International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Who is Smuggling Civilians out of Mosul?

mosulSomeone is smuggling civilians out of Mosul – is it ISIS? Many believe members, or at the very least those with ties to the group, are profiting from a new business model which involves getting thousands of refugees out of the country undetected in exchange for their own personal cash fund. Suspicions of such have significantly increased since the discovery of mined territory put in place by members of the Islamic State. Those who have already reached safety say the men who smuggled them knew exactly where to go. They explained that payment of at minimum $200 per person was required before the smuggler would take them anywhere. Normally the United Nations would not allow something like this to continue, however, in many cases, this is the only way out.

Early Warning in Burma

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The “G-word” has recently come up in regards to the escalation of mass violence currently taking place in Burma. The perpetrators, ethnic Buddhist Rahkine, began attacking Burma’s Muslim minority, the Rohingya, in early October in response to militant attacks on police outposts. It does not appear that the group is acting under the authority of Aung San Suu Kyi, but it’s obvious the Burmese government is most definitely not doing anything to stop it. Several indicators of genocide developed by past scholars have been evidenced in the war-torn Rahkine State, some of which include “the systematic dehumanization of the target group”, “their isolation inside camps and barricaded ghettos”, and “violent 2016-12-02-2attacks on them involving the participation of security forces”. Oddly familiar, don’t you think? The Wall Street Journal has, in a recent article, pointed out the
unnerving similarities between the aspects of this event and the hallmarks of tragedies like those in Bosnia, Darfur, Kosovo, and Rwanda.

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Old Habits Die Hard

PAKISTAN-DEFENCE-MILITARYAs the people’s leader and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif passed the torch to his successor this week, Foreign Policy debates, not if, but when history will again repeat itself in Pakistan. In other words, when is the next military coup going to happen? It is tradition in this country that military chiefs overthrow incompetent civilian leaders in an effort to eliminate government corruption and gain the people’s support. In Pakistan, the army chief is often viewed as the most powerful person in the country, not the President. But in each of these past cases, as time passed, military leaders began to see discontent form in the eyes of their people. It is a legitimate question for every new military chief who comes to power: to coup, or not to coup?

Protesting in Ethiopia

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In the midst of the biggest case of civil unrest to hit the country in twenty-five years, the Ethiopian government has struggled to deal with the growing number of protesters lining the streets. These protests began nearly a year ago last November in Oromia, and more recently in the Amhara region, which are the homelands of the country’s two most predominant ethnic groups. Tensions originally came to fruition in response to the government’s approach to development, but later continued with a resonating focus on longstanding abuses and discrimination of  historic proportions. The Human Rights Watch reported that protesters have been working “to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability.” – and they are looking for the world to listen.

Most recently, the government declared a six-month state of emergency in a effort to maintain security in the affected areas. Under these circumstances, it has been stated that individuals may be detained without a warrant for their arrest. If that’s not a human rights abuse, I don’t know what is.

A New Threat in Nigeria

Nigeria is currently suffering, what is believed to be, the world’s largest humanitarian disaster. It is “a famine unlike any we have ever seen.” Over three million people have been internally displaced, two million of which are still inaccessible to government agencies wishing to provide aid. However, even those individuals living in areas of the region that have been allegedly “liberated” from the insurgents are not receiving the amount of aid required for their own survival, let alone their children. But the suffering has been compounded by institutional failures i.e. the UN’s fatal underestimation of the scale of this disaster. And now that the world has realized the country’s own state authorities are not equipped to handle it alone, it has been nearly impossible to catch up.

The War in Sudan is Alive and Well

Just recently, Amnesty International released their annual report, shining a light on the continued violence in Darfur. Of late, the Sudan government has been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians. Despite definitive evidence, Sudanese UN Ambassador Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed asserts the claims are “utterly unfounded”. Sudan joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1999, agreeing to never use toxic arms, and yet, 250 people have succumbed to symptoms including respiratory distress, hematemesis, and blistering skin lesions caused by the clear presence of “poisonous smoke”. Expert accounts have revealed the likely culprit to be some form of mustard gas, most commonly known for its use during the first World War. Though there have been survivors of such brutality, no one was left unscathed.

The White House tolerates an atrocity in Syria

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Tuesday evening, The Washington Post reported that the United States acted illogically in response to the attack on UN humanitarian aid trucks in Syria the day prior. Although the Red Cross and UN officials suggested a war crime had been committed, Secretary of State John Kerry refused to give up on the US’s tentative relationship with Russia ― one of the parties suspected to be responsible for the horrific bombing. The State Department recorded Kerry declaring that the previously discussed cease-fire agreement, clearly violated by this vicious act, was “not dead” and that talks with Russia should continue. There is abundant evidence that the aid convoy, distinctly marked “humanitarian”, had not deployed before those parties involved in the conflict had been notified of its incoming presence. Russian and Syrian officials deny any and all responsibility for Monday’s attack, but contrary to their unconvincing testimony, there is little doubt about their involvement at this point. How alarming is it that our government is willing to show an overwhelming level of tolerance for such abhorrent atrocities for the sake of protecting a proposed alliance with Russia, the alleged perpetrator of this attack?