1991 Aung San Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work in thenonviolent struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. For 15 of the past20 years, Suu Kyi was held under house arrest by the Burmese military junta afterher political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won the 1990general election in a landslide victory. The military junta refused to recognize theelection results and placed Suu Kyi, along with other pro-democracy activists,under house arrest. She was released from house arrest on November 13, 2010.Even under the severe political constraints, SuuKyi continues her work for human rights in Burma.She has won numerous international awardsincluding the Sakharov Prize from the EuropeanParliament, United States Presidential Medal ofFreedom, the Rafto Human Rights Price, andJawaharlal Nehru Award from India. She is theauthor of several books, including The Voice ofHope and Letters from Burma. In 2005 she wasnamed by Forbes magazine as one of the Worlds100 Most Powerful Women.
The Yugoslav Wars begin when Croatia were a series of militarycampaigns fought in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviabetween 1991 and 1995 (with wars and ensuing infighting still continuingwithin the region). The wars were complex: they have beencharacterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the formerYugoslavia, mostly between Serbs (and to a lesser extent, Montenegrins)on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks (and to a lesser degree,Slovenes) on the other; but also between Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia(in addition to a separate conflict fought between rival Bosniak factionsin Bosnia). The wars ended in various stages, mostly resulting in fullinternational recognition of new sovereign territories, but with massiveeconomic disruption to the successor statesActual fighting began with the attempted secession from Croatia ofethnic Serbs living in the Krajina area during early 1991. The proclaimedsecession of Slovenia and Croatia at the end of June 1991 led to anattack by the Serb controlled Yugoslav Federal Army and Air Force ontargets in Slovenia and later in Croatia.
It has been estimated that during the Bosnian War between 20,000 and 50,000women, mainly Muslim, were raped. A Commission of Experts appointed inOctober 1992 by the United Nations concluded that “Rape has been reportedto have been committed by all sides to the conflict. However, the largestnumber of reported victims have been Bosnian Muslims, and the largest numberof alleged perpetrators have been Bosnian Serbs.”There are few reports of rape and sexual assault between members of the sameethnic group. Although men also became victim of sexual violence, war rapewas disproportionately directed against women who were (gang) raped in thestreets, in their homes and/or in front of family members. Sexual violenceoccurred in a multiple ways, including rape with objects, such as broken glassbottles, guns and truncheons. War rape occurred as a matter of official orders aspart of ethnic cleansing, to displace the targeted ethnic group out of theregion. During the Bosnian War the existence of deliberately created “rapecamps” was reported. The reported aim of these camps was to impregnate theBosniak and Croatian women held captive. It has been reported that oftenwomen were kept in confinement until the late stage of their pregnancy. Thisoccurred in the context of a patrilineal society, in which children inherit theirfathers ethnicity, hence the “rape camps” aimed at the birth of a newgeneration of Serb children. According to the Women’s Group Tresnjevka morethan 35,000 women and children were held in such Serb-run “rape camps”.
War rape in the Yugoslav Wars has often been characterized asgenocide. Rape perpetrated by Serb forces served to destroy culturaland social ties of the victims and their communities. Serbian policiesurged soldiers to rape Bosnian women until they became pregnant asan attempt towards ethnic cleansing. Serbian soldiers hoped to forceBosnian women to carry Serbian children through repeated rape.Often Bosnian women were held in captivity for an extended period oftime and only released slightly before the birth of a child born of rape.
1992 The UN Security Council adopts a resolution to deploy the UnitedNations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia.A UN Security Council resolution condemns “ethnic cleansing” inBosnia and Herzegovina. Another Security Council resolutiondemands that all detention camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina beclosed.The UN adopts the Declaration on the Protection of All Personsfrom Enforced Disappearance.The UN adopts the Declaration on the Protection of All PersonsBelonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and LinguisticMinorities.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her human rightswork. Menchú Tum, an indigenous woman from a humble backgroundin Guatemala, was witness to and a survivor of the massacres of theGuatemalan civil war during the 1970s and 1980s, which claimed thelives of most of her family. More than half of the 626 documentedmassacres took place in her home province of El Quiché. Human rightsgroups estimate that 83 percent of the more than 200,000 people killedduring the war were indigenous.Menchú first came to international prominence and focused worldattention on the plight of Guatemala following the 1983 publication ofher memoir, I, Rigoberta Menchú, which chronicled in compelling detailthe violence and misery that she and her people suffered during hercountry’s brutal civil war. The book focused world attention onGuatemala and led to her being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in1992. In 1999, a book by David Stoll challenged the veracity of keydetails in Menchú’s account, generating a storm of controversy.Journalists and scholars squared off regarding whether Menchú hadlied about her past and, if so, what that would mean about the largertruths revealed in the book.
1993 The International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) isestablished in the Hague as an ad hoc international tribunal to prosecutepersons responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes since 1991.The tribunal was the first international body for the prosecution of war crimessince the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials held in the aftermath of World War II.It has jurisdiction over individuals responsible for war crimes committed in theterritory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.The offences are defined as: • Grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions • Violations of the laws or customs of war • Genocide • Crimes against humanityThe tribunal may not try suspects in absentia, nor impose the death penalty.The maximum sentence it can hand down is life imprisonment.
The Tribunal employees 1,200 staff. There are 16 permanent judges and 12 ad litemjudges who serve on the tribunal, elected to four-year terms by the UN GeneralAssembly. The two-year budget for the Tribunal for 2004 and 2005 was $271,854,600(currently $306 million).Since the very first hearing on 8 November, 1994, the Tribunal has indicted 161individuals, and has already completed proceedings with regard to 100 of them: fivehave been acquitted, 48 sentenced (seven are awaiting transfer, 24 have beentransferred, 16 have served their term, and one died while serving his sentence), 11have had their cases transferred to local courts. Another 36 cases have beenterminated (either because indictments were withdrawn or because the accuseddied, before or after transfer to the Tribunal). The Tribunal aims to complete all trialsby the middle of 2011 and all appeals by 2013, with the exception of RadovanKaradžić whose trial is expected to end in 2012 and the appeal to be heard byFebruary 2014. Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić have been charged, however arestill at large and thus do not fall within the court’s completion strategy.Trials can be very long, with some extending for several years. Supporters of theTribunal respond that many of the defendants are charged with multiple crimesagainst many victims, all of which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, thusrequiring long trials. Simultaneous translation also slows trials.
Those defendants on trial and those who were denied aprovisional release are detained at the United Nations DetentionUnit on the premises of the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden,location Scheveningen, located some 3 km by road from thecourthouse. The indicted are housed in private cells which havea toilet, shower, radio, satellite TV, personal computer (withoutInternet access) and other comforts. They are allowed to phonefamily and friends daily and can have conjugal visits. There isalso a library, a gym and various rooms used for religiousobservances. The inmates are allowed to cook for themselves.All of the inmates mix freely and are not segregated on the basisof nationality; Serbian and Bosnian Muslim detainees (oncemortal enemies) now reportedly share friendly chess andbackgammon games and watch film screenings. As the cells aremore akin to a university residence instead of a jail, some havederisively referred to the ICT as the “Hague Hilton”.The reason for this luxury relative to other prisons is that the firstpresident of the court wanted to emphasise that the indicteesare innocent until proven guilty.
Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize“for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, andfor laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”The U.S. adopts the policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” whichgives the government the right to remove open homosexuals frommilitary service. In his 2008 election campaign, President Barack Obamaadvocated a full repeal of the laws barring homosexuals from serving inthe military. On October 10, 2009, Obama stated in a speech before theHuman Rights Campaign that he will end the ban, but offered notimetable. As president, Obama said in his first State of the Union Addressin 2010, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finallyrepeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the countrythey love because of who they are.” President Obama signed therepeal into law on December 22, 2010.The United Nations General Assembly creates the post of HighCommissioner for Human Rights.
