THE JOURNAL TEAM
Vojtech Hons Editor-in-Chief
Margritt Clouzeau Editor and Events Officer
Maurice Kirschbaum Editor
Atholl Macpherson Senior Editor
Jihenne E. Khiari Editor and Fundraising Officer
Dalva Barrere Senior Editor
Selen Akgun Editor and Fundraising
Zoe Pot Editor
Anisha Hira Creative Editor
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @KSJournal_IAHR Tereza Rasochova Editor
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EDITORâ€™S NOTE It has been six months since the first issue was published. During that period, the publication has received almost a thousand reads from forty countries of the world, ranging from the United States, Albania all the way to Indonesia. Our primary aim, to amplify the voices of the students from King's, has been fulfilled. For the second issue, not only the contributors have changed, so did the editorial team. Old members now had the experience, new member brought in fresh ideas. As many new student media came out this year, including Human Writes, King's Amnesty Journal and Perspectives, we decided to take a step towards differentiating ourselves from the rest. The publication you are about to read differs from what you read in June. The number of articles has been cut down, as only about 40% of received proposals was included in the final product. The sources were reviewed to a greater extent than last year, and the average length of an article was extended as well. Among the writers, there are two alumni, four Masters students, one Doctorate candidate and one undergraduate. More interestingly, however, no International Relations or Politics student has been published â€“ in fact, we have received quality material from people with rather unexpected background: two Global Ethics and Human Values Students, one Medical Ethics and Law, one Education and Professional Studies and undergraduate submission from a French and Classics student. The expertise of the three others obtained at War Studies department was nevertheless equally appreciated. We do not expect to gain an enormous increase of reads on the second issue. In fact, it might as well be the case that less people will now read a whole article. We do believe, however, that this was the main feature of the primary aim â€“ to amplify the students' voices. The secondary, more challenging, but in our eyes more rewarding aim, to set up a platform for articles written in academic style and depth, could only be achieved on the expense of longer pieces that might present greater challenge to a person without certain factual background knowledge. We nevertheless believe that this transformation makes sense and that it will eventually reach the same amount of readers. It will not be long until the work on the third issue will begin. Plenty ideas that have not been implemented now are begging to be realised, and your participation will therefore be needed again. It will be our pleasure to receive your emails, should you wish to suggest an idea or improvement, submit an article or even become member of the journal board. The fact that you have opened this publication, however, is already most appreciated, as it gives us, the editorial team, to carry on.
Have a good read! Vojtech Hons Editor-in-chief
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AS PREJUDICE REDUCING PEDAGOGICAL TOOL
DEMOCRATIC VIOLATION - IRELAND’S ABORTION CRISIS
DISMANTLING THE SYRIAN CHEMICAL ARSENAL: LESSONS LEARNED
EU: AN IMBALANCED POLITICAL AGENDA
“GLOCALISATION” AND ITS IMPORTANCE IN HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLEMENTATION
SHOULD WE RESPECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF TERRORISTS?
THE POLITICIZATION OF BOKO HARAM
JEOPARDIZED DIVERSITY - CONFESSIONAL TENSIONS IN THE AMORPHIC MIDDLE EAST
ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AS PREJUDICE REDUCING PEDAGOGICAL TOOL MERSEDEH GHASSEMIEH is currently studying for a doctorate in education and professional studies. Prejudice can be defined as the extension of irreverent attitudes regarding a social group to an individual, solely by the virtue of that individual’s perceived membership in the social group (Stephan & Stephan, 2001). The group categories that these impertinent feelings are based on encompass categories such as gender, sexuality, social class, age, ability, religion, ethnicity, and race. Prior to the 1950s, most scholarly works concerning prejudice focused almost exclusively on adults (Cameron, Rutland & Brown, 2006). However, since then, a significant volume of scholarship on prejudice has been investigating the etiology of prejudice development in children (Paluck & Green, 2009). It was an astonishing finding for psychologists and educationalists alike when they realized that children are capable of identifying their own and others’ gender and ethnicity from a very young age (Cameron, Rutland & Brown, 2006). Currently, researchers assert that the crucial period for development of prejudice in children is from age three through seven, when a child notices perceptible racial differences such as skin colour, differentiates between them, and starts to understand that these attributes do not change over time (Aboud, 1988; Brown, 1995; Nesdale, 2001). During this same period, children start showing signs of being influenced by societal biases and they even exhibit prejudiced attitudes towards others on the basis of gender, race or disability (Derman, 1989).
Although within the field of developmental social psychology, extensive volumes of research exist that confirm that children as young as primary school age hold prejudiced views (Aboud, 1988; Aboud & Amato, 2001; Brown, 1995; Hirschfeld, 1997; Katz, 1976; Rutland, Cameron, Milne & McGeorge, 2005), there has not been enough research on effectiveness of pedagogical tools or interventions in prejudice reduction in children (Aboud & Levy, 2000; Bigler, 1999; Oskamp, 2000). My aim for this paper is to examine what evidence there is to support the claim that certain types of children’s literature can provide the means for transformative learning to reduce prejudice, and whether it can empower children from an early age to embrace tolerance and acceptance. In other words, I am intrigued to find out whether children’s literature can be used as an intervention to challenge and deconstruct the whole process of ‘Otherizing’ and help children realise the common humanity. Transformative learning: Transformative learning, which developed from the work of Jack Mezirow (1991), is the process of alteration in the premises of our thoughts, feelings, and actions; it is a change in our frame of reference that occurs when our beliefs are transformed, thereby changing our entire worldview. According to Mezirow transformative learning is the process by which we “transform our taken-for-granted frames of reference to make them more inclusive, open, emotionally capable of change, and selective so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action” (Mezirow, 2000, p.8). This theory is about understanding human’s relations and interactions with one another and the underlying power structures that influence
society, they are faced with already existing processes that generate and perpetuate ethnic categorisations and racial stigmas (Crandall & Stangor 2005). Children are exposed to such processes through various channels such as family, media, school, and peer groups (Milner, 1983). Not only do children learn about the stereotypes from their social environment but they also learn about the emotional responses associated with them (Katz, 1976; Vaughan, 1987). Camicia also suggests that the educational system is partly responsible for the systemisation and perpetuation of prejudicial “official” knowledge (Camicia, 2007; King, 1991). According to Camicia, treatment of knowledge as culturally neutral in educational curricula is a hegemonic practice that renders students’ critical evaluation of “official” knowledge challenging. Consequently, prejudice is fortified, protracted, and sustained since students are not invited to question the perspective, source, or quality of “official” knowledge. Depiction of Christopher Columbus in educational curricula sheds light on the points discussed above. When Columbus is described as an inquisitive adventurer and courageous explorer who “discovered” the “New World” and established European “settlements” there, then the explicit mainstream message, the one that is on the surface, easily detectable, and unambiguous, is that Columbus was an exemplary fearless visionary (Fanon 1963; Klein, 1985; Loewen, 1996; Love, 2011). Beneath this veneer, lies the unspoken message that is embedded in Eurocentrism and racism. First, by calling the Americas the ‘New World’, not only is the historical integrity and civilisational longevity of the Americas prior to 1492 ignored but also the rest of the world is considered on the periphery of the centre that is Europe. Another message that is also implicitly conveyed is the depiction
Changing frames of references is a crucial component of transformative learning and happens as a result of critical reflection on assumptions and viewpoints, and constant redefining of the world that one inhabits. Frames of reference are the framework of assumptions and beliefs through which our experiences are comprehended, signified, and made coherent. “They selectively shape and delimit our perception, cognition and feelings by predisposing our intentions, beliefs, expectations and purposes” (Mezirow, 2010, 92). ‘Habits of mind’ and ‘resulting points of view’ are two integral dimensions of frame of mind that I now turn to. We tend to have particular habits of mind that are “broad, abstract, orienting, habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting, influenced by assumptions that constitute a set of codes. These codes or canon may be cultural, social, linguistic, educational, economic, political, psychological, religious, aesthetic and others” (Mezirow, 2006, p.26). Articulation of Habits of mind in a particular point of view, which is “constellation of belief, memory, value judgment, attitude and feeling that shapes a particular interpretation” (Mezirow, 2006, p.26). Ethnic Prejudice as an example of habit of mind and reflective points of view: Habits of mind are rooted in historical and social context, and are influenced by institutional structures and practices. Ethnic prejudice, as a tendency to regard one’s own ingroup’s normative cultural prescriptions as superior to out-groups’ cultural norms, is an example of habits of mind that is shaped, moulded, and perpetuated by legal, social, and educational policies (Bigler & Liben, 2007). Based on a social learning approach, prejudicial attitudes that are derived from stereotypes, socio-cultural demarcations and categorisation of “Others” are learned. When a child enters into 6
of Europeans and their ways of life as the more advanced, civilised, and sophisticated ones that were easily able to conquer the “New World”. Third, by intentionally choosing the word “settlers” instead of colonisers, there is an attempt to distort historical consciousness of many Europeans as they reflect on their past (Loewen, 1996; Love 2011). Absent from these “official” accounts are null messages, a critical reflection on mainstream and hidden messages. Null messages are omitted or silenced so that the systematic structure of domination, exploitation, and privilege could stay intact. For example, the view that Columbus brutally subjugated the indigenous people of America, and his actions were derived from the European mentality of the time that was accepting of violent conquests, enslavement, and mass killings, is never represented. A subsequent point of view of aforementioned habits of mind is a complex web of negative beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and judgments that one might have in regards to people of different ethnic or racial backgrounds. An astonishing study, conducted by Bigler and Liben (1993) on White-Americans’ negative assumptions about African-Americans sheds light on this matter. They asked 75 randomly selected White-American elementary students to attribute positive and negative characteristics to only Black people, only White people, or both White and Black people (Bigler & Liben, 2013). They discovered that more than fifty percent of the participants stated that “only Black people” could be bad, dirty, stupid, cruel, mean, and ugly (Bigler & Liben, 2013). Such discriminating points of view are also seen among educators, which is very alarming. Villenas et al. (1999), analyzed seven ethnographic studies in United States in order to explore Latino schooling and family education. These ethnographic studies of Latino schooling are rich with personal
experiences of Latin American families residing in the United States that reveal and expose how, and why, ‘raced’ children are disproportionately subjected to certain disturbing trends in the educational system. For instance, researchers found out that Latino students are often placed in low-performance classrooms in which they receive ‘dull and boring’ lessons plans, and teachers often have low expectations for these students. Moreover, the experiences of Latino parents reveal how they are often ‘kept out’ of schools and not welcomed by discouraging treatment and general indifference of schools’ administrators to Latin American cultural bases, notwithstanding the constant insistence in the educational system to involve parent in their children’s education. This level of prejudicial thinking within the educational system is striking and indicates the urgent need for intervention programs intended to reduce prejudice and racial stereotyping among students and school officials. Prejudice reduction through the transformative learning process: Transformative learning is a kind of learning that results in significant changes in our belief system. It is a learning that gives meaning to our experiences in life. The transformative learning process is comprised of three main components: experience, critical reflection, and reflective discourse (Mezirow, 1990). The process begins with an experience. The next step is a cognitive process of critically reflecting on an underlying set of beliefs and assumptions that influence the way in which one interprets the experience. According to Meziro, one aspect of critical reflection is the ‘premise reflection’, which is evaluating the new experience according to long-held beliefs, values, and assumptions (Mezirow, 1990). At this stage, the individual is assessing whether or not the new experience is compatible with her already 7
existing belief system, or if a transformation of mindset is necessary to accommodate the new experience. This leads to the last stage of transformative learning that is reflective discourse. Reflective discourse is about thorough understanding of the experience, assessing new findings and arguments of different points of view, being open to alternative points of view or belief systems, and finally making a judgment or adjustment at the end of this process. The idea that positive experience of contact with an out-group member can reduce prejudice is well tested and backed up by great number of studies (Allport, 1953; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). However, the Contact Hypothesis (1954) is inherently limited due to limited opportunities for contact and interaction among different social groups. Restricted contact among in-group and out-group stems from various causes such as geography, prejudicial and dogmatic mentalities, and state of war, to name only a few. For example, in the United States, an average, predominately white neighbourhood has less than ten percent black residents (Denton & Massey, 1991). Some religious sects’ meditated preference to only interact with the members of their own ingroup is another example. Places of conflict, such as Gaza or the Korean demilitarized zone, are the most extreme cases of segregation in which opportunities for direct intergroup contact is severely restricted. Yet these are precisely the kind of environments in which interactions among different social groups are needed the most. Dadd (1997) argues that imagining a positive contact with a member of an out-group can have the same prejudicereducing effect as the actual participation in an intergroup interaction (Dadd, 1997; Kosstyn, 2001). Since books are capable of creating mental settings in which a positive contact can
be imagined, experienced, and lived; I will discuss how children’s literatures can be used as an intervention to reduce prejudice, in the following section. Extended Contact: Extended Contact Hypothesis emphasises the role of cross-group friendship as an essential condition for improvement of intergroup attitudes. Extended contact suggests that reduced bias might result from vicarious experiences of friendship, that is, knowledge of in-group members having friendships with outgroup members (Wright et al., 1997). “Extended contact effect” stems from the capacity of individuals to “include other in the self” (Wright et al., 59 9 7 ) which, in a sense, is the ability to incorporate a member of “out-group” in one’s own self-definition. It is fair to argue that vicarious experiences of intergroup friendship could be stimulated through narratives as well. As Dadd (1997) noted, imagining a positive contact with an out-group member produces the same prejudice-reducing effect as the actual contact. Since storybooks about intergroup interaction can duplicate the actual sense of interaction, they can be used as prejudicereducing intervention. Reading stories about other ethnicities can help children to cultivate new positive meaning schemes for them by focusing on cross-group similarities. Vicarious experiences of contact with out-groups demonstrate to children that amid racial and ethnic differences, there exist substantial commonalties, making the “Other” less exotic, strange, or different. Further, such experiences invite children to critically reflect on their already existing biased assumptions about outgroups, such as out-group homogeneity. Children are encouraged to compare and contrast the new experience with their previously held beliefs and subsequently they assess the compatibility of the two. 8
Consequently, literatures that underline the common humanity in individuals regardless of their ethnicity, gender, and socio-economical status and focus on human experiences that are universal in nature could play a significant role in deconstructing prejudiced and discriminatory mentalities. It is imperative to acknowledge that not all types of learning can be considered as transformational. According to Mezirow, all learning can be considered as change but not all change constitutes transformation (Mezirow, 1990). Sometimes even the mere addition of a new piece of data to our already existing pool of information is considered change, which is far from transformation. Mezirow argues that learning happens through frames of reference via four different ways. The first, and the most common type of learning, is expansion and elaboration of the existing frames of reference (Brown, 2013). It involves extending, supplementing, and modifying present body of knowledge wherein new information is easily accommodated with what we already believe. Acquiring new frames of reference constitute the second way of learning (Brown, 2013). This occurs by getting exposed to new perspectives and points of view that do not challenge the underlying premises of the existing frames of reference and can be added to with ease. The third way of learning takes place as a result of altering points of view (Mezirow, 1990). This happens because attitudes or beliefs about a certain issue are changed after a variety of different points of view are contemplated. For example, a positive experience in another culture might inspire us to critically reflect on our misapprehensions about that specific cultural group. Consequently, we may even alter our point of view about that particular group and become more tolerant or accepting of members of the
