Month: <span>June 2023</span>

Child Labour Appeals

Let My Children Go: World Efforts to Eliminate the…

Featured Picture: Nepali girls working in brick factory. Krish Dulal, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Child Labour.

Your children are not your children;
They are the sons and daughters of
Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they
belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not
your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls.
Kahil Gibran

12 June is a red letter day on the UN agenda of events as the World Day Against Child Labour.  It marks the 12 June arrival in 1998 of hundreds of children in Geneva; part of the Global March against Child Labour; that had crossed a 100 countries to present their plight to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

“We are hurting, and you can help us”; was their message to the assembled International Labour Conference; which meets each year in Geneva in June.  One year later, in June; the ILO had drafted ILO Convention N° 182 on child labour; which 165 States have now ratified — the fastest ratification rate in the ILO’s  history.

ILO Convention N°182 sets out in article 3 the worst forms of child labour to be banned:

  • a) All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery; such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour; including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
  • b) The use; procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances.
  • c) The use; procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities; in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties.
  • d) Work which; by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out; is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

The Convention is supplemented by a Recommendation: the Worst Forms of Child Labour Recommendation N° 1999 which provisions should be applied in conjunction with the Convention: “Programme of Action (article 6): Among other issues, the situation of the girl child and the problem of hidden work situations in which girls are at special risk are explicitly mentioned; Hazardous work (article 3(d): In determining the types of hazardous work, consideration should be given, inter alia, to work which exposes children to physical, psychological or sexual abuse.

The ILO estimates there of the some 200 million child labourers in the world.

Today, millions of children, especially those living in extreme poverty, have no choice but to accept exploitive employment to ensure their own and their family’s survival.  Child labour was often hidden behind the real and non-exploitive help that children bring to family farms.  

However, such help often keeps children out of school and thus outside the possibility of joining the modern sector of the economy.  The ILO estimates that of the some 200 million child labourers in the world, some 70 percent are in agriculture, 10 percent in industry/mines and the others in trade and services — often as domestics or street vendors in urban areas.  

Globally, Asia accounts for the largest number of child workers — 122 million, Sub-Saharan Africa, 50 million, and Latin America and the Caribbean, 6 million.  Young people under 18 make up almost half of humanity, a half which is virtually powerless in relation to the other half.  To ensure the well-being of children and adolescents in light of this imbalance of power, we must identify attitudes and practices which cause invisibility.

Debt Bondage.

One of the most exploitive type of child labour is what is called “debt bondage” — most pervasive in India, Pakistan and western Nepal.  In these countries, the debt bondage pattern of exploitation is supported by long-standing traditions and cultural biases against low castes or minority ethnic groups. 

 Dept bondage is a practice by which parents pledge their children’s work to pay off debts.  The debts are very small at the start but with very high interest rates.  Thus the children may work for their entire childhood to pay off the debt because of fraudulent accounting mechanisms employed by debt holders.

Child Labour

A Child Street Vendor from India(Garhmukteshwar). Manuspanicker, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kamaiya.

In western Nepal, where such bonded labourers are known as “Kamaiya”, the accounting schemes can keep families in debt for generations.  Since Kamaiyas are often not paid enough to meet their basic needs, many have no choice but to take new loans from their masters. 

 Many also carry inherited debts, sometimes going back for three or four generations in addition to their own.  Children sold to bond masters work long hours over many years in  an attempt to pay off these debts due to the astronomically high rates of interest charged and the low wages paid.  The eradication of child labour depends on an ethical awakening on the part of employers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations.

In India, child debt servitude has been illegal since 1933.  Since independence, India has adopted a host of additional protective legislation, most importantly the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act of 1976, which strictly outlaws all forms of debt bondage and forced labour.  

However, without political will to enforce them, these legal safeguards have little impact.  Whether due to corruption or indifference, the political will is lacking.  Labour laws are routinely flouted with virtually no risk of punishment to the offender.  This is why an ethical awareness must grow and all children seen as having dignity and potential for a fuller life.

Child Labour

A “No Child Labour” sign in a clothing factory in Bangladesh. By Scotted400, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Child labour is often related to conditions of extreme poverty.

