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International Law

Make Sense Consistency of UN on Human Security Practices in Dealing with Current World Conflicts

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Conflict continues to be the talk of the international community. Almost every area of ​​society is haunted by conflict, violence, terror that triggers the insecurity of the people in the region. Concerns continue to arise due to human rights violations to the issue of refugees, which causes other countries to also feel vulnerable. The flow of refugees that continues to occur without stopping triggers the internal security of the destination country to become insecure. Apart from that, the country where refugees live is expected to fulfill the rights of refugees because of human rights issues. Not to mention refugees are used as political weapons to attack other countries.

Refugees flow everywhere, Asia and Africa being the most conflict-prone areas. On the perspective of global governance in the 1990s, Asia and Africa are regions of failed countries where violence, conflict, poverty, inequality, and terrorism are nested there. A failed state is a country that is unable to resolve conflicts, violence, and break the chain of poverty in its country. Failed countries are identical with southern countries as countries full of conflict and full of vulnerability. Countries fail to emphasize that it is against the norms of the countries that are considered the norm. State failure creates many challenges in the international system because several humanitarian challenges, poverty, disease, violence and refugee flows are forms of state failure that burden the international system. Countries fail to be identified with the breeding ground for extremist practices and terrorist groups. Ineffective government control has led to the formation of extremist organizations that threaten international security. Meanwhile, successful countries are synonymous with north countries, which are countries that are able to control the population and are able to monopolize violence (Brooks, 2005).

Departing from the concept of a failed and successful state, it does not rule out that the international community demands that the failed state is responsible for the violence and violations that occur within its country. However, many countries have experienced conflicts and violence that has not been resolved for decades and there is no single resolution that can resolve these conflicts. Many people in the world question the existence and role of the United Nations in the conflict. Conflicts in this world are different, there are a number of countries experiencing conflicts due to extremist movements such as Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and there are also conflicts that continue to occur due to annexation and attacks from other countries such as Palestine and Israel which should be resolved by the United Nations. Departing from the principles of the Universal Human Security Commission with 2 principles, namely freedom from fear and freedom from want, which are also the basis of the United Nations in fighting for human security in the world. Human security is the basis for the United Nations to oppose and carry out conflict resolutions against various conflict countries, but is the opinion of the world community the same. Does the world community think that the UN’s way of responding to human security issues in conflicting northern countries and conflicting southern countries is the same?

Let’s look at the various opinions of the international community by comparing the conflicts in Europe and the Middle East. The Ukraine conflict is the most concrete example for the world of how to assess existence in its involvement in saving the world community from violence and conflicts that occur. The Ukraine conflict gave many international public comments about the different treatment of global governance in responding to the issue of human security. One of the quaotes circulating is “is it just because we are not blue eyes we are not a priority of the world”. This shows the disappointment of the international public how global governance fails to meet universal security norms. Along with the conflict and the bombing of various regions in Ukraine, there was also the bombing of Palestina. But the world’s response, the United Nations is busy making a resolution to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The world seems to forget about conflicts in other parts of the world. The United Nations is busy fighting for peace between Ukraine and Russia for humanitarian reasons, many refugees and reasons because Russia has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty. Then what about Palestine from the point of view of the UN’s sovereignty and human security?

Palestinians experienced shootings from Israeli soldiers but did not get a comprehensive response from the United Nations even though this action was a violation of human rights that also needed more initiation and attention by the United Nations. But now the UN is focused on discussing human security and human rights violations in Ukraine. So this action has drawn controversy in the international community. In addition, there is a statement by the President of Israel that condemns human rights violations in Ukraine even though Israel has taken the same action in Palestine. On March 1, 2022 shooting 3 Palestinians in the West Bank (Al Jazeera, 2022).

In the UN headline seen in the UN report which is displayed through the UN’s official yootube, it reads that the main issue currently being discussed is the issue of Ukraine. The United Nations has made enormous efforts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict for humanitarian reasons, many refugees from Ukraine. This is not wrong to do, but the United Nations is too focused on Ukraine causing issues of violence, conflict and human rights violations in other countries to be forgotten in the eyes of the international public. The world’s attention is focused on Ukraine with various considerations. Based on the speech of the UN secretary general Antonio Gutteres on March 14, 2022 that apart from humanitarian factors, the importance of conflict to be resolved is because Ukraine and Russia are countries that contribute 30% of the world’s sunflower oil providers and contribute to food. security in developing countries in Africa and the Middle East. Then what about countries that do not contribute greatly to the world, should they not be prioritized? Instead of what the world’s priorities are but humanity has the same right to finally from the threat of fear as the United Nations voices freedom from fear and freedom from desire.

