Friday, August 31, 2012

When a State Makes You Vanish: Disappearances Negate the Very Essence of Humanity

The practice of enforced disappearances in which citizens of a State are deliberately vanished to never be seen again is not only a heinous crime but an act that negates the very essence of humanity, a group of independent United Nations experts said yesterday.  

“Such a practice cannot and should not be tolerated nor justified whether it is used to counter terrorism or fight organized crime or suppress legitimate demands concerning issues such as democracy, freedom of expression or freedom of religion,” stated the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.  “It is an act that negates the very essence of humanity and is contrary to the deepest values of any society,” they added in their joint statement marking the second International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. 

The Working Group was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It seeks to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned to ensure cases are investigated. 

The International Day was proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 2010, in a resolution which expressed its deep concern over the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances in various regions of the world. 

The UN experts pointed out that 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the General Assembly’s adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, but voiced concern that the criminal act of vanishing people continued in some countries while others had not yet come to terms with the role enforced disappearances played in their past.  

“The practice of enforced disappearances is still used in certain countries to repress individuals and intimidate people claiming their rights,” the experts stated. “In other countries, situations of the past have not been dealt with in an appropriate manner. All families of the disappeared, even though those disappearances occurred decades before, should enjoy the right to truth, the right to justice, and the right to reparation.”   In their statement, the experts also renewed their vow to work towards the elimination of enforced disappearances and emphasized their commitment in bringing truth to the families of the missing.  

In addition, they also urged all Member States to commit to the full eradication of the practice and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.  “We have a new Convention to respect and implement. A Convention to bring to life, honouring those who disappeared, and are yet still so present, and we have lives that we can still save,” stated the experts.   

In December 2010, the Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, came into force after Iraq became the 20th State to ratify it. The treaty not only outlaws enforced disappearances, but also recognizes the right of all people affected by the crime to know the truth about the circumstances of this crime, the progress and results of the investigation and the fate of the disappeared person. 

The Working Groups’ five members are Olivier de Frouville from France, who is also the Chair-Rapporteur, Ariel Dulitzky from Argentina, Jasminka Dzumhur from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Osman El-Hajjé from Lebanon, and Jeremy Sarkin from South Africa.  

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

Click here for a pdf of the Internation Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.


August 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Protecting Children in Guatemala

In spite of protection measures by the Guatemalan Government, many children are still victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour, a United Nations independent expert warned yesterday.  “Many children are still victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour in Guatemala despite the laudable efforts carried out to prevent and combat the sale of children for illegal adoption,” said the Special Rapporteur on child trafficking, prostitution and child pornography, Najay Maalla M’jid, at the end of a ten-day visit to the country.

“The phenomenon of sexually exploited girls in prostitution is very worrying, as well as the large number of young mothers that have been sexually abused by relatives and the absence of sexual education that does not inform children of the inherent risks of sexual relations and early pregnancies,” she added in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).  

Ms. Maalla M’jid underlined that it is still difficult to determine the extent of the trafficking and exploitation of children due to the lack of systematic denunciations, as people fear stigmatization and retaliation.  She also noted a lack of access to mechanisms that guarantee rapid protection and security for victims outside the capital, Guatemala City, pointing out that there is a transnational dimension to the issue which translates into using minors for sexual tourism, online pornography and organized crime.  

The Special Rapporteur recognized that there have been numerous legal reforms and measures adopted by various actors at a central and local level.   “However, in spite of these efforts and great mobilization, child protection measures are still fragmented due to the overlapping competencies of multiple institutions and the lack of coordination among sectors, as well as the absence of adequate and permanent resources,” she said.  

Ms. Maalla M’jid also emphasized that slow judicial investigations and the current impunity enjoyed by many perpetrators impede the rapid and efficient protection of victims and witnesses, and called on the Government to adopt a strategy with a global and integrated focus to guarantee the protection of children who have been victims or are at risk of abuse.  “The strengthening of institutions that are tasked to implement, coordinate and evaluate prevention and protection strategies for children should take advantage of the continued technical assistance of the United Nations and the international community,” Ms. Maala M’jid said.  

During her visit to the country, Ms. Maalla M’jid met with Government officials, as well as with representatives from civil society and the private sector. She also talked to young teenagers who have been victims of violence and abuse when she visited child protection centres in the country.  