There is still a long way to go to eliminate exploitive child labour.  Much child labour is in what is commonly called the non-formal sector of the economy where there are no trade unions.  Child labour is often related to conditions of extreme poverty and to sectors of the society where both adults and children are marginalized such as many tribal societies in Asia, or the Roma in Europe or migrant workers in general.

In addition to the worst forms of exploitive child labour, there is the broad issue of youth training and employment. The challenges ahead are very much a youth challenge.  The world will need to create millions of new jobs over the next decade in order to provide employment for the millions of new entrants into the labour market in addition to creating jobs for the millions of currently unemployed or underemployed youth.

There needs to be world-wide labour market policies that provide social protection measures, better training for an ever-changing work scene.

World Citizens support the demands of decent work for all.  We need to cooperate to build economies and societies where young persons participate fully in the present and the future.

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

4 June: Memories of Tiananmen Square.

4 June makes the security forces in China somewhat uneasy, especially in Hong Kong where, in the past, there were large memorial meetings tp remind people of 4 June 1989…

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Law of the Sea Appeals

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Featured Picture: Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

The people of the earth having agreed that the advancement of man in spiritual excellence and physical welfare is the common goal of mankind…therefore the age of nations must end, and the era of humanity begin.”

Preamble to the Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution.

The Association of World Citizens has long been concerned with the Law of the Sea; and had been active during the 10-year negotiations; on the law of the sea during the 1970s; the meetings being held one month a year; alternatively in New York and Geneva. The world citizens position for the law of the sea was largely based on a

Three-point framework:

a) That the oceans and seas were the common heritage of humanity; and should be seen as a living symbol of the unity of humanity.

b) That ocean management should be regulated by world law created; as in as democratic manner as possible.

c) That the wealth of the oceans; considered as the common heritage of mankind should contain mechanisms of global redistribution; especially for the development of the poorest; a step toward a more just economic order; on land as well as at sea. 

The “Common Heritage”.

The concept of the oceans as the common heritage of humanity; had been introduced into the U.N. awareness; by a moving speech in the U.N. General Assembly by Arvid Pardo; Ambassador of Malta in November 1967. 

Under traditional international sea law; the resources of the oceans; except those within a narrow territorial sea near the coast line were regarded as “no one’s property” or more positively as “common property.”  The “no one’s property” opened the door to the exploitation of resources by the most powerful; and the most technologically advanced States.

The “common heritage” concept was put forward as a way of saying that “humanity” – at least as represented by the States in the U.N. – should have some say as to the way the resources of the oceans; and seas should be managed.  Thus, began the 1970s Law of the Seas negotiations. 

Arvid Pardo (2022). By User:MSacerdoti, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Elisabeth Mann Borgese.

Perhaps with or without the knowledge of Neptune; lord of the seas; the Maltese voted to change the political party in power; just as the sea negotiations began. Arvid Pardo was replaced as Ambassador to the U.N; by a man; who had neither the vision nor the diplomatic skills of Pardo.  Thus; during the 10 years of negotiations the “common heritage” flame was carried by world citizens; in large part by Elisabeth Mann Borgese; with whom I worked closely during the Geneva sessions of the negotiations. 

Elisabeth Mann Borgese  (1918-2002) whose birth anniversary we mark on 24 April; was a strong-willed woman.  She had to come out from under the shadow of both her father, Thomas Mann; the German writer and Nobel laureate for Literature; and her husband Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882-1952); Italian literary critic and political analyst. 

Frankreich, Bandol: Menschen; Elisabeth Mann (1936). By Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thomas Mann.

From 1938; Thomas Mann lived in Princeton, New Jersey and gave occasional lectures at Princeton University. Thomas Mann; whose novel The Magic Mountain was one of the monuments of world literature between the two World Wars; always felt that he represented the best of German culture against the uncultured mass of the Nazis.  He took himself and his role very seriously; and his family existed basically to facilitate his thinking and writing.

Thomas Mann Picture: Nobel Foundation, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese had a regular professor’s post at the University of Chicago; but often lectured at other universities on the evils of Mussolini.  Borgese; who had been a leading literary critic and university professor in Milan; left Italy for the United States in 1931; when Mussolini announced that an oath of allegiance to the Fascist State; would be required of all Italian professors.

