Courtesy of Public International Law & Policy GroupFriday, June 18, 2010
Volume IX, Number 21In this issue:
Democratic Republic of Congo
HindustanTimes/Thaindian, June 11, 2010
Pakistan continues its support of Afghanistan’s peace efforts through reconciliation with the Taliban and encourages the international community to consider the results of June’s peace jirga when it meets in Kabul during a July 20 international conference on Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban has declined to accept the peace jirga’s request to halt violence and join the peace process, instead demanding that international forces first withdraw from Afghanistan.
AP, June 13, 2010
In response to Afghanistan’s national peace jirga that called for the removal of insurgent leaders from blacklists, the United Nations (UN) is reviewing the blacklist of Taliban and al-Qaida leaders that limits their travel and financial freedom. The UN committee will report its recommendations and findings to the UN Security Council for its final decision. A UN representative spoke about the blacklist review as a way to keep post-jirga momentum towards a political solution to the Afghanistan conflict.
United Nations News Center, June 9, 2010
Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Burma, traveled to Singapore on June 9, 2010 to discuss the situation in Burma. Mr. Nambiar will head to Beijing on June 11, 2010 to continue talks about Burma with Chinese authorities. Earlier in the year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded that Burma’s government hold free and fair elections. Subsequently, the Secretary General voiced concern that the new Burmese electoral laws do not meet UN expectations of what is required for an inclusive political process.
The Irrawaddy, June 9, 2010
The military junta extended the deadline for the incorporation of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) into the border guard force (BGF) until August 10, 2010. The junta also threatened to use force if the DKBA refused to comply with the terms of the 1995 cease-fire agreements. While some of the DKBA leaders are in favor of joining the BGF to protect their own interests, one of the DBKA hardliners, Col Lah Pwe, instructed his troops to fight back if attacked by junta forces that attacked his troops.
The Irrawaddy, June 11, 2010
During a meeting with her lawyer, Aung San Suu Kyi asserted that the Burmese people have the right to choose not to vote. The comments may suggest a possible boycott of the upcoming election by her former party, the now-disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD). Suu Kyi also commented on United States Senator Jim Webb’s comment calling for support of the Burmese election, saying that she believed it expressed his point-of-view, rather than of his official position as East Asian and Pacific Affairs Chairman. Suu Kyi refused to comment on the allegations about a Burmese nuclear program, claiming there was not enough information available.
World Bulletin, June 9, 2010
Members of the European Parliament’s (EP) High-Level Contact Group for Relations with the Turkish Cypriot Community came to Cyprus on June 9 for three days of talks with both Greek and Turkish Cypriot political parties, including President Dervis Eroglu of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Libor Roucek, the trip coordinator, said that the EP wanted to support the reunification of Cyprus, but that it was the Cypriots who would resolve the division.
UN News Centre, June 10, 2010
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer called for an increase in the pace of the peace talks between the two sides. Downer stated that in order to reach a settlement by the end of 2010, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders need to work through difficult issues rather than procrastinate. After a postponement in early June over a dispute around the basis for the talks, the two leaders are scheduled to meet again on June 15.
The Sofia Echo, June 10, 2010
In his most recent report to the UN Security Council on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recommended that the UNFICYP’s mandate be renewed until December 15, 2010. The report cited the reliance by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on the assistance of UNFICYP on issues that affected the daily lives of people. The Secretary-General’s report also advised that economic, social, cultural, and other links between the two sides would help create trust as the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders continue their talks on reunification.
Today’s Zaman, June 11, 2010
Speaking at Girne American University in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for European Union (EU) talks Egemen Bagis said Turkey would not let Cyprus go as part of the process of becoming a member of the EU and that it does not consider the TRNC to be separate from Turkey. Mr. Bagis called on Greek Cypriots to work on the finishing the peace process and gaining membership for Turkey in the EU.
Xinhua, June 7, 2010
Doha peace talks with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) focused on power-sharing this week. LJM’s Bahar Idriss Abu Garda demanded a power-sharing deal based on population density. The talks do not currently include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which continues to shun offers to join the peace process.
