Tag: <span>United Nations</span>

Israel y Hamás Appeals

World Citizens Call for an Inmediate End to Hostilities…

Featured image: The impact of the Israeli bombing on a civilian building in Gaza (2021). By Osama Eid, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The AWC, a Nongovernmental Organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations (UN) and accredited with the UN Human Rights Council, is deeply alarmed at the latest flare of violence between the armed militias of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Most importantly, we are appalled at the consequences of the deliberate attacks from both sides on the rights of civilians in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Since the attacks launched by its forces in the early morning of October 7, Hamas has been targeting civilians in Israel, even capturing Israeli citizens, both civilians and IDF soldiers, to keep them as hostages. The legitimate cause of a people long deprived of their own land, a cause that even the UN recognizes as internationally legitimate, cannot be served in dignity by such methods that run counter to international law.

A map of the Gaza Strip showing key towns and neighbouring countries. By Gringer (talk) 14:01, 8 January 2009 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

The current government of Israel has been constantly pushing the limits of disregard for the same international law, through repeated and insistent statements and practices aiming at systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Within the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel, the current Israeli Government has also sowed the seeds of discord and political strife by trying to lessen the powers of the executive branch and, in so doing, to end Israel’s tradition of democracy with checks and balances.

Palestinian solidarity protester with Palestinian flag and a “Free Palestine” sign outside Downing Street, London, 5 June 2018, by Alisdare Hickson, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

The Middle East conflict right from its root causes.

This misguided conduct has proved harmful to both the Palestinian people and the citizenry of Israel. It is now creating new chaos in the region amounting to, in the very words of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a threat to international peace and security. The situation could get even worse as Hezbollah, notoriously backed by Iran, has now unwisely joined the fight from South Lebanon.

Once more, the rights of civilians in Israel and the Gaza Strip are falling victim to the hatred and violence unleashed by both sides in the absence of a badly needed but constantly denied international effort to tackle the Middle East conflict right from its root causes, including the Palestinian people’s demand for justice and the State of Israel’s need for security.

Consequently, the AWC reiterates its call for an immediate end to hostilities in Israel and the Gaza Strip. We also call for the release of every person, civilian or military, taken hostage by Hamas.

We further urge the international community to finally undertake a genuine peacebuilding effort in Israel and the OPT by addressing the root causes of the conflict and duly acting on the legitimate claim of the Palestinian people for justice and the equally legitimate claim of the Israeli people for security.

There is truly no other option now.

Separation wall between Israel and the West Bank in Palestine. By Ilya Varlamov, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Peace Planners Appeals

 Peace Planners: Awake!.

Featured Image: Photo by  Eddie Kopp,  Unsplash.

The recent NATO Summit in Vilnius is an indication that the war planning community is busy at work in the spirit of Von Clausewitz that war is a continuation of politics by other means.  Thus there is a need for the peace planning community to be awake and be equally busy.  The challenges which humanity faces today: armed violence, persistent poverty, mass migration, and the consequences of climate change, require strong collective action at the local, the national, and the world level.

Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831). By Karl Wilhelm Wach, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.   

For peace planners, we need to analyse current armed conflicts and the strong tensions which may lead to violence.  Sometimes these tensions start as small localized events, such as tensions between military forces on the India-China frontier, but such tensions contain the seeds for later armed violence.  The recent trip of the 100 year old Henry Kissinger across the Pacific to discuss with the Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu is an indication that tensions in the Indo-Pacific area are being taken seriously.

Chinese Minister of National Defence, General Li Shangfu in Singapore at the Shangri La Dialogue on Sunday, 4th June 2023. By Photographer: Danial Hakim, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

NGOs bring their early warning capacities and problem-solving.

    For peace planners, there is a need to stregthen measures for early intervention.  Too often intervention by the United Nations or other intergovernmental agencies such as the African Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe occurs only once the conflict has become a serious dispute involving violence.

    For those of us who are outside of governmental institutions, there is a need to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGO) for peace planning.  NGOs on bring their early warning capacities and problem-solving knowleadge to the United Nations and regional intergovernmental organizations.  Among NGOs, exchanges of information, the creation of regional or thematic working groups, and co-ordinated information campaigns are vital needs. 

Henry Kissinger at the 2009 premiere of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Photographer’s blog post about event and photograph. By David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Adlai Stevenson.

