Final 2011 Peace & Security Report - 12/16/2011

IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to brief busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community on pertinent global news, events, and trends.  Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.

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PEACE & SECURITY REPORT
IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to brief busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community on pertinent global news, events, and trends.  Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.
Special Note:  This will be the final PSR for 2011.  We would like to thank all of our 30k+ weekly readers for a wonderful year, and we look forward to producing 45 new free reports for you in 2012.  Happy Holidays and a peaceful New Year to each of you!

Featured Article 

"No One Left to Witness" 

Human Rights Watch

 

IPSI Featured Article Image For centuries, Uzbekistan was famed as a hub of trade and rich cultural exchange on the Silk Road connecting China to Western Europe. More recently, however, the Central Asian country has come to be known for something far darker: torture.

Perhaps nothing brings the torture epidemic that plagues Uzbekistan's police stations and prisons into more terrifying focus than photographs that local human rights defenders circulated in 2002 of Muzafar Avazov, a religious prisoner who died after he was submerged in boiling water by his prison interrogators. Those who saw Avazov's body reported seeing a large, bloody wound on the back of his head, heavy bruising on his forehead and side of his neck, and hands with no fingernails.

In 2003, a report by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture concluded that torture in Uzbekistan's criminal justice system was both "systematic" and "widespread," often occurring immediately after a person's detention, during interrogation, when a person has no access to a lawyer, and is far from a judge's oversight. The report put Uzbekistan's abysmal human rights record and pervasive torture problem in pre-trial and prison facilities squarely on the international agenda, prompting the United States, European Union, and other key institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to set concrete human rights requirements for the Uzbek government to meet to enhance bilateral relations and further public sector investment. 

  


Africa
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Election results disputed, Kabila declared winner
Last week, incumbent President Joseph Kabila was declared the winner of the election held on November 28. The official results showed 49 percent voting for Kabila and 32 percent voting for Etienne Tshisekedi, his main rival. Tshisekedi, who claims that his party's calculations put him at 54 percent to Kabila's 26 percent, immediately declared himself the rightful president. Observers from The Carter Center acknowledged that some of the results lacked credibility, but stipulated that the documented violations did not necessarily change the final order of candidates. Comment: The DRC is still recovering from the 1998-2003 war that killed more than four million people. While President Kabila has a strong base of support in the east, Tshisekedi is highly popular in the capital, Kinshasha. Many fear a return to serious conflict if scheduled election protests turn violent. (Reuters, AP, BBC, The Guardian)

GAMBIA: Bensouda named new ICC Chief Prosecutor
On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the election of Fatou Bensouda as the next Chief Prosecutor. Ms. Bensouda, deputy to the current Chief Prosecutor, is a former senior legal adviser for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has also served as Gambia's justice minister. She will be the first African to fill the ICC's top post. Comment: To date, all crimes prosecuted by the ICC have been part of African conflicts, leading critics to claim the court unfairly targets the continent. Many hope that Ms. Bensouda's appointment-heavily supported by the African Union-will diminish this perception. (The Namibian, AFP, Reuters, BBC)

KENYA: Doctors end strike, resume work
Doctors and dentists returned to work on Wednesday after a nationwide ten-day strike. Last week, around 2,300 doctors walked out of hospitals and clinics, demanding a 300 percent pay increase. After negotiations with the doctors' union, the government offered money to be used for training, to help settle debts, and to provide a stipend for doctors on call. The government also offered a salary increase, effective starting in July of next year. Comment: Striking doctors had faced criticism from patients' families, who say they left the ill to die. Their union claims the doctors have not received any pay increase for over a decade, while inflation has approached 20 percent. Public sector doctors in Kenya earn around 35,000 shillings (USD 390) per month. (Daily Nation, All Africa, Reuters)