For Borgese; with a vast culture including the classic Greeks, the Renaissance Italians, and the 19th century nationalist writers; Mussolini was an evil caricature; which too few Americans recognized as a destructive force in his own right; and not just as the fifth wheel of Hitler’s armed car.  

The Age of Nations.

Giuseppe Antonio Borgese met Elisabeth Mann on a lecture tour at Princeton, and despite being close to Thomas Mann in age; the couple married very quickly shortly after their  meeting. Elisabeth moved to the University of Chicago; and was soon caught up in Borgese’s efforts to help the transition from the Age of Nations to the Age of Humanity.

For Borgese; the world was in a watershed period. The Age of Nations − with its nationalism  which could be a liberating force in the 19th century as with the unification of Italy − had come to a close with the First World War.

The war clearly showed that nationalism was from then on only the symbol of death. However, the Age of Humanity; which was the next step in human evolution; had not yet come into being; in part because too many people were still caught in the shadow play of the Age of Nations.

A World Constitution for The Atomic Age.

Since University of Chicago scientists had played an important role in the coming of the Atomic Age; Giuseppe Antonio Borgese and Richard McKeon; Dean of the University felt that the University should take a major role in drafting; a world constitution for the Atomic Age.

Thus; the Committee to Frame a World Constitution; an interdisciplinary committee under the leadership of Robert Hutchins; head of the University of Chicago, was created in 1946. To re-capture the hopes and fears of the 1946-1948; period when the World Constitutions was being written; it is useful to read the book written by one of the members of the drafting team: Rexford Tugwell. A Chronicle of Jeopardy (University of Chicago Press, 1955). The book is Rex Tugwell’s reflections on the years 1946-1954; written each year in August to mark the A-bombing of Hiroshima.

Elisabeth had become the secretary of the Committee and the editor of its journal Common Cause.   The last issue of Common Cause was in June 1951. G.A. Borgese published a commentary on the Constitution; dealing especially with his ideas on the nature of justice. It was the last thing he wrote; and the book was published shortly after his death: G.A.Borgese. Foundations of the World Republic (University of Chicago Press, 1953).

In 1950; the Korean War started. Hope for a radical transformation of the UN faded.  Borgese and his wife went to live in Florence; where weary and disappointed, he died in 1952.

A Constitution for the World.

The drafters of the World Constitution went on to other tasks.  Robert Hutchins left the University of Chicago to head a “think tank”- Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions – taking some of the drafters; including Elisabeth, with him. She edited a booklet on the Preliminary Draft with a useful introduction A Constitution for the World (1965) However; much of the energy of the Center went into the protection of freedom of thought and expression in the USA; at the time under attack by the primitive anti-communism of then Senator Joe McCarthy.

In the mid-1950s; from world federalists and world citizens came various proposals for UN control of areas not under national control: UN control of the High Seas and the Waterways; especially after the 1956 Suez Canal conflict; and of Outer Space. A good overview of these proposals is contained in James A.  Joyce. Revolution on East River (New York: Ablard-Schuman, 1956).

Law of the Sea.

 After the 1967 proposal of Arvid Pardo; Elisabeth Mann Borgese  turned her attention and energy to the law of the sea. As the UN Law of the Sea Conference continued through the 1970s;   Elisabeth was active in seminars and conferences with the delegates, presenting ideas, showing that a strong treaty on the law of the sea would be a big step forward for humanity.

Many of the issues raised during the negotiations leading to the Convention; especially the concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone; actively battled by Elisabeth; but actively championed by Ambassador Alan Beesley of Canada; are with us today in the China seas tensions.

While the resulting Convention of the Law of the Sea has not revolutionized world politics – as some of us  hoped in the early 1970s – the Convention is an important building block in the development of world law.

We are grateful for the values; and the energy that Elisabeth Mann Borgese embodied especialy at a time; when cooperative action through the United Nations is under attack by some narrow nationalist leaders. World Citizens are still pushing for the concept of the common heritage of humanity.

Arvid Pardo monument at the University of Malta. By Continentaleurope at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Kenneth Waltz Portraits of World Citizens.

