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You searched for: Content Type Policy Brief Remove constraint Content Type: Policy Brief Publishing Institution Chatham House Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Chatham House Political Geography Africa Remove constraint Political Geography: Africa
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  • Author: Sonya Sceats
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Human rights abuses on a massive scale continue to afflict the lives of millions of people across the continent of Africa. As in other parts of the world, the obstacles in pursuing justice are currently insurmountable for most victims. Against this troubling backdrop, the African Union (AU) has decided to add a human rights section to its new court which has been agreed upon but not yet set up. This court is called the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. In the meantime, another pan-African human rights court, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, has recently opened in Arusha, Tanzania. This court will be wound down to make way for the African Court of Justice and Human Rights but is expected to operate for the next few years at least. These two courts represent the third instalment in efforts since the Second World War to create regional human rights courts. Because they have broad powers to enforce socio-economic rights and the collective rights of peoples, they may be setting an example for new developments around the world. This briefing paper focuses on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, but it also explains key features of the interim African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. It addresses questions including: Can victims of human rights abuses bring cases? Will the Court be able to try African heads of state? Will governments comply with judgments?
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Torture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Claire Spencer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: North Africa may not be as stable as it looks: socio-economic and political pressures are fracturing the consensus between governments and governed and may overtake terrorism and criminality as the region's main destabilizing forces. With political leadership in the region effectively a lifelong position, the growth of authoritarianism is undermining the prospects for achieving political and economic liberalization. Despite the worsening global economic climate, a window of opportunity exists to accelerate socially sensitive and productive domestic investment and open space for greater autonomous political and economic development. Success depends on renegotiating the social contracts on which North Africa's states are based. A broadening of participation, above all through the extension of legal employment, targeted investment on education, health and skills, and the establishment of independent legal and regulatory frameworks, will go some way towards addressing socio-economic stresses. A change in the political environment, however, requires a re-evaluation of how the region's security climate is seen from outside, with adjustments in the kind of support given to regional governments by its key international partners, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Islam, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Arabia
  • Author: Roderick Abbott
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In an important shift, inspired partly by drift in the Doha Round negotiations, the EU announced in 2006 that it would seek new free trade area arrangements with fast-growing economies, particularly in Asia. The plan, which ended a moratorium on the launch of bilateral trade talks, in place since 1996, was billed explicitly as a contribution to the EU's own growth and jobs strategy as well as a market-opening exercise. However, the policy has so far been no more effective than multilateral negotiations in producing concrete results. Negotiations with South Korea and ASEAN have made only slow progress, while the state of talks with India remains unclear. The EU spent most of 2007 renegotiating long-standing agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in an effort to satisfy WTO rules. Meanwhile, the EU's partnership agreements with China and Russia have expired, and appropriate successor arrangements are still being sought. In both cases, a number of important bilateral problems and strains will need to be dealt with. With its various trade negotiations treading water, the EU may need to review its options. One could be a more aggressive pursuit of market access, modelled on the US approach. Alternatively, the EU's traditional preference for multilateral engagement may reassert itself.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Asia, South Korea, Caribbean
  • Author: Tom Cargill
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The UN mission that led Sierra Leone out of bloody civil war in 2002 ends on 30 September 2008. Despite significant advances, and landmark elections last year that saw the opposition win power, the country remains amongst the poorest in the world. It is vulnerable to crime, corruption, and the growing power of South American drugs cartels. The UK has been Sierra Leone's major donor since its military intervention in 2000 - the last successful military intervention before the Iraq war. However, slow progress and uncertain prospects for the country mean that the UK is keen to broaden the responsibility for supporting Sierra Leone. There are good signs that the government of Sierra Leone is serious about reform. But if it is to cement stability and growth, it will need to find new international partners, continue its reform efforts, and deter drug-traffickers from establishing themselves in the country. Most importantly, it will need to show greater leadership, confidence and direction to both voters and donors to ensure that widespread goodwill is not eroded by uncertainty and drift.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Post Colonialism, Poverty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Roger Middleton
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Piracy off the coast of Somalia has more than doubled in 2008; so far over 60 ships have been attacked. Pirates are regularly demanding and receiving million-dollar ransom payments and are becoming more aggressive and assertive. The international community must be aware of the danger that Somali pirates could become agents of international terrorist networks. Already money from ransoms is helping to pay for the war in Somalia, including funds to the US terror-listed Al-Shabaab. The high level of piracy is making aid deliveries to drought-stricken Somalia ever more difficult and costly. The World Food Programme has already been forced to temporarily suspend food deliveries. Canada is now escorting WFP deliveries but there are no plans in place to replace their escort when it finishes later this year. The danger and cost of piracy (insurance premiums for the Gulf of Aden have increased tenfold) mean that shipping could be forced to avoid the Gulf of Aden/Suez Canal and divert around the Cape of Good Hope. This would add considerably to the costs of manufactured goods and oil from Asia and the Middle East. At a time of high inflationary pressures, this should be of grave concern. Piracy could cause a major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Aden if a tanker is sunk or run aground or set on fire. The use of ever more powerful weaponry makes this increasingly likely. There are a number of options for the international community but ignoring the problem is not one of them. It must ensure that WFP deliveries are protected and that gaps in supply do not occur.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: David Simon, Alexander Johnston
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Shortly before he became President of the 'new South Africa' in May 1994, Nelson Mandela stressed that his country's relations with the region's poorer and weaker neighbours would be characterized by 'sensitivity and restraint'. This declaration of intent was welcome given South Africa's traditional dominance as the hegemonic power during the apartheid era and the resulting crude and at times violent exploitation of its neighbours' dependence, in varying degree, on the Republic's economy for a wide range of goods and services, for transport links and a market for employment. Indeed, South Africa's accession to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1994 offered the promise of a new deal in regional relations, with the new member acting as an 'engine of growth' and as a cooperative and enthusiastic supporter of purposeful and sustained regional integration.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Martin Plaut, Patrick Gilkes
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In May 1991 the capital of Eritrea, Asmara, fell to the liberation movement that had been fighting for the independence of the territory for the past thirty years. At the same time the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was captured by forces led by northern rebels from the province of Tigray. It seemed, for a moment, that the long and bloody wars that had racked the region might be at an end. The dual victories were the result of a close cooperation between the two movements that had led these struggles—the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Both had been determined to overcome authoritarian rule from Addis Ababa and had worked closely together to achieve this end. Two years later Eritrea achieved formal independence, recognized by the United Nations, by the Organization of African Unity and—most important of all—by the new rulers in Ethiopia. At the hour of victory relations between the two movements appeared genuinely warm and friendly. Yet just seven years later the divisions could hardly be deeper. Since May 1998 they have been in—or close to—open warfare. Their leaders, who were once close personal friends, are no longer on speaking terms. Tens of thousands of people have been deported or displaced and radio stations blare out vitriolic propaganda against one another. These are complex events that have been further obscured by the contradictory versions of the truth that both sides have advanced.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Migration, Nationalism, Sovereignty, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia