February 9, 2011 The International Journal of Transitional Justice
Most studies of truth commissions assert their positive role in improving human rights. A
firstwave of researchmade these claims based on qualitative analysis of a single truth commission
or a small number of cases. Thirty years of experience with truth commissions and
dozens of examples allow cross-national statistical studies to assess these findings. Two
recent studies undertake that project. Their findings, which are summarized in this article,
challenge the prevailing view that truth commissions foster human rights, showing
instead that commissions, when used alone, tend to have a negative impact on human
rights. Truth commissions have a positive impact, however, when used in combination
with trials and amnesties. This article extends the question of whether truth commissions
improve human rights to how, when and why they succeed or fail in doing so. It presents a
‘justice balance’ explanation, whereby commissions, incapable of promoting stability and
accountability on their own, contribute to human rights improvements when they complement
and enhance amnesties and prosecutions. The article draws on experiences in
Brazil, Chile, Nepal, South Korea and South Africa to illustrate the central argument....
November 1, 2010 Institute for Security and Development Policy
More than half a century has elapsed since the division of the Korean nation
that had lived on one and the same territory as a homogeneous nation
throughout its time-honored history of several thousands of years. From the
early days of national division, the government of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea (DPRK) has given priority to efforts aimed at achieving
national reunification, advanced most reasonable and realistic policies and
proposals for national reunification at every stage of its development, and
has made every possible effort to bring them into effect. It is true that inter-Korean relations move in a repeated cycle of reconciliation,
improvement, confrontation and exacerbation. However, it is only
a matter of time before north and south Korea will move towards the goal
of reunification. The era moving towards reunification that has lasted for the past ten
years since the announcement of the historic June 15 North-South Joint Declaration
in 2000 has been an era of exaltation that has instilled renewed hope
of reunification into the hearts of the entire Korean nation.No one can deny that the question of Korean reunification is an internal
matter and should be addressed by the Korean nation itself. However, as
we look back upon the essence of Korean issues, the historical background
of Korea’s division and the underlying elements of its reunification, we find
that the issue of reunification is also a major security issue for the region,
directly linked to the more comprehensive issue of peace on the Korean
Peninsula. Accordingly, the issue of Korean reunification deserves greater
attention so that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula can be secured;
the focal point in ensuring global peace and security at the present time....
Through a feminist analysis of the South Korean and Japanese governments' responses to the 1990-2006 redress movement for the 1930-1945 Imperial Japanese WWII military's 'comfort women' prostitution system, this paper examines a number of very pertinent issues. It considers the ways in which perceptions of prostitution have become a part of nationalist discourses and examines how policies related to women's sexuality, including prostitution and rape, become non-issues in wartime. Through a study of the various parties that have governed in both countries during this sixteen year period, this paper comparatively analyzes the South Korean and Japanese governments' denial of this period of military sexual slavery. It argues that the Japanese government's and South Korean government's respective manipulation of the 1990-2006 'comfort women' redress movement is predicated on nationalistic imperatives, no longer related to physical geographical sovereignty, but to ideological sovereignty....
May 10, 2007 Atlantic Council of the United States
The United States has few more important policy goals than eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The risk that the repressive Pyongyang regime could transfer nuclear weapons and materials to rogue states or terrorist groups weighs particularly heavy on the minds of U.S. policymakers. U.S. negotiators in February 2007 achieved a breakthrough in the Six Party talks towards the goal of reversing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. The "joint agreement" - among the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia - set in motion a process for dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. But this agreement still leaves the parties a long distance from denuclearizing North Korea or resolving other fundamental security, political, and economic issues on the Korean peninsula. The report that follows describes a path and the elements of a comprehensive settlement to achieve the full range of U.S. strategic goals in Korea....
November 15, 2005 Central Asia-Caucasus Institute // Johns Hopkins University // Uppsala University
The Korean peninsula remains one of the most heavily fortified territories
in the world. The demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula is still of great
strategic importance at a time when traditional boundaries in other regions
have lost some of their geographical significance as a result of the end of the
Cold War. Deterrence against North Korean military threats remains a
predominant concern among policy makers. Added to the already tense
situation between the two Koreas, there are now a host of new problems
related to environmental degradation and economic difficulties in North
Korea that are pressuring the region and creating new security dilemmas.
