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International Law

Responsibility to Protect and Political Will

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The very reason why responsibility to protect fails drastically in many circumstances is that the international community is plagued by the complete lack of political will. Alex Bellamy finds that “the international community’s actual record of preventing and halting the mass killing of civilians is staggeringly poor”.When the practical battle of sovereignty versus humanitarian intervention started the former UNSG Kofi Annan proposed a “forged unity” that resulted the norm of humanitarian intervention. (Bellamy, June 2006 )

The indeterminacy (sovereignty v intervention) somehow makes the responsibility to protect to fail in both practical and institutional terms. However, there is still hope that with the “compliance pull” the R2P can be newly emerged as it proved to be better solution than humanitarian intervention. It is worthy to note what Eric Heinze speaks on humanitarian intervention and he says “the transboundary use of military force for the purpose of protecting people whose government is egregiously abusing them, either directly, or by aiding and permitting extreme mistreatment”. (Heinze, 1 January 2010). Gareth Evan comments on Humanitarian Intervention as follows: “mistake of going to war when we should not, but also what can sometimes be the even bigger mistake of not going to war to protect our fellow human beings from catastrophe when we should”. (Sahnoun, November – December 2002 )

There are four core claims on the legality of the humanitarian intervention:

The plain meaning and language of UN Charter

UN Charter is being an “organic document” not answering the legal arguments

Viewing customary law and other normative practices as the legal basis of a state’s behavior

There is codified treaty law that define the rules for state behavior

Along with the four claims above, the question of morality is another issue. For example, the humanitarian intervention in Haiti would have been still justified without the OAS (Organization of the American States) sanctioning and the NATO’s intervention in Kosovo without Security Council mandate is “illegal but legitimate” but sanctioned for its “compelling moral purpose”.

When talking about Responsibility to Protect and it’s predecessor norm humanitarian intervention it is vital to remember that both are derived from Just War tradition “Quod est necessarium est licitum – ‘that which is necessary is legal’ in other words as quoted by the Prime Minister of East Timor “Some times war saves people”.  (Schrijver, 2000)

Sovereignty has a long history of colonial war and revolutions, and it is still promised with “self-determination” and “future free from outside interference” which is considered to be as just an “emotional attachment”. At this juncture it is worthy to note Gerath Evan’s view on sovereignty “Sovereignty thus hard won, and proudly enjoyed, is sovereignty not easily relinquished or compromised”

The following responses on NATO’s intervention in Kosovo would reflect the nation states’ take on “sovereignty”

Algerian President, and then President of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in addressing the UN General Assembly in 1999, advocated the value of sovereignty as “our final defense against the rules of an unjust world”

Former Secretary of State and realist scholar, Henry Kissinger lambasted British Prime Minister Tony Blair after the intervention in Kosovo for the “abrupt abandonment of the concept of national sovereignty”

Nelsen Mandela in 2000, saw military action in Kosovo as: “such disregard for international conventions was more dangerous to world peace than anything that was currently happening in Africa

The basic problem is that the individual is protected by intervention whereas the state in protected by territorial sovereignty and non-intervention.

“the international community’s actual record of preventing and halting the mass killing of civilians is staggeringly poor”

The theoretical vacuum between non-intervention and moral responsibility to protect humanity at risk engulfs majority global crisis and thus Responsibility to Protect became the solution.

R2P can be metaphorically compared to a bridge that connects indeterminacy of intervention vs sovereignty. (Stahn, 2007 )

R2P and practical successes

In Kenya after the presidential elections in 2007, the violence outbroke with the killing of 1000 people and displacement of 250,000. Frances Deng, through the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide (OSAPG) used R2P to charge political leaders who are inciting violence. As a result, the inflammatory speech and hate comments were banned and it reduced considerable amount of human sufferings.