As soon as well-researched material is available, the issue is to get the information to the right people, at the right time, and in the right wording.  Timeliness and clarity of message are crucial.  Many governmental decision-makers receive thick reports, jargon-laden faxes, and briefing notes.

    The challenge for us who plan for a more peaceful world is to help develop processes for dialogue.  As Adlai Stevenson said at the U.N.

“We do not hold the vision of a world without conflict.  We do hold the vision of a world without war – and this inevitably requires an alternative system for dealing with conflict.”

Adlai Stevenson, Democratic candidate for president. Note: Contrast slightly increased from original image (see below) (1956). [1], Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.   

René Wadlow, President, The Association of World Citizens.

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Democratic Republic of Congo Appeals

Democratic Republic of Congo: Sky Getting Darker.

Photo by  jorono,  Pixabay.

The armed conflict in the eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) on the frontier with Rwanda seems to be growing worse and is impacting in a negative way the lives of people. The current fighting adds to the insecurity of the area and has virtually stopped cross-frontier activities largely done by women small traders. As a result, the price of existing food supplies has increased greatly, and shortages are to be feared.

The current armed conflict is among a Tutsi-led militia, the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23), the forces of the RDC government and different ethnic militias. The President of the RDC, Felix Tshisekedi, sponsored the creation of local militias to help government soldiers, but the government does not control these militias. The United Nations (UN) Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO) which has been in the RDC since 1999 is the largest UN peacekeeping force with some 15,000 members.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on the margins of the NATO Ministerial at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., in Washington, D.C., on April 3, 2019. [State Department photo by Michael Gross/ Public Domain]. By U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Helmet Icon of United Nations Peacekeeping Logo. By United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

A theoretical UN sponsored arms embargo.

However, it has been unable to halt the fighting or to protect civilians. In fact, the area of conflict has grown and engendered a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, causing the displacement of more than one million civilians in North Kivu Province. The M23 has recently launched attempts to win allies in South Kivu Province, in particular the armed group Twirwaneko, with the objective of opening a front in South Kivu.

The government of Rwanda has become increasingly involved in the Kivu conflict with direct intervention by the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) and, despite a theoretical UN sponsored arms embargo, with weapons and other military equipment. The M23 is also fighting against the Forces démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) a Hutu-led group hostile to the government of Rwanda.

Non-State actors and armed militias such as those in the RDC.

Recent attacks by M23 on populations associated with, or presumed to support the FDLR, have grown. Incidents of rape, including gang rape, by M23 combatants are prevalent but are not limited to the M23. The armed conflict is colored by a tense political situation with general elections, most significantly a presidential election, scheduled for December 2023.

The increased violence indicates the need for local non-governmental peacebuilding efforts which can be also facilitated by international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). There is also a greater need to build respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL). When the framework of current IHL as drafted in the 1948 Geneva Conventions in light of the experiences of World War II, the focus was upon the actions of national armies. Today, much violence and strife is due to non-State actors and armed militias such as those in the RDC.

There are two major weaknesses in the effectiveness of IHL.

  1. The first is that many people do not know that it exists and that they are bound by its norms. Thus, there is an important role for greater educational activities, the dissemination of information to the wider public, specific training of the military, outreach to armed militias, and cooperation with a wide range of NGOs.
  2. The second weakness is that those violating IHL are rarely punished. Few soldiers are tried or court-martialed. This weakness is even more true for non-state militias and armed groups. There is yet much to do for the realization of the rule of law.

Note.

  1. For useful guides to International Humanitarian Law see: D. Schindler and J. Toman, The Laws of Armed Conflict (Martinus Nihjoff Publishers, 1988).
  2. H. McCoubrey and N.D. White, International Law and Armed Conflict (Dartmouth Publishing Co. 1992).

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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world refugee day Appeals

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot” political issue in many countries; and the policies of many governments have been very inadequate to meet the challenges. The UN-led World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul, Turkey on May, 23-24, 2016 called for efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts by:

“courageous leadership, acting early, investing in stability, and ensuring broad participation by affected people and other stakeholders.”

If there were more courageous political leadership; we might not have the scope and intensity of the problems that we now face. Care for refugees is the area in which there is the closest cooperation between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the UN system. As one historian of the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has written:

“No element has been more vital to the successful conduct of the programs of the UNHCR than the close partnership between UNHCR and the non-governmental organizations.”