The UN adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violenceagainst Women. Contained within it is the recognition of “theurgent need for the universal application to women of the rightsand principles with regard to equality, security, liberty, integrityand dignity of all human beings”.Articles 1 and 2 of the resolution provide the most widely useddefinition of violence against women.Article One: For the purposes of this Declaration, the term“violence against women” means any act of gender-basedviolence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual orpsychological harm or suffering to women, including threats ofsuch acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whetheroccurring in public or in private life.
Article Two: Violence against women shall be understood toencompass, but not be limited to, the following:(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;(b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;(c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.
1994-‐2004 The UN declares a Decade for Human Rights Education. Several schoolsoffer human rights education as part of their curriculum, for examplelinked subjects like History, Politics and Citizenship, but there are alsospecialized courses, such as Human Rights offered as part of theInternational Bacclaureate Diploma program for high school students.IB Human Rights is an academic subject containing units on: • The theory of human rights • The practice of human rights • Contemporary human rights issuesIn order to pass the course students are required to study for two years,take a final examination and produce a coursework.As part of their Diploma program students may also choose to write theirExtended Essay on Human Rights. This is a a 4000 word research paperfocusing on human rights.
1994 The first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala Lasso,takes his post.The U.S. Congress ratifies the International Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the ConventionAgainst Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment orPunishment.The U.S. delegation to the UN supports the Convention on the Rights ofthe Child, which remains unratified by the U.S. Congress. The OptionalProtocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on theinvolvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children,child prostitution and child pornography are ratified by the U.S.Congress in 2002.From April 26-29 South Africa holds the first election in the countrywhere all races could vote. Nelson Mandela is elected president andthe ANC wins 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.
An emergency session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rightsconvenes to respond to genocide in Rwanda.Beginning on April 6, 1994, and for the next hundred days, up to800,000 Tutsis were killed by Hutu militia using clubs and machetes,with as many as 10,000 killed each day.Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in Central Africa, with just 7million people, and is comprised of two main ethnic groups, the Hutuand the Tutsi. Although the Hutus account for 90 percent of thepopulation, in the past, the Tutsi minority was considered thearistocracy of Rwanda and dominated Hutu peasants for decades,especially while Rwanda was under Belgian colonial rule.Following independence from Belgium in 1962, the Hutu majorityseized power and reversed the roles, oppressing the Tutsis throughsystematic discrimination and acts of violence. As a result, over200,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries and formed a rebelguerrilla army, the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
In 1990, this rebel army invaded Rwanda and forced Hutu President JuvenalHabyalimana into signing an accord which mandated that the Hutus and Tutsiswould share power. Ethnic tensions in Rwanda were significantly heightened inOctober 1993 upon the assassination of Melchior Ndadaye, the first popularlyelected Hutu president of neighboring Burundi.A UN peacekeeping force of 2,500 multinational soldiers was then dispatched toRwanda to preserve the fragile cease-fire between the Hutu government andthe Tutsi rebels. Peace was threatened by Hutu extremists who were violentlyopposed to sharing any power with the Tutsis. Among these extremists were thosewho desired nothing less than the actual extermination of the Tutsis. It was laterrevealed they had even drawn up lists of prominent Tutsis and moderate Hutupoliticians to kill, should the opportunity arise.In April 1994, amid ever-increasing prospects of violence, Rwandan PresidentHabyalimana and Burundi’s new President, Cyprien Ntaryamira, held severalpeace meetings with Tutsi rebels. On April 6, while returning from a meeting inTanzania, a small jet carrying the two presidents was shot down by ground-firedmissiles as it approached Rwandas airport at Kigali. Immediately after theirdeaths, Rwanda plunged into political violence as Hutu extremists begantargeting prominent opposition figures who were on their death-lists, includingmoderate Hutu politicians and Tutsi leaders.
The killings then spread throughout the countryside as Hutu militia,armed with machetes, clubs, guns, and grenades, beganindiscriminately killing Tutsi civilians. All individuals in Rwanda carriedidentification cards specifying their ethnic background, a practice leftover from colonial days. These ‘tribal cards’ now meant the differencebetween life and death. Amid the onslaught, the small U.N.peacekeeping force was overwhelmed as terrified Tutsi families andmoderate politicians sought protection.Among the peacekeepers were 10 soldiers from Belgium who werecaptured by the Hutus, tortured and murdered. As a result, the UnitedStates, France, Belgium, and Italy all began evacuating their ownpersonnel from Rwanda. However, no effort was made to evacuateTutsi civilians or Hutu moderates. Instead, they were left behind entirelyat the mercy of the avenging Hutu.The U.N. Security Council responded to the worsening crisis by votingunanimously to abandon Rwanda. The remainder of U.N.peacekeeping troops were pulled out, leaving behind a only tinyforce of about 200 soldiers for the entire country.
The Hutu, now without opposition from the world community, engaged ingenocidal mania, clubbing and hacking to death defenseless Tutsi families withmachetes everywhere they were found. The Rwandan state radio, controlled byHutu extremists, further encouraged the killings by broadcasting non-stop hatepropaganda and even pinpointed the locations of Tutsis in hiding. The killers wereaided by members of the Hutu professional class including journalists, doctors andeducators, along with unemployed Hutu youths and peasants who killed Tutsis justto steal their property.Many Tutsis took refuge in churches and mission compounds. These placesbecame the scenes of some of the worst massacres. In some local villages,militiamen forced Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbors or face a death sentence forthemselves and their entire families. They also forced Tutsis to kill members of theirown families.By mid May, an estimated 500,000 Tutsis had been slaughtered. Bodies were nowcommonly seen floating down the Kigara River into Lake Victoria. Confronted withinternational TV news reports depicting genocide, the U.N. Security Council votedto send up to 5,000 soldiers to Rwanda. However, the Security Council failed toestablish any timetable and thus never sent the troops in time to stop themassacre. The killings only ended after armed Tutsi rebels, invading fromneighboring countries, managed to defeat the Hutus and halt the genocide inJuly 1994. By then, over one-tenth of the population, an estimated 800,000persons, had been killed.
In July 1995, two years after being designated a United Nations Safe Area,the Bosnian town of Srebrenica became the scene of the worst massacrein the Bosnian war. Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenicaenclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge fromearlier Serb offensives in northeastern Bosnia. They were under theprotection of about 600 lightly armed Dutch infantry forces. Fuel wasrunning out and no fresh food had been brought into the enclave sinceMay.While the international community and U.N. peacekeepers looked on,Serb forces separated civilian men from women and killed thousands ofmen en masse, or hunted them down in the forests. Following negotiationsbetween the UN and the Bosnian Serbs, the Dutch were at last permittedto leave Srebrenica, leaving behind weapons, food and medical supplies.In the five days after Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, more than8,000 Muslim men are thought to have been killed. The men who carriedout the executions were reportedly under orders handed down byGeneral [Ratko] Mladic and Radislav Krstic, a colonel in the Bosnian armywho was promoted to general and named commander of the armysDrina corps by Mladic within a few days of the killings.
1995 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is set up by the South African Governmentto address human rights violations under apartheid.A Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a commission tasked with discovering andrevealing past wrongdoing by a government (or, depending on the circumstances,non-state actors also), in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past.As government reports, they can provide proof against historical revisionism of stateterrorism and other crimes and human rights abuses. Truth commissions aresometimes criticised for allowing crimes to go unpunished, and creating impunity forserious human rights abusers.Truth Commissions have four main goals: • to seek to contribute to transitional peace by creating an authoritative record of what happened; • provide a platform for the victims to tell their stories and obtain some form of redress; • recommend legislative, structural or other changes to avoid a repetition of past abuses; • and establish who was responsible and providing a measure of accountability for the perpetrators.
Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations wereinvited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected forpublic hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and requestamnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. The TRC, the first of the 19 heldinternationally to stage public hearings, was seen by many as a crucialcomponent of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Thehearings were initially set to be heard in camera, but the intervention of 23 non-governmental organizations eventually succeeded in gaining media access tothe hearings.The commission brought forth many witnesses giving testimony about the secretand immoral acts committed by the Apartheid Government, the liberationforces including the ANC, and other forces for violence that many say would nothave come out into the open otherwise.On October 28, 1998 the Commissionpresented its report, which condemned both sides for committing atrocities.The TRC’s emphasis on reconciliation is in sharp contrast to the approach takenby the Nuremberg Trials after World War II and other de-Nazification measures.Because of the perceived success of the reconciliatory approach in dealingwith human-rights violations after political change either from internal or externalfactors, other countries have instituted similar commissions, though not alwayswith the same scope or the allowance for charging those currently in power. Thesuccess of the “TRC method” versus the “Nuremberg method” of prosecution isopen for debate.
1996 Jose Ramos Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo win the Nobel Peace Prize fortheir work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor.
Portugal began to establish colonial control over Timor in the 16th century, when theisland was divided into small states. The Netherlands later colonized the west of theisland, which was formally partitioned between the two imperial powers in 1916.Portugal invested little in Timor, and withdrew unilaterally in 1975 after deciding todissolve its colonial empire.Indonesia invaded within days of the Timorese declaration of independence, andused force to crush popular resistance. Major world and regional powers did little tocounter Indonesian rule, which was not recognized by the UN.Falintil guerrillas fought for independence, and their cause captured world attentionin 1991 when Indonesian forces opened fire on a memorial procession in the capital,Dili, killing at least 250 people. International pressure increased and finally persuadedIndonesia to let allow an independence referendum in 1999, during which a pro-Indonesian militia, apparently with Indonesian army support, tried in vain to use terrorto discourage voters.When the referendum showed overwhelming support for independence, the militiawent on the rampage, murdering hundreds and reducing towns to ruins. Aninternational peacekeeping force halted the mayhem and paved the way for aUnited Nations mission which helped reconstruct East Timor. An independent reportcommissioned by the UN transitional administration in East Timor said that at least100,000 Timorese died as a result of Indonesia’s 25-year occupation
1998 The 82-year-old General Augusto Pinochet is arrested for murder inLondon on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition. The Spanishauthorities issue the warrant pursuant to their investigation of allegationsof murder, torture and disappearances of Spanish nationals in Chilebetween 1973 and 1990. Under the terms of the constitution he becameimmune from prosecution in Chile.General Pinochet—at the time still a Chilean senator and the holder of adiplomatic passport—was informed of his arrest at a clinic where he wasrecovering from back surgery.The case was a watershed event in judicial history, as it was the first timethat a former government head was arrested on the principle ofuniversal jurisdiction. After having been placed under house arrest inBritain and initiating a judicial and public relations battle, the latter runby Thatcherite political operative Patrick Robertson, he was eventuallyreleased in March 2000 on medical grounds by the Home SecretaryJack Straw without facing trial.
In 2004, a U.S. Senate money laundering investigation—ordered in the wake of the11 September 2001 attacks—uncovered a network of over 125 securities andbank accounts at Riggs Bank and other U.S. financial institutions used by Pinochetand his associates for 25 years to secretly move millions of dollars.Related to Pinochet’s and his family secret bank accounts in United States and inCaraïbs islands, this tax fraud filing for an amount of 27 million dollars shocked theconservative sectors who still supported him. Ninety percent of these funds wouldhave been raised between 1990 and 1998, when Pinochet was chief of theChilean armies, and would essentially have come from weapons traffic (whenpurchasing Belgian ‘Mirage’ air-fighters in 1994, Dutch ‘Léopard’ tanks, Swiss‘Mowag’ tanks or by illegal sales of weapons to Croatia, in the middle of theBalkans war.)Pinochet was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in August 2000 by theSupreme Court, and indicted. His trial continued until his death on 10 December2006, with an alternation of indictments for specific cases, lifting of immunities bythe Supreme Court or to the contrary immunity from prosecution, with his health amain argument for, or against, his prosecution. He without having been convictedof any of the many serious crimes of which he was accused.
1999 John Howard, Australian Prime Minister, refuses to offer a formal national apology forAustralia’s mistreatment of aborigines.On February 13, 2008, Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, tabled a motion in parliamentapologising to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, particularly the Stolen Generationsand their families and communities, for laws and policies which had “inflictedprofound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.” The apologyincluded a proposal for a policy commission to close the gap between Indigenousand non-Indigenous Australians in “life expectancy, educational achievement andeconomic opportunity.”According to the United Nations, the quality of life of Aboriginal people is thesecond worst of the planet. Only natives from some provinces in China rate worse,and only half as many Indigenous Australians reach 65 as do people in Bangladesh.Indigenous Australians as a group generally experience high unemploymentcompared to the national average. This can be correlated to lower educationaloutcomes (ABS 2010). As of 2002, the average household income for IndigenousAustralian adults (adjusted for household size and composition) was 60% of the non-Indigenous average.
Students as a group leave school earlier, and live with a lower standard ofeducation, compared with their peers. Although the situation is slowly improving.The performance of indigenous students in national literacy and numeracy testsconducted in school years three, five, and seven is also inferior to that of theirpeers.Indigenous Australians were twice as likely to report their health as fair/poor andone-and-a-half times more likely to have a disability or long-term health condition(after adjusting for demographic structures). Many Indigenous communities sufferfrom a range of health, social and legal problems associated with substanceabuse of both legal and illegal drugs. Petrol sniffing is also a problem amongsome remote Indigenous communities. Petrol vapour produces euphoria anddulling effect in those who inhale it, and due to its previously low price andwidespread availability, is an increasingly popular substance of abuse.Indigenous Australians are jailed five times more often than black males in SouthAfrica under apartheid. In 2000, Indigenous Australians were more likely percapita to be both victims of and perpetrators of reported crimes in New SouthWales. In 2002, Indigenous Australians were twice as likely as their non-Indigenouspeers to be a victim of violent aggression, with 24% of Indigenous Australiansreported as being a victim of violence in 2001. In 2004, Indigenous Australianswere 11 times more likely to be in prison. In June 2004, 21% of prisoners in Australiawere Indigenous. There are frequent reports of domestic violence andcommunity disturbances.
The ILO adopts the Convention concerning the Prohibition and ImmediateAction for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.Amid growing concerns over the impact of the economic downturn, theInternational Labor Office (ILO) has warned that efforts to eliminate the worstforms of child labor are slowing down and called for a “re-energized” globalcampaign to end the practice.In its Global Report on child labor, the ILO has said that the global number ofchild laborers had declined from 222 million to 215 million, or 3 per cent, overthe period 2004 to 2008, representing a “slowing down of the global pace ofreduction.” The report also expressed concern that the global economic crisiscould “further brake” progress toward the goal of eliminating the worst forms ofchild labor by 2016.The new ILO global report, entitled Accelerating action against child labor,presents detailed estimates. Progress was greatest among children aged 5-14,where the number of child laborers fell by 10 per cent. Child labor among girlsdecreased by 15 per cent. However, it increased among boys (by 8 million or 7per cent). What’s more, child labor among young people aged 15 to 17increased by 20 per cent, from 52 million to 62 million.