Libya is another watermark example for R2P is where Kadaffi’s regime was thrown out not only by his death but also by successful international mobilization and application of humanitarian principles. At this moment it is worthy to note Jack Straw, as British Foreign Minister said: “if this new responsibility had been in place a decade ago, thousands in Srebrenica and Rwanda would have been saved”(Thakur, 2011)

R2P – Failure Stories

When declaring Responsibility to Protect through a UNSC resolution, it is extremely difficult to gain the consent or the support of all the nation states in unity especially the P5. In Resolution 1973 on Libya the most important international actors like India, Russia, China and Brazil chose to abstain rather than endorse the Resolution whereas the BRICS countries expressly stated their distrust in Responsibility to Protect.

The case of Darfur

When Darfur was in the need of humanitarian assistance, The R2P was explicitly declared by British Government, and the UNSC resolution condemning Khartoum. It was later realized by the international community that the key players of the international politics were unwilling to support humanitarian operations through providing necessary military troops. R2P does not expect consent from the targeted states and UNSC Resolution 1706 called “the consent for national unity” from international governments which was ended up as failure. Lee Feinstein articulates “If Darfur is the first ‘test case’ of the responsibility to protect there is no point in denying that the world has failed the entry exam”.

Although the Kenya sets an example of a successful R2P application, it was criticized that R2P used more as a “diplomatic tool than a catalyst for action”. Kenya’s act of dragging R2P into the territory without a clear-cut evidence of ethnic cleansing and only 700-800 confirmed deaths also questioned the threshold of the doctrine of responsibility of protect.

R2P failed to protect about 150,000 of people who were at a huge humanitarian risk in Sri Lanka at the final phases of war when the Government of Sri Lanka turned its defensive humanitarian operation into offensive. The intervention of international community was widely expected at the final moments of war and Crawshaw from Human Rights watch criticized it as points “there was a failure to address the Sri Lankan issue and that I think can be said to be indicative of where the gap between the words and reality is”.

In Mali, despite of three explicit UN Resolutions and the support of ECOWAS, the unilateral intervention of France was needed to proceed international assistance. As per the UN Commission on Inquiry, the government of Guinea committed crimes against humanity, yet the language of R2P was nowhere to be seen.  In the case of DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), the UNSC failed to authorize intervention under the guise of Responsibility to Protect. Although troop expansions, mandate strengthening and greater assistance were given in DRC, the R2P had no practical impact.

The issue of Israel’s assault on Gaza was raised at the UNGA in 2009 and the citizens of Gaza were in need of R2P Solution. The failure to intervene reflected of a “selective application” and “double standards”.

Apart from the failed intervening moments on humanitarian grounds, the misappropriation created more confusions which leads back to the indeterminacy of intervention versus sovereignty. French intervention Myanmar upon the post-Nargis Cyclone rebuilding, Russia’s misinterpretation of R2P language to annex South Ossetia in which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the “proximity of the conflict makes it absolutely unavoidable to us to exercise responsibility to protect”, and Tony Blair’s use of R2P to invade Iraqin 2003 are some of the examples where the prism of R2P was misused. These incidents not only questioned the threshold of the doctrine but also invalidated the manifestation of the four mass crimes covered by the R2P.

Political Will

The “age of strict national sovereignty” started to change slowly during 1990’s after some acts such as UN Resolution to authorize no fly-zone over Iraqi-Kurdistan under the justification of “right to intervene” and legitimatization of entering into the crisis zones such as Rwanda and Darfur under Genocide Convention. The establishment of ICTY and ICTR and evolving realm of human rights and human security always reconstructed the practices of sovereignty time to time. The slogans such as “its people’s sovereignty rather than sovereign’s sovereignty”, “sovereignty is also a responsibility” have started to articulate the international law. Thus, in the present context sovereignty is not a challenging ground to R2P as it is expected to be. The foremost and challenging barrier to responsibility to protect is the lack of moral and ethical will.  This is explained by Alex Bellamy, the reason that humanitarian intervention was not successful pre-R2P was “the basic political fact that no state wanted to pay the price associated with saving strangers”. With absence of strict sovereignty concept, the scholars of international law acknowledged the need of a strong “political will” to back it up as Lee Feinstein observed in the World Summit. Aidan Hehir explains that “political will is the variable upon which the entire utility of R2P is now predicated”. The General Assembly 2009 recognized the need of “political will at the right time” and the co-chair of the ICISS report, Gerath Evans noted that “without the exercise of political will, by the relevant policy makers at the relevant time, almost none of the things for which this book has argues will actually happen”.

