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Abstract: • The protection of asylum-seekers in Europe is dealt with under three principal bodies of law: the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, the law of the European Union and the soft law developed by the Council of Europe.
• Member states of the Council of Europe are also bound by the judgments of the European Convention on Human Rights; although the convention makes no reference to refugee protection, its provisions and the judgments of its court in Strasbourg impose important obligations on states in respect of asylum.
• The entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999 initiated the first phase of the creation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), which aimed to harmonize refugee protection among member states while enabling them to meet their international obligations in that respect.
• The harmonizing measures adopted by the EU have been subject to severe criticism and the practices of member states reveal a systemic failure to comply with international refugee protection obligations.
• While there have been improvements in European refugee policy, significant challenges must be addressed before Europe can regain its reputation as a champion of the rights of the refugee. This is given particular urgency by recent events in North Africa, which may lead to large numbers of persons fleeing violence and disorder.
Abstract: This issue includes the following articles:
- Terrorist Awakening in Sweden?
- British Universities Continue to Breed Extremists
- Improving Airline Security in the United States
- Al-Qa`ida’s Yemeni Expatriate Faction in Pakistan
- Understanding Al-Qa`ida’s Business Model
- Disengagement or Deradicalization: A Look at Prison Programs for Jailed Terrorists
- Recent Highlights in Terrorist Activity
Abstract: This report compiles the latest evidence of European countries' complicity in the CIA's programmes in the context of the fight against terrorism in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA.
"The EU has utterly failed to hold member states accountable for the abuses they've committed," said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office.
"These abuses occurred on European soil. We simply can't allow Europe to join the US in becoming an 'accountability-free' zone. The tide is slowly turning with some countries starting investigations but much more needs to be done." Intergovernmental organizations such as the Council of Europe, the European Union and the UN have been at the forefront of investigating human rights violations associated with the CIA rendition and secret detention programmes.
Following disclosures in their reports, inquiries into state complicity or legal processes aimed at individual responsibility took place or are currently in progress in countries such as Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Abstract: From 1983 to 2005, Sudan was torn apart by a civil war
between the Government and Southern armed groups.
Oil was a factor in the outbreak and exacerbated war
from the mid-1990s. This report is concerned with the
injustice perpetrated on victims and the role of oil companies
and their home governments during the oil wars. Between 1997 and 2003, international crimes
were committed on a large scale in what was essentially
a military campaign by the Government of Sudan to
secure and take control of the oil fields in Block 5A. As
documented in this report, they included indiscriminate
attacks and intentional targeting of civilians, burning
of shelters, pillage, destruction of objects necessary
for survival, unlawful killing of civilians, rape of women,
abduction of children, torture, and forced displacement.
Thousands of people died and almost two hundred
thousand were violently displaced. Satellite pictures
taken between 1994 and 2003 show that the Lundin
Consortium’s activities in Block 5A coincided with a
spectacular drop in agricultural land use.
The actual perpetrators of the reported crimes were the
armed forces of the Government of Sudan and a variety
of local armed groups that were either allied to the
Government or its main opponent, the Sudan People’s
Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Nonetheless, the
evidence presented in this report calls into question the
role played by the oil industry in these events. ECOS believes that Lundin, Petronas and OMV, as a
matter of international law, may have been complicit in
the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Abstract: In 1936, while Sweden gave birth to one of the most peaceful solutions to class
conflict (i.e. the Neo-Corporatist Welfare State) with the iconic signature of the
Saltsjöbaden Accord, Spain gave birth to the most violent results: the Spanish Civil
War. Why did the political, social and economic elites choose collaboration in
Sweden and violent confrontation in Spain? Building on recent findings by economic
historians, this paper shows the notable socio-economic similarities between the two
countries: with European-record levels of social conflict, both were also late
industrialist economies enjoying remarkable growth rates as well as decreasing levels
of economic inequalities. The paper underlines an overlooked factor: the public
bureaucracy. In the key decades of state expansion (late 19th-early 20th century), the
semi-authoritarian Sweden – where executive and administrative positions, firmly in
hands of the Crown, were unaccountable to the parliament – created and consolidated
a meritocratic autonomous bureaucracy which promoted impartiality and the rule of
law. On the contrary, the instable and, on average, more liberal Spain – where
executive and administrative positions were frequently accountable to parliamentary
dynamics – built a patronage-based administration which allowed successive political
incumbents to implement their most preferred policies above the rule of law. This
made that in 1936, facing a leftist government extensively violating property rights,
the Spanish capitalist and middle-classes, until then the least supportive of fascism in
Europe, actively supported Franco’s military rebellion, which ended up becoming one
of the longest fascist regimes in the history.
