Saturday, October 3, 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty: Next Steps

EU flag With the approval of over 67% of Irish voters in a nationwide referendum, the EU Treaty of Lisbon passed a major hurdle on Friday.  This vote marks a dramatic swing from last summer’s referendum, in which 53% of participants voted against the Treaty.

Twenty-four of the 27 Member States have already deposited instruments of ratification.  Only Ireland, the Czech Republic, and Poland have not yet ratified the treaty.  In all three states, substantial progress towards ratification has been made, but several steps remain.

Czech Republic

Parliament approved the Treaty in May, and the only remaining step is Presidential assent.  President Vaclav Klaus, who opposes the Treaty, has yet to sign it.  Several weeks ago, opponents of the treaty filed suit in the Czech Constitutional Court, seeking to block the President’s signature.  President Klaus has vowed to wait until the Constitutional Court has issued its judgment before determining whether to sign it.  The Court has not yet set a date for its judgment; observers note that it could be a matter of weeks or a matter of months.  The Court is expected to set a timetable for the case later this month.  When informed of the outcome of the Irish referendum, President Klaus reiterated his position.

Prime Minister Jan Fischer, who supports the Treaty, has said that he is convinced the Czech Republic will ratify before the end of the year.  Fischer is scheduled to meet with Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt on Wednesday to discuss prospects for ratification in his country.  Sweden holds the rotating Presidency of the EU Council.

Ireland

Friday's referendum marks the final major hurdle to Irish ratification.  Ratification will be complete with the signature of President Mary McAleese. 

Poland

Parliament approved the Treaty in April 2008. Although President Lech Kaczynski has not made any public reply to the Irish vote, a Presidential spokesman reported on Saturday that he expected the President to sign the Treaty by the middle of next week.   The President had withheld his signature in the wake of the Irish “no” vote last summer, but had promised to promptly sign the Treaty if the Treaty carried the day in Friday’s referendum.

Complicating Matters

In the United Kingdom, parliamentary elections are scheduled for the spring.  Although the UK has ratified the Treaty (with Labour backing), opposition Tory leader David Cameron has vowed that, if he prevails in that election and if the Treaty has not yet entered into force, he will schedule a nationwide referendum, reviewing the UK’s ratification of the Treaty.  Since the Treaty requires ratification by all 27 Member States in order to enter into force, a negative vote in the UK would be a tremendous blow to the Lisbon movement.

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October 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

29 Countries Sign Optional Protocol to ICESCR

The new Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 2008, A/RES/63/117) was signed this past week in New York by the following countries:

  1. Argentina
  2. Armenia
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Belgium
  5. Chile
  6. Congo
  7. Ecuador
  8. El Salvador
  9. Finland
  10. Gabon
  11. Ghana
  12. Guatemala
  13. Guinea-Bissau
  14. Italy
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Madagascar
  17. Mali
  18. Montenegro
  19. Netherlands
  20. Portugal
  21. Senegal
  22. Slovakia
  23. Slovenia
  24. Solomon Islands
  25. Spain
  26. Timor-Leste
  27. Togo
  28. Ukraine
  29. Uruguay

The Optional Protocol is open for signature to countries that have adopted the ICESCR

(mew)

October 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

19 Countries Sign the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods (the "Rotterdam Rules")

A signing ceremony for a new treaty on the movement of commercial cargo by sea was held this past week in Rotterdam (Netherlands).  The U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (also known as the “Rotterdam Rules”) was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 2008 (A/RES/63/122).  The treaty creates uniform rules for the transportation of containers that include an international sea leg, but the coverage of the treaty is not limited to port-to-port shipping of goods.

The new treaty updates and replaces three obsolete treaties.  Its provisions covering electronic transport records, container shipping, and regulations for combined sea and land transport.

The following 19 countries have signed the Rotterdam Rules in the past week:

  1. Armenia
  2. Cameroon
  3. Congo
  4. Denmark
  5. France
  6. Gabon
  7. Ghana
  8. Greece
  9. Guinea
  10. Madagascar
  11. Netherlands
  12. Nigeria
  13. Norway
  14. Poland
  15. Senegal
  16. Spain
  17. Switzerland
  18. Togo
  19. United States of America

The treaty will enter into effect one year after 20 countries have ratified the treaty.  Click here to read more about the treaty (and to see photos from the signing ceremony).

(mew)

October 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.N. Human Rights Council Defers Action on Goldstone Report

Adapted from press release from the United Nations . . .