The 1956 flow of refugees from Hungary was the first emergency operation of the UNHCR. The UNHCR turned to the International Committee of the Red Cross;  and the League of Red Cross Societies;  which had experience and the finances to deal with such a large and unexpected refugee departures and re-settlements. Since 1956;  the UNHCR has increased the number of NGOs; both international and national, with which it works given the growing needs of refugees and the increasing work with internally displaced persons; who were not originally part of the UNHCR mandate.

World Refugee Day
Immigration – Refugee arrivals in Australia – Athol Townley, Minister For Immigration of Australia, with the first Hungarian refugees to arrive after Hungarian uprising. By Department of Immigration, Central Office, Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Investing in Stability.

Along with emergency responses − tents, water, medical facilities − there are longer-range refugee needs, especially facilitating integration into host societies. It is the integration of refugees and migrants; which has become a contentious political issue. Less attention has been given to the concept of “investing in stability”. One example:

The European Union (EU); despite having pursued in words the design of a Euro-Mediterranean Community; in fact did not create the conditions to approach its achievement. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership; launched in 1995 in order to create a free trade zone and promote cooperation in various fields; has failed in its purpose. The EU did not promote a plan for the development of the countries of North Africa and the Middle East and did nothing to support the democratic currents of the Arab Spring.

Conflict Management.

However;  today  the immigration crisis from the Middle East and North Africa has been dealt with almost exclusively as a security problem.

The difficulties encountered in the reception of refugees do not lie primarily in the number of refugees;  but in the speed with which they have arrived in Western Europe. These difficulties are the result of the lack of serious reception planning; and weak migration policies.

The war in Syria has gone on for five years. Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, not countries known for their planning skills; have given shelter to nearly four million persons; mostly from the Syrian armed conflicts. That refugees would want to move further is hardly a surprise. That the refugees from war would be joined by “economic” and “climate” refugees is also not a surprise. The lack of adequate planning has led to short-term “conflict management” approaches.

Fortunately; NGOs and often spontaneous help have facilitated integration; but the number of refugees and the lack of planning also impacts NGOs.

World Refugee DaySyrian refugee camp on theTurkish border for displaced people of the Syrian civil war. By Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell on the Turkish border, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Thus;  there is a need on the part of both governments and NGOs to look at short-term emergency humanitarian measures and at longer-range migration patterns; especially at potential climate modification impact.

World Refugee Day can be a time to consider how best to create a humanist, cosmopolitan society.

 

By Prof. René Wadlow,  President of the Association of World Citizens.

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

Day of the Oceans Appeals

International Day of the Oceans.

Featured Image: Photo by Marek OkonUnsplash.

Progress on Asian Maritime Delimitations Needed.

8 June has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Day of the Oceans to highlight the important role that the U.N. played in the creation of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. (UNCLOS).

Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Heating Up.

However, there are maritime delimitation disputes that are currently dangerous and require good-faith negotiations to prevent increased tensions.  The maritime delimitations within the South China Sea are particularly sensitive. Maritime delimitations can be heated up by governments and cooled off at will when other political issues require attention.  Currently, we are in a “heating up” stage between China and Taiwan, China and Vietnam, China and Japan, and China and the Philippines.  The China – U.S.A. tensions also color the South China Sea issues. (1)

There are both economic and geostrategic aspects to these tensions, and both need to be addressed if good- faith negotiations are to lead to cooperation for the benefit of all.   Progress in maritime geology and predictions of metal shortages in the decades ahead have made seabed mining a concern for governments such as China, Japan, and South Korea.  Minerals such as copper, gold and other industrial minerals as well as oil-natural gas are thought to be available through seabed mining in this Pacific area.

The International Day of the Oceans can serve as the start of a strong mobilization of voices calling for good-faith negotiations and for a vision of cooperation among the States of the South China Sea. (2)

Image: The USS John S. McCain conducts a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Jan. 22, 2017. The guided-missile destroyer is supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez. By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Saber Rattling in the South China Sea.

Notes:

  • (1) For a good overview of the history with maps of the disputed areas, see Douglas Johnston and Mark Valencia: Pacific Ocean Boundary Problems (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1991).
  • (2) For a useful approach to adjudication of delimitation issues, see A.O. Adede: The System for Settlement of Disputes Under the UNCLOS  (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987).

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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politics without borders Appeals

Politics Beyond National Frontiers.

Featured Image: Photo by  Markus Spiske,  Unsplash.