Abstract: This book gives a comprehensive background to the long running conflict on the status of Western Sahara and particularly highlights the question of the territory's natural resources, such as fish, oil and phosphates. The book analyses why this territory, mainly covered by desert and only sparsely populated has since 1976 when the former colonial power Spain left the territory, engaged governments and people, both regionally and internationally, and the implications of its natural resources. The book includes: - a summary of the Western Saharan conflict, by Pedro Pinte Leite, specialist in international law in the Netherlands; - an up-to-date picture of the situation in Western Sahara with regard to natural resources, and the way in which exploitation is taking place, by Toby Shelley, a British journalist; - the UNs legal opinion from 2002 on exploitation of the natural resources of a Non-Self-Governing Territory written by Hans Corell, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel. Two political views of the conflict are also included. Magnus Schöldtz and Pål Wrange from the Swedish Foreign Ministry elucidate the Swedish Foreign Policy on the Western Sahara Conflict. A statement by Karin Scheele, MEP and President of the Intergroup on Western Sahara in the European Parliament focuses on the economic interests of the parties involved in the conflict.
These contributions together with an extended chronology, by Claes Olsson, over the different phases of the conflict form a useful information source for policy-makers, researchers, students and activists interested in or dealing with issues related to the Maghreb framework and in particular the Western Saharan conflict.
Abstract: The decision by the Australian Government on 21 August 2009 to officially
list the al-Shabaab group as a terrorist organisation highlights a subject of
growing concern in many Western governments: what is the danger posed
by the Somali-based group, and is it merely a regional actor? The question
is one of growing salience as stories increasingly surface of young Western
(or Westernised) men leaving their homes to fight and train with the Islamic
warriors in Somalia. Furthermore, the growing parallels with the 'chain of
terror' that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown highlighted, emanating
from Pakistan's lawless provinces through Europe's Muslim communities,
mean fears are growing that it might result in a terrorist attack on the scale
of the Madrid or London bombings.
This article outlines the growing sense of apparent threat in the West from
networks linked in some way to al-Shabaab. It offers some brief thoughts
on the growing links between what are herein termed 'the Shabaab
networks' and whether the threat from them is one than can be paralleled
with the threat from the similarly structured al-Qaeda networks.
Abstract: Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, nor is it likely to disappear anytime soon. It is not the exclusive domain of any single religion or ideology, nor do all terrorists come from the same socioeconomic class or share the same mental pathologies.1 In part, the diversity within contemporary terrorism is what makes it so great a challenge. This report describes, in great detail, the state of terrorism in Western countries over the course of 2008.
Before turning to terrorism events in the West during 2008 and key developments within Western countries’ legal systems, we are going to pinpoint a few broad trends—a few currents that run through the various incidents and cases that follow. As this report will show, concerns about the contemporary connection between criminal activities and terrorism are clear in Bulgaria, a country rife with organized crime. An April 2008 parliamentary report charged that profits from the country’s drug trade were channeled to Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
Abstract: The meeting of the Nordic Foreign Ministers in Stockholm on 18 April 2008 adopted a Plan
of Action for Nordic Cooperation in Afghanistan to enable them to be a more concerned
partner for the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) and the international community. The
countries indicated that a joint study should be undertaken to identify differences and
similarities in development strategies for Afghanistan, and the possibilities to strengthen this
cooperation over time.
