vile slander’ over torture report
- Big Lie Behind the Eritrean Exodus Across the Mediterranean: Interview w/ Glen Ford
- Eritrea: Scathing UN Report
- Eritrea human rights abuses may be crimes against humanity, says UN
- Eritrea: Most Censored Countries
- Eritrea – Wikipedia
Israeli Report Finds 2014 Gaza War “Lawful” and “Legitimate” Ahead of Critical U.N. Investigation: Interview with Yousef Munayyer and Gideon Levy
‘The Israeli government has released a report that concludes its military actions in the 2014 war in Gaza were “lawful” and “legitimate.” The findings come ahead of what is expected to be a critical United Nations investigation into the 50-day conflict that Israel has dismissed as biased and refused to cooperate with. More than 2,200 Palestinians died in what was called “Operation Protective Edge,” the vast majority civilians. On Israel’s side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. In its report, Israel says it made “substantial efforts” to avoid civilian deaths, insisting Hamas was to blame for the high number of civilian casualties and accusing Hamas militants of disguising themselves as civilians and of converting civilian buildings into military centers. We are joined by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund. We also go to Tel Aviv to speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist, whose latest piece is “Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children.”‘ (Democracy Now!)
- Israeli military kills Palestinian kids, United Nations whitewashes it
- Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children
- On the Most Moral Army In the World (Sic) Washing Itself Clean of Dead Children, Again
- Israel Accused of ‘War Crime’ Over Bulldozing of Palestinian Olive Groves
- Netanyahu: UN Inquiry Commission’s Report on 2014 Gaza War Is ‘Waste of Time’
- Israel Insists Only 56% of Those Killed in Gaza Were Civilians
- Israel Issues Its Own Gaza War Report, Pre-Empting UN Inquiry
- Israel Defends Gaza Conflict as ‘Moral War’
- Israel ‘Exceeded Legal Standards’ in Gaza Conflict, Military Group Tells UN
‘Leonce Ndikumana, director of the African Policy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute says while poverty, inequality, weak institutions, and low development in general are the outcome of fragility, they also undermine efforts to accelerate economic development in these countries. He also says aid and timing coupled with a national economic development strategy by sector is required for success.’ (The Real News)
- The World’s 25 Most Fragile States
- Foreign Policy’s Fragile States Index 2014
- South Sudan ‘most fragile state’ in world
- Fragile states need new form of development aid, OECD report says
- ‘Thieves Of State’ Reveals Tremendous Power Of Global Corruption
- State-Building In Central Africa: A Fragile Strategy for Fragile States
‘Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.
Reports of the bid come just days after Saudi Arabia posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners. This year it has already put 85 people to death in what has been branded by Amnesty International a “macabre spike” from the 87 people it killed in total last year.
The country will move to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016 when the presidency is awarded to a new nation.
UN Watch, a non-profit human rights group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it.’
- Saudi Arabia Seeking to Head the UN Human Rights Council (Yes, Really)
- Saudi Arabia hiring eight new executioners as part of ‘unprecedented spike’ in killings
- Who beheads more people: Isis or the government of Saudi Arabia?
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia – Amnesty International
- Human rights in Saudi Arabia – Wikipedia
E.U. Seeks U.N. Backing for Military Action to Stop Wave of Migrants Fleeing Horrific Abuse in Libya: Interview with Magda Mughrabi
‘The European Union is expected to ask the United Nations Security Council today to permit military action against human traffickers operating out of Libya. The U.N. estimates more than 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya into Europe this year. Over 1,800 migrants have died in the attempt, 20 times more than the same period last year. Meanwhile, the European Commission is due to make a proposal that member countries take in refugees under an E.U. quota system. The European Commission’s migration policy will also propose organizing legal means for migrants to come to Europe so they don’t turn to traffickers. This comes as a new report by Amnesty International reveals how migrants are forced to flee Libya because of “horrific abuse.” The report is based on interviews with refugees and migrants across Libya who face “rape, torture and abductions for ransom by traffickers and smugglers, as well as systematic exploitation by their employers, religious persecution and other abuses by armed groups and criminal gangs.” We are joined by the report’s author, Magda Mughrabi, Libya Researcher at Amnesty International.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Amnesty Report: Libya is full of cruelty
- Amnesty reports abduction, torture and rape of migrants in Libya
- Libya: “Rejoicing our bloody democracy”
- Libya’s people smugglers: military action won’t stop this multifaceted trade
- U.N. Wants to Let Europe Use Military Force to Stop Migrant Smuggling Boats
- Mediterranean migrants: Libya rejects EU military plans
- EU is keeping Tripoli in the dark about military action, says Libya’s UN ambassador
- Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU refugee quotas to be proposed
- Libyans urge Europe to help stem migrant flow
- Libya’s human traffickers operate freely amid chaos
- A Man-Made Crisis and Illusion: The European Migration Crisis
- EU triples fund to address migrant crisis
- EU summit to offer resettlement to only 5,000 refugees
- EU Leaders Urged to Look at Libya Mistakes as More Migrants Perish at Sea
- Italy seeks military intervention, other steps to handle migrant crisis
- Facing death for lure of better life in Europe
- Europe’s war on migrants
- Libya’s coast is often the end of a painful road to despair (2013)
‘Starting Monday, the United States’ human rights record will be subject to international scrutiny by the U.N. Human Rights Council. It may just be the perfect catalyst for the Obama administration to make good on past and present wrongs that should never be associated with a liberal democracy predicated on respect for human rights.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of a regular examination of the human rights records of all 193 U.N. member countries and will be the second review of its kind for the U.S. since 2010. The review comes at a critical time when the U.S. human rights record has been criticized for falling short of meeting international human rights standards. From racially biased policing and excessive use of force by law enforcement to the expansion of migrant family detention and from the lack of accountability for the CIA torture program to the use of armed drones abroad, the U.S. has a lot to answer for.’