Voice of America, June 8, 2010
Uganda has changed its stance and invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to next month’s African Union (AU) summit. As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda is theoretically required to arrest Mr. Bashir if he attends the meeting. President Bashir has disregarded the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) authority, and said he would request the summit be moved if he was not invited. He has yet to travel to any countries that are signatories to the ICC.
MSNBC, June 11, 2010
In his semi-annual address to the UN Security Council, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the Council to take action in arresting South Kordofan Governor Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb. International arrest warrants for the two men were issued in 2007 for helping to organize mass kills and deportations in Darfur.
Democratic Republic of Congo
UN, June 10, 2010
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Roger A. Meece (United States) to succeed Alan Doss (United Kingdom) as the Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The Secretary General thanked Doss for his leadership of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will now be renamed MONUSCO.
UN News Centre, June 11, 2010
The UN reported that that the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which previously operated in northern Uganda for over twenty years, has now stepped up its attacks inside the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over one hundred children were kidnapped by the LRA during a four-month period, and civilian murders have increased to over one hundred per month since December 2009. The presence of the LRA in Orientale Province is preventing aid workers from reaching communities in that area, and many civilians are fleeing their homes in fear.
AFP, June 11, 2010
The UN stated that the humanitarian aid agencies in the DRC suffer from violence and a lack of funding. The growing violence by the LRA and other armed groups, as well as a 70% shortfall of the $827 million in aid requested by the UN, contribute to a worsening humanitarian crisis. A state of insecurity prevails in most of the north and east of the DRC.
The Messenger, June 3, 2010
The Seimas, Lithuania’s legislature, passed a resolution with the support of fifty-five members classifying Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied territories.” It called on the Government of Georgia to introduce self-government or autonomous region models amenable to both the local populations and the Government of Georgia in order to establish peace.
RT, June 10, 2010
Negotiations on an agreement for the non-use of force deadlocked again, as representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Russia met with help from the EU, UN, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The delegations from South Ossetia and Abkhazia left the room after discussions in the security and humanitarian working groups failed to move forward during the mediation’s eleventh meeting.
The Pakistan Newswire, June 9, 2010
The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) called for India to give the populations of Jammu and Kashmir the right to vote and decide on their future political situation. The All Parties Hurriyet Conference of which JKPM is a constituent, rejected Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to dialogue and stated that the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute should come through a tripartite dialogue process between India, Pakistan, and Kashmiri representatives, not through economic packages and financial aid.
Express India, June 12, 2010
A new round of dialogue is proposed between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in mid-July. The government of India has stated it will not discuss substantive issues, such as Kashmir and its potential demilitarization and autonomy during the new round of talks with Pakistan, but instead will focus on creating the “right atmosphere” for building trust between the two countries. The prime ministers said that the informal dialogues could provide useful back channels in future negotiations.
Capital News, June 8, 2010
The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) said 12.6 million voters registered for the constitutional referendum, a drop of 1.6 million voters from the 2007 election. The IIEC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said this figure was lower than earlier estimates because of problems with double registration, and he assured that a Voter Register Inspection would begin on June 11, 2010.
Kenya Broadcasting Company, June 11, 2010
Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta lost a motion to have his name removed from a report by the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR), which links him to the post-election violence that erupted in 2007. Kenyan High Court judges Roselyn Wendoh and Abida Ali Aroni, however, criticized the KNCHR, arguing that Kenyatta was not given the chance to defend himself before his name was published in the document. The report, “On the Brink of Precipice,” was released last year by KNCHR.
The Standard, June 12, 2010
Chairman of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Mzalendo Kibunja announced investigations into the scare tactics of the ‘No’ campaign, which included threats of bloodshed, evictions, and religious wars if the proposed Constitution is passed. Other remarks included claims that the new laws would allow for redistribution of land according to ethnic backgrounds.
Capital News, June 13, 2010
Two bombs exploded on Sunday during a rally held by opponents to the proposed Constitution, killing five people and sending 82 more to the hospital. In the immediate aftermath, police stated that petrol bombs had been thrown into the crowd. Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other officials visited the hospital where the wounded had been taken and said an investigation into the incident had begun.