The overall aim of an increased cooperation in the development field is to achieve a stronger
impact in sectors of particular importance to the Nordic countries. A more efficient
organisation of development work should ease the workload for each country. Furthermore, a
strengthened Nordic cooperation would enhance cooperation among donors in general, and
strengthen the role of the Afghan government in taking overall responsibility for the
development of Afghanistan.
The Nordic countries identified the following sectors as possible fields of increased
cooperation: good governance; administrative reform; capacity building; education; respect for human rights, with a particular focus on women; justice sector; fight against drugs.
Abstract: U.S. policymakers have made securing and maintaining foreign contributions
to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq a major priority since the preparation
period for the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. This report
highlights and discusses important changes in financial and personnel contributions
from foreign governments to Iraq since 2003.
To date, foreign donors have pledged an estimated $16.4 billion in grants and
loans for Iraq reconstruction, with most major pledges originating at a major donors'
conference in Madrid, Spain, in October 2003. However, only a small part of the
pledges have been committed or disbursed to the World Bank and United Nations
Development Group Trust Funds for Iraq. The largest non-U.S. pledges of grants
have come from Japan, the European Commission, the United Kingdom, Canada,
South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. The World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, Japan, and Saudi Arabia have pledged the most loans and export
Currently, 33 countries including the United States have some level of troops
on the ground in Iraq or supporting Iraq operations from nearby locations. Those
forces are working under the rubric of one of several organizations — the
Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I); or
the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Currently, the largest
troop contributors, in addition to the United States, are the United Kingdom, Georgia,
Australia, South Korea, and Poland. Some of these key contributors have announced
their intention to reduce or withdraw their forces from Iraq during 2008. The total
number of non-U.S. coalition troop contributions has declined since the early
stabilization efforts, as other countries have withdrawn their contingents or
substantially reduced their size.
Abstract: La présente évaluation de la politique des vingt-sept pays membres de l’Union
européenne en faveur des droits de l’Homme répond au développement récent des
« investissements éthiques », constitués pour une grand part d’actions d’entreprises privées, mais également d’obligations d’Etat. C’est cette partie « obligataire » dont il s’agit ici d’éclairer les fondements dans une perspective « éthique », dans l’optique de favoriser les investissements dans les Etats menant une politique plus active de promotion des droits de l’homme. Cette étude s’inscrit dans la continuité des études élaborées en 2001, 2003 et 2005.
Abstract: The international assistance to Afghanistan following the ousting of the Talibanregime
at the end of 001 has in many ways been unique. First, it has sought to
combine the immediate humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts with a longer-term
post-conflict reconstruction and development perspective. Secondly, the donor
countries at a very early stage attempted to coordinate a joint strategic approach of
harmonised efforts, including prioritisation of a limited number of selected sector
interventions by each donor. Finally, by focusing on capacity building of the new
Afghan government align#ing the donor assistance mainly through the governmentadministered
programmes, a new agenda of post-conflict assistance has been set.
The evaluation of the assistance to Afghanistan has also set new standards of collaboration.
Even before the new government had been elected, representatives of
the evaluation departments of the five donor organisations, the Danish and Dutch
Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Development Cooperation of Ireland (DCI), the
Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and the United Kingdom's
Department for International Development (DfID), in 003 agreed to undertake
a joint evaluation of the Afghanistan humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.
The evaluation aimed at assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact,
coherence and connectedness of the assistance identifying lessons for improving the
response by donor organisations in future complex security, humanitarian, rehabilitation
and development situations. In addition, the evaluation was also to assess the
degree to which the assistance responded to the needs of internally displaced persons
(IDPs) within Afghanistan. This report is a short version, intended for a wider audience, of the findings and
recommendations of the evaluation.
Abstract: NORDCAPS is the military cooperation between the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) and was established in 1997 by Nordic Ministers of Defence. The aim was to strengthen already existing cooperation in the Nordic Cooperation Group for Military UN matters (NORDSAMFN) with regard to military peace support operations (PSO) and expand it to cover operations mandated or lead by others than the UN. NORDCAPS is an optional tool for enhanced coordination when there is a common political will between the Nordic nations to participate together in specific Peace Support Operations.
