Friday, July 15, 2011
Radio Australia reports that Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, has said that talks have stagnated on restoring democracy in Fiji. As you might remember, Fiji was suspended from the commonwealth in 2009 following a military coup in that country. The military ruler, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has refused all pressures to hold elections and restore the government to civilian power. Mr. Sharma noted that instead of moving toward democracy, "the abrogation of the constitution, the emergency order, and the decision making format which now avails by decree - all this has actually put the clock back." Mr Sharma was in the Pacific region this week to discuss ways the Commonwealth can strengthen its partnership with the nations of Samoa and Tonga.
Hat tip to the East-West Center and Radio Australia. We extend our continued concern for the lawyers and people of Fiji.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The General Assembly today admitted the Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd member of the United Nations, welcoming the newly independent country to the community of nations.
South Sudan’s independence from the rest of Sudan is the result of the January 2011 referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South.
“At this moment… in this place… the world gathers to say in one voice: Welcome, South Sudan. Welcome to the community of nations,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after the Assembly adopted a resolution, by acclamation, to admit Africa’s newest country.
Mr. Ban, who was among the UN dignitaries who attended the independence ceremony in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, last Saturday, pledged the world body’s assistance as the country shapes its future. “The commitment of all Member States will be essential as South Sudan moves forward,” he stated.
“Together, let us say to the citizens of our newest Member State: You now sit with us. We stand with you.”
Assembly President Joseph Deiss said today marks a “historic” moment for Africa and for the world community.
“Today we are firmly entrenching South Sudan in the community of nations in the same way as other Member States with the same rights and responsibilities. The universality of the United Nations and the values that are enshrined in its Charter are thereby enhanced,” he stated.
“I am confident that South Sudan will contribute to promote the objectives of security, peace, prosperity, friendship and cooperation between peoples as they are promoted by the United Nations, and this for the good of the people of South Sudan, for the good of the region and for the entire African continent.”
Speaking on behalf of South Sudan, Vice President Riek Machar said he was “honoured and humbled” to stand before Member States to convey the gratitude of his Government and people to the Assembly for admitting the new nation to membership in the UN.
He paid tribute to all those who participated in the long struggle for South Sudan’s liberation. “That struggle cost our people millions of lives and untold suffering. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten.”
Mr. Machar also pledged that his country will work to foster peace in its region, while building a strong and viable nation at home.
“When we started our journey we could hardly imagine that the road would lead us to this point, however much we may have hoped for it. Now, we must move forward together to fulfil our people’s aspirations.”
As South Sudan’s flag was hoisted at UN Headquarters, Mr. Ban pledged that the world body will work with the country to realize all the hopes and dreams the flag represents. “Like your flag, let us rise. Let us rise, together, to the challenge.”
The latest country to join the world body had until now been Montenegro, which became the 192nd UN Member State on 28 June 2006, just weeks after it gained its independence from Serbia.
(UN Press Release)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today welcomed Senegal’s decision not to repatriate former dictator Hissène Habré to Chad, but said that he should not be left to live with impunity in Senegal.
Navi Pillay had called for a stop to his repatriation to Chad over the weekend because she was not satisfied that the conditions for security and fair trial were guaranteed and because there appeared to be a real risk that he would be tortured if he were to be returned, Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told a news briefing in Geneva.
“Nevertheless, the High Commissioner stresses that this should not simply mean a return to the status quo, with Habré continuing to live with impunity in Senegal, as he has done for the past 20 years,” Mr. Colville said. “It is important that rapid and concrete progress is made by Senegal to prosecute or extradite Habré to a country willing to conduct a fair trial.”
“This has been the High Commissioner’s position all along. It is also the position of the African Union (AU), as well of much of the rest of the international community. It is a violation of international law to shelter a person who has committed torture or other crimes against humanity, without prosecuting or extraditing him,” he said.
Mr. Habré ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was overthrown and went into exile in Senegal. It is alleged that during his rule thousands of Chadians were tortured and unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations took place.
Mr. Colville pointed out that at the recently concluded summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the AU called on Senegal to prosecute or extradite Habré to any other country willing to try him. So far the only country that has indicated a willingness to put him on trial is Belgium, he added.
(UN Press Release)
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) posted an advertisement for an executive director position. Click here to learn more at http://www.ilsa.org/about/opportunities/EDsearch.php. ILSA is the group that organizes the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition along with many other activities relating to international law.
Monday, July 11, 2011
The Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair being held this year in Los Angeles (from September 8-10) includes this year a Junior Scholar's Forum. For those of you writing on issues relating to sexual orientation (including gender identity) from an international or comparative law perspective, this forum gives you an opportunity to present your work to an audience working in the field. To submit a proposal for consideration, please send it to <<scholars [at] lgbtbar.org>> with a copy to Professor Elizabeth Glazer at Hofstra University <<elizabeth.glazer [at] hofstra.edu>>. In both of those emails, replace the [at] with a @. The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2011.