Kenneth Waltz: The Passing of the Second Generation of…

The death of Professor Kenneth Waltz; on 12 May 2013 in New York City; at the age of 88; marks the start of the passing of the second generation of the realist school in the study of international relations. The first generation was a trio marked by the politics of Europe; between the two world wars: E.H. Carr (1), Frederick L. Schuman (2) and Hans Morgenthau (3).  The second generation, also a trio; is marked by the start of the Cold War and a bi-polar balance-of-power: Kenneth Waltz (4), Henry Kissinger (5), and Stanley Hoffmann (6).

Neorealist.

Kenneth Waltz was often referred to as a “neorealist” to distinguish him from the writers of the first generation; especially from Hans Morgenthau;  but the difference was more a question of age and formative experience than a real difference of approach; although Waltz was critical of Morgenthau’s ‘Germanic’ emphasis; on “the will to power”;  which motivates everyone; but especially those in control of state policy.

 

Hans_Morgenthau
Title: U.S. to sell gold to China in return for silver Washington D.C. July 9. At a conference in the Treasury Department today between Secretary Morgenthau, Finance Minister of China, Dr. H.H. Kung, and the Chinese Ambassador Dr. C.T. Wang, The United States arranged to sell gold to China in return for silver. Under the agreement the gold will remain in this country for use in the stabilization of China’s exchange. In the photograph, left to right” Dr. Kung, Secretary Morgenthau, and Chinese Ambassador Wang. By Harris & Ewing, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Structural Realist.

Waltz called himself a “structural realist” — a better term for his emphasis on the behaviour of states as determined by the structures of the world society; rather than by domestic motivations or the personality of state leaders. Waltz attacks “reductionist theories”; which explain the foreign policy behaviour of states exclusively in terms of causes at the national level of analysis; for example, Lenin’s theory of imperialism; because it explains expansionist behaviour in terms of the accumulation dynamics of national capitalism.

Because structures change slowly and impose limits to choice; international relations are characterized by continuity.  As he notes in the introduction to his Man, The State, and War; “Social scientists, realizing from their studies how firmly the present is tied to the past and how intimately the parts of a system depend upon each other, are inclined to be conservative in estimating the possibilities of achieving a radically better world.”  By “social scientists”; he was referring particularly to himself.  He was critical of those who were arguing that international relations were undergoing a radical transformation; because of the growing interdependence of the international economy; or the fear of a nuclear war.  He maintained that states operate under severe constraints created by the position of a small number of “Great Powers”; and thus a balance-of-power system.

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, discusses the Vietnam War with LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Kissinger, who played a leading role in U.S. diplomatic and military policy during the Vietnam War, was the keynote evening speaker on the first day of the LBJ Presidential Library’s three-day Vietnam War Summit. LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin 04/26/2016. By LBJ Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Henry Kissinger and Stanley Hoffmann.

Unlike his second generation colleagues; Henry Kissinger; who became an active political actor and Stanley Hoffmann; who wrote extensively on current political events; Waltz was nearly exclusively concerned with working on the theoretical implications of the distribution of power and of the resulting balance-of-power. Waltz was critical of those who saw Soviet policy as motivated by Communist ideology or by the personality of its leaders. Kenneth Waltz stressed that the requirements of state action are imposed by the circumstances in which all states exist.

“A theory of international politics can leave aside variations in the composition of states and in the resources and technology they command because the logic of anarchy does not vary with its content.”

Nevertheless, Kenneth Waltz held that world institutions and institutionalized methods of altering and adjusting interests are important.  He placed an emphasis on the skills of diplomats, their ability to analyse situations and to propose adjustments.

For those like myself whose emphasis is on the emerging world society and a world citizen ideology Waltz’s approach is a constant reminder of the importance of structures which determine processes, world politics as a “self-sustaining system.”  I think that we are moving beyond the realpolitik  so often linked to a balance-of-power approach. I believe that he underestimated the role of ideas and ideology in world politics and thus largely failed to see the importance of the growth of a cosmopolitan spirit as expressed by world citizens.  Nevertheless Waltz was an important voice during the Cold War years in which US policy makers too often became the ideological mirrors of the Soviets, stressing the need to expand “democracy” and “the free world” as opposed to the Soviet’s ‘socialism’.