out-group. In other words, a positive interaction with one out-group may change a prejudicial point of view, but this does not necessarily translate to a change in one’s prejudicial habits of mind regarding other outgroups. Such an occurrence requires transformation of habits of mind, which is also the fourth way of learning. Transformation of habits of mind involves more in-depth learning and “requires a questioning or challenging of underlying assumptions and premises on which our beliefs are based, which causes a shift in the codes that makes up a meaning perspective and this will consequently disturb the related points of view” (Brown, 2013, P.29). Since our belief systems define who we are, and are fairly rooted in our culture, and our history it is not an easy task to modify or change them altogether. Yet, in order for an individual’s habits of mind to be transformed she must embrace experiences that would challenge her fundamental set of beliefs and value system, no matter how overwhelming the ordeal is. Knowledge Construction as a prejudice reduction intervention: Another form of prejudice-reducing intervention through children’s literature, which can be used in transformative learning, is knowledge construction (Banks, 1999; Camicia, 2007). Knowledge construction interventions are based on the general idea that the value system in any given society is in accordance with the interests of the dominant class. That leads one to believe that knowledge and knowledge production processes conform to interests, views, and values of the dominant class; “knowledge becomes part of the general consensus of reality” (Love, 2011, p. 102). That being said, the nature of knowledge production and its relation vis-a-vis power structures, necessitate development of critical-thinking faculty in students and the adoption of a 9
questioning-stance towards handed down knowledge. A major line of thought that has inspired knowledge construction interventions is Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is founded on the underlying premise that prejudicial attitudes mostly continue to be unrecognized because racism is so entrenched in the society. Critical Race Theory invites students to survey alternative narratives of outgroups in order to “begin the deconstruction of hegemonic mainstream narratives that perpetuate social inequality” (Camicia, 2007, p.222) In other words, “the process of knowledge construction is simultaneously a process of knowledge deconstruction”(Camicia, 2007, p.222). Understanding the links between knowledge and power is at the heart of transformative learning. According to the transformative pedagogy, knowledge is varied, rooted in cultures, and representative of the value system of a society. And transformative learning is not only about racial harmony, it’s about inclusion as well. Multicultural children’s literature that is used as this form of intervention looks at the socio-cultural processes that form our current historical understandings from the standpoint of the ‘Other’. The aim is to have an anti-bias and more equitable education by giving children an opportunity to get to know different perspectives, through literature that is ‘against the grain’. For instance, in subjects such as history, students should have the opportunity to listen to various voices recount history from a multiple of perspectives. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (6001), by Margaret Bruchac is a good example of such literature. In the collective historical imagination of Americans, Thanksgiving is a day that some courageous peace-loving settlers showed their generosity to a few uncivilised Indians with a turkey dinner. However for Wampanoag people, this mythical 10
day is a reminder of treachery and carnage. By taking into question what Americans regard as historical “facts”, and by retrieving the vanished voices of the Wampanoag people, this book offers a different account of Americans’ shared history. By turning the traditional curriculum around so that students can “view concepts, issues, events and themes from the perspective of diverse ethnic and cultural groups” (Banks, 1999, p. 31) students develop the aptitude to analyze discrepancies that sustain inequalities. Banks (2002) writes, “By revealing and articulating the inconsistency between the democratic ideals within a society and its practices, transformative knowledge becomes a potential source for substantial change”(Bank, 2002, p.22). Critical reading of a story reminds children that knowledge is never neutral and it is derived from a person’s or a group’s Standpoint (Love, 6455). Acknowledging this fact compels the reader to be conscious of historical, cultural, and social processes that produce knowledge, construct our thoughts, and affect the very production processes of knowledge as well. The transformation of knowledge involves asking different questions and re-evaluating the ‘official’ knowledge (Apple, 1990; Camicia 2007). Official knowledge demonstrates the “elevation of mainstream narratives to the status of being ‘truth,’ ‘normal’, or ‘natural’ (Camicia, 2007). Hence, constant analysis of one’s position vis-a-vis prevalent Cultural Capital and structures of power would give rise to questions such as; why things are the way they are, who is the beneficiary of the status quo, and how can we transform it to a more just and equitable condition (Shannon, 1995; McDaniel, 2004). Scholars such as Shannon (1995) argue that the absence of such questions in educational systems is mainly responsible for hegemonic discourses of knowledge that contribute to the
endurance of many social injustices, ethnic prejudices and stigmas. Shannon’s concerns are echoed by Kohl (1995), who is apprehensive about the rarity of books, whether fiction or nonfiction, which scrutinise underlying socioeconomic structures of our society and the normative values that they promote. He is in favour of authors crafting ‘radical’ (fundamental change provoking) stories, which attempt to break down artificial borders that construct ‘ingroup’ and ‘out-group’ and also call for a unified effort to tackle problems of inequality, ‘Otherising’, marginalisation, and exclusion (Kohl 1995 P.59). Lets consider the story of Mona in Sitti’s secret by Naomi Nye (59 9 8). Mona travels with her father to their ancestral village on the west bank in Palestine to visit her grandmother for the first time. Not knowing Arabic makes communication difficult with her grandmother. But soon, Mona and her Sitti are able to overcome this obstacle, and they find other ways to understand each other. Upon her return to U.S, after observing Sitti’s predicaments, she decides to write a letter to the President of the United States of America, in which she expresses concerns for her grandmother and the people “on the other side of the world.” Also, she voices her desire for peace; “I vote for peace, my grandmother votes with me.” And Mona concludes; “If the people of the United States could meet Sitti, they would like her, for sure.” A mainstream message of Sitti’s Secrets is about bonds that the essence of common humanity forges between individuals despite of language barriers, cultural differences, and national borders. However, critical reading of Mona’s story not only reveals hidden messages regarding the role of United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also gives rise to questions about the global structures of power that permit the conflict to drag on for so long. The story alludes to the fact that the
President of United States could take some actions to ease the plight of Palestinian people but none of them have done so in the past sixty years. Are there any forces that prefer status quo to an end to the conflict? Knowledge construction intervention invites children to question mainstream messages of “official” knowledge, detect its hidden messages, and critically reflect on them. By doing so, students are incited to pursue knowledge rather than receive it, and establish their own understandings, rather than being on the receiving end of normative judgments. The aim is to assist students to liberate themselves from installed habits of favouring institutional beliefs and undervaluing their own thoughts and reactions (Apol, 1998). Moreover, multicultural children’s literature that induce social actions in children in forms of protesting against injustice, questioning the power structures, and actively participating in transforming their society into a more inclusive and equitable one, embody “radical” stories that Kohl has referred to. Spilled Water (6004), a book by Sally Grindley, narrates the story of 11-year-old Lu Si-Yan that leads a lonely life of severe hardship as a child laborer in a big city, in China. After she runs away from a family that her uncle sold her to, when her father passed away, she finds a job in a toy factory for a trivial wage. Enduring inhuman working conditions, she manages to “race, race, race” for several months, working from very early morning until late at night, until she collapses one day. There is no happy ending to the narrative, but by weaving real world issues of inequality and social injustice into the fabrics of Lu Si-Yan’s life story, it is quite possible that the author has been successful to nurture social imagination of 11 year olds in Europe or North America, and has left some lingering questions behind on their stream of consciousness. Critical 11
reading of Lu Si-Yan’s distressing powerlessness and poverty could take into question the footprints that high demand for cheap toys in western countries leave on child laborers’ lives in developing countries. What can children of western countries do about the plight of their counterparts in other side of the world? Perhaps there are actions that they can take, such as conveying their concerns and disapproval to corporations, whose business conducts, intentionally or unintentionally, contribute to the practice of employing children as laborers. These are some of the discussions that could take place in classrooms in conjunction with deliberate social actions in the form of class projects. Conclusion: This paper discusses the possibilities of children’s literature as an intervention for transformative learning and prejudice reduction. Prejudice-reducing Interventions are intended to diminish negative attitudes toward one social group and also dampen the ensuing stereotypical, intolerant, and discriminatory behaviours or feelings. In order to counter prejudicial attitudes in children through transformative learning, educational curriculums need to ensure that children attain critical understandings, proficiencies, and dispositions for transformative learning. Children need to be encouraged to challenge their assumptions, examine alternative points of view, alter previous ways of understanding, and act on new perspectives. The main aim of transformative pedagogy is to include previously excluded perspectives and silenced voices of marginalized groups, in educational settings (Sleeter, 1996; Love, 2011) by introducing the literature of marginalized ethnic groups in classrooms (Sims Bishop, 2007; Gopalakrishnan, 2011). To do so, a critical
examination of the curriculums is necessary since they tend to promote only the “official” knowledge. Moreover, this examination is essential for students’ deconstruction of prejudicial knowledge and replacing it with diverse perspectives. Although children’s literatures as extended intergroup contact and knowledge construction intervention appear promising, a much more thorough and comprehensive empirical assessment of effectiveness of books as prejudice-reducing intervention should be conducted.
DEMOCRATIC VIOLATION - IRELAND’S ABORTION CRISIS OLIVIA WILSON is currently a second-year student of French and Classics at King's.
and the British Northern Ireland retained the 1861 Offences against the Person Act which states (after amendment) that any woman who seeks an abortion ‘shall be guilty of [an offence], and being convicted thereof shall be liable, ..., to [imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years]’ However, after much to-ing and fro-ing between Fine Gael and the Labour party, in 2013 President Michael D. Higgins passed the ‘Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act’ which states that a woman can receive abortion if her life is at risk because of a physical illness or suicide. It does not legalise abortion in the event of rape or incest unless a possible risk of suicide is present. This blatantly contravenes the treaty of the ‘Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women’ adopted by the UN in 1979. Forcing a woman to have a child is a form of gender discrimination as men placed in the same situation would not have to go through the same ordeal simply due to differences in the reproductive organs. ‘Any distinction, exclusion or restriction’, which must include forced conception, goes against the terms of this treaty: a treaty which both Ireland and the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) have signed. Even when a risk of suicide is present the amendment is not always observed as in the case of ‘Miss Y’ which is currently being investigated by the Health Service Executive in Ireland. ‘Miss Y’, a foreign national who was raped in her home country, after coming to Ireland and discovering that she was eight weeks pregnant, decided to pursue abortion. After the risk of suicide was ratified by two psychiatrists, she was delivered of her baby via caesarean section after going on hunger strike. In other words, the amendment was not adhered to despite the support of the psychiatrists after performing their invasive examination of confirming the claimant’s risk of
The question of abortion is, and will always be, a contentious issue. It is a question which has been tackled by every civilisation and which straddles every societal argument: ethical, social, financial, religious and political. But there are no countries which demonstrate the full complexity of the issue like Ireland and Northern Ireland. Over the past thirty years there have been no fewer than 5 national referendums on the subject yet each has offered little hope of real legal change. However, since the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012, the debate has reached a crisis point with the UN repeatedly expressing the need for legal amendment and criticising Ireland’s draconian legislation: ‘The Committee reiterates its previous concern regarding the highly restrictive circumstances under which women can lawfully have an abortion in the state’. Placed within the context of the rest of the EU, abortion is only banned in one member state, Malta, while Poland, which exercises the third most restrictive abortion practice after Ireland, allows abortion in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother and malformation of the foetus. In every other state abortion is available for at least ten weeks of pregnancy. So why is Ireland’s stance so different from the rest of Europe? Why is the issue of abortion so contentious here? First, we must assess the legal history of Ireland and Northern Ireland and its vast divergence from the path of its neighbouring island, Great Britain. After obtaining independence from the UK in 1922, both Ireland 13
suicide. Indeed, Ireland’s modern history has been punctuated by many of these pivotal cases of violation and inequality of rights, and yet very little seems to have changed. The slight amendment mentioned above coincided with two of the biggest recent Irish scandals: the death of Savita Halappanavar and the Catholic Church abuse scandals. These two events are absolutely essential to an understanding of Ireland’s difficult relationship to abortion: the influence and authority of Christianity in Ireland, north and south. This influence revealed itself most prominently in the recent case of Ms Halappanaver. In 2012, Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist, died of septicaemia and organ failure after suffering a miscarriage having being denied an abortion when she was 17 weeks pregnant at University Hospital, Galway. Halappanavar repeatedly requested an abortion, but as her foetus still had a heartbeat, and the patient seemed to be at no risk of death, her pleas were denied. When she did not understand the reason for her request’s refusal, she was told, ‘it was the law, that this is a Catholic country’. In the inquest, the coroner found that the refusal of abortion and, thus, confusion about the legality of an abortion in this instance, was a key causal factor in the death of the patient: ‘The investigation team is satisfied that concern about the law, whether clear or not, impacted on the exercise of clinical professional judgement.’ Indeed, the consultant, in reply to the patient and her husband’s desire to induce labour with medication if the pregnancy was going to terminate in inevitable miscarriage, stated her/his lack of understanding of the Irish law: “If there is a threat to the mothers’ life you can terminate. If there is a potential major
hazard to the mothers’ life the law is not clear…. There are no guidelines for inevitable miscarriages”. It was this very lack of understanding and uncertainty of the law which led to an ‘over-emphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart stopped together with an under-emphasis on the need to focus appropriate attention on monitoring for and managing the risk of infection and sepsis in the mother.’ This ‘under-emphasis’ on the health and well-being of the mother points to the real difficulty in Ireland’s management of abortion. The mental and physical well-being of the woman are seen as being of secondary importance to that of a foetus as seen in the cases of Mrs Halappanavar and ‘Miss Y’. These cases demonstrate how both the mental and physical well-being of Irish women is held subordinate to that of a foetus. The Irish government believes that the well-being of an unconscious foetus are of a much greater importance than the well-being of a full Irish citizen. As Human Rights Committee chairman Nigel Rodley said, ‘recognition of the primary right to life of the woman has to prevail over that of the unborn child’. Irish law treats raped women as ‘a vessel and nothing more’. As shown by the words of Ms Halappanavar’s nurse, religion, abortion and legal policy are very closely linked. In the Republic, the Catholic Church was granted ‘special recognition’ in the Constitution of Ireland while both the Catholic and Protestant religions continue to play a particularly prominent role in Northern Irish politics. Particularly in the north, but also in the south, the barrier between the public sphere of politics and the private sphere of religion has, as Professor John Brewer from Queen’s University Belfast said, ‘collapsed’. The influence of religion in the south waned in the 1990s due to the very 14
