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Episode 32: Andrew Young

It was a true honor to have civil rights icon Andrew Young on the show. Our conversation spans from Andrew Young’s early childhood to his appointment as United States Ambassador to the United Nations by Jimmy Carter. Young discusses growing up in a diverse New Orleans neighborhood in a middle class family, how he became a close friend and confident of Martin Luther King, Jr, witnessing his friend’s assassination, and his enduring commitment to non-violence.

Young was the first African American US Congressman from the deep south since reconstruction and served as Mayor of Atlanta during the 1980s. He’s lead an absolutely remarkable life. Prepare to be inspired.

 

 

Previous Episodes

Obama’s Syria Dilemma, an in interview with Will McCants

Episode 31: Ambassador Michael Guest, LGBT Trailblazer

The Deadly Fear of Ebola, an interview with journalist Jina Moore

South Sudan’s Looming Famine, an interview with Tariq Riebl of Oxfam

Episode 30: Jeff Sachs, economist

Sex Slaves in Iraq, an interview with Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

Episode 29: Chris Hill, former Ambassador to Iraq and North Korea nuke negotiator

Kevin Jon Heller discusses the  International Criminal Court’s Palestine Problem

Episode 28: Nancy Birsdall, founder of the Center for Global Development

The WHO explains Why this Ebola Outbreak is So Hard to Contain

Episode 27: Daniel Drezner, counter-intuitive wonk

Michael W. Hanna on How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire

Episode 25: Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, USA. Long-time AIDS-Fighter

One Campaign’s Erin Hofhelder How Humanity is Winning the Fight Against AIDS

Episode 24: Joseph Cirincione, Nuclear Policy Wonk 

A Migrant’s Story: Why are So Many Children Fleeing to the USA?

Episode 23: Live from the UN 2014 (Volume 2); A special edition with a slew of UN officials.

Inside the Iran Nuke Talks

Episode 23: Jillian York, Digital Free Speech defender

Turkey’s Strategic Interests in Iraq

Episode 22: Live from the UN, 2014 (Vol 1); A special edition, featuring the President of the General Assembly,  the UN Ambassadors from Vietnam and Jamaica, the head of the UN Association, and more!

The UN’s View of the Iraq Crisis

Episode 21: Thomas Pickering, former Ambassador to the UN, Israel, Jordan, Russia, India and more.

Dying for the World Cup

Episode 20: Jessica Tuchman Matthews, foreign policy trendsetter

Egypt After the Counter Revolution 

Episode 19: Louise Arbour, human rights pioneer.

What Obama Left Out of His Big Foreign Policy Speech

Episode 18: Zalmay Khalizad, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN.

Why Libya is Suddenly on the Verge of a Civil War 

Episode 17: Gov Bill Richardson, he frees hostages.

The Foreign Policy Implications of India’s Elections

Episode 16: Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children

What Boko Haram Wants

Episode: 15 Laura Turner Seydel, philanthropist

Episode 14: Douglas Ollivant, Iraq expert

Episode 13: Gary Bass, historian

Episode 12: Mark Montgomery, demographer

Episode 11: Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watcher

Episode 10: Live from the UN, Volume 2.

Episode 9: Mia Farrow, humanitarian activist and Goodwill Ambassador

Episode 8: Suzanne Nossel, Big Thinker

Episode 7: Live from the UN, Volume 1. 

Episode 6: PJ Crowley, former State Department Spokesperson

Episode 5: Octavia Nasr, reporter

Episode 4: Arsalan Iftikhar, “The Muslim Guy”

Episode 3: Dodge Billingsley, filmmaker.

Episode 2: Laura Seay,  @TexasinAfrica

Episode 1: Heather Hurlburt, national security wonk

 

Podcast | | Leave a comment
Lesotho

Big Trouble in Tiny Lesotho

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There was a failed coup. Now, there threatens to be chaos.“Tlali Kamoli, who was removed from his post as army chief by Prime Minister Tom Thabane a little over a week ago, has refused to step down. Instead the military under his command attacked a host of police stations and his successor, Mahao, was the target of an attempted assassination. Thabane was also sent fleeing to neighbouring South Africa, where he spent days in talks before returning home last Wednesday under the protection of police provided by Pretoria. Kamoli had since refused all attempts to negotiate, Mahao said.” (http://yhoo.it/1nEIkUj)

Some Positive News About a Potential Ebola Vaccine. An experimental Ebola vaccine is now being tested in people, according to scientists who say the drug has shown promising results when it was tested on monkeys. The small clinical trial is using healthy human volunteers in the U.S.The Ebola vaccine is the subject of a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. Researchers say the vaccine treatment includes a booster shot to help the immune system fight off the virus for months after it’s first administered. (NPR http://n.pr/1nEHcjs)

The study in Nature: http://bit.ly/1lLhgXO

Africa

Somalia replaced its national security director on Sunday and put its army on alert for retaliation after the Islamist militant group al Shabaab confirmed its leader had been killed in a U.S. air strike. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1nEGQcJ)

The Ebola caseload continues to grow in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, even as more people accept the disease and try to stay safe. Yet the outbreak has paralyzed the country’s public health system, and existing Ebola treatment units are having to turn suspected cases away. (VOA http://bit.ly/1tDneN7)

Boko Haram, has seized more towns along Nigeria’s northeastern border with Cameroon and is adopting a strategy of encouraging civilians to stay, witnesses said Sunday, as the militants pursue their new aim to carve out an “Islamic caliphate” under their black and white flag. (AP http://yhoo.it/1nEIieV)

China has agreed to send about 700 combat forces to South Sudan as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country, the government said. (Sudan Tribune http://bit.ly/1tDoTlL)

MENA

President Barack Obama said he will explain to Americans and congressional leaders this week his strategy to deal with and ultimately defeat the Islamic State militants, whom he said could eventually become a threat to the United States. (VOA http://bit.ly/1tDnbkg)

Egyptian authorities have ordered the arrest of nine men who appeared in a video purporting to show the country’s first gay marriage, accusing them of inciting debauchery and undermining public morals. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1tDmBTH)

Despite ongoing violence and displacements across Iraq, UN agencies and humanitarian partners are responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis with lifesaving programs, from Basra in the southeast of the country to Anbar province west of Baghdad, to Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. (IOM http://bit.ly/1tDmDuV)

Yemeni riot police using tear gas and water cannons failed to break up a protest by Shi’ite Houthi rebels who are blocking the main road between the capital, Sana’a, and the airport.One report says a protester was killed while others were treated for inhaling tear gas. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nEHMxH)

Qatar has confirmed it is holding two Britons who went missing while researching migrant labor issues, saying the men are being questioned for alleged illegal activity in the Gulf nation that is due to hold the 2022 World Cup. (AP http://yhoo.it/1nEI5IO)

Asia

Monsoon rains and flash floods across large areas of northern Pakistan and India have killed more than 300 people, while hundreds have been injured and tens of thousands have lost homes. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nEHvL5)

Myanmar’s election commission says it is canceling by-elections that were planned for later this year. Myanmar – also known as Burma – announced in March that it would call by-elections before the end of the year to fill 35 seats in parliament that were vacated for various reasons. (VOA http://bit.ly/1nEHua5)

In a city known for its vertiginous inequalities, the water shortage in New Delhi, India affects people from both upscale gated communities and dust-blown slums, as every day, the city’s supply falls more than 160 million gallons short. (AP http://yhoo.it/1tDpe89)

The Americas

The third US medical missionary to become infected with the Ebola virus was showing signs of improvement Saturday at a Nebraska hospital but was still very ill, his wife said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1nEH2sd)

A truce declared two years ago between gangs and the government of El Salvador briefly tapered the bloody gang war, but the cease-fire had an unintended consequence: It gave the gangs breathing room to grow even stronger. Now, violence is on the rise again. (AP http://yhoo.it/1nEJmzF)

Opinion/Blogs

Volunteer Recap: Megaphones, Machetes And Unexpected Tears (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/1nEGL8E)

Is the US ‘losing’ Latin America? (Al Jazeera English http://aje.me/1nEHoz6)

Mission Creep #3: ALS, boob aid and the White Helmets of Syria (WhyDev http://bit.ly/1w5Aye2)

MDGs and gender in the Pacific: have we achieved anything? (Dev Policy http://bit.ly/1BlxcDL)

Confessions of an exposed foreign agent (David Roodman http://bit.ly/1Blxpa5)

