The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health ::
Holistic Development :: Sustainable Resilience
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Week ending 20 February 2016

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor &
Founding Managing Director
GE2P2 – Center for Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

pdf version: The Sentinel_ week ending 20 February 2016

blog edition: comprised of the 35+ entries  posted below on 21-24 February 2016

Security Council open debate: the meaning of and responsibilities proceeding from the UN Charter

Editor’s Note:
In an extraordinary full-day debate titled “Respect for the Principles and Purposes of the Charter as a Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”, the UN Security Council engaged the meaning of and responsibilities proceeding from the UN Charter. A number of member states used the occasion to level accusations and make claims against other member states and coalitions, and most members states who were criticized responded.

We lead with the transcript of the Secretary General’s opening remarks and then the initial text of the overview of the debate. We also provide below links to over 8 hours of debate video – watching and reflecting on this debate is sobering, and a useful investment in understanding the real state of play in the global body.

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Press Release
Secretary-General Says Early Warning, Action to Prevent Conflict Remains Best Approach to Advance Vision of Peace as Security Council Debates UN Charter
15 February 2016
SG/SM/17540-SC/12242
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Security Council open debate on “Respect for the Principles and Purposes of the Charter as a Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”

Today’s event continues the useful discussion initiated last year under the Chinese presidency. The year 2015 saw important steps to uphold the values and advance the vision set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

Reviews of the international peace and security architecture provided valuable ideas for strengthening our work in conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change demonstrated our capacity to overcome divisions and chart a course towards the common good.

While we celebrate these achievements, we must also recognize that 2015 was one of the most troubled and turbulent years in recent history. Civil wars ravaged Syria and Yemen. Violent extremism spread. The blatant disrespect for fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law defies our common humanity and challenges the Security Council in fulfilling its duties under the Charter.

For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and aspirations of the Charter remain elusive. Bringing the promise of the Charter to the most vulnerable must continue to be our goal.

Decades of experience have validated the Charter’s vision. We understand better than ever that peace, development and human rights are intrinsically connected. We have seen that conflict-affected countries generally experience the highest poverty rates and were the least likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We know that human rights abuses are our most effective early warning signs of the instability that often escalates into atrocity crimes.

The primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lies with Member States. It is clearly established in the Charter and reiterated in numerous resolutions adopted by this Council as well as by the General Assembly.

But, in some situations, Member States may lack the capacity to fulfil their obligations. In others, it is Member States themselves which are the main violators of human rights.

The United Nations can help Member States meet these national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. We continue to offer assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes. The Human Rights Up Front initiative is helping the United Nations system to coordinate better across the peace and security, development and human rights pillars, and to engage with Member States at early stages of crises.

We are placing a growing focus on prevention through both early warning and early action. We should all much prefer to assess early information than to wait for the warning signs of disaster. We should be open to modest steps that could address situations of concern before they grow more serious and complex.

Our engagement with Member States on these matters will continue to be based on cooperation, transparency and respect for sovereignty. I know that at times, Member States feel that such efforts are a form of interference that undermines national sovereignty. But, it is violence and conflict — and not our attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threaten State sovereignty. It is violations of human rights by the State that erode the legitimacy of the State.

In its engagements, the United Nations seeks to reinforce sovereignty, not challenge or undermine it. Article 99 of the Charter empowers the Secretary-General to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”. The General Assembly has recognized this as well.

Article 99 has been formally invoked only rarely in UN history. But, that does not mean it is no longer operative or relevant or that it cannot be invoked in the future. It remains a key mechanism.
Whether or not Article 99 is formally invoked may be secondary. First and foremost is our responsibility to alert the Council when we see situations that we feel require its engagement. I will continue to act in that spirit.

When considering which items reach the agenda of the Security Council, my further hope is that we will be driven by the Charter, not by geo-political rivalries or other external dynamics. When a Member State uses an overly broad definition of terrorism to monopolize power at the risk of long-term stability, that would seem to merit the Council’s attention. When we see massive loss of life and cross-border flows of people, that would seem to merit the Council’s attention.

