Thursday, 4 August 2011

This is a Real Break with Egypt’s Murderous Past… evidence that the rule of law can triumph

Filed under: Africa files,Human Rights,Middle East,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:40 PDT

Egyptia deposed President Hosnins were glued to their TV screens yesterday as the trial of the Mubarak opened…

Mubarak’s appearance in court calmed, for the moment, broader concerns about the slow and unsteady pace of the transition and the abuses by the military. The first session of the trial perhaps gives us new optimism that maybe, this time, Egypt would get it right. There could be no better ending to the story of Tahrir Square than a trial that shows that in the new Egypt, no one, not even a former president, is above the law. This trial could set a high bar for judicial proceedings, re-establish the credibility of the Egyptian judiciary and do full justice to the victims by ensuring a public accounting of the truth.

Somalia Boy fighters: Shabaab cruel

Filed under: children and youth,Humanitarian work,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:01 PDT

MOGADISHU – The former al-Shabaab foot soldiers assigned to a drab cement housing bloc are young – too young. One is only 9, yet they were enforcers of harsh edicts from Islamist militants who are preventing thousands of Somalis from escaping famine.

The Associated Press obtained rare access to the former fighters at a government rehabilitation facility in Mogadishu last week, providing a unique view into the workings of the al-Qaeda-linked group whose presence in much of Somalia is stymieing international efforts to provide emergency aid.

Millions risk starvation amid Somalia’s worst drought in 60 years.

The UN declared three new regions in Somalia famine zones on Wednesday and said the crisis is likely to spread across all of southern Somalia in coming weeks.

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Somalia hit again as famine spreads

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:00 PDT

Famine has spread to three new regions of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu and the world’s largest camp for displaced people, the United Nations says.

In Washington, a US senator warned the catastrophe could be worse than Ethiopia’s 1980s famine that claimed nearly 1 million lives, and criticised the international community for its inadequate response.

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UN Security Council Syria statement ‘completely inadequate’: The UN has failed to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:29 PDT

The UN Security Council’s response to the recent bloodshed in Syria is deeply inadequate, Amnesty International said today, after the council released a statement condemning the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on protesters.

The UN statement called for an end to violence and said it “condemned the widespread violation of human rights by the Syrian authorities”, but fell short of taking decisive action. The call was issued as a presidential statement, which is not legally binding.

“The UN’s response is completely inadequate. After more than four months of violent crackdown on predominantly peaceful dissent in Syria, it is deeply disappointing that the best the Security Council can come up with, is a limp statement that is not legally binding and does not refer the situation to the International Criminal Court”, said Jose Luis Diaz, Amnesty International’s representative to the UN.

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Army lays siege as Assad offers multi-party system

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:28 PDT

BEIRUT: The UN Security Council has condemned the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Syria as authorities intensified the assault on a city that symbolises resistance to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Security Council, which has been deadlocked over Syria for three months, expressed ”grave concern at the deteriorating situation” and called on authorities ”to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under applicable international law. Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable”.

Mr Assad issued a decree yesterday authorising a multi-party political system, the official SANA news agency reported. The decree allows political parties to be established and to function alongside the Baath Party – in power since 1963 with the constitutional status of ”the leader of state and society”.

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U.N. Security Council Condemns Syria

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:26 PDT

On August 3, in its first substantive action on Syria’s five-month-long uprising, the U.N. Security Council condemned human rights violations and the use of force against civilians by Syrian authorities.

Lebanon, where Damascus’ influence is strong, disassociated itself from the formal statement, agreed by the other 14 members of the council. As statements are meant to be unanimous, Lebanon could have blocked it, but by simply disassociating itself, Beirut allowed the statement to pass.

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Aid and Conflict in Afghanistan

Filed under: Humanitarian work,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:21 PDT

After a decade of major security, development and humanitarian assistance, the international community has failed to achieve a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars in aid, state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population or guarantee human security. As the insurgency spreads to areas regarded as relatively safe till now, and policymakers in Washington and other Western capitals seek a way out of an unpopular war, the international community still lacks a coherent policy to strengthen the state ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign forces by December 2014. The impact of international assistance will remain limited unless donors, particularly the largest, the U.S., stop subordinating programming to counter-insurgency objectives, devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds, and ensure that recipient communities identify needs and shape assistance policies.

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Prominent Norwegian peace researcher criticises Libyan war

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:19 PDT

Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Kristian Berg Harpviken has strongly condemned the Libyan conflict, claiming that lives are being lost for no good reason.

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Somalia: UN Envoy Calls On All Citizens to Pull Together to Help Those Suffering

Filed under: Africa files,Humanitarian work — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:16 PDT

A senior United Nations official today appealed to all Somalis, both inside and outside the country, to work together to support the ongoing peace process and alleviate the plight of those suffering from famine, while pledging the world body’s continued support in the coming days.

“This is a time of great crisis, but also of rare opportunity. It is a time for everyone to pull together to help those suffering and to work towards a better future for all,” Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said in a letter addressed to the Somali diaspora.

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