public scandal of the Catholic Church’s institutional abuse of women and children. 1,500 complaints of child abuse were documented in Church-run institutions in Ireland in the Ryan commission while the UN Committee on the ‘Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture’ had made repeated requests for the victims of the Magdalen Asylums to be compensated. Yet, despite this very public affirmation of the Church’s role in the violation of women and children, it still exerts an abiding influence over ‘moral’ legal issues like abortion and divorce. Indeed, divorce was only legalised in the Constitution of Ireland as late as 1996 while Christianity still has a very profound institutional role in Northern Irish education. Religion and policymaking are, thus, intertwined serving to create an incredibly cloudy moral landscape from which to create and consistently apply policies on essentially ethical issues like abortion. This dissolution of the public/private sphere of religion and state in Northern Ireland leaves it in an odd position in relation the rest of the United Kingdom. As Alastair Campbell famously declared, UK politics ‘[doesn’t] do God’. Religion is rarely seen as a common agent in British politics so where does that leave Northern Irish/religious discussion over abortion in its position as a country within the non-religious climate of UK politics? Inequality: unequal rights for British/Northern Irish women and British/non-Northern Irish women. This is exemplified by London’s High Court recent decision that Northern Irish women would not be eligible for an abortion on the NHS if they travelled to Britain despite being UK tax-payers. There is an obvious question of unity and consistency here: how can the United Kingdom be called united if it has such varied legal options for its residents which cause such
adversely different effects, like abortion? The case of A & Ahor, R v Secretary of State for Health broached this question head on. The claimant here stated that their country of domicile was used as a ‘personal characteristic or status’ and that by using this characteristic to deny her a state-funded abortion this was an act of discrimination. She claimed that had she been characterised as a resident of any other UK country she would have been eligible. However, the conclusion drawn was that ‘there is no suggestion in the case–law of the European Court of Human Rights that the State is required to fund abortion services’ and that ‘in general the NHS should not fund services for residents of Northern Ireland which the Northern Ireland assembly has deliberately decided not to legislate to provide, and which would be unlawful if provided in Northern Ireland'. Thus, we can see that the options for Irish and Northern Irish women are incredibly limited, especially for those that do not have access to the finances needed to undergo an abortion abroad. The Abortion Support Network estimates that women who travel for an abortion often spend four hundred to two thousand pounds on travel costs, lodging and the added burden of non-state-funded abortions. This, therefore, creates the additional financial barrier to abortion for Irish women along with the trauma of travelling and, of course, the universal feelings of confusion, isolation, and trauma which accompany all cases of abortion. So, again this further clarifies the depth of the inequality for Irish women, both in relation to other women within the EU and men. However, is there, in fact, a major desire for change in both Ireland and Northern Ireland or is this simply the desire of a small minority of unfortunate women? 15
If we start by simply looking at the numbers of women from Ireland who have received abortions in England we can see that this is no small minority. 3,679 women listed as having an Irish address, and 802 from a Northern Irish address, obtained abortions in England in 2013, but the real number is thought to be higher. The sexual health charity FPA believes that the number of Northern Irish women travelling to England for an abortion to be around 2000, as many women will provide another address to avoid social stigma or in order to obtain a state-funded abortion. Between 1980 and 2013 at least 158,252 Irish woman travelled to England and Wales for abortions and this discounts those women who travelled to the Netherlands or elsewhere. But what does the rest of Ireland think? In Northern Ireland, the public case of Sarah Ewart brought the issue of abortion in cases of foetal abnormality to the fore of the public consciousness. The case involved Ms Ewart having to travel to England in order to abort a foetus which had no chance of survival. The abortion was proscribed in Northern Ireland as there was no risk to the mother and, thus, no grounds for a legal termination. The significant media attention around this event has sparked a public consultation on two aspects of abortion law in Northern Ireland: in cases of lethal abnormality, and in cases of pregnancy as a consequence of rape or incest. This marks an important stage in the new emphasis on the mother and on the public’s role in talks about abortion in Northern Ireland. It is also a new stage in integrating the views of women in talks concerning women’s interests. In short, this is an important turning point in the democratic liberty of Northern Ireland in a topic which has traditionally united the ecclesiastical authorities, Catholic and Protestant, and their communities in their opposition to it. Now, the 16
power of the people themselves, removed from the omnipotent moral judgement of the Christian churches, is manifest in this consultation’s emergence Yet, while we should be thankful that this public consultation exists, it does not offer women autonomy over their own bodies: it does not offer women freedom, but only a way out from a handful of specific horrible situations. There is still much more to be done. No such public consultation has taken place in the Republic not even over abortion in cases of rape, incest or foetal anomaly. Yet, a September 2014 Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll found that 56% of voters were in favour of holding a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and 69% approved that victims of rape should be allowed to have an abortion. Meanwhile, an October 2014 Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll found that 68% were in favour of having a referendum on whether abortion should be granted in cases of rape or fatal foetal anomaly. This shows that this is clearly a subject on which a democratic majority wishes to vote. The previous referendums on the issue in 1992 and 2002 concerned further tightening of the abortion law, not less. In both of these referendums the public voted against further tightening. This is not where the problem lies and so public authorities are still ignoring the major issue. There is continued proof of a consistent desire for the Irish people to vote on this issue, not about restricting the issue still further but making it more flexible and pertinent to women’s and modern society’s needs. This is, then, clearly a violation of democratic freedom: that ‘[t]he will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government’. It is clear that the Irish people want to liberalise the abortion system, to make it more
flexible to the needs of its women. Yet, government in Ireland seems deaf to the desires of its people. In Ireland, both in the north and the south, there is a clear need to separate religion and state: to distinguish between a democracy governed by the people for the interests of the people and that of an Ireland run by a Church which forces policies which the people do not want. Public outrage and pressure at Irish law’s treatment of its women has acted as a catalyst for the imperfect but promising creation of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy act and the Northern Irish public consultation. Yet, Fine Gael and Ireland’s Labour Party have ruled out a referendum on abortion and we must wait and see what Northern Ireland’s consultation yields in January of next year. However, with the increased pressure of the UN’s open and vehement criticism to, and a continued public resistance of, Ireland’s legal situation, Ireland’s draconian abortion laws can only concede to modernisation and liberalisation. Thus, Ireland will, finally, begin to make its slow, tenuous steps towards the modern world and into a more democratic future.
DISMANTLING THE SYRIAN CHEMICAL ARSENAL: LESSONS LEARNED FRANCESCA CAPANO holds a Master's degree Terrorism, Security and Society at King’s On the 21st of August 2013 Ghoutha areas around Damascus were attacked with chemical weapons by the Syrian regime forces. Since the U.S. and Russia reached an agreement for the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal, the handover of Syria’s chemical weapons has justifiably received worldwide media attention. After missing the deadline of April 2014 for the final handover, the remaining 7.2% of the chemical agents were loaded onto a Norwegian ship in the port of Latakia on the 23rd June, from where they were transported to the port of Gioia Tauro in Southern Italy. As the agreement established, once in Italian waters 600 tons of the 1,300-ton stockpile of chemical agents were transferred to an American vessel, the Cape Ray. While it assumed charge of neutralizing these agents far from Italy’s shores within 60 days, the rest were sent to European facilities for destruction. Having completed the operation of transshipment without announced problems the American ship left the port on the 2nd of July. On the 18th of August the United States announced that the destruction had been completed. While international opinion has been focused for months on Syria’s failures in handing over its materials, little attention has been paid to the details of the agreement. In particular, there has been very little discussion on the reasons behind the Italian participation in the operation. Now that the process has been successfully accomplished, it is worth considering what lessons can be drawn. It appears that for Italy this was a political choice made from the highest levels of the foreign ministry, in which the considerations of the local
communities were trumped by the wider international interests of Italy’s foreign policy: mainly that of avoiding military strikes against Syria, and fostering diplomatic channels of communication between the regional and international actors involved in the Syrian crisis. The announcement of the choice of Gioia Tauro, as the port for transshipment of part of the chemical materials, generated reactions of anxiety and anger among the locals of the area. As an attempt to reassure local communities, the Italian Ministers for the Infrastructures and Foreign Affairs, alongside the director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), explained to the Italian Parliament that beyond considerations of economic advantages for its activities brought by the operation, Gioia Tauro is also one of the few ports of the Mediterranean region whose depth can welcome container-ships of such large dimensions. However, this explanation was not enough. The unanswered question remained therefore why the port of Gioia Tauro, a small southern Italian town in the administrative region of Calabria, was chosen. Active since 1995, the importance of the port sharply increased in the last decade to the extent that it is currently one of the main commercial container terminals in the Mediterranean Sea. As a consequence of its growing economic importance, the port has also attracted the attention of the local mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, to the point that it is labeled “The Cathedral of the Mafia”. Besides imposing bribes on the companies working there and controlling the process of hiring personnel, the ‘Ndrangheta has also managed to exploit the port for its illicit activities. 80% of the entire cocaine flow from South America and intended to reach Europe is believed to pass through this port. Several investigations on the site have resulted in huge 18
seizures of cocaine and the arrests of numerous members of the organized criminal group: one of the last episodes on the 28th of July 2014, when 85 kilos of cocaine was seized by the Italian officials, meant the total amount of cocaine found in the port’s containers since the beginning of 2014 has increased to 945 kg. The 2008 Report of the Anti-Mafia Committee of the Italian Parliament concluded that the ‘Ndrangheta is in fact controlling the majority of the economic activities occurring there, included customs controls and taxes. The United States are well-aware of both the threatening power exercised by the ‘Ndrangheta, which is included in the FBI’s list of the most dangerous transnational criminal groups, and its economic influence over the port. The Italian magazine “L’Espresso” refers to some diplomatic American cables, made public by Wikileaks, to explain it. As a criminal organization that understands the economic value of unconventional materials to make huge profits, the most feared scenario is that members of the group could let unconventional materials pass undisturbed through the port and reach its destination in the hands of terrorist or criminal groups. The outstanding ability of the ‘Ndrangheta to corrupt officials by means of severe threats proved to be a major asset in gaining and successfully maintaining the control of the port to carry out its illicit trafficking. Consequently, the exercise of a significant amount of pressure on the personnel of the port makes this scenario more plausible than it would seem. Historically, there have been a number of incidents on Italian soil involving Russian nuclear materials that were supposed to reach the Middle East in the 1990s: two plots aimed at illicitly trafficking nuclear materials were disrupted in 1995 and 1998. At a time when many radioactive substances had reached
European countries, due to the low security controls in Soviet nuclear plants and following the collapse of the USSR, a barter exchange had been set between the Italians and the Russians. From this some groups of the Italian mafia received uranium from Russian groups in exchange for counterfeit goods. In 1998, other members of the Italians were caught red-handed while completing a deal involving low enriched uranium (LEU), which was believed to originate from a reactor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Finally, an investigation into toxic residues made the picture more worrisome, whereby the ‘Ndrangheta itself was found to be responsible for the illicit dismantling of radiological waste, including uranium, strontium and ceasium, in the maritime environment of Italy and Somalia throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. After 9/11 a stable American presence has been established at the port of Gioia Tauro under the ‘Container Security Initiative’ (CSI) project, whose aim is to control containers directed to the United States in order to avoid terrorists from exploiting the total control of the ‘Ndrangheta over the port to ship unconventional weapons (WMD) or materials usable to attack the American soil. In 2008, 40,466 shipments had been controlled by CSI officials. However, due to the severe situation of the organized crime at the port, the security standards provided by the CSI appeared to be not sufficient. In Genova, Italy, a container from Gioia Tauro had been found transporting Cobaltium 60, a radioactive isotope of cobaltium, while 7 tonnes of explosives have been seized in Gioia Tauro itself. According to the American cables, despite strict security measures ensured by the CSI presence, the port is still vulnerable to becoming an entry point for dangerous materials: it is a given that the control over the port by the ‘Ndrangheta is total, covering both 19
legal and illegal activities. The dangerousness of the situation led the United States to establish a new initiative, ‘Megaport’, in 2010, whose aim is the scan of as many containers as possible, irrespective of their destinations, with specially advanced detectors. Given the high criminal record of the area, astonishment arose after the announcement of Gioia Tauro as the chosen port for the transshipment of dangerous chemical weapons. However, overlooking the role of Italy in international politics at that time easily clarifies the decision. The majority of experts suggest that Italy was the only country willing to bear the responsibility of these operations. In particular, the very reason for that seems to lie in international diplomacy. Recalling the declarations of Italy’s Foreign Minister at the time, Emma Bonino, during a regional conference of international think tanks in Rome in September 2013, an expert points out that once Russia declared its intentions to put Syrian chemical weapons under international controls, Ms. Bonino welcomed it as “a window of opportunity for [the success of] diplomacy”. In fact, she had explicitly opposed military strikes against Syria since the very beginning and was intimately engaged in the diplomatic process surrounding the political agreement between the U.S., Russia and Syria that eventually avoided such an attack. Consequently, when events called on Italy to grant access to a port facility crucial for the success of the agreement, she was not in the position to draw back. In this sense the choice of the port for the dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons can be defined as a political decision, further facilitated by the established American presence on the site. The air of secrecy that has subsequently surrounded the choice of Goia
Tauro, especially in the Italian domestic setting, seems to validate this hypothesis. Looking at a lower level of analysis, however, that secrecy acted as a double-edged sword by prejudicing the relationship of trust between the local community and the State. The Italian central authorities should have better engaged with the local administration before the decision as to the port was made. It would have facilitated a better understanding of the local concerns and may even have helped to better deal with the public, in the context of an international operation that attracted worldwide attention. Secondly, the Italian authorities could have exploited the opportunity to increase international – and more importantly domestic - awareness of the menaces faced in this region because of widespread presence of organized crime. According to Nicola Gratteri, the front-line antimafia prosecutor of the region, secrecy is what mostly facilitates the growth of highly sophisticated organized crime, such as the Mafia. The American cables also recognize that the fight against the Calabrian Mafia needs public and international attention. Without complete national and international awareness, a transnational group takes advantage of the lack of recognition of its existence. This has already happened in Germany, where the authorities officially admitted the presence of the ‘Ndrangheta only after having a feud in their own territory in 2007, despite persistent warnings from the Italian authorities. The secrecy and lack of attention around the choice of the major southern European drug smuggling hub for handling the Syrian chemical weapons caused the proliferation of protests and worsened the already deep divide between the Italian state and those local communities. Dangerously, this divide calls to attention the original reason of the emergence 20
and success of the Italian Mafia, which presents itself as a provider of security where the State is absent â€“ albeit at great cost. In conclusion, the episode points towards the need for an open public debate between the locals, the administration and the government to engage with each other. Such a debate needs to be carried out, especially when international diplomacy and politics enter the domain of sensitive territories where the organized crime is strictly intertwined with the social fabric of the community.
