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PEACE & SECURITY REPORT
IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to brief busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community on pertinent global news, events, and trends.  Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.

Featured Article   

General Debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items. ICRC 2011 statement to the United Nations.

ICRC 

 

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Since the late 1990s, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose mission is to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence, has highlighted the high human cost of the unregulated availability of weapons. We strongly support the adoption of a comprehensive and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) next year. A very large proportion of the death, injury and pure cruelty inflicted upon civilians each year occurs because weapons are simply too easily available, including to those who will use them to violate international humanitarian law. An effective Arms Trade Treaty would not only protect individual lives and livelihoods but it would also reduce the social and economic disruption that accompanies armed insecurity in large parts of the world and have important health benefits for entire populations.


The ICRC in August 2011 launched a four-year initiative on the theme of "Health Care in Danger". This initiative is based directly on the ICRC's field experience and a sixteen-country study of attacks on health care in contexts in which we work. The study recorded 655 incidents over two and a half years involving attacks on health workers, health facilities and medical transports.  In these incidents 1834 people were killed or injured while giving or receiving health care. The effect of these attacks and of armed violence in other contexts covered in the study was the denial of health care to thousands upon thousands of people in places where human health and health care systems are already precarious. The broader implications of armed insecurity on the health of civilian populations, which the study highlights, include the denial of 150,000 medical consultations per year in one of the poorest countries on earth, the denial of polio vaccines to several hundred thousand children in another context and tens of thousands of deaths per month in yet another. These health-related impacts are just a small window into the horrendous human cost of easy access to weapons that a future Arms Trade Treaty must contribute to preventing.

 

 

Africa
LIBERIA: Voters peaceful on Election Day
Liberians voted Tuesday in the election between incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and a handful of other candidates, most notably former minister Winston Tubman. Last week President Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first democratically-elected female leader, was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in preserving peace in Liberia since the end of its civil war in 2003. She faces a tough challenge from Mr. Tubman and his vice presidential candidate, a former football star. UN and African Union observers note that the day was unmarred by violence, and strongly encourage all candidates to abide by the results. Comment: Polls suggest the results will be close. Many expect a run-off between Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf and Mr. Tubman, which would take place in November. A peaceful election process would encourage desperately needed foreign investment in Liberia, one of Africa's poorest countries. (The Citizen, All Africa, Reuters, AP)

SUDAN: Three peacekeepers killed in Darfur
Three peacekeepers from the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) force were killed on Tuesday outside the Zam Zam displaced persons camp, located on the outskirts of El Fasher, the capital of the state of North Darfur. The men, two soldiers and one police advisor, were on a night patrol when they were ambushed by unidentified gunmen. The nationalities of those killed were not specified, although they are all from African nations. Six additional peacekeepers were injured in the attack; one assailant was also killed. Comment: Darfur has been plagued with intense violence since 2003, resulting in at least 300,000 civilian deaths and an estimated 2.7 million displaced persons. Since UNAMID was deployed in 2007, a total of 33 peacekeepers have been killed. At 20,000 troops, UNAMID is the largest peacekeeping mission in the world. (BBC, Voice of America, CNN, UN News Centre)

ZIMBABWE: Archbishop of Canterbury visits, criticizes President Mugabe
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, delivered a sermon in Harare on Sunday and met with President Mugabe the following day. In his sermon, the head of the Anglican Church admitted to a colonial legacy of greed and injustice in Zimbabwe, but then declared that this legacy had been "replaced with another kind of lawlessness, where so many live in fear of daily attack." In the meeting on Monday, Dr. Williams presented President Mugabe with a dossier chronicling the persecution of Anglicans in Zimbabwe since 2007. The list included death threats to Anglican bishops, assaults on congregations by the police, seizures of Church property, and the murder of a Church member. Comment: The Archbishop's visit comes in the midst of his sustained criticism of the Mugabe regime. Although Dr. Williams has no political authority in Zimbabwe, Mr. Mugabe evidently believed it would be worthwhile to meet with him. More than 15,000 attended Dr. Williams' sermon on Sunday; most do not expect harassment of Anglicans in Zimbabwe to end any time soon. (All Africa, Reuters, BBC, Archbishop of Canterbury)


