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The EU and multilateral conflict management: The case of the Central African Republic

10-06-2020

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human ...

The EU supports multilateralism in the furtherance of peace and security, acting as a partner to both the United Nations and regional organisations in the effort to prevent violent conflicts, mitigate their consequences and aid long-term recovery. A significant share of EU development cooperation is dedicated to fragile and conflict-afflicted countries or areas whose populations suffer prolonged humanitarian crises. One such country, the Central African Republic (CAR), ranks second last in the Human Development Index and has been confronted with a complex emergency requiring a multi-faceted response. The country remains profoundly affected by the violent upheaval that displaced a quarter of its population and decimated its economy in 2013. Multiple armed groups control or contest about 80 % of the national territory, benefiting from illicit activities and the lucrative circulation of arms, fighters and natural resources across porous borders, as the state builds up institutions that have traditionally held little sway outside the capital Bangui. The EU – the country's biggest donor – is part of a dense UN-led network of external actors committed to supporting the government and the national partners in the pursuit of peace among the parties to the conflict. No previous peace accord has been the object of so much effort from the international community as the political agreement brokered in February 2019 in Khartoum. Its tenuous implementation has reduced overall levels of insecurity without winning all hearts and minds. The EU has developed a particular synergy with the UN on security sector reform. As the CAR prepares for political wrangling at the ballot box in 2020, the EU will, at a pivotal moment, launch a new civilian Advisory Mission (EUAM RCA) alongside the existing military Training Mission (EUTM RCA).

Ukraine: Navigating multiple challenges

07-10-2019

Five years after the 'revolution of dignity', in which Ukrainians demanded a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy, the country elected a new President in April 2019 and a new Parliament in July. The new leaders in Kyiv are facing a wide range of persistent challenges. Russia's ongoing hybrid war against the country, including the illegal occupation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as the continued reform process dominate the agenda. The High Representative of the Union ...

Five years after the 'revolution of dignity', in which Ukrainians demanded a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy, the country elected a new President in April 2019 and a new Parliament in July. The new leaders in Kyiv are facing a wide range of persistent challenges. Russia's ongoing hybrid war against the country, including the illegal occupation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as the continued reform process dominate the agenda. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission is expected to make a statement on the situation in Ukraine during the October I plenary session.

Serbia at risk of authoritarianism?

02-05-2019

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of authoritarian rule, attacks on independent media, electoral fraud and corruption. Although the protests only started recently, they highlight worrying longer-term trends. Press freedom has been in decline for several years, particularly since Vučić became prime minister in 2014. A large part of the media is now controlled either directly by the state or by pro-SNS figures. Independent journalists face threats and even violence, and perpetrators are rarely convicted. In the National Assembly, the governing coalition uses its parliamentary majority to systematically block meaningful discussions of legislative proposals. In protest, the opposition started a boycott of plenary debates in February 2019. The tone of verbal attacks by SNS politicians and their allies on independent media, the political opposition and civil society is often virulent. Criticising government policy is framed as betrayal of Serbian interests. The aim seems to be to marginalise critical voices while concentrating power in the hands of the SNS-led government. Elected to the mainly ceremonial role of president in 2017, Vučić nevertheless remains the dominant figure. If Serbia's drift towards authoritarianism continues, it could become a major obstacle to EU accession, for which 2025 has been mentioned as a possible date.

Mexico 2018: Elections that will make history

21-06-2018

Mexico's 1 July 2018 elections will be the biggest in its history, as people go to the polls to vote for the country's president and legislature, but also for most of its governors and local councillors. There is a record number of registered voters (89 million), 45 % of whom are below the age of 35 and 12 million are newly entitled to vote. For the first time in decades, a candidate of the left has real chances of becoming president. For the first time in the country's political history, some candidates ...

Mexico's 1 July 2018 elections will be the biggest in its history, as people go to the polls to vote for the country's president and legislature, but also for most of its governors and local councillors. There is a record number of registered voters (89 million), 45 % of whom are below the age of 35 and 12 million are newly entitled to vote. For the first time in decades, a candidate of the left has real chances of becoming president. For the first time in the country's political history, some candidates are able to stand for consecutive re-election, and independent candidates are running for president or member of the Senate. On a more negative note, the 2018 Mexican election process has been one of the most violent so far, with over a hundred politicians and candidates murdered since it started in September 2017, and hundreds others exposed to aggression. Nine political parties grouped in three different coalitions, as well as some independent candidates, will participate in the elections. There are four presidential candidates. Of these, left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads the polls with nearly 50 % of the voting intention, followed by right-wing candidate Roberto Anaya with over 25 %, centre candidate Juan Antonio Meade with just around 20 %, and independent candidate Jaime Rodríguez with slightly over 2 %. The high number of young and new voters, the climate of political violence and US President Donald Trump's Mexican policy – or the 'Trump effect' – are among the main factors likely to influence the results. Mexico is a strategic partner of the EU and the parties hold high-level dialogues with each other. The Global Agreement between the two parties is being modernised, with a new trade agreement in principle having been reached in April 2018. This process has been supported by the European Parliament, which has also shown concern for the violence affecting the country.

