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Abstract: In 2001, Pax Christi Netherlands published a report
about the kidnapping industry in Colombia. Seven years on, and the number of kidnappings
worldwide has risen even more. The crime has lost
nothing of its potency as a cause of human tragedy.
Kidnapping is a serious violation of the most
elementary right of mankind: the right to a dignified
existence. We set out in this report to provide a brief
summary of the kidnapping issue on a global level, in
particular of kidnapping in conflict regions and fragile
states. The questions to be answered are concerned with
the financial and political requirements that the
kidnappers set, and with the impacts of these practices
on the conflict and its perpetuation, and on the
performance of the state.
Following on from the previous report, the emphasis of
this investigation is on kidnapping and extortion in
Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Firstly, we wished to
ascertain how the kidnapping issue has developed in
these countries in the past ten years. This raised the
question of whether there was any relationship between
the kidnapping practices in Colombia, and trends in
this crime in the neighbouring countries. Another
primary question regarding Colombia was concerned
with the role of the kidnapping theme in peace talks
and other dialogue between illegal armed groups and
the Colombian government, and with the possible role
of the theme in any future peace talks.
The final chapter investigates the kidnapping-related
policies of the EU member states, and as far as possible
we compare their policies with their actions in practice
in recent years. The main question is whether there is
any European consensus on how to deal with
kidnapping, and how to suppress the phenomenon.
What obstacles are there to a joint approach to the
Abstract: The past century has seen a transformation in women’s legal rights, with countries in every region expanding the scope of women’s legal entitlements. Nevertheless for many of the world’s women the laws that exist on paper do not translate to equality and justice.
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice looks at how the legal system can play a positive role in women accessing their rights, citing cases that have changed women’s lives both at a local and at times global level. It also looks at the important role women have played and continue to play as agents for change within the legal system, as legislators, as lawyers, as community activists but also asks why, despite progress on legal reform, the justice system is still not delivering justice for all women.
The report focuses on four key areas: legal and constitutional frameworks, the justice chain, plural legal systems and conflict and post-conflict. Drawing on tangible examples of steps that have been taken to help women access justice, the report sets out ten key recommendations for policy and decision makers to act on in order to ensure every woman is able to obtain justice.
Abstract: This report is the culmination of a six-month project commissioned
by the Women’s Refugee Commission and co-funded by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to address the
rights and needs of displaced persons with disabilities, with a
particular focus on women (including older women), children and
youth. Based on field research in five refugee situations, as well as
global desk research, the Women’s Refugee Commission sought to
map existing services for displaced persons with disabilities, identify
gaps and good practices and make recommendations on how to
improve services, protection and participation for displaced persons
with disabilities. The objective of the project was to gather initial
empirical data and produce a Resource Kit that would be of
practical use to UN and nongovernmental organization (NGO) field
staff working with displaced persons with disabilities.
Abstract: Over the past decade, a serie of social conflicts has arisen in Ecuador, as a result of the growing
presence of actors seeking to develop large-scale mining in the country. These mining
endeavors have been encouraged by legislative and economic measures put in place by national
governments and international organizations. Mining companies’ activities have led to numerous
episodes of human rights abuses, and have given rise to an important national debate on
the promotion of large-scale mining in Ecuador. During and after some protest mobilizations, there have been reports of numerous cases of
repression, judicial harassment, and criminalization targeting both social leaders and the
general population. In 2008, the National Constituent Assembly responded to this repression
by granting amnesties to participants in the protests, shelving hundreds of investigations and
criminal proceedings. The move effectively acknowledged the legitimacy of peoples’ struggles
to defend their territory and nature.
Abstract: Ecuador currently hosts the largest refugee population in South America, more than 135,000 people, some 98 per cent of them Colombians who fled from their country of origin within the last decade. Most have settled in the northern province of Sucumbíos.1 Recognizing the severity of the humanitarian and security situation in Sucumbíos, the government of Ecuador and UNHCR jointly undertook an „enhanced registration‟ exercise which regularized the status of refugees in remote and isolated regions of the country.