On March 26, 1999, painter, jazz musician and right-to-die activist Dr. JackKevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder and the delivery of acontrolled substance (administering a lethal injection to Thomas Youk).Kevorkian’s license to practice medicine had been revoked eight yearspreviously; he was not legally allowed to possess the controlled substance. Itwas proven that he had directly killed a person because Youk was notphysically able to kill himself.The judge sentenced Kevorkian to serve 10–25 years in prison In the course ofthe various proceedings, Kevorkian made statements under oath and to thepress that he considered it his duty to assist persons in their death. He indicatedunder oath that because he thought laws to the contrary were archaic andunjust, he would persist in civil disobedience, even under threat of criminalpunishment. He claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. Hefamously said that “dying is not a crime.” Kevorkian said he considers assistedsuicide to be “a medical service” for willing patients. “My aim in helping thepatient was not to cause death”, the paper quoted him as saying. “My aim wasto end suffering. It’s got to be decriminalized.”He spent eight years and two and a half months behind bars before beinggranted parole in 2007. In January 2011, he gave a sold-out speech in LosAngeles.
2000 The ILO adopts the revised Maternity Protection Convention (183).The key elements of maternity protection reflect the concern to ensurethat women’s work does not pose risks to the health of the woman andher child and that women’s reproductive roles do not compromise theireconomic and employment security. These elements include the rightto: • maternity leave; • cash benefits to ensure the mother can support herself and her child during leave; • medical care; • protection of the health of pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children from workplace risks; • protection from dismissal and discrimination; and • breastfeeding on return to work.
Who is Protected? Health ProtectionAll married and unmarried employed women Pregnant and nursing women shall not be obligedincluding those in atypical forms of dependent to perform work that is assessed as detrimental towork the mother or childAmount of Leave Employment Protection and DiscriminationNot less than 14 weeks Unlawful for employer to dismiss a woman duringProvision for 6 weeks compulsory postnatal leave pregnancy, whilst on maternity leave or whilst nursing, unless grounds are unrelated toCash Benefits pregnancy or nursingTwo thirds of the woman’s previous earnings OR Burden of proof rests with employerEquivalent payment, on average, if an Guaranteed right to return to same position or analternative calculation method is used. equivalent position at equal payBenefits from social assistance funds for women Protection against discrimination in employmentwho do not meet qualifying conditions on the grounds of maternity.Benefits to be provided from social insurance or Prohibition of pregnancy testing at recruitmentpublic funds or determined by national law andpractice Breaks for BreastfeedingDeveloping countries can provide cash benefits Right to one or more daily breaks forat the same rate as for sickness or temporary breastfeeding/ lactationdisability but must report to ILO on steps taken to Right to daily reduction in daily working hours forreach standards breastfeeding. Breaks or reduction in hours counted as workingMedical Benefits time and therefore paidPrenatal, childbirth and postnatal care andhospitalization care when necessary
2001 The 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR), also known as Durban I, washeld Durban, South Africa, under UN auspices, from 31 August to 8 September2001.The conference dealt with several controversial issues, including compensationfor slavery and the actions of Israel. The language of the final Declaration andProgramme of Action produced by the conference was strongly disputed inthese areas, both in the preparatory meetings in the months that preceded theconference and during the conference itself. At the conference, the PalestinianSolidarity Committee of South Africa distributed copies of the antisemitic forgeryThe Protocols of the Elders of Zion.Two delegations, the United States and Israel, withdrew from the conference overobjections to a draft document equating Zionism with racism. The finalDeclaration and Programme of Action did not contain the text that the U.S. andIsrael had objected to, that text having been voted out by delegates in the daysafter the U.S. and Israel withdrew.The conference ended in discord and international recriminations.
9/11 The attacks were denounced by mass media and governments worldwide.Across the globe, nations offered pro-American support and solidarity. Leaders inmost Middle Eastern countries, and Afghanistan, condemned the attacks. Iraqwas a notable exception, with an immediate official statement that “theAmerican cowboys are reaping the fruit of their crimes against humanity”.Numerous countries, including Canada, China, the United Kingdom, France,Russia, Germany, India and Pakistan introduced anti-terrorism legislation andfroze the bank accounts of businesses and individuals they suspected of havingal-Qaeda ties.The United States set up a detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to holdinmates they defined as “illegal enemy combatants”. The legitimacy of thesedetentions has been questioned by, among others, the European Parliament, theOrganization of American States, and Amnesty International.As in the United States, the aftermath of the attacks saw tensions increase in othercountries between Muslims and non-Muslims. The attacks also had a significanteconomic impact on the United States and world markets.
The U.S. Congress ratifies the Patriot Act as a response to the terrorist attacks. TheAct allows federal officials greater authority in tracking and interceptingcommunications, both for purposes of law enforcement and foreignintelligence gathering. It gives the Secretary of the Treasury regulatory powers tocombat corruption of US financial institutions for foreign money-launderingpurposes; it more actively works to close our borders to foreign terrorists and todetain and remove those within our borders; it establishes new crimes, newpenalties and new procedural techniques for use against domestic andinternational terrorists.There has beenprotest overcertain sections ofthe Patriot Act,even resulting insome civil libertiessuits brought bythe ACLU andother groups.
Following are some of the more controversial sections of the Patriot Act:Section 215 modifies the rules on records searches so that third-partyholders of your financial, library, travel, video rental, phone, medical,church, synagogue, and mosque records can be searched without yourknowledge or consent, providing the government says its trying to protectagainst terrorism.Section 218 amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),authorizing secret searches without public knowledge or Department ofJustice accountability, so long as the government can allege a foreignintelligence basis for the search.Section 213 warrants—”Sneak and Peek”—extend the authority of FISAsearches to any criminal search. This allows for secret searches of oneshome and property without prior notice.Section 214 permits the removal of the warrant requirement for “Penregisters” which ascertain phone numbers dialed from a suspect’stelephone and “Trap and trace” devices which monitor the source of allincoming calls, so long as the government can certify that the informationlikely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing investigation againstinternational terrorism.
Section 216 clarifies that pen register/trap-and-trace authority applies to Internetsurveillance. The Act changes the language to include Internet monitoring,specifically information about: “dialing, routing, and signaling.” It also broadens suchmonitoring to any information “relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”Section 206 authorizes roving wiretaps: allowing taps on every phone or computerthe target may use, and expands FISA to permit surveillance of any communicationsmade to or by an intelligence target without specifying the particular phone line orcomputer to be monitored.Section 505 authorizes the use of an administrative subpoena of personal records,without requiring probable cause or judicial oversight.Section 802 creates a category of crime called “domestic terrorism,” penalizingactivities that “involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of thecriminal laws of the United States,” if the actors intent is to “influence the policy of agovernment by intimidation or coercion.”Section 411 makes even unknowing association with terrorists a deportable offense.Section 412 gives the attorney general authority to order a brief detention of alienswithout any prior showing or court ruling that the person is dangerous.
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 as the US Armed Forces’Operation Enduring Freedom was launched, along with NATO, in response to theSeptember 11 attacks. The UK has, since 2002, led its own military operation,Operation Herrick, as part of the same war in Afghanistan. The character of thewar evolved from a violent struggle by Coalition forces against Al-Qaeda and itsTaliban supporters to a complex counterinsurgency effort by Coalition forcesagainst Afghans who claim to be trying to expel those Coalition forces. The warhas killed thousands of people, many of which have been civilians.The first phase of the war had the goal of “removing the safe haven to Al-Qaedaand its use of the Afghan territory as a base of operations for anti-US terroristactivities”. The US government claimed that the aim of the invasion was to findOsama bin Laden and other high-ranking Al-Qaeda members to be put on trial, todestroy the organization of Al-Qaeda, and to remove the Taliban regime whichsupported and gave safe harbor to it. The George W. Bush administration statedthat, as policy, it would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nationsor governments that harbored them.Another ongoing operation is the International Security Assistance Force, whichwas established by the UN Security Council at the end of December 2001 tosecure Kabul and the surrounding areas. NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003. ByJuly 23, 2009, ISAF had around 64,500 troops from 42 countries, with NATOmembers providing the core of the force. The NATO commitment is particularlyimportant to the United States because it appears to give international legitimacyto the war.