If you return to the concept of a failed state as a state, it is considered the cause of insecurity to occur. The state is considered unable to guarantee the safety of its people. In quotes, this concept is an old concept. Then what if the concept of human security becomes the responsibility of the international community. How can the United Nations as an institution with global authority be involved and be responsible for ensuring human security and creating international peace? Have the world or global authorities failed to understand and map out human security? So far, the United Nations has seen its commitment very well, but in practice it is still far from being effective.

In addition, not far from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, at the end of 2021, Belarus’s conflict with European Union and American countries also failed to be responded to by the United Nations. In the conflict Belarus used the use of emigrants to attack the European Union. Channeling emigrants from the Middle East and Africa as a political tool to attack security on the borders of Belarus and European Union countries. This is seen in the context of the UN security failing to respond to the exploitation of refugees where refugees are used as political tools. Refugees are exploited with the lure of being given a way to enter the European Union but on the other hand they are also used as political tools. Not a few refugees who died on the border of Belarus and Poland due to extreme weather (Bachmann, 2021).

In the past, it was thought that the main cause of human insecurity was the failure of the state to overcome violence, poverty and various other problems in its country, because the security of a country is still the main responsibility of the state itself. But the shift in values ​​and norms with the existence of international norms and international law that is responsible for human security. The United Nations is one of the international organizations responsible for intervening in countries experiencing conflict to save people. The United Nations must respond fairly on various human security issues fairly. The United Nations has a special agency that regulates human security. The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). The Commission on Human Security highlights that there are 7 types of human security, namely economic security, food security, health security, environmental security, community security and political security (UNTFHS, 2016). This context refers to how Belarus uses refugees as a political tool. Belarusian has committed human rights abuse by exploiting refugees. The United Nations failed to respond to this human rights abuse even though it violated one of the 7 points of type of human security recognized by the UN human security commission.

In the first case, PPB failed to respond fairly regarding human security in the Middle East region and focus on human security and peace in conflict countries in the European region. Second, the UN failed to respond to the use of refugees as a political tool of one country against another. The use of refugees is a form of human rights abuse which is contained in point 7 types of human security that are universally recognized by the United Nations and serve as the main principle that should not be violated.

It can be concluded that the current human security challenge is not only the problem of states failing to reduce violence, conflict, poverty, inequality and reducing or eliminating extremist groups but the the lack response of the United Nations as an international organization that is responsible for protecting human security. Human security is a very difficult problem to solve because it requires collective awareness, justice in mainstreaming human security and equal attention in conflicts anywhere in the world. Therefore, an effective step is to open an understanding of the existence of the United Nations in human security based on responsibility. The United Nations promotes its capacity to deal with world conflicts within a rules-based and equal-concern framework.

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International Law

The Unabashed Irony of the UNSC Reforms

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The war in Ukraine has prompted multiple factors to breach the historical course. Oil prices have flickered near record highs, commodity valuations are through the roof, and global inflation is untenable. A robust western response to the Russian invasion is a rare display of western concord, not seen since the end of World War II. The waning neutrality of Finland and Sweden is the recent chapter in this NATO vs Russia saga. Nevertheless, conflicts as such are nothing new to global diplomacy. A recap of the yesteryears enlists multiple examples of Russian brutality – from Georgia to Chechnya to Ukraine to Syria. However, the dialled-up reaction to the invasion today is somewhat eccentric; divergent from the traditional path of diplomacy and instead focused on the economic (and political) derailment. Tough sanctions were already biting hard, pushing Russia on the verge of an international default – the first in decades. Adding weight to injury, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened earlier to reform the decades-old system of veto of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The consensus vote now dictates a supplementary meeting to defend any vetos cast in the Council. Since its inception, five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, UK, France, Russia, and China – can cast a veto to block any resolution presented in the Council. Now, the General Assembly must meet within ten days of any veto cast in the Security Council to demand an explanation from the veto casting member. In theory, the reform is intended to ask for an explanation from the big five regarding their regular abuse of veto power. However, it hardly curbs the power of the big five when it comes to utter disregard for international law or advancing barbaric allies. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has kickstarted this odd trail towards accountability in the Security Council. Curiously, Russia would not be in the hot seat much longer. The United States, on the other hand, has a long-winded history of power abuse.