The project began in March 2009 and was carried out a year in every province along the northern Ecuadorian border. Using a mobile team of 50 civil servants from Ecuador‟s Government Directorate for Refugees (GDR) supported by UNHCR, the project registered and provided refugee documents to previously unregistered asylum seekers. UNHCR provided some 80 per cent of the $2 million cost of the exercise, as well as a great deal of logistical and material support in the form of computers, generators, vehicles and visibility materials.
The Enhanced Registered project is considered unprecedented for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the project was entirely transparent and had the Government of Ecuador‟s support of at all levels. Secondly, the project highlighted best-practices for developing more rigorous and structured ways to identify specific needs within regular asylum processes, reinforcing mechanisms for physical protection and identifying durable solutions for large caseloads. Finally, the project registered over 26,000 refugees and created an “entry point” into a system of human rights guarantees and legal protections for a highly vulnerable and marginalized population.
desk study on “The use of medical evidence
and expert opinions in international and
regional judicial mechanism and in selected
domestic jurisdictions” aims to provide an
insight into how medical evidence is viewed
and evaluated in court proceedings on alleged
torture cases today. The study looks
into the procedural rules as well as the
practice relating to evaluation of medical
evidence and expert opinions by the relevant
tribunals. The special issue further features
studies on investigations and evidence collection
in selected domestic jurisdictions
in torture cases. These studies have been
conducted in five countries from different
regions and with differing legal systems –
Ecuador, Georgia, Lebanon, The Philippines
and Uganda. In these countries the IRCT
has, for a number of years, worked with
local members and partners to promote the
value and use of medical documentation of
Our hope is that the study may serve
as a reference document for those involved
in legal cases seeking to prove allegations
of torture through the submission of medical
evidence or wishing to advocate legal
changes in this area.
Abstract: Seven actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in September 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch.Guinea saw increased political and ethnic divisions, exacerbated by controversies related to the presidential elections. Two days of violent clashes in the capital between rival supporters of the two presidential candidates, Alpha Conde and Cellou Diallo, left one person dead and dozens injured. Continued delays in the timing of the run-off and Diallo’s rejection of the appointment of the election commission’s new head led to further tensions between the two camps.
In Sri Lanka moves by President Rajapaksa to consolidate his power through a de facto constitutional coup transformed the political terrain. On 8 September the parliament passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives the President nearly unbridled power by scrapping term limits on the presidency, abolishing the Constitutional Council and allowing the President to appoint directly officials to the judiciary, police and electoral bodies.
More protesters were killed by police in Kashmir as anti-India demonstrations continued and spread to new areas, bringing the death toll from the demonstrations since June to over 100. The Indian government on 25 September announced an eight-point plan aimed at calming the situation. Separatist leaders rejected the initiative and said that protests will continue.
The situation in Burundi deteriorated as violent clashes between security forces and armed groups increased, alongside kidnappings and fatal attacks on civilians. There are increasingly credible indications that elements disgruntled with elections held earlier this year have re-established bases and taken up arms in the Rukoko and Kibira areas. However, local authorities deny that former rebels are regrouping and insist that bandits are behind the recent attacks.
The month saw a new upsurge of violence in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region, demonstrating the growing ability of guerrillas to carry out major operations. In the deadliest terrorist strike anywhere in Russia since the March subway bombings in Moscow, a suicide attack killed at least 17 at a market in the capital of North Ossetia. A spate of bold guerrilla attacks also struck security personnel and infrastructure in Dagestan. The situation in Ecuador took a dramatic turn at the end of the month when disaffected members of the police and armed forces staged a protest against proposed austerity measures, taking control of the National Assembly building and airport and laying siege to a hospital where President Correa had sought refuge. President Correa later said the revolt amounted to an attempted coup. Meanwhile, in Mozambique 13 people were killed and over 170 injured in three days of riots that took place early in the month over food and energy price increases.