- UN Rights Review to Expose U.S. Failings
- UNHR Universal Periodic Review Second Cycle – United States of America
- IACHR Wraps Up Visit to the United States of America
- Human Rights Bodies Respond to Killings by Police in U.S.
- ACLU Response to Revised DOJ Guidance on the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
- U.N. Criticizes U.S. on Torture and Array of Human Rights Issues
- ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone ‘kill list’
- UN rights experts welcome US review of lethal drone attacks, urge transparency and accountability
- The Senate Committee’s Report on the C.I.A.’s Use of Torture
- The United States is Obligated to Compensate Victims of Torture
- Retired Justice Stevens says some Guantanamo captives may deserve reparations
- US to Answer for Surveillance Practices on Global Stage
- ACLU: Immigrant Family Detention in the United States
- ACLU Fact Sheet on Alternatives to Immigration Detention (ATD)
- Spies Among Us: How Community Outreach Programs to Muslims Blur Lines between Outreach and Intelligence
- SNCC/ACLU – Securing the Southwest Border: Perspectives from Beyond the Beltway
‘Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people in their countries — equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday.
Nearly one-third of them — 11 million people — were displaced last year alone, with an average of 30,000 people fleeing their homes every day, the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said in a report.
“These are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signaling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians,” said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is behind the IDMC.
Internally displaced people (IDPs) have been forced to leave their homes but remain in their country, as opposed to refugees, who flee across borders.’
- Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: Global Overview 2015
- World neglects displaced as 30000 a day forced to flee
- 2.2 Million Iraqis Displaced by Islamic State Group
- 1.9 million internally displaced by violence in Pakistan
- Nigeria accounts for fourth of new internally displaced population in the world
- 100,000 displaced by fighting in S. Sudan
- Over 33.3 million people internally displaced in 2013
- Internally displaced person – Wikipedia
Joe Lauria is the Wall Street Journal’s UN correspondent. He discusses how a former UN envoy came forward with details of a power-sharing deal in Yemen and why Saudi Arabia would want to prevent that deal from becoming a reality. (The Real News)
‘Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was speaking at the five-year review conference of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Diplomats from the 159 countries supporting the ban, presented ahead of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atom bombs dropped on Japan, said the initiative was modelled on successful campaigns to ban land mines and other weapons and could take years to move forward.
The initiative has virtually no support among NPT nuclear weapons states and veto-wielding Security Council members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – or the countries of NATO, an alliance that provides a kind of “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee for its members.
But most of the 193 U.N. members back it.’
‘U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Saudi Arabian air strikes and combat between Yemen’s warring sides that target civilian and United Nations facilities are having a devastating impact on humanitarian aid efforts and are in violation of the laws of war.
In a statement, Ban said the attacks included bombardment of hospitals, humanitarian warehouses and U.N. compounds, and that civilians in Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, had been targeted by snipers. He called the attacks “unacceptable and in violation of international humanitarian law.”
U.N. officials have cited both the air campaign and fighting between Houthi rebels and supporters of the government of exiled Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in statements denouncing the growing civilian toll. But they’ve been particularly critical of the Saudi air strikes, which they say have all but halted any effort to evacuate civilians by air or deliver humanitarian aid. The United States is providing aerial refueling and intelligence to the Saudi-led campaign.
On Thursday, Ban said more than 1,200 people have been killed in the past six weeks of fighting and that 300,000 have fled their homes.’