The failure of the doctrine during Rwandan Genocide was, according to Thakur, due to lack of “civic courage and collective consciences, UN inquiry pointed out “lack of resources and political commitment”, andICISS finally concluded as “a failure of international will”.  Taking East Timor scenario into consideration, a senior diplomat and scholar in Jakarta described the unwillingness to intervene as “Indonesia matters and East Timor doesn’t and Aida Hehir commented “it was clear that no intervention would take place without Indonesia’s consent”. The Srebrenica massacre is another example where the Report of the Secretary-General 1999 commented that “the cardinal lesson of Srebrenica is that a deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorize, expel or murder an entire people must be met decisively….with the (requisite) political will”. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sri Lanka and North Korea are some of other examples where the international community lost consciences to intervene.  Bernanrd- Henri Levy , an author in the Public Intellectuality commented of the fact that French Government was successful in the gist of R2P in Darfur, yet failed in other scenarios due to a single issue of “ the political will of one man, the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy” also raised a question “If Libya, then why not Bahrain, Yemen, or Syria?”.  Leon Panetta, the Defense Secretary of United States viewed the failure of American Administration to intervene into Syria as “we learned a lot about how to confront al-Qaeda and its affiliated as a result of operation in Pakistan and Afghanistan…. we know how to do this”.

Responsibility to Protect: Weaknesses and Recommendations 

Would R2P work as a regional protection?

Responsibility to protect fails mostly in the initial stage of its implementation by two reasons: 1. The United Nations Security Council fails to get the consent of the Permanent Members, 2. It may fail in the  national level as the governments use the concept to achieve it’s national interests which would further lead to a development of a “neo-colonial state” that uses power to oppress citizens. (O’Donnell, 2014)Since R2P was formed on the basis of United Nations values and United Nations Charter authorizes the validity of regional arrangements in resolving conflicts, the new suggestion merged of implementing Responsibility to Protect as a regional arrangement. While having R2P implemented by Regional Organizations, the implementation would limit itself within its purposes and the there would be less infringement of state sovereignty. (Shen, 12th January 2000)

All the regional arrangements are agreed upon a certain Charter (a treaty or an agreement) that binds the member states and the rights to intervene or the theory of responsibility to protect can be included in such binding provision. In those circumstances, the ROs can intervene with the help of member states using either permanent troops and troops called upon member states. While using Responsibility to Protect through regional arrangements would stop the intervention of powerful states with geopolitical interests, spill over effect on developing and third world countries, serve with the bona fide intervention of protecting civilians from human rights violations. (Naomi Kikoler, September 2009 )Regional Organizations maintain strong economic, cultural, historic and political ties with the violating state and member states which would create a quicker response and most of the armed conflicts rise around regional level more than national and international level. It is also vital to note that incorporating R2P with Regional Organizations is just a logical choice that needs legal attention to be executed since some of the regional organizations are controlled by the hegemonic powerful states within it especially when the RO is a continent spanning (Example: African Union). (Rosenperg, 2009 )

UN Charter’s Article 2 strict prohibition against use of force can be made favorable to responsibility to protect applying two arguments: a sovereign state can limit its sovereignty by entering into multi-lateral treaties and the interpretation of the language of the UN Charter itself. When it comes to the sovereignty issue foremost requirement to overcome the national sovereignty problem is that the R2P must be squared with UN Charter’s recognition for the “sovereign equality of all its Members” and UN Charter’s prohibition against “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”. (Orford, February 2011 )The dilemma fails to understand how a state can fundamentally establish its own right to limit its sovereignty through ratifying treaties and other international obligations. The UN Charter can be taken as a simple example and further the R2P is a pre-requisite for a statehood as per the Montevideo Convention expects nation-states to have the capacity to enter into relations with other states to earn legal recognition in the international law. The ICISS reports points out “external sovereignty” (respecting other states) is only applicable for the states which fulfill the obligations come under the “internal sovereignty” (the primary obligation includes protection of civilians within the territory). According to Crossly, the concept of “equal sovereignty” in international customary law for the states who misuse their “internal sovereignty”. (Henrikson, 1996)

