Archive for November 28th, 2011

28/11/2011

‘Syrian Forces Have Committed Crimes against Humanity’

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva – Syria’s military and security forces have committed crimes against humanity during their crackdown on protesters, a United Nations-appointed probe said, urging the government to immediately end “gross” human rights violations and bring perpetrators to justice.

Credit: UN

In August, the UN Human Rights Council established the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in the country since March, when the pro-democracy protests began.

Syria is “responsible for wrongful acts, including crimes against humanity, committed by members of its military and security forces as documented in the present report,” states the report, which was presented on Nov. 28 in Geneva by the three-member commission.

The 39-page report documents patterns of summary execution, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, torture, including sexual violence, as well as violations of children’s rights.

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28/11/2011

The Arab Revolt – What Next?

Human Wrongs Watch

By Johan Galtung* – TRANSCEND

It changes character, like in quantum mechanics, just by watching. The French revolution did that in the late 1780s-early 1790s. However, spring is gone, revolt is in, but so far not revolution. There are layers of rulers and layers of opposition. Unveiling has started.

**Tahrir Square, Cairo – Photo credit: Lilian Wagdy | Wikimedia Commons

If seeds from a winter suicide in Tunisia sprouted buds in early spring, then they must have fallen on fertile soil. Events turn into processes when “stability” is unstable, as huge power and wealth gaps are.

The trick in the US is to make a person believe in individual mobility; “if you don’t make it that is your fault”.

Others see it as a relation: by taking power/wealth from us, they became powerful and rich and we remained powerless and poor. The former is individualist and person-oriented, the latter collectivist and system-oriented. See it that way and revolts follow, like Tahrir Square, like Wall Street. Nevertheless, some resources are needed.

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28/11/2011

Of Vulture Funds and How to Blackmail the Countries Chosen as Preys

Human Wrongs Watch

By Raúl de Sagastizabal* – PoliticaPress

Montevideo – In 2002, Anne Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), floated the idea that countries can go bust, advanced her opinion about a possible international mechanism of sovereign debt restructuring, and when considering the obstacles to an orderly debt restructuring, explicitly mentioned the behaviour of vulture funds in the following terms:

Photo: Magnus Kjaergaard** | Wikimedia Commons

Another obstacle to orderly restructuring has been the growing threat of legal action […] A second reason is that litigants have recently overcome one of traditional barriers to suing debtor governments, namely the difficulty of locating and seizing their assets.

In one recent case, for example, a “vulture fund” in effect held Peru to ransom by persuading courts in the US and Europe to prevent it servicing its debts to other creditors. It is not clear whether this technique would survive legal challenge in future cases, but it only goes to highlight a more general problem.

That “vulture fund” which held Peru to ransom, is the same fund that now pursues and holds Argentina to ransom.

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