We must not avert our eyes from these or other such situations, no matter how complex or contentious they might be to discuss, and the world must see that the Council is addressing the situations that matter most to most people.

The Security Council has many tools with which to encourage and seek to secure the peaceful resolution of disputes before they escalate. But, ultimately the unity of the Security Council is the crucial factor. We have seen what [heights] are possible when unity is visible and we have seen the depths that are inevitable when unity has vanished.

We look forward to working with you to best serve “we the peoples” in the enduring spirit of the Charter. Thank you.

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Speakers in Security Council Urge Balance between UN Role in State Sovereignty, Human Rights Protection, But Differ over Interpretation of Charter Principles
7621st Meeting (AM)
15 February 2016
SC/12241
Speakers today called for the United Nations to strike a balance between the fundamental principle of State sovereignty and the need to protect human rights, as the Security Council held a day-long debate on the tenets of the Organization’s Charter.

Many of the nearly 70 speakers differed, however, on their interpretations of that founding document, with some underscoring the primacy of non-interference in domestic affairs and others expressing the need for action in cases where States were unable to protect their people — or were themselves the perpetrators of human rights violations.

“For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for the countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and values of the [United Nations] Charter remain elusive,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he addressed the 15-member body. Bringing the promise of the Charter to the most vulnerable must continue to be the main goal, he added.

While the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lay with Member States, the United Nations could help countries meet their national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. Among other things, the Organization offered assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes, he said.

It was violence and conflict — not the United Nations attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threatened State sovereignty, he continued. When considering items on the Council’s agenda, he hoped that States would be driven by the principles enshrined in the Charter and not by geo-political rivalries and other external dynamics.

A number of speakers underscored the changing nature of the threats facing international peace and security — which now ranged from terrorist acts to pandemic diseases and unprecedented migration flows — with some stressing that interpretations of the Charter’s core principles must also evolve. In that regard, the representative of the United Kingdom cautioned against the use of “outdated” interpretations to excuse inaction on the part of the international community. Indeed, he said, the concept of sovereignty itself had changed; today, it should amount to a contract between the Government and the governed.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina agreed that there existed in the Charter a “dynamic equilibrium” between non-interference in internal affairs and the promotion of human rights. States could not hide human rights violations behind the principle of sovereignty. While it was difficult to strike an accurate balance, it was preferable to make errors while defending human rights than to show “excessive zeal” in respecting, to the letter, the principle of non-interference.

Other speakers, however, emphasized that the principles of sovereignty and non-interference must be respected at all times. In that regard, the representative of Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said global peace had become elusive due in part to a tendency to resort to unilateralism. States should refrain from implementing extraterritorial or coercive measures and condemn the categorization of countries as “good” or “evil” based on unjustified criteria, he said, warning against resorting to the Charter’s Chapter VII to address issues that did not threaten international peace…

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UNTV Video Capture of Security Council Debate
7621st Meeting (AM)
15 February 2016
SC/12241

Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) on the respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
00:08:15
Remarks by H.E Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations at the 7621st Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security and the respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.

(Part 1) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
02:46:57
Maintenance of international peace and security and the respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as a key element for the maintenance of international peace and security (7621st meeting).

(Part 2) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
02:40:31

(Part 3) Respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter – Security Council, 7621st meeting (English)
15 Feb 2016
03:19:33

EU Summit: “Migrants in Europe have become fair game” – UN rights expert

EU Summit: “Migrants in Europe have become fair game” – UN rights expert
Mr. François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011

GENEVA (18 February 2016) – As the European Union summit starts in Brussels, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, warns that it has become impossible in Europe to have a meaningful discussion about migrant’s rights, diversity, and integration.

Mr. Crépeau calls on the leaders of the 28-nation bloc gathering on 18-19 February to halt the continuous regression of the human rights of migrants as Europe struggles to deal with its migrant crisis. In his appeal, the Special Rapporteur reiterates the key messages of his 2015 report on the management of the external borders of the EU and its impact on the human rights of migrants*.