RWANDA: Sentence reduced for genocide organizer
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) announced Wednesday that it would reduce the sentence for Theoneste Bagosora, Rwanda's former cabinet director of the Defense Ministry. The ICTR appeals court cleared Bagosora of several past charges, although it upheld the previous convictions of genocide and crimes against humanity. Bagosora's sentenced was reduced from life to 35 years. Comment: Bagosora is viewed as having played a key role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide; General Romeo Dallaire, former head of UN Peacekeeping Operations, called Bagosora the "kingpin" behind the killings. Accounting for time already served, the new sentence will imprison the 70-year-old Bagosora until he is 89. (Reuters, BBC, ICTR News)
Researched/Written by  Nori Kasting

Americas
CANADA: Burqa banned during citizenship oath
On Monday, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kennedy announced that effective immediately Muslim women will be required to remove their nigabs, burkas, and other face coverings during the oath of Canadian citizenship. Citizenship judges have claimed that it is difficult to validate the identity of the person applying for citizenship with such a covering. Kennedy indicated it may be more than an issue of logistics, "To hide their identity from us when they are joining our community is contrary to Canada's proud commitment to openness and to social cohesion." Comment: The Associated Press reported that Muslims make up about 2.8 percent of the Canadian population, while Islam is the fastest growing religion in the country. Over the last decade Canada has naturalized between 150,000 and 180,000 new citizens annually. The rule also takes effect as the Supreme Court of Canada hears the case of a woman who wants the right to wear a niqab while facing her accused rapists in court. (The Guardian, AP, Vancover Sun)

MEXICO: Zeta drug lord arrested
Mexican navy forces captured a Zeta drug cartel founding member who was head of operations in three states throughout Mexico, including Veracruz, on Monday. Hernadez Lechugam, known as El Lucky, had a 15 million peso (USD one million) bounty on his head. President Calderon claimed El Lucky to be on the list of the 37 most wanted drug lords, with only 15 remaining at large. Comment: Since Calderon's offensive on organized crime in 2006, more than 45,000 people have been killed in growing drug-related violence in Mexico. Security forces consist of some 50,000 troops and federal police who are actively attempting to tackle the country's drug gangs with top leaders being targeted. (Reuters, AFP, BBC)

PANAMA: Dictator returns to serve time
General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the de facto leader from 1983-1989 in Panama, has now returned to the country after being extradited from France on Sunday. The 77-year-old Noriega has a 60-year sentence to serve in Panama on convictions for murder, corruption, and embezzlement. He is currently being held in El Renacer, a maximum-security prison located in a jungle area on the shores of the Panama Canal. Comment: Noriega has already served 20 years in prison in the U.S. for drug trafficking charges before being extradited to France in 2010, where he was sentenced to seven years for money laundering. Now in his home country, it remains unclear whether he will remain at El Renacer or be allowed house arrest, as Panama permits people aged 70 years and above to serve their sentences at home. (Latin American Herald Tribune, BBC, Hispanically Speaking News)

UNITED STATES: Immigration Law Review
The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will evaluate the constitutionality of controversial Arizona Immigration Law SB1070. The court will hear Arizona's appeal of a ruling issued last year by Judge Susan Bolton of the U.S. federal Court of Appeals for the 9th that said the state was interfering with the federal government's authority over immigration policy. One of the contested stipulations within SB1070 is the allowance of the police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status. The Obama administration urged the justices to reject the Arizona appeal without a hearing, claiming the law conflicts with Supreme Court decisions establishing that the federal government is the ultimate authority on immigration. Comment: The decision of the Supreme Court will determine the fate of similar laws approved in other states like Alabama, Georgia, Utah, and South Carolina with anti-immigration language. Justice Elena Kagan will not take part in the decision considering her past work on the issue in the Justice department, leaving it to eight justices. The final ruling on the law will be issued in the midst of the U.S. presidential campaign. (New York Times, AP, Bloomberg)
Researched/Written by  Laura Castelli

East Asia
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Prime Minister O'Neill refuses to step down
On Tuesday, political upheaval caused by two men both claiming to be Prime Minister (PM) escalated when the two men's police forces clashed outside the Government House. Current PM Peter O'Neill refused to step down after the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that former PM Michael Somare should be reinstated. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday has further perpetuated the state of chaos in the country. Comment: O'Neill was elevated to PM while Somare was receiving medical treatment in Singapore, but the court ruled that the PM seat was not vacant and therefore O'Neill could not legally replace him. Despite the court's ruling, O'Neill appears to have significantly more parliamentary and public support than Somare. (NY Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Morning Herald, AFP)