Ebola has up to an 18% chance of coming to America. Here’s why you don’t need to panic. (Vox http://bit.ly/1w5B1g9)

Why you shouldn’t start an orphanage (from a woman who did) (Lessons I Learned http://bit.ly/1BlxCdn)

Al Qaeda’s new Indian subcontinent branch: What it means for Myanmar (The Interpreter http://bit.ly/1w5BkHT)

Research/Reports

The world’s major economies are falling further behind every year in terms of meeting the rate of carbon emission reductions needed to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees this century, a report published on Monday showed. http://yhoo.it/1nEIuef

Amnesty International accused rival fighters in the Ukraine conflict of war crimes including indiscriminate shelling, abductions, torture, and killings, in a report compiled ahead of the ceasefire deal. http://yhoo.it/1nEHUNx

Top of the Morning | Leave a comment
Aphoto of malnutrition from the WFP

Africa’s “Hidden Hunger”

Ed note. This post, by Dr. Ramadhani Abdallah Noor, originally appeared in Project Syndicate and is reprinted with permission. 

DAR ES SALAAM – Just over 20 years ago, South African photographer Kevin Carter shocked the world with a controversial photograph of a famished young Sudanese child being watched by a vulture during a famine. Critics slammed the shot as “disaster porn,” calling it yet another example of how the international media sensationalize African problems.

But what disturbs me is not the photograph. Rather, it is that two decades later, the conditions that the photograph depicts remain basically the same. Every year, 3.1 million children around the world still die of hunger.

As an African doctor, I know that the ravages of serious malnutrition and hunger are not always visible. They are not always as manifest as they are in the protruding ribs of ghostly children hooked up to feeding tubes, like those I used to see in hospital wards in Tanzania. Chronic malnutrition, or “hidden hunger,” shows itself in other ways – but it can be just as devastating and deadly. And while deaths from many other diseases, including acute malnutrition, have declined, hidden hunger remains pervasive.

In the last two decades, astounding success has been achieved in the fight against HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. New HIV infections have dropped by as much as 50% in some countries in Africa, with AIDS-related deaths down by 30-48%; TB cases have declined by 40%, and malaria cases by 30%.

But the stunting of early childhood growth as a result of malnutrition remains high, dropping by only about 1% over the same period. In Africa, hunger remains the leading cause of death in children, accounting for half of all deaths of children under the age of five and killing more than AIDS, TB, and malaria combined.

In fact, many scientific studies have shown that a malnourished child is much more likely to contract an infection, to suffer from other illnesses, and to suffer from them longer. Diarrhea, for example, is a deadly disease for severely underweight children, who are 12 times more likely to die from an ailment that should be easily treated. And severely underweight children are 9.5 times more likely to die from malaria as well.

Indeed, childhood malnutrition is now confirmed to be the leading cause of the global disease burden, with the World Health Organization attributing to it 45% of all deaths under the age of five in 2011. Recent reports from the war-ravaged Central African Republic indicate that more children there are dying from hunger than from bullets.

These numbers make the problem of malnutrition look insurmountable. But what works is no secret: vitamin A, iodized salt, and fortified foods. The lack of vitamin A alone results in blindness in a half-million children every year, with half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. Similarly, half of all women of childbearing age in developing countries suffer from weakened immune systems, owing to anemia caused by iron deficiency.

The long-term damage caused by malnutrition has a domino effect, impeding educational achievement, and ultimately, hobbling national economies. Addressing this ongoing crisis requires money – an estimated $10 billion per year – and new and better strategies to bring life-saving solutions to the mothers and children who most need them.

But the cost looks far less daunting when one considers the cost of hunger. UNICEF estimates that the cost of Africa’s child malnutrition is $25 billion a year. And this is not the whole story. Malnutrition costs an estimated $3.5 trillion every year to the global economy, owing to loss of productivity and higher health-care costs.

To meet this challenge, save lives, and improve economies, Africa needs a comprehensive strategy and increased investment in agriculture.

The Africa Union has declared 2014 the year of agriculture and food security in Africa, and the continent’s agriculture sector is expected to grow significantly. In theory, that should improve overall nutrition; but increased investment in agriculture is not a panacea. We need to concentrate on building nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs that include small-scale farmers, households, women, and children.