 

Notes:

  1.  E.H. Carr’s most influential work is The Twenty Years’ Crisis (1939).  For a good biography of Carr, his approach and also his later work on the history of the Soviet Union, see Charles Jones E.H. Carr and International Relations (1998).
  2.  Frederick L. Schuman International Politics, first published in 1933, with many later editions, constantly revised to take in current events, especially the start of World War II. For his analysis of the world citizen/world federalist movement see his The Commonwealth of Man.
  3. Hans J. Morgenthau Politics Among Nations, first published in 1948 also was revised to highlight events but the basic analysis remained the same. For a good biography with an emphasis on his early years in Germany and Switzerland before World War II, see Christoph Frei Hans J. Morgenthau: An Intellectual Biography (2001).
  4. Kenneth Waltz’s two major theoretical works, written 20 years apart are Man, The State and War (1959) and Theory of International Politics (1979).
  5. Henry Kissinger’s theoretical writings are overshadowed by his political activities which he sets out in White House Years (1979) and Years of Upheaval (1982).  For a combination of theory and analysis of then current world events, it would be worth reading the editorials in the 1950s that he wrote in Confluence published by Harvard University.  It was as editor of Confluence that we exchanged correspondence. I have always thought that he was a first-rate editor.
  6. Stanley Hoffmann’s most theoretical work is The State of War (1965). For his combination of theory and analysis of current policies see Gulliver’s Trouble or The Setting of American Foreign Policy (1968) and Dead Ends: American Foreign Policy in the New Cold War (1983).

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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World Hunger Appeals

 U.N. Security Council Focus On World Hunger.

Featured Image: Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash.

On 23 May, the United Nations Security Council will hold a special briefing to address the issue of food insecurity under the chairmanship of Mr Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation. During May, the rotating chairmanship is held by Switzerland led by the Swiss Ambassador to the United Nations, New York  Ms Pascale Baereswyl.  The meeting will have as background a 3 May 2023 report of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) concerning early warning on areas facing acute food insecurity.

Some 250 million persons are living in this situation of acute food insecurity.

The report highlights that some 250 million persons are living in this situation of acute food insecurity with the Democratic Republic of Congo leading the list with some 27 million persons due to armed violence and the breakdown of governmental structures.  The Congo is followed by Ethiopia, largely due to fighting in the Tigray area.  The war in Ukraine is also having a negative impact limiting production and export of food goods -a principal export of Ukraine.  In addition to armed conflict, there is the growing impact of the consequences of climate change.

European Union, African Union and United Nations system.

    Today, cooperation on food insecurity is needed among the U.N. family of agencies, national governments, non-governmental organizations, and the millions of food producers to respond to this food crisis.  These measures will have to be taken in a wholistic way with actions going from the local level of the individual farmer, the national level with new governmental policies, to measures at the multi-State regional level such as the European Union and the African Union, and at the world level with better coordinated action through the United Nations system.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano escorts H.E. Mr. Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, during his departure at the Vienna International Centre. Vienna, Austria, 8 January 2018. By IAEA Imagebank, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Additional funding for the U.N. World Food Programme and the release of national food stocks.

    There is a need for swift, short-term meaures to help people now suffering from lack of food and malnutrition due to high food prices, inadequate distribution, and situations of violence.  Such short-tem action requires additional funding for the U.N. World Food Programme and the release of national food stocks.  However, it is on the longer-range and structural issues on which we must focus our attention.

The Association of World Citizens has taken a lead in the promotion of a coordinated world food policy with an emphasis on the small-scale farmer and a new awareness that humans are part of Nature with a special duty to care and respect  for the Earth’s inter-related life-support system.  As Stringfellow Barr wrote in Citizens of the World (1952):

“Since the hungry in the world community believe that we can all eat if we set our common house in order, they believe also that it is unjust that some some die because it is too much trouble to arrange for them to live.”

    Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

Stringfellow Barr. Joining the Human Race.

A central theme which Citizens of the World have long stressed is that there needs to be a world food policy and that such a world food policy is more than the sum of national food security programs.  John Boyd Orr, the first Director General of the FAO proposed a World Food Board to stabilize food prices and supplies.  He resigned as Director General when the food board proposal was not accepted and then devoted much of his energy to the ,world citizen movement.

   For World Citizens, the emphasis must be placed on creating a world food policy which draws upon improving local self-reliance while not creating nationalistic policies which harm neighbours.  Food is a key aspect of deep structural issues in the world society and thus must be seen in a wholeistic framework.  The briefing and debate of the U.N. Security Council may give us strong elements  on which to promote a world food policy.