Abstract: This paper explores how a “conflict and violence‐sensitive” framework in project assessment, design and
implementation facilitates early identification and mitigation of negative consequences of competition and
dispute, and promotes sustainable development over the longer term. It discusses the role of renewable resources
in perpetuating conflict and violence, and distills lessons from selected development programming experiences in
managing conflict risks associated with these dynamics. The study emphasizes that building capacity to
productively address conflict and to improve community resilience to ecological change decreases vulnerability to
violence, and improves livelihoods—particularly for the world’s poorest communities. The study draws on a range
of development experience and specifically examines six case studies: three from the World Bank portfolio and
three external to the Bank. Of the World Bank projects, the paper considers Andhra Pradesh Community Forest
Management Project (India), Land Conflict and Vulnerability Pilot Project (Afghanistan), and Second Fadama
Development Project (Nigeria). The paper also studies three external cases: Conservation of Managed Indigenous
Areas (Ecuador) and Building the Capacity of ICCN to Resolve and Manage Environmental Conflicts in Virunga
National Park (DRC), both financed by USAID; and the Community Development Component of GTZ’s Palestinian
Water Program (West Bank). The concluding chapter outlines good practice and lessons learned from experience,
emphasizing principals for building institutional and organizational capacity that support constructive conflict
Abstract: At least 71 journalists were killed across the globe in 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Tuesday, the largest annual toll in the 30 years the group has been keeping track.
Twenty-nine of those deaths came in a single, politically motivated massacre of reporters and others in the Philippines last November, the worst known episode for journalists, the committee said.
But there were other worrisome trends. The two nations with the highest number of journalists incarcerated — China had 24 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2009 and Iran had 23 — were particularly harsh in taking aim at bloggers and others using the Internet. The number jailed in Iran has since jumped to 47, the committee said. Of the 71 confirmed deaths, 51 were murders, the committee said. The report noted that 24 additional deaths of journalists remained under investigation to determine if they were related to the journalists’ work. Previously, the highest number of journalists killed in a single year was 67, in 2007, when violence in Iraq was raging.
Abstract: Many of the underlying issues of structural corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering and the presence of the FARC predate the Correa administration by many years. Ecuador's geographic position has also made it a vulnerable and attractive crossroads for transnational non-state armed groups. Ecuador's decision to adopt the U.S. dollar as its official currency in 2000 also created numerous new vulnerabilities for the state and advantages to criminal organizations.
These factors, taken together with the changing internal situation in Colombia and the expanding influence of the Mexican drug cartels have, over the past three years, helped turn Ecuador into an important and growing center of operation for transnational organized criminal gangs. This poses a significant threat not only to the Ecuadoran state but all of Latin America and the United States.
After decades as a transit route for cocaine and a secondary money laundering center, Ecuador is emerging as a key meeting ground for multiple transnational criminal and terrorist organizations and an important part of a pipeline that moves not only cocaine but human cargo, weapons, precursor chemicals and hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Abstract: Border zones are incubators of criminal instability and violence. Weak state presence and the lucrative drugs trade is combining to challenge state sovereignty in acute ways. Consider Mexico, where the northern frontier with the US and southern border with Guatemala are contested zones. The bloody center of gravity of Mexico’s drug cartels is the ‘plazas’, the drug smuggling corridors that link the borders. When most think of conflict and border zones, they imagine territorial disputes such as India and Pakistan’s recurring battles over Kashmir or less serious tug-of-wars such as Japan and South Korea’s contestation of the Liancourt Rocks. To be sure, there have been territorial disputes, such as Nicaragua’s dispute with Colombia over several islands, or Colombia’s conflicts with Venezuela and Ecuador over narco-guerrillas operating from their territory. Yet, as former FRIDE researcher Ivan Briscoe argues, the biggest sources of violent conflict has been the erosion of government control over border zones and the rise of criminal groups, gangs, and cartels in loosely governed zones. As Briscoe argues, "violence and institutional corrosion have plagued as never before the frontier between Mexico and the United States, while Guatemala’s eastern border region and Colombia’s frontiers with Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil witness these countries’ highest murder rates, as well as territorial capture by armed groups and narco-trafficking networks."
