India, the Rising Power

One of the biggest issues in the last month regarding economics is the Brexit. UK Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid visited India right after the UK citizens “sentenced” UK to exit the EU. Likewise, while we spotlight China to be the next USA, superpowers are paying attention to India, the rising power of Asia.

There are several attractions of India, including their peculiarity in population. Most of the nations are turning to an aging society; India, on the other hand, is expected to maintain their balanced pyramid of an average age of 29 even after 2040, when they drag China down and become the most populous nation. Moreover, India’s workforces are cheap; they are paid only 5.18$ per day while China pays their laborers 22.64$ a day which is even dwindling. This leads to a shortage of professions, for instance, according to an ad, a textile company offers at least 10,000$ for an experienced worker. In fact, one of the largest portions of US’s export to India is their professions. Thanks to these merits, India had the highest GDP growth rate in the world of 7.3% and estimated to be the top three leading countries in the 2030s.

U.S places India high on their goal list to create a so-called “alliance.” Obama considers India to be one of the fastest growing markets and the best choice to stand against China due to India’s territorial advantage. It is why U.S and US companies are eager to enter India. Obama, in fact, promised to invest 4 billion dollars in the following two years at the US-India Summit. To delve into the cases of US companies, most of them focus on the point that the middle class of India can consume more than any other middle classes in the world. Large corporations of US like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook look forward that the 156 million middle class would buy more iPhones, use more internet, deliver more products, and use more social media. In a nutshell, Obama and giant corporations are working together to gain the upper hand in India politically and economically.

If you think in a different way, taking advantage of US would be the best choice for Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. By this measure, India was able to gain “privilege” from US such as in the case of US giving implied allowance for India to import Iran’s oil, and achieve their prerequisite of the Modinomics, which is to draw foreign investments. It’s time for Modinomics, the
Indian Thatcherism, to prove its power by boosting India up to join the leading nations.

 

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Global protection – greenhouse gasses to heat domes

Bananas from Korea. Increasing summer days. Extinction danger for animals, like coral reefs. These symptoms are occurring because of climate change. As the Global warming leads to striking climate changes, the importance of environment protection is emphasized every moment. The climatologist from NASA, Gavin Schmidt reported: “The whole temperature increased over the world except the Antarctica during the first half of the year.” Around these days, we can notice that summer is getting hotter and longer every year, even though global warming is currently occurring. The reason is by heat domes (thermal domes).

Anthony Lupo, the chair of the department of atmospheric science from a college in Michigan, demonstrated the relationship between global warming and heat domes. The heat dome occurs when high atmospheric pressure traps the hot air and moves very slowly. The trapped heat creates a long-term heat wave. The problem of heat domes cannot end in “feeling hot”. The increasing dates of deadly heat waves can lead to diseases, such as sunstroke, myocardial infarction, and heatstroke. These diseases can even result in death.

The fault of heat domes cannot be asked for anyone, because this is a problem from a couple of factors, but especially according to global warming. The issue reminds us some certain U.N conventions of climate changes from the past and makes us wonder whether they are working well. The Kyoto Protocol enforced environmental but also economic solutions called “Kyoto Mechanism” to prevent the increase in carbon dioxide in the world. One of the proposals is International CERs (Certified Emission Reduction) exchange. The CERs exchange is buying and selling the right of carbon production. Another regulation is the penalties when a particular country is not able to reduce Greenhouse gasses. The Carbon offset is used to invest in environmental funds.

As the 1st pledge period ended in 2012, most of the countries including China, US, Japan, and Korea had announced that they would not take responsibility for reducing Greenhouse gas. However, the countries are still cautious about the environment protection case because it is hard to recover the environmental disaster afterward. As the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2020, the resolutions of Paris UNFCC, in will get power all over the world. The most recent convention, the Paris UNFCC asked responsibility of reduction of greenhouse gasses not only to an advanced country but also every member in the UNFCC. The primary goal is to reduce the Greenhouse gas to pure zero. As a result, there are many projects operating such as renewable energy – shale gas, hydrogen energy, solar energy and much more- or CCS(CO2 Capture and Storage).