EU: AN IMBALANCED POLITICAL AGENDA YIANNIS KOURIS is a postgraduate student at Kings College London, undertaking MA Global Ethics and Human Values Introduction The initial creation of the EU was an attempt to unite counties, in an area that was characterized by frequent warfare between its nations in the past, economically. This ambitious integration effort was enhanced gradually by a common political framework and goals. The current collective European unity is based on core values such as democracy, human rights and economic prosperity. The recent financial crisis has led EU into a deep economic recession that gave birth to wide range of socioeconomic problems. The recession was viewed by some euro-sceptics as a good enough reason to dissolve the union or a good reason for nations to abandon the EU. At the time of writing no nation has left the European Union or seems likely to do so in the near future. During the attempts of economic recovery from the debt crisis, the political volition of the EU nationâ€™s leaders was at the least potent. The preferred economic solution was a heavy austerity programme for the indebted nations. If this was the correct economical remedy is beyond the scope of this paper. Countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland received conditional loans (as they could not loan in the open market at the time) from the IMF and the EU and in exchange passed austerity measure bills in their respective parliaments. The ferocity of political will, coordination and cooperation between national governments, the IMF but more importantly the EU was palpable. Many of these measures caused extensive anti-austerity movements and public protests in the region of the European South
(Greece, Portugal, and Spain) but the political course of action at the time was set. It seems that the political volition distribution between the three previously mentioned core values of the EU, namely democracy, human rights and economic prosperity leans to favour greatly the latter. The political integration- which has embedded in it certain constitutional liberties- component of the union seems to be subordinate to every respect of the economic part. The ferocity with which these economical remedies were introduced and maintained during the past few years is not present in issues regarding the human rights and democratic procedures violations that are increasing in the EU area. Violations of Human Rights in the EU The economic recession may have a correlation with the increased sentiment of most forms of extreme intolerance in Europe at the moment, but this is something to be examined latter in this paper. The European Union agency for fundamental rights published a report in May 2014 presenting that 47% of the LGBT respondents reported experiencing discrimination or harassment in the previous twelve months, while the same survey reports that 21% of the Jewish respondents had experienced anti-Semitic insults or harassments in previous twelve months (FRA, May 2014). Croatia is a member that was added in the European Union amidst the financial crisis (2013) while she was facing human rights concerns. According to world report for the European Union from the Human Rights Watch, stateless Roma experience difficulties in obtaining state services including education, social help and health care (HRW, World Report, EU 2014). According to the same report, an implementation of a 2011 deinstitutionalization plan for those with mental or intellectual disabilities progressed slowly, with two projects targeting around 400
individuals launched in May, while almost 9,000 remain institutionalized (HRW, World Report, EU 2014). The European Roma Rights Centre and the Human Rights League reported in January that the French authorities forcibly evicted more than 21.537 Romani migrants in 2013, more than double the total for 6456 (ERRC, 6458). While the Human Rights Watch reports that a 14 -year-old lost an eye by a flashball fired by the French police during riots that started after the police stopped a woman wearing a full-face veil (HRW, World Report EU 2014). The German Institute of Human Rights reported that the German police is using racial profiling, an issue picked up by Deutsce Welle in a recent article (Naomi Conrad, 2013). These events are indicative of the fact that even â€œkey playersâ€? in EU such as Germany and France are facing human rights issues that are most likely not directly correlated with the recent financial crisis. For Greece that faces the most extreme bail out conditions in the EU, human rights concerns are even bigger. Greece will serve as a good example for the argument brought forth in this article in due course. The sudden forced closure of the public television raised serious media freedom concerns last year and subsequently weakened the existing government at the time (one party out of three departed from the government coalition). Furthermore a NGO network recorded 104 attacks against migrants and asylum seekers by the end of August (HRW, World Report, EU 2014). In April three superintendents shot at 200 strawberry pickers demanding unpaid wages (Daniel Howden, 2014). While the United Nations Human Rights expressed concerns about the arbitrary detentions of migrants and asylum seekers as well as their detention conditions and their limited access to legal assistance (UN Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention, January 2013). While the Convention in the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, states that the financial crisis had detrimental effects for women in all spheres of life in Greece (CEDAW, March 2013). The overly broad detention practice is common also in Hungary for asylum seekers, according to UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that urge the government to take measures to prevent arbitrary detention (UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, 2013). In September a rather extreme bill was passed in the Hungarian parliament that criminalized homelessness with the legal consequences ranging from fines to prison time (Minley, 2013). The purpose of this section of the article is not to state one by one all the human rights violations that occur in the euro area. If the reader is interested there are numerous reports by human rights NGOâ€™s that do excellent and thorough research on the field. Reading through these reports one would understand that the above mentioned cases are some isolated examples in a long series of recent human rights violations from the EU nations. Rather the function of this section is to establish that a sentiment of intolerance in its extreme forms is increasing inside the European Union. Human rights are experiencing a steep negative trend in the EU area after the debt crisis. According to an article published in the Guardian human rights violations in EU countries doubled in a five year period between 2007 and 2012 (Bowcott, 2012). While the Council of Europe state in a report that the continent is currently facing the worst human rights crisis after the Cold War (Heibling, 2014). This increase is further depicted in the postcrisis legislation of various EU member states in my view. The bill that criminalizes homelessness in Hungary, the ban of the fullface veil in France and the failure of legislature 23
body of Greece to pass a bill that sanctions hate speech can function as good examples. Not surprisingly this negative trend has not escaped the attention of the various organisations in the field. It seems though that it takes at the most a back seat role in the political agenda of the EU member state leaders and officials. The recent rise of nationalist parties in the EU The recent proliferation of forms of intolerance in the EU area can be portrayed in the increase of political power of- extreme or not so extreme- nationalist parties. The views of these parties vary in respect to their extremity but they all have some element of intolerance present in their official political thesis. The most notorious example of this rise is Greece’s ultranationalist party Golden Dawn. In 1996, Golden Dawn received a total of 4,537 votes in Greek parliamentary elections, while in 2012, they received 440,000 in the country’s May elections (Wight, 2014). While in Hungary, the ultra-nationalist party Jobbik faction increased its percentage from 16.67% in 2010 to 21% in the recent elections in July (Sokol, 2014). According to the same source the results indicated that the Jobbik faction cemented its place as Hungary’s third largest party during parliamentary elections in July, worrying the country’s local Jewish community (Sokol, 2014). The recent EU elections are depicting this recent growth of nationalist movements and parties across the EU political landscape. The Front National in France, the UKIP in Britain and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark recorded significant electoral success (Wight, 2014). This swell of nationalist sentiment may be argued that is correlated with a perceived failure of the political mainstream in the EU to rectify the adverse conditions that resulted from the financial crisis.
I am not arguing that nationalism, in the sense of patriotism, is something bad in itself. Nor my argument is that aggressive ultranationalist parties’ action should be equated with other significantly less extreme nationalist movements. Rather my argument is that to a certain degree, an overlapping consensus on some forms of intolerance between the aforesaid movements exists. This consensus is portrayed in the theses of populist nationalistic and ultra-nationalistic rhetoric. These theses vary from discrete xenophobia to blatant racism, both sides of the spectrum classified as forms of intolerance. The appeal of these forms of intolerance to the European electoral body can lead to a deterioration of human rights condition- especially the rights of immigrantsin the EU area. While in the case of extreme aggressive nationalist chauvinism can lead to a deterioration of the democratic system as a whole. This augmentation of forms of intolerance depicted across the EU area is incompatible with the initial political aim of unity. In any case it is opposite to any effort for integration and stability in the EU and compromises in some cases core values of the union such as human rights and democratic values. The growth of intolerant sentiment depicted in the aforementioned surge has failed to attract significant political volition and competence from EU member state leaders and officials in order to establish a less fertile political landscape for populist (ultra) nationalistic rhetoric. Erosion of Democracy in the EU The phenomenon of decrease in democratic values has been characterized by Paul Krugman as “a siege in democracy” (Wheeler,2012). The loss of democratic freedoms after the financial crisis is evident in the democracy index published by the intelligent unit of the Economist. Many EU 24
member states have been demoted from full democracies to flawed democracies in the same five year period (2007-2012) mentioned in the violations of human rights section (Economist, 2012). The list of flawed democratic states in the EU is not restricted- after the demotion- only in countries that were directly affected by the austerity measures such as Greece, Portugal and Italy but is expanded to include even France (Economist, 2012). According to the same source the decline of democratic scores of EU member states was caused by the thinning of sovereignty and democratic accountability linked with the effects of and remedies to the euro zone crisis (Economist, 2012). More precisely two EU member states (Italy and Greece) replaced their democratically elected leaders with technocrats in order to efficiently implement their Economic Adjustment Programmes (Economist, 2012). Additionally, a wide spread deterioration in media freedom in EU members was recorded in the period between 2006 and 2012 (Economist, 2012). This decline is present in all countries that were directly affected by the crisis but is not limited to them. It is important to note that even Germany and France experienced a significant decline in their media freedom score. Public polls indicate that confidence in public institutions has declined across Europe after the financial crisis, with the levels of public trust being exceptionally low in the eastern area of the continent (Economist, 2012). The human rights condition corrosion in the post-crisis era has produced a decline in minority protection rights, which I believe, is supported by the statistics in the human rights violation section of the paper. Systematic research conducted on the field supports that there is an erosion of democracy in the EU especially after the financial crisis. EU member states and officials have not yet addressed this
important issue efficiently, while one may argue that they currently neglect incorporating appropriate remedies in their political schemes. Policy implication and distribution of political volition It can be claimed that the bailout conditions of EU member nations of the European South have detrimental effects on the human rights and democratic spheres of those nations. Greece is a prime example for this argument. After the bailout programme was implemented human rights violations rapidly increased. The first and second Economic Adjustment Programmes of 2010 and 2012, respectively, have provided bailout funds from the Euro area and International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a framework of strict conditionality. The austerity measures imposed have resulted in a protracted economic recession, a sharp rise in economic inequality, alongside the compromising of certain liberties and constitutional rights. The crisis has, in turn, served as a catalyst for a dramatic change in the political landscape of Greece, including the insipient growth of the extreme forms of intolerance portrayed in the rights violations mentioned above. This argument, even though it seems sound, is superfluous for the case I am trying to make. Let us assume for arguments sake that it did not have a direct effect on human rights conditions in the euro area. The human right violations, stated above, supported by various reports and fines are in fact increasing. The current increase in the forms of intolerance in the EU zone seems to be evident and raises concern in all relevant organizations. The erosion of democracy in the EU is supported by relevant research. This aspect of the EU crisis seems to be neglected, in the collective attempts for stability in the union. The triptych of core values of the EU 窶電emocracy, economic 25
prosperity, human rights- translates into a possible economic recovery that ignores all social problems produced by the crisis. The unity and intensity displayed for the implementation of those policies are exclusive to economic benefit. One may argue that the triptych is arbitrary and the selection of values is incorrect. Many other values could be added I agree, but I do not think that we can exclude democracy and human rights. The west, including the EU, is self-proclaimed advocates of democracy and human rights to the extent of reaching armed conflict in order to establish these conditions to foreign nations. Given that these values are so important for the EU, the lack of strong initiative by the EU is lacking an excuse at the moment. While one could argue that the current course of action of the EU is favouring economic recovery in the expense of human rights and some democratic values. A common counterargument for this is that it compromises a memberâ€™s nation sovereignty. The EU cannot force rules on national level regarding these issues. In the case of economic recovery and in the interest of economic integration EU certainly displayed a force of will. If it did not force the strict conditions for the loans, EU along with the IMF pressured enough in order to succeed, the implementation and maintenance of the austerity measures. This in turn produced a wide range of social issues that seem to undermine the importance of democratic procedure and established rights. If the EU had as a sole objective the economic stability and growth of its member states the argument would be invalid. As I mentioned earlier in this paper though the EU prides itself for the core values of the union even goes to the extent of supporting armed conflict to establish them in certain nations. This begs the question why the EU political
volition is distributed so unevenly in favour of economic stability? One may extent this question by asking is an economical doctrine so important to be followed even if it has so adverse consequences on core values of the EU such as democratic procedures and human rights? I am not necessarily suggesting that the EU/IMF bailout programmes are not compatible with a wider gamut of social policies that could benefit the areas of interest. Human right and democratic liberties violations are ignored though in all the agreements, bills and reforms that was introduced in order for countries and the EU to recover economically. An interesting suggestion would be to have a trade-off between economic measures and social ones. In this case, if such policy is accomplishable, the human rights and democratic procedure violation will stop spiralling out of control in the EU while possible economic recovery could be achieved at the same time. Surely the conditions prevailing at the time of writing do not suggest that this would be a potential future move. In the case that the economic doctrine prevailing in the EU at the moment is not compatible with reforms that counterbalance the adverse effects on social aspects, then the EU should contemplate how important those core values are. In my view their importance call for the intense political volition, coordination and cooperation exhibited by all concerning parties in the economic policy implementation. Even if adapting to the current condition requires deviations from an economic paradigm, in order to bring the EU nations back to equilibrium. A possible objection to this line of thought is that these types of socioeconomic issues were historically present in all regions adversely affected by economic crises 26
irrespective of economic remedies. I admit that there is a difficulty in establishing a robust causal relationship between the economic remedies and the decline in human rights and democratic values. The culpability of EU officials does not lie in the initial decision of implementing these economic remedies. Rather it lies, in my opinion, in the absence of political initiative to collectively rectify the evident deterioration of human rights and democratic values. The fact that we can spot similar tensions in seemingly alike historical situations, does not justify political inertia in these core areas. In other words, we cannot excuse the lack of political initiative due to alleged inevitability of economic crisis consequences. Conclusions The recent financial crisis has sent EU into a helix of economic recession that gave birth to wide range of socioeconomic problems. The political will, coordination and cooperation of all concerning parties (EU-IMF-member states) concerning the economic recovery was unprecedented. Partially as a result of the financial crisis a sentiment of intolerance in its extreme forms is increasing inside the European Union, with many documented incidents supporting this. In these cases political volition to rectify these inflicted core values of the EU is significantly less, at the least, than the intensity of the economic policy implementation. The critique in this article is meant to be constructive, concerning the next collective steps of the EU. Given that human rights and democratic procedures are core values of the EU, a recovery of the European Union would be incomplete if the severe problems of these areas where not resolved. These values are interrelated but there is not a hierarchical system, that I am aware of, that constitutes one more important than the other. The call for significant EU political will and cooperation in
these areas is urgent. An EU that would have regained the economic stability of the past but have lost along the way these liberties would be short by far from the vision of European unity and integration.
