NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – The outlines of the Rwandan genocide are known by many. The time it took place (April to July 1994), the troubling silence of the international community, the number of those brutally murdered (as many as 800,000 mostly of the Tutsi minority and some Hutus) and the ever-debated questions – what could turn a people against their neighbour with a cruelty that was both devastating and inhumane?
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - George Orwell, the author of “Animal Farm” and “1984”, was the first person to use the phrase “Cold War” in a 1945 newspaper article, written just after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He argued that “the surface of the earth is being parceled off into three great empires, each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each ruled, under one disguise or another, by a self-elected oligarchy. He counted the U.S. and Western Europe as one, the Soviet Union as the second and China as the third. He concluded that, “the atomic bomb is likeliest to put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a peace that is no peace”.
NEW YORK (IDN) – A new study on the international trade in small arms and light weapons confirms the long standing traditional secrecy in the global market place.
Released June 6 – to coincide with the Sixth Biennial Meeting on the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms – the study pointedly says “export authorizations remain the most opaque dimension of small arms reporting”.
The 2016 Transparency Barometer, which evaluated the reporting practices of 49 countries, identified only three countries – Germany, the UK and the Netherlands – as “the most transparent major small arms exporters”.
HARARE (IDN | GIN) – A “Million Men” march in support of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that drew thousands in support of the aging leader failed to diminish the impact of an opposition rally last month that brought out thousands of citizens concerned with the country’s troubled economy.
Despite his advanced age, Mugabe has vowed to run for another term in office at the next election in 2018 when he will be 94.
At the “Million Men” march, Mrs Mugabe declared that her husband would rule Zimbabwe even from the grave.
The opposition, meanwhile, has been energized by a Twitter campaign called #ThisFlag, or what The Guardian newspaper called “an accidental movement for change”.
BELGRADE (IDN) - The right to vote for any party they like has existed in former Yugoslavia for more than a quarter of a century, but genuine democracy remains a dream for many as the region remains split along ethnic lines and lags in sustainable economic development. In fact, that dream seems to be vanishing.
Recent studies in Serbia have shown that only one-third of its 7,2 million citizens believe democracy is better than non-democratic rule.
"Unfortunately, introduction of democracy in 1990 is closely related, among ordinary people, to disintegration of former Yugoslavia, international sanctions that crippled Serbia and an unfulfilled promise of better life," says Djordje Vukovic, head of prominent non-governmental (NGO) organisation CeSID that carried the survey titled "Democracy still does (not) live here".
ISTANBUL (IDN) - The gaping absence of a large number of world leaders, including those of most of the Group of 7 (G7) industrial nations, undoubtedly caused profound disappointment. But the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in the 70-year existence of the United Nations will not go down in history as a shameful debacle for international diplomacy, nor will it be the last conference of its kind, according to experts.
While G7 leaders were conspicuous by their absence, with the exception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, some 9,000 participants from 173 countries joined the event in Istanbul. They included some 60 heads of state and government, mostly from the developing world.
BELGRADE (IDN) - The violent split up of former Yugoslavia is more than two decades old. Peace was established in the region back in the 1990s. Yet for those who hardly know about the brutal violence and humanitarian disaster that accompanied the political breakup, little would appear to have changed.
"There is no more arms rattling, but the political rhetoric and lack of profound economic recovery keep people stuck in recent past, with poor view on better future," prominent sociology professor Ratko Bozovic says. "There are new generations all over the former Yugoslavia who know nothing else but how this or that war was fought.”
The professor explained that no real insight into causes, accompanied by little perspective, creates a fertile ground for further confusion among the young who should take their nations into the future.
NEW YORK (IDN) – The world’s indigenous peoples – estimated at over 370 million living across 90 countries and accounting for 15 percent of the poorest – remain isolated, both politically and geographically.
So, nearly a thousand participants from Asia, Africa, North America, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean gathered together to air their grievances before the United Nations at a two-week long conference, which concluded May 20.
Their plea for inclusiveness was a reiteration of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s appeal to the international community on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a more humane and prosperous world for all – “leaving no one behind”.
The conference ended with a resounding call for greater participation in the United Nations and in UN bodies by some of the world’s most neglected minorities who are increasingly victims of armed conflicts, corporate greed and rising economic inequalities.
NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – After the disputed re-election of the longest-serving ruler of Equatorial Guinea in April 24 polls, opposition leaders and local organizations decried it as “not credible.”
According to the election results supervised by a minister of his own party, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo swept the polls with nearly 94% of the vote.
But most known members of the opposition were either barred from participating or boycotted the elections in protest. An African news team – Africa24 – was reportedly detained for hours at the airport despite having the proper paperwork from the Information Ministry.
With his victory, the 73-year-old President Obiang – who has already served 37 years - will serve another 7-year term.
Because the country is oil-rich, the government has friends around the world. Critics, however, point to the country’s poverty index – ranking 144 out of 187 countries on the United Nations’ 2014 Human Development Index.