 

Written by Jisoo Lee

Intellectual Property Rights in Asia

Economies of both the developing and developed Asian countries are the greatest targets for stronger intellectual property rights, and thus, requires the most significant change. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries – was signed on 4 February 2016, aiming to promote economic growth by lowering trade barriers. As a multilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the TPP confronted several disagreements regarding matters of intellectual property rights, ranging from trademarks to copyrights. Although the partnership had been planned to complete negotiations in 2012, complex issues that arose based on intellectual property rights prolonged every aspect of negotiation, reflecting the conflicting interests of countries driven to protect intellectual property rights.

Besides the TPP, the most recent intellectual property agreement that applies to all TPP members is the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) since the TPP is not in force due to many legislative measures within each member nations.

The fact that Intellectual Property Rights is a rising issue hints at the future of Asia that it will influence every aspect of people’s lives. In fact, the patent lawsuits among multinational corporations have rekindled recently, exemplified by those between Samsung and Huawei, a Chinese IT company. As stated in “Huawei eyes Samsung’s LTE patents,’ both companies are competing over the 4G patent rather than asking for cash compensation. Although the majority of these intellectual property right conflicts appear between Asian companies, many of the companies file their lawsuits in courts all over the world. According to the article mentioned above, it says, “Samsung is also considering a separate patent lawsuit against Huawei in the U.S. as early as in July, as part of a preemptive measure to secure an upper hand in the planned legal dispute.” Implying further lawsuits in the US, intellectual property rights is a major consideration within the continent.

China, the largest economy in the Pacific Rim, is not involved in the signing the TPP as it claimed that it has been propelling with its initiatives even without transnational agreements. However, experts assert that even with intangible and indirect benefits for China, China will gain in the long term because TPP ensures the protection of patents, trademarks, and copyrights in member nations.

Not only limited to China, but India is also an emerging product market for multinational businesses. As a target market for international pharmaceutical firms, India has been persisting its position on dealing with intellectual property rights regarding drugs and medicines, which gives an answer to the question of intellectual property rights in India. The most controversial copyright law is the evergreening of medical products made by pharmaceutical companies in India. Evergreening of patents refers to the acts of extending the patent by simply altering the shape or composition to extend their high rent-earning intellectual property rights. However, to greatly enhance the accessibility to the public, the Indian government has been thorough and strict about how it treats the issue of evergreening. India’s patent office in Delhi rejected one of the patents that covered the Gilhead Sciences, Inc.’s hepatitis C treatment because new treatments should be able to prove tangible improvement in the function of created medicines. In fact, the future of Indian intellectual property rights is quite bright. Prime Minister Narendri Modi is progressive in this field of further enhancing the quantity and quality of intellectual property rights within the country.

It is inevitable to confront this new era of growing significance of promoting sound intellectual property rights. Alongside these examples, implicit approval from the people and the government will drive nations to take an active part in promoting and protecting intellectual property rights throughout the world. Moreover, as numerous technology companies have entered the business, it is inevitable for businesses and firms to cooperate with their nations to enjoy the merits of intellectual property rights.

 

<Reference>

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160529000263

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/02/04/india-no-longer-the-worst-at-protecting-intellectual-property/

Global Trends and Tasks of Intellectual Property Rights (Inha University Law Research Institute) – <International trends and harmonization on the subject of inventive step / obviousness.non-obviousness>

http://issa.house.gov/?option=com_content&view=article&id=976:issa-releases-the-trans-pacific-partnership-intellectual-property-rights-chapter-on-keepthewebopencom&catid=63:2011-press-releases

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/03/massive-coalition-japanese-organizations-campaign-against-tpp-copyright-provisions

http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njtip/vol9/iss7/7/

photo: AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbkAAAAJDEzNTQzZjM4LTBiZDYtNDNmMi04MGI3LTJjZGE1YzExNzg0OQ.jpg

Written by 이다은

 

Gender and Violent Extremism

  1. Why gender matter?  

Preventing and countering violent extremism is an essential topic on the policy agenda of many governments over the world. However, understanding the gendered dimensions of violent extremism, concerned with preventing and countering violent extremism has fallen short. We need to pay greater attention to the impact of gender on identities, roles and relationships between men and women in society. The gendered roles of men and women in any given society are not static and change over time. Globalization, violent conflict and periods of transition often alter prescribed gender roles. During political transition, the roles for women are often a site of contention. In the case of extremist groups, gender ideals for women limit their human rights, mobility and empowerment. For example, many of the extremist groups that call themselves “Islamists” call for a return to traditional values and clearly sex-separated roles, whereby men occupy and dominate the public space and women inhabit the domestic and private space while being subservient to men.

