One and the same

“There is no contradiction in the White House position that the UN-sanctioned military mission is restricted to protecting civilians but that the longer-term, broader political aim is to remove Col Muammar Gaddafi. What is left unsaid is that presumably the man giving the orders to kill civilians is Col Gaddafi. Getting rid of him would protect civilians. QED. ” - Mark Mardell , BBC's North America editor. See his blog here .

Libya and R2P

“In passing RtoP [relating to Libya], the Security Council helped bridge the gap between so-called legitimate (ethically justifiable) and legal (legally authorized) intervention .” “RtoP, responding to the sense that these domestic harms warranted international response, solidified the Security Council’s claims to wider discretion. Yet it also restricted its ability to sanction intervention to the four situations listed in the RtoP document - genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. “[How] the intervention in Libya [develops] is sure to shape how RtoP is applied in...

What drove US decision on Libya?

“President Obama’s decision to participate in the air campaign against … Gaddafi’s regime is a vast improvement over previous policy , a victory for human rights idealists within the administration, and the application of an important international standard known as “the responsibility to protect.” - Michael Gerson , opinion writer, Washington Post. See his comment here " This is the greatest opportunity to realign our interests and our values ," a senior administration official said at the meeting, telling the experts this sentence came from Obama himself. The president was referring to the...

Obama gives Gaddafi ultimatum

US President Obama has delivered a tough warning to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. (See full text here ). These are extracts: "All attacks against civilians must stop. Gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiya , and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. "Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya. "Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable. If Gaddafi does not comply, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military...

Europe of regions in the making

As the European Union gets stronger, and national governments get weaker, ethnic groups are demanding more self-determination within a Europe of regions, argues Walter Mayr in the Der Spiegel online. See his feature here . “Scots, Catalans, Basques and Corsicans are eagerly following events in Belgium, partly out of curiosity over how the situation will unfold, and partly because the Flemings have managed to force their desire for a separate state onto the political agenda, even though their language was long derided as one spoken only by farmers and maids.”

Outside the law in Canada

“ Reports of abuse, maltreatment and violence are rife in Immigration detention centres where newborns, children and the elderly languish for months, sometimes years, without any avenue for release. “In recent years, Immigration Enforcement has taken to moving undocumented arrestees into provincial maximum security holding centres. Many of those held are refugee claimants that have just arrived, whose detention is actually illegal under the Geneva Convention on Refugee Rights.” - Mohan Mishra and Marika Heinrichs of No One Is Illegal-Toronto . See their article on Canada’s handling of asylum...

Egypt arms Libya’s rebels

Egypt's military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington's knowledge, US and Libyan rebel officials told the Wall Street Journal . The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mummar Gaddafi, the paper said. "The Americans have given the green light to the Egyptians to help. The Americans don't want to be involved in a direct level, but the Egyptians wouldn't do it if they didn't get the green light...

EU court orders Spain to compensate Basque leader

Spain must compensate the radical Basque separatist leader Arnaldo Otegi after wrongly sentencing him to jail for insulting King Juan Carlos, the European court of human rights has decided. See The Guardian’s report here . The court in Strasbourg ruled that Spain must pay €23,000 in compensation to Otegi for breaching his right to freedom of expression after he accused the Spanish monarch of protecting police torturers. Otegi's remarks were "made in his capacity as elected member of and spokesperson for a parliamentary group …in the context of the recent closure of the Egunkaria newspaper and...

UN warns Bahrain on international law

The United Nations has warned Bahrain that its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters might be breaking international law. See Al-Jazeera’s report here . Bahrain’s security forces have fired on pro-democracy protestors and are reported to be preventing doctors from treating the injured. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called King Hamad on Thursday to express his "deepest concern" about Bahrain's use of force, On Wednesday US President Obama called King Hamad and Saudi King to also express “deep concern” and urge “maximum restraint.” UN rights chief Navi Pillay said any takeover by...

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