Abstract: In March, 2008, the Colombian armed forces attacked a FARC camp located in the Ecuadorian province of Sucumbíos. This attack resulted in the death of FARC’s second in command, Raúl Reyes. This event, which turned around relations between the two countries, which to date continue severed, and received copious international attention, including a condemning resolution from the Organization of American States, merely evidenced what for years had been known to the people living near the Ecuador-Colombia border: that for many years, the Colombian conflict has been spilling over to Ecuador, and that in everyday life and for everyone all the same—armed actors, civilian population, and even government forces—the 600-kilometer border is not much more than an abstract political fiction.
While for tens of thousands of Colombians Ecuador offers a much safer environment than the border departments of Nariño and Putumayo, the extensive presence of illegal armed groups and high levels of insecurity increasingly threaten the stability of the Ecuadorian border provinces, especially Esmeraldas, Carchi, and Sucumbíos. In addition to the well-documented flow of Colombian asylum seekers, recent reports signal that internal displacement of Ecuadorians may be a growing phenomenon. Humanitarian aid on the Ecuadorian side is limited and the response from the Ecuadorian government, even though highly superior comparatively to Venezuela’s and Panamá’s, is still insufficient.
Abstract: The data in this report is derived from country submissions when possible,
and estimates when necessary. Estimates are extrapolated from each country’s
identified procurement, highest modern personnel totals, and strategic doctrine.
Except where noted, the military small arms and light weapons data
presented here is not official, comprehensive, or conclusive; it is for general
evaluation and comparison only. The complete methodology used here is described
in Chapter 2 of the Small Arms Survey 2006.
Small arms are state-owned handguns, submachine guns, rifles, shotguns,
and light and medium machine guns. Firearms are civilian-owned handguns,
submachine guns, rifles, and shotguns. Long at the forefront of international small arms issues, public debate and
activism in South America have largely focused on matters surrounding civilian
firearms, estimated here to total between 21.7 and 26.8 million. The reasons
for this civilian preoccupation are principally linked to chronic gun violence.
South America has 14 per cent of the global population, and roughly 3.5 to 4 per
cent of the world’s civilian firearms, but it suffers from roughly 40 per cent of
all homicides committed with firearms.
Military small arms are rarely part of public debate, largely because of a
strong culture of national security secrecy in South America. But military
small arms policy has attracted much closer scrutiny in recent years, especially
as military small arms and light weapons are diverted to criminals and
guerrillas, fuelling insurgencies and civil violence. This report focuses primarily
on issues surrounding surplus military small arms and light weapons in
the region. Law enforcement and civilian firearms inventories and issues are
recognized here as well, to ensure a balanced overall perspective.
The region’s military establishments do not have a strong record of identifying
or eliminating their surplus small arms, light weapons, or ammunition.
South America holds some of the world’s largest military small arms and
light weapons surpluses. Military inventories are not exceptionally large in
absolute terms, but they are a major element in global surplus problems. Among
the 12 independent countries of South America, there are an estimated 3.6
million military small arms as of 2007, 1.5 per cent of the global total. Of these,
approximately 1.3 million, more than one-third, are surplus.
Abstract: The impact of Colombia’s internal armed conflict on Ecuador and Venezuela is destabilizing border regions while thousands of Colombians continue to flee their country in search of sanctuary. Because of the growing presence of Colombian guerrilla and reorganized paramilitary groups engaged in trafficking narcotics in border areas, host governments have militarized these regions with security forces to combat violent spillover. In this context, humanitarian agencies and local administrations are struggling to assist more people in need, and providing documentation for asylum seekers is a crucial first step to enhance their physical protection and freedom of movement. Donor governments should urgently support policies of documentation and socio-economic integration for Colombians in their host communities.