 

  1. About resolution 1325

It was adopted by women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts. It also calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict. The resolution provides a number of important operational mandates, with implications for Member States and the entities of the United Nations system.

 

  1. The Political Economy of Sexual Violence

Here is a story about a girl name Bangura . As a source of financing, sexual violence has become a key tool in the “political economy of terrorism,” She said. Yet the treatment of women remains a “collateral issue rather than a central concern” in fighting it. “Protecting women must be at the heart of any global counter-terrorism response, this is a security imperative.” On a recent trip to Iraq, Bangura heard devastating stories of sexual violence from Yazidi women who escaped their captors in ISIS, also known as ISIL or by its self-adopted moniker “Islamic State.” One teenager had been forced to marry 15 men, some for as few as three days. Some were soaked in gasoline and burned for refusing to cooperate. A girl sold as a sex slave in the markets of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the self-declared Islamic State, is likely to change hands five times, she said. A Christian or Yazidi girl aged 10 to 20 fetches $120, according to an official ISIS price list Bangura cited. Her U.N. office is working on a multi-faceted strategy to address sexual violence in the Middle East. The approach includes mobilizing international political commitments, ensuring women a central role in developing counter-terror strategies, and designing frameworks for prosecuting aggressors.

Despite gaps in understanding of why individuals turn to ideologically driven violence, research suggests empowerment of women pays off in the context of countering violent extremism, said Robert Berschinski, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  Resolution 1325 doesn’t mention the issue but the peace and security agenda it embodies, calling for protection of women from sexual violence in armed conflicts and women’s participation in politics and peace processes, ties directly to women’s roles as victims and perpetrators, supporters and inhibitors of violent extremism, he said.

“Whether seeking to make peace agreements more durable, or stopping radicalization before it begins, addressing root causes and legitimate grievances matters a great deal,” Berschinski said. “You can’t do that if you exclude women, and more broadly civil society, from these discussions.”

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, who led the campaign for Resolution 1325 as Bangladesh’s ambassador to the U.N. when the country held the Security Council presidency, argued that “we would not have to worry about countering extremism if women had equality in decision-making’’ on how to prevent it. He pressed the case for pushing more of the 193 U.N. member states to join the 48 that have approved the National Action Plans called for in Resolution 1325 to outline how a nation intends to meet the goals of the measure.

  1. Militarism to Impose Views

Militarism and militarization are deepening in the region, while a fluid global arms trade makes it easier for extremists to impose their views. “It is a reality that politics and, more so, security are a man’s world,” Chowdhury said.

Carla Koppell, the chief strategy officer at USAID, said the 15th anniversary of Resolution 1325 is the first chance the U.S. government has had to update its National Action Plan by evaluating and building on progress in integrating women, peace and security objectives across the full range of conflict-related programs. That provides a “perfect entry point” for thinking about gender issues as applied to countering violent extremism. Here are her takeaways:

  1.     Develop and adopt stronger protections and support for women and girls who are vulnerable to and victims of extremist and insurgent groups.
  2.     Expand and enable counter-insurgent networks among vulnerable women and youth.
  3.     Expand research on better protection strategies and on how women can systematically provide early warning, help de-radicalize former extremists and join in hindering recruitment.
  4.     Involve women in the security sectors of government and international bodies.
  5.     Leverage better social media that elevates women’s voices.
  6.     Bangura framed the human dimensions of the challenge:

“Imagine a young lady, very religious, father [a] professional working 16 hours a day. Her mother is a housewife. She comes from school, goes into her bedroom – [she’s] not allowed to go into places her peers go. She has a computer in her room, access 24 hours a day. We’ve all been young girls. She wants adventure, she wants to do something that counts, she wants to be doing something. A lot of time, these are the girls recruited. They are lonely. They are caught between two worlds, and the family wants to keep them in the old [one]. When we look at root causes — why is it educated girls from good backgrounds are joining — they want adventure. This is what ISIS promises.”Bangura continued, closing the loop to the West’s response: “ISIS has a policy to bring brilliant women from around the world. They will spend six hours a day online to recruit a woman. They understand how critical it is to have women. They have deployed smart women, and we are still talking.”
<Reference>

http://www.usip.org/publications/2015/08/03/women-and-violent-extremism-growing-threat-demands-concerted-action

http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/files/Women-Preventing-Violent-Extremism-Charting-New-Course.pdf

http://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/wps/

photo : https://intouchwithja.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/vlcsnap-2014-12-09-08h58m43s189.png