The Article 2 of the UN Charter is ambiguous, not only restricts the application of responsibility to protect concept but also challenges the practicability of Regional Organizations utilizing this international law norm.  Article 53 of the Charter emphasizes that Regional Organizations are not authorized to “enforce actions” without the UNSC Resolution. Article 24 is vested with promoting international peace and security and thus Article 54 expects the ROs to support for peace and security arrangements within the regional level. (Zifcak, 2011) Further, ROs are given secondary authority to deal with peace and security conflicts within the region, next to International Organizations and International Treaty Law. This freedom can be misused and the most practical example is NATO’s intervention in Kosovo which was criticized by the international society as it lacked humanitarian purpose. Therefore, it is important the ROs’ founding Charter should include the clauses of R2P which are justified validly by Member States before incorporating. (Cuéllar, 2004)

The most recent practical example of how Regional Organizations can be effectively utilized to tackle down the internal conflict of a region under the concept of Responsibility to Protect. When Boko Haram Insurgency started threatening the political integrity of Nigeria and the Member States, the African Union initiated multiple actions against terrorist including creation of “Multinational Joint Task Force”, without any approval from UN Security Council.  Instead of waiting for Security Council’s approval, having known to the background of the Nigerian integrity and the situations of the neighbor states, African Union used Responsibility to Protect as an effective counter-terrorism strategy to defeat Boko Haram. (Brechenmacher, 2019 May )

Responsibility to Protect is an obligation of internationality based on humanitarian concern of preventing mass atrocity crimes and human rights violations. Adapting to some theoretical and practical challenges can not only strengthen the implementation of the norm but also fill the already existing loopholes found in the application of the norm.  The changes include incorporating of Regional Organizations as players of intervention overlapping the R2P concept, making structural changes in the United Nations Security Council methodology and stressing out the fact the R2P should carry a legally binding role in the international customary law although it is not passed through a legally binding treaty.

MaathumaiParanthaman is a UN Volunteer attached to Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR). She currently works as a Program Support Officer at Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. She holds LL.B (Hons) from University of Wolverhampton, UK and a Master in Human Rights at University of Colombo. Her research focuses on human rights, conflict and peace studies and international law.

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International Law

Carl Schmitt for the XXI Century

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For decades, the scholars of international relations have confused the term “New World order” in the social, political, or economic spheres. Even today, few scholars confuse the term with the information age, internet, universalism, globalization, and  American imperialism. Unlike the complex categorization of the New World Order, the concept of the Old World Order was purely a juridical phenomenon. However, from standpoint of modernity, the term New World order is a purely ideological and political phenomenon, which embodies various displays such as liberal democracy, financial capitalism, and technological imperialism.

In his Magnus Opus “The concept of the Political”, Carl Schmitt lauded a harsh criticism on liberal ideology and favored competitive decisionism over it. This is why according to Schmitt’s critics; the whole text in “The concept of the political” is filled with authoritarian overtones. Nonetheless, the fact cannot be denied that it was the radical political philosophy of Carl Schmitt that paved the way for the conservative revolution in Europe. Even today, his writings are being regarded as one of the major contributions to the field of political philosophy from the 20th century.

Throughout his major works such as “Nomos of the earth”, “the Crisis of Parliamentary democracy”, “The concept of the Political” and “Dictatorship”, Carl Schmitt frequently employs unadorned terms such as ‘actual’, ‘concrete’, ‘real’, and ‘specific’ to apprize his political ideas. However, he advances most of the core political ideas by using the metaphysical framework. For instance, in the broader political domain, Carl Schmitt anticipated the existential dimension of the ‘actual politics’ in the world today.