“Europe has always been a strong advocate of human rights in Europe and elsewhere. In its struggle to maintain control of its borders however, it is being tested on its adherence to human rights. Through slowly stripping away the rights of asylum seekers and migrants, Europe is creating a scary new ‘normal’.

What we now see is European governments focused on feeding their electorate with the fear of migrants for clear electoral purposes. Governments pandering to nationalist populist movements have promised to keep migrants out but have been unable to do so simply because the emphasis on securitisation doesn’t work. European countries must offer safe and regular channels for mobility. It is the only way that European countries will regain full control of their borders.

The operationalisation of the NATO military operation recently announced by European leaders raises many questions. What will NATO do that Frontex didn’t do? When intercepting a migrant boat, what will the procedure be? Will they embark migrants on their navy ships as the Italians did in Mare Nostrum? If they do, where will they disembark them? To what authority will they transfer them? How will simple pushbacks be prevented? How will they treat the migrants on board? How will they identify protection needs? And how will we know what NATO forces are doing? What civilian oversight mechanisms will be in place to ensure the protection of the rights of the migrants during the operation?

‘Fighting the smugglers’ is a red herring: as long as persons in need of mobility are not provided with official mobility solutions, unofficial channels will be provided by opportunistic smuggling rings. I have repeatedly said that overreliance on securitisation of borders will not work. People will continue to come because they need to survive. And smugglers will continue to adapt, prosper and exploit the migrants as long as their business model is not effectively destroyed. The only way to actually eliminate smuggling is to take over their market by offering regular, safe and cheap mobility solutions, with all the identity and security checks that efficient visa procedures can provide.

It is appalling to see how the discussion concerning migrants has been lowered to the smallest common dominator, feeding off fear and xenophobia and making migrants fair game for all types of verbal or physical abuse. Migrant-bashing has dangerously become the norm and the standard is so low now that to have a meaningful and serene discussion about rights, diversity and integration is often impossible.

Europe must reclaim its role as a moral and political leader of human rights in this debate of fear, stereotyping, racism and xenophobia. I continue to urge European political leaders to show moral and political leadership in fighting much more vigorously racism, xenophobia and hate crime, by consolidating our common human rights culture and strengthening its institutions at all levels, and in celebrating the diversity of cultures and religions as an enrichment for everyone, citizens and foreigners alike.”

(*) Check the 2015 EU border management report (A/HRC/29/36): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/SRMigrants/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx

Joint UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM Press Release: With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants

Joint UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM Press Release:
With growing numbers of child deaths at sea, UN agencies call for enhancing safety for refugees and migrants
GENEVA, 16 February 2016 – An average of two children have drowned every day since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number of child deaths is growing said IOM, UNHCR, and UNICEF. The agencies are calling for enhancing the safety of those escaping conflict and despair.

Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi captured the world’s attention, more than 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean. The total number of children who have died may be even greater, the agencies say, their bodies lost at sea.

“We cannot turn our faces away from the tragedy of so many innocent young lives and futures lost – or fail to address the dangers so many more children are facing,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We may not have the ability now to end the desperation that causes so many people to try to cross the sea, but countries can and must cooperate to make such dangerous journeys safer. No one puts a child in a boat if a safer option is available.”

The stretch of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece is among the deadliest routes in the world for refugees and migrants. The winter’s rough seas, overloading and the poor quality of boats and lifesaving equipment increase the risk of capsizing, making the journey significantly more dangerous.

“These tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are unbearable and must stop,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Clearly, more efforts are needed to combat smuggling and trafficking. Also, as many of the children and adults who have died were trying to join relatives in Europe, organising ways for people to travel legally and safely, through resettlement and family reunion programmes for example, should be an absolute priority if we want to reduce the death toll,” he added. The UN Secretary General has called for a high-level meeting on global responsibility-sharing through legal pathways for admission of Syrian refugees, to take place in Geneva on 30 March.

