Refugees

It is hard to find a newspaper that doesn’t mention the refugee crisis, whether it is in the headlines or the world news. The problem all started about half a year ago when a three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi was found dead in Turkey. The rapidly increasing refugees topped 66m this year which rings a bell of the worst refugee crisis after the WWII; several countries are denying the demands of the EU to accept more refugees.

However, the new arrival of refugees can be a blessing in disguise. The general stance in the status quo regards that the refugees would ‘dent public finances’. Unlike the popular assumption, the World Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported that “a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Refugees has proven that the acceptance of refugees can, in fact, benefit financially.” The Bank of Korea also conducted a research and concluded that the arrival of refugees might help revive the stagnated economy of Germany which is mainly due to the low fertility and population aging. The reason is the following: the arrival would, in the long run, solve the employment problem.

 

The Dark Side

The primary assumption on the refugees is justifiable. Germany now faces an enormous amount of refugee applicants, and it takes about 4 to 5 months to be officially approved as ‘refugees.’The Dutch Government follows the German Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act, which enforces refugees to live in a designated asylum for at least six weeks with financial support from the government. The refugee policy demanded 2.4 billion euros in 2014 and estimated to increase up to 55billion euros in 2015 according to the Kiel economics institute. The act, furthermore, supports 1180 euros every month per a family of 4 after they are accepted, while more of the budget should be put for social integration.

 

The Bright Side

Germany is one of the EU countries which suffer extreme job vacancy due to the lack of economically active population. Among 10million job vacancies, 19% of them are simple labor jobs, 62% requires professionals, and 19% needs college graduations. Refugee applicants now have a high percentage of college graduates and professionals; the government would be able to hire them right after a vocational training. Under these policies, Germany is expected to maintain the economic growth rate of 1% even after 15 years. Furthermore, the ‘wage-dampening’ would let refugees get quickly hired without a vocational training leading to a significant boom in employment.

We always have or in a majority of times focused on the humanitarian perspective of refugee acceptance. The economy now further proves that the arrival would not only be a nation’s pride but also would benefit in financial matters. The ball is now in the Angela Merkel’s court.

 

<References>

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21688938-europes-new-arrivals-will-probably-dent-public-finances-not-wages-good-or

https://www.rsc.ox.ac.uk/refugeeeconomies

 

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The 54 Mexicans

Would you believe that now, even in the 21th century, the rights of minority have been denied in the United States of America before? According to Mexico, it is possible. More than 10 Mexicans were sentenced to death, but they weren’t allowed to prove they were innocent. As soon as Mexico learned the truth, they argued 10 states of United States had violated the 54 Mexicans’ consular rights regarding with the Vienna Convention.

The Vienna Convention

Before going on to the case, what is a “consular right” and what does it have to do with the Vienna Convention? Most people do not recognize the difference between the consul and ambassador’s job. However, while the ambassador is the main representative of its country and make negotiations related to culture, economics, military relations, politics, et cetera, the consul usually protect and help their nationals’ civil complaints.

The Vienna Convention on Consular Rights was established in 1963 and contains 79 articles. The article which the States failed to keep is Article 36. The following is an excerpt from the Vienna Convention Article 36 (2).

if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay.

The Arguments

Mexico repeatedly pointed out to the Court they had not been notified of Mexicans being sentenced to death. The United States had fought back by claiming they had served all detained nationals after the LaGrand Case (Germany v. United States of America. This case was also related with foreigners not able to exercise their consular rights in the States. At the time, the Court was in favor of Germany nationals.) Also, the United States argued the Article 36 “creates no obligations constraining its right to arrest a foreign national”, and so the Court does not have the jurisdictional and admissibility right to make a decision over this case. Yet the Court overruled the objections, and considered this case as “the matter of merits”. In the end, the Court finally judged the United States had indeed breached the obligations regarding to Article 36 on March 2009.

The Bittersweet Taste

After the United States had lost two cases over consular rights in the Court, on March 2005, they removed the Optional Protocol to the Convention, which gave the Court the right to rule over any disputes regarding the Vienna Convention. Then in 2006, the US Supreme Court ruled foreign nationals may not use the treaty to raise legal objections after trial. People didn’t have to think hard why US had taken these measures.