In our current globalized world society, there is an increased role for politics without borders.  Politics no longer stops at the water’s edge but must play an active role on the world stage. 

However, unlike politics at the national level which usually has a parliament at which the actors can recite their lines, the world has no world parliament as such.  Thus new and inventive ways must be found so that world public opinion can be heard and acted upon.

Beyond The Borders of Individual Countries. 

The United Nations General Assembly is as close to a world parliament that we have today.  However, all the official participants are diplomats appointed by their respective States – 195 members.  U.N. secretariat members, the secretariat members of U.N. Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO and the ILO are in the hall ways or coffee shops to give advice.  Secretariat members of the financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF are also there to give advice on costs and the limits of available funds.  The representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in consultative status with the U.N. who can speak at sessions of the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council cannot address the General Assembly directly. However, they are also in the coffee shops and may send documents to the U.N. Missions of governments.

Politics without borders requires finding ways to express views for action beyond the borders of individual countries. 

Today, most vital issues that touch the lives of many people go beyond the individual State:

  • The consequences of climate change.
  • The protection of biodiversity.
  • The resolution of armed conflicts.
  • The violations of human rights.
  • More just world trade pattern. 

Thus we need to find ways of looking at the world with a global mind and an open heart.  This perspective is an aim of world citizenship.

However, world citizens are not yet so organized as to be able to impact political decisions at the United Nations and in enough individual States so as to have real influence.  The policy papers and Appeals of the Association of World Citizens are often read with interest by the government representatives to whom they are sent.  However, the Association of World Citizens is an NGO among many and does not have the number of staff as such international NGOs as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Greenpeace.

We still need to find effective ways so that humanity can come together to solve global problems – that is – politics without borders.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11

Protecting Cultural Heritage. Appeals

Protecting Cultural Heritage in Time of War.

Featured Image: World Heritage flag, Stortorget, Karlskrona. By Henrik Sendelbach, CC BY-SA 2.5 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

War and armed violence are highly destructive of the lives of persons, but also of works of art and elements of cultural heritage. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the destructive power of war in a dramatic way. Thus, this May 18, “International Museum Day”, we outline some of the ways in which UNESCO is working to protect the cultural heritage in Ukraine in time of war.

International Museum Day.

May 18 has been designated by UNESCO as the International Day of Museums to highlight the role that museums play in preserving beauty, culture, and history. Museums come in all sizes and are often related to institutions of learning and libraries. Increasingly, churches and centers of worship have taken on the character of museums as people visit them for their artistic value, even they do not share the faith of those who built them.

Knowledge and understanding of a people’s past can help current inhabitants to develop and sustain identity and to appreciate the value of their own culture and heritage. This knowledge and understanding enriches their lives. It enables them to manage contemporary problems more successfully.

Graphic identity for International Museum Day 2020. By Justine Navarro, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

It is widely believed in Ukraine that one of the chief aims of the Russian armed intervention is to eliminate all traces of a separate Ukrainian culture, to highlight a common Russian motherland. In order to do this, there is a deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and a looting of museums, churches, and libraries in areas when under Russian military control. Museums, libraries, and churches elsewhere in Ukraine have been targeted by Russian artillery attacks.

After the Second World War, UNESCO had developed international conventions on the protection of cultural and educational bodies in times of conflict. The most important of these is the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Hague Convention has been signed by a large number of States including the USSR to which both the Russian Federation and Ukraine are bound.

UNESCO has designed a Blue Shield as a symbol of a protected site. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, has brought a number of these Blue Shields herself to Ukraine to highlight UNESCO’s vital efforts.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General, UNESCO at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London (2019).Foreign and Commonwealth Office, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Roerich Peace Pact.

The 1954 Hague Convention builds on the efforts of the Roerich Peace Pact signed on April 15, 1935 by 21 States in a Pan-American Union ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. In addition to the Latin American States of the Pan American Union, the following States also signed: Kingdom of Albania, Kingdom of Belgium, Republic of China, Republic of Czechoslovakia, Republic of Greece, Irish Free State, Empire of Japan, Republic of Lithuania, Kingdom of Persia, Republic of Poland, Republic of Portugal, Republic of Spain, Confederation of Switzerland, Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

At the signing, Henry A. Wallace, then U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and later Vice-President, said:

“At no time has such an ideal been more needed. It is high time for the idealists who make the reality of tomorrow, to rally around such a symbol of international cultural unity. It is time that we appeal to that appreciation of beauty, science, education which runs across all national boundaries to strengthen all that we hold dear in our particular governments and customs. Its acceptance signifies the approach of a time when those who truly love their own nation will appreciate in addition the unique contributions of other nations and also do reverence to that common spiritual enterprise which draws together in one fellowship all artists, scientists, educators and truly religious of whatever faith. Thus we build a world civilization which places that which is fine in humanity above that which is low, sordid and mean, that which is hateful and grabbing.”