While the veto of the Russian envoy has incensed the western bloc, the US has consistently used its veto to guard allies from accountability for their inhuman conduct. In 1977, the US blocked sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. An authoritarian government that programmed actual death squads to detain, torture, and murder the black community. Mr. Joe Biden recently casually tossed the word ‘genocide’ to describe the atrocities of Russia in Ukraine. However, he failed to mention the cruelties inflicted by his own nation. His convoy to the UN delivered an emotional spiel when the Russian envoy vetoed the resolution. “Russia cannot veto accountability,” she said. Well let us unravel the convoluted history of human rights abuse and the misuse of veto power by the United States.

Since 1989, the US has cast three vetos to defend its own illegal invasions. Exactly how destructive were these invasions? According to a Senior US Defence Intelligence Agency, the first 24 days of Russia’s bombing of Ukraine were less catastrophic than the first 24 hours of US bombing in Iraq in 2003. Since 2001, the US (and its allies) have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles – 46 per day – on nine countries. A UN assessment mission reported that the US-led campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was the heaviest bombing anywhere in decades. The report also counted 40,000 verified civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria. I haven’t even discussed Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Panama. I have even skipped past the US proxy wars in Angola and Zimbabwe. The brutality of the United States is the fact that makes this UNSC reform a joke in the guise of hypocrisy.

The United States cast 25 of the last 30 vetos to defend Israel from international condemnation. According to data published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 5,600 Palestinians were murdered between 2008 and 2020, while nearly 115,000 were injured. Last year alone, the 11-day Israel-Palestine war killed 275 Palestinian civilians – including 61 children and 35 women. The war decimated about 94 buildings in Gaza and displaced over 72,000 Palestinians. How did the law-abiding US respond to such human rights abuse? The so-called ethical United States blatantly blocked the UNSC joint statement – three times in a single week. Imposing sanctions on Russia while supplying military aid to Israel, it doesn’t take a genius to grasp the duplicity of the United States at display.

In my opinion, the UNSC reform would not change anything for the better. Sure, this stipulation could guilt-trip Russia into embarrassment. But an explanation of a veto would unlikely deter seasoned diplomats, rendered blasé about the atrocities inflicted by their nation, from justifying their abuse of power. The US, for instance, would only resort to lexical gimmicks in its defense of Israel. “Right to defend itself” has been the general parlance of the US to describe the Israeli genocide in Palestine. I do not doubt that the US (and the rest of the big five) have skilled envoys to weave emotional speeches and complex jargon to justify vetos in the Security Council. It is only a matter of time before this explanatory bid would be nothing but a PR segment to further the agenda of mocking international law. Nonetheless, it is funny how once the tables are turned, the veto seems an inconvenience rather than the traditional hedge against the backlash. I am particularly enjoying how the US is finally feeling the folly of its ways.

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International Law

Russia-Ukraine War, China and World Peace

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image source: war.ukraine.ua photo: Vadim Ghirda

On May 3, when asked about the possible causes of the Ukrainian tragedy, His Holiness Pope Francis speculated about an “anger” probably “facilitated initially by NATO’s barking at Russia’s door. I cannot say whether this anger was provoked, but it was probably facilitated”.

What do the Pope’s words mean? In short, they mean that in international relations – of which the Holy See is Master of the Art – two things count: respect for the other and ignorance. The former is to be always placed as a founding element of peace, the latter is to be eradicated, especially in countries like Italy and in many others, as a factor of war.

Why was the Soviet Union respected and why the same respect and consideration is not owed to Russia? Why with the Soviet Union, after the normalisation of the Prague Spring, did a still divided but wise Europe (today, instead, united only by the banks’ and bankers’ money) and a sharp-witted West, with Russia’s agreement, launch the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe? Why instead did a powerless Europe, a semi-colony of the United States of America – with the UK as the 51st star on its flag – together with the White House, pretend not to see what was happening in Ukraine? Why did they turn a blind eye to this conflict, which has been going on since 2014, and fomented the rise to power of people who, by inciting hatred against Russia, were under the illusion that NATO would come to their aid, turning Europe into a pool of blood for their purposes?

Do some people probably believe that Russia is still that of Yeltsin, ready to open up – in every sense – to the first master coming along? These are the cases in which respect is lacking and ignorance triumphs.

As to an example of ongoing and consistent respect in foreign affairs, it is useful to comment on a recent speech delivered on April 21 by China’s President Xi Jinping, which developed several points.