A big step would be to increase women’s control over land ownership and farming decisions, along with access to agricultural credits and subsidies designed to encourage domestic food production through home gardening and cattle and poultry husbandry. Studies show that women are much more likely than men to spend additional income on food and health. Increasing their farming income and decision-making power ultimately has a greater impact on children’s health and nutrition.

Moreover, agricultural policies, subsidies, and investments have traditionally benefited cereal farmers. But policymakers need to concentrate on increasing access to more nutritious foods, such as meat, fruit, and vegetables, which are too expensive for the poor.

Malnutrition causes the greatest damage during the first thousand days of life, leading to grievous and irreversible changes in infant health. To make real inroads against hidden hunger, African governments, supported by global development partners, must act quickly. Childhood hunger in Africa does not have to be as dramatic as that depicted in Carter’s 1993 photograph to be just as deadly.

Ramadhani Abdallah Noor, a Tanzanian doctor and research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute

Development | | Leave a comment
Credit: UNICEF/SOKOL

UNICEF’s Shocking New Report

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The report is called Hidden in Plain Sight. It’s a first-of-its-kind study of global data on violence against children. The results are chilling. “One in 10 girls worldwide have been forced into a sexual act, and six in 10 children ages 2 to 14 are regularly beaten by parents and caregivers, according to a report issued Thursday by the United Nations’ children’s agency, Unicef. The report, drawing on data from 190 countries, paints a picture of endemic physical and emotional violence inflicted daily on children, mostly at home and in peacetime rather than on the streets or during war. Homicide is especially common in some of the Latin American countries from which children are fleeing by the tens of thousands into the United States: It is the leading killer of adolescent boys ages 19 and under in El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela. Central and Eastern Europe report the lowest rates of homicide among children.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/1nzlSfc)

The report: http://uni.cf/1nzlTzL

Surprising Facts About Suicide Around the World…One person commits suicide every 40 seconds — more than all the yearly victims of wars and natural disaster — with the highest toll among the elderly, the United Nations said Thursday. (AP http://yhoo.it/Wi8Uej)

Plus…The New York Times discovers that the WHO is totally underfunded and understaffed! A must-read: http://nyti.ms/1nzm2TK

Africa

Amid fears that Islamist militants were closing in on the major city in Nigeria’s northeast, hundreds of residents were said to be fleeing Maiduguri on Thursday in the face of doubts that the army could repel an attack on the metropolis of more than one million people. (NYT http://nyti.ms/1nzm26d)

Cameroon’s military says some 400 Nigerian soldiers have sought refuge in the country after fleeing intense fighting against Boko Haram militants in Nigeria’s Borno State. (VOA http://bit.ly/Wi9xVk)

Malawi President Peter Mutharika, who took office in May, is considering all options for cracking down on a recent surge in violent crime in the country. (VOA http://bit.ly/1twFOXe)

Nigerian authorities are monitoring nearly 400 people for signs of Ebola after they came in contact with a Port Harcourt doctor who died of the disease but hid the fact that he had been exposed, a senior Nigerian health official said. (VOA http://bit.ly/1twFNm1)

Nearly 200 experts on Ebola are meeting in Switzerland to discuss possible cures and vaccines for the deadly disease, as the number of cases in West Africa continues to rise. (VOA http://bit.ly/WicQfg)

South Africa’s main opposition party said on Thursday it would seek a reopening of a corruption inquiry against President Jacob Zuma after the release of secret evidence cited in a 2009 decision to drop the case. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1twGax1)

Fear of contracting the deadly Ebola virus is hampering efforts to recruit international health workers and slowing the delivery of protective garments and other vital materials to stricken areas in West Africa, World Health Organization officials. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1twGonN)

USAID is providing $75 million to fund 1,000 more beds in Ebola treatment centers in Liberia and tens of thousands of protective suits for health care workers. (AP http://yhoo.it/1o2qqut)

MENA

Four months of fighting by militias in Libya’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, has forced some 250,000 people to flee, including 100,000 who have been internally displaced, finds a new UN report. (AP http://yhoo.it/Wikpm7)

Hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region are facing an “education emergency” after being forced from their homes, with hundreds of schools used to shelter displaced families. (AFP http://bit.ly/1twDOOC)

Saudi Arabia is changing tack in its labor reforms, softening the blow to companies with money for subsidies and training while trying to lure Saudis to the private sector with more attractive working conditions. (VOA http://bit.ly/Wi9Uz3)