Major sporting events versus human rights: Parliament's position on the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Moscow Olympics

13-06-2018

Major sports events and politics are closely intertwined. Well-known historical examples of major sporting events that were used by regimes for political propaganda purposes are the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. The 1978 World Cup took place around two years after the Argentinian military regime's right-wing coup and its violent repression of critics, and was then the most political World Cup in the history of the International Federation of Association ...

Major sports events and politics are closely intertwined. Well-known historical examples of major sporting events that were used by regimes for political propaganda purposes are the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. The 1978 World Cup took place around two years after the Argentinian military regime's right-wing coup and its violent repression of critics, and was then the most political World Cup in the history of the International Federation of Association Football (Fédération Internationale de Football Association: FIFA). The 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow were the first to take place in eastern Europe and the first to be held in a socialist country. In addition, the 1980 Summer Olympic Games unleashed a hitherto, in the history of major sporting events, unprecedented boycott by 60 countries, in protest against the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. The European Parliament's involvement in the debates on the political reaction to these two major sporting events is a largely unknown aspect of the history of the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 Summer Olympic Games. This Briefing will reconstruct these debates and the policy action that followed, based on new analysis of sources held in the Parliament's Historical Archives, and demonstrates that the EP's leitmotiv was the violation of human rights in both countries. Furthermore, the Briefing shows that these debates set the basis for the EP's current policy action when it comes to major sports events in countries with a poor track record of human rights.

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.

Tense situation in Democratic Republic of Congo

21-06-2016

Political unrest is rising in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in protest against the alleged inaction of the security forces towards the massacres in the eastern region and against the possible postponement of November 2016 elections.

Political unrest is rising in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in protest against the alleged inaction of the security forces towards the massacres in the eastern region and against the possible postponement of November 2016 elections.

Building resilience with the EU's southern neighbourhood

14-06-2016

It is a major concern for the European Union that most of its neighbourhood is marked by instability: the 10 countries in the southern neighbourhood are all either involved in internal conflict or threatened by terrorism, or both. The migration phenomenon complicates matters still further. A new strategic approach is required. The political and economic forces that produce instability need to be tackled. The new European Neighbourhood Policy reflects this reality and might complement the revised ...

It is a major concern for the European Union that most of its neighbourhood is marked by instability: the 10 countries in the southern neighbourhood are all either involved in internal conflict or threatened by terrorism, or both. The migration phenomenon complicates matters still further. A new strategic approach is required. The political and economic forces that produce instability need to be tackled. The new European Neighbourhood Policy reflects this reality and might complement the revised EU security strategy.

The Cultural Revolution in China: Its 50th Anniversary Was Ignored but Its Legacy Lives on Today

07-06-2016

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was one of the most tragic periods in China's history. It unleashed a decade of violence, in which more than a million Chinese died, some 16 million were banished to the countryside and many others suffered imprisonment, seizure of property, torture or humiliation. It left in its wake a shattered country, a fractured society in turmoil and a devastated economy. The Chinese Communist Party ignored the 50th anniversary on 16 May of the start of the Cultural ...

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was one of the most tragic periods in China's history. It unleashed a decade of violence, in which more than a million Chinese died, some 16 million were banished to the countryside and many others suffered imprisonment, seizure of property, torture or humiliation. It left in its wake a shattered country, a fractured society in turmoil and a devastated economy. The Chinese Communist Party ignored the 50th anniversary on 16 May of the start of the Cultural Revolution, with no official commemoration. The state-controlled media then exhorted the people to regard the Cultural Revolution as a closed chapter and to look ahead. They distanced the Party from its responsibilities for the disaster, in an indication that the country's leaders are still haunted by its spectre. Nonetheless, the Cultural Revolution's legacy lives on in modern China and some parallels are being drawn with the current President Xi Jinping's crackdown against corruption. Xi's use of some of the Revolution's methods seems to reflect a pragmatic attempt to reassert the Party's authority in response to the new challenges posed by the rapid transformation of China, rather than heralding a repeat of the Cultural Revolution. The Party has said its lessons have been learned and it must not be repeated. Nevertheless, the former Premier, Wen Jiabao, cautioned in 2012 that without effective political reforms, a similar historical tragedy might happen again.

Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Turmoil in the run-up to elections

06-06-2016

DRC is experiencing a plethora of human rights problems. In the east of the country, the national army and the UN peacekeeping mission are not able to deal effectively with the violence still perpetrated by some armed groups – a legacy of the bloody civil war that ravaged the country. The human rights situation has also deteriorated in the run-up to the general elections, which are expected to be postponed; demands from the political opposition, civil society and mass media for timely elections have ...

DRC is experiencing a plethora of human rights problems. In the east of the country, the national army and the UN peacekeeping mission are not able to deal effectively with the violence still perpetrated by some armed groups – a legacy of the bloody civil war that ravaged the country. The human rights situation has also deteriorated in the run-up to the general elections, which are expected to be postponed; demands from the political opposition, civil society and mass media for timely elections have been met with heavy repression from the government.

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