“GLOCALISATION” AND ITS IMPORTANCE IN HUMAN RIGHTS IMPLEMENTATION JASMINE ELLIOTT is a postgraduate student completing the MA in Global Ethics and Human Values
have not necessarily trickled down to change the daily lives of most people. As Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said when considering “the results of fifty years of human rights mechanisms, thirty years of multi-billion-dollar development programmes and endless high-level rhetoric,” the global impact of human rights initiatives has been a “failure of implementation on a scale which shames us all” (25). The use of the word “implementation” is key here; it gives weight to the idea that we should question the approach human rights organisations and governments in general have when trying to promote change in the lives of their target community. Looking towards which level of government generally has the most direct access to people’s lives, human rights organisations have increasingly begun to focus how to best incorporate and implement human rights at the local level. Amnesty International Netherland’s recent report, The Future of Human Rights in an Urban World: Exploring Opportunities, Threats and Challenges, is one of the most recent pieces of research that emphasise cities’ potential to be innovators in the promotion of human rights globally or further the chasm between human rights ideals and implementation based on how they create local policy. Seeing cities as direct access points to some of the most basic human rights is important to understand how to most effectively implement international human rights and social justice goals locally. Ultimately, more research and support should be given to cities and their role as social catalysts of change to further advance human rights worldwide. Cities as Access Points to Human Rights Issues With the increasing trend of urbanisation in major cities across the world, the idea of glocalisation permeates the development and marketing strategies of international business
Why did we as students from all over the world decide to study and live in London? As an international student, some reasons that come to my mind are the vast amount of educational resources at our fingertips, the exciting diversity at every corner and the unparalleled amount of opportunities that are concentrated in one of the strongest economic and political forces in the United Kingdom and the world at large. We can translate these sentiments to other global cities to explain in small part why two thirds of the European population have lived in urban spaces since 2011 (“Cities of Tomorrow,” III). People popularly dream of cities as beacons of inspiration and innovation in an increasing international world. Yet, cities also drastically highlight the societal issues that we currently face. Studying the microcosm of a city gives attention to issues like rising economic and social inequality due in part to a lack of access to basic living needs like affordable housing, employment, and security. Furthermore, city governments generally have one of the most direct hands in the provision of social goods to the local community and could be the most reactive source in fighting inequality but have been ill equipped in handling this strain of local resources. This stark reality jarringly juxtaposes with the romantic picture of cities mentioned above, yet they represent both the opportunities and the obstacles that cities have to face. While the promotion of human rights for the most part has been handled at the supranational level, a strong critique of this approach is that these international initiatives 28
and relations. Based on the Oxford English Dictionary definition, glocalisation refers to the connection between globalisation and localisation with consideration as to how to make global trends or markets work within the context of regional or local culture. While people are more familiar with the term glocalisation in a business context (i.e. how international businesses like McDonalds adapt their products to the tastes of local preferences), nongovernmental organisations have begun to adopt this idea to relate to global initiatives like human rights. “In order to be effective and meaningful [in] a world in which by 2050 two thirds of the world’s population lives in cities,” human rights organisations must “anticipate” the best strategies to further promote and protect human rights in people’s daily lives (van Lindert and Lettinga, 7). By incorporating a glocal perspective into international human rights initiatives that aim to change public policy, human rights advocates can adapt to the increasingly urbanised, global society and more effectively implement human rights policies that fit within the local context. Furthermore, local governments can and should take a more active role in promoting human rights within their cities in order to compete as an international power. Edward Glaeser, a prominent professor of urban economics, stresses the importance of fostering cities as economic powers in his book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier. He argues that due to “the global decline in transport costs” and the ability for business to move to places to that will appeal to a productive workforce, “attractive cities like London also entice enterprises and entrepreneurs by their quality of life.” (118). While this argument is in part meant to prove that the community and social allure of cities
will still be relevant as companies move towards telecommunications, Glaeser’s point still relates the economic prosperity of the city to its ability to provide its citizens the grounds for a good life, both in the provision of basic goods and services and in recognition and tolerance of various cultures and lifestyles. Making a strong commitment to using human rights as a standard for local policy, while valuable in its own right, would also show a commitment to values that would entice people to live and work there. A city could also benefit from an international perspective through a potentially enhanced status or collaboration with other cities around the world. In a report by Columbia Law School, it is argued that local governments “could reap the diplomatic and economic benefits” of globalisation “by grounding policy in human rights terms” (Kamuf Ward, 5). The exchange among a global community of cities dedicated to human rights could foster innovative ideas about how to handle global problems that could garner influence at the national and international levels. This interplay between the local and the global is a connection that can be reinforced by human rights implementation, and it would be in a city’s best interest to engage with these global issues in order to show itself as a true international force. Local governments should also be a key focus in the implementation of international human rights issues because they are the most direct access point to changing policies that will affect the daily lives of their constituents. As shown in a number of articles within the Amnesty International Netherlands report, issues like housing, public employment, policing, and providing basic social needs generally fall under the local domain of resource allocation. Van Lindert and Lettinga summarise common trends within these sectors in major cities that have seen a sharp rise in inequality by 29
concluding that urbanisation “accompanied with… non-existent or ineffective distributive policies… has been associated with poverty and an increasing gap…not only in terms of income but also in social, cultural, spatial, and political forms” (9). Social scientists and public policy practitioners alike have commented on the stark inequality that can be seen in the small space of a city, and local governments in major cities, like New York, have publically committed to work towards lessening this divide. Gardner, in her post “Cities Are Taking the Lead on Inequality,” warns that the concerns over inequality that have become overwhelming in major cities in the United States “translate easily to a European context” with over 70% of Europeans living in urban areas today. She goes on to argue that a solution should not “stymie urban regeneration policies and investment…Rather urban leaders must recognize that the benefits of development are not evenly felt.” (Gardner, Cities Are Taking the Lead on Inequality,”). It is important to note that innovative local policies that will help the lowest in society attain a reasonable standard of life should go hand in hand with economic growth and urban investment; they do not necessarily have to compete with each other. To further bring this warning home, Diane Abbott MP argues for a stronger presence in policymaking from the Mayor and the greater city of London in issues related to immigration, housing, health and equal educational and economic opportunity (Abbott). She aptly titles her lecture “A Tale of Two Cities,” which harks back to the first line of Dickens’ novel and more recently to the mayor of New York’s 2013 speech for his mayoral campaign kick off. This phrase is recurring in a number of popular pieces that focus on urban inequality as it instantly summarises the socially segregated life that two people can have in the same city. This phrase evokes the idea that cities are at a
turning point. They can either continue on the path of rising inequality and potentially festering instability, or incorporate economic and social inclusion in public policy to promote growth and opportunity. If cities implemented policies with a human rights perspective towards economic and social standards, they could potentially reverse the trend of inequality and be places for innovation and collaboration that would directly affect the lives of its community. Cities as Innovators of Human Rights Implementation The concept of incorporating human rights at the local level and promoting the role of cities in human rights implementation started to gain traction in the late 1990s with the idea of the “Human Rights City.” Van der Berg, in her contribution to the Amnesty International Netherlands report, outlines the growth of this city status and methodology from the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE), an international non-profit organisation that aims to promote the education and incorporation of human rights in people’s daily lives. The goal for their initiative for the methodology of a “human rights city” was to create a “local learning community, including citizens, local civil society, local governments and professionals…with human rights as guiding principles” (van der Berg, 13). The standard of PDHRE’s approach to its methodology that van der Berg highlights is a focus on education, a steering group of community stake holders to foster collaboration, action plans for human rights initiatives, and evaluation of progress with regards to these initiatives (13). PDHRE’s approach to local human rights initiatives is a progressive standard in the way that it focuses on cooperation among a number of different sectors of society and requires that cities actively engage with the issue of how to 30
implement human rights in their community through reflective action plans instead of solely paying lip service to the concept. The first established “human rights city” was Rosario, Argentina, but there are now seventeen cities across the world that have adapted PDHRE methodology to human rights implementation in countries like India, Kenya, Canada, Taiwan, Bosnia and Brazil (“Human Rights Cities”). The concept of a “human rights city” as presented by PDHRE is an engaging way for cities to show a commitment to human rights at the local level, and its international methodology interestingly brings in the idea of glocalisation in its ability to adapt to a broad sweep of local cultures spanning the globe. While PDHRE gives a comprehensive approach to how cities can involve themselves in human rights implementation, cities can also more informally declare their commitment to various human rights initiatives and use international human rights standards to approach public policy. Cities like Barcelona, San Francisco and York have taken it upon themselves to publically commit to various international protocols involving discrimination, the environment and human rights which their respective nations might not have ratified or implemented. While these proclamations are technically not legally binding, these public messages for local governments push their own agenda and “offer an opportunity to articulate the valuable role of state and local government in this work and to emphasize local priorities” (Kamuf Ward, 7). The commitment to various international standards at the local level is a stand for local governments to be able to go a step further than their countries might be willing to and also potentially influence a national push to ratify and abide by these declarations as well. There are also a number of examples of cities actively 31
incorporating a human rights perspective into their policymaking regardless of the national rhetoric surrounding that issue. For example, immigration and migrants’ rights are commonly and endlessly debated at the national level, but major cities like New York and London have started to take action to incorporate migrants into the civic community. Parag Khanna, an academic expert on global system change with a particular interest in cities, cites how cities are “already experimenting not only with urban visa but also with granting undocumented migrants some civil rights, such as the right to participate in urban referenda, ” and through these “open immigration policies and their lobbying capacity,” cities could potentially have an effect on the national debate surrounding issues like immigration (van Lindert, 25-26). Benjamin Barber, a political theorist known for writing If Mayors Ruled the World and advocating for a Global Parliament of Mayors, also takes migrants rights as an example of how cities can be more effective than national governments at policymaking for multinational or international issues. With regards to migrants’ rights, he argues that “unlike the state (which both condemns and ignores [undocumented migrants]), [the city] chooses to treat them as human beings with human rights deserving of recognition; and as a practical reality… which must be recognized and addressed” (Barber, 19). Both Barber and Khanna argue via examples related to immigration, the environment and social inequality for the effectiveness that a city has to react to a global issue to which a national government has become unresponsive. This idea is not meant to completely undermine power at the national level; it provides an opportunity for the city and the nation to work more adeptly as partners to tackle major human rights issues that currently seem to be at a
standstill of implementation. Cities proactively taking a more engaged role in an acknowledgement and incorporation of human rights in policymaking could be a more efficient way in dealing with issues that impact the daily lives of people in various communities as well as a way to provoke change or productive attention to certain human rights issues at the national level. Advancing “Glocality” in Human Rights Implementation To create an environment where cities feel empowered and have the opportunity to help take the lead on human rights initiatives internationally, there are three areas of focus that advocates of this perspective should advance- education at the local level of way that they can engage with human rights in policymaking, strong collaboration among the local government and communities of constituents, and federal support for these local initiatives. These three areas, as further outlined in Columbia Law School’s report, Bringing Rights Home, work in a glocal way by encouraging the local to think globally and the global to think locally. Taking the first focus, advocates of local human rights implementation should raise awareness at the international level regarding how cities can integrate human rights into local policy. Whether it be through working to adapt methodologies like PDHRE’s approach into policymaking, proclaiming a commitment to international standards, participating in international communities of cities that want to collaborate on solutions for human rights issues, or “engaging the periodic human rights treaty reporting process to assess their own compliance with human rights principles,” there are a number of ways that local governments can use policymaking to promote human rights (Kamuf Ward, 7). Human rights advocates can disseminate these examples and work to further
connect international standards to the local community in their advocacy. More academic research from a human rights perspective also needs to be accumulated on the successes and lessons learned from international organisations that have taken advocacy to a local context and from cities that are working on solutions to combat inequality and other human rights related issues. For example, the United Nations Human Rights Council has started to seriously consider local governments and their role in human rights and, in 2013, commissioned a report to gather evidence of best practices and obstacles that cities face in human rights implementation. The report is in the process of surveying a wide variety of stake holders related to this issue via questionnaires that can be found on their website (“Local Government”). In order to be effective human rights advocates, local governments or advocates working in a local context need to create strong partnerships between them and the communities within a city. This critical relationship between key stakeholders in the community needs to be activated to gain the most comprehensive picture of how various policies can help or hurt certain communities within the local constituency. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation supports this idea within the context of local authorities reaching out to groups from different ethnicities to help reduce poverty in their community through their recent report, Why Ethnicity Matters for Local Authority Action on Poverty. They emphasize that “by understanding what community, voluntary and faith groups are doing to tackle poverty, local authorities can build on their efforts, energy and ideas,” and that local officials can “share reliable advice and information about services and jobs” through these community groups (Nicholl and Naidoo, 11-12). This 32
argument highlights that including stakeholders from the community can be a means of disseminating information and sharing progress among various initiatives as well as a way of developing critical debate and discussion around policies. The evidence found in this report should be broadened outside the realm of ethnicity when considering human rights implementation, and local governments or advocacy should create committees that are as diverse and representative as possible in order to truly understand the local context of an issue and provide a effective solution. Finally, to create an environment for cities to engage in global human rights issues, they need to have the resources to do so. While cites may be large, they are normally lacking in resources and manpower to maintain basic services within their own borders. The federal government as the level of government that is “ultimately responsible for ensuring [human rights] compliance on an international level… has a key role to play in coordinating and facilitating… local efforts.” (Kamuf Ward, 25). The national government should more proactively recognize the role that cities could play in fostering human rights and social justice within the state and therefore help to fund locally driven initiatives. The state should also be considered a potential stakeholder at the local level as well when considering what kind of initiative to pursue. Glaeser also points out that “a far better and more practical approach would be for higher levels of government to distribute funds in a way that offsets the added costs of poverty” (259). He argues that leaving cities to fund human rights and poverty alleviation initiatives has historically led to a flight from the city, reducing the ability for the city to raise enough resources to combat these issues. Cities should not be left on their own to combat global trends, and a stronger partnership between the
local and the national in terms of resources could help to relieve this restraint. * * * * * Through the examples of cities as direct access points to effective human rights implementation and as innovators in human rights adaptation, the concept of glocalisation can be translated to a human rights perspective and used to sway the way international organisations and local governments see cities’ role in international human rights promotion. By taking steps to foster a space where cities feel empowered to take on global human rights issues, cities can directly have an impact on society within their boundaries and promote their diplomatic status (as well as the nation’s diplomatic status) on the international level. While this paper focuses on how local governments can relate to supranational human rights standards through public policy, more research could be done incorporating this concept of glocalisation and human rights with relation to the local influence of business and corporations. Another interesting perspective that could further be delved into would be a glocal approach to the advances in technology and telecommunications that have increasingly pushed local human rights issues into the global sphere. This paper aims to be an introduction or summarisation of how various groups advocate for glocal human rights in the public sphere with the goal of being a springboard for others to apply these concepts to other sectors of society to promote human rights internationally. Parag Khanna succinctly illustrates the role of cities by calling them “the world’s experimental laboratories and thus a metaphor for an uncertain age…From climate change to poverty and inequality, cities are the problemand the solution.” (van Lindert, 28). This quote once again epitomises the dual face of the city as either a beacon of prosperity and toleration or the incubator for inequality and instability. With
the recent rise in global urbanism, major cities around the world are realising that the we could be at a historical fork in road between what face we want to see in our cities, what we want to allow our cities to become. To end on a more positive note, Glaeser commits to the fortitude and adaptability of a city by saying that â€œto face these challenges, humanity needs all the strength it can muster, and that strength resides in the connecting corridors of dense urban areas.â€? (249). By furthering the approach that cities can actively and effectively commit to and implement human rights at the local level, we are taking a stand to promote the inspirational tale of the city as a place of collaboration, protection, and growth- the tale that inspires many of us to come to international cities like London in the first place.