On the contrary, in his famous work “The Concept of the Political” readers most encounter the interplay between the abstract and ideal and, the concrete and real aspects of politics. Perhaps, understanding of Schmitt’s discursive distinctions is necessary when it comes to the deconstruction of the liberal promoted intellectual discourse. However, the point should be kept in mind that for Schmitt the concept of the political does not necessarily refer to any concrete subject matter such as “state” or “sovereignty”. In this respect, his concept of the political simply refers to the friend-enemy dialectics or distinction. To be more precise, the categorization of the term “Political” defines the degree of intensity of an association and dissociation.

In addition, the famous friend-enemy dialectics is also the central theme of his famous book “The Concept of the Political”. Likewise, the famous friend-enemy distinction in Schmitt’s famous work has both concrete and existential meaning. Here, the word “enemy” refers to the fight against ‘human totality”, which depends upon the circumstances. In this respect, throughout his work, one of the major focuses of Carl Schmitt was on the subject of  “real Politics”. According to Schmitt, friend, enemy, and battle have real meaning. This is why, throughout his several works; Carl Schmitt remained much concerned with the theory of state and sovereignty. As Schmitt writes;

I do not say the general theory of the state; for the category, the general theory of the state…is a typical concern of the liberal nineteenth century. This category arises from the normative effort to dissolve the concrete state and the concrete Volk in generalities (general education, general theory of the law, and finally general theory of the knowledge; and in this way to destroy their political order”.[1]

As a matter of the fact, for Schmitt, the real politics ends up in battle, as he says, “The normal proves nothing, but the exception proves everything”. Here, Schmitt uses the concept of “exceptionality” to overcome the pragmatism of Liberalism. Although, in his later writings, Carl Schmitt attempted to dissociate the concept of “Political” from the controlling and the limiting spheres but he deliberately failed. One of the major reasons behind Schmitt’s isolation of the concept of the political is that he wanted to limit the categorization of friend-enemy distinction. Another major purpose of Schmitt was to purify the concept of the “Political” was by dissociating it from the subject-object duality. According to Schmitt, the concept of the political was not a subject matter and has no limit at all. Perhaps, this is why Schmitt advocated looking beyond the ordinary conception and definition of politics in textbooks.

For Schmitt, it was Liberalism, which introduced the absolutist conception of politics by destroying its actual meaning. In this respect, he developed his very idea of the “Political” against the backdrop of the “human totality” (Gesamtheit Von Menschen). Today’s Europe should remember the bloody revolutionary year of 1848 because the so-called economic prosperity, technological progress, and the self-assured positivism of the last century have come together to produce long and deep amnesia. Nonetheless, the fact cannot be denied that the revolutionary events of1848 had brought deep anxiety and fear for the ordinary Europeans. For instance, the famous sentence from the year 1848 reads;

For this reason, fear grabs hold of the genius at a different time than it does normal people. the latter recognizes the danger at the time of danger; up to that, they are not secure, and if the danger has passed, then they are secure. The genius is the strongest precisely at the time of danger”.

Unfortunately, it was the intellectual predicament at the European stage in the year 1848 that caused revolutionary anxiety and distress among ordinary Europeans. Today, ordinary Europeans face similar situations in the social, political, and ideological spheres. The growing anxieties of the European public consciousness cannot be grasped without taking into account Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberal democracy. A century and a half ago, by embracing liberal democracy under the auspices of free-market capitalism, the Europeans played a pivotal role in the self-destruction of the European spirit.

The vicious technological drive under liberal capitalism led the European civilization towards crony centralism, industrialism, mechanization, and above all singularity. Today, neoliberal capitalism has transformed the world into a consumer-hyped mechanized factory in which humanity appears as the by-product of its own artificial creation. The unstructured mechanization of humanity in the last century has brought human civilization to technological crossroads. Hence, the technological drive under liberal democratic capitalism is presenting a huge threat to human civilizational identity.


[1] Wolin, Richard, Carl Schmitt, Political Existentialism, and the Total State, Theory and Society, volume no. 19, no. 4, 1990 (pp. 389-416). Schmitt deemed the friend-enemy dialectics as the cornerstone of his critique on liberalism and universalism.

