15

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Human rights in Indonesia

24-10-2016

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

The Frozen Conflicts of the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood and Their Impact on the Respect of Human Rights

08-04-2016

The present study provides a detailed overview of the actual human rights situation in the frozen conflict regions of EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, namely in Crimea, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The focus of the analysis is on the access to the justice system, as well as on the abilities of the de jure or de facto authorities to administer justice. Particular attention is paid to Crimea because the rapidly worsening human rights situation there affects far more people ...

The present study provides a detailed overview of the actual human rights situation in the frozen conflict regions of EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, namely in Crimea, Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The focus of the analysis is on the access to the justice system, as well as on the abilities of the de jure or de facto authorities to administer justice. Particular attention is paid to Crimea because the rapidly worsening human rights situation there affects far more people than the population of the other four frozen conflicts combined. International community actions, as well as the role of civil society in protecting human rights are also analysed.

Autor externo

Andras RACZ (Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Finland)

Serbia and Kosovo: Normalisation of relations

09-03-2016

Resolving their deep-seated rivalries has been one of the conditions placed on Serbia and Kosovo for achieving their shared goal of EU entry. Since 2011, an EU-mediated dialogue has sought to strike a balance between their past conflicts and present aspirations. Although tensions persist, the goal is to translate the deals signed by both sides into reality, and to keep their dialogue going.

Resolving their deep-seated rivalries has been one of the conditions placed on Serbia and Kosovo for achieving their shared goal of EU entry. Since 2011, an EU-mediated dialogue has sought to strike a balance between their past conflicts and present aspirations. Although tensions persist, the goal is to translate the deals signed by both sides into reality, and to keep their dialogue going.

Nigeria: Security situation

28-01-2016

As a security actor, Nigeria provides a contrasting picture. While the country has asserted its role as a major security player in western Africa and on the African continent, where it has taken part in numerous peace operations; at home, its security forces have had difficulty tackling multiple internal security threats, including terrorism, sectarian conflicts and local insurgencies.

As a security actor, Nigeria provides a contrasting picture. While the country has asserted its role as a major security player in western Africa and on the African continent, where it has taken part in numerous peace operations; at home, its security forces have had difficulty tackling multiple internal security threats, including terrorism, sectarian conflicts and local insurgencies.

Ukraine and the Minsk II agreement: On a frozen path to peace?

27-01-2016

While Kyiv took an important step towards Europe with the entry into force of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area on 1 January 2016, Ukraine's path to peace with neighbouring Russia remains complicated. The implementation of the fragile Minsk II ceasefire agreement — negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia in February 2015 — has been extended into 2016. Several unresolved issues will continue to pose challenges to the fulfilment of Minsk II in 2016. The death toll ...

While Kyiv took an important step towards Europe with the entry into force of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area on 1 January 2016, Ukraine's path to peace with neighbouring Russia remains complicated. The implementation of the fragile Minsk II ceasefire agreement — negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia in February 2015 — has been extended into 2016. Several unresolved issues will continue to pose challenges to the fulfilment of Minsk II in 2016. The death toll has now surpassed 9 000, and Russia continues to supply the rebels with ammunition, weaponry and fighters. In addition, Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko is still imprisoned in Russia over murder charges. At the same time, the practical consequences of the conflict are tangible in the rebel-held areas, where a humanitarian crisis is unfolding. While the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk had agreed to postpone local elections until February 2016 — a move that was welcomed by Kyiv, Moscow and Brussels — the next developments hinge on a political settlement. However, some analysts hope that recent Russian high-level appointments could give new impetus to negotiations. This briefing brings up to date that of 16 July 2015, 'Ukraine: Follow-up of Minsk II – A fragile ceasefire'.

Global terrorism: trends in 2014/2015

06-11-2015

Terrorism continues to present one of the main challenges to international stability. Despite political agreement that terrorist threat needs to be addressed jointly by the whole international community, a number of obstacles persist, including disagreements over the definition of terrorism. This latter poses a significant impediment for research on terrorism and only a few institutions have undertaken this difficult task. According to the existing data, the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 was ...

Terrorism continues to present one of the main challenges to international stability. Despite political agreement that terrorist threat needs to be addressed jointly by the whole international community, a number of obstacles persist, including disagreements over the definition of terrorism. This latter poses a significant impediment for research on terrorism and only a few institutions have undertaken this difficult task. According to the existing data, the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 was double that of 2004, an increase primarily linked to the growing number of countries affected by terrorism, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and southern Asia. The same three regions have also been the most affected by terrorism, with the number of attacks increasing in all three, most significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Altogether, the number of casualties almost doubled compared to 2013, even though the number of terrorist attacks increased by 40%. Political instability and weak governance in many countries have provided fertile ground for radicalism and growth in terrorist activities, in particular in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although Al-Qaeda and its offshoots maintain a strong position internationally, and continue to pose a serious threat, their standing has been increasingly challenged by the emergence of the 'Islamic State' Group (ISIL/Da'esh). The creation of a terrorist enclave on Syrian and Iraqi territory, and the establishment of a self-proclaimed caliphate, provided an appealing narrative that has fuelled a continued influx of foreign fighters to join the ranks of ISIL/Da'esh.

Ukraine's will to liberalise:Tested on many fronts

04-11-2015

Faced with a deteriorating economy, unstable internal security and the financial repercussions of military efforts in the east, Ukraine is striving to create a business-friendly climate. To this end, the country is preparing for the enforcement by 1 January 2016 of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) created under the Association Agreement with the EU. The war and a decline in industrial output have led Ukraine's foreign trade to contract. Imports have been hit by the country's shrinking ...