We still have efforts to make so that what is fine in humanity is above what is hateful and grabbing. However, the road signs set out the direction clearly.

Globally-used UNESCO World Heritage logo. By UNESCO; Designer: Michel Olyff.Uploaded by Siyuwj, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

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Yemen Appeals

Yemen: Positive Action Still Needed.

Featured Image: The UK hosted the Friends of Yemen meeting on 27 September 2012 in New York alongside co-hosts the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen. The meeting was attended by 38 States and International Organisations. Foreign Secretary William Hague with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, President Hadi and Vice Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Dr. Torki Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Kabir. By English: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Picture by Carl G. Friedrich

25 March is the anniversary date of the start of 28 days on continued bombing of Yemen in 2015 by the Saudi-Arabia-led coalition (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, United Arab Emirates helped by arms and “intelligence” by the U.S.A. and the U.K.). The aggression by the Saudi coalition turned what had been an internal struggle for power going on from the “Arab Spring” of 2011 into a war with regional dimensions which brought Iran into the picture. The role of Iran has been exaggerated both by the Iranian government itself and by those hostile to Iran. Nevertheless, the Iranian role is real.

Arab Spring

Arab spring participants (2020). By Paulinabial, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Since the Association of World Citizens (AWC) had been following possible constitutional developments in Yemen after the 2011 change of government, a couple of days after the 25 March 2015 bombing, the Association of World Citizens sent to government Missions to the United Nations an AWC Appeal for:

Four steps of conflict resolution and negotiations in good faith:

  1.  An immediate ceasefire ending all foreign military attacks.
  2. Humanitarian assistance, especially important for hard-to-reach zones.
  3. A broad national dialogue.
  4. Through this dialogue, the establishment of an inclusive unity government open to constitutional changes to facilitate better the wide geographic- tribal structure of the State.

Six-Region Federation as the Political Structure for Yemen.

While the constitutional form of the State structures depends on the will of the people of Yemen ( if they were able to express themselves freely) the Association of World Citizens proposes consideration of con-federal forms of government which maintain cooperation within a decentralized framework. In 2014, a committee appointed by the then President, Abdu Rabbu Mansur Hadi, had proposed a six-region federation as the political structure for Yemen.

Until 1990, Yemen was two separate States: the People’s Democratic of Yemen in the south with Aden as the capital, and the Yemen Arab Republic in the north with Sana’a as capital. In 1990, the two united to become the Republic of Yemen. The people in the south hoped that the union would bring the economic development which had been promised.

Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi

Sitting down for a meeting, Yemen President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi listens as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel welcomes him to the Pentagon July 30, 2013. By U.S Defense Department, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

South Arabia.

Since, even before the Saudi-led war began, there had been very little economic and social development in the south, there started to grow strong “separatist” attitudes in the south. People of all political persuasions hoped to develop prosperity by ending unification and creating what some have started calling “South Arabia” Today, these separatist attitudes are very strong, but there is no agreement on what areas are to be included in a new southern state, and the is no unified separatist political leadership.

Very quickly after 25 March 2015, many governments saw the dangers of the conflict and the possible regional destabilization. Thus there were U.N.-sponsored negotiations held in Geneva in June 2015. The Association of World Citizens worked with other NGOs so that women should be directly involved in such negotiations.

However women have not been added to any of the negotiations and are largely absent from any leadership role in the many political factions of the country. There have been U.N. mediators active in trying to get ceasefires and then negotiations. There have been some temporary ceasefires, but no progress on real negotiations.

Saudi Arabia and Iran under the sponsorship of the People’s Republic of China.

Today, the war continues with the country’s fragmentation, continued internal fighting and impoverishment leading to a disastrous humanitarian crisis. There is a glimmer of possible conflict resolution efforts due to the recent mutual recognition of Saudi Arabia and Iran under the sponsorship of the People’s Republic of China. However, creating a national society of individuals willing to cooperate will not be easy. Regional divisions will not be easy to bridge. There have already been divisions within the Saudi-led Coalition. Thus, positive action is still needed. Non-governmental organizations should seek to have their voices heard.