Power cuts hit many parts of Egypt on Thursday, causing blackouts and halting some public transport in the Arab world’s most populous country. (Reuters http://bit.ly/WidWYc)

Two Britons researching migrant worker issues in Qatar, the Gulf nation that is due to host the 2022 World Cup, have gone missing after one of them reported being harassed by police, according to the Norwegian human rights group that employs them. (AP http://yhoo.it/1o2rMp4)

Asia

Bangladesh announced this week that it will send back over 2,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, stoking concerns about the prospect of returning them to an increasingly dire situation. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1twEe7y)

An estimated 135 million children under the age of five in the Asia-Pacific region have not been registered by any government agency. That leaves them unable to claim national identities needed for access to rights and critical services. A major push is about to commence to get such children, and those of all ages, a legal identity. (VOA http://bit.ly/1twFAPV)

Child trafficking is one that is earning front-page headlines in Indian states where thousands of children are believed to be victims of the illicit trade. (IPS http://bit.ly/WigJk8)

Private orphanages have mushroomed across Nepal in the absence of a state-run welfare system, their growth fuelled by corruption and the prospect of attracting donations from foreigners, activists say. http://yhoo.it/1twI6p7

The completed a nationwide polio immunization campaign in all districts of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The national immunization days campaign was carried out during three days between 17 and 19 August. http://bit.ly/1o2sdjh

The Americas

A severe drought has ravaged crops in Central America and as many as 2.81 million people are struggling to feed themselves, the WFP said on Friday, though the region’s coffee crop has been largely unscathed. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/WikS7R)

Torture is still rife in Mexico and routinely used to extract confessions, human rights organisation Amnesty International says. (BBC http://bbc.in/1twEJyy)

The dengue vaccine developed by the French pharmaceutical Sanofi has shown an efficacy of 60.8 percent in tests with children and teenagers in Latin America, and is effective against all four serotypes of the disease, the company said today. (El Universo http://bit.ly/1twFYxH)

Oregon researchers developing a vaccine that has shown promise in preventing HIV infection in primates said on Wednesday they have been awarded a $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Reuters http://bit.ly/Wie61Q)

Opinion/Blogs

Can Constitution Respond to Challenge of Addressing Inequality? (SACSIS http://bit.ly/1twDX4A)

A Development Agenda without Developing Countries? The Politics of Penurious Poverty Lines (CGD http://bit.ly/1twE6ow)

Sexual health isnt just about health its about sex too (Guardian http://bit.ly/Wi9nx5)

Lesotho coup: a squabble among elites or a sign of social instability? (Guardian http://bit.ly/Wib8dK)

Sanctions and Retaliations: Simply Unconscionable (IPS http://bit.ly/1twHiR6)

Obama’s Syria Dilemma: Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/1nyAgUR

Top of the Morning | | Leave a comment
A UNHCR staff member at the Jordan border hands out juice and biscuits to newly arrived Syrian refugees. Aid workers often work in dangerous areas to help the needy.
UNHCR / J. Kohler / January 2014

Obama’s Syria Dilemma

It looks increasingly likely that the United States will expand its military operations against ISIS to Syria. I speak with William McCants of the Brookings Institution about the prospects and pitfalls of a potential US-led international military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. We also discuss the role of another Islamist rebel group, al Nusra, in Syria’s conflict and what might befall about 40 UN Peacekeepers in the Golan who were abducted by this group. Have a listen.

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Previous Episodes

Episode 31: Ambassador Michael Guest, LGBT Trailblazer

The Deadly Fear of Ebola

South Sudan’s Looming Famine

Episode 30: Jeff Sachs, economist

Sex Slaves in Iraq, an interview with Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

Episode 29: Chris Hill, former Ambassador to Iraq and North Korea nuke negotiator

Kevin Jon Heller discusses the  International Criminal Court’s Palestine Problem

Episode 28: Nancy Birsdall, founder of the Center for Global Development

The WHO explains Why this Ebola Outbreak is So Hard to Contain

Episode 27: Daniel Drezner, counter-intuitive wonk

Michael W. Hanna on How to Negotiate a Gaza Ceasefire

Episode 25: Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE, USA. Long-time AIDS-Fighter

One Campaign’s Erin Hofhelder How Humanity is Winning the Fight Against AIDS

Episode 24: Joseph Cirincione, Nuclear Policy Wonk 

A Migrant’s Story: Why are So Many Children Fleeing to the USA?