Researched/Written by  Nori Kasting
Americas
CHILE: Anti-Columbus Day march
On Monday, 12,000 indigenous peoples attended an annual anti-Columbus Day march in Santiago led by the Mapuche, the largest ethnic group of the Chilean indigenous population. They demanded the release of current Mapuche political prisoners and the return of their ancestral lands. The protests were largely peaceful, although some small disturbances broke out after the conclusion of the march. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons and arrested a number of youths. Comment: Some of the Mapuche have been arrested for destruction of property related to a campaign to reclaim lands now held by agribusiness and forest production companies in the southern region of Araucania. Last year, President Pinera promised new funds for development in Araucania in response to the Mapuche protests, but improvements have yet to be seen and the claim was not renewed this year. (Latin American Herald Tribune, UNPO, BBC)

MEXICO: Body counts increase, along with security measures
On Friday, 32 bodies were found by navy forces in three different locations within the city of Veracruz. This followed the announcement two days prior by the federal and state government of Veracruz to implement "Veracruz Seguro," a plan designed to fight crime in the state through a series of actions and joint commitments. Measures include the recruitment of additional local police forces and an increase in the security budget for 2012. Comment: There has been a recent spike in violence via organized crime in the state with 35 bodies found last month. More than 44,000 people have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon launched a military campaign to combat Mexico's powerful drug cartels in late 2006. (Notiver, Hispanically Speaking, Guardian)

PARAGUAY: Referendum for expatriate voting
In Sunday's constitutional referendum, 80 percent of voters supported the allowance of Paraguayan expatriates to vote in general elections, although the measure must first be approved by Congress to take effect for the 2013 elections. Since 1992, Paraguayans living abroad have not been allowed to vote. Out of a population of six million, more than half a million live abroad, mainly in Argentina, Spain, and the United States. Comment: The expatriate vote is controversial due to the influence the vote could potentially have in deciding the outcome of elections. (Associated Press, MercoPress, BBC)

PERU: Curtailing police corruption
In an alleged bid to combat rampant corruption, President Humula this weekend forced early retirement upon 30 of the 45 generals in the police force, including the overall commander and anti-drug force leader. He appointed a new police chief to curb corruption within the force, as well as officers from the armed forces to increase efficiency. Comment: The conservative opposition speculates the purge is an attempt to politicize the security forces. President Humala took office in July promising tough action on corruption and drug trafficking. Over the last year, Peru has added an additional 5,600 recruits to the national police force bringing the overall number to 104,000. (Peruvian Times, BBC, Guardian)

Researched/Written by  Laura Castelli
East Asia
BURMA: Political Prisoners released
On Wednesday, the government freed over 100 political prisoners as part of a general amnesty announced in May of this year. On Tuesday, the Burmese government announced it would release approximately 6,000 people currently in prison on various charges; it is unclear how many of those prisoners will be political detainees. Those released include journalists, pro-democracy activists, government critics, monks involved in anti-government protests, and members of Burma's ethnic groups fighting for greater autonomy. Comment: It is estimated that there are approximately 2,000 political prisoners currently detained in Burma. This is the government's latest attempt to increase its legitimacy as a civilian government of the people. The U.S. recently indicated willingness to support Burma in its reforms. (BBC, NY Times, NY Times, CNN)

CHINA: Cargo ships attacked by drug traffickers
On October 5, alleged drug traffickers attacked two Chinese cargo ships along the Mekong River; thirteen people were killed and one crewmember is still missing. Thailand has accused ethnic Shan drug trafficker Nor Kham of being behind the attack, believing that he wanted to use the ships to transport drugs throughout the Golden Triangle area. Comment: Thai police recovered the ships after a gunfight with the attackers; $3 million worth of drugs were later found on the ships. China is working with the governments of Laos, Burma, and Thailand to investigate the incident. (Xinhua Net, Xinhua Net, Want China Times, Bangkok Post, BBC)

New Zealand: Container ship Rena oil spill
A Liberian-flagged container ship is currently leaking heavy fuel oil after running aground last week on a reef near the east coast of North Island. An estimated 300 tons of oil have spilled into the Tauranga coast and environmentalists expect the leakage to increase as attempts to pump fuel off of the ship have been postponed due to weather conditions. Comment: The captain of the ship has been arrested and charged with "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk." There is still a threat of the hull breaking apart and spilling its entire contents, in addition to multiple containers onboard that contain hazardous materials. The government of New Zealand has already declared this to be the country's worst maritime environmental disaster. (Reuters, NY Times, Guardian)


