22

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Human rights in Ukraine and the EU response, including relevant activities of the European Parliament

07-02-2018

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those ...

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the PAC are included in this analysis. The territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and those that are temporarily occupied, namely Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, are addressed separately in the study. In terms of thematic focus, the EP’s activities aimed at human rights promotion have been dominated by the issue of the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, and the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The most significant conclusion is that the more entrenched the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity becomes, the wider the spectrum of human rights issues extends, in protection of which the EP is able to step to the fore and take action. A summary of the contents of relevant EP actions can be found in the Annex to the study, together with a graphical visualisation of key data.

Autore esterno

András RÁCZ, Narine GHAZARYAN, Sergiy GERASYMCHUK.

Rebuilding the Iraqi State: Stabilisation, Governance, and Reconciliation

15-12-2017

The victory over the so-called Islamic State’s territorial rule presents a chance for the Government of Iraq to rebuild its state institutions and re-assert its authority. In this transition, will the Iraqi leadership move past cycles of failure and address the structural problems that perpetuate state weakness and facilitate the emergence of groups like ISIS? To answer this question, this paper analyses the challenges of short-term stabilisation programming with longer-term governance reform at ...

The victory over the so-called Islamic State’s territorial rule presents a chance for the Government of Iraq to rebuild its state institutions and re-assert its authority. In this transition, will the Iraqi leadership move past cycles of failure and address the structural problems that perpetuate state weakness and facilitate the emergence of groups like ISIS? To answer this question, this paper analyses the challenges of short-term stabilisation programming with longer-term governance reform at the local and national levels. It argues that, without establishing representative and responsive state institutions, the processes of reconciliation and integration will be unsuccessful. To conclude, this paper offers policy recommendations on how the EU can support the upcoming state-rebuilding process.

Autore esterno

Renad MANSOUR, Research Fellow, Chatham House, United Kingdom

Syrian crisis: Impact on Lebanon

30-03-2017

The crisis in Syria has had a significant impact on neighbouring countries over the past six years. Five million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, putting host countries and communities under great pressure. Moreover, violence has spilled over into some neighbouring countries, including Lebanon. The impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon has been immense. Since the outbreak of the crisis in 2011, up to 1.5 million displaced persons are believed to have crossed the border ...

The crisis in Syria has had a significant impact on neighbouring countries over the past six years. Five million Syrians have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, putting host countries and communities under great pressure. Moreover, violence has spilled over into some neighbouring countries, including Lebanon. The impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon has been immense. Since the outbreak of the crisis in 2011, up to 1.5 million displaced persons are believed to have crossed the border into Lebanon, formerly home to around 4.5 million people. The population has grown by an unprecedented 30 % in under four years, making Lebanon the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees worldwide. The situation in neighbouring Syria has exacerbated Lebanon's political instability, and led to political deadlock for the past three years. This, in turn, has made it impossible to tackle some urgent challenges arising from the refugee presence, and from underlying structural problems with the delivery of basic services to the Lebanese population. Moreover, there are concerns, particularly among Christians, Shias and Druze, that a large number of Syrian Sunni Muslims could upset the delicate sectarian balance in Lebanon's multi-confessional political system. In light of Lebanon's experience with up to 280 000 Palestine refugees, its population is united in its opposition to a lasting refugee presence in the country. The Lebanese government insists that the presence of refugees from Syria is 'temporary', despite the absence of reasonable prospects for their safe return to their homeland in the foreseeable future. The international community has stepped in to help countries in the region cope with the influx of large numbers of vulnerable people. Emphasis has shifted from traditional humanitarian aid to 'resilience building'. This implies creating the long-term conditions that will allow Syrians to build a future for themselves and their children in the region, including acquiring the skills and tools to re-build their own country once they are able to return. The EU is co-hosting an international conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region' on 5 April 2017, which will assess where the international community stands collectively in helping the region cope with the crisis.

Afghanistan: Challenges and Perspectives until 2020

02-02-2017

The international Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, held in Brussels on 4-5 October 2016, was a success. High representatives of 75 countries and 26 international organisations renewed their commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development; they also pledged EUR 13.6 billion to support the unity government until 2020. However the country is going through very difficult times: in 2016 insurgents have committed more attacks, which have caused more victims, and controlled more territory than ...

The international Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan, held in Brussels on 4-5 October 2016, was a success. High representatives of 75 countries and 26 international organisations renewed their commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development; they also pledged EUR 13.6 billion to support the unity government until 2020. However the country is going through very difficult times: in 2016 insurgents have committed more attacks, which have caused more victims, and controlled more territory than in 2015. The numbers of internally displaced people and of refugees returning to Afghanistan, particularly from Pakistan, have grown dramatically. The economic situation is bleak and the government has very limited capacities to provide basic services. The country requires continuous international support for economic development, regional economic cooperation and a reconciliation process leading to lasting peace.