Turkishweekly, June 7, 2010
The June 5 talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev resulted in a proposal of a new EU-Russia security forum focusing on regional conflicts and crises. The first item on the agenda is the two-decade long conflict over the Moldovan region of Transdniester, which Moldova’s Prime Minister Vlad Filat welcomed. Filat said Moldova is willing to work with international partners to end the conflict.
Today.AZ, June 10, 2010
The Azerbaijani President said that his government has complied with the Madrid principles. He claims that Armenia is stalling, and forcing Azerbaijan and mediators to wait. The President also stated that Azerbaijan would be forced to reconsider its position if Armenia continues to complicate the peace process and pursue a policy of occupation.
Today.AZ, June 12, 2010
The Azerbaijani Parliament adopted a doctrine giving the government the right to use “all possible means, including military force,” to free occupied territories from occupation and restore territorial integrity. Armenian officials assert that the doctrine is contrary to Azerbaijan’s constitution, which states that war is not a suitable means to resolve international conflicts, referring to Nagorno-Karabakh. Some experts say that there is no constitutional inconsistency because no country recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state.
Kathmandu Post, June 10, 2010
An agreement, signed by Nepal and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, extended the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) by a year, but severely limited its powers. The agreement mandates that OHCHR close its regional offices, give prior notice to the government before conducting site visits, and work in cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The Nepalese government says the agreement reflects changed circumstances in Nepal, and that the NHRC was capable of handling the human rights situation.
NepalNews, June 12, 2010
Speaking at the Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu on June 12, a senior Maoist standing committee member Bahadur Rayamajhi said that the new national unity government must be under his party’s leadership, even if it means agreeing to an alternative to party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as Prime Minister. Rayamajhi said his party will propose a government under the leadership of Vice-Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai if other parties disagree with Dahal.
Republica, June 13, 2010
On June 11, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal issued a seven-day ultimatum to the ruling coalition, demanding that it form a consensus government. If the parties fail to reach a deal before the deadline, Nepal says he will step down as Prime Minister to avoid being an obstacle to national consensus. Critics within the coalition, however, say that by stepping down Prime Minister Nepal would be abandoning the coalition when he is needed most.
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., June 8, 2010
During Former President Arroyo’s administration, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government were unable to reach a peace agreement. However, the prospects for peace under the new administration remain hopeful. European Union Ambassador Alistair MacDonald emphasized the progress that both groups have made since negotiations resumed last year.
The Philippine Star, June 8, 2010
The House of Representatives failed to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill during its last congressional session. President Arroyo seems unlikely to call for a special session to allow the House to ratify the FOI Bill. The Bill is considered to be a landmark piece of legislation since it will increase government transparency surrounding transactions and data.
The New York Times, June 9, 2010
Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III won the Presidential Elections on June 9. He will formally become the Republic of the Philippines’ fifteenth President on June 30. Mr. Aquino promises to address the systemic corruption plaguing businesses and the government.
Somaliland Press, June 7, 2010
As the elections campaigns continue, Vice-Presidential candidate Ahmed Yusuf Yassin urged the opposition parties not to incite violence during their rallies. He stressed that, “All eyes are on Somaliland elections which should be free and fair.”
Somaliland Press, June 13, 2010
The new militant group Sool, Sanag, Cayn (SCC) attacked the military base outside the village of Bali’ada, wounding at least one of the Somaliland forces. Two of the SCC militants were also injured, and one was captured in the attack. It is believed that the SCC forces do not want elections in the region.
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, June 10, 2010
The Secretary General of the Southern Cameroon National Council, Chinkwo Fidelis, issued a press release criticizing Cameroon’s 50th anniversary independence celebrations. Southern Cameroonians were pushed into joining the celebrations, even though Southern Cameroons was not considered part of the country until October 1, 1961. Fidelis argued that Southern Cameroonians are still mindful of their distinct identity and are determined to restore their own sovereignty and statehood.
The Post, June 11, 2010
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Cameroon last week included meetings with Cameroonian President Paul Biya to convince him of the need for free and transparent presidential elections in 2011. The United Nations hopes that the Secretary General’s efforts will prevent election protests and violence. Mr. Ban also planned to discuss the Southern Cameroons separatist movement with President Biya.
