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Article Archive for December 2008

Happy New Year!

31/12/2008 – 5:58 pm | Comments Off on Happy New Year!

The team behind International Law Observer wishes all its readers a Happy New Year!

The international year 2009

29/12/2008 – 2:53 pm | Comments Off on The international year 2009

Already in 2006 the United Nations General Assembly declared the year 2009 the International Year of Reconciliation. The motivation behind the UNGA’s action was the recognition “that reconciliation processes are particularly necessary and urgent in countries of the world which had suffered or were suffering, situations of conflict that had affected and divided societies in their various facets”. An invitation to participate in actions in …

Merry Christmas

25/12/2008 – 10:47 pm | Comments Off on Merry Christmas

We, the team of authors at International Law Observer wish all of our readers around the world a Merry Christmas and cheery and happy holidays.

Sixty Years of the UDHR: Global Struggle for Human Rights Continues.

23/12/2008 – 10:09 pm | Comments Off on Sixty Years of the UDHR: Global Struggle for Human Rights Continues.

December 10, 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since 1948 much has changed in the world: colonialism, by definition a systemic abuse of human rights, has largely been thrown into the dustbin of history although its grotesque legacies remain, while war, another unmitigated assault on human rights, and its aftermath continue to scar various parts of the world especially the …

The maritime border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia

19/12/2008 – 10:27 am | 4 Comments

Tensions have been unfortunately  increasing again in last days between Slovenia and Croatia. Below you can find an excerpt from The Conundrum of the Piran Bay, co-authored by Matej Avbelj and myself, which it is once again extremely actual. Let us hope somebody learns some lessons from our conclusion and also from past mistakes. Full article is available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=990183

“In the light of the conclusion that no clear …

In the Name of Freedom of Speech

18/12/2008 – 11:05 am | Comments Off on In the Name of Freedom of Speech

Ban-ki Moon is not the only one criticising international organisations such as the UN’s Human Rights Council for trying to curb free speech in the name of the fight against “defamation of religions” and “blasphemy” laws. A group of freedom of expression rapporteurs from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the UN, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Commission …

Massacre in Kiwanja

16/12/2008 – 9:47 am | One Comment

Following Ole’s recent post, it seems necessary to mention the massacre that occurred just over a month ago in Kiwanja, North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The N.Y. Times reports that:

‘In little more than 24 hours, at least 150 people would be dead, most of them young men, summarily executed by the rebels last month as they tightened their grip over parts of …

UN Human Rights Envoy Expelled from Israel

16/12/2008 – 8:31 am | 7 Comments

Yesterday the UN’s special rapporteur for human Rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, was detained by Israeli border authorities, denied entry into Israel and subsequently expelled. While it is unfortunate that the UN is hindered in carrying out its observations and the expulsion is likely to be met with criticism, it is pertinent to make a few points. Over on Opino Juris, Julian Ku …

“The Problem from Hell”

15/12/2008 – 6:05 pm | Comments Off on “The Problem from Hell”

Last week the Genocide Prevention Task Force, of the US Peace Institute, published its report “Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers”, containing a number of recommendations on how future US administrations can actively seek to avoid incidents of genocide. Members of the Genocide Prevention Task Force count, among others, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was Secretary of State when US-led NATO forces …

250 corporate executives express their commitment to human rights

15/12/2008 – 3:08 pm | One Comment

250 corporate executives have on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights publicly expressed their commitment to ‘respect and support’ human rights.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we, business leaders from all corners of the world, call on governments to implement fully their human rights obligations. We also reiterate our own …

Guest Post: 10th ICTY Completion Strategy report to UNSC

15/12/2008 – 7:23 am | Comments Off on Guest Post: 10th ICTY Completion Strategy report to UNSC

[In this post Amy Senier returns with a piece on last week’s report by President Robinson of the ICTY to the UN Security Council on the Tribunal’s completion strategy.]
Last week Judge Patrick Robinson, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”) delivered the ICTY President’s 10th report on the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy to the UN Security Council.  Pursuant to UN Security Council …

Second attempt at ratifying the Lisbon Treaty

14/12/2008 – 9:33 pm | Comments Off on Second attempt at ratifying the Lisbon Treaty

During the meeting of the Council of the European Union on 11 and 12 November agreement was reached with regard to a European Economic Recovery Plan (including a 200-billion-euro ($264 billion) pact to revive the battered economy), an energy/climate change package (reaffirming the commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and promote renewable energy), and decisions aiming to give new impetus …

New special coverage section on human rights and business

14/12/2008 – 6:37 pm | Comments Off on New special coverage section on human rights and business

A new special coverage section has been added, collecting all  the posts that deal with issues on the intersection between human rights and business. Examples of the posts that you will find here so far include a post on corporate obligation to protect human rights, discussing the recent report by the NGO War on Want on labour rights standards in garment industry in Bangladesh, and a post …

Ban Ki-moon on Human Rights Council

13/12/2008 – 2:29 pm | Comments Off on Ban Ki-moon on Human Rights Council

This week saw the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although immense progress has been made in those 60 years toward the aim of universal respect for fundamental rights, it is often asserted that major setbacks have occurred in the area of civil liberties over the last eight years or so. While these setbacks are often down to state action, or perhaps …

European Union grants duty-free access to developing countries for respecting human rights and “good governance” standards

13/12/2008 – 12:01 am | Comments Off on European Union grants duty-free access to developing countries for respecting human rights and “good governance” standards

On 9 December 2008 the European Commission stated that the products from 16 developing countries will benefit from duty-free access to the European Union under the “special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance” (GSP+).
The GSP+ is a specific tariff arrangement in the context of the Scheme of Generalised Tariff Preferences. It provides for tariff reductions (preferences) for imports from developing countries to the …

UN General Assembly Adopts the Optional Protocol to ICESCR

11/12/2008 – 9:20 pm | One Comment

On 10 December the UN General Assembly at its plenary meeting unanimously adopted an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Protocol is undoubtedly a milestone in the history of the universal human rights system. It aims to achieve progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the Covenant. The adoption took place on a very special occasion …

Human Rights a Mistake

11/12/2008 – 3:50 pm | Comments Off on Human Rights a Mistake

Well perhaps not quite, but according to the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner insisting on the creation of a post of Secretary of State for Human Rights, when he was sworn in by President Sarkozy in 2007, was a mistake. Kouchner, who is a long-time player on the international scene having helped founding Médecins Sans Frontières, yesterday told the French paper Le Parisien that an …

A tragedy in the making: EU profits and the Gaza Strip faces an intensifying humanitarian crisis

10/12/2008 – 9:19 pm | Comments Off on A tragedy in the making: EU profits and the Gaza Strip faces an intensifying humanitarian crisis

On the one hand, business is going as usual, the European Union is going through the required procedures and working groups in order to arrive at the most mutually profitably arrangement for the upgrading of its bi-lateral trade (plus) relations with Israel. The European Union’s 27 foreign ministers unanimously approved upgrading relations with Israel on Monday, with France’s Kouchner at the lead, despite all efforts …