CHINA: Child Trafficking Bust
Last Wednesday, Chinese authorities announced the bust of two large child trafficking rings. Approximately 5,000 police officers in 10 provinces were utilized to arrest 608 people on charges of selling children; 178 children were released and placed in welfare agencies. Chinese authorities have called this "the biggest victory yet for anti-trafficking" efforts. Last July, 89 children were rescued in a police operation that resulted in the arrest of 369 people. Comment: Experts blame child selling on China's one child policy and the cultural preference for male children. In some cases, families sell their female child so that they can try again for a boy. Lax adoption regulations are also blamed for the prevalence of child trafficking. (NY Times, AFP, BBC)

SOUTH KOREA: Coastguardsmen stabbed to death by fisherman
On Monday, two South Korean coastguardsmen were stabbed, one fatally, by Chinese fishermen who were resisting the impoundment of their vessel for fishing illegally near South Korea's Incheon port. China has agreed to cooperate with South Korean authorities in the investigation and further assist in the prevention of illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea. Comment: Violent clashes have increased as fisherman attempt to avoid arrest and steep fines for illegal fishing; the South Korean coast guard recently started using tear gas and rubber bullets to fend off fisherman who become violent. 430 Chinese fishing boats have been seized this year for fishing illegally in the Yellow Sea, but this is the first deadly incident in three years. (NY Times, BBC, AP)

Researched/Written by Caitlyn Davis 

Europe & Central Asia
BELGIUM: Attack at Christmas market
On Tuesday, 33 year-old Nordine Amrani fired an assault rifle and threw hand grenades into a crowded shopping area at Place Saint-Lambert, one of the busiest intersections in the eastern city of Liège. Amrani killed six people, including himself, and wounded 123 others. Police ruled out terrorism, but have not found a motive for the attack. Comment: Authorities later found a woman's body, as well as weapons and marijuana plants, in a storage shed used by Amrani. He was previously jailed for over three years in 2008 for firearm and drug possession. He did not show up when police summoned him for questioning about a sexual abuse case Tuesday morning. (La Libre, Reuters, AP, NY Times)

POLAND: Protests over EU treaty
Over 5,000 people protested in Warsaw on Tuesday against the new EU fiscal policy in a demonstration organized by the largest opposition party, the Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party. The new treaty, currently being debated in Poland's parliament, would increase EU integration and limit state budgets. The Czech Republic and Hungary have stated they will not join a treaty that would require them to give up sovereignty over tax policies. Comment: Poland remains outside the Eurozone and has not fallen into the recession that is affecting many other countries in the EU. The protest took place on the 30th anniversary of the communist-led crackdown of the pro-democracy opposition. (Reuters, EuroNews, Washington Post)

REGIONAL: Letter bombs target government and finance officials
The Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), an Italian anarchist group, claimed responsibility for several letter bombs and threats sent to the Deutsche Bank in Germany, the Greek embassy in Paris, a tax agency and two government officials in Italy. The bomb sent to the tax agency exploded, wounding Director Marco Cuccagna; all other bombs were intercepted and defused. The device sent to the German bank last week included a letter threatening "three explosions against banks, bankers, ticks and bloodsuckers." Comment: The letters sent to an Italian justice minister and the Mayor of Rome contained bullets and threatening messages. The FAI was responsible for similar attacks against the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Italy last year, which injured two people. (Deutsche Welle, Reuters, BBC)

Researched/Written by Erin Bobst

Middle East & North Africa
SAUDI ARABIA: Woman beheaded for practicing witchcraft
On Monday, the Saudi state news agency announced that Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser, a Saudi woman who practiced "witchcraft and sorcery," was beheaded in the northern province of Jawf. In 2009, Amina Nasser was arrested in the city of Qurayat, where she allegedly tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them USD 779 per session. The Saudi Interior Ministry gave no further details on the woman's crime. Comment: This is the second execution this year for charges of witchcraft. Last September, a Sudanese man was executed on similar charges. According to the Associated Press count, Saudi Arabia has executed a total of 76 people this year, including at least three women. (Arab News, CBS, BBC)