Faced with a deteriorating economy, unstable internal security and the financial repercussions of military efforts in the east, Ukraine is striving to create a business-friendly climate. To this end, the country is preparing for the enforcement by 1 January 2016 of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) created under the Association Agreement with the EU. The war and a decline in industrial output have led Ukraine's foreign trade to contract. Imports have been hit by the country's shrinking GDP, and exports are also declining. In the case of exports to Russia, several embargos and the unpredictability of the Russian market have compounded the toll. On the other hand, exports to the EU have demonstrated a surprising resilience, thanks largely to the positive performance of agriculture. While the EU has granted the country autonomous trade measures, these may not be responsible for the recent strength of Ukraine's agricultural exports; instead, traders’ new market orientation may be the cause. Russia's opposition to the implementation of the DCFTA has been muted since trilateral trade negotiations with the EU and Ukraine were launched. A mutually acceptable solution may be found – or not – by the end of 2015. Ultimately, any real improvement in Ukraine's economy will depend on the termination of military activities in the east, on not totally losing trade with traditional Eurasian partners, on the effective entry into force of the DCFTA, on debt restructuring and on a commitment to ambitious reforms. Ukraine's current trade barriers must be removed. For now, at least, Ukraine seems dedicated to doing just that.

Russia's constitutional structure: Federal in form, unitary in function

20-10-2015

Constitutionally, Russia is a federation, as was the Soviet Union before it – a natural choice for such a large and heterogeneous country. The 85 federated states which make up the country (referred to as 'subjects of the Russian Federation', 'federal subjects' or 'regions') enjoy wide-ranging powers. At federal level they are represented by the upper house of parliament (Council of the Federation), giving them direct influence over federal law-making, at least on paper. Russia's federal system faces ...

Constitutionally, Russia is a federation, as was the Soviet Union before it – a natural choice for such a large and heterogeneous country. The 85 federated states which make up the country (referred to as 'subjects of the Russian Federation', 'federal subjects' or 'regions') enjoy wide-ranging powers. At federal level they are represented by the upper house of parliament (Council of the Federation), giving them direct influence over federal law-making, at least on paper. Russia's federal system faces numerous challenges. Of these, the most serious is the threat of separatism, particularly in the Northern Caucasus. Not only do Chechnya and its neighbours face high (though diminishing) levels of violence; they also suffer from severe poverty. There are huge economic and social disparities between, on the one hand, impoverished regions such as these, and on the other, Siberia, with its oil and gas wealth. In some regions, economic problems are compounded by financing difficulties, with heavy dependence on federal subsidies and rising, though still relatively low, regional debt. Although the constitution enshrines regional autonomy, Vladimir Putin's rule has seen a growing concentration of power in his hands. Legislative reforms, together with the dominance of his United Russia Party in regional parliaments and executives, severely constrain their capacity to pursue independent policies. Like the Soviet Union before it, Russia thus functions as a unitary state, despite its constitutional status as a federation.

Ukraine: Follow-up of Minsk II

16-07-2015

Four months after leaders from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia reached a 13-point 'Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements' ('Minsk II') on 12 February 2015, the ceasefire is crumbling. The pressure on Kyiv to contribute to a de-escalation and comply with Minsk II continues to grow. While Moscow still denies accusations that there are Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly admitted in March 2015 to having invaded Crimea. There ...

Four months after leaders from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia reached a 13-point 'Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements' ('Minsk II') on 12 February 2015, the ceasefire is crumbling. The pressure on Kyiv to contribute to a de-escalation and comply with Minsk II continues to grow. While Moscow still denies accusations that there are Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly admitted in March 2015 to having invaded Crimea. There is mounting evidence that Moscow continues to play an active military role in eastern Ukraine. The multidimensional conflict is eroding the country's stability on all fronts. While the situation on both the military and the economic front is acute, the country is under pressure to conduct wide-reaching reforms to meet its international obligations. In addition, Russia is challenging Ukraine's identity as a sovereign nation state with a wide range of disinformation tools. Against this backdrop, the international community and the EU are under increasing pressure to react. In the following pages, the current status of the Minsk II agreement is assessed and other recent key developments in Ukraine and beyond examined. This briefing brings up to date that of 16 March 2015, 'Ukraine after Minsk II: the next level – Hybrid responses to hybrid threats?'.

China's leading role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

26-06-2015

China is one of the six founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which was established in 2001 as a regional organisation for non-traditional security cooperation between China, Russia and four Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Although the SCO Charter sets out a broad array of objectives and potential areas of cooperation, the SCO has so far focused on, and gained most visibility through, its fight against regional terrorism, ethnic ...

China is one of the six founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which was established in 2001 as a regional organisation for non-traditional security cooperation between China, Russia and four Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Although the SCO Charter sets out a broad array of objectives and potential areas of cooperation, the SCO has so far focused on, and gained most visibility through, its fight against regional terrorism, ethnic separatism and religious extremism. For China, as for the other members, the SCO represents a new and unique cooperation model, reflecting its vision of a multipolar world order as opposed to cooperation models based on US hegemony and unilateralism. Since the SCO's inception, China has pushed its agenda and has successfully pursued its national security, geopolitical and economic interests. It has used the SCO umbrella as a multilateral platform to address external threats posed by non-state actors on its vulnerable western border; to gain a strong economic and political foothold in Central Asia without putting the Sino-Russian strategic partnership at risk; and to enhance its energy security through large-scale infrastructure investment in, and trade with, the Central Asian member states. A first expansion in SCO membership, expected for July 2015, and the looming security vacuum in Afghanistan could both raise the SCO's regional and international profile and present new challenges. For further information on the SCO as a whole, please see our companion briefing which provides an overview of the Organisation.

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