15 March 2013
SHARES News Items Overview: 1-15 March 2013
The SHARES Project closely follows and collects news items that are linked to the issue of shared responsibility (see: www.sharesproject.nl/news). Here is our ‘SHARES News Items Overview: 1-15 March 2013’ consisting of a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility.
- An Op-ed in The New York Times reported that the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by the United States and the European Union impairs the delivery of drugs and medical equipment to Iran, leading to an increase in deaths because of shortages in life-saving medicines.
- UNHCR reported that one million people have fled Syria to neighbouring states, especially to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Since 1 January 2013, the number has risen with more than 400.000. Although international donors have pledged 1.5 billion dollars for a United Nations response plan to help the displaced people, only 25 per cent has been funded up until now.
- At the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), eight states (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and China) were identified as key to the trade in ivory and were threatened with trade sanctions if they do not address failures in protection against poaching, and failures in seizing illegal ivory trade. The news of the threat of trade sanctions coincides with the publication of a report by UNEP, CITES, IUCN and TRAFFIC, detailing the increase in levels of poaching.
- In Argentina a human rights trial began to investigate the crimes committed during the so-called ‘Operation Condor’, involving six states (Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil). The operation resulted in tens of thousands of people being kidnapped, tortured and killed by military regimes across the continent in the 1960s and 1970s. Those who fled from repression in one state were often targeted in another state. Al Jazeera reported and noted that Operation Condor was executed with knowledge of the United States.
- An investigation by The Guardian and BBC Arabic has revealed the existence of links between the Pentagon and Iraqi torture centers. Two United States special forces veterans played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of secret torture centres in Iraq.
- ABC News announced that former Dutchbat general Karremans, who commanded the Dutch peacekeepers in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, and two other officers (Franken and Oosterveen), will not be prosecuted for their involvement in the genocide and war crimes that were committed by Bosnian-Serb fighters who overran the enclave and subsequently massacred around 8.000 Muslim men in 1995. The surviving relatives of three victims of the massacre (the cases of Mustafić and Nuhanović) asked for a criminal case to be launched against the three officers, in order to hold them criminally responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.
- A 2.000-strong contingent of Chad forces, which has played a leading part in the fight against jihadist militants in Mali, officially joined the regional African led force (AFISMA) that is deployed in Mali. The Chadian forces were initially not placed under AFISMA’s operational command.
- The United States and South Korea have begun their annual joint military exercises. The US-South Korea joint drills, known as ‘Key Resolve’, involve more than 13,000 troops and last two weeks. Another joint exercise, known as ‘Foal Eagle’, started in the beginning of March. Both annual exercises usually receive strong protest from North Korea.
- According to news reports, US, French and British troops are involved in training Syrian rebels in the east and south of Jordan. The Pentagon confirmed in October 2012 that US special forces and military advisers had trained some Syrian rebels together with the Jordanian military in the summer of 2012. France and the UK have not yet commented on their involvement in training activities.
- In view of the dispute of the continuing involvement of the US in matters of detention policy, the United States has delayed the transfer of control over the Bagram Prison in Afghanistan to Afghan forces. The New York Times reported that the US is concerned about dangerous insurgents being released.
- A new book on contribution of forces to UN peacekeeping operations was recently published by Alex J. Bellamy and Paul D. Williams. The book Providing Peacekeepers: The Politics, Challenges, and Future of United Nations Peacekeeping Contributions (OUP) addresses the question why states contribute forces to United Nations missions and what factors restrain them from doing more. The book summarises challenges confronting the UN in its efforts to generate forces and develops a new framework for analysing UN peacekeeping contributions in light of sixteen case study chapters.
- France and the United Kingdom announced that they were considering bypassing the European Union arms embargo in order to arm Syrian rebels. The EU is planning to discuss its embargo again in May.
- The 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES that was held in Bangkok closed on 14 March, after reaching agreement to add a number of plants and animals to the list of species for which international trade is regulated or banned. New species added to the list include tropical timber, sharks and manta rays.