TUNISIA: President wants truce; warns of a "collective suicide"
The newly elected President of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, urged all Tunisians to give him a political and social truce for six months on Wednesday. President Marzouki called for an end to all sit-ins and strikes, which could lead the country to a "collective suicide," he warned on television. He also vowed to step down if "things don't get better" (economic improvement) within the six months. Comment: Since the uprising earlier this year, Tunisia's economy has taken a significant hit; the tourism and phosphate mining industries alone have lost an estimated USD 650 million in income. According to President Marzouki, there is a budget deficit of at least USD three billion dollars. (ABC, Salon, AFP)

YEMEN: Food crisis in the south
On Wednesday, Oxfam and Islamic Relief warned of a food crisis hitting the southern province of Abyan hard, where much of the battles against al-Qaeda are taking place. Over seven million men, women, and children reportedly go without food for days at a time as the humanitarian crisis in the country worsens. Reports show that one in five Yemeni children are acutely malnourished. Comment: Charity groups are calling on the international community and humanitarian donors to act quickly to prevent the situation from ballooning, drawing comparisons to a similar drought-fuelled famine that took place in parts of Somalia earlier this year. (AFP, Trust, Yemen Online)

Researched/Written by Ibrahim Al-Hajjri

South Asia
INDIA: Toxic liquor kills 170
On Tuesday, mass poisoning from toxic home-brewed liquor killed hundreds in Sangrampur village of the eastern West Bengal state. The death toll from the tragedy currently stands at 170 with over 350 affected people still being treated in nearby hospitals. The West Bengal government announced a Rs. 200,000 compensation for the families of the deceased. 10 people were arrested in connection with the incident and the police destroyed numerous illegal distilleries in the region. Comment: According to reports, the deceased were poor laborers and rickshaw drivers who could not afford branded liquor. Home-brew liquor producers usually add methanol, a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an anti-freeze or fuel, to increase the alcoholic content of the drink. (AFP, ANI, NDTV)

PAKISTAN: CIA leaves Pakistani base
On Sunday, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) vacated the Shamsi air base in western Pakistan. The base was widely believed to be used by the CIA to carry out drone attacks against militants in the tribal regions of the country. Pakistan ordered the CIA to vacate the premises by December 11 in protest of the November 26 drone attacks at the border with Afghanistan that killed 25 Pakistani soldiers. Meanwhile, Pakistan also blocked NATO convoys en route to Afghanistan in protest. Comment: Pakistan calls the November attacks "deliberate" despite NATO denials. The new developments highlight the extent of fraying in the fragile US-Pakistan relationship. (AFP, NY Times, Telegraph)

SRI LANKA: Government probe concludes army did not target civilians
A Sri Lankan government-commissioned probe set up by the President concluded that the military did not deliberately target civilians at the end of the civil war in 2009. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission stated that the country's military gave highest priority to protecting civilians whereas the rebel Tamil Tigers had "no respect for human life." However, the probe stated that a "considerable" number of civilians were killed and any soldier found guilty of misconduct should be prosecuted. Comment: The probe contradicts a U.N. investigation which said the military conducted deliberate shelling on civilians. International human rights groups dismissed the probe as being biased. (AP, BBC, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy

December 16, 2011
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In This Issue

Featured Article

Africa

Americas

East Asia

Europe & Central Asia

Middle East & N. Africa

South Asia

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Views: 237

Tags: conflict, nonviolence, peace, reconciliation, resolution, security, war

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Comment by Tabi H. Joda on December 17, 2011 at 9:27am
I wonder why 3/4 of reports from Africa conflict based........post elections violence. Europe is making a mistake by fueling these crises if not why are the social vulnerabilities to these violence allowed. Justice delayed is justice denied......democracy delayed is democracy denied. who is fooling who in the world? keep reporting
Comment by Julius Atanawhemera on December 16, 2011 at 7:59pm

Incredible reports i must say though!

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