- Yemenis in Desperate Need of Food and Fuel After Weeks of Airstrikes
- Saudis Bomb Yemen Airport, Assuring End to Aid Flights
- ISIS Issues Video Showing Execution of 15 Soldiers in Yemen
- Dozens Killed as Houthis, Saudi Forces Fight Along Yemen Border
- Pakistan wants peaceful solution of Yemen, says PM
- Video Claims the Islamic State Has Established a New Branch in Yemen
- Over 550 Civilians Killed So Far in Saudi War on Yemen
- 115 Children Killed: Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen by the Numbers
- Saudi bombing in Yemen still claiming civilian casualties, UN says
- Saudis Increase Airstrikes Against Yemen, Strikes Reported Nationwide
- Fighting Prompts an Exodus From Yemen, Often on Boats
- The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers
- Saudi Arabia to deploy ground troops in Yemen
- US Naval Deployment to Yemen Targets Iran
- Why Is the U.S. Backing a War That’s Helping al-Qaida?
- Under Bombardment in Yemen, Civilians Voice Terror and Despair Online
- No power, no fuel, no water, no food. That’s Yemen right now
- US Increases Involvement in Saudi War Against Yemen
‘Here on Techdirt, we’ve had plenty of posts looking at the major trade agreements currently being negotiated. As we’ve noted, criticism of TPP and TAFTA/TTIP has come from many quarters, particularly for the corporate sovereignty provisions, which are seen as problematic both on the left and right wings of the political spectrum. Intellectual Property Watch carries a fascinating statement criticizing key aspects of trade negotiations, which looks at things from quite a different angle. It’s written by Alfred de Zayas, who is the “Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” — apparently an honorary and unpaid position. In his statement, he expresses:
his deep concern over the general lack of awareness on the adverse effects that existing, or under negotiations, bilateral and multilateral free trade and investment agreements have on the enjoyment of human rights in many countries, particularly in the developing world.
Specifically, he is concerned about the secrecy of trade talks, and the fact that key stakeholders like trade unions, environmental protection grups and health professionals are excluded — something that we’ve commented on many times here on Techdirt. He also thinks that fast-tracking the adoption of treaties — as is currently being attempted in the US — has a “detrimental impact on the promotion of a democratic and equitable world order.”‘
‘The latest quarterly report out of the UN shows 521 civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2015, including 136 deaths. This is an 8% increase over the same period in 2014, which was itself the deadliest since the UN began keeping track.
UN officials warn that as the spring thaw begins the tolls are likely to start soaring again, setting the stage for another terrible year for civilians trapped 14 years deep into a NATO occupation.’
‘Sometimes I’m challenged over my linking belligerent neoconservatives with “liberal interventionists” who justify U.S. military invasions under the “humanitarian” banner of “responsibility to protect” – or R2P – meaning to intervene in war-torn countries to stop the killing of civilians, like the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda.
And, most people would agree that there are extraordinary situations in which the timely arrival of an external military force might prevent genocide or other atrocities, which was one of the intended functions of the United Nations. But my overall impression of R2Pers is that many are careerist hypocrites who voice selective outrage that provides cover for the U.S. and its allies to do pretty much whatever they wish.
Though one can’t generalize about an entire group – since some R2Pers act much more consistently than others – many of the most prominent ones operate opportunistically, depending how the dominant narrative is going and where the power interests lie.’
- The Dangerous Neocon-R2P Alliance
- The untold story of the Maidan massacre
- Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine
- Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions
- The ethics of the responsibility to protect
- Are Neocons Getting Ready to Ally With Hillary Clinton?
- Is Hillary Clinton a Neocon-Lite?
- A New Neocon Push for Syrian War
- Top 10 warning signs of ‘liberal imperialism’
- Selective Use of R2P to Secure Regime Change, Says India at UN
- Libya, ‘R2P’ and the selective business of ‘accountability’
- What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance
- Not All Interventions Are the Same
- Responsibility to protect – Wikipedia
‘Those of us who work on foreign policy like to think of ourselves as hard-headed, rational people who don’t easily succumb to myths, fables, or delusions. If only that were true! In fact, foreign-policy mavens as just as vulnerable to blindered thinking as any other human beings, and our community has its own set of odd beliefs and practices that are rarely questioned or criticized.
In fact, if one moves outside the bubble of mainstream discourse and takes a hard look at some familiar elements of contemporary world politics, they begin to look rather peculiar, even absurd. What do I mean by that? I mean an unusual, bizarre, risible, and hard-to-justify state of affairs whose dubious nature is no longer questioned, mostly because we’ve grown accustomed to it and no longer notice how weird it really is. These situations are like the discarded oddities of a bygone era — like phrenology, corsets, powdered wigs, binding feet, etc. — or like the bad habits that we sometimes acquire without noticing how strange or damaging they might be.
Some of these absurdities persist because they’ve been around a long time, or because powerful interests defend them vigorously, or because they align with broader social prejudices. Some of them may in fact be defensible, but we should still bring such oddities out into the open air on occasion and ask ourselves if they really make sense.’