 

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

 

The War in Syria

Overview

Peace talks in have Geneva failed again. BBC reports that the US “wanted an end to piecemeal ceasefires and a return to a working nationwide cessation of hostilities so faltering peace talks could be resumed.” John Kerry grimly noted that the Syrian Conflict is “in many ways out of control and deeply disturbing. The civil war is in its 6th year; after years of discussion the international community has only managed to produce a fragile cease fire. The crisis is unresolved; The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on April 30 a total of 244 civilians killed in Aleppo over eight days of airstrikes and shelling – 140 of whom died because of airstrikes in opposition-held Aleppo – including 19 children and 14 women. The group also said that 96 civilians, including 21 children and 13 women, were killed in government-held Aleppo from shelling by armed groups. Nevertheless, it is disturbing to see us become more accustomed to accepting the conflict as a familiar or a fading memory of a farfetched reality. What is happening? What are the causes? Why haven’t we been able to put an end to this conflict?

According to the UNHCR, as of May 2016, 4.8 million Syrian Refugees have been produced. Registered refugees have found refuge in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, North Africa, etc. More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed since 2011, according to the UN.

The four main factions of combatants are the following: the ISIS, Kurdish forces, Assad regime, and other opposition such as the Jaish al Fateh.

 

Cause

The Assads have ruled Syria ever since a faction of Islamic military leaders, took power in 1970. From 1970 to 2000, Hafez al-Assad focused on foreign politics, involving Syria in proxy wars in Lebanon and Israel. Trade was strictly regulated by the Assad family; smuggling rings and black markets were established across the Syrian-Lebanese border. For years, Syria was plagued by corruption, and politics was dictated by an aristocracy of Assad-loyal upper class. The Assads established a dictatorship, denying political expression, free speech, and censoring the media. Bashar al-Assad assumed power in 2000, only to continue the corrupt practices established by his predecessor. Signs of conflict arose when the police arrested a group of teenagers and children for political graffiti, cracking down on anti-governmental demonstrations. Tensions heightened when Al-Assad abolished the Higher State Security Court and officially censored the citizen’s right to peaceful protest. By July, defectors of the army organized the Free Syrian Army and civilians took arms in opposition.

 

War Crimes

The UN commission of inquiry has revealed that all parties have committed war crimes-including but not limited to murder, torture, rape, and enforced disappearances. Parties have also been alleged of exploiting civilian suffering, blocking access to food, water, and health services through sieges, to serve their military interests. The UN has condemned the IS for waging a campaign of terror; hundreds of beheadings and mutilations have been conducted on innocent civilians. Mass genocide has taken place, with fighters indiscriminately targeting non-combatants and hospitals, clear violations of the Geneva Protocols.

 

Conflicting interests

On October 4, 2011, Russia and China vetoed a UNSC resolution that called for an immediate response against the Syrian regime. The two states stalled multiple resolutions addressing the issue until 2015 when the UNSC unanimously passed a resolution calling for an international roadmap for peace in Syria. Russia has invested interest in maintaining its only naval facility in the Mediterranean. Russia is also using Syria as a bargaining card in maintaining its strategic influence in the Middle East; Russia has lost critical allies in the middle-east because of western led invasions of Iraq and Lybia. Other reasons include economic interests of selling arms, domestic interests of rallying national pride and deterring terrorism imposed by the growing threat of the ISIS. Conversely, China is rising as a diplomatic mediator. Its unprecedented involvement in conflict management aligns with party leader Xi Jinping’s vision of expanding China’s international responsibilities; China has recently sent envoys to Iran and Saudi Arabia to broker deteriorating relations. Other interests include economic benefits in implementing its “Belt and Road Initiative,” expanding cooperation in energy and technology sector. The US and its western allies accuse Assad of massive scale atrocities and call for an end to the war and the formation of a transitional administration. Since 2014, they have conducted air strikes against Islamic extremist groups such as the IS, yet have been cautious to avoid targeting Syrian regime forces and directly intervening in the conflict. The situation is further complicated by the historical divide between Sunnis and Shia; Iran is alleged to support the Alawite government of Assad, while Saudi Arabia is providing military assistance to rebel forces.