SHOULD WE RESPECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF TERRORISTS? MERLIN STEWART is studying for a MA in Intelligence and International Security in the KCL War Studies department, with a focus on intelligence collection ethics and open source intelligence
not to be tortured as it ought to particularly value human dignity and autonomy. We must reluctantly accept that there is high price to be paid for striving to be a decent society. Interrogational torture is torture conducted with the aim of coercing the subject to divulge information they are otherwise unwilling to give up. Reaching an acceptable definition of what torture itself is proves more problematic. A lack of standardisation of practice, limits or oversight makes establishing a widely acceptable practical definition of torture impossible. The problem is that torture “cannot be administered professionally, scientifically, or precisely” (Rejali, 2007, p. 576). Science has yet to find a way of accurately gauging levels of pain outside of an MRI machine and unsurprisingly, detainees being tortured are unlikely to cooperate with requests to lie still. If gauging physical pain is subjective, that is nothing compared to trying to gauge the emotional suffering the interrogator is inflicting. Many academic accounts of torture discuss the lifelong psychological scars it can leave (Cobain, 2012; Primoratz, 2011). Most thought experiments on the temporary use of graduated increases of pain till a confession is achieved1 tend not to consider these long-term effects when calculating that it is better to suffer for a short time than to die. I would offer this fact as a challenge to the arguments of those like Alan Dershowitz’s which propose that torture is an inevitability, so states might as well bring it within the law and use warrants to control it (2002). Only on wholly consequentialist grounds, where the level of pain inflicted is irrelevant if pursuit of a good outcome, could you justify legalising torture. The legalisation of inflicting certain degrees of pain is too technically problematic as it is impossible to judge those levels; with the interrogator’s zeal likely erring on the side of inflicting more pain in the hopes of a confession.2 “To think that professionalism is a guard against causing
There is a classic thought experiment used in interrogational torture ethics known at the ticking bomb scenario. It imagines a terrorist in the hands of the authorities, who is known to have planted a bomb that is about to go off, that will kill hundreds of innocent civilians. The authorities believe that torture is the only way to make the terrorist reveal the bomb's whereabouts in time. Should they torture the terrorist? Such a scenario is not entirely confined to the realm of thought experiments. The 2002 case of Magnus Gafgen (Bernstein, 2003) who was threatened with torture by German police in order to reveal the whereabouts of the child he had kidnapped and hidden demonstrates that the conclusion we reach here can have realworld consequences. More generally, in this age of extraordinary renditions as a tool in the War on Terror, one could argue it has never been more important for members of a society to reach a consensus on what degree of personal risk they are willing to accept in order to safeguard their society’s founding principles. It is against the ticking bomb scenario that this article will consider whether it would be right to torture such a terrorist. In order to do this, this article first attempts to establish the definition and effectiveness of torture. It then explores the phenomenon of there being no universally agreed upon foundations on which societies build their understanding of human rights on. It discovers that not all of our supposed human rights are equally inviolable - one's actions affect which rights one is entitled to. As a result, one could argue under certain (consequentialist) conceptions of human rights, that the terrorist should be tortured to save his innocent victims. However, by following in Avishai Margalit's footsteps one finds that we need not turn to a deontological conception of human rights to find that torture is never permissible. Society must 'ring-fence' the right
See Kamm (2011, pp.7-9) for a thought experiment on the use of specifically gradated pain as being a distinguishing feature of torture. 2 The British intelligence agencies’ interrogation policy suggests officers “balance ‘the level of mistreatment anticipated’ against ‘the operational imperative’ of seeking information from prisoners held in foreign torture chambers” (Cobain, 2012, p.306). The ethical problem here is that the policy is an attempt to standardise a practice by relying entirely on subjective judgement. 1
excessive pain is an illusion... torture breaks down professionalism” (Rejali, 2007, p.454). Torturing breaks down the torturer’s ability to see people as moral beings, as can be found in the account of a confessed South African apartheid-era torturer: "I can't say I am sorry because then I am lying. At that stage... [the detainee] was an object and we had to extract information out of him and we would do it to the best of our ability” (Townsend, 2005). I am for once, entirely in agreement with Michael Ignatieff that though there is certainly a difference between physical interrogation and torture, the distinction between the two breaks down very quickly in practice.
interrogational torture for policy makers mindful of re-election is over the line where ‘justifiable’ interrogational methods end and torture begins. The line between these two is obscure at best and rests on an infinitely slippery slope of technical definitions. Both Britain and the United States, as indeed many other countries have, signed the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 5 quite clearly and empathically states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. The Declaration is but one example of the many such treaties banning torture these states have signed up to. Samantha Power argues the reason for doing so is that “Every regime on earth recognizes at least the need to be seen to respect human rights” (Power, 2006, p.xiiv). Consequently, the Declaration has become “the holy writ to which all pay homage, even if sometimes the homage of hypocrisy” (Henkin, in Power, 2006, p.11). While it seems clear that in reality we cannot rely on the assumption that interrogational torture is usually successful, for the purposes of our thought experiment we must presume it could be. Human Rights are commonly held to exist and yet there are no universally held proofs for their existence. To understand why it is immoral to violate human rights we must first understand why we are said to have them at all. As a concept, human rights have existed since antiquity when the stoics proposed that nobody was naturally a slave, it was an imposed condition. Lists of our human rights are not always identical but there are some rights more commonly cited than others. These include a right to life, to liberty, to the preservation of one’s dignity, to justice, to the respect for one’s autonomy and to not be harmed in body or mind. To this list, deontologists would add Kant’s Second Formulation that no one should be treated as a means to another’s end. According to Lynn Hunt (2007, pp.81-82) the establishment of human rights as we know them today occurred largely in the 18th century when the cultural and philosophical developments of the Enlightenment saw their rapid promulgation, or the very least, widespread recognition. The French Enlightenment writer Denis Diderot wrote that the recognition of the human rights of another was based on an “interior feeling... common both to the
“I accept that a slap is not the same thing as a beating, but... I cannot see how to prevent the occasional slap deteriorating into a regular practice of beating.... I cannot see any clear way to manage coercive interrogation institutionally so that it does not degenerate into torture” (Ignatieff, 2005, p.22). Another important point to keep in mind during an interrogational torture debate is the highly contested presumption that torture yields reliable intelligence. Whilst being tortured, detainees are not necessarily likely to tell the truth to make the torture end; they are likely to say whatever they think the torturer wants to hear to make the torture end. Famously, torture opponents argue that tortured detainees will say the sky is green and the grass blue if that is what they think the torturer wants to hear confirmed. Former U.S. Army officer Phillip Carter suggests that there are far more cases of torture failing in this respect than succeeding: “a vast body of literature on the subject indicates that, on the contrary, coercive interrogations tend to elicit unreliable intelligence more than they do useful information” (2004). Stephen Budiansky corroborates with Carter’s account noting that many in the military “have pointed out that abusing prisoners is not simply illegal and immoral; it is also remarkably ineffective” (Budiansky, in Evans, 2007, pp.5758). Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent adds that it is often the case that detainees are presumed to know more than they do and so are tortured for information they simply cannot give. One of the most contentious points about 36
philosopher and to the man who has not reflected at all” (Hunt, 2007, p.26). Essential to this change was a shift in attitudes about one’s moral relationship to those of other social groups. People of other classes, races and religions were now understood as being as essentially human as oneself, moreover, as moral equals. Haig Khatchadourian, being a notable modern proponent of this position, claims “the only absolute human right not susceptible to being overridden is the right to be treated as a moral being...with respect... [and] not to be treated as a thing or an object” (in Banks, 2009, pp.273-274). Mutual respect for human rights forms the foundations and fabric of a society. Any act that violates human rights tears the fabric that holds together any “community through consent” (Hunt, 2007, p.31). If the states of the world today really do follow Philip Bobbitt’s market-state model in favouring opportunities for over the safety of their citizens (2008, pp.521-522), then the first duty of every state is to ensure human rights are upheld by all parties, for there can be no opportunities without their security. National security must not come at the cost of anyone’s basic human rights. A prevalent theme throughout Bobbitt’s works is a caution that the aim of the twenty-first century market-state must be to achieve the security of those rights by uniting the state’s laws with its war strategies (2008, p.529). States must fight to secure access to those opportunities not just fight for the security of its citizens. Frances Kamm argues that our most basic human rights exist independently of recognition by anyone or from the foundations of law. There are two ways to understand these rights:
previously held human rights is Kamm’s greatest contribution to this debate. There are two ways to see interrogational torture under Kamm’s model. (1) A terrorist act is immoral. Terrorists seriously violate the human rights of others in a way that is absolutely, even definitionally, unjustifiable. So much so that in addition to their losing the right to freedom and all the other rights a criminal would do, the terrorist loses the right not to be tortured. Any Human right, even the right not to be tortured may be forfeited by the degree of immorality of one’s actions. (2) A terrorist act is immoral. However, so is torture. Regardless of the terrorist’s actions, his right not to be tortured remains inviolable. This right therefore would appear to exist at a higher level of human rights than the right to freedom. The right not to be tortured would appear to be ‘ring -fenced’. It would seem certain human rights remain independently of the agent’s actions. According to (1) there are ‘mechanisms’ or formulas whereby your rights are forfeited according to your actions. I will now outline one such mechanism that is grounded in notions of fair play. All human beings are born with certain rights which are inviolable, at the very least, inviolable without just cause. A terrorist, even though he plans to harm innocent civilians, has the human right not to be tortured per se. That is to say it would be wrong to torture a detained terrorist for medical experiments that might save other, innocent civilians. However, we may be able to torture him for information which will save the lives of those he intends to harm. Consider the following case: Terrorist T plans on violating innocent civilian C’s human right not to be killed. C cannot defend himself, he is by definition a non-combatant. The state’s role is to defend non-combatants. C is a member of the state. Ordinarily it would be wrong for the state to violate T’s right not to be tortured. However, it could be argued that T no longer has that right with respect to C. A sense of fair play suggests that if T plans to violate C’s human right to life, C should be able to violate one of T’s rights. T chose which right of C’s to violate – C’s right as an innocent civilian not to be harmed. Why should T get to choose which rights of his can or cannot be violated when he did not afford C that privilege? Ignoring arguments about proportionality and degrees of evil that might prejudice judgement, it seems there is a fair play
“(1) All that is needed in order to come to have certain rights is that one be a human or (6) all this is needed in order to come to have and continue certain rights is that one be a human person. While there may be some rights that satisfy (6), most rights that are now considered human rights do not satisfy it. They only satisfy (1). For example, the right to free movement, the right not to be killed, and the right to free speech may all be forfeited in virtue of one’s conduct” (2006, p.238). The emphasis of the fact that one’s actions may, by their nature, necessarily forfeit one’s 37
But it imposes an obligation on government to justify such measures publicly, to submit them to judicial review, and to circumscribe them with sunset clauses so that they do not become permanent” (Ignatieff, 2004, pp.vii-viii).
justification for using interrogational torture if it will protect C. The state must act on behalf of citizen C. The state itself is not violating T’s right not to be tortured so much as it is acting on behalf of C’s interests. T has no right not to be tortured with respect to C. Torture here is permissible. Historically, there have been many other types of mechanisms put forwards to explain how one loses certain rights. These include loss by social consensus, by convention, by the logic of a particular ethical framework or divine law. All these mechanisms will work in accordingly different ways and it is impossible to argue one that any one is definitively correct as they are all ultimately subjective value systems. If one argues for positions (2), interrogational torture is always ethically unjustifiable as it violates certain ring-fenced rights. I am inclined towards position (2) in this instance. I believe we ought to ring-fence the right not to be tortured as we ought to particularly value human dignity and autonomy. They are the foundational qualities of a just society (Margalit, 1996, pp.281-286). States ought to incarcerate detainees in such a way that their liberty is removed but not their dignity. There is a difference between putting someone in a jail and putting them in the stocks for public humiliation. As Avishai Margalit notes, a society is only “decent” (1996, p.1) if its institutions do not humiliate. As free moral agents our moral standing depends on the conscious decisions we make. Torture breaks down the detainee’s will, violating his autonomy by causing pain so severe that his rational thought is overridden by his powerful survival instincts and so he divulges information he would otherwise choose not to. To erode the value of autonomy is to erode the value of ownership of actions, be they good or evil. The right to our own minds is absolutely essential to any non-hypocritical standard of human rights. While it is never deontologically permissible to use torture to interrogate the terrorist, we must consider the consequentialist argument that it could be justified as the lesser of two evils. Ignatieff is notable champion of a restrained lesser evil model:
Ignatieff’s emphasis one judicial accountability is noteworthy here. If a state feels it has genuine cause to do something that would be ordinarily unjustifiable, it must explain to its citizens why a particular case was extraordinary. Even if, on the grounds of security, the judicial review is carried out in closed or limited courts that is still better than the alternative – torturers operating on the assumption they will only have to justify themselves to equally secretive superiors and only then if they fail to extract intelligence from a detainee. In an age of the Snowden revelations, attempts to hide such practices are doomed to fail; and such attempts once public will instantly dash a state’s slowly and arduously built reputation as a human rights champion. I accept that there could be some good outcomes from interrogational torture. Furthermore, that the bad consequences of interrogational torture do not directly negate these good outcomes. However the lesser evil justification depends on an overall good outcomes and I do not believe interrogational torture brings them about. Yotman Feldman (2013) suggests we turn to Eyal Weizman for a noteworthy attack on lesser evil justifications. Weizman argues that the institutionalisation of a practice is often irreversible. It is a tragic irony that what is considered permissible in extreme cases may become common practice. “In a gradual process of legitimation, the benchmark of legitimacy shifts – what was considered immoral and excessive before is now normalised” (Yotman, 2013, p.51). The acceptation of exceptional cases as a justification for interrogational torture could lead to a retreat of our standards of morality. For those who would argue that terrorists forfeit fair treatment through the immorality of their actions, one should reply “It is the very nature of a democracy that it not only does, but should, fight with one hand tied behind its back” (Ignatieff, 2004, p.24). In short, “A society that ignores due process in responding to a terrorist attack “ends up being a rogue society bent on meting out what it thinks is justice when in fact it is simply
“the use of coercive force in a liberal democracy... is regarded as a lesser evil. This particular view of democracy does not prohibit emergency suspensions of rights in times of terror. 38
reacting out of self-interested egoistic, selfserving emotionâ€?â€? (David Corlett in Banks, 2009, p.274). What I have argued against here is the legitimisation of the use of torture as a tactic against terrorists. Against this, all the threshold deontologist need do in riposte is to simply increase the number of hypothetical victims until this probation against torture seems irresponsible. The best response I can offer for is that ticking bomb scenario itself if flawed. There can never be a scenario where torture is most effective response. There is compelling evidence that torture is not only ineffective but actually counterproductive for two reasons in particular. Firstly, it is clear that torture, especially when conducted in a routinized way, often yields unreliable information. Secondly, in the long term, state-sponsored torture will do more damage to the society than that the bomb itself.
THE POLITICIZATION OF BOKO HARAM FEMI OWOLADE is a Medical Ethics and Law Master's Student and also an Associate of King's College (AKC) Student.