2003 The Second Persian Gulf War, also known as the Iraq War, March-April 2003, was alargely U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. In many ways the final, delayed campaign of theFirst Persian Gulf War, it arose in part because the Iraqi government failed tocooperate fully with UN weapons inspections in the years following the first conflict.Despite much international opposition, including increasingly rancorous objectionsfrom France, Germany, and Russia, the United States and Britain continued theirmilitary buildup in areas near Iraq, insisting that Iraq was hiding weapons of massdestruction. Turkey, which the allies hoped to use as a base for a northern front inIraq, refused to allow use of its territory, but most Anglo-American forces were inplace in Kuwait and other locations by March. After failing to win the explicit UNSecurity Council approval desired by Britain (because Britons were otherwise largelyopposed to war), President Bush issued an ultimatum to Iraqi president Hussein onMar. 17, and two days later the war began with an airstrike against Hussein and theIraqi leadership. Ground forces (almost exclusively Anglo-American and significantlysmaller than the large international force assembled in the first war) beganinvading the following day, surging primarily toward Baghdad, the southern oilfields, and port facilities; a northern front was opened by Kurdish and airborneAnglo-American forces late in March.
By mid-April, 2003, Hussein’s army and government had collapsed, hehimself had disappeared, and the allies were largely in control of themajor Iraqi cities. The allies gradually turned their attention to therebuilding of Iraq and the establishment of a new Iraqi government, butprogress toward that end was hampered by lawlessness, especially inBaghdad, where widespread looting initially had been tolerated by U.S.forces.On May 1, President Bush declared victory in the war against Iraq. Noweapons of mass destruction, however, were found, leading to chargesthat U.S. and British leaders had exaggerated the Iraqi biological andchemical threat in order to justify the war. Much of the intelligence usedto justify the war subsequently was criticized as faulty by U.S. and Britishinvestigative bodies. Hussein was captured in Dec., 2003. In 2004, hewas transferred to Iraqi legal custody; tried and convicted of crimesagainst humanity, he was executed in 2006. U.S.-led occupation forcesand, later, Iraqi security forces, struggled with Iraqi and Islamicinsurgencies and sectarian violence that military and civilian plannershad failed to foresee
2004 Press reports describe the U.S. torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison duringand after the 2003 Iraq War.The human rights scandal began its journey toward exposure on Jan. 13, 2004,when Spc. Joseph Darby handed over horrific images of detainee abuse to theArmy’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID). The next day, the Army launcheda criminal investigation. Three and a half months later, CBS News and the NewYorker published photos and stories that introduced the world to devastatingscenes of torture and suffering inside the decrepit prison in Iraq. The New YorkTimes, in a report on January 12, 2005, reported testimony suggesting that thefollowing events had taken place at Abu Ghraib: • Urinating on detainees • Jumping on detainee’s leg (a limb already wounded by gunfire) with such force that it could not thereafter heal properly • Continuing by pounding detainee’s wounded leg with collapsible metal baton • Pouring phosphoric acid on detainees • Sodomization of detainees with a baton • Tying ropes to the detainees’ legs or penises and dragging them across the floor.
Death certificates repeatedly stated that prisoners had died “during sleep”, andof “natural reasons”. Iraqi doctors were not allowed to investigate even whendeath certificates were obviously forged. No reports of investigations against U.S.military doctors who forged death certificates have been reported.On December 21, 2004, the ACLU released copies of FBI internal memos theyhad obtained under the Freedom of Information Act concerning alleged tortureand abuse at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. One memo referredexplicitly to an Executive Order that sanctioned the use of extraordinaryinterrogation tactics by U.S. military personnel. The methods explicitly mentionedas being sanctioned are sleep deprivation, hooding prisoners, playing loudmusic, removing all detainees’ clothing, forcing them to stand in so-called “stresspositions”, and the use of dogs. The author also claimed that the Pentagon hadlimited use of the techniques by requiring specific authorization from the chain ofcommand. The author identifies “physical beatings, sexual humiliation ortouching” as being outside the Executive Order. This was the first internalevidence since the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse affair became public in April 2004that forms of coercion of captives had been mandated by the President of theUnited States.Eleven soldiers have been convicted of various charges relating to the incidents,all including dereliction of duty—most receiving relatively minor sentences. Threeother soldiers have either been cleared of charges or were not charged. No onehas been convicted for murders of detainees.
Darfur Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and the main rebel group in Darfur, theJustice and Equality Movement (Jem), are about to sign a ceasefire.It is being seen as an important step to achieving peace before anational election in April.Some 2.7 million people have fled their homes since the conflict beganin the arid western region, and the UN says about 300,000 have died—mostly from disease.How did the conflict start?The Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement(Jem) began attacking government targets in early 2003, accusingKhartoum of oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs.Darfur, which means land of the Fur, has faced many years of tensionover land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs, andfarmers from the Fur, Massaleet and Zaghawa communities.
How did the government respond to the rebellion?It admits mobilizing “self-defence militias” following rebel attacks.But it denies any links to the Arab Janjaweed militia—who are accusedof trying to drive out black Africans from large swathes of territory.President Omar al-Bashir has called the Janjaweed “thieves andgangsters”. But refugees say air raids by government aircraft would befollowed by attacks from the Janjaweed, who would ride into villageson horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and stealingwhatever they could find.The US and some human rights groups have said genocide is takingplace—though a UN investigation team in 2005 concluded that warcrimes had been committed but there had been no intent to commitgenocide.Trials have been announced in Khartoum of some members of thesecurity forces suspected of abuses—but this is viewed as part of acampaign against attempts to get suspects tried at the InternationalCriminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
What has happened to Darfur’s civilians?The United Nations says more than 2.7 million people have fled their homes andnow live in camps near Darfur’s main towns.Darfuris say the Janjaweed patrol outside the camps and men are killed andwomen raped if they venture too far in search of firewood or water.Some 200,000 people have also sought safety in neighboring Chad. Many ofthese are camped along a 600km (372 mile) stretch of the border and remainvulnerable to attacks from the Sudan side.Chad’s eastern areas have a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur and the violencehas spilled over the border area, with the neighbors accusing one another ofsupporting each others rebel groups.Many aid agencies have been working in Darfur but they are unable to getaccess to vast areas because of the insecurity.Several were banned from northern Sudan after the International Criminal Courtissued an arrest warrant for President Bashir in 2009 for alleged war crimes.
Search for Peace• May 2006: Khartoum makes peace with main Darfur rebel faction, Sudan Liberation Movement; Jem rejects the deal• May 2008: Unprecedented assault by Jem on Khartoum• Jul 2008: ICC calls for arrest of President Bashir• Nov 2008: President Bashir announces ceasefire• Nov 2008: ICC calls for arrest of three rebel commanders• Feb 2009: Army says it has captured key town of Muhajiriya• Feb 2009: Khartoum and Jem sign a deal in Qatar
How many have died?The United Nations says up to300,000 people have died from thecombined effects of war, hungerand disease.President Bashir puts the death tollat 10,000.Accurate figures are difficult toresearch and have made no Janjaweed gunmen aredistinction between those dying as accused of prowling outsidea result of violence and those dying refugee camps.as a result of starvation or disease inthe camps.The numbers are crucial indetermining whether the deaths inDarfur are genocide or—as theSudanese government says—thesituation is being exaggerated.