 

Proposed solutions, Future of Syria

Security Council Resolution 2254 called all parties to “immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such, including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.”

As the Human Rights Watch has proposed, the UN Security Council should impose an arms embargo that would bar all military sales and assistance, in addition to technical training and services, to all forces implicated in violations in Syria. The council should also impose sanctions against officials from all sides who are shown to be involved in the most serious abuses, and commit to a credible process to ensure criminal accountability for grave abuses committed by all parties.

 

<Reference>

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36253000

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/11/diplomati-breakthrough-syria-war

http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2013/08/2648161/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23849587

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/08/middleeast/syria-aleppo-russia-strategy/

http://thediplomat.com/2016/01/chinas-new-era-of-diplomacy-engaging-in-syria/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/meast/syria-civil-war-fast-facts/

Written by 임한성

ISIS committing cultural heritage atrocities of the Middle East

<ISIS committing cultural heritage atrocities of the Middle East>

Throughout the history, cultural heritage were meant to be preserved carefully since they are precious, and are the symbol of tradition, religion, and memory of the past. However, these treasures are getting destroyed by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in an inhumane way. They destroyed over thousands of sculptures, artifacts, and also intellectual materials.

In May 2015, ISIS took over Palmyra, an archaeological city located in the central part of Syria. Cultural properties including ‘the Lion of al-Lat’ vanished, and Khalid al-Assad, Palmyra’s retired chief of antiquities was beheaded publicly because he refused against the ISIS to reveal the places cultural artifacts were removed.

The question is: Why are they doing this? Is this really what the Qur’an wants?

The main reason why ISIS is committing such inhumane and insane crimes is to generate more fear in the global society. They are frightening the world by showing their impunity and impotence of the international community. Also, ISIS pursues illegal trade on cultural assets in order to earn money. It is assumed that they have earned $36 million dollars until now.

ISIS is being iconoclastic and claims that they are doing exactly what Muhammad is telling them to do. However, the Qur’an says something different. Here are two phrases from the Qur’an about preserving cultural heritage:

“And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated…”

“And if anyone of the idolaters ask protection of thee, grant him protection so that he may hear the word of Allah; then convey him to his place of security…”

These two phrases show the attitudes people must have towards the cultural properties, especially to worship and respect, which generates contradiction on the ISIS’s actions.

ISIS has already destroyed numerous temples, and other cultural assets including the Temple of Baalshamin, Temple of Baal, statue of Athena at the Palmyra museum, and etc. However, as Irina Georgieva Bokova, the secretary general of UNESCO has spoken, there are no specific methods to stop them, so antiquity trafficking must be prevented first.

Now, numerous ancient sites are being ruined by ISIS. We should not let this terrorist group conquer the field of culture, which represents the minds and souls of the people.

Written by 김형근

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

 

DOHA AGREEMENTS AND OIL ECONOMY IN MIDDLE EAST

The Doha 2016 agreements have failed. Though expectations of a breakthrough in agreements boosted prices of Brent futures to 43.90$ a barrel and U.S WTI at 41.57$ (CNBC), political deadlock pulled back prices to 42$ a barrel on the 18th of April. The oil industry “is in its deepest downturn since the 1990s” according to the New York Times; economies are failing, and civil unrest is heightening. An increase in oil prices or a decrease in the global oversupply of oil is much needed, yet unfulfilled by OPEC’s inability to stabilize the oil market. The reasons for this deadlock are complex: structural problems within OPEC, governments’ overreliance on the oil industry, and competing interests between oil producing nations have created a vicious cycle where governments are unable to reduce supply at the expense of harming their economies. Religion and ideology, characteristic of the middle-east, have concreted unwillingness to compromise. Prospects of an OPEC led supply reduction initiative are bleak, yet prices may rebound due to unexpected factors.