Researched/Written by Caitlyn Davis 

Europe & Central Asia
NETHERLANDS: Turkish immigrants sue government
The Foundation for Victims of Integration is suing the Dutch government for €100 million over integration policy. An estimated 30,000 Turkish immigrants had to pay for integration courses offered by the government, violating the Turkish European Community Association Agreement, signed by the EU in 1963, which protects Turkish immigrants from discrimination. Two months ago, the Dutch Interior Ministry canceled courses after the Netherlands Court of Appeals ruled on the violation. The government will only refund those who took the exams after August 16. A lawyer representing Turkish immigrants hopes to reach a settlement outside of the courts; however, the government rejected a settlement saying, "The Turkish people are free to go to court and we will wait until the judges' verdict." Comment: The 2007 Civic Integration Act created the courses requiring those wanting to immigrate to the Netherlands to pass exams on Dutch language and civil society. The foundation is seeking compensation for financial and emotional damages. Claims range from €1,000 to €5,000 per person for costs including travel, study expenses, and exam fees. (Dutch News, Zaman, BBC)

UKRAINE: Former PM jailed for seven years
On Tuesday, Ukrainian courts sentenced former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail on charges of abuse of office when in 2009 she ordered state energy firm Naftogaz to sign a gas deal with Russia. Thousands of Tymoshenko's supporters gathered outside the court causing small confrontations with police, and the EU and Russia both expressed disapproval of the guilt verdict. After the trial, Ukrainian authorities opened an investigation on possible embezzlement charges for transferring $400 million of debt from her energy company to the state. Comment: Tymoshenko plans to appeal the sentence which bans her from holding a political office for three years and will force her to pay back the 1.5 billion hryvnas ($186 million) lost by the Ukrainian gas company involved in the deal. With presidential elections scheduled for next year, the EU and U.S. believe the charges were politically motivated by President Yanukovich, who narrowly beat Tymoshenko in the 2010 election. Yanukovich came out saying the law jailing Tymoshenko is 'outdated' and supports amending the law. (Zerkalo Nedeli, BBC, Reuters, AP)

UNITED KINGDOM: Government in possible breach of UN child rights convention
UNICEF released a statement Monday criticizing the British government for arresting and detaining 269 children involved in the August riots, 45 percent of whom had no record of previous criminal activity. Under Article 37 of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) the detention of children is a last resort in criminal proceedings. UNICEF cannot determine whether the UK was in an official breach of the convention without a full legal review; however, the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Children's Rights Alliance for England believe the government to be in violation of the UN convention. A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said new legislation on the rights of children in detention is being discussed. Comment: Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that more than 40 percent of the 269 children were remanded in custody while waiting for court hearings, when the average remand rate last year was 10 percent. UNICEF's 2008 report on child detention was critical of the government citing high detention rates and showed a failure to implement the CRC. After the riots, the UK imprisoned more children than any other country in Western Europe raising the child population in prison to eight percent. (The Guardian, Al Jazeera, One World Group)


Researched/Written by Erin Bobst

Middle East & North Africa
IRAN: Conflict escalates with Saudi Arabia over a failed assassination plot
On Wednesday, U.S. authorities arrested Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar for an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington D.C. The accused, and a second Iranian man, Gholam Shakuri, are believed to be members of the Iran's elite Quds Force. Iran denied the allegations and urged Saudi Arabia "not to fall into the trap" of believing U.S. claims behind the alleged plot, saying the accusations only "serve the United States and Israel." Comment: This assassination attempt is not the first targeting a Saudi diplomat. Last May, a Saudi diplomat was shot and killed in his car near the Saudi embassy in Karachi. Senior Saudi officials link Iran with ordering the killings of their diplomats, and believe that the continuous Iranian involvement in the region is an indicator of further conflict in the future. (Elaph, IRNA, CNN, Reuters, Egyptian Gazette)

SYRIA: Man apprehended for spying on anti-Assad protesters in the U.S.
On Tuesday, a Syrian born U.S. citizen was arrested in Virginia and charged with conspiracy and acting as a Syrian government agent in the United States without notifying the attorney general as required by law. Mohamad Soueid, is accused of spying and filming anti-Syrian regime protesters in the U.S. and sending the documented material to intelligence agencies in attempt to "silence, intimidate and potentially harm the protestors." Soueid is also known as Anas Alswaid, and faces another lawsuit dating back to May, where he is accused of transmitting information to Damascus in order to "initiate criminal conduct against the families of the identified Syrians." Comment: Anti-Assad protests continue to grow globally regardless of the violent crackdown on the protesters, and activists continue to gather in front of Syrian embassies in major capitals around the world. Earlier this week, dozens of protesters calling for an end to Assad's rule attacked the Syrian embassies in both London and Vienna. Syrian officials condemned the attacks and called on the governments to take responsibility in protecting the embassies and employees. No injuries were reported. (Aljazeera, CNN, Haaretz, Alarabiya)