Reporter’s Quotes

After reading the application of Mexico, the reporter couldn’t help but getting surprised at the truth that United States had really denied the consular rights of a foreign. The reporter hopes the readers realize there are more violations of one’s rights than we think, and people should constantly pay their attention and check if their country has violated the Vienna Convention.

 

Written by JeYun Choi

United Nations: Taking Action on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers

In the spring of 2014, allegations that international troops serving in a peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (“CAR”) had sexually abused a number of young children in exchange for food or money, were simply called “allegations.” The alleged perpetrators were mostly from a French military force known as the Sangaris Forces, which were operating as peacekeepers under authorization of the Security Council but not directly under UN command. On the interview with a Human Rights Officer (“HRO”) working for the UN mission in CAR, with local UNICEF staff, from six young boys, they reported that they had been subjected to sexual abuse by international peacekeeping troops or that they saw other children being abused. The French Sangaris Forces were mostly the alleged perpetrators. In exchange, they gave the children small amounts of food or cash. All of the incidents happened between December 2013 and June 2014, near the M’Poko Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Bangui. The witnessed children reported detailed information about the perpetrators, such as their names and certain distinguishing features like tattoos, piercings, and facial features. For instance, some of the children described the rape of other child victims (who were not interviewed by the HRO).

 

It is not sufficient for the UN to report on acts of sexual exploitation and abuse perpetrated by peacekeepers. It must actively seek to ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes are identified and prosecuted. In CAR, HRJS had a particular responsibility not only to investigate violations and protect individuals at risk but also to follow up on human rights violations and assist in bringing perpetrators to justice. Unfortunately, neither the SRSG of MINUSCA nor the head of HRJS considered the UN to have a duty to pursue the accountability process. As a result, they took no steps to inform the French government of the Allegations. Moreover, UN agencies failed to support legal proceedings initiated by the French government as a result of the allegations. For example, in response to the initial request by the French government for cooperation in its investigation, the UN’s internal services declined to recommend to the Secretary-General that he waive the HRO’s immunity to allow her to participate in the French legal proceedings. Exchanges between the French Permanent Mission and the UN, including with their respective senior officials and legal offices, took weeks for each round of communication. Finally, in July 2015, almost a year after the investigators arrived in CAR, the Secretary-General waived the HRO’s immunity and agreed to transmit the unredacted Sangaris Notes to French authorities. This approach was unnecessarily prolonged and bureaucratic. A balance must be struck between the need for the UN to pursue its mission and to promote accountability.

 

Peacekeeping missions are often a measure of last resort to protect civilians in circumstances of extreme conflict and play a critical role in allowing both governments and communities to rebuild and move forward. The importance of such works and the personal sacrifices that individual peacekeepers make to achieve them should not be underestimated.  Indeed, in the case of CAR, peacekeepers—including the French Sangaris Forces—very likely prevented the death of thousands of innocent civilians. Yet, the persistence of serious crimes against local populations committed by some of the very individuals charged with protecting them puts at danger the sustainability of peacekeeping missions in the longer term. Indeed, the fact that the problem persists even though several expert reports commissioned by the UN over the last ten years only serves to exacerbate the perception that the UN is more concerned with rhetoric than action. If the UN and the TCCs are to rebuild the trust of victims, local civilian populations, and the international community, deliberate, effective, and immediate action is required. The first step is to acknowledge that sexual violence perpetrated by peacekeeping troops is not merely a disciplinary matter, but also a serious human rights violation and may amount to a crime. This recognition will trigger a number of obligations on the UN and the TCCs to respond in a meaningful way to incidents of conflict-related sexual violence, regardless of whether the troops are operating under UN command. It is important that all peacekeeping troops understand, even before deployment, that sexual exploitation and abuse of local populations constitutes a human rights violation and may be met with criminal prosecution. The UN must take immediate action when it receives reports of sexual violence by peacekeepers to stop the violations and hold the perpetrators accountable. They must take meaningful steps to bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice in a manner that allows victims and the local community to see that troops cannot commit crimes with impunity. Victims also require immediate access to protection, including medical and psychosocial care. Above all, UN staff and agencies must end the bureaucratic cycle in which responsibility is fragmented and accountability is passed from one agency to another. While this change will require a cultural shift both for the UN and for TCCs, such a shift is consistent with and required by, the UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative. But the UN cannot do it alone. TCCs play a critical role. Unless both the UN and the TCCs are truly committed to zero tolerance, this goal will remain as an illusion and the future of peacekeeping missions will be put in a big risk.