This makes the efforts begun under Kim Dae-jung's "sunshine policy" and
now embodied in Roh Moo-hyun's "policy of peace and prosperity", a
program to promote confidence and trust on the Korean peninsula, so
important for the security of, not only the two Koreas, but to the broader
Northeast Asian region as well....
The size and scope of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has dwindled since the height of the invasion in 2003. Britain, the largest member of the coalition after the United States, recently announced plans to withdraw 1,600 troops from Iraq in the months ahead and to shift their combat role to support and training. U.S. and British officials say this partial withdrawal is a positive sign because security is improving in parts of the south, where coalition forces are primarily stationed, and where Iraqi forces are increasingly "stepping up." The shrinking of the coalition coincides with a surge of U.S. forces deployed to Anbar and Baghdad provinces but may complicate efforts to eventually redeploy from Iraq....
South Korea is a source, transit, and destination country for women who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women from Russia, the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to South Korea. Korean women are trafficked to Japan and to the United States, sometimes via Canada, for exploitation in prostitution.
Throughout most of its history, Korea has been invaded, influenced, and fought over by its larger neighbors. Korea's closed-door policy, adopted to ward off foreign encroachment, earned it the name of "Hermit Kingdom." Japanese, Chinese, and Russian competition in Northeast Asia led to armed conflict, and Japan defeated its two competitors and established dominance in Korea, formally annexing it in 1910. Japan remained firmly in control until the end of World War II. Near the end of the war, the April 1945 Yalta Conference agreed to establish a four-power trusteeship for Korea. With the unexpected early surrender of Japan, the United States proposed-and the Soviet Union agreed-that Japanese troops surrender to US forces south of the 38th parallel and to Soviet forces north of that line....
Generally, truth commissions are bodies established to research and report on human rights abuses over a certain period of time in a particular country or in relation to a particular conflict. Truth commissions allow victims, their relatives and perpetrators to give evidence of human rights abuses, providing an official forum for their accounts. In most instances, truth commissions are also required by their mandate to provide r#ecommendations on steps to prevent a recurrence of such abuses.
September 16, 2008 American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The West's tepid response to Russia's recent invasion of Georgia sends a dangerous message to Asian democracies who have long depended upon support from the United States to protect them from regional menaces. Lack of pronounced U.S. support for its Georgian ally may lead China and other autocratic powers in Asia to infer that the American defense of global liberalization is mere rhetoric. When autocracy sneezes, Asia catches cold. Russia's naked power grab in the Caucasus will have global repercussions, nowhere more so than in Asia. While Europe now contemplates a return to long-term tension on Russia's southwestern borders, Moscow's act of war will have lasting effects far from the Black Sea, namely the threat to democratic trends in Asia, and the bolstering of China's global position.
The struggle for freedom in Asia has changed millions of lives, and yet is an unfinished battle. Asia's young democracies, from Mongolia to Taiwan, are no doubt chilled by Georgia's plight. The naked use of force against a sovereign, democratic state by a gargantuan rival sends a message hard to miss. Whatever the pretext, be it natural resources, separatist movements, or old territorial disputes, the reassertion of might over right threatens the political gains of the past decades that have helped Asia become the most vibrant region on earth. Anti-liberal forces at home in these smaller nations will take comfort from the reversion to a machtpolitik world, while other national elites may well be willing to compromise their freedoms to maintain their economic privileges....
A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 17 nations finds that majorities in only nine of them believe that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In no country does a majority agree on another possible perpetrator, but in most countries significant minorities cite the US government itself and, in a few countries, Israel. These responses were given spontaneously to an open-ended question that did not offer response options. On average, 46 percent say that al Qaeda was behind the attacks while 15 percent say the US government, seven percent Israel, and seven percent some other perpetrator. One in four say they do not know. WPO_911_Sep08_graph.jpgGiven the extraordinary impact the 9/11 attacks have had on world affairs, it is remarkable that seven years later there is no international consensus about who was behind them," comments Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org....
As the number of defectors from North Korea arriving in
the South has surged in the past decade, there is a growing
understanding of how difficult it would be to absorb a
massive flow of refugees. South Korea is prosperous and
generous, with a committed government and civil society,
and yet refugees from the North almost all fail to integrate
or thrive. Part of this is the change in the people coming;
it is no longer just senior officials and fighter pilots who
were useful and privileged propaganda tools. Nowadays
many are women who have endured terrible deprivation
in the North and abuse on their way to the South. Reconfiguring
programs for defectors to take account of this
change is essential if new defectors are to find a place in
their new home.
