15 June 2014

SHARES News Items Overview: 16 May 2014-15 June 2014

This is our News Items Overview of 16 May 2014-15 June 2014, a summary of recent news relating to shared responsibility.

  • Sama’a Al-Hamdani posted an essay entitled The Foreign Policy Essay: Is Yemen’s Government Complicit with Al-Qaeda? which discusses that the Yemeni government may be complicit with terrorist groups.
  • In a report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed its concern over the rising number of human rights violations by armed groups in eastern Ukraine and called on those with influence to ‘do their utmost to rein in these groups’.
  • Following reports that armed groups have cut water supplies in Aleppo (Syria), leaving ca. 2.5 million people with no access to safe water for days, the UN Secretary-General warned that such deliberate targeting of civilians is a ‘clear breach’ of international humanitarian and human rights law.
  • A report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services on the implementation of mandates to protect civilians in UN peacekeeping operations found that ‘peacekeeping missions with protection of civilians mandates focus on prevention and mitigation activities and force is almost never used to protect civilians under attack‘.
  • Five West African countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin) agreed to enhanced cooperation and intelligence sharing with the purpose of combating the regional threat from Boko Haram, the group that abducted many schoolgirls in Nigeria.
  • Mirjam van Reisen, Professor of International Social Responsibility at Tilburg University and expert in the field of human trafficking, published a report documenting how the Eritrean government is on a high level involved in the trafficking of its own citizens.
  • The UN and the EU entered into an agreement to finance the restoration of the cultural heritage in Timbuktu, which was destroyed by armed groups after clashes between the Malian government forces and Tuareg rebels. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will coordinate the restoration project, in collaboration with the Malian Ministry of Culture. The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali will provide logistical aid.
  • In a confidential report, Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council to authorise the delivery of food and medicine to Syria without Al-Assad’s consent, since the Syrian government is failing in its responsibility to look after its own people.
  • According to an independent review, no single party can be blamed directly for the violence that resulted in the death of the Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati, during a riot in February 2014 at the Manus detention centre. The Australia-backed camp in Papua New Guinea was at the time run by the British-based security contractor G4S PLC.
  • President Obama pledged to build up military support with equipment and training to moderate Syrian rebel groups. Reportedly the assistance would include sending US troops to Jordan to take part in a regional training mission for Syrian opposition forces. This mission would also involve regional actors including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
  • A confidential report documented the desperate state of healthcare for families in Australian detention facilities on Nauru. According to Unicef Australia, ‘[t]he government must uphold its responsibilities and ensure that children in its care have access to adequate standards of health care and protection.’
  • Vietnam’s Defense Minister stated that in order to manage risks that may cause disputes, all countries should share the same duty of preserving an environment of peace, stability and respect for international law, the UN Charter and independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of others.
  • Human Rights Watch stated that AU peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo who are stationed in the CAR have been accused of committing human rights abuses. The AU peacekeeping mission, known as MISCA, agreed to an inquiry into the allegations, which could involve violations of international law.
  • After a critical report by Oxfam last year, two major players in the sugar industry, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, published new policies on land grabs by their suppliers. Pepsi started investigations into its supply chains and the conduct of commodity providers.
  • The Columbian government and guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia both agreed to assume responsibility for war victims.
  • US President Obama pledged military support to Iraq, possibly including air strikes, in order to halt militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Reportedly, Iran considers cooperating with the US in helping Iraq fight back.

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