 

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11

Climate Change Appeals

U.N. Focus on Consequences of Climate Change.

Featured Image: Photo by William Bossen, Unsplash

On 20 March 2023, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a Synthesis Report based on its three previous reports covering eight years of work. The IPCC is a panel of 93 scientists co-chaired by Hoesung Lee of South Korea and Valerie Masson-Delmotte of France. The Synthesis Report stressed that:

“Prioritizing equity, climate justice, social justice, and just transition actions are needed for climate resilient development.”

Climate Change.

There are three billion people who live in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate change. One of the consequences of climate change is to increase migration from these vulnerable areas. The concept of safe and orderly migration has not yet been put into practice. Climate change also has a negative impact on food production.

The IPCC, created in 1988, makes recommendations for action, put policies have to be established and carried out by governments. Thus, a UN conference will be held in New York this September. The recommendations of the IPCC also influence the policy proposals of non-governmental organizations whose influence on climate issues is growing.

U.N. Water Conference.

At the same period as the presentation of the IPCC report a related U.N. Water Conference, 22-24 March, was held in New York. The conference stressed that fresh water is a crucial resource and that the future well-being of the world society will depend on how well we manage this global supply of fresh water.

Today, some 26 percent of the world’s population lack access to safe drinking water. There are falling water tables in many countries. Much fresh water is polluted by untreated wastewater, nitrates from agriculture, and the release of hazardous chemicals. Climate change seems to have created increased rainfall variability.

Trans-Frontier River Systems.

The U.N. Water Conference highlighted an issue which has been a focus of the Association of World Citizens: the management and necessary cooperation of trans-frontier river systems. The management of trans-frontier river systems has a strong political colouring and a potential for conflict as we see with the Jordan River, the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates and the Ganga.

The IPCC and the U.N. Water Conference have set out the challenges facing both governments and non-governmental organizations. Cooperation for joint action is needed. Building on this awareness of the need for cooperation is vital. We must work actively on the next steps.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

 

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

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11

Oceans Appeals

Steps Toward The Protection of The Oceans.

Featured Image: Photo by Dave Hoefler,  Unsplash.

On 4 March 2023, at the United Nations in New York an important step toward the protection of the oceans was taken with the presentation of a new Treaty on the High Seas for the protection of the biodiversity of the oceans beyond the national territorial limits. These negotiations began in 2004. Their length is an indication of some of the difficulties of the issues

The Evolution of the Law of the Sea: From the 1970s Negotiations to Current Political Tensions.

The new treaty builds upon the 1970s U.N. effort on the Law of the Sea presented for ratification in 1982. The decade-long 1970s negotiations, in which non-governmental organizations such as the Association of World Citizens played an active role, dealt primarily with the extension of national jurisdiction to include an “exculsive economic zone” under the control of the state holding the 12 nautical mile jurisdiction. The state in question could make financial arrangements with other states on fishing or other activities within the exclusive economic zone.

The 1970s Law of the Sea negotiations also led to the creation of a dispute settlement procedure as there were overlapping exclusive economic zones as well as issues of the creation of exclusive economic zones around national islands. These issues have taken on strong political dimensions concerning Chinese claims in the South China Sea around uninhabited islands as well as tensions between Greece and Turkey.

Oceans

Picture: Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

Our Common Oceans and Seas.

The High Oceans Treaty: Addressing New Challenges for Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Use.

The new High Oceans Treaty concerns the bulk of the oceans beyond the national jurisdiction and the exclusive economic zone. The new treaty is a reflection of the newer concerns around the consequences of global warming, the protection of biodiversity, efforts against land-based polution, and the consequences of overfishing.

Non-governmental organizations again played an important role in the creation of the new treaty, even if there are still issues, such as mining on the ocean bed, left out of this treaty. It is encouraging that there was cooperation among major governments on the Treaty, the U.S.A., China, and the European Union. There is still work ahead, and governmental efforts must be watched closely. However, 2023 is off to a good start for the protection and wise use of the oceans.

Oceans

Image: The USS John S. McCain conducts a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Jan. 22, 2017. The guided-missile destroyer is supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez. By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Saber Rattling in the South China Sea.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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