The heart of the issue is humanitarian: those who arrive in
the South are often fleeing material deprivation and political
persecution and under South Korean law must be accepted
and helped. But as with all humanitarian issues, it
is complicated by politics. Defectors have been used by
both sides. The South once rewarded them with wealth
and public regard but that changed when rapprochement
with the North began in the late 1990s. Defectors became
something of an embarrassment, and policies to help them
did not keep up with the numbers and types of people
As the difficulties of absorbing North Koreans become
clear, the South is also wrestling with the possibility that
it one day might have to handle a vast outflow of refugees
from a collapsing North. The two sides of the Demilitarised
Zone have diverged so much in economics, politics,
language and social organisation that the people are now
strangers to each other. South Korean law and opinion
from some quarters would likely demand a rapid unification,
but economic and social realities suggest such a move
could be catastrophic. The difficulties of handling just over
20,000 refugees over a few decades should be a warning
to those who wish to encourage the collapse of the North
rather than a more gentle integration....
This briefer provides up-to-date information on the Burma-China gas and oil pipelines. Through firsthand accounts, leaked documents, and publicly available information, EarthRights International analyzes corporate responsibility and accountability with respect to the pipelines, according to international laws and standards, and Burmese law. It discusses how to mitigate harmful impacts and improve the benefits for the people of Burma, and concludes with practical recommendations for key stakeholders....
March 3, 2011 Institut für Strategie- Politik- Sicherheits- und Wirtschaftsberatung
The following remarks are from a lecture given by Dr. Kongdan Oh at the 1st RINSA-Konrad Adenauer Foundation Internatio-nal Conference “European and Asian Perspectives on International Security Policies”, organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in cooperation with the Research Institute for National Security Affairs (RINSA), Korea National Defense University (KNDU) , February 15, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea:
The two Koreas have suffered through a long history of military confrontation, and there is little reason to expect that relations will improve in the near future. Over the last few years both Koreas have strengthened their armed forces, and thanks to the 2010 North Korean attacks in the West Sea, this military buildup is likely to continue in the years ahead.
The motivation for North Korea to engage in active confrontation continues, and may even be increased, and the resources that could be employed in those confrontations are becoming more deadly.
The incompatibility of the political, economic, and social systems of the two Koreas is a continuing source of ill will. Military confrontation is an extension of political confrontation. Until the political system of North Korea changes, South Korea’s best hope for peace is to limit the North’s employment of its military forces in active engagements....
The deadly provocations by North Korea in the Yellow Sea in 2010 – the Ch’ŏnan sinking and the Yŏnp’yŏng Island shelling – drew condemnation and limited military responses by South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, but Beijing has been reluctant to go beyond counselling restraint to all parties. While declining to call Pyongyang to account, it criticised Washington for stepped-up military exercises with allies in North East Asia.
China’s influence in Pyongyang makes it crucial for international efforts to address North Korean provocations, and how it deals with clashes in the Yellow Sea is an important test of its willingness, capacity and credibility in handling regional conflict risks more generally. However, Beijing is undermining both its own and regional security by downplaying Pyongyang’s deadly behaviour in the Yellow Sea. Diplomatic shielding of the North, particularly at the UN, has damaged its international image and weakened its standing as an honest broker in the Six-Party Talks, while encouraging risky conventional and nuclear initiatives by North Korea. China’s behaviour has caused South Korea and Japan to strengthen bilateral coordination and their military alliances with the U.S. and consider expansion of their own missile defence systems, intensifying the risk of a regional arms race. China’s policy of supporting Pyongyang instead of holding it to account – ostensibly for the sake of stability – is heightening the risk of conflict on the Korean Peninsula....
February 3, 2011 Council on Foreign Relations // Center for Preventive Action
Further provocations by North Korea as well as other dangerous military interactions on or around the Korean peninsula remain a serious risk and carry the danger of unintended escalation. Moreover, changes underway in North Korea could precipitate new tensions and herald a prolonged period of instability that raises the possibility of military intervention by outside powers. This Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Paul Stares analyzes potentially dangerous crises that could erupt in Korea due to the atmosphere of recrimination and mistrust that exists between North and South; the possibility of provocative, domestically driven North Korean behavior; and the potential for a troubled succession process in Pyongyang. Stares concludes that the United States has a strong and abiding interest in ensuring that another Korean war not be ignited and provides recommendations to reduce the risk of unwanted military escalation on the Korean peninsula....