 

<Reference>

http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/centafricrepub/Independent-Review-Report.pdf

http://www.cfr.org/human-rights/united-nations-taking-action-sexual-exploitation-abuse-peacekeepers/p37563

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/un-gross-failure-sexual-abuse-french-troops-central-african-republic

https://ippjournal.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/united-nations-security-council-addresses-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse-by-un-peacekeepers/

photo : http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/world/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2016/02/peacekeepers07v3.jpg

 

Georgia v. Russian Federation

<ICJxRacial Discrimination>

On August 12, 2008, a new case was filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) it had never seen before. Georgia had begun a long contentious case against Russian Federation for alleged violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Some might be curious why the ICJ carried this case on racial discrimination for 3 years. The answer was obvious; punish the ones who mistreated the people on the basis of their race. But does anyone know what racial discrimination actually means? Or how international law could be applied to solve the disputes? The ICJ had to figure out these simple yet complex questions, and for the first time, deeply dig into the concept of racial discrimination.

The ICERD

Sadly, few know that there is actually an instrument that had defined and made the foundation of laws about racial discrimination. It’s called the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). By the United Nations Assembly, on December 21, 1965 this convention was introduced to facilitate the eradication of any kind of discrimination which exists. This convention defined racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” The convention instituted a committee made up of human rights experts to check how countries are doing to fulfill responsibilities under this convention, and obligated countries to annually report their status quo. Moreover, it provided basis of laws for countries to follow to prevent discrimination. However, it was a clash of interpretation on those laws that made Georgia and Russia fall upon a conflict.

Georgia’s Victory

On 2008, Georgia argued that Russia had discriminated and unlawfully used force over ethnic Georgians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to do “ethnic cleansing”. They argued that Russia should stop any other actions or measures including any kind of discrimination over ethnic Georgians. Georgia heavily relied upon Article 22 of ICERD to support its argument.

[a]ny dispute between two or more States Parties with respect to the interpretation or application of this Convention, which is not settled by negotiation or by the procedures expressly provided for in this Convention, shall, at the request of any of the parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice for decision, unless the disputants agree to another mode of settlement”.

However, Russia retorted that the term ‘dispute’ was very controversial; it had a special meaning and was inappropriate to apply to this particular situation. Therefore, it argued the Court had no claim over solving the dispute. Also, Russia numerously pointed out that Georgia had failed to produce real evidence regarding the supposedly ‘urgent danger’ it was facing from Russia.

The Court finally decided it had jurisdiction over the two countries, asserting its right to judge on Russia’s racial discrimination toward Georgians. It concluded that Russia should refrain from any kind of discrimination. As a result, Georgia had captured the victory flag first.

Russia’s Takeback

However, Russia immediately raised preliminary hearings on 2009 and thus the two nations clashed for another 2 years. In the end, the Court revoked its initial verdict, and claimed that it had no jurisdiction over the judgement they made in 2008 because although it was a ‘dispute’, the two nations had failed and in fact never tried to negotiate. In other words, the requirements needed in Article 22 were never met, thus the ICJ couldn’t judge the situation of racial discrimination happening to ethnic Georgians. Naturally, Georgia was disappointed as ICJ recognized Russia’s legitimate arguments.