He pointed out that, for over two years, the international community has made strenuous efforts to meet the challenge of COVID-19 and promote economic recovery and development in the world. He added that the difficulties and challenges show that the international community has a shared future for better or for worse, and that the various countries must strive for peace, development, and win-win cooperation so as to work together and tackle the different problems that gradually emerge on the scene.

With a view to facing the health emergency, China has provided over 2.1 billion vaccine doses to over 120 countries and international organisations and it will continue to make the pledged donations of 600 million doses to African countries and 150 million doses to the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to proactively help bridge the vaccine gap.

With specific reference to the economic recovery, President Xi Jinping pledged to keep on building an economy open to the world, strengthening macroeconomic policy coordination and preserving the stability of industrial and supply chains, as well as promoting balanced, coordinated and inclusive development globally. He said: “People need to be put first and development and social welfare must be prioritised. It is important to promote pragmatic studies in priority areas such as poverty reduction, security, food, development finance and industrialisation, as well as work on solving the issue of unbalanced and insufficient development, and move forward by establishing job creation initiatives.”

With regard to the recent war clashes, President Xi Jinping deems necessary to jointly safeguard world peace and security. I wish to add that the Cold War-style mentality – what is happening in Ukraine, i.e. the West disrespecting Russia, considering it an enemy as in the past, but not as strong as in the days of the CPSU – can only undermine world peace. Hegemonism aimed at conquering Eurasia – as the land that holds the remaining raw materials on the planet – and the policy of the strongest country can only undermine world peace. The clash of blocs can only worsen the security challenges of the 21st century.

Why, while the Warsaw Pact (of which the People’s Republic of China was never a member and never wanted to be a member) was dissolved, did the same not happen with NATO? China has always wanted to promote world peace, never wanting to be part of aggressive and barking alliances.

China pledges to advance the vision of common, integrated, cooperative and sustainable security and to jointly preserve world peace and security. It pledges to respect all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity; to pursue non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and to respect the development path and social system chosen by peoples. It pledges to abide by the aims and principles of the UN Charter; to reject the warmongering mentality (opposing the good countries by default vs. the bad ones conventionally); to oppose unilateralism and to reject the policy of bloc confrontation. China takes all countries’ security concerns and legitimate interests into account. It pursues the principle of indivisible responsibilities and builds a balanced and effective security architecture. It opposes one country seeking its own security by fomenting insecurities in the others. China seeks dialogue and consultation, as well as peaceful solutions to inter-State differences and disputes. It supports all efforts for the peaceful settlement of crises. It refrains from double standards and rejects the arbitrary use of unilateral extraterritorial sanctions and jurisdictions.

It is crucial to adopt a comprehensive approach to maintain security and respond together to regional disputes and planetary challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.

Global governance challenges must be addressed together. The world countries are on an equal footing when it comes to sharing fortunes and misfortunes. It is unacceptable to try to throw anyone overboard. The international community is currently a sophisticated and integrated device. Removing one of its components makes it very difficult for it to function, to the detriment of the party that is deprived by others of its own guarantees that call into question the very existence of a State – such as trying to deploy nuclear warheads a few kilometres from a capital city.

Only the principles of broad consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits can promote the common values of humanity, foster exchanges and inspire reciprocity between different civilisations. No one should believe to be better than another by divine grace or manifest destiny.

True and genuine multilateralism must be pursued and the international system centred on the United Nations and the world order based on international law must firmly be preserved. Great countries, in particular, must set an example in terms of respect for equality, cooperation, credibility and the rule of law to be worthy of their greatness.

In ten years of President Xi Jinping’s leadership, Asia has maintained overall stability and achieved fast and sustained growth, thus creating the “Asian miracle”. If Asia does well, the whole world will benefit. Asia has continued to strive to develop, build and maintain its strength, i.e. the basic wisdom that makes the continent a stabilising anchor of peace, an engine of growth and a pioneer of international cooperation.

These achievements come from as far back as the aforementioned Chinese refusal to join aggressive military blocs. They are based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence drafted by Prime Minister Zhou Enlai on December 31, 1953, published on April 29, 1954, and reaffirmed at the Bandung Conference on April 18-24, 1955: (i) mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; (ii) mutual non-aggression; (iii) mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; (iv) equality and cooperation for mutual benefit; (v) peaceful coexistence.  