Patterns of violence in Ecuadorian and Venezuelan border areas are starting to mirror Colombian trends where illegal armed groups are conducting criminal activities, terrorizing local populations, and exercising social control over entire communities. Death threats, selective assassinations, kidnappings and extortion are on the rise and now also affect communities that are hosting refugees. In both Ecuador and Venezuela, there are reports of domestic citizens being forced to leave their areas of residence because of these threats. The scope of this new and worrisome phenomenon should be investigated.
Bilateral diplomatic relations, which are currently severed between Colombia and Ecuador and frequently tense between Colombia and Venezuela, can provide little resolution to the region’s spillover problems. As a result, a multilateral regional effort to address the humanitarian and protection dimensions of the Colombian refugee crisis is indispensable. This would include supporting and facilitating the exchange of analysis and refugee policy discussions between Ecuador and Venezuela, increasing the international humanitarian presence in border areas and dedicating resources to sustainably integrate refugees into host communities.
Abstract: Science is now unequivocal as to the reality of climate change. Human activities, including in
particular emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are recognized as its principle cause.
This report clearly shows that climate change is already causing widespread devastation and
suffering around the planet today. Furthermore, even if the international community is able to contain
climate change, over the next decades human society must prepare for more severe climate change
and more dangerous human impacts.
This report documents the full impact of climate change on human society worldwide today.
It covers in specific detail the most critical areas of the global impact of climate change, namely
on food, health, poverty, water, human displacement, and security. The third section of this report
highlights the massive socio-economic implications of those impacts, in particular, that worst
affected are the world’s poorest groups, who cannot be held responsible for the problem. The
final section examines how sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals are
in serious danger, the pressures this will exert on humanitarian assistance, and the great need to
integrate efforts in adapting to climate change.
Based on verified scientific information, established models, and, where needed, on the best
available estimates, this report represents the most plausible narrative of the human impact of climate
change. It reports in a comprehensive manner the adverse effects people already suffer today due
to climate change within a single volume, encompassing the full spectrum of the most important
impacts evidenced to date.
The findings of report indicate that every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead,
325 million people seriously affected, and economic losses of US$125 billion. 4 billion people are
vulnerable, and 500 million people are at extreme risk. These figures represent averages based on
projected trends over many years and carry a significant margin of error. The real numbers could be
lower or higher. The different figures are each explained in more detail and in context in the relevant
sections of the report. Detailed information describing how these figures have been calculated is also
included in the respective sections and in the end matter of the report.
Abstract: The term “refugee crisis” usually conjures images of
Africa, the Balkans and other war-torn regions. It may
come as a surprise, then, that one of the world’s most
severe refugee crises is taking place in the same
time zone as Washington, D.C.
Over the past nine years, an estimated 300,000 Colombian
refugees have crossed their country’s border
with Ecuador. They have fled persecution, threats,
disappearances, murders, deliberate displacement,
and recruitment by the parties to Colombia’s long,
drug-funded war between government forces, leftist
guerrillas, and paramilitary militias, all of which violate
human rights with great frequency.
These refugees do not live in camps, but subsist
among the Ecuadorian population. 250,000 are
“invisible,” with no rights to international protection,
education, health, or employment. While Ecuador
has the most liberal asylum policy of its South American
neighbors, it cannot come close to doing what is
needed to provide protection and basic services for
the large number of Colombians arriving in Ecuador
Ecuador’s northern border is home to over 85 percent
of all Colombian refugees, asylum seekers and population
in need of protection. The region includes five
provinces, Esmeraldas, Carchi, Imbabura, Sucumbíos
and Orellana, and spans 400 miles. Despite the
abundance of natural resources in the region, including
oil, economic development has not taken place.