The Human Rights Council decided to defer action on a draft resolution concerning the report of the recent United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict at the start of this year.

The Council had been expected to vote on the resolution but will now consider the text at its next session, scheduled to take place in March 2010 in Geneva.

Zamir Akram, a representative of Pakistan, told the 47-member Council that the co-sponsors of the resolution – the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab group, the African group and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – had requested that discussion of the resolution be deferred until the next session to allow more time for members to consider the contents of the fact-finding probe.

That investigation, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, found evidence that both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed serious war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law, which may amount to crimes against humanity, during the conflict in December 2008 and January 2009.

Presenting his report to the Council at the start of this week, Justice Goldstone called for an end to impunity for those found to have committed human rights violations.

“It is accountability above all that is called for in the aftermath of the regrettable violence that has caused so much misery for so many,” he said.

Justice Goldstone urged the Council to implement a number of measures, including a referral of the mission’s report to the Security Council, since neither the Government of Israel nor the responsible Palestinian authorities have so far carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations.

Apart from Justice Goldstone, a former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the other members of the fact-finding team are: Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London; Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; and retired Colonel Desmond Travers, member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI).

The Council wrapped up its current session by adopting another six resolutions and one decisions on issues ranging from the situation in Myanmar and the adverse effects of the dumping of toxic wastes.

During this session the Council also appointed Pakistan’s Farida Shaheed as Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights and Tanzania’s Mohamed Chande Othman as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. The mandates of the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia and the Independent Expert on Somalia were extended by one year.

October 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Olympics Go to Latin America

Chicago (my home town) put in a very strong bid for the 2016 Olympics, sending our "A Team" of President and Mrs. Barack Obama, television host Oprah Winfrey, Mayor Richard Daley, Senator Dick Durbin and other leaders.  Sending heads of state and heads of government became this year the new norm for lobbying the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee knocked Chicago out on the first round of voting -- a result that is not surprising when you know that the winner is Rio de Janero (the first time that the Olympics will be held in South America). 

We ARE happy for our friends in Brazil and Latin America for this long overdue recognition, and we know that the Olympics there will be great. 

There is disappointment in Chicago about losing the Olympic bid.  But being from Chicago makes you immune to disappointments in sporting events -- we have the Chicago Cubs.

So let's say it here first:  Let's have the 20/20 Vision for Chicago in 2020!

(mew)  

October 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

International Law at the United Nations

United Nations

The U.N. General Assembly Sixth Committee will meet on Monday, October 5, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. (in the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the U.N. Headquarters in New York).

The provisional program of work for the 64th session, other relevant information, and international law documents are available on the Web site of the Sixth Committee, which is regularly updated.  The website includes links to documentatioon on each of the following agenda items:.

Criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission (Agenda item 78)

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Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its 42nd session (Agenda item 79)

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United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (Agenda item 80)

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Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its 61st session (Agenda item 81)

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Report of the Special Committee on the U.N. Charter and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (Agenda item 82 )

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The rule of law at the national and international levels (Agenda item 83)

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The scope and application of universal jurisdiction (Agenda item 84)

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 Measures to eliminate international terrorism (Agenda Item 106)

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Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (Agenda item 118)

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Administration of justice at the United Nations (Agenda item 142 )

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Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (Agenda item 164 )

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Observer status for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission in the General Assembly (Agenda item 165 )

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Observer status for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the General Assembly (Agenda item 166)

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Observer status for the International Olympic Committee in the General Assembly (Agenda item 167 )

Observer status for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region of Africa in the General Assembly (Agenda item 168)

(mew)

October 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.N. Security Council

Vietnam

The presidency of the U.N. Security Council for the month of October 2009 is held by Vietnam.

(mew)

October 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

US Supreme Court to Hear International Cases

US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court granted review in two cases involving international issues yesterday:

In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, Docket No. 08-1498, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) that makes it a crime to provide "training," "service," or "other specialized knowledge," including expert advice and assistance" "derived from scientific or technical knowledge" and "personnel" to designated terrorist organizations is unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.  This consolidated lawsuit was filed on behalf of persons who had supported and wanted to continue to support the nonviolent political and humanitarian activities of two groups that the U.S. Secretary of State has designated as terrorist: the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the main Kurdish political party in Turkey, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an advocate for self-determination of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Ninth Circuit found in favor of plaintiffs, striking down this provision of AEDPA as unconstitutionally vague.