All Africa, June 10, 2010
During a visit to Kenya, United States Vice President Biden assured a Government of Southern Sudan delegation that the US remains strongly committed to a referendum on self-determination. Biden committed “political, financial, and technical support” for guaranteeing a peaceful outcome of the referendum and additional assistance in professionalizing the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka expressed similar optimism of a peaceful referendum with commitments to uphold its outcome.
Sudan Tribune, June 11, 2010
Major General Moses Bisong Obi, who has experience with the UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Sierra Leone, was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to head the 9,500 soldier UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) force. Obi, who also served as commanding officer of the Economic Community of Western African States Monitoring Group, will replace Nepalese Lieutenant General Paban Jung Thapa.
Sudan Tribune, June 13, 2010
Government of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir reappointed Riek Machar, who has served as Vice-President since 2005, as his deputy. Machar also serves as the Deputy Chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and was Kiir’s running mate during the April elections. Remaining cabinet members are expected to be appointed in both the north and south in the coming days.
The World, June 10, 2010
Albino killings have begun to increase since February. More than fifty Albinos have been murdered since 2007, mainly for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals and potions. In a nation where ninety-three percent of the population believes in witchcraft, advocates say increased education is needed to create more equal opportunities for albinos and encourage human rights awareness.
Daily Nation, June 13, 2010
While Amnesty International rebuked East Africa’s impunity in the justice system and international legal obligations, Tanzania was not included in those admonishments. The organization mentioned other areas of concern for Tanzania, including the potential expulsion of Burundi refugees, limitations on the freedom of expression for the media as political elections approach, violence against women, political violence in Zanzibar, and albino killings.
The New Vision, June 6, 2010
UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for the arrest of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony on June 5. Pillay also urged the Ugandan Government to enact a national reconciliation bill and create a truth and reconciliation body in order to facilitate the healing process in northern Uganda. International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo expressed his belief during the Rome Statute Review Conference in Kampala that Kony and Sudanese President Bashir would be arrested soon.
The Nation, June 9, 2010
Christian Wenaweser, President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC, urged Ugandan authorities to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if he attends an upcoming African Union (AU) summit in Kampala in July. Ambassador Wenaweser referenced Uganda’s obligations as a State Party to the Rome Statute to fully cooperate with the ICC. The Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was invited to the AU summit.
The Monitor, June 13, 2010
Representatives to the ICC Review Conference in Kampala agreed June 11 to make aggression a crime for which the ICC can try individuals for orchestrating a state’s use of force against another state in violation of the UN Charter. However, the United States did not sign. Immediately after the decision some human rights advocates expressed concerns about the amendment, given that the crime of aggression would not apply to non-state parties and that the provision contains several loopholes. The Ugandan Attorney General, however, praised the adoption of the resolution and the significance of having this development in international law take place in Uganda.
New Zimbabwe, June 10, 2010
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office said on June 9, 2010 that the coalition government’s three principals would soon meet to discipline President Robert Mugabe’s powerful spokesperson, George Charamba. This comes after Charamba announced that the bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement, which Tsvangirai signed on his recent trip to South Korea, was null and void because power to make such agreements lies only with President Mugabe.
New Zimbabwe, June 11, 2010
The opposition party Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) has accused President Mugabe and his party Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) of using economic regulations to enrich its senior officials before the country adopts a new constitution and holds elections. The current regulations require foreign-owned businesses to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals or risk losing their licenses.
Reuter, June 13, 2010
A Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) monitor has declared that Zimbabwe’s mining operations in the Marange region now meet minimum regulatory conditions, prompting Mines Minister Obert Mpofu to announce that export of Marange diamonds will soon resume. Last month, Mpofu halted all diamond exports until industry regulators could certify stones from the government’s Marange fields, which are mined by Rio Tinto and several other private companies. The government agreed to the KPCS assessment following reports of atrocities in Marange due to a crackdown by government troops on illegal diamond panning in 2006.
Peace Negotiations Watch is a weekly publication detailing current events relating to conflict and peace processes in selected countries. It is prepared by the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG) and made possible by grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ploughshares Fund.