Is anyone trying to stop the fighting?Yes. There are thousands of peacekeepers in the region under the auspices ofa joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission, Unamid.Last August, the UN’s outgoing military commander General Martin Agwai saidthe conflict was effectively over and isolated attacks and banditry were theregions main problems now.There was a peace deal in 2006, but only one of many rebel factions signedup to it.Qatar, the United Nations, the African Union, Arab League and Chad have allhelped to arrange peace talks between Khartoum and Jem over the past fewyears.The US envoy to Darfur, Scott Gration, has also been involved in talks aimed atgetting the rebel groups to agree a common position so they can take part inbroader peace talks.It is hoped that the ceasefire with Jem will see other rebels sit down at thenegotiating table.
Who is to blame?The international community lays much of the blame onMr. Bashir.He has frequently been accused of supporting the pro-government militias.The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued anarrest warrant last year for war crimes and crimes againsthumanity. Omar al-Bashir says ICC charges reflect WesternAn attempt to add genocide to the charge was initially hostility to Sudan.refused—but prosecutors appealed and the courts pre-trial chamber has now been ordered to reconsidergenocide charges.Rebel groups have also been held responsible for someatrocities.But the case against rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda,accused of planning the killing of 12 African Unionpeacekeepers in 2007, was dropped this year as the ICCruled there was not enough evidence to support a trial.
The government of Sudan and militias have acted together in committingwidespread atrocities in Darfur that should be prosecuted by aninternational war crimes tribunal, but the violent acts do not amount togenocide, a U.N. commission has said.The commission, charged with investigating the violence that has claimedtens of thousands of lives and displaced more than 1.8 million people, foundthat “most attacks were deliberately and indiscriminately directed againstcivilians.”“In particular, the commission found that government forces and militiasconducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture,enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms ofsexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur,” thecommission said in its 176-page report.“These acts were conducted on a widespread and systematic basis, andtherefore may amount to crimes against humanity.”However, the commission said it does not believe the atrocities committedamount to a policy of genocide, as the United States and others havealleged..
“The crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing, atleast as far as the central government authorities are concerned,”the report said.“Generally speaking, the policy of attacking, killing and forciblydisplacing members of some tribes does not evince a specificintent to annihilate, in whole or in part, a group distinguished onracial, ethnic, national or religious grounds.”The commission goes on to say that it recognizes that in someinstances, individuals—including Sudanese government officials—”may commit acts with genocidal intent.”“Whether this was the case in Darfur, however, is a determinationthat only a competent court can make on a case-by-case basis,” itsaid.The commission added: “International offenses such as the crimesagainst humanity and war crimes that have been committed inDarfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide.”
2006 The United Nations General Assembly votes overwhelmingly to establish the UNHuman Rights Council (UNHRC), an inter-governmental body within the UNSystem. The UNHRC is the successor to the UN Commission on Human Rights(UNCHR, herein CHR), and is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly. Thecouncil works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR) and engages the United Nations’ Special Procedures.The General Assembly established the UNHRC by adopting a resolution on 15March 2006, in order to replace the previous CHR, which had been heavilycriticised for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.According to human rights groups, the council is controlled by a bloc of Islamicand African states, backed by China, Cuba and Russia, who protect each otherfrom criticism. The council has also been criticized for acting according topolitical considerations as opposed to human rights. Specifically, SecretariesGeneral Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon, the councils president Doru Costea, theEuropean Union, Canada and the United States have accused the council offocusing disproportionately on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
UK Terrorism Act 2006 becomes law. The government’s anti-terrorism measuresare in the spotlight as courts say control orders break human rights laws - andMPs criticize the case put to allow police to detain terror suspects for up to 90days without charge.What are the new anti-terror laws?The Terrorism Act 2006 came into force in April. The law was drawn up in thewake of the 7 July bomb attacks in London and is meant to disrupt the trainingand recruitment of would-be terrorists.Was there cross party consensus on the new law?No. It had a rocky ride in Parliament, with Tony Blair suffering his first Commonsdefeat as prime minister over plans to extend to 90 days the time police canhold terror suspects without charge. In the end a compromise was agreedwhich extended the time limit to 28 days, from its previous 14 days.Why is this in the news now?The influential House of Commons home affairs committee has criticized thecase ministers and the police put for the 90 days detention. But the MPs on thecommittee have also said they believe the 28 day limit may well have to beextended in the future. Chancellor Gordon Brown is also said to be supportiveof the limit being extended.
What were the other terror laws sticking points?There was particular controversy over the creation of a new offence of the“glorification” of terror—people who “praise or celebrate” terrorism in a way thatmakes others think they should emulate such attacks. The then Home SecretaryCharles Clarke said people should not, for example, be allowed to glorify the 7 Julyattacks, or the bombers themselves, as it could encourage impressionable youngmen to think they should commit similar atrocities.Whats the problem with that?Critics say the laws are just not needed and will only damage legitimate freedomof speech. They claim the glorification offence could see the Irish taoiseachprosecuted in the UK for celebrating the Easter Rising. They also point out such lawscould have led to people being arrested in the 1980s for supporting NelsonMandelas fight against apartheid in South Africa. These claims were rejected byMr Clarke, who told MPs such circumstances as the anti-apartheid movementwould not happen again.Isn’t encouraging terrorism tackled by existing laws?Opponents of the glorification clause say laws against incitement to murder orhatred cover many potential problems. But ministers insist new powers are neededto enable police to take action against placards celebrating the 7 July bombings,for example.
What else is in the Terrorism Act?The Act tries to make it easier to prosecute potential bombers, with new offencesof preparing a terrorist act, giving or receiving terrorist training, and selling orspreading terrorist publications. It would also widen powers to ban organizationswhich glorify terrorism.Which organizations face being banned?On 5 August 2005, the prime minister said two radical Muslim groups would bebanned—Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) and Al Muhajiroun, formerly run by radical cleric OmarBakri Mohammed. The law is in place and the Home Office says that the positionof the two organisations is “under review”. Many Muslims have spoken out indefence of HT, saying that while they may oppose its radical politics, they do notbelieve it is linked to terrorism.What is the row about the control orders?A High Court judge has ruled control orders are “conspicuously unfair” andargued that safeguards to protect the rights of suspects are "a thin veneer oflegality”. His comments came after a High Court challenge by the first Britishcitizen to be the subject of a control order. Another judge has subsequently alsoruled in favor of six people who claim their human rights were infringed by thecontrol orders they were placed under.
What are control orders?The orders—under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005—allow the governmentto put individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism under house arrest. Theyhave to report to a police station daily and restrictions are placed on theirmovements, banning them, for example, from visiting airports or railway stations.Why doesn’t the government just charge people if they suspect them of beingterrorists?Because they have not got sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.Control orders were brought in last year after an attempt to hold suspectswithout charge at Belmarsh jail following a challenge under the Human RightsAct.How many people are under control orders?There are thought to be about a dozen people subject to control orders,including three British citizens.What does the judges ruling mean for the governments anti-terror laws?The judge was unable to lift the control orders but his ruling means it means theymay now be challenged under human rights law - potentially leaving a keyplank of the government’s anti-terror strategy in tatters. The government hassaid it does not accept the judges ruling..