Abstract: Profile: Al-Ittihad al-Islami (AIAI) operative who also worked for al-Qaeda; Grew up in Germany and Sweden, a refugee from the Somali civil war. An imam in Sweden sponsored his trip for weapons training in Afghanistan in 1996; he returned to Somalia that year. He joined AIAI in 1997 to oppose Ethiopia; He met Abu Talha in early 2003, and on his orders cased Camp Lemonier, the U.S. military base in Djibouti in Fall 2003; He was one of 14 key al-Qaeda operatives and associates transferred from CIA custody to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.
Abstract: The human rights situation deteriorated in numerous former Soviet republics. Independent
human rights monitoring groups, including several affiliates of the IHF, came under
attack. The Russian Federation, Belarus, and the Central Asian regimes promulgated
new legislation or changed their practices to allow these states arbitrarily to restrict the activities
of nongovernmental organizations. The leaders of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee
faced fabricated criminal charges, and in January 2006, state-controlled Russian media
falsely implicated the Moscow Helsinki Group in espionage.
Abstract: The United States has progressively woven a clandestine "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers - spun with the collaboration or tolerance of Council of Europe member states, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said today. In a draft resolution adopted at a meeting in Paris, based on a report by Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE), the committee said hundreds of persons had become entrapped in this web - in some cases when they were merely suspected of sympathising with a presumed terrorist organisation. The parliamentarians said this knowing collusion of member states took several different forms, including secretly detaining a person on European territory, capturing a person and handing them over to the US or permitting unlawful "renditions" through their airspace or across their territory. "It# has now been demonstrated incontestably, by numerous well-documented and convergent facts, that secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving European countries have taken place, such as to require in-depth inquiries and urgent responses by the executive and legislative branches of all the countries concerned," the committee said. The committee called on Council of Europe member states to review bilateral agreements signed with the United States, particularly those on the status of US forces stationed in Europe, to ensure they conformed fully to international human rights norms. The report is due for debate by the plenary Assembly - which brings together 630 parliamentarians from the 46 Council of Europe member states - in Strasbourg on 27 June 2006.
Abstract: The United States of America finds that neither the classic instruments of criminal law and procedure, nor the framework of the laws of war (including respect for the Geneva Conventions) has been apt to address the terrorist threat. As a result it has introduced new legal concepts, such as "enemy combatant" and "rendition", which were previously unheard of in international law and stand contrary to the basic legal principles that prevail on our continent. Thus, across the world, the United States has progressively woven a clandestine "spider's web" of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers, often encompassing countries notorious for their use of torture. Hundreds of persons have become entrapped in this web, in some cases merely suspected of sympathising with a presumed terrorist organisation.
Abstract: In March 2005, members of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Working Group on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) issued a questionnaire to states parties regarding ERW and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This memorandum contains an analysis by Human Rights Watch of the responses provided by states parties to the questionnaire. Human Rights Watch believes that the responses to date lead to the conclusion that national implementation measures, especially with regard to cluster munitions and the submunitions they dispense, are not adequate, and that additional measures are required to ensure adequate protections for civilian populations.
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Canada, the United
Kingdom and the Netherlands in implementing Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) (Appendix 1). This xe2x80x98lessons learned' exercise has identified good practices and effective working methods which should now be used to enhance Sweden's continued efforts towards implementation of resolution 1325. Resolution 1325 is the first UN Security Council resolution specifically highlighting the impact of war and conflict on women and g#irls and the importance of women's involvement in peacekeeping processes.
Abstract: The purpose of this report is to raise awareness about the human rights situation of Roma in four countries; Greece, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK). The IHF has chosen to focus on the rights of Roma in these countries because it wishes to raise more awareness about problems faced by Roma in Western Europe, a topic often neglected in discussions on human rights violations, intolerance and discrimination in the OSCE region.
The report discusses intolerance and discrimination against Roma in different areas: employment and education, housing, health, violence and relations with law enforcement authorities. Due to recent anti-Roma media reporting in the UK, the report also covers, more thoroughly, the media situation and political tendencies in that country. Most of the fields and issues are interlinked and therefore addressed in an integrated manner.
