Thousands of international troops remain in Afghanistan, but some members of this coalition are more willing than others. FP looks at whose militaries are pulling their weight—and who could do far more.
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 7, 2004 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed shortly after the end of the Second World War to counter the threat of Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The treaty setting up the alliance was signed in 1949 by 10 Western European nations as well as Canada and the United States. NATO's mandate is to provide a common defence for the European and Atlantic areas, and to address common issues faced by the member countries.
The Eurocorps was created in 1992 as the concrete implementation of a political will that has developed since the 1950's. The Eurocorps comprises military contributions from its five framework nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain. The Headquarters, in which soldiers from the member states and also from Austria, Canada, Finland, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom participate, is located in Strasbourg, France. At the beginning of the third millennium it is now available as a Rapid Reaction Corps HQ for both the EU and NATO....
President Sarkozy has recently said that France may re-integrate into NATO's military command. This abrupt change in French policy opens doors to a much-needed improvement in EU-NATO relations. The two institutions have been barely co-operating on important missions like Kosovo, which leaves Europe ill-prepared for security challenges on its borders. But for the EU and NATO to really turn a corner, the UK must first agree with France how independent from the US, Europe's defences should become. The US will need to give France command posts in NATO, and Turkey will have to drop its opposition to Cyprus' co-operation with the alliance....
June 8, 2006 International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
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....
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....
April 15, 2005 European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
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....