With children now accounting for 36 per cent of those on the move, the chance of them drowning on the Aegean Sea crossing from Turkey to Greece has grown proportionately. During the first six weeks of 2016, 410 people drowned out of the 80,000 crossing the eastern Mediterranean. This amounts to 35-fold increase year-on-year from 2015.

“Counting lives is not enough. We must act,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM’s Director General in Geneva. “This is not only a Mediterranean problem, or even a European one. It is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making that demands the entire world’s engagement. Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was not a matter for only one hemisphere, nor was the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. Those disasters were met by an outpouring of humanitarian action. So must this one.”

Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

Annual report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Human Rights Council A/HRC/31/19
Thirty-first session – Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
[18 pages – Pdf: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/HRC/31/19&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC

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News Release
Human Rights Council Report: Increasingly Complex and Widening Conflicts Take Huge Toll on Children in 2015
15 Feb 2016
New York – Increasingly complex and widening conflicts have taken a huge toll on children in much of the Middle East in 2015, with parts of Africa and Asia facing protracted and relapsing wars that show no signs of abating, wrote Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in her annual report to the Human Rights Council. The Report covers the period from December 2014 to December 2015.

“Children were disproportionately affected, displaced and often the direct targets of acts of violence intended to cause maximum civilian casualties and terrorize entire communities,” she said in the report, describing how extreme violence affected countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria. “Groups perpetrating extreme violence also particularly targeted children pursuing their right to an education.”

Promoting a response to extreme violence that protects children
Military responses targeting groups using tactics of extreme violence continued to generate additional protection challenges for children. Throughout the year, militias and vigilante groups allied with States used children in support roles or as combatants. In addition, the use of airstrikes was of particular concern due, in many instances, to their indiscriminate nature.

The Special Representative reminded all involved that respect for human rights must be the basis of an effective response to extreme violence and actions must be undertaken in full compliance with international, humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. She added it is essential to emphasize the crucial role of prevention, as detailed in the UN Secretary-General’s plan of action to prevent violent extremism. Addressing the root causes of extreme violence, such as poverty and lack of economic opportunities for youth, lack of good governance, alienation of communities and political grievances, are necessary steps to find a lasting solution…

Global Nutrition Report 2015

Global Nutrition Report 2015 –
ACTIONS AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO ADVANCE NUTRITION & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
International Food Policy Research Institute
ISBN: 978-0-89629-883-5 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2499/9780896298835 :: 201 pages
Pdf: https://www.ifpri.org/cdmref/p15738coll2/id/129443/filename/129654.pdf
Full report translations: Français | Español | Português

Overview
Children whose growth is stunted, people who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals for a healthy life, adults who are overweight and obese—malnutrition takes many forms and affects every country on earth. A problem of staggering size, malnutrition is widespread enough to threaten the world’s sustainable development ambitions.

The Global Nutrition Report 2015 is a report card on the world’s nutrition—globally, regionally, and country by country—and on efforts to improve it. It assesses countries’ progress in meeting global nutrition targets established by the World Health Assembly. It documents how well countries, aid donors, NGOs, businesses, and others are meeting the commitments they made at the major Nutrition for Growth summit in 2013. And it spells out the actions that proven effective in combating malnutrition in all its forms.

The 2015 report makes it clear that global progress to reduce malnutrition has been slow and uneven. Nearly half of all countries face multiple serious burdens of malnutrition such as poor child growth, micronutrient deficiency, and adult overweight and obesity. No country is on track to achieve the global nutrition targets established by the World Health Assembly. Some countries, however, have made notable progress and the Report seeks to understand the factors that contributed to improvements.

The second in an annual series, the Global Nutrition Report 2015 also highlights the critical relationship between climate change and nutrition, as well as the pivotal role business can play in advancing nutrition. It considers how countries can build food systems that are more nutrition friendly and sustainable.

With a wealth of data and analysis, the report aims to improve accountability among the governments, institutions, businesses, and others whose actions affect people’s nutrition. It is accompanied by extensive supplementary online data, including nutritional profiles for 193 countries, 6 regions, and 22 subregions.