Weinburg and Ami Pedauhzar concluded that ‘the notion of a common tie between terrorist groups and political parties transcends a mere ’‘historical or political curiosity’’. A methodological study carried out by the authors revealed a three explicit types of association between political parties and terrorist groups namely by similarity of ideology, defection of political faction or political parties directly endorsing terrorist groups. The authors further embarked on a comprehensive research into ideologies and types of relationship between terrorist groups and political parties. Their findings revealed that the left-wing political parties, or factions within them give rise to terrorist groups far more commonly than do other kinds of parties. Early Islamism in Nigeria and the legacy of the Sokoto Caliphate Islamism or Political Islam is a movement within Islam that adheres to the belief that ‘Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life’ Even though the spread of Islam in the geographical space now regarded as Nigeria date back to the 11th century, the rise of political Islam came about much later between 1600s-1800s. Early Islam in Nigeria was spread by both peaceful religious and cultural means and by the Islamic culture’s appeal to traditional Africans. However, the early 1800s- which marked a new era of Islam in Nigeria- saw the creation and expansion of the Sokoto Caliphate and the beginning of a violent spread of Islam by Jihad (holy war). The Sokoto Caliphate grew out of the Jihad of Usman Dan Fodio and was the political expression of the desire to establish a proper Islamic society in the region of Northern Nigeria. The year 1903 marked the end of the Caliphate when the Sultan of Sokoto was overthrown by British Colonial authorities. That being said, it has been argued that the advent of Colonial rule
Introduction There is a division among scholars in the study of terrorism on the clink between political parties and terrorist groups. The lack of a universal definition of terrorism has certainly not helped. While Australian Philosopher C. A. J. Coady suggests that there are over 100 modern definitions of terrorism, Law Professor George Fletcher mentions only dozens, concluding that no one categorization of this phenomenon is definitive. That being said, one thing that seems to be certain is the existence of a relationship between terrorism and politics. According to a leading authority in the study of TerrorismProfessor Max Abrahms- the narrow and most simplified definition of the word states ‘terrorism is the select use of violence against civilians for putative political gain.’ In this article, I will explore the connection between political parties and terrorist groups, the nature of this connection and then attempt to apply it in determining the relationship between Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and Nigeria’s main opposition party. Relationship between Terrorism and Politics The roots of modern day politicisation of terrorism trace back to revolutionary author, Karl Heinzen’s 1849 essay “Murder” which produced a rationale and justification for political killing based on the ancient idea of tyrannicide coupled with the assertion that government from time immemorial have used violence against those under their control. That said, this somewhat implicit match seem to has evolved over the years. In their acclaimed book on Political parties and Terrorist groups, renowned Political Authors Leonard 40
did not change the authority structure of the Sokoto Caliphate. According to an Historian in the field, the system of Colonial rule shows that: ‘While the British conquerors replaced the Sultan and those Emirs who refused to submit, they retained the existing system of authority and administration, which eventually became the model for the system of indirect rule. Under this system, the emirates were renamed “Native Authorities” and utilised by the British as the basic unit of local and regional administration’. During the latter years of Colonisation, political parties in Northern Nigeria drew inspiration from the Sokoto Caliphate. The two dominant parties, the conservative Northern People’s Congress (NPC) and the radical Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), held different views regarding the nature and value of the aforementioned Native Authority system. The NPC, a party formed by a band of elitists who were also part of the Colonial native authority system, were keen to maintain the existing political arrangement which would enable them to monopolise power in the region. The NEPU, on the other hand, was characterised by radicalism and often accused the Colonial Native Authority system- which was at the time reflective in NPC’s politics- of being corrupt oppressors of the talakawas i.e. the common people. Even though both parties presented its own version of the significance of the Sokoto Caliphate on its policies, religious justifications for Jihad expressed by Shehu Dan Fodio- the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate- tended to be much more detailed in NEPU’s political discussions than what was found in the literature of the NPC. In the years leading to Nigeria's independence in 1960, the ‘Talakawa’ movement -represented by NEPU- became a symbol for
dissatisfaction with colonial rule and a radical alternative to the NPC. Talakawa had as its driving force a distaste for Western influence or Moderate Islam, and planned to use politics and religion to create a "Northern Nigerian Society of Social Justice, Economic Prosperity and Fairness". A study on the government of Northern Nigeria from 1350-1950 shows that many Talakawas (commoners) in Kano State supported that message to demonstrate disapproval with what they perceived as an unrepresentative government composed of a selected few. It is argued that this division caused by Colonisation’s Native authority system played a significant role in proliferation of radical Islamic thought among the oppressed commoners and led to the emergence of Islamist radical groupBoko Haram. Boko Haram’s systematic assaults on symbolic entities of the Nigerian State After the election of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a Christian Southerner, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2010, there was an increase in violent activities by the Boko Haram sect, who began to wage war on the new government led by President Jonathan, who has often been criticized for indulging in ethnic factionalism and favouring the Ijaw ethnic group situated in Southern Nigeria. Before the bombing of the United Nations building in Nigeria's capital of Abuja on August 16th 2011, the most daring activity of Boko Haram had been the group's June 7, 2011 bombing of Abuja's police headquarters. That attack appeared to specifically target the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim. On July 10, 2011, a Christian Fellowship Church in Suleja, Niger State, in the "Middle Belt" part of Nigeria, was bombed. The next day the University of Maiduguri, in the Northern part of 41
Nigeria, closed on the order of the University Authority, citing security concerns. Boko Haram has made it known by way of public announcements, backed by terrorist actions which strategy is to undermine Nigerian governmental authority. Boko Haram's video clips -- which can be viewed on YouTube -featuring the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, stress disdain for the Southern-dominated government. Apart from video footage, the Shekau, has underlined his anti-government position in official statements. Apart from countless attacks on civilians, other attacks have been carried out showing direct opposition to the Nigerian government. In September 7, 2010 attack, members of Boko Haram set free over 700 inmates from a prison in Bauchi State. In Borno State, Boko Haram's violence has killed approximately 800 people, including relatives of high-ranking state officials. In 2013, Boko Haram took control of the local governments of Marte, Mobbar, Gubio, Guzamala, Abadam, Kukawa, Kala-Balge and Gamboru Ngala, in Borno State, chasing out government officials, taken over government buildings and imposing Sharia law. All Progressives Congress (APC) and Boko Haram Following Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 276 school girls from Chibok in Borno StateNigeria, the terrorist group garnered unprecedented attention from the western world who previously knew little about its terrorism in Nigeria. Questions alleging a link between the opposition political party in Nigeria and Boko Haram were forwarded by a British Parliamentarian to the UK foreign secretary on July 8, 2014. The questions, listed under “notices for written answer,” were published on the website of the UK parliament.
Questions related to Boko Haram and asked by Parliamentarian Andrew Rosindell follow below: “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will commission an inquiry into the international support network for Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon; and if he will make a statement. (Notice no. 204402) “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had with leading members of the Nigerian opposition party, the All Progressive Congress; and if he will make a statement. (204401) “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the rise in Islamic terrorism in Nigeria. (204387) “To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support his Department plans to offer to Nigeria in tackling the threat of Boko Haram. (204388)” The All Progressives Congress (APC), formed on February 6, 2013 in anticipation of the 2015 General elections, is predominantly a left-winged party and currently serves the leading opposition party in Nigeria. Its main objective is to take on the biggest Political party in Nigeria, a Christian-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The popularity of the APC is partly linked to the collective failures of leaders of the ruling party (the PDP) to develop poverty-stricken Muslim-dominated Northern states. Writing for Chatham House on Politics and influence in Northern Nigeria, African Scholar Dr. Leena Hoffmann found that, “In 2010, nine of the 19 northern states had the highest levels of unemployment in Nigeria – some as high as 40 per cent – with young northerners being overwhelmingly more likely to be jobless.”
She further stated, “The worsening challenges with poverty, youth unemployment, poor infrastructure, illiteracy and insecurity are inherently systemic, and a consequence of the collective failure of leaders at all tiers of government to properly deliver public goods and services or to accountably manage public funds.” These findings colour disappointing statistics, such as the literacy rate in the Northeastern state of Borno, the stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgency, which is fewer than 15%. An unprecedented number of Islamic leaders Islamic are represented in the majority of the APC party. Even though Nigeria is a secular country with a Christian majority, this disproportionate level of Islamic representation in the party’s leadership has led many to suspect an Islamic agenda officially unfolding in the country. Chief Femi Fani Kayode, a Cambridge University-educated former Minister of Aviation of the Federation, who was a Prominent member of the APC, recently severed all ties with the political party due to the its alleged involvement with Boko Haram. In an interview on Channels TV dated June 30 2014, Kayode compared APC’s relationship with Boko Haram and Sinn Fein’s relationship with the IRA. “If you compare what is happening in Nigeria to what happened in Ireland some years ago,” he said, “you had Sinn Fein on the one hand and then you had the IRA on the other. The IRA was the armed wing of Sinn Fein and as far as I'm concerned, Boko Haram could well be described as the armed wing of the opposition today.” When asked by the panellists to substantiate these allegations, he referred to statements credited to prominent members of APC. He stated that General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC’s potential Candidate in next year’s Presidential election, who had openly attempted to spread Sharia to all the states of the federation,
“Said just last year that Boko Haram should be granted amnesty and treated like kids gloves.” Speaking of Alhaji Lai Mohammad, the official National Publicity Secretary of APC, Chief Fani Kayode said, “he protested about and opposed the proscription of Boko Haram by the federal government in various newspapers on June 10, 2013 and he described such proscription as being unconstitutional and/or extraconstitutional and wrong in various newspapers... [He also] opposed the idea of Boko Haram being labelled as a terrorist organisation by the United States of America throughout last year. As shameful as it is, this was his position and that of his party.” The Armed winged analogy referred to by Chief Fani Kayode was used by Political scientists Ilana Kass and Bard O'Neill to describe Hamas’s relationship with Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade and Sinn Fein’s relationship with the Irish Republican Army. The findings of the authors revealed the endorsement example of the political party and terrorist groups’ relationship where the terrorist group serves as a Military wing of the Political party. In this discreet relationship, the terrorist group separates its duties and operations from that of the political party. Quoting a senior Hamas official, the authors revealed: ‘The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade is a separate armed military wing, which has its own leaders who do not take orders [from Hamas] and do not tell us of their plans in advance’. Hamas itself was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood -- founded in 1928 -- in theory, to muscle out secular Palestinian rivals. One of the Brotherhood's stated aims is to create a state ruled by Islamic law [Sharia] with a worldwide slogan of "Islam is the solution." The Muslim Brotherhood’s philosophy of political Islam and belief that the woes of the Muslim world spring from a lack of Islamic
devotion tally with views held by the de facto leader of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari. He has been vocal about the spread of Sharia jurisprudence, which he views as an antidote to corruption. This has been a source of discomfort to many Christian voters, who remain anxious that a radical Islamic agenda is unfolding in the country. The recent failure of Boko Haram’s alleged ceasefire and its impact on the credibility of President Goodluck Jonathan shows a significant example illustrating the importance of Boko Haram as a political force. Nigeria's general elections are expected to be held in February and there is every indication that the process will be bloody if it goes ahead in the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, where Boko Haram and the APC have strongholds. It appears unlikely that civilians there will be convinced to cast their votes in a democratic system that is antithetical to Boko Haram's central objective to introduce the Sharia Law, an objective which has parallels with that of the Leader of the APC General Muhammadu Buhari. Conclusion The above has used the armed wing model to establish a link between left winged political parties and terrorist organisations. Although the relationship between Boko Haram and Nigeria’s left wing party, APC seem to be implicit at this stage, APC’s victory -which could see General Muhammadu Buhari appropriate on his wish of spreading Sharia Law in Nigeriacould provide some answers to the questions tendered by Andrew Rosindell MP. The foreign secretary’s response to those questions have been delayed since William Hague’s resignation. Nevertheless, the latter’s replacement –Phillip Hammond- is mandated to formally respond to Rosindell’s questions on behalf of the British government. It is almost certain that Hammond’s response will lead to an enquiry which may shed more light on this issue. 44
JEOPARDIZED DIVERSITY - CONFESSIONAL TENSIONS IN THE AMORPHIC MIDDLE EAST SEBASTIAN MAIER holds an Master’s Degree in Intelligence & International Security from the Department of War Studies, King's College London. He currently works at the Embassy of Canada to Germany.
radicalism. This has dire consequences, as the level of violence is not only creating a major rift among Muslim communities, but it also casts a cloud over the security of various Middle Eastern ethno-religious minority groups. Exodus from Iraq On the last day of October 2010, gunmen of a certain Sunni Islamist group under the thenmoniker Islamic State of Iraq raided Baghdad’s Sayidat al-Nejat Syriac Catholic Cathedral and massacred at least 58 worshippers. The intruders demanded the release of Al Qaedaaffiliated prisoners in Iraq and Egypt. This incident tragically confirmed what the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East had been bewailing only a few days prior to the carnage that happened in the city of Baghdad: Christian minorities in Iraq are going through a tale of woes, which leads an increasing number of brethren attempting to leave their home soil -many of whom for good. Daniel Pipes’ ‘Disappearing Christians in the Middle East’ from 2001 somewhat anticipated this trend. It also confirms the assumption that waves of emigration are cardinally associated with the outbreak of violence. In this context, it is equally important to not be deceived by selective perception -- ISIS’ killing spree does not make halt in front of fellow Sunnis,as it was recently shown when hundreds of the Anbar-based Sunni Albu Nimr tribe were executed by ISIS. To that end, looking back, particularly the overthrow of Saddam Hussein triggered unintended consequences. Many formerly oppressed religious groups, among which the Iraqi Shi’ites that make up more than half of the country’s population, have been experiencing the formerly denied right to a political expression and thus gaining more political leverage. Since then, with the deterioration of the overall security situation, Iraq has not only been shattered by waves of sectarian violence and anti -government insurgency, but it has also become
As much as the surge of the socalled Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham well into 2014 continues to amplify the overall mayhem in the Middle East, ISIS’s sudden emergence and the pace at which it has been gaining ground caught the international community off-guard. Yet, putting the latest events into broader historic perspective highlights a rather continuous pattern: with the millenniums-old mosaic of confessional diversity being jeopardized, a subtle erosion of one of the region’s crucial characteristics seems to be in full swing. To begin with, such a narrative does indeed underscore the more recent alarming signals implying that the Fertile Crescent, arching from the Nile valley over northern Syria into Mesopotamia, is being challenged by a widening religious schism. At the same time, two major regional phenomena have aggravated the topical developments in the region. Firstly, nationalism as a concept to stipulate pan-Arab ambitions across the region seems to have come to an end. Secondly, Ba’athist minority rule in Hafez alAssad’s Syria and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq discriminated cardinally against their respective adversely perceived Sunni or Shi’ite Muslim population. With this in mind, the disintegration of state entities in Iraq since 2003 and in Syria as of 2011 provided an opportunity to those who were formerly oppressed: in the slipstream of the decline of state entities along the Euphrates, the polarization at the extreme ends of the confessional spectrum brought forth deepened 45
a perilously exposed location for Iraq’s various formerly condoned ethno-religious minority communities. For these groups, among which Muslim Shabaks, Turkmens, Christians and Yazidis, that have been living largely peacefully with Sunni Iraqis, despite there being some ongoing discrimination prior to 2003, the situation has undergone a profound shift in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Systematic attacks and threats have led over half a million members of religious minorities to flee their country, leaving behind parts of the countries spiritual, cultural and linguistic heritage. The Chaldean Christians, for instance, who have their own patriarch based in Baghdad, constitute the largest non-Muslim minority in Iraq. In fact, under Saddam Hussein’s secular despotism, the Chaldean Tariq Aziz rose to prominence as he served as Iraq’s Foreign and Vice-Premier Minister. Bearing in mind Hussein’s repression and mistrust against the Shi’ites, while for that matter openly privileging Christian communities, this may have well driven a wedge between the two major Muslim denominations. It resulted in the Shi’ite resentment eventually turning violent in the aftermath of Ba’athist rule that ended in 2003. The same applies by and large to the southern Mesopotamia-based Sabean-Mandaeans community that historically resided in and around the Basra province and has been experiencing profound aversion, facing the threat of extinction on Iraqi soil. This is telling, since this minority group does not admittedly pursue any political ambitions nor does it seek influence in any such secular affairs. On the other hand, however, due to the considerable involvement in educational and economical key positions, the numerous examples of extortion and havoc that the Mandaeans have suffered therefore serve as evidence for the resentment and persecution against minority groups.
