This Week in the World of Conflict… June 13th-20th, 2011

Hello all! Hope all is well!

Since the This Week in Conflict report has gotten so incredibly long in recent weeks, I thought it might be easier to digest as 6 shorter reports highlighting the different regions on separate days. The World report, which will highlight different news at international organizations, human rights research and other aspects of peace and conflict that affect global situations, will be posted each Monday. The Africa report will be posted on Tuesdays; the Asia report will be posted on Wednesdays; the Americas report will be posted on Thursdays; the Middle East report will be posted on Fridays and the Europe report will be posted on Saturdays. If you have any news to report for a region, please submit it to the day before the report is to be posted. Any reports of conflict for Australia or Oceania will be posted within the Asia report.

These changes will begin as of Monday the 20th of June. As such, the news for the World section for this week will only highlight those stories reported from Friday the 10th until Monday the 13th; the Africa report from Friday until Tuesday the 14th; and so on, so that there will be week-long content for each of next week’s reports.

I hope readers find the reports easier to read and comprehend in this manner, and would love any feedback on this change, either positive or negative.



  • The 2011 Global Peace Index Report for 2011 was released recently, and demonstrated that the world is less peaceful for the third year straight. This fabulous compilation shows that violence has cost the global economy more than $8.12 trillion in 2010 at a time when most of the world was in severe economic crisis. Iceland moved into the #1 spot, as the world’s most peaceful, overtaking New Zealand and Japan; while Somalia moved to become the least peaceful country on Earth, along with Iraq and Sudan. No big surprise here– despite the “war on terror”, 29 nations experienced a rise in potential for terrorist acts. One disappointment is the lack of recognition of Palestine on the list.
  • On Friday, the UN endorsed the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people for the first time ever, passing a resolution that expressed “grave concern” about abuses due to sexual orientation and commissioned a global report on discrimination against gays. The declaration barely passed through the Human Rights Council with 23 votes in favour to 19 against. The declaration established a formal UN process to document human rights abuses against gays, including discriminatory laws and acts of violence, which would include laws against consensual same-sex relations in 76 countries worldwide.
  • An export poll listed Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan as the world’s most dangerous countries for women due to a barrage of threats ranging from violence and rape to dismal health care and “honour killings”. The poll asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six risks: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking.
  • The International Trade Union Confederation welcomed the historical adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention and Recommendation by the International Labour Organization on Thursday that would call upon ratifying governments to provide laws to protect domestic workers’ rights in their economies. Oppression and violence against migrant domestic workers is reported to be widespread.
  • An interesting article discussed the continued relevancy and future of the United Nations, by dissecting its failure to meet its core values and objectives of forging global understanding, keeping peace, fostering development, ensuring human rights and human equality. As a long time defender of UN peacekeeping, I must say that I have recently lost my ability to believe they are a positive force in the world and have a hard time seeing a future where they are capable of living up to their values and objectives without a major overhaul of the system.
  • On Friday, the Security Council of the UN unanimously recommended that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon be elected for a second five-year term beginning in January 2012. The UN General Assembly will formally re-elect him on Tuesday, considering no other candidate was even proposed. The decision was delayed for one day because the Latin America and Caribbean regional group had not agreed to endorse him, though endorsement is not technically necessary.
  • A team of 18 International Atomic Energy Agency experts  released a report on Friday calling on all nuclear power plants to be designed and located so that they can withstand rare and “complex combinations” of external threats, in the first outside review of the Fukushima disaster. The report called for simple alternatives forces to compensate for the total loss of off-site power, the physical separation and diversity of critical safety systems and that “nuclear regulatory systems should ensure that regulatory independence and clarity of roles are preserved in all circumstances in line with IAEA Safety Standards”. There will be a major international meeting June 20th– 24th, hosted by the IAEA that will launch a push to strengthen reactor standards as some 150 nations begin mapping out a strategy on boosting nuclear safety.
  • A new report by the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that higher food prices and volatility in commodity markets are here to stay. The reports suggests that real prices for cereals may average up to 20% higher and meats as much as 30% higher in coming years, raising concerns for economic stability and food security in many countries.
  • A new paper on tackling violence against women was released this week by the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development working group. The paper calls on the gender dimensions of armed violence to be taken into account and gives five initiatives that researchers can take to fill the knowledge gaps.

What do you think?

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