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The 2015 Report was funded through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition & Health, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the European Commission, the Governments of Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, Irish Aid, UK Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and 1,000 Days.

The Report is delivered by an Independent Expert Group and guided at a strategic level by a Stakeholder Group, whose members also reviewed the Report. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) oversees the production and dissemination of the Report, with the support of the Secretariat based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). The Lancet, the premier peer-reviewed medical journal, managed the blind external review process for the Report, which was launched in New York City on September 22, 2015. There will be follow-up events for the Report in multiple cities around the world.

From Fragility to Resilience: Managing Natural Resources in Fragile Situations in Africa

From Fragility to Resilience: Managing Natural Resources in Fragile Situations in Africa
African Development Bank Group (AfDB)
February 2016 :: 252 pages
[prepared by the Environmental Law Institute for the Transition Support Department of the African Development Bank.]
Pdf: http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Publications/From_Fragility_to_Resilience_-_Managing_Natural_Resources_in_Fragile_Situations_in_Africa.pdf

Preface
In Africa, natural resource sectors generate approximately one-third of growth in gross domestic product, serving as a foundation for employment, food security, and development. For example, when oil was discovered off the coast of São Tomé, the government received a signing bonus of approximately USD $100 million, more than twice its annual budget. Unfortunately, natural resources have also financed or been a contributing cause of at least 14 conflicts in Africa countries in fragile situations. Natural resources are therefore both a driver of conflict, if mismanaged, and a source of resilience, if managed well.

Several major global declarations and reports over the past fifteen years recognize the potential of natural resource management to strengthen resilience in fragile situations. These include reports on peacebuilding by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014; the 2015 report by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations; and the 2015 report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. The 2011 Busan New Deal, which was endorsed by the Bank, articulates a vision focusing on countries transitioning out of fragility to resilience, and many of the New Deal’s objectives rely on effective natural resource management.

With this Flagship Report, the Bank is helping to develop a detailed understanding of the dynamics of natural resource management in fragile situations in Africa. Building on that understanding, the Report identifies and analyzes region-specific opportunities for action. In providing this vision, the Report helps to operationalize the principles outlined in the global documents, reflecting the priorities, capacities, and perspectives of African countries and institutions.

Fragility spans a broad spectrum that is varied in geographic scope and frequency of conflict, ranging from declared hostilities between warring parties to established states that experience sporadic violence. It can also be triggered by a failed or a flawed election, an attempt to modify the constitution for selfish political gains, a natural disaster and/or a health epidemic. These explain the Bank’s decision to move from the concept of fragile states to countries in fragile situations or countries in transition. Accordingly, the approaches to natural resource management described in the Report are broadly relevant to all states seeking to transition from fragility towards resilience.

Prepared jointly with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), this Flagship Report aims to improve the conceptualization, development, and implementation of conflict-sensitive projects and programs in Africa. It seeks to inform representatives from regional member countries, Bank staff, and other partners. The Report represents an important step in mainstreaming both fragility and natural resource management into Africa’s development process…

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Press Release
New report urges Africa to address fragility through natural resources management
16/02/2016 – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Washington-based Environmental Law Institute (ELI) have produced a new report on natural resources management in fragile and conflict-affected countries. This flagship report examines how African countries in fragile situations can work towards addressing the causes and drivers of fragility by better managing natural resources across sectors….

The report delves into cross-cutting issues such as climate change, governance, private sector, regional integration, and conflict sensitivity. It also provides options for the design and implementation of natural resource-related programmes geared toward building the resilience of African countries…

The report is part of a series of initiatives carried out by the AfDB within the context of its Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa for the period 2014-2019. This strategy aims to place the Bank at the centre of Africa’s efforts to address fragility and pave the way for a more resilient and inclusive development trajectory. It is based on an understanding of fragility as a condition of elevated risk of institutional breakdown, societal collapse or violent conflict.

The findings of this report will help the Bank to enhance its engagement with African countries in fragile situations, and reinforce its interventions in bridging the gap between natural resource management and development on the continent….