More recently, in the summer of 2014, another syncretic ethno-religious minority group found itself in the midst of persecution, as illustrated by the fate of trapped Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, savagely pursued by ISIS militias in northern Iraq. The Yazidis adhere to an amalgam of Sufi influence, ancient Persian and Zoroastrian beliefs, which many Muslims consider as idolatry, hence devil worship. As such, unlike Christians or Jews, they have never been technically acknowledged with the status of a protected dhimmi community by Islamic jurisprudence. Although a hastily set-up and Washington-led air campaign enabled many of the Yazidis to escape further north towards the Kurdish regional government territory, ISIS continues to persecute the Yazidi community while expanding its foothold elsewhere alike. By tearing down parts of the Iraqi-Syrian border, ISIS has managed to ring down the curtain of Sykes-Picot, officially known as the Asia Minor accord secretly concluded in 1916 by Britain and France with the intention to divide most parts of post-Ottoman Empire Arab lands between the two countries. In doing so, ISIS created a strategic pivot from which they unleash their campaign with relative impunity. In such an environment, there is neither incentive nor chances for persecuted groups to stay on there homeland. As to the political dimension, Iraq seems to have repeatedly been at the crossroads with its reoccurring sectarian violence, however, regardless which path was taken, the country ultimately yielded to disadvantage either the Sunni or Shi’ite communities. Against this background, the disintegration of statehood since 2003 and the reoccurring vacuum of power since the US withdrawal in 2011 can still be felt today as they augured badly for the narrowing opportunities for interreligious dialogue, let alone coexistence. 46
The Syrian quagmire Daring a look into Iraq’s neighboring country Syria, the turmoil erupting since the beginning of the civil war in 2011 gradually intensified and not only caused lasting trauma upon the countries stability, but also to Syria’s religious and ethnic composition. First and foremost, with the so-called Arab Spring having long turned for winter, the country has been split between supporters of the minority Shi’ite sect Alawite Bashar al-Assad and the largely Sunni Muslim opposition to some extent under the heterogeneous umbrella of the Free Syrian Army. Intriguingly, the Alawites make up for merely ten percent of the country’s population but are traditionally in charge of navigating the countries influential political and military apparatus since the assertion of power through Ba’athist Hafez al-Assad in 1970. In fact, as long as nationalist aspirations were to dominate Syria’s agenda, Syrian Druze -- whose faith is rooting in Shi’ite offshoot Ismailism -- mostly based in western Syria in the vicinity of the slopes of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the outskirts of Damascus, as well as Syrian Kurds living alongside the Turkish border, managed to come to terms with the country’s domestic status quo: by tacitly resigning to Assad’s authoritarian rule, threats vis-a-vis Syrian minority groups used to be reasonably contained, allowing minorities some degree of religious freedom of expression. However, recent events have rendered the situation much more worrisome. To give a supporting example of this statement, the regime’s stance regarding the multifaceted Christian community sheds light on the country’s state of play. At the outset of the civil war, the Syrian Christians, among which Greek Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholic and Syriac Orthodox, were given the choice whether to pledge allegiance to the regime or reject it. Against all odds, many Syrian Christians turned
out to be less cooperative than expected. They responded rather inconsistently with some groups rallying around the regime’s flag, whilst others either joined opposing forces or tried to remain as neutral as possible. Most Christian church leaders actually publicly supported Assad’s policy of repression in the early stages of the uprising. They did so in emphasizing the relative calm and secure environment in which they found themselves embedded when Hafez al-Assad established Ba’athist rule. Since then, and unlike what happened in Iraq, a large number of Syrian Christians were promoted into the country’s governmental and military ranks. This may have factored into a certain cultivation of the thought emphasizing the freedom of faith and protection of minority denominations that the Alawite Assad minority government provided against the backdrop of a Sunni majority country. At the same time, one can just as well depict Christian support to the Free Syrian Army’s cause as it is heralded by anti-regime forces with Christian leaders being prominently represented in the National Coalition. While little is known authoritatively about what actions are being taken, one can assume that such Christian advocacy strives in favour to the idea of creating a civil and democratic Syrian state whilst at the same time going against the brutal oppression with which the regime has been operating against the insurgency. Now, between both extreme ends, there also exists a third group of Christians avoiding to take sides. Some churches in Damascus for instance refused to make their facilities available for propaganda against the revolution while by the same token, just when the regime called up the minorities to carry weapons for self-defence, patriarchs advised their denomination against it. As a consequence, the prospect of potentially being sucked in by the Syrian spiral of violence coupled with economic misery narrows these 47
neutral groups room for manoeuvre. Moreover, beyond the schism with respect to al-Assad’s regime, more radical violence occurs within rival Islamist groups operating on Syrian soil. This has been the case since the established foothold of ISIS in Syria started complicating the formerly gridlocked frontlines between regime-loyalists and al-Assad’s foes, splintering fractious rebel groups even more. With more than 200,000 casualties already and ISIS fiercely besieging Kurdish towns alongside the Syrian-Turkish border, the many wars in Syria appear in desperate fashion: ‘an outright victory by either side is neither a real possibility nor a desirable prospect.’ In such a protracted environment, there is hardly any hope for the sandwiched minorities to endure another winter in their war-torn country. Under these circumstances, one can thus hardly fault minorities for leaving their country behind. The mass exodus that can be seen in cities like Homs, Latakia or Aleppo thus threatens the interconfessional equilibrium in which Syrians, regardless their religious affiliation, lived together for centuries. The Lebanese patchwork Given the reciprocal and traditionally intertwined relations between Syria and Lebanon, the civil war has a profound impact on its neighbouring country since it currently hosts over one million Syrians that had fled their home soil. The tiny country of Lebanon serves as a panopticon of a unique mix of diverse religious groups which reflects the wider sectarian struggles and foreign interests that are prominent throughout the whole of the Middle East. This becomes most apparent in the later stages of the Lebanese civil war lasting from 1975 to 1990. The internal polarization among Lebanon’s various religious factions at that time became visible, resulting in what William W. Harris adequately labels as ’the heyday of
cantons and militias’. Meanwhile, the political manipulation implied by Syrian and Israeli presence on Lebanese soil further led to political instability. Back then, Ba’athist Syria traditionally considered the Cedar State, Lebanon, as its strategic backyard, thus backing its Shi’ite proxy Amal as well as the establishment of Iran’s Islamic Revolution – which inspired the creation of Hezbollah. Israel, for its part, also tried to exert its leverage on ‘a larger slice of the sectarian pie’ by supporting the Lebanese Maronite Catholics and the South Lebanese Army from the late 70’s until its withdrawal in 2000. In fact, the consequences of foreign interventionism continue to resonate in Lebanon to this date; what seems to be an afterthought of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, the animosity between pro- and anti-Assad factions alongside the Sunni-Shi’ite divide extended into Lebanon has flared up as of late. Tensions escalating further can also be explained when considering the country’s regionalisation. While Lebanese Sunni Muslims form the majority of the population from the Mediterranean coastal region to the region near Tripoli, Sidon and the western outskirts of the capital Beirut, the strongholds of the country’s Shi’ite community are located in southern Lebanon with the Beqa’a valley that is in the immediate vicinity of the Syrian border. Illustrating once more the tied curse of Syria and Lebanon, the Syrian quagmire repeatedly showed its potential to plunge Lebanon back into unrest. The numbers speak for themselves: three years into Syria’s civil war, Lebanon is currently the host of more than one million Syrian refugees, equalling approximately one fourth of the country’s overall population. While the Lebanese are continuously showing remarkable generosity in stemming the burden of the refugees, it will be increasingly difficult for
the country to manage the unceasing flow of refugees across its borders. It comes as no surprise either, that the already fragile country has experienced a series of exacerbating economic crises due to the Syrian conflict. International trade, tourism and investment have declined steeply and the public services can not keep up with the growing demand either the refugees or its citizens. Particularly affected by the lack of resources to cover demand are medical services, electricity and water supply. As a result, with the humanitarian situation in dire straits, the sectarian struggle aggravates the already fragile Lebanese political landscape. For instance, in the winter of 2013, the country had to cope with three major terrorist-bomb attacks, causing over 100 casualties and leaving several hundreds injured. This series of attacks alternately hit Shi’ite and Sunni targets, including an attack against the Iranian embassy in the south of Beirut, which further sparks the fear of vengeful actions. Unlike the assault that occurred in the northern Lebanese coastal town of Tripoli on the 23rd August 2013 and in a Hezbollah stronghold in southern Beirut in mid-August, the 2013 Iranian embassy bombing in Beirut has proven to be carried out by two suicide bombers. Indeed, the Jihadi militant Abdullah Azzam Brigades took the responsibility for the attack and heralded further action if Iran was not to pull back out of the conflict in Syria. Since then, partisan suspects of radical Sunni sheikh Ahmed al-Assir, who was persecuted by the Lebanese Army, called on the Sunni Lebanese to support their brothers in their struggle on Syrian soil. The deliberately stoked ethnic resentments suggest a kind of 'blood guilt' which radical Lebanese Sunnis consider they have yet to settle with the Shi’ite Hezbollah. The latter, in return, make it no secret of the fact that they have openly started to support the troops of Bashar al-Assad with their own fighters. To this
effect, Hezbollah’s Secretary General Nasrallah’s public vow of fidelity to Assad followed only a few days after a visit to Tehran in April 2013. By stating that Hezbollah was supposed to fight solely Sunni extremists in their neighbouring country, who otherwise would threaten Lebanon’s Shi’ites and Christians, Nasrallah justified the deployment of his troops across the border: if the Syrian regime was to fall, it would significantly decrease Hezbollah’s foothold in Lebanon. Adding to this, with the Syrian conflict spilling over, alongside the often barely marked 365 km long Lebanese-Syrian border, fighters of various factions are already commuting more or less freely in both directions, turning border villages and towns into no man’s land. In these parts of the country, violent clashes between the Lebanese Army and fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS are also occurring more frequently. The bottomline is that with the narrowly confined size of the country, the influx of mostly Syrian refugees, and the spill-over of the radical elements disseminating from the Syrian Civil War, Lebanon is sharing an immense burden of the region’s overall conflagration. This applies also to the half a million registered Palestinian refugees living on Lebanese soil, al-Assad-loyal Alawites, and syncretic Druze, despite all of whom adhering to closed communal identities. As such, the heavy political and economic toll is further to the detriment of the country’s coherence, setting the precarious conditions for the outburst of social unrest among these various religious camps. Lastly, particularly the Lebanese Christian community is prone to economic deadlock given their traditionally strong presence in the country’s financial and business echelons. As such, the exodus of Christians from the country, initially starting during the civil war that lasted 15-years until 1990, continues to date and is likely to alter the confessional composition of the country on the long haul as well.
One cannot go wrong by being pessimistic about the Middle East As outlined above, Middle Eastern interfaith coexistence is seriously harmed by the maelstrom of political break-up, economic hardship and militant elements widening the divisions along sectarian lines. Although regional confessional tensions are not limited to the three portrayed countries, the widening Sunni-Shi’ite split and the surge of ISIS topically accentuates the intertwined fate of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The sphere of influence across the Shi’ite Crescent, ranging from Tehran over Damascus into southern Lebanon, thereby clashes with the Sunni surge in Syria and Iraq. This ultimately puts forward the two countries’ historic patterns where authoritarian persistence and foreign influence has been deeply discriminating, at the very least as of 2003 in Iraq and 2011 in Syria, against their Sunni communities respectively. With the disintegration across the region, it becomes clear that its distinct socio-religious contours are about to disperse. Middle Eastern ethno-religious minority groups cannot be hermetically protected, thus they are falling prey to the radicalized climate. With the humanitarian situation in decline, these groups are facing a Hobson’s choice when being uncompromisingly persecuted. The recent vanishing and exodus of jeopardized groups, regardless their denomination, shall therefore serve as a vivid reminder that a part of the region’s integral and fundamental identity is indeed gravely at stake. It should be in the international community’s interest to step up efforts to curb barbarism, and to dare, at the helm, adamant engagement towards all-encompassing inclusiveness and reconciliation; otherwise the repercussions of the amorphic Middle East are likely to resonate beyond the region with unforeseen, but certainly painful consequences.
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Human Rights, Tel-Aviv University's Law Faculty) (Tel-Aviv 2004) Indridi Indridason, ‘Does Terrorism Influence Domestic Politics? Coalition Formation and Terrorist Incidents’ Journal of Peace Research March 2008 vol. 45 no. 2 241-259 Ilana Kass, Bard E. O'Neill ‘The Deadly Embrace: the impact on Israeli and Palestinian Rejectionism on the peace process’ University Press of America (1997, Maryland) Integrated Regional Information Networks, "Nigerians on the run as military combat Boko Haram", Irin News (Nairobi, 2013) Leena Koni Hoffmann ‘Who Speaks for the North? Politics and Influence in Northern Nigeria’ Chatham House (2014, London) Leonard Weinberg and Ami Pedahzur, ‘Political Parties and Terrorist Groups’ Routledge (2003, London) Max Abrahms ‘Lumpers versus Splitters: A Pivotal Battle in the Field of Terrorism Studies’ Cato Institute (2010, Washington) Samuel A. Ekanem, Jacob A. Dada and Bassey J. Ejue, "BOKO HARAM AND AMNESTY: A PHILOLEGAL APPRAISAL" International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 2 No. 4, New York [Feb 2012] Sidney Tarrow, ‘Power in movement’ Cambridge University Press, (1994, Cambridge) Stephen Gbadamosi ‘UK probes APC’s alleged link with Boko Haram. We will react appropriately-Lai Mohammed’ Tribune (2014, Lagos) Tamar Meisels, "The Trouble with Terror – The Apologetics of Terrorism: a Refutation" The Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 18, 2006, 465-483 The Nation Newspaper, Lagos (June 18 2011) Thisday Live ‘Fani Kayode: I stand by my comments on APC’ Thisday (July 02 2014)
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Published on Dec 4, 2014
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