March 31, 2005 United Nations // United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
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support from those same states is reduced or withdrawn....
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....
December 3, 2004 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // University of Maryland
After four centuries of rule by Genoa, fourteen years of self-rule, and eventual annexation by France in 1769, Corsican nationalism is well rooted in the Mediterranean island's native inhabitants. They are unique from mainland France in their culture and language, Corsican, a mixture of French and Italian. However, the Corsican proportion of the island's population has dwindled over the last half-century due to the immigration of mainland French, Italians, and North African Muslims, and emigration of young native Corsicans seeking greater economic opportunities. They remain a highly cohesive group however. They are represented by numerous conventional and militant organizations, the largest being the Front de la Liberation Nationale de la Corse (FLNC). The majority of Corsicans maintain that they wish to remain with France, but most support the achievement of greater autonomy through democratic methods. The militant organizations that call for full independence are numerous, unorganized, and contain non-political criminal elements; random bombings and sporadic acts of terrorism are their modus operandi.
The Corsicans' behavior diverges from many other minority groups in that their persistent rebellion is not mirrored by many factors known to cause such rebellion, such as: 1) high levels of group organization and cohesion, 2) regime instability, 3) and government repression. In contrast, factors that are thought to inhibit rebellion have not worked in Corsica, such as: 1) residing in a democratic regime, 2) efforts at negotiation and reform, 3) lack of serious regional armed conflicts. ...
December 6, 2006 Government of Sweden // Government of Norway // Government of Finland // Government of Iceland // Government of Denmark // Nordic Cooperation Group for Military UN Matters
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....
• 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....
February 24, 2011 International Peace Research Institute, Oslo
This handbook is intended to serve as a document that provides relevant information on issues that external actors who interact with diasporas in development and peacebuilding will encounter. It does not present simple replicable techniques, tools or instruments; rather, the authors aim to explain the underlying philosophy and aspects of process involved in facilitating participation of diasporas in development and peacebuilding (Pretty et al., 1995: ii). How to best apply these principles will vary from context to context. The document is based on experiences with various diaspora communities in the five European countries (Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway), though many of the examples cited focus on the Somali diaspora and, more generally, on diasporas originating from Africa. A number of those experiences are described in detail in separate text boxes....
September 29, 2009 The Finnish Institute of International Affairs // Ulkopoliittinen Instituutti
The summer of 2009 has been without a doubt a bad one for ISAF, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The increase in fighting this summer has led to debates in most of the troop contributing nations as to how they perceive Afghanistan’s future and their role in it. A complex insurgency has spread across the country as different groups have come together under the banner of the Taliban fighting both the international troops and the Afghan government. In the south and the east of Afghanistan, where guerilla warfare has been ongoing for at least three years, the fighting has intensified and an increase in the technical abilities and tactical skill of the Taliban insurgents has taken a heavy toll on coalition soldiers. In the north and west of Afghanistan—previously considered safer areas—the security situation has worsened considerably and troops who had been able to focus predominantly on reconstruction work are increasingly finding themselves soldiering in far more traditional ways. The Afghanistan general elections of 20 August can be considered a very limited success at best, not only because of the extensive and seemingly well based accusations of vote rigging, but also because in many parts of the country although the ISAF forces could secure the voting sites themselves, they could not provide sufficient security to stop Taliban intimidation from dissuading many Afghans from going to the polls in the first place. As the fighting has increased across the country, it is the Afghan civilians who are paying highest price....
September 4, 2009 The Finnish Institute of International Affairs // Ulkopoliittinen Instituutti
In the shadow of a Europe-wide debate over military involvement in Afghanistan, Finland is in the process of drafting a comprehensive national crisis management strategy (CNCM). The timeliness of this exercise was thrown into dramatic relief in January, when Israeli missiles struck and destroyed Finn Church Aid’s Al Shujaia clinic in Gaza. The clinic bombing was one of several related incidences of violence against humanitarian facilities. On a policy level, both the debate over Afghanistan and the events in Gaza call attention to a post September 11 environment in which humanitarian facilities and personnel are increasingly targets of terror and military violence. Finnish policymakers should take into consideration the changing security environment and the mosaic of actors involved in crisis management.
This briefing paper looks at the shrinking of humanitarian space and the increase in violence towards aid workers in the context of military-
humanitarian integration. It is argued that increased integration has complicated aid agencies’ attempts to maintain neutrality in the field.
The role of Finland in these issues is consequential. First, for Finland and aid agencies alike, joint operations raise the question as to whether impartiality requires neutrality. This relates to domestic debates over NATO involvement in Afghanistan and EU operations elsewhere. Though Finland has largely discontinued use of the term “neutral,” it continues to pursue the goal of impartiality in its humanitarian operations. Second, Finland has, through two successive EU presidencies, positioned itself as a leader in crisis management and as a proponent of expanded European civil-
military coordination. In the words of Erkki Tuomioja, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland “view[s] comprehensive crisis management operations, combining both the military and civilian instruments, as our challenge for the future.”...
August 11, 2009 Foundation for Defense of Democracies
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....