2007 Buddhist monks join anti-government protesters in Myanmar, starting what somecalled the Saffron Revolution. After a month of peaceful pro-democracydemonstrations that include hundreds of monks, Burmese government forcesshoot at crowds, raid pagodas, and arrest monks. Dozens of people are killed.The protests are the largest in Myanmar in 20 years.Nuon Chea, who was second-in-command to Pol Pot during the four years ofKhmer Rouge rule that led to the state-sponsored massacre of between 1 millionand 2 million Cambodians, is arrested and charged with war crimes. commonlyknown as “Brother Number Two” second in command to Pol Pot who was leaderduring the Cambodian Genocide 1975-1979. Nuon Chea is presently in detentionawaiting a United Nations trial for crimes against humanity for his role in thegenocide; three former Khmer Rouge leaders, the sole surviving “Big Fish”, arealso awaiting trial with Nuon Chea: Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Thirith.Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces. With the ban already inforce in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, this means it is illegal to smoke inindoor public places anywhere in the UK. The ban is also put into effect inAustralia.
2008 Fighting breaks out after Georgian soldiers attack South Ossetia, a breakawayenclave in Georgia that won de facto independence in the early 1990s.Separatists in South Ossetia retaliate. Aug. 8: Russia enters the fray, with troops and tanks pouring into South Ossetia tosupport the region.Aug. 9 and 10: Russia intensifies its involvement, moving troops into Abkhazia,another breakaway region, and launching airstrikes at Tbilisi, the capital ofGeorgia.Aug. 13: France brokers a deal between Russia and Georgia. President GeorgeBush sends U.S. troops on a humanitarian mission to Georgia. He warns Russia thatif it doesn’t observe the cease-fire, the country risks its standing in “the diplomatic,political, economic, and security structures of the 21st century.”Aug. 29: Russia and Georgia sever diplomatic ties from each other. It is the firsttime Russia has cut off formal relations with one of its former republics, whichgained independence in 1991.
2009 Sweden legalizes same-sex marriage. The other countries with the same rightsare The Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Portugal, Spain. Argentina,Canada, South Africa, some US states, and Mexico, DF.The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for the president ofSudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir, charging him with war crimes and crimesagainst humanity in the Darfur region.At the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, amendments to theUniversal declaration of Human Rights are proposed to include a new section onUniversal Environmental Rights. The onset of various environmental issues,especially climate change, has created potential conflicts between differenthuman rights. Human rights ultimately require a working ecosystem and healthyenvironment, but the granting of certain rights to individuals may damage these.Such as the conflict between right to decide number of offspring and thecommon need for a healthy environment, as noted in the tragedy of thecommons. In the area of environmental rights, the responsibilities of multinationalcorporations, so far relatively unaddressed by human rights legislation, is ofparamount consideration.
2010 WikiLeaks, the website dedicated to the public release of anonymous, top-secret,covert and classified information has published internal documents about toxicwaste dumping in Africa, extrajudicial slayings in Kenya and Guantanamo Bayprocedures. In July, it published more than 90,000 internal documents andcommunications pertaining to the US War in Afghanistan. In October, it publishedmore than 400,000 internal documents about US operations in Iraq. In November itpublished more than 250,000 US State Department diplomatic cables. The impacton the United States’ diplomatic and military operations throughout the world haveyet to be quantified, yet the legal troubles of the group’s founder, spokespersonand editor-in-chief Julian Assange have only just begun. He was recently arrested inEngland and is awaiting potential extradition to Sweden to face sexual misconductallegations.Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi is released from her house arrest.Mohamed Bouazizi lights himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia setting off the 2010–2011 Tunisian uprising and in turn the 2010-2011 Arab world protests. FollowingBouazizi’s self-immolation, several other men have emulated this act in other Arabcountries in an attempt to bring an end to the oppression they face from corruptautocratic governments.
Burning oneself as political protest is not new. Many remember thegruesome images of Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, burning himself todeath in Saigon during the Vietnam War in 1963, his body eerily still andcomposed amid the flames. Many other monks followed his example as thewar intensified. In Europe, Jan Palach, a 20-year-old Czech who burnedhimself to death in Prague in 1969 a few months after the Soviet invasion ofhis country, is remembered as a martyr of the struggle against Communism.Less well-known protesters have died in flames in Tibet, India, Turkey andelsewhere. In China, Buddhists have set themselves alight for at least 1,600years.Perhaps what is new about the latest self-immolations is their effectiveness.Mr. Bouazizi, a fruit vendor, set himself on fire in front of the local governor’soffice after the authorities confiscated his fruit, beat him and refused toreturn his property. He is now seen as the instigator of a revolution thatforced out President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years of authoritarianrule. Mr. Bouazizi’s imitators hope to generate similar revolts in other Arabcountries, where corruption and stifling autocracy have led to a similarlyvast gulf between rulers and the ruled.
2011 An overwhelming majority of South Sudanese voted in a January2011 referendum to secede and become Africa’s first new countrysince Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993. On July 14, the UN GeneralAssembly admitted South Sudan as its 193rd member.Although it is oil-rich, it is one of the least developed areas of theworld—only 16 percent of its women can read and write and thereare very few paved roads in a country larger than Spain andPortugal combined. Its independence follows decades of conflictwith the north in which some 1.5 million people died. The twocountries have still to decide on issues such as drawing up the newborder and how to divide Sudans debts and oil wealth.
Facts and figures:Population: 7.5-9.7 millionSize: 619,745 sq km (239,285 sq miles), larger than Spain andPortugal combinedMajor languages: English, Arabic (both official), Juba Arabic, DinkaReligion: Traditional and a Christian minorityMain export: OilChallenges ahead: One of worlds least developed countries:Worst maternal mortality rate; most children below 13 not in school;84% of women are illiterateRelations with Sudan: Dividing debts and oil; border disputes;citizenshipSecurity: At least seven active rebel groups
Once a new nation has become a full member of the UnitedNations, it is allocated country codes through the InternationalOrganization for Standardization (ISO).A two-letter codeidentifies the countrys internet domain suffix, while the three-letter codes appear on passports and define the country’scurrency in international markets.New states can apply to use any of the letters from their officialname.According to the ISO’s Mary Lou Pelaprat, there are a few two-letter options available, beginning with “s” – but “.sd” is alreadytaken by Sudan, and “.su” was allocated to the Soviet Union.“We want our domain name to be ‘.ss’ for ‘South Sudan’, butpeople are telling us ‘SS’ has an association in Europe withNazis,” an official, Stephen Lugga, told Reuters. “We haveapplied for it anyway.”Experts say the application is unlikely to be approved.
In early 2011, protests born of oppression and socioeconomic frustration inTunisia and Egypt led to the overthrow of their long-entrenched heads ofstate, and sparked a wave of protests throughout the Middle East and NorthAfrica, now commonly referred to as the “Arab Spring,” “Arab Awakening”or “Arab Uprising”.
CAUSES OF THE ARAB UPRISINGDemographic structural factors Authoritarian states Extreme poverty Government corruption Human rights violations Inflation Kleptocracy Sectarianism Unemployment
Here are some of the elements all of these protests seem to have incommon:Self-immolation – A wave of self-immolation swept Algeria from January 12through January 19. January 16 saw one self-immolation in Egypt, followedby two more on January 18. In Mauritania a protester set himself on fire onJanuary 17. A man burned himself to death on January 21 in the kingdomof Saudi Arabia. These self-immolations seem to be done in sympathy withthe self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi. Self-immolations have also beenreported in Morocco and Iraq.Social Media – Like the protests in Iran in the summer of 2009 much of thecoordination among protesters seems to be done through social mediatools like Twitter and Facebook (though the importance of Twitter in theIranian protests has been disputed). Egypt removed itself from the Interneton January 27, 2011. On January 28 rumors circulate (but haven’t beenconfirmed at the time I write this post) that other nations, in particular Syria,are also shutting down Internet access to their citizens.Youth – Much, but not all, of the protest seems to be coming from thoseunder 30 years of age.