In Samantar v. Housuf, Docket No. 08-1555, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide (1) whether a foreign state's immunity from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) extends to an individual acting in his official capacity on behalf of a foreign state, and (2) whether an individual who is no longer an official of a foreign state at the time the suit is filed retains immunity for acts taken in the individual's former capacity as an official acting on behalf of a foreign state.  This case involves a lawsuit under the Torture Victims Protection Act (TPVA) against a former prime minister of Somalia who is accused of overseeing killings and other atrocities.  Mohamed Ali Samantar of Fairfax, Va., was defense minister and prime minister of Somalia in the 1980s and early 1990s under dictator Siad Barre. The lawsuit alleges that Samantar was responsible for killings, rapes and torture, including waterboarding, of his own people while in power, particularly against disfavored clans. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that individual officials of foreign governments do not fall within FSIA's definition of shielded "agency or instrumentality of a foreign government," 28 U.S.C. § 1603(b), and thus do not enjoy immunity from suit in this country; and that even if FSIA applies to individual defendants, it does not apply to former foreign government agents, whose immunity is determined, under Dole Food Co. v. Patrickson, 538 U.S. 480 (2003), as of time suit is filed.  Thus, the lower court determined that plaintiffs lawsuit against Samantar under TPVA could proceed.

(cgb)

October 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy International Day of Older Persons

Today is the 10th International Day of Older Persons.  We've just received this press release from the United Nations to mark the event.

(mew)

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today led a call for governments to build inclusive societies that emphasize participation, self-fulfilment, independence, care and dignity for people of all ages, especially the elderly.

In a message marking the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, observed annually on 1 October, Mr. Ban noted that the motto “towards a society for all ages” was adopted in 1999 and reaffirmed at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002.

“We have campaigned for policies that will enable older persons to live in an environment that enhances their capabilities, fosters their independence, and provides them with adequate support and care as they age,” said Mr. Ban.

He stressed that this emphasis takes on even greater importance as the world struggles to confront global food, energy, climate, financial and economic crises.

“We must put an end to age discrimination, abuse, neglect and violence against older persons,” said Mr. Ban. “I urge states to put the necessary legal protections in place, and I urge all partners to help countries develop the capacity and institutions to achieve this objective.”

October 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

UK Supreme Court Logo

United Kingdom

We reported previously that the House of Lords had issued its last decision as the highest judicial body for the United Kingdom.  Click here to read that post.

The new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom opens for business today with the swearing in of its justices.  Click here to visit the website of the new court.  The website contains information about visiting the court, its history, and court procedures.

The first President of the Supreme Court is Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who was previously the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Senior Law Lord. 

The Deputy President is Lord Hope of Craighead, who will be one of two Scottish Justices on the new Supreme Court.

The other Justices are Lord Saville of Newdigate, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Lord Mance, Lord Collins of Mapesbury, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, and Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony.

(mew)



September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga; Earthquakes in Indonesia

We extend our sympathy to Samoa, American Samoa, and the Kingdom of Tonga where a tsunami yesterday may have claimed 100 or more lives.  The tsunami followed a massive underwater earthquake.

We also extend our sympathy to the nation of Indonesia, where thousands of people may have died after two earthquakes.

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ireland and the EU Lisbon Treaty

As readers may remember from previous posts, Ireland is the only country to have rejected the Treaty of Lisbon by referendum in June 2008. A new vote will take place this Friday. One important point raised during this last referendum campaign is whether the so-called Irish “legal guarantees” are legally binding. For my own thoughts on that topic, see http://www.ejiltalk.org/the-european-unions-lisbon-treaty-some-thoughts-on-the-irish-legal-guarantees/ 

And on the question of whether the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights represents a positive development in EU law, see the short piece I co-wrote with Prof. Schabas: http://humanrightsdoctorate.blogspot.com/2009/09/lisbon-treaty-will-be-good-for-human.html.

More on the results of the Irish referendum next week.

LP

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Audiovisual Library at the United Nations Available Now

United_nations_2In August, we reported on this blog that the United Nations was preparing to launch the Audiovisual Library of International Law.  Mr. Arnold Pronto of the United Nations gave a presentation at the ASIL Teaching International Law Workshop last week demonstrating this exciting new resource.   The electronic library provides free access to archival films and videos dealing with important historical events relating to international law, a series of short video lectures by eminent internatoinal law scholars, photos, and print materials.  These materials are on line and available NOW and may be accessed here.  I am sure professors and students of international law from around the world will find this resource to be invaluable.