They are based on the Eight Principles for Foreign Aid and Economic and Technical Assistance proposed by the aforementioned Zhou Enlai before the Somali Parliament on February 3, 1964, which became the emblem of China’s presence in Africa: (i) China always bases itself on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in providing aid to other nations; (ii) China never attaches any conditions or asks for any privileges; (iii) China helps lighten the burden of recipient countries as much as possible; (iv) China aims at helping recipient countries to gradually achieve self-reliance and independent development; (v) China strives to develop aid projects that require less investment but yield quicker results; (vi) China provides the best-quality equipment and materials of its own manufacture; (vii) in providing technical assistance, China shall ensure that the personnel of the recipient country fully master such techniques; (viii) Chinese experts are not allowed to make any special demands or enjoy any special amenities.

Over the last ten years President Xi Jinping has successfully applied the Chinese doctrine in international relations, following and implementing his country’s multi-millennial traditions of diplomacy. ASEAN’s central place and role in the regional architecture has been strengthened in Asia, preserving the order that takes all parties’ aspirations and interests into account. Each country, whether large or small, powerful or weak, inside or outside the region, contributes to the success of Asia’s development, without creating war frictions. Each country follows the path of peace and development, promotes win-win cooperation and builds a large family of Asian progress.

The ASEAN countries are the following: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam (Papua New Guinea and East Timor as observers).

Furthermore, the fundamentals of China’s economy – its strong resilience, huge potential, ample room for manoeuvre and long-term sustainability – remain unchanged. They will provide great dynamism for the stability and recovery of the world economy and wider market opportunities for all countries.

The People’s Republic of China will be fully committed to its new development rationale. It will step up the establishment of a new growth paradigm, and redouble its efforts for high-quality development. China will promote high standards; expand the catalogue for the creation of new computer software; improve investment promotion services and add more cities to the comprehensive pilot programme for opening up the service sector.

China will take concrete steps to develop its pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port will be in line with high-standard international economic and trade rules and will move forward with the institutional opening process.

China will seek to conclude high-level free trade agreements with more countries and regions and will proactively endeavour to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).

China is moving forward with the Silk Road (Belt and Road) cooperation to make it increasingly high-level, sustainable and people-centred. China will firmly follow the path of peaceful development and will always be a builder of world peace, as well as a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order.

Over the last ten years, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, the People’s Republic of China has been following the old Chinese saying: “Keep walking and you will not be discouraged by a thousand miles; make steady efforts and you will not be intimidated by a thousand tasks”.

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International Law

The More Things Change…

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The brutality of ethnic cleansing is complete.  It does not distinguish between mother and son, young and old, child or adult.  It goes about its gruesome business without conscience or moral compensation.  It is the conversion of man into an unthinking beast.  It is Putin, Zelensky, Modi and Xi Jinping … all rolled into one.  It is us.  The seed is there, needing only fertile soil to germinate. 

The EU announces more aid to Ukraine — mostly military aid; the US announces more aid to Ukraine — mostly military aid.  The Ukrainians saying ‘we will never surrender’ continue to fight.  The Russians asking for talks are not backing down.  Ukraine’s real value to the world is as an exporter of grain which helps to stabilize grain prices.  Feeding a war therefore, runs counter to such stability.

On the heels of covid and its inflationary fallout, who wants a rise in food prices?  Not India, not Africa, not the EU and Russians are already feeling the pinch.  Perhaps grain exporters in North America could be an exception.  Yet at what cost?

According to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the Security Council failed to prevent the war or to end it.  How can it when the most influential member and its European allies are busy funding it?

Human strife is displayed on almost every continent.  Stone throwing at ultra-nationalists by Palestinians after Friday prayers is a routine accompanied sometimes by tragedy.  One side provokes, the other side retaliates.  Stones are thrown, fights  breakout.  The authorities respond and more Palestinians are killed — fifteen last Wednesday.  Is this the big story in Israel?  Of course not.

A TV report accused millionaire Naftali Bennet, the current prime minister, of extravagant expenditure from the public purse at his home, which currently serves as his official residence.

Mr. Bennett disclosed that $26,400 of taxpayer money was spent on his home each month including a $7,400 food bill.  His defense avers that his conduct is within the rules and that his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu spent, on average, $84,300 per month during his tenure.

Noting his efforts at parsimony, he pointed out he did not employ a cook as he is entitled to.  Instead, the family sent out to restaurants, presumably the best ones, to have food delivered.  Sensitive to the criticism, he states he will henceforth pay for all the food from his own picket.

Sara Netanyahu, his predecessor’s wife, had to admit misusing public funds during a similar scandal and was obliged to pay a $15,000 fine.  The prime minister is paid $16,500 per month — average monthly salary in Israel is $3,500.

Plus ça change …

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