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Gambia Executes Nine Persons in One Day, Ending its 27-Year Moratorium on the Death Penalty

The United Nations human rights chief today urged Gambian authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, after nine people were executed on Sunday and President Yahya Jammeh announced that all remaining death row inmates would be executed, by firing squad, by mid-September.  “I urge the Gambia to immediately stem this regression in human rights protection, and to impose an official moratorium, effective immediately, on the use of the death penalty,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

“The statement by President Yahya Jammeh that all remaining death sentences would be carried out by mid-September is extremely worrying, and raises serious questions about the motivation behind the sudden rush to execute,” she added. “A further statement by the Ministry of the Interior, which seeks to justify the change of policy, is seriously misguided.” 

Until now, Gambia was at the forefront in the region’s efforts to abolish the death penalty in law and practice, with a moratorium on the death penalty for 27 years and the abolition of capital punishment for drug offences in April 2011.  Prior to the nine executions carried out on 26 August, the last official execution in the West African nation took place in 1985, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).  “The Gambia has, for almost three decades, been one of the increasing number of States that did not practice capital punishment – until this sudden, grave, unfortunate change of course,” Ms. Pillay said, adding that this represented an unfortunate setback for human rights protection in the country.

Ms. Pillay voiced her concern over the fairness of the trials of some of the people sentenced to death, as well as the lack of transparency surrounding the identity of those who were executed.  “The confusion and lack of transparency for several days over whether the executions actually took place, and accompanying uncertainty about the identity of those executed, is unacceptable, particularly for the family members of those killed. Secretly executing individuals without informing their families amounts to inhuman treatment,” Ms. Pillay said.

The High Commissioner also warned that international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Gambia has ratified, requires compliance with rigorous fair trial standards in cases where death sentences are imposed.  “I urgently call on the President and relevant authorities in the Gambia to heed all the international, regional and local calls on the Government not to carry out further executions,” she said, adding that “the moratorium that was in place for the past quarter of a century was something the country could be proud of, and was respected for.”

Ms. Pillay’s call follows that of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, who on Wednesday strongly condemned the recent executions and called on the Government to refrain from executing others on death row.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

After Violence, Refugees Return to Camps in North Darfur

About 80 percent of the residents of a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in North Darfur, Sudan, have returned to the camp, in the aftermath of the recent violence which displaced 25,000 IDPs, the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known by the acronym UNAMID, reported today.  “[UN] humanitarian agencies and non-governmental partner organizations have been able to resume their activities in the camp,” UNAMID stated in a news release, citing information from the agencies.

“Food distribution began, a mobile clinic is operating and an assessment of the needs of the affected population is ongoing to provide the assistance required, including non-food items such as plastic sheets, mats and blankets,” it added. The violence had begun on August 1st, with the shooting of a district commissioner and his driver during a car-jacking by three unidentified armed men. The vehicle was recovered later that same day, in the vicinity of the Kassab IDP camp, located near the town of Kutum, some 120 kilometres from the state capital of El Fasher.  Later that day, armed men surrounded Kassab, looted its market and burnt down the police post located within. Three civilians and one police officer were reported killed, in addition to six people injured.

In the following days, similar events took place – such as fighting between armed elements and Government forces, looting and the displacement of civilians – leading to a deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation at the Kassab and Fataborno IDP camps, as well as around Kutum. The incidents forced more than 25,000 IDPs from the camp to flee and seek refuge in Kutum.  In response, UNAMID has been providing a round-the-clock presence with continuous patrols, monitoring movements in and around the camp and facilitating humanitarian assistance.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers for Symposium on Guantanamo Bay: What Next?

The Southern Illinois University Law Journal is seeking scholarly legal articles from newer legal scholars for possible inclusion in a special Symposium issue on legal issues arising from the continued detention and trial of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The SIU Law Journal is dedicated to producing scholarly publications of the highest quality attainable.

There have been several recent developments pertaining to Guantanamo Bay, ranging from the constitutionality of the process of indefinitely detaining so-called "enemy combatants" to the hurdles faced by the attorneys who have chosen, or been chosen, to represent those detained there.  For
years now, Guantanamo Bay has been a focus of the debate about the proper balance between liberty and security.  Despite its unpopularity among many, it appears that Guantanamo Bay, for the time being, is not going away.  This Symposium issue of the SIU Law Journal will seek to address many of the continuing legal issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay from all viewpoints and provide a platform for legal scholars to present new research and ideas on this important topic.