(cgb)

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call For Papers: Athens Institute for Education & Research

The Law Research Unit of the Athens Institute for Education and Research has issued a Call for Papers for its Seventh Annual International Conference on Law, to be held July 19-22, 2010, in Athens, Greece. Papers must be in English, and may cover any aspect of law.

 

This year's conference will feature a night of Greek entertainment, a one-day cruise in the Greek isles, and a half-day tour to an archaeological site in Attica.

 

For more information about the Conference, visit the official website at www.atiner.gr/docs/Law.htm or contact Professor David Frenkel at ATINER.

 

(map)

 

(We could think of worse places to be than Greece in July -- Ed.)

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy 60th Birthday, PRC!

PRC

If you regularly correspond with or do business with anyone in the People's Republic of China, don't expect much progress over the next week or so:  During October 1-8, the entire country will mark the Sixtieth Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic with a nationwide holiday.  The anniversary will be marked with a series of parades, festivals, and other events.

(map)

September 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Will Chicago Get the Olympics?

We'll find out Friday, when the International Olympic Committee announces the host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  If you're in Chicago (like me), you're invited to join more than 10,000 friends in Daley Plaza at 9:00 a.m.  You'll get a free t-shirt if you're among the first 10,000 people there.  Visit www.chicago2016.org for more information.

(mew)

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New U.N. Treaty Signatures and Ratifications Reach Four-Year High

The United Nations is reporting a record number of treaty signatures and ratifications.  Read on . . . .

Sixty-four countries took 103 treaty actions at this year’s General Assembly General Debate – the highest participation in four years – in what has become an annual United Nations event to muster support for a whole raft of conventions ranging from protecting human rights to fighting terrorism to fighting climate change.

“2009 was a very good year in terms of progress towards a universal participation to international treaties,” UN Legal Counsel Patricia O’Brien said today. “My hope is that the support to international law will continue to grow during next year’s Treaty Event.”

There were 57 signatures and 43 ratifications, accessions and acceptances, two objections and one withdrawal of a reservation, with this year’s participation representing an increase of 20 States compared to 2008.

The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which opened for signature during this year’s Treaty Event, received the widest support with 29 signatures.

Ms. O’Brien expressed special appreciation for the overwhelming support obtained by this treaty, saying it “will put economic, social and cultural rights on a more equal footing to civil and political rights than was the case before.”

The Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, which opened to signature last Wednesday in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, received 19 signatures. 

Human rights treaties that received additional parties included the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

New members also signed on to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, the Convention against Corruption, the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court, the International Tropical Timber Agreement, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

President of Honduras Addresses U.N. General Assembly . . . By Phone

Honduras

Adapted from a United Nations press release . . .

RECENT COUP OPPRESSES HONDURAN PEOPLE, OUSTED LEADER TELLS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

With a “dictatorship” having taken over Honduras, the recent coup d’état is oppressing the people of the Latin American nation, ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya has told the General Assembly, calling for the assistance of the United Nations in restoring the rule of law. 

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Mr. Zelaya – who is seeking refuge at the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa – spoke by telephone to the Assembly during the address of Foreign Minister Patricia Isabel Rodas Baca to the annual high-level debate. 
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“I call on the United Nations to give assistance to reverse this coup and to ensure that democracy is available to all nations of the world,” he said last night. 
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Mr. Zelaya, who was ousted by the military in June, also appealed to “civilized nations of the world to maintain a firm position against barbarity.” 
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Current authorities have shut down media outlets, a move he characterized as a “serious crime.”  
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Civilized nations, he said, must take a stand against barbarism, he stressed, appealing to the United Nations to reverse the coup and ensure that democracy is spread to all of the world’s nations. 
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“No matter how small we are, we deserve no less than any other society,” Ms. Rodas Baca told heads of State and government gathered at UN Headquarters, paying tribute to Hondurans for their efforts to find a solution to the crisis. 
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On Friday, the Security Council stressed the need to ensure the security of the Brazilian embassy where Mr. Zelaya has been holed up for the past week. 
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The top UN political official warned yesterday that any action taken against the embassy in would be a disaster.  “I must say the situation there took a seriously bad turn with the threats on the Brazilian embassy,” Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe told a news conference, referring to published reports that the de facto government has given the embassy 10 days to decide whether to grant Mr. Zelaya asylum or hand him over. 