Status Quo of CERD

After the ICJ finished the case of Russia Federation versus Georgia, to prevent any further dispute over ICERD articles’ terms, the CERD published a General Recommendation and explained the meaning and scope of terms. However, the CERD realized the report system wasn’t working as well as was expected, especially in developing countries because it had other important matters to take care about other than human rights pertaining to racial discrimination. Therefore, it started to strictly monitor the process of reports and currently, more countries are actively sending their reports, both developed (f.e. the UK and the USA) and developing countries (f.e Pakistan) alike. Will CERD effort meet its goals? Will racial discrimination be eliminated? It’s up to the countries which will have to send their report faithfully on time and make measures recommended by the CERD to eradicate racial discrimination, once and for all.

 

<Reference>

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=3&k=4d&case=140&code=GR&p3=0

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=6&DocTypeID=11

Written by 최제윤

 

UK Brexit Referendum

Brexit, a shortened word meaning Britain exiting the EU, recently became a hot potato after David Cameron, the prime minister of the Britain, mentioned this issue at the Davos Forum(WEF) in 2013. This issue rapidly became the number one topic of debate in the UK among politicians; moreover, the stakeholders of this issue, especially businesspeople, are actively participating in this discussion. What is this issue about and what are the major clashes in this issue? This article would explain specifically about the Brexit under small topics from the most basics to the complicated disagreements of this debate.

What is ‘Brexit’?

Brexit is a shorted word of ‘Britain’ and ‘Exit’. This combination is originated from Grexit, which also is a combined term of ‘Greek’ and ‘Exit’. These two words both mean those nations exiting the EU because of several grounds such as the restriction in individual policy planning

The biggest advocates of this issues are small businesspeople since one of their biggest barrier of their industry is the increased limits of the EU guideline for the service and finance industry.

These are some of the main arguments of the Brexit supporters.

1)    Increased financial burden due to the EU financial crisis.

The EU financial crisis started in 2012, and the crisis leads to increased financial burden to each member countries. The UK, especially was not happy about this fact since they had to contribute to solving the crisis even though they are not included in the so-called ‘Euro Zone.’ To further analyze, the Britain had to spend £8.5bn as their membership fee, which is about 7% of their national budget; however, received merely nothing.

2)    Trade conflicts

More than 50% of the Britain trade rely on EU countries. The EU has imposed several FTAs with diverse countries and is currently negotiating with a lot more countries including the US. Nonetheless, the UK believes that they would rather give up these benefits of the EU and start a ‘new trade’ by signing new trade agreements. The main reason was that the Britain cannot allow the continuous financial supervision of the EU due to the Britain highly rely on the financial service industry.

3)    Immigration

Under the EU law, the Britain cannot prevent anyone from the EU member country entering or even coming to live in the country. The UK, however, cannot withstand more immigrations in the status quo; and the government officials say that ‘regaining their border control’ would be the best solution.

On the other hand, megabanks like the Goldman Sacs are warning that the Brexit would lead to devastating results. No one can deny the fact that the U.K take the biggest portion in the EU. AS the UK exit the EU, the aftermath would occur regarding economics and politics.

1)    Impact on the Britain National Risk

In the status quo, the UK’s National credit is ranked top 10; however, this would decrease following the Brexit as suggested by the S&P and the Moody’s. Other countries would impose disadvantages toward the UK, which would lead to severe results such as the decreased pound value up to 20%.

2)    Tremendous effect on the EU.

No one can deny the fact that the UK is the leading country of the European community. Therefore, many experts estimated that the economy of countries such as Luxembourg, Belgium might collapse. Furthermore, the Brexit might lead to more ‘exits’ since it might incite other nations, like Demark to leave the EU.

3)    What the megabanks are concerned about…

The UK is one of the starting point of the megabanks in Europe. Brexit, which would lead to an enormous impact on the UK’s economy, would also influence the UK’s finance industry which takes 8% of the GDP. Major megabanks including the HSBC and JP Morgan are warning that they would move away from London and might select another major city in Europe as their springboard.

Brexit is a double-edged sword which might make a new economic boom in the UK but also might lead to a collapse. The crucial part of the referendum is that you should carefully compare the benefits and the harms since no one can conclude which would outweigh such sides. The big, exciting game is held on Thursday, 23, June.

<Reference>

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887

http://www.theweek.co.uk/eu-referendum

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/eu-referendum

http://www.ft.com/eu-referendum

 

Written by 김형근