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.   

John Boyd Orr: A World Citizen’s Focus on Food.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Sudan Appeals

The Sky Darkens in Sudan.

Featured Image: Photo by Abdulaziz Mohammed on Unsplash.

On 15 April 2023, a long-brewing conflict between two generals who had seized power in a coup in 2021 broke into armed battles especially in Khartoum. Use of tanks, jets and artillery has been reported.  The split between General Abdel Fattah al-Burham, chief of the army and General Mohamed Hamdam Daglo, better known by his battle name “Hemetti”, chief of the Rapid Support Forces is no great surprise as there is often place for only one person in a military junta.

In April 2018, civilian protests began, and in early 2019 they led to the end of nearly 30 years of the dictatorship of President Omar al-Bashir.  Al-Bashir was himself a general, but he also controlled the security services and much of the administration.  He had overseen economic contacts with foreign countries, especially China.  He was given credit for the relative economic development and the creation of a middle class, especially in the cities.  However, he was under indictment of the International Criminal Court on seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the province of Darfur in western Sudan.  Thus, when Omar al-Bashir was forced out, there was a political gap that the civilian protesters were not able to fill.

Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan (2019). By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The evildoers on horseback.

The Rapid Support Forces of Hemetti are an outgrowth of popular defense forces and tribal militias active in Darfur, originally structured as the Janjaweed (“the evildoers on horseback”). To the extent that the makeup of the Janjaweed is known, it was a collection of bandits, of Chadians who had used Darfur as a safe haven for the long-lasting insurgencies in Chad, remains of Libya’s Islamic Forces which had once been under the control of the Libyan government but left wandering when Libyan policy changed. Thus, the Rapid Support Forces, true to its origins, has been willing to fight elsewhere, especially in cooperation with the Russian Wagner Group in Yemen.  It is estimated that there are some 80,000 men in the Rapid Support Forces and some 200,000 in the regular army.  Hemetti is from Darfur and have profitted from the mineral wealth of the province.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (commonly known as Hemedti). He is in a conference room, behind a table and a flag of Russia in the foreground.(2022). By Government.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The authorities of the African Union have asked for calm and dialogue.

The army under al-Burham still has many higher officers from the al-Bashir period, and they wish to hold on to the power and funds they control.  They have few contact and not much in common with the civilians who had protested against al-Bashir.

The violence in Sudan could spread.  Thus the neighboring countries of Egypt and South Sudan have proposed good offices and a ceasefire. The authorities of the African Union have asked for calm and dialogue.  The situation merits watching closely.

President of the Republic of Sudan Omar Bashir during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (2017). By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Parwana Amiri Book Reviews

Parwana Amiri. We Will Fly Higher.

Featured Image: Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash.

(London: Palewell Press. 2022, £9.99)

    Parwana Amiri is from Afghanistan.  In September 2019, she and part of her family reached Moria Refugee Camp on Lesvos, Greece. These poems are created from her experiences and insights. As she writes

     “I’m feeling these pains so deep

      In my bones, in my skin, in my soul

     The pains that wound my heart –

      Uncertainty, inequality, injustice,

      repression, suppression, humiliation.”

     Life in the refugee camp is very difficult.

     “In the summer, it is like hell

      In the winter, we live on mud

      We are exposed to cold, to wind

      Without even warm clothes…

      Protest is banned

      But tear gas allowed

      And we must just absorb it

      Where can we find freedom?”

     In addition to the difficulties of life in the overcrowded refugee camp, right-wing Greeks, whose battle cry was “reclaiming the islands” set fire to the camp which burned the tents in which most of the refugees were living.  The fire also burned what few belongings and souvenirs the refugees had.  As Parwana writes

     “In this fire

      We lost our hopes

      We lost our tents, our new homes

      Here in this host country, in its camps

      As we did in our country that we fled.”

     Nevertheless, Parwana speaks for many of the refugees who continue to struggle:

     “To survive, to breath

       To achieve our goals

       Not to stay in darkness “

     For Parwana, hope comes as more than just to survive.  There is a need  to start rebuilding with resilience and strength.  In lines which give the title to this strong collection of poems she writes:

     “So stay strong and be proud of your wings

      They are still open and need help

      You can help and we can be

      Free in the sky, not crushed upon the earth.”