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“It’s a very serious problem for all of us. It would be a disaster if any action were taken to violate international law on the inviolability of the embassies. We’re also concerned to see the worsening situation as the de facto government has been turning up the screws internally, closing media outlets and also taking state of emergency measures against the population. 

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Djibouti Asks U.N. Security Council to Help Resolve Its Border Dispute with Eritrea

Djibouti  Adapted from a U.N. Press Release . . .

DJIBOUTI CALLS ON U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL TO ACT TO RESOLVE BORDER DISPUTE WITH ERITREA

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Djibouti has asked the U.N. Security Council to take steps to solve the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, warning that if the dispute remains unresolved it will set a dangerous precedent for other crises around the world.  Roble Olhaye, Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, told the final day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment that the U.N. Security Council needs to use “all means at its disposal” to end the stand-off between the African neighbors.

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In June last year, following weeks of rising tensions and military build-up, the two countries’ armed forces clashed over an un-demarcated area in the Red Sea known as Doumeira, killing 35 people and leaving dozens of others wounded.  This January, the Security Council adopted a resolution demanding that Eritrea pull its forces from the disputed area and cooperate with diplomatic initiatives, and welcoming Djibouti’s withdrawal of its forces to its positions before the dispute.

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A U.N. fact-finding mission sent to the region after the dispute flared was welcomed by Djibouti but blocked by Eritrea, which refused to meet with it or with any envoy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who offered to use his good offices (under Chapter VI of the UN Charter) to help resolve the issue.

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Today, Mr. Olhaye called for the row over Doumeira – which he noted is “situated in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world” – to be resolved along the lines of the Council resolution, “without further equivocation, confusion and deliberate procrastination.”

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Exercising his right of reply, an Eritrean delegate told the U.N. General Assembly that his country “doesn’t have territorial ambitions” and has not occupied land belonging to Djibouti. He also said that Djibouti had presented a one-sided view of the situation.

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What Will Happen if Honduras Attacks the Brazilian Embassy?

Brazil

Honduras

The de facto military government in Honduras has threatened to revoke the embassy status of Brazil'sembassy in Honduras if if does not turn over the duly elected president of Honduras to the military coup government.  Brazil has said it has no intention of doing so.  What would happen if Honduras attacks Brazil's embassy?  Here's a press release issued yesterday from the United Nations.

(mew)

ACTION AGAINST BRAZILIAN EMBASSY IN HONDURAS WOULD BE DISASTER – TOP UN OFFICIAL
New York, Sep 28 2009  4:05PM

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Any action taken against the Brazilian embassy in Honduras where ousted Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya has taken shelter would be a disaster, the top United Nations political official said today.
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“I must say the situation there took a seriously bad turn with the threats on the Brazilian embassy,” Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, referring to published reports that the de facto government has given the embassy 10 days to decide whether to grant Mr. Zelaya asylum or hand him over.
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“It’s a very serious problem for all of us. It would be a disaster if any action were taken to violate international law on the inviolability of the embassies. We’re also concerned to see the worsening situation as the de facto government has been turning up the screws internally, closing media outlets and also taking state of emergency measures against the population.
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“We’re very concerned about all of that and have been trying to work with others to see whether we can move that process forward,” he added, reiterating UN readiness to provide whatever help it can to resolve the crisis and its full support for the efforts of Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez to mediate the crisis.
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On Friday the Security Council stressed the need to ensure the security of the Brazilian Embassy where Mr. Zelaya turned up last week after being ousted by the military in June.
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Giving an overview of the “unprecedented” week-long diplomacy and talks on dozens of world crises on the sidelines of the annual high-level debate of the General Assembly, Mr. Pascoe called it the most intensive effort on peace and security issues that he has seen at the UN in the three years he has been here.
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He cited progress in some areas, noting that talks with representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its nuclear programme had been “more positive, much more fruitful” than in recent weeks.
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“In my view it was an extraordinary week in terms of doing exactly what the UN is supposed to do… pushed front and centre of the discussion the most serious international events of the day and I think the UN really served that function,” he said.
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He noted that Mr. Ban himself held over 75 bilateral meetings with national leaders beyond the multilateral meetings he attended, such as the Security Council session on nuclear disarmament and the Quartet session on Middle East peace.
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“I think one thing that is very interesting to me about this process is this is a time when people come not really so much, some of them perhaps, to be seen but mostly to really coordinate positions, to talk about what’s going on, to talk about where we’re headed in the future,” he said.

September 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)