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International Law

Democratic Backsliding: A Framework for Understanding and Combatting it

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Democracy is suffering setbacks around the world. Over the past decade, the number of liberal democracies has shrunk from 41 to 32. Today, 34 percent of the global population lives in 25 countries moving in the direction of autocracy. By contrast, only 16 countries are undergoing a process of democratization, representing just 4 percent of the global population. Reflecting these troubling trends, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, during her confirmation hearing, highlighted democratic backsliding – along with climate change, conflict and state collapse, and COVID-19 – as among the “four interconnected and gargantuan challenges” that will guide the Biden Administration’s development priorities.

However, defining “democratic backsliding” is far from straightforward. Practitioners and policymakers too often refer to “democratic backsliding” broadly, but there is a high degree of variation in how backsliding manifests in different contexts. This imprecise approach is problematic because it can lead to an inaccurate analysis of events in a country and thereby inappropriate or ineffective solutions.

To prevent or mitigate democratic backsliding, policymakers need a definition of the concept that captures its multi-dimensional nature. It must include the actors responsible for the democratic erosion, the groups imperiled by it, as well as the allies who can help reverse the worst effects of backsliding. 

To address this gap, the International Republican Institute developed a conceptual framework to help practitioners and policymakers more precisely define and analyze how democratic backsliding (or “closing democratic space”) is transpiring and then devise foreign assistance programs to combat it.  Shifting away from broad generalizations that a country is moving forward or backward vis-à-vis democracy—which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to derive specific solutions—the framework breaks closing democratic space into six distinct, and sometimes interrelated, subsectors or “spaces.”

Political/Electoral: Encompasses the arena for political competition and the ability of citizens to hold their government accountable through elections. Examples of closing political or electoral space range from fraudulent election processes and the arrest or harassment of political leaders to burdensome administrative barriers to political party registration or campaigning.

Economic: Refers to the relationship between a country’s economic market structure, including access and regulation, and political competition. Examples of closing economic space include selective or politically motivated audits or distribution of government licenses, contracts, or tax benefits.

Civic/Associational: Describes the space where citizens meet to discuss and/or advocate for issues, needs, and priorities outside the purview of the government. Examples of closing civic or associational space include harassment or co-optation of civic actors or civil society organizations and administrative barriers designed to hamper civil society organizations’ goals including limiting or making it arduous to access resources.

Informational: Captures the venues that afford citizens the opportunity to learn about government performance or hold elected leaders to account, including the media environment and the digital realm. h. Examples of closing informational space consist of laws criminalizing online speech or activity, restrictions on accessing the internet or applications, censorship (including self-censorship), and editorial pressure or harassment of journalists.  

Individual: Encapsulates the space where individuals, including public intellectuals, academics, artists, and cultural leaders– including those traditionally marginalized based on religious, ethnicity, language, or sexual orientation–can exercise basic freedoms related to speech, property, movement, and equality under the law. Common tactics of closing individual space include formal and informal restrictions on basic rights to assemble, protest, or otherwise exercise free speech; censorship, surveillance, or harassment of cultural figures or those critical of government actions; and scapegoating or harassing identity groups.

Governing: Comprises the role of state institutions, at all levels, within political processes. Typical instances of closing the governing space include partisan control of government entities such as courts, election commissions, security services, regulatory bodies; informal control of such governing bodies through nepotism or patronage networks; and legal changes that weaken the balance of powers in favor of the executive branch.

Examining democratic backsliding through this framework forces practitioners and policymakers to more precisely identify how and where democratic space is closing and who is affected. This enhanced understanding enables officials to craft more targeted interventions.

For example, analysts were quick to note Myanmar’s swift about-face toward autocracy.  This might be true, but how does this high-level generalization help craft an effective policy and foreign aid response, beyond emphasizing a need to target funds on strengthening democracy to reverse the trend? In short, it does not.  If practitioners and policymakers had dissected Myanmar’s backsliding using the six-part framework, it would have highlighted specific opportunities for intervention.  This systematic analysis reveals the regime has closed civic space, via forbidding large gatherings, as well as the information space, by outlawing online exchanges and unsanctioned news, even suspending most television broadcasts.  One could easily populate the other four spaces with recent examples, as well. 