YEMEN: Uprising activist wins Nobel Prize
Last Friday, a Yemeni activist, Tawakkul Karman, won the Nobel Peace Prize for her role in "non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work." Karman is the first Yemeni woman to win a Nobel Prize, and her success was widely celebrated in Yemen and other parts of the Arab world. Many pro- and anti-Saleh supporters congratulated Karman, as she is the first Yemeni to win the prize and became a symbol of women's empowerment and liberation in Yemen. Comment: The prize provided Karman with an opportunity to reengage as a leader in the protests against the government. Other political and party leaders from the opposition in Yemen had marginalized her, saying she was an "out-of-touch protest leader whose star was fading;" however, many Yemeni protesters are now hoping that Karman could spark more success for their mass movement. Some analysts believe that Tawakul Karman's acquisition of a Nobel Peace Prize helps legitimize non-violent protest as valid form of resistance in Arab world. (Aljazeera, Alarabiya, Reuters, AFP, Alquds)

Researched/Written by Ibrahim Al-Hajjri

South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: 10 years of war
Last Friday marked the ten anniversary of the start of the Afghan war. The U.S.-led war began on October 7, 2001, and overthrew the ruling Taliban regime. President Karzai, in an interview with BBC, stated that significant progress has been made in education, health services, and economy; however, lack of security for the Afghan people remains a major drawback. Meanwhile, a report released by the White House stated that the people of Afghanistan are losing faith in their government's ability to protect them and tackle corruption. Comment: Afghanistan is facing an increase in insurgent attacks and tangible threats from the Taliban and the Haqqani network. The security situation remains a concern ahead of the expected NATO troop withdrawal by 2014. (BBC, CNN, Telegraph)

INDIA: Encephalitis kills 400
According to health officials, an outbreak of viral encephalitis has killed 400 people, mostly children, in the past two months in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. 4,480 people are reported to be infected this year, double the amount registered last year. The disease is focalized in 10 to 12 districts and is now spreading to neighboring Delhi, the capital. Comment: Encephalitis, water-borne or mosquito-borne, can lead to comas, brain dysfunctions, seizures, and inflammations of the heart and kidney. One-fifth of the children who survive the disease live with neurological weaknesses. It has claimed 50,000 lives in the past three decades. Experts point to the collapsing public health system; most of the affected are poor with little access to health care. (BBC, CNN-IBN, NDTV)

PAKISTAN: Haqqani insider killed
On Thursday, Pakistani intelligence officials stated that a CIA drone strike killed a Haqqani network commander and 2 other operatives near Dande Darpa Khel, a village in the North Waziristan province, in what appears to be a direct hit at the group. The early morning missile attack occurred as U.S. special envoy Marc Grossman arrived in Pakistan for talks. Diplomats from the two countries vowed to strengthen the diplomatic relationship. Comment: Relations between the two countries are strained after senior U.S. officials last month accused Pakistani intelligence forces of aiding the potent Haqaani network. The network is well organized and is accused of carrying out recent attacks in Afghanistan. The North Warizistan province in Pakistan remains the group's main sanctuary along the Afghan border. (AFP, AP, Washington Post)

 

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy

October 14, 2011
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In This Issue
Featured Article
Africa
Americas
East Asia
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & N. Africa
South Asia
IPSI Leadership 

 

Cameron M. Chisholm

Dr. I. William Zartman 
Dr. P. Terrence Hopmann 
Alexander Little 
George Foote
Pamela Aall 
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Betty Bigombe 
Jan Eliasson
Gareth Evans 
Dr. Ted Robert Gurr
Amb. Jacques Paul Klein
Peter Kyle 
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
Jeffrey Mapendere
John Marks 
Susan Collin Marks 
Dr. Joyce Neu

Dr. Valerie Rosoux 
William Stuebner 
Dr. Ruth Wedgwood

Dr. Craig Zelizer

 

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