Muslim Brotherhood – For a substantial part of the 20th century, the MuslimBrotherhood (formed in 1928) was considered a modernist, reformelement of Islam politics. In recent years, however, it has moved farther tothe political right, abandoning some of the moderate positions it onceheld. The MB is a transnational movement. While it operates in all Islamiccountries, it is banned in Egypt. The MB advocates government organizedaround the principles of the Qu’ran. The MB strongly opposes Westerninfluence in the politics and government of North Africa and the MiddleEast.Leftist groups, unions, labor organizations – These uprisings are mostly notby Islamic fundamentalists (though note the important role played by theMuslim Brotherhood mentioned above). They seem largely to be pro-democracy groups rising in opposition to totalitarian governments. Labororganizations have been critical in organizing and motivating the protests.Note that the political agenda, when articulated, is more in line withEuropean-style democracy with its socialistic elements, rather than US-style democracy with its elements of capitalism. US-style democracy isembraced at the same time US support (both financial and military) forthe totalitarian regimes is condemned.
On May 2, Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is killed by US forces in Pakistan.Bin Laden was shot dead at a compound near Islamabad, in a groundoperation based on US intelligence, the first lead for which emerged in August2010.Bin Laden is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York andWashington on 11 September 2001 and a number of others.He was top of the US’ “most wanted” list.DNA tests confirmed that Bin Laden was dead. Bin Laden was buried at seaafter a Muslim funeral on board an aircraft carrier, Pentagon officials said.
On May 16, Ratko Mladić was arrested in Lazarevo, near Zrenjanin in the Banat region of thenorthern province of Vojvodina. His arrest was carried out by two dozen Serbian specialpolice officers wearing black uniforms and masks, and sporting no insignia. The police wereaccompanied by Security Information Agency and War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office agents.The officers entered the village in four jeeps in the early morning hours, while most residentswere still asleep. They pulled up to four houses simultaneously, each owned by Mladić’srelatives.Mladić was about to venture intothe yard for a walk, when fourofficers jumped over the fenceand broke into the house just ashe moved toward the door,grabbing Mladić, forcing him tothe floor, and demanding heidentify himself. Mladić identifiedhimself correctly, andsurrendered two pistols he hadbeen carrying. On May 31, Mladićwas extradited to The Hague,where he was processed at thedetention center that holdssuspects for the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for the formerYugoslavia (ICTY). His trial beganon 3 June 2011.
After seizing power in a 1969 military coup, Gaddafi proceeded to eliminate anyopposition and severely restricted lives of ordinary Libyans. Gaddafi’s ideology wastermed the “Third International Theory” and it was described in the Green Book.Gaddafi and his relatives took over much of the economy. Gaddafi started severalwars, had a role in others, and spent on acquiring both chemical and nuclearweapons. More discreetly, he directed the country’s revenues to sponsor terror andother political activities around the world. The United Nations called Libya underGaddafi a pariah state.In the wake of Arab Spring in February 2011, a movement demonstrating againstGaddafi spread across the country. Gaddafi responded by dispatching the militaryand plainclothes armed men on streets to attack demonstrators; however, manyswitched sides. Gaddafi went into a civil war with the movement. On August 23,2011, Gaddafi lost control of Tripoli with the rebel’s capture of the Bab al-Aziziacompound. Gaddafi’s loyalist forces continue warfare in limited locations. He facesprosecution by the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrantfor crimes against humanity. Billions of dollars of his assets have been frozen aroundthe world.
Forces opposed to Libya’s leader Col Muammar Gaddafi have taken over hiscompound in the capital, Tripoli, after a six-month uprising. There have been runningbattles in the city, where pockets of pro-Gaddafi resistance remain—and in his hometown of Sirte. But it seems as though Col Gaddafi’s rule has come to an end afteralmost 42 years.Why did the rebels want to oust Col Gaddafi?He ruled Libya with an iron fist since he seized power in a 1969 coup. Students wereforced to study his political theories, as set out in his Green Book. Political parties werebanned and his critics imprisoned, tortured and on some occasions killed. After theoverthrow of the leaders of Libya’s neighbors, Tunisia and Egypt, some Libyans stagedprotests to demand change. But Col Gaddafi’s government used overwhelming forceagainst the demonstrators in Tripoli and then started to move on the second city,Benghazi, where the rebels had seized control.Why did other countries intervene?It was feared that an assault on Benghazi, a city of a million people, would be brutal.Over the years, Col Gaddafi had fallen out with both his neighbors and the West,although he had bankrolled many African leaders. The Arab League asked the UnitedNations to intervene to protect the civilians in Benghazi. In March, the UN SecurityCouncil passed a resolution which authorized “all necessary measures”— excepttroops on the ground — to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians. NATO planesthen started bombing government forces, who retreated from the outskirts ofBenghazi.
So was NATO backing the rebels?NATO officials strongly deny that they acted as the “opposition’s air force”or even that they had direct contact with them. However, reporters with therebels noted that the pro-Gaddafi forces in front of rebel positions wouldoften be bombed, making the opposition advance much easier. Since thestorming of Tripoli, the UK has confirmed that NATO is providing “intelligenceand reconnaissance” to help the rebels track down Col Gaddafi. Earlier,the French admitted giving weapons to the rebels, while other countrieshave provided training and logistical support to the rebels, who are mostlycivilians. Both Western and Arab leaders openly said they wanted ColGaddafi to go.Why did it take so long?It took five months after the NATO air strikes began before rebel forcesentered Tripoli. Col Gaddafi’s forces were a real army with heavy weapons,while the rebels were mostly untrained civilians who had managed to gethold of some light arms such as AK-47s. It took a while for the bombingcampaign to significantly reduce the governments military advantage andfor the rebels to be organized into a proper fighting force. In the end, theyadvanced on Tripoli from three fronts, surrounding the coastal city, wherethey were met by jubilant crowds. Many were surprised at how littleresistance they met outside the capital.
What happens next?Col Gaddafi’s death should mark the end of the fighting. The NTC said that when ColGaddafis hometown of Sirte fell, as it has, it would declare Libya fully “liberated”. Itwould then name a new government within a month, while the transitional authoritywould resign. But it faces a challenge reining in different military groups and limitingrivalries between potentially competing interests and allegiances, including Islamists,moderates and those who want to see a secular state. Without the unifying goal ofousting Col Gaddafi, there are fears that interim authorities could start arguing amongthemselves. The NTC wants a national congress elected within eight months, and multi-party elections in 2013. Meanwhile, the new rulers have to try to improve the lives ofordinary Libyans and avoid the post-revolution disillusionment seen in Egypt and Tunisia.To do this they will need money.Where will the funds come from?The rebels’ National Transitional Council’s (NTC) says it is seeking $2.5bn (£1.5bn) inimmediate aid. An estimated $53bn of assets were frozen during the conflict — but itcan take time for them to be unfrozen. A UN sanctions committee has agreed torelease $500m of frozen assets to humanitarian agencies. But South Africa, which ledthe African initiative to find a diplomatic solution to the Libyan conflict, has blockedreleasing a further $1bn, saying it wants to wait for guidance from the African Union.Col Gaddafi was one of the main founders of the AU and its key financial backer.South Africa cannot block the unfreezing of the rest of Libya’s assets indefinitely, as ithas no veto at the UN Security Council. The Arab League, however, has now given itsfull backing to the NTC, which may lead to more countries offering aid.