Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Central African Republic / United Nations

Urgent Call for UN Troops to "Prevent Genocide" in Central African Republic
By Mike Pflanz
The Telegraph, November 20, 2013
"Thousands of United Nations peacekeepers should be dispatched urgently to halt Christian-Muslim fighting in the Central African Republic that risks spiralling into genocide, Ban Ki-moon and aid agencies have said. Months of violence have pushed the country into near-anarchy with thousands of people killed or kidnapped and over half a million forced to flee their homes. On Tuesday, Amnesty International warned there was 'no time to wait' in deploying a UN mission, citing large scale human rights abuses and possible 'crimes against humanity'. The group's call came after the UN secretary-general urged the Security Council to immediately authorise the dispatch of 6,000 blue berets to bolster an existing but ineffective force of 2,500 African peacekeepers, which is all that currently stands between Muslim former rebels and Christian vigilante groups. A further 3,000 UN peacekeepers should be on standby in case the situation deteriorates, Mr. Ban told the Security Council late on Monday. 'This cycle, if not addressed now, threatens to degenerate into a country-wide religious and ethnic divide, with the potential to spiral into an uncontrollable situation, including atrocity crimes, with serious national and regional implications,' Mr. Ban warned. Already, human rights groups say that both sides may have committed war crimes, and a UN expert on genocide said that the situation could worsen. 'We are seeing armed groups killing people under the guise of their religion,' said Adama Dieng, the UN's special adviser on the prevention of genocide. 'My feeling is that this will end with Christian communities, Muslim communities killing each other which means that if we don't act now and decisively I will not exclude the possibility of a genocide occurring.' Despite deposits of gold, diamonds and uranium, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest and most politically unstable nations in the world, and has weathered repeated coups since independence from France in 1960. The current fighting began soon after Michael Djotodia, leader of the Seleka rebels, ousted Francois Bozize, the former president, in the latest coup in March.

China / Tibet

"China's former President Jiang Zemin looks up while President Hu Jintao gives his speech during the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012." (Reuters/Jason Lee)
China Dismisses as Absurd Spanish Arrest Warrants over Tibet, November 20, 2013
"Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and ex prime minister Li Peng could face arrest when travelling abroad over allegations they committed genocide in Tibet, a Spanish court ruled on Tuesday, in a case Beijing has dismissed as absurd. Two Tibetan support groups and a monk with Spanish nationality brought the case against the former leaders in 2006 using Spanish law, which allows suspects to be tried for human rights abuses committed abroad when a Spanish victim is involved. The two former leaders and three other high-ranking officials who worked in the government in the 1980s and 1990s, are accused of human rights abuses in the Himalayan region. Although it is unlikely the leaders will end up in a Spanish dock, the case is reminiscent of the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998 after a warrant was issued by former Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon. Last month, another ruling by the same Spanish court indicted former Chinese president Hu Jintao for alleged genocide in Tibet. China's government denounced that move as interfering with its internal affairs. China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said at a daily news briefing that Beijing has 'sought clarification from Spain' about the latest ruling. Tuesday's court order will now trigger arrest warrants which in turn could result in the suspects being arrested when they travel to Spain or other countries which recognize orders signed by Spain.