16 September 2013
SHARES News Items Overview: 16 August-15 September 2013
This is our News Items Overview of 16 August-15 September 2013, a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility.
- An Op-ed published in The New York Times argued that General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the military ruler of Egypt, was ‘actively seeking the help of Western diplomats as well as the Persian Gulf sheikdoms that largely financed his coup‘. It also critiques the idea that Washington’s influence is not decisive with the Egyptian generals, noting that ‘America had influence and still does.’
- Ecuador announced its plans to re-start oil drilling in the Amazonian Yasuni National Park because the plan to compensate Ecuador for an oil moratorium, seeking co-responsibility in the face of climate change, has failed. An opinion posted by the Gulf Times argued that the protection of Yasuni is not just Ecuador’s responsibility, as the rest of the world also benefits from the oxygen and fresh water generated from the park.
- The French foreign minister Laurent Fabius warned Syria over a reaction of force from the international community if the Assad regime is proven to have used chemical weapons. The UN Security Council expressed strong concerns over the alleged use of chemical weapons in the attack in Damascus on 21 August, but failed to reach agreement.
- According to Al Jazeera, the Afghan president Hamid Karzai made a plea for a joint anti-terrorism campaign with Pakistan during his one-day visit to Pakistan.
- The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Dutch Foreign Ministry has warned the Dutch engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV not to participate in a sewage construction project in East Jerusalem because it would violate international law.
- The Vietnamese CITES Management Authority and Humane Society International announced a public awareness raising campaign aimed at reducing the high demand for rhino horn. Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development emphasised the importance of international cooperation as a crucial element in addressing conservation of endangered wildlife.
- Foreign Policy reported that declassified CIA files reveal that the United States provided assistance to Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war despite having knowledge of the chemical weapons use by Saddam Hussein’s military, amounting to American complicity in Hussein’s chemical weapons attacks.
- The BBC reported that the United Kingdom is going to present a resolution to the UN Security Council that would authorise ‘all necessary measures to protect civilians’ in Syria.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his 2013 Freedom Lecture delivered on the anniversary of Mr. King’s ‘I have a dream speech’ on 28 August, noting that Mr. King had presented a common future with shared responsibilities.
- The Dutch Supreme Court held on 6 September that the Netherlands is responsible for the death of three Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995. The three men had sought refuge in the compound of the Dutch battalion Dutchbat, who decided to not evacuate these men along with the battalion. After being sent away from the compound, they were murdered by the Bosnian-Serb army or connected paramilitary groups. The Supreme Court upheld the findings of the Court of Appeal, both in respect of attribution of the conduct to the NL and in respect of the wrongfulness of the conduct.
- The New York Times reported that over the past decades, Syria amassed stockpiles of chemical weapons with the help of the Soviet Union, China, Czechoslovakia and Iran, as well as Western European and US suppliers.
- The International Labour Organization has published the paper ‘Protecting the rights of migrant workers: A shared responsibility‘, stressing that protection of migrant workers is a shared responsibility between source and destination countries.
- The Dutch company Royal HaskoningDHV has terminated its involvement in a sewage construction project in East Jerusalem because it would violate international law. Earlier, the Dutch government had advised the company to withdraw from the project.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry called on the EU to suspend its restrictions on financial assistance to Israeli institutions in territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 war. In contrast, Alon Liel, former high ranking official at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thinks the EU guidelines should be kept in place to maintain pressure on Israel.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay noted that the international community ‘is late, very late to take serious joint action to halt the downward spiral that has gripped Syria‘. She stressed that member states must find a way, together with the UN, to bring the fighting parties to the negotiating table.
- Ban Ki-moon stated the UN was responsible for a ‘collective failure’ to halt more than two years of terrible violence in Syria. UN GA President Vuk Jeremic said that ‘if allegations regarding the use of chemical agents by a party to the [Syrian] conflict are proven accurate, Member States should unite and develop an appropriate response, in full respect of international law, including the centrality of the Security Council’s role under the UN Charter.’
- Wang Guanzhong, Deputy Chief of General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, said the issue of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea ‘should not become a problem between China and the United States, and China hopes that the United States does not become a third party in this issue.’
- Nicholas Kay, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia stated that the agreement between Somaliland and Somalia on shared management of airspace ‘could be a model for other areas of mutually beneficial cooperation.’
- The Washington Post reported that the CIA has started delivering (light) weapons to rebels in Syria, in order to support fighters of the commander of the Supreme Military Council. Separate deliveries have been made by the State Department. Aid in the form of nonlethal gear has also been delivered to the Syrian rebels.
- The General Court of the European Union held that the European Union must unfreeze the funds of a number of Iranian banks, companies and one individual that were hit by EU sanctions, aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear programme.