  René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Benjamin Ferencz Portraits of World Citizens.

Benjamin Ferencz, Champion of World Law, Leave a Strong…

Featured Image: Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz at the Einsatzgruppen Trial in Nuremberg. Ferencz was a civilian employee with the OCCWC, thus the picture showing him in civilian clothes. The Einsatzgruppen Trial (or „United States vs. Otto Ohlendorf et al“) lasted from September 1947 unitl April 1948. By US Army photographer on behalf of the OCCWC/IMT, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Benjamin Ferencz, champion of World Law and World Citizen, died on 7 April 2023 at the age of 103, leaving a strong heritage of action for world law.  He was particularly active in the creation of the International Criminal Court located in the Hague. 

He was born in March 1920 in what is now Romania, close to the frontiers of Hungery and Ukraine.  In the troubled period after the end of the First World War, the parents of Ferencz who were Jewish decided to emmigrate to New York with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.  They settled in New York City, and Ferencz changed his Yiddish name Berrel to Benjamin and studied in the New York school system. He did his undergraduate work at City College and then received a scholarship to Harvard Law School, a leading U.S. law school.

The Judge-Advocate General Corps.

    At the end of his law studies at Harvard, he was taken into the U.S. Army and in 1944, he was in Europe with the Army legal section, the Judge-Advocate General Corps.  By conviction and interest, he began to collect information on the Nazi concentration camps.  He was able to find photos, letters, and other material that he later was able to use as one of the prosecution team in the Nuremberg trials of Germans accused of war crimes.  He was also a staff member of the Joint Restitution Successor Organization concerned with the restoration or compensation of goods having belonged to Jewish families.  Thus, he developed close cooperation with the then recently created state of Israel.

Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court.

    From his experiences with the German trials and the many difficulties that the trials posed to be more than the justice of the victors and also the need not to antagonize the recently created Federal Republic of Germany, Ferencz became a strong advocate of an international legal system such as the Tribunals on Ex-Yugoslavia of 1993 and that of Rwanda (1994).  Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court, a creation that ows much to efforts of non-governmental organizations, such as the Association of World Citizens.  It was during this effort for the creation of the International Criminal Court that we came into contact.

    Benjamin Ferencz leaves a heritage on which we can build.  The development of world law is often slow and meets opposition.  However, the need is great, and strong efforts at both national and international levels continue.

   Benjamin Ferencz – Chief Prosecutor in 1947 Einsatzgruppen Trial – In Courtroom 600 Where Nuremberg Trials Were Held – Palace of Justice – Nuremberg-Nurnberg – Germany (2012). Adam Jones, Ph.D., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Israel-Palestine Appeals

Israel-Palestine: Tension-reduction Measures Urgently Needed.

Featured Image: Image by DEZALB from Pixabay.

The Association of World Citizens calls for urgently needed tension-reduction measures in the Israel-Palestine-Lebanon area.

    Tensions have led to a barrage of missils from Gaza and Lebanon and rapid Israeli missiles in return aiming at weaking Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Growing tensions had led to Israeli police  attacking Palestinian worshipers celebrating the holy month of Ramadan within the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on 5 and 6 April 2023.  The images of Israeli police firing teargas and beating worshipers were widely seen on social media outlets and other media.

High Alert.

    Tensions in the area have been growing since the formation of the Netanyahu – led government with right wing ministers.  Government proposals for changes concerning the court system and the appointment of judges have led to strong and wide-spread protest demonstrations.  However, Palestinian issues were not directly addressed by these demonstrations.

    Tensions between Israel and Iran and Iranian-backed groups in Syria have also been growing.  The dangers of further violence has been raised in the United Nations Security Council, but no positive actions were undertaken.  U.N. peace-keeping forces in Lebanon are on “high alert”.

Urgent call for creative and courageous actions.

    For the moment, there are no high-level public negotiations underway or planned.  Thus, tension-reduction measures must be undertaken as unilateral measures by the government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the government of Lebanon.  Such tension-reduction measures are urgently needed but may be unlikely.  Thus, the Association of World Citizens calls upon civil society organizations and persons of good will to consider what measures can be taken immediately and what structures may be established so that tension-reduction processes continue.  This is an urgent call for creative and courageous actions.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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