The SIU Law Journal will choose the best Symposium article from a newer law faculty member (defined as a law faculty member who has been part of the legal academy for seven (7) years or less) on a legal issue pertaining to Guantanamo Bay.  The article should be approximately twenty to twenty-five pages in length.  Three law professors from Southern Illinois University School of Law and the Editor-in-Chief of the SIU Law Journal will select the best article submitted, which will be published in the Symposium issue of the SIU Law Journal.  In addition, the author of the chosen article will be
invited to attend the Guantanamo Bay Symposium at SIU School of Law on February 22, 2013, all travel expenses paid, to give a presentation on the topic of his or her article.  Although only one scholar will be invited to participate in the symposium through this call for papers, the SIU Law
will consider the other articles submitted for publication in the Symposium issue.

The full manuscript, in Word format, should be e-mailed to the Editor-in-Chief by November 19, 2012.  Please feel free to contact the Editor-in-Chief, Brian Lee, if you have any questions or concerns.  The contact information for the SIU Law Journal may be found here.


August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iraq Executes 21 Persons in a Single Day

An independent United Nations human rights expert today strongly condemned last Monday’s execution of 21 people within one day in Iraq, including three women, which was followed two days later by the reported execution of five more people.  “I am appalled about the level of executions in Iraq. I deeply deplore the executions carried out this week, and am particularly alarmed about continuing reports of individuals who remain at risk of execution,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns.  

“I urge the Government of Iraq to halt immediately the executions,” added Mr. Heyns, who noted that the number of people executed in the country since the start of this year is now at least 96. The expert has previously expressed to the Iraqi Government his concerns about the imposition of the death penalty, and called for a halt to executions and a review of all death row cases.   He had also informed it of the need for transparency, stringent respect of due process and fair trial guarantees, and the application of the death penalty only for the most serious crimes – namely intentional killing.  
“The death penalty may only be imposed, in countries that still have this form of punishment, if a strict set of substantive and procedural requirements are met,” Mr. Heyns underscored.  He noted that the continued lack of transparency about the implementation of the death penalty in Iraq, and the country’s recent record, raises serious concerns about the question of what to expect in the future.  “The arbitrary killing of people, also when it is committed behind a smokescreen of flawed legal processes, is not solely a matter of domestic concern,” he said. “Iraq should take note that the international community will take strong exception to a continuation of its flagrant disregard of the norms applicable to the protection of the right to life.”  
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. 

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Report Finds Transfer of Power in Maldives Was Lawful (and that the President was not forced at gunpoint to step down)

MaldivesUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the release of the report today by the Maldives’ Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) that has looked into the facts, circumstances and causes of the 7 February transfer of power in the island nation, according to a UN spokesperson.  “The Secretary-General urges all parties to accept the findings of the Commission and now begin the process of national dialogue aimed at resolving the political problems facing the country,” the spokesperson added in a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. 

“To that end, he welcomes the start today of high-level political dialogue, and hopes that this leads to national reconciliation and a way of moving forward,” the spokesperson added. “He is concerned at the prospect of renewed political tensions should any side not accept the outcome of the inquiry. He calls on all parties to exercise maximum cooperation and restraint.”

In February, the Maldives’ then-President, Mohamed Nasheed, resigned after days of protests and tensions between the Government and military and police. He was succeeded by his former deputy, Mohammed Waheed Hassan.  In the wake of those events, the Government set up the CoNI, with both the UN and the Commonwealth of Nations providing legal advice to the Commission. “The CoNI was reconstituted in June with international assistance and has since been recognized by all parties as a credible inquiry mechanism,” the spokesperson said.  

According to media reports, the CoNI’s report has concluded that former President Nasheed’s resignation was legal, and that he was not forced to step down at gunpoint as had been claimed.  Reportedly, Mr. Nasheed has rejected the report, and his supporters have resumed street protests in the Indian Ocean nation.

In his news briefing, the UN spokesperson noted that Mr. Ban calls on the parties to respect the Constitution, create a peaceful and transparent environment conducive to dialogue and take steps to strengthen democratic reform and institutions. “The Secretary-General reaffirms the readiness of the United Nations to extend the necessary support and assistance requested by the parties,” the spokesperson added.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Israeli Court Dismisses Civil Suit Brought by Family of Activist

The decision by an Israeli judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought forward by the family of a deceased young American peace activist is shocking and sad, an independent United Nations human rights expert said today, condemning the ruling as a victory for Israeli impunity.    