Autore esterno

Giulia BONACQUISTI (Trans European Policy Studies Association - TEPSA, Belgium) and Victor TANZARELLA HARTMANN (Trans European Policy Studies Association - TEPSA, Belgium) (for the workshop report) ; Mona KANWAL SHEIKH (Danish Institute for International Studies, Denmark - for the briefing 1) ; Arne STRAND (U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway - briefing 2) ; Richard GHIASY (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - SIPRI, Sweden)

Syria: Turning commitments into action

13-06-2016

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

What started as local anti-government protests in the city of Daraa in 2011 quickly evolved into a popular uprising. The conflict has since cost the lives of 470 000 people and resulted in the displacement of almost 11 million. This is no longer a revolution but an internationalised conflict hijacked by big-power politics, and Syrians and their neighbouring countries are paying the price.

The African Union's humanitarian policy

17-05-2016

Africa is the continent that receives the most humanitarian aid. African countries are not big donors, but many of them host large populations of displaced people. The African Union (AU) has developed a framework outlining innovative humanitarian principles and tools to prevent and mitigate crises, and since 2010 more coordinated action from AU states has been taking shape.

Africa is the continent that receives the most humanitarian aid. African countries are not big donors, but many of them host large populations of displaced people. The African Union (AU) has developed a framework outlining innovative humanitarian principles and tools to prevent and mitigate crises, and since 2010 more coordinated action from AU states has been taking shape.

Occupation/Annexation of a Territory: Respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Consistent EU Policy

25-06-2015

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation ...

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation to respect not only IHL but also international human rights law. The EU has so far not adopted a consistent policy in these cases, but there are elements of good practice that can be used. A future EU policy should be based on non-recognition – as has been the case with regard to Crimea. The EU and its member states should refuse to recognise legislative and other changes in the occupied territory, they should refrain from engaging in economic and other activities that sustain the occupation and they should seriously consider sanctions against the responsible government.

Afghanistan: human rights situation

18-02-2015

The human rights gains made over the past 12 years in Afghanistan are increasingly under threat with a resurgence of violence, and women’s rights in particular being degraded. The EU is deeply concerned by the country's deteriorating situation.

The human rights gains made over the past 12 years in Afghanistan are increasingly under threat with a resurgence of violence, and women’s rights in particular being degraded. The EU is deeply concerned by the country's deteriorating situation.

Minorities in Iraq - Pushed to the brink of existence

11-02-2015

Iraqi minorities (Turkmens, Yazidis, Christians and other smaller communities) have long been discriminated against in Iraq. Violence against them has increased dramatically in areas of Iraqi territory that have fallen under the control of the Islamist terrorist group that has declared itself 'the Islamic State' (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Daesh' or 'Da'esh'). After coming into power, this terrorist group called into question the very existence of several of these ...

Iraqi minorities (Turkmens, Yazidis, Christians and other smaller communities) have long been discriminated against in Iraq. Violence against them has increased dramatically in areas of Iraqi territory that have fallen under the control of the Islamist terrorist group that has declared itself 'the Islamic State' (known variously as IS, ISIS or ISIL, and by the Arabic acronym 'Daesh' or 'Da'esh'). After coming into power, this terrorist group called into question the very existence of several of these minorities, not least non-Muslim minorities, subjecting them to murder, rape, slavery and organ trafficking. Fearing for their life, people have been fleeing in unprecedented numbers: mass killings have led to the displacement of more than 2 million people, mainly to refugee camps in the Kurdistan region, these displacements are tangible evidence that the country is going through a process of reconfiguration and fragmentation. Past experience has shown that few displaced people ever return to their homes.

Indigenous Peoples, Extractive Industries and Human Rights

18-09-2014

The present study examines the human rights impacts of the extractive industries on indigenous peoples worldwide. It finds that there continue to be significant human rights risks associated with mining, oil and gas extraction falling disproportionately on indigenous peoples. It argues that the growing demand for non-renewable resources and the need to explore and exploit resources in ever more invasive ways suggest that such activities are likely to impinge even more on the lands of indigenous communities ...

The present study examines the human rights impacts of the extractive industries on indigenous peoples worldwide. It finds that there continue to be significant human rights risks associated with mining, oil and gas extraction falling disproportionately on indigenous peoples. It argues that the growing demand for non-renewable resources and the need to explore and exploit resources in ever more invasive ways suggest that such activities are likely to impinge even more on the lands of indigenous communities living in countries with important resource reserves. The paper acknowledges the major efforts being made by industry associations to address these issues through voluntary guidelines but finds that, notwithstanding, conflicts and violence persist and that further measures are required to protect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples. The universal acceptance of the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides impetus to renewed efforts to ensure implementation of the provisions in practice. The paper concludes by recommending, among other things, that the European Union as one of the regions championing the Declaration at the United Nations take the initiative to develop a region-wide framework for extractive industries that sanction companies and provide legal redress in cases where the human rights of indigenous peoples are violated.

Autore esterno

Julian BURGER (University of Essex, United Kingdom)

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