Immediately, we see how this exercise leads to more targeted interventions—support to keep news outlets operating, for example, via software the government cannot hack—that, collectively, can help slow backsliding.  Using the framework also compels practitioners and policymakers to consider where there might be spillover—closing in one space that might bleed into another space—and what should be done to mitigate further closing.

Finally, using this framework to examine the strength of Myanmar’s democratic institutions and norms prior to the February coup d’etat may have revealed shortcomings that, if addressed, could have slowed or lessened the impact of the sudden democratic decline. For example, the high-profile arrest of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in December 2017 was a significant signal that Myanmar’s information space was closing. Laws or actions to increase protections for journalists and media outlets, could have strengthened the media environment prior to the coup, making it more difficult for the military to close the information space.

A more precise diagnosis of the problem of democratic backsliding is the first step in crafting more effective and efficient solutions. This framework provides practitioners and policymakers a practical way to more thoroughly examine closing space situations and design holistic policies and interventions that address both the immediate challenge and longer-term issue of maintaining and growing democratic gains globally.

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International Law

Authentic Justice Thus Everlasting Peace: Because We Are One

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The ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a good thing. We thank God for it. Be it between two individuals or institutions or nations or the internal colonial and colonized, war does not do anything except cause more immediate or future mass misery and human destruction. Our continued memories of our interpersonal and international and internal colonial and civil wars and the memorials we erect to remember them recall and record wounds and pains we never get over. 

So it becomes a bothersome puzzle as to why we human beings still just don’t get that war like oppression leads to nowhere except to more human devastation. And we should have learned by now but have not that peacemaking like ceasefires mean nothing without justice.

 It is the reason why I constantly find myself correcting those who stress Peace and Justice.No Justice No Peace is more than a cliche.It is real politic emotionally, economically, socially, and spiritually.

Our American inner cities like those in every continent where culturally different and similar people live cramped impoverished lives and nations and colonial enclaves with such unequal wealth remind us of their continued explosive potentialities when peace is once again declared but with no justice.Everyone deserves a decent quality of life which not only includes material necessities but more importantly emotional and spiritual freedoms and other liberations.Not just the victors who conquer and rule and not just the rich and otherwise privileged.

 And until such  justices are  assured to everyone peacemaking is merely a bandaid on cancerous societal or International conflictual soars which come to only benefit those who profit from wars which are bound to come around again when there is no justice and thus peace such as  family destroying divorce lawyers, blood hungry media to sell more subscriptions , arms dealers to sell more murderous technologies, politicians needing  votes so start and prolong wars, and military men and women seeking promotion while practicing their killing capacities.

So if those of us who devoutly practice our  faiths or our golden moral principles,  let us say always and pray and advocate justice and peace always  as a vital public good  and  do justice then lasting peace in our personal lives and insist that national leaders, our own and others do the same in their conduct of international affairs and affairs with those who are stateless in this global world. 

All such pleading is essential since we are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God who created all of us  in God’s image as one humanity  out of  everlasting divine love for all of us so we should love each other as God loves all of us  leading to desiring justice and thus lasting peace for each and every one of us.

This is difficult for those in international affairs to understand who take more conventional secular approaches to historical and contemporary justice and peace challenges as if our universal spiritual connectivennes  ( not to be confused with the vast diversity of organized religions)as human beings which makes us all brothers and sisters has no relevance. But if we are going to find true enduring peace we have no alternative but to turn our backs on increasingly useless secular methods which go either way, stressing peace then justice or justice then peace and understand how much we must begin to explore and implement approaches which we look at each other as spiritually connected brothers and sisters in which it is the expectation that peace only comes and lasts when  through the equal enjoyment of justices for every human being, we restore our universal kindred rooted in the everlasting love of God and thus for each other, no matter the different ways in which we define God or positive moral principles which originate in understandings that we human beings in all our diversities are one and thus brothers and sisters.

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