Episode 23: Live from the UN 2014 (Volume 2); A special edition with a slew of UN officials.

Inside the Iran Nuke Talks

Episode 23: Jillian York, Digital Free Speech defender

Turkey’s Strategic Interests in Iraq

Episode 22: Live from the UN, 2014 (Vol 1); A special edition, featuring the President of the General Assembly,  the UN Ambassadors from Vietnam and Jamaica, the head of the UN Association, and more!

The UN’s View of the Iraq Crisis

Episode 21: Thomas Pickering, former Ambassador to the UN, Israel, Jordan, Russia, India and more.

Dying for the World Cup

Episode 20: Jessica Tuchman Matthews, foreign policy trendsetter

Egypt After the Counter Revolution 

Episode 19: Louise Arbour, human rights pioneer.

What Obama Left Out of His Big Foreign Policy Speech

Episode 18: Zalmay Khalizad, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN.

Why Libya is Suddenly on the Verge of a Civil War 

Episode 17: Gov Bill Richardson, he frees hostages.

The Foreign Policy Implications of India’s Elections

Episode 16: Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children

What Boko Haram Wants

Episode: 15 Laura Turner Seydel, philanthropist

Episode 14: Douglas Ollivant, Iraq expert

Episode 13: Gary Bass, historian

Episode 12: Mark Montgomery, demographer

Episode 11: Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watcher

Episode 10: Live from the UN, Volume 2.

Episode 9: Mia Farrow, humanitarian activist and Goodwill Ambassador

Episode 8: Suzanne Nossel, Big Thinker

Episode 7: Live from the UN, Volume 1. 

Episode 6: PJ Crowley, former State Department Spokesperson

Episode 5: Octavia Nasr, reporter

Episode 4: Arsalan Iftikhar, “The Muslim Guy”

Episode 3: Dodge Billingsley, filmmaker.

Episode 2: Laura Seay,  @TexasinAfrica

Episode 1: Heather Hurlburt, national security wonk

 

Podcast | | Leave a comment
iraq

Human Rights Council Targets ISIS Crimes

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) adopted a resolution earlier this week to launch an investigation into the human rights abuses being committed by the Islamic State organization in Iraq (also known as ISIS, ISIL, or just IS). The resolution, adopted during a Special Session on the situation in Iraq, calls for dispatching a team of 11 experts to Iraq as soon as possible to document the abuse being wrought upon the people of Iraq.

Over the course of the last several weeks, media outlets have been documenting extensively the way in which ISIS fighters have subjugated populations and taken over entire cities in Iraq. According to the UN HRC, the most reported severe violation has been the killing and maiming of children – 693 cases have been reported since the beginning of the year. Today, there are 1.4 million internally displaced people in Iraq, and thousands have died in recent months (in June, 2,700 civilians were killed, the most civilian deaths in Iraq since 2005.)  The tactics used by ISIS have elicited disgust and fear in Iraq, Syria and globally. The group, which has few, if any, allies, has been targeting civilian populations directly, without restraint or rules, and, seemingly with only a hazy agenda of establishing a caliphate in the region. Interviewed in the Financial Times, Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and an expert in al-Qaeda and Islamic extremism explains “groups like al-Qaeda used violence in a tactical way, in a way proportional to their aims. For Isis [and AQI] the savagery is the point. The action is what matters, not the ideas.”

The new resolution by the UN HRC – which was adopted without a vote – will likely not act as a deterrent for ISIS fighters, who, as mentioned above, are hardly bound by the rules of war. ISIS is obviously not a member state of the UN HRC – as a non-state actor, it does not have the same treaty obligations. ISIS is also not subject to the same laws – national or international – that bind and impose limits on state’s military action  and provide an avenue for accountability and justice. The UN HRC investigation is, nevertheless, an important and necessary step in ensuring that human rights violations are documented, and that evidence that can eventually support accountability measures is being collected by a legitimate body. This is the proper and appropriate role for the Human Rights Council in a situation like this., Where and how perpetrators will be punished, however, remains to be determined.

Global Dispatches Podcast: ISIS’ War on Women

Security | | Leave a comment

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