“This is a sad outcome, above all for the Corrie family that had initiated the case back in 2005, but also for the rule of law and the hope that an Israeli court would place limits on the violence of the state, particularly in relation to innocents and unarmed civilians in an occupied territory,” the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, said in a statement issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).   

Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist, was killed in March 2003 while protesting against the demolition of Palestinian homes in Rafah, a city located in southern Gaza.  The details of her death are disputed, with the Corrie family accusing the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) of deliberately crushing her with a bulldozer during the demolition process. For its part, the IDF maintains that the bulldozer operator failed to see Ms. Corrie due to his restricted vision from inside the vehicles’ cockpit and that her death was entirely accidental.   

According to Mr. Falk’s statement, despite evidence and eyewitness testimony indicating that Rachel Corrie was in the direct line of vision of the bulldozer driver and was also wearing a bright fluorescent orange vest increasing her visibility, Judge Oded Gershon ruled that Ms. Corrie’s death was “a regrettable accident” in a territory considered by the State of Israel to be “a war zone.”   

“The judge’s decision represents a defeat for justice and accountability, and a victory for impunity for the Israeli military,” noted Mr. Falk, who added: “Such a shocking rationale flies directly in the face of the Geneva Conventions, which impose on an occupying power an unconditional obligation to protect the civilian population.”  Mr. Falk also drew parallels between Rachel Corrie’s death and other recent incidents in which the use of Israeli force against civilian populations has caused casualties, most notably the 2008-2009 Gaza War, in which over 1,400 people were killed, and the more recent 2010 Israeli commando assault on Turkish ships filled with activists bringing humanitarian supplies to the blockaded people of Gaza.  “Israeli governmental institutions have consistently embraced impunity and non-accountability in responding to well-documented violations of international humanitarian law and in many cases Israel’s own criminal law,” he said, adding that the Corrie family had been at “the partisan mercies” of the Israeli judicial system whose legal decisions were “a mockery of justice.”  

The Corrie family have announced their intention to appeal Judge Gershon’s verdict in the Israeli Supreme Court, Mr. Falk added.  

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs like Mr. Falk, are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. They work in an independent and unpaid capacity.   

(UN Press Release)

August 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Books We Really Like: A New Commentary on the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties

VCLTA year ago we told you about a book by two professors from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Olivier Corten and Pierre Klein, who have published a two-volume set of commentary on the 1969 and the 1986 Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties, two of the most important instruments in the international legal order. We're still enthusiastic about the book.

This commentary set (available from Oxford University Press) provides an article-by-article analysis of the VCLT and will be very helpful to scholars, advocates, and jurists who must analyze specific provisions of the Convention.  This must be the definitive reference work for these two conventions. 

More than 100 distinguished authors from twenty different countries contributed different chapters of the book, which compares the 1969 and 1986 conventions article by article.  I'm not going to list all of the contributing authors here, but they include:  

  • Mohammed Bedjaoui (former Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs)
  • Peter Kovacs (Judge of the Hungarian Constitutional Court)
  • Gerard Niyungeko (Judge at the African Court on Human and People's Rights)
  • Philippe Sands (Professor of Law, Univesity College, London)
  • William Schabas (Professor, National University of Ireland) 
  • Bruno Simma (Judge of the International Court of Justice)

This is a serious reference book (more than two thousand pages long!) that includes extensive bibliographies for each article, scholarly commentary, and valuable case citations.  Click here for more information about the book. 

Congratulations again to Professors Corten and Klein and to each of the contributing authors.


August 28, 2012 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Executions in The Gambia

An independent United Nations human rights expert today strongly condemned the recent execution of nine people in the Gambia, and called on the Government to refrain from executing an additional 39 people reported to be on death row.  “This stream of executions is a major step backwards for the country, and for the protection of the right to life in the world as a whole,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns.

The expert recalled that the country was at the forefront in the region’s efforts to abolish the death penalty in law and practice, with a moratorium on the death penalty for 27 years and the abolition of capital punishment for drug offences in April 2011.

The prisoners were shot dead by firing squad on Sunday, according to media reports that cited the country’s interior ministry. President Yahya Jammeh had reportedly vowed to kill all death-row inmates by mid-September.  Prior to the nine executions carried out on 26 August, the last official execution in the West African nation took place in 1985, according to a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). 