  1. Structural problems within OPEC

Not all OPEC nations are equal. For example, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have low reserve funds and robust foreign currency reserves enabling them to run deficits even if oil prices are unsustainably low in the short run. On the other hand, Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria have less flexibility in economic policy; their combined foreign currency reserves are less than 200$ billion, even more, strained by new foreign exchange controls in Nigeria. These nations are inherently oil-dependent economies with Iraq deriving “58% of its Gross Domestic Product from Petroleum.” Thus, the effects of the reduction in oil prices are felt differently, which is why Saudi Arabia can use low prices as political leverage against Iran. In this light, the decision-making procedure of OPEC has been criticized by Iraqi Oil Ministry Spokesman, who claims that “[reliance on unanimous decisions] prevents correct decisions because some states insist on maintaining production quotas at previous meetings, which in turn provoked a further decline in prices unacceptable to oil producing countries.” Inherent economic disparities between nations have thus created an imbalance in power, and the structure of OPEC has barred nations from pursuing a compromise with an equally perceived degree of urgency.

  1. Governments’ reliance on the oil industry

In the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia paper, Iraq derives 58% of its Gross Domestic Product from petroleum. Libya gains 85% of its earnings from oil, and Saudi Arabia gains 78% of its revenue from the oil industry. Clearly, a rise in oil prices or a reduction in production is much needed for these nations to maintain a sustainable oil industry. Alexander Nazarov, an oil gas analyst at Gazprombank, quotes that “Russian budget is starving” due to the slump in low oil prices. Yet, nations like Iran will continue to increase its production despite calls for austerity. Oil production is integral for Iran’s recovery from damages inflicted by long-term sanctions. Though Russia’s output, according to OPEC Secretariat, is expected to “decline by 20,000 barrels per day on average,” it cannot afford to lose ground in the market at the price of opening opportunities for new competitors. These nations must diversify their industry to reduce potential risk.

  1. Competing interests between nations

Under the oil problem lies geopolitical cleavages. The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has deepened after the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked after a Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr was executed. The two nations have accused each other of waging proxy wars, and for stymieing the Doha Agreements. Iran refused to uphold the proposed oil production freeze which would devastate its post-sanction recovery. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia banned Iran from participating in the agreements altogether; Russia’s energy minister. Alexandr Novak remarked that Russia was “disappointed” and pointed out “how Iran [could] be the reason for the talks’ failure, when it wasn’t even here.” Moreover, Saudi Arabian diplomatic relations between the United States and its middle-east allies have been severed due to the United State’s record oversupply of shale oil and Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. Saudi Arabia’s refusal aligns with its interest to force new shale oil competitors out of the market by maintaining low oil prices. Though the failure of the Doha cannot be attributed to a single state, it is clear that Saudi Arabia had a high stake in producing such results.

  1. Prospect, unexpected factors, conclusion

The International Energy Agency prospects an overall reduction in non-OPEC production by 700,000 barrels a day. The reputation of OPEC has been further tarnished. Iran and Russia have already boosted their production rates: 3.3 million bpd. Global oil demand, especially in East Asia, has increased, and according to the wall street journal, projected “to rise by 1.2 million barrels a day to 94.18 million bpd. It seems that oil prices are to stay low for now. CNN money recently reported that a fire in oil-rich province Alberta has driven up oil prices, though temporarily. According to Anthony Starkey, energy analysis manager at Bentek Energy quotes that “This fire is raging near where a lot of the oil activity takes place. This is a very real event and it’s taking supply off the market.” Maybe the solution to this crisis is nature and time to slowly erode away our oil reserves.

 

<Reference>
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/15/doha-oil-price-rise-looks-unlikely-russia.html

http://monitor.icef.com/2016/03/nigeria-tightens-foreign-exchange-controls-to-limit-use-for-study-abroad/

http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/301138/Iran-collects-90-of-annual-planned-tax-revenues

http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.kr/2011/03/iraq-most-oil-dependent-country-in.html

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151130/1031016108/opec-drives-oil-prices-down.html https://www.rt.com/business/339990-doha-oil-freeze-novak/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/world-worried-iran-saudi-conflict-160115055436274.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-17/oil-freeze-talks-end-in-failure-amid-saudi-demands-over-iran

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Is-A-Permanent-Decline-Coming-For-Russia.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/briefly/2016/04/17/5-questions-for-oil-markets-after-the-doha-meeting/

http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/05/investing/oil-prices-fort-mcmurray-fire-canada/

Written by 임한성