As a result, the landscape consists mainly of dense
secondary rainforest scattered with small towns and
farming communities. The population on the border
region is impoverished and lacks access to basic infrastructure
like sewage, electricity and potable water.
Abstract: In recent years, Bolivia and Ecuador have faced so many challenges
to their stability and constitutional order that many
observers have wondered how these countries have avoided
slipping into widespread violent conflict. This paper examines
the political developments that have made these two of the
most volatile nations in the region. It also highlights the role
of the international community in preventing the eruption of
conflict in both countries.
The two South American nations share many common problems
and characteristics: they are highly divided societies
where wide sectors of the population have been historically
excluded from the political arena; they have weak political
parties that have been unable to create national coalitions;
they are fragile states that have been appropriated for the
personal benefit of elites; and their political structures have
been unable to effectively guarantee space for the resolution
of conflict within the existing legal frameworks. The combination
of these factors has contributed to the erosion of the
legitimacy of both states, further exacerbating intra-institutional
conflict and instability.
In this context, the 1990s saw the strengthening of social
movements that acquired important political salience and
that demanded a radical rethinking not only of how politics
operated, but of the configuration of the polity itself. In both
countries, the social movements took their demands to the
streets, staging massive protests that frequently paralyzed
the economy by blocking roads and airports. These contentious
tactics were met with fear and disdain by the political
establishment, which failed to effectively respond to their demands.
It is in this backdrop of contesting political discourses and
their consequent tensions that Evo Morales and Rafael Correa
won the presidential elections in Bolivia and Ecuador, respectively,
in 2006. Their triumphs are part of what is being
referred to as Latin America’s turn to the new left, after a wave of electoral contests clearly rejected the policies inspired by
the Washington-consensus, which had prevailed in the 1990s,
and brought to power left of center candidates in Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay
and Venezuela. This regional turn to the left has deservedly
received much attention3 and, as others have pointed out, it
would be a mistake to assume that all of these governments
are cut from the same mold. A tactical alliance with Venezuela
has provided both Ecuador and Bolivia the resources and
political support to allow their leaders to push forward radical
agendas without compromising with the opposition. While
ideologically closer to Chávez than to the more moderate
Bachelet in Chile and Lula in Brazil, Correa and Morales have
made efforts to not appear as mere mimics of the Venezuelan
president. When examining the potential for conflict, significant differences
in the political dynamics of these two nations must be
considered. While in both cases a strong regionalism permeates
social and political relations, the question of local autonomy
has become a serious threat for the unity of Bolivia.
The divide between the center of political power (La Paz) and
economic prosperity (Santa Cruz) has called into question the
strongly centralized government of Bolivia. The ethnic divide
that accompanies this division has resulted in the indigenous
population (who live mostly in the highlands) supporting Morales’
quest to retain that centralism as a feature of the new
constitution while the white and mestizo population of the
lowland ‘half moon’ (media luna) states demand greater autonomy
from the center. The level of confrontation between
these groups in Bolivia has been the source of violence rarely
seen in Ecuador. Also important to note is the higher level of
political independence of Rafael Correa, who arrived to the
Presidency after a brief political career, running under a newly
formed political movement. Contrary to Morales, Correa is not
part of a social movement with a long tradition, and thus is
free from having to respond to a set of specific demands. Morales’
agenda, on the other hand, has been defined not only
by the opposition, but also by the more radical sector of the
MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo), which is quick to remind him of the promises he made before and during the campaign to become their leader.