Mr. Heyns also voiced concern that death sentences were imposed in violation of major international standards, including the most serious crimes provisions.  “According to available evidence the trials did not meet due process safeguards,” he underscored. “The executions were carried out in secrecy, away from the public and from the families, and do not meet the requirements of transparency.”
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Consulting Indigenous Peoples on a Land Sale in South Dakota

James Anaya is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (USA), where he teaches and writes in the areas of international human rights, constitutional law, and issues concerning indigenous peoples. He is also a United Nations independent expert has called on the United States Government and authorities in the state of South Dakota to start consultations with indigenous people on a land sale that will affect a site of spiritual significance to them.   

Five tracts of land in the Black Hills area in South Dakota lie within a site sacred to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples, Professor Anaya said in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).   According to Professor Anaya, the indigenous communities are concerned that the sale of the land will result in restrictions to their access and the use of the land for ceremonial purposes. They are also concerned that it may lead to a road development project that would diminish the cultural and spiritual integrity of their sacred site.        

In 1868, the United States Government signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie with these indigenous groups which reserved their rights to the Black Hills. However, the discovery of gold in the area led to a Congressional Act in 1877 that passed ownership of the Black Hills to the US. The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples have since then sought to recover the Black Hills.  “The views and concerns of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples need to be considered regarding any private or Government activity that would affect their right to continue to maintain their traditional cultural and ceremonial practices associated with Pe’ Sla,” Professor Anaya stressed.  He also stated that protecting the rights of indigenous peoples to access culturally and spiritually significant areas for them is one of the main issues that was brought to his attention during his official visit to the country three months ago.    

The Special Rapporteur is scheduled to present an official report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on his visit in the upcoming weeks. Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. 

(mew) (adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Secretary General is on His Way to Iran

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has left New York and is on his way to Iran to attend the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a United Nations spokesperson said today.  “The Secretary-General looks forward to the Summit as an opportunity to work with the participating Heads of State and Government, including the host country, towards solutions on issues that are central to the global agenda, including follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, disarmament, conflict prevention, and support for countries in transition,” the spokesperson told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.  

Taking place in the capital, Tehran, and under the chairmanship of Iran, the NAM Summit began on Sunday and ends on Friday, and is expected to draw representatives from its 120 members, as well as from various associated observer countries. The UN chief is expected to address the meeting on Thursday.  

Prior to his departure, there had been media reports of calls, from Israel and the United States, for Mr. Ban to boycott the gathering.  “The Secretary-General also takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its Member States in the interest of peacefully addressing vital matters of peace and security,” the spokesperson said.  

In relation to Iran, he added that the Secretary-General will use the opportunity to convey the “clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people.” These issues include terrorism, human rights, the crisis in Syria and Iran’s nuclear programme.  

Iran’s nuclear activities have been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.  

At a meeting in Moscow in June, Iran and the E3+3 grouping – made up of the United Kingdom, the United States, China, France, Germany and Russia – were unable to reach agreement on concrete and reciprocal measures on Tehran’s nuclear programme.    

Mr. Ban has previously expressed the hope that the parties can quickly achieve a negotiated solution that restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.  

In 2011, the Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  

(Adapted from a UN Press Release)

August 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 27, 2012

UN Continues Work to Solve Western Sahara Dispute

Those of you who teach the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion in the Western Sahara case in international law classes may be interested to know that the matter is still on the United Nation's agenda. In a UN press release today, the UN provided some details regarding a recent phone call between King Mohammed VI of Morocco and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in which the Secretary General reiterated the commitment of the UN to the negotiation process aimed at reaching a settlement in the Western Sahara dispute.

According to information provided by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson to the media over the weekend, the UN chief stated that the UN “does not intend to modify the terms of its mediation, whose purpose is to promote the achievement of a mutually acceptable political solution to this conflict.”

The UN has been involved in efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended. A peacekeeping force, known as the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), has been in place since 1991, and UN officials continue to pursue a mediation process to help resolve the dispute.


August 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

EU Scholars in Residence Program at University of Illinois

The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, IL has a European Union Center (EUC) which serves as a focal point for teaching, research and outreach on the European Union. EUC is sponsoring a Scholars in Residence program where it pays to have academics from other universities (American and European) spend a week at the University of Illinois as a Scholar in Residence for research, lectures and other
professional development activities relating to the EU.  For more information and application deadlines for spring and fall 2013, click here.


August 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)