BRUSSELS (IDN) - While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged both Ethiopia and Eritrea to exercise “maximum restraint and refrain from any act or statement that could exacerbate the situation”, reports gathered by IDN from several independent sources close to the border between the two countries and in Eritrea, underscore the grave risks the armed conflict between the two East African countries entails.
Diverse sources claim that border skirmishes are ongoing unabated and that “war logic” is gripping both sides – with Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders putting on their “war masks”.
BRUSSELS (IDN) - As border clashes between Eritrea and Ethiopia continued into the second day on June 13, observers recalled UN Secretary-General’s remarks in January 2008 that he was “worried about the growing militarization, on both side(s) of the boarder, which could lead to a war”.
That concern is shared by civil society organisations in the two countries. They are warning that the border clahses that triggered on June 12 in the Tsorona area on the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea “can easily escalate into full-blown war”.
While calling for an end to fighting, the civil society organisations are urging the African Union to step in with its peace and Security Council; and the European Union and the United States to step in as witnesses to a peace process.
NEW YORK (IDN | GIN) – The outlines of the Rwandan genocide are known by many. The time it took place (April to July 1994), the troubling silence of the international community, the number of those brutally murdered (as many as 800,000 mostly of the Tutsi minority and some Hutus) and the ever-debated questions – what could turn a people against their neighbour with a cruelty that was both devastating and inhumane?
LUND, Sweden (IDN-INPS) - George Orwell, the author of “Animal Farm” and “1984”, was the first person to use the phrase “Cold War” in a 1945 newspaper article, written just after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He argued that “the surface of the earth is being parceled off into three great empires, each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each ruled, under one disguise or another, by a self-elected oligarchy. He counted the U.S. and Western Europe as one, the Soviet Union as the second and China as the third. He concluded that, “the atomic bomb is likeliest to put an end to large-scale wars at the cost of prolonging indefinitely a peace that is no peace”.
NEW YORK (IDN) – A new study on the international trade in small arms and light weapons confirms the long standing traditional secrecy in the global market place.
Released June 6 – to coincide with the Sixth Biennial Meeting on the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms – the study pointedly says “export authorizations remain the most opaque dimension of small arms reporting”.
The 2016 Transparency Barometer, which evaluated the reporting practices of 49 countries, identified only three countries – Germany, the UK and the Netherlands – as “the most transparent major small arms exporters”.
HARARE (IDN | GIN) – A “Million Men” march in support of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that drew thousands in support of the aging leader failed to diminish the impact of an opposition rally last month that brought out thousands of citizens concerned with the country’s troubled economy.
Despite his advanced age, Mugabe has vowed to run for another term in office at the next election in 2018 when he will be 94.
At the “Million Men” march, Mrs Mugabe declared that her husband would rule Zimbabwe even from the grave.
The opposition, meanwhile, has been energized by a Twitter campaign called #ThisFlag, or what The Guardian newspaper called “an accidental movement for change”.
BELGRADE (IDN) - The right to vote for any party they like has existed in former Yugoslavia for more than a quarter of a century, but genuine democracy remains a dream for many as the region remains split along ethnic lines and lags in sustainable economic development. In fact, that dream seems to be vanishing.
Recent studies in Serbia have shown that only one-third of its 7,2 million citizens believe democracy is better than non-democratic rule.
"Unfortunately, introduction of democracy in 1990 is closely related, among ordinary people, to disintegration of former Yugoslavia, international sanctions that crippled Serbia and an unfulfilled promise of better life," says Djordje Vukovic, head of prominent non-governmental (NGO) organisation CeSID that carried the survey titled "Democracy still does (not) live here".
ISTANBUL (IDN) - The gaping absence of a large number of world leaders, including those of most of the Group of 7 (G7) industrial nations, undoubtedly caused profound disappointment. But the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in the 70-year existence of the United Nations will not go down in history as a shameful debacle for international diplomacy, nor will it be the last conference of its kind, according to experts.
While G7 leaders were conspicuous by their absence, with the exception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, some 9,000 participants from 173 countries joined the event in Istanbul. They included some 60 heads of state and government, mostly from the developing world.
BELGRADE (IDN) - The violent split up of former Yugoslavia is more than two decades old. Peace was established in the region back in the 1990s. Yet for those who hardly know about the brutal violence and humanitarian disaster that accompanied the political breakup, little would appear to have changed.
"There is no more arms rattling, but the political rhetoric and lack of profound economic recovery keep people stuck in recent past, with poor view on better future," prominent sociology professor Ratko Bozovic says. "There are new generations all over the former Yugoslavia who know nothing else but how this or that war was fought.”
The professor explained that no real insight into causes, accompanied by little perspective, creates a fertile ground for further confusion among the young who should take their nations into the future.