Abstract: Unprotected borders are a serious threat to the security of a number of states around the globe. Indeed, the combination of weak states, ungoverned space, terrorism, and international criminal networks make a mockery of the Westphalian system of international order. Latin American countries are experiencing all of these maladies in varying degrees. The Andean region is under assault by a different kind of war that defies borders. In this context, Dr. Gabriel Marcella analyzes the lessons to be learned from the Colombian attack against the clandestine camp of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which was located at an isolated area within Ecuador on March 1, 2008. This single incident and its aftermath had profound reverberations throughout the Hemisphere. The events leading to the attack illuminate the vulnerabilities of states, societies, and the international community to the actions of substate groups conducting criminal activities. Accordingly, the hemispheric community of nations needs to develop better ways to anticipate and resolve conflicts. The United States plays a critical role in the emerging security environment of the Andean region. Yet a superpower is often unaware of the immense influence it has with respect to small countries like Ecuador, which is trying to extricate itself from becoming a failed state. The author recommends that the United States manage its complex agenda with sensitivity and balance its support for Colombia with equally creative support for Ecuador.
Abstract: UNHCR's deputy chief told key donors on Thursday that a comprehensive assessment of the needs of refugees and other people cared for by the refugee agency in eight pilot countries has revealed some substantial and disturbing gaps that must be addressed.
Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees L. Craig Johnstone was launching "Refugee Realities" at the annual meeting of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee. The UNHCR report, based on the pilot Global Needs Assessment, presents a sobering picture of gaps in several areas, including shelter, health, education, food security, sanitation and the prevention of sexual violence. Nearly a third of those unmet needs were basic and essential services.
"Anyone who visits a refugee camp or sees the needs of refugees and asylum seekers living in urban areas can be in no doubt that more needs to be done," said Johnstone, who is leading the effort to mainstream Global Needs Assessment into UNHCR's overall budgeting process. "Obviously, meeting the needs of our beneficiaries and ensuring their basic rights will require more resources."
The pilot assessment, set to be rolled out worldwide in UNHCR operations for the 2010-2011 planning cycle, was carried out in Cameroon, Ecuador, Georgia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Yemen and Zambia earlier this year.
Abstract: Although all countries, in theory report their authorized transfers - and
such information may even be available in certain public databases - the
task of providing an overview of SALW transfers, their parts and
munitions, is an arduous one. Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, we
have some extremely positive initiatives on a global scale, such as for
example, the Small Arms Survey, recognized as an important source of
information, especially on SALW production and transfers, as well as the
Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) which has a
database containing transfer records going back to 1962.Despite these
important initiatives, themselves when researchers, activists and policy
makers try to understand a regional market, such as Latin America and
the Caribbean, they encounter a dearth of information. With the intent of addressing this shortcoming, En La Mira has, since 2007, dedicated an
issue to transfers of SALWs, parts and ammunition in this region. Further, according to statistics from the United Nations Commodity Trade
Statistics Database (UN-Comtrade or Comtrade), USD 6.7 billion were
exported between 2004 and 2006, while USD 6.5 billion were imported.
Despite the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean represent 6% and
3%, respectively, of total transfers worldwide during this period, 42% of
firearms related homicide is committed in the region. This discrepancy
between the international transfer volume share and the levels of armsrelated
violence in Latin America and the Caribbean calls attention to
itself, above all because of the tragic and startling number of homicides.
Obviously, far from wishing to increase arms transfers in order to be more
in sync with homicide rates, we decided, a year ago, to study this issue
and periodically monitor its development based on our interest in
understanding the primary legal entry and exit routes of firearms and
ammunition. The result is a report - based on customs information as
stated by Latin American and Caribbean countries and their respective
partners - whose objective is to describe the movement of the SALW
imports and exports, as well as ammunition and parts, during the present
decade. Based on this data, we answer the following questions: who
exported and who imported? From whom? What? And when?
It is worth restating that the intent of this report is not to explain the
cause of arms imports and exports by Latin American countries. Beyond
merely providing information, we do indeed wish to awaken, by means of
the information presented here, the curiosity of other researches, activists
and government staff members such that they may continue to perform research in their countries regarding the transparency of this information,
on who is using the transferred SALW, and how.