Abstract: The report reveals that Chechens seeking refuge abroad are facing many obstacles. For example, their very basic right to seek asylum is not always respected: In Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Chechens are denied access to the national asylum procedure. Many stay there without any legal rights and almost no humanitarian assistance; Chechens are sometimes denied access to the territory of other states. This happens routinely at the border with Ukraine; EU member states have a widely differing approach to Chechen asylum seekers. Refugee recognition rates vary dramatically within the EU, and the outcome of "the asylum lottery" depends on the country in which the claim has been processed. During the first six months of 2004, the Slovak Republic did not grant asylum to a single person from Russia, while Austria's refugee recognition rate for this group was 96 %. The report raises concern that the system of asylum and integration in new EU states receiving many Chechen asylum seekers, are not up to European standards. It appeals# to "old" EU states to support "new" EU states in providing protection to Chechen asylum seekers. In a recommendation to European states, the Norwegian Refugee Council states that "old" EU states should use the powers they have under the Dublin regulation to examine claims from Chechen asylum seekers lodged on their territory, even if they believe a new member state to be responsible under the Regulations's criteria.
Abstract: Scores of alleged Islamist militants have been sent back to Egypt, where they have faced torture and serious mistreatment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today (May 11). The United States is among the countries that have rendered such suspects to Egypt. The Egyptian government has held many of the suspects in prolonged incommunicado detention. In some cases, Egypt has refused to acknowledge the whereabouts of those pers#ons, and even the fact that they were in custody, raising concerns that some of the suspects have been forcibly "disappeared."
The 53-page report, "Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt," identifies some 60 individuals, mostly alleged Islamist militants of Egyptian origin, whom other states rendered to Egypt since 1994. The sending states have mainly been Arab and South Asian countries, but include Sweden as well as the United States.
Abstract: Governments in Europe and North America are increasingly sending suspects to abusive states on the basis of flimsy "diplomatic assurances" that expose the detainees to serious risk of torture and ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today (April 15). The 91-page report, Still at Risk: Diplomatic Assurances No Safeguard against Torture, documents the growing practice among Western governmentsxe2x80x94including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlandsxe2x80x94of seeking assurances of humane treatment in order to transfer terrorism suspects to states with well-established records of torture. The report details a dozen cases involving actual or attempted transfers to countries where torture is commonplace.
Abstract: A report issued on 13 April 2005 by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) concludes that the lack of adequate data on the level of racist attacks in 15 member states is masking the scale of the problem.
The EU body looked at the data collection systems in the 15 states and found that only six had comprehensive systems, while in most states, racist violence was not specifically recorded as such. This lack of information makes it impossible to determine the scale of violence, or to take effective measures to combat it, concludes the report.
The evidence that is available from UK and France suggests that there has been a marked increase in attacks against refugees, immigrants, Jews and, particularly, Muslims since the September 11 disaster.
A recent French report showed that violence against Jews and Muslims in particular had doubled in the last year.
Abstract: The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) can be seen as intrinsically linked with human rights as those it helps are,
by definition, victims of serious human rights violations. However it was only in the
early 1990s that UNHCR began to actively cooperate with the UN human rights
mechanisms through sharing information, lobbying experts and promoting
complementary legal standards. UNHCR's current involvement with UN-based
human rights bodies nevertheless continues to be cautiously limited. This may be due
to the fact, to cite one reason amongst many, that UNHCR has been accused of having
become xe2x80x98highly politicised and . . . limited by states' concerns regarding sovereignty'.
To put it bluntly, xe2x80x98if UNHCR vociferously criticises states, UNHCR risks being
thrown out of the country and losing its access to refugees'. A less dramatic
occurrence is that UNHCR's advice to states, particularly when it is critical of asylum
laws and practices linked to violations of refugee protection and human rights
principles, can simply be ignored. Yet another consideration is that if UNHCR
expresses concern about the asylum policies and practices of key supporting states it
may find itself saddled with additional political and financial difficulties when
support from those same states is reduced or withdrawn.