The data used for this report came from the NISAT database, which
contains more than 800,000 entries for SALW transfers worldwide since
1962. The NISAT database gets its information from different sources,
COMTRADE among them. In this study we decided to restrict ourselves
to data from this latter source because, in theory, all countries report
transfers to the UN. This data is declared in accordance with the
Harmonized System (SH) merchandise classification system. The HS has
existed since 1988and, in 2007, was revised for the fourth time; previous
revisions were in 1992, 1996 and in 2002. Regarding the period analyzed,
we are looking at data up until 2006, since at the time the study closed
this was the most recent year available on NISAT.
Abstract: The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), established in accordance with Human Rights Council decision 5/1 of 18 June 2006, held its first session from 7 to 18 April 2008. The review of Ecuador was held at the second meeting held on 7 April 2008. The delegation of Ecuador was headed by H.E. Mr. Gustavo Jalkh, Minister of Justice and Human Rights. At its sixth meeting held on 9 April 2008, the Working Group adopted the present report on Ecuador.
Abstract: From March 18-19, 2008 Senate Foreign Relations Committee minority staff traveled to Colombia and Ecuador on an official visit to understand the conflict that commenced with the March 1, 2008 raid by Colombia into Ecuador to eliminate the FARC’s1 second in command, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, better known by his nom de
guerre, ‘‘Raul Reyes.’’ During this trip, staff met with senior officials of the Governments of Colombia and Ecuador and senior offi-cials at the United States Embassies in those respective countries. (See Appendix VII). At the request of Senator Lugar, the purpose of the trip was to: Understand the recent conflict between Colombia and Ecuador, and the role played by Venezuela; Determine the outlook for future stability between the three countries, and what are the risks for another crisis; and Develop policy recommendations for the United States Government (USG).
Abstract: L'agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés a récompensé, par des subventions en espèces, 16 petites entreprises commerciales en Equateur, dans le cadre d'une initiative destinée Ã soutenir le sens de l'initiative parmi les réfugiés colombiens et Ã les aider Ã devenir auto-suffisants.
Abstract: Ecuador is poised for another round of instability unless the new president pays more attention to upholding the rule of law and building a consensus for fundamental reforms.
The latest background report from the International Crisis Group, examines the roots of volatility in Latin America's most unstable democracy. It looks at the new government of President Rafael Correa and his first steps to bring about political and socio-economic change, primarily through a Constituent Assembly (CA) to prepare a new constitution.
However, history shows the country's problems cannot be solved solely by constitutional engineering and that elites and traditional parties will do everything in their power to protect their privileges. To truly bury the ills of the old system and restore stability, Correa will need to ensure a level playing field for the CA, concentrate on the rule of law and develop wide-spread consent for his reforms.
"Correa and his left-wing administration portray themselves as catalysts for change to end the vicious cycle of chronic instability and provide a more just future for citizens", says Mark Schneider, Crisis Group's Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America. "But past presidents have made similar claims, only to fall quickly into the same corrupt habits".
Since 1996, Ecuador has had eight presidents, three of whom have been ousted by Congress and street protest. The rule of law has been progressively weakened and despite reform efforts, the political system has become largely dysfunctional. The country has also endured one of the continent's worst economic crises.
Correa's "shock therapy" during his first six months in office has resulted in government domination of Congress, the Electoral Court, parts of the judiciary and other state institutions and the #banking sector. He has also denounced critical media and engaged in reckless social spending.
Real change is only possible if Correa acts more decisively against corruption and reinforces the rule of law as part of an effort to generate investment and guard against a major drop in oil prices that could further destabilise the country. He must democratise and institutionalise his Alianza Paxc3xads movement, and ensure a transparent and fair CA process by seeking consensus on key constitutional points and elaborating an economically sustainable development plan with broad citizen participation.
Correa enjoys a record-high approval rating, but the 30 September election to the Constituent Assembly may prove difficult, as the political opposition has regrouped.
"Correa has shown his talent for communicating with the poor and working class, but Ecuador will quickly return to instability if he fails to take the rest of the country with him on the path to democratic change", says Markus Schultze-Kraft, Director of Crisis Group's Latin America Program.