A recent press conference held with the United Nations Human Rights Council revealed that the proposed draft resolution that had been prepared by the council would be rejected by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in its entirety.
When questioned on the expected effectiveness of the proposals, the delegate for Israel stated that while they are unsure as to whether they will achieve their intended outcomes they feel it is important to place pressure on the DPRK. The delegate also mentioned the importance of “not watering down the provisions” in attempting to reach consensus with DPRK. This highlights the stance which the international community has taken against the human rights violation which the DPRK have been accused of committing.
However, if DPRK is unwilling to consider the proposals whatsoever, and rejects the draft resolution “in its entirety,” it can render the entire process redundant. Past experience has shown the DPRK highly resistant to international pressure, and it is unlikely that this draft resolution will alter this situation. It leaves the UNHRC with the uncomfortable position of either; watering down provisions and attempting to reach consensus on some grounds with DPRK, or creating extensive, unfeasible proposals which will be rejected entirely. The DPRK claimed there was a need for states to reach out and create dialogue with them, and while it was clear that efforts were made, it appears that the UNHRC has moved beyond this and described the representative for DPRK as “hostile and unwilling.” As the draft resolution was rejected entirely by the DPRK, it appears the UNHRC has opted to take a stance, and reaffirm their view on the alleged human rights violations. Whether this draft resolution will place enough pressure on the DPRK to begin amending its violations, or whether it will be outright ignored remains to be seen.
The crisis that transpired yesterday on the Kenyan-Somalian border dominated much of the discussion that was led in the Security Council. The debate that arose centred on the removal of Kenyan forces in the area of Somalia known as Jubaland. While this remains a present and immediate threat, it has been noted that this has been done so at the expense of the current situation regarding the move of militant forces towards Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The push into the Jubaland was achieved by relocating Kenyan forces that were involved in the AMISON mission. Kenyan forces were observed abandoning their positions in order to assist in the push into Jubaland. As a direct result of this, previously liberated areas were lost to Al-Shabaab forces and it has been reported that these forces are now moving towards Mogadishu. Somalia now faces two immediate threats; the Kenyan annexation of the Jubaland and the threat of an attack on Mogadishu.
It would be expected then that any discussion on the issue would reflect a holistic approach and encompass both issues, however this was not the case in Security Council meetings yesterday. While discussions attempted to find solutions for the Kenyan annexation of Jubaland, with proposals ranging from economic sanctions and punitive measures, there was little discussion to be found on the issue of Al-Shabaab forces moving to Mogadishu.
When questioned on this, the Security Council did admit that discussions had led away from the Al-Shabaab crisis, with the delegate for Azerbaijan emphasising today the need to address the immediate threat which Somalia faces from these militant forces. It is hopeful that discussions today will lead to an effective solution which addresses the weakened nature of the AMISON forces, and the Al-Shabaab forces converging on Mogadishu.
A series of aggressive acts taken by Kenya quickly escalated throughout Security Council meetings today, where it was detailed how Kenyan forces have taken control of Jubaland and have received support from the US in this process.
The incidents began with an appeal by the Kenyan president for the Security Council to approve an extension of the powers granted to them in combating the forces of Al-Shabaab in Somalian territory. However, with no action being taken by the Security Council on this, Kenyan forces moved into the area of Somalia known as Jubaland, a long contested area of land between the two nations.
This push resulted in a retreat of Al-Shabaab forces in the area, however due to Kenyan forces leaving their positions in the AMISOM mission to assist in this push, Al-Shabaab have secured positions that were previously liberated. Tensions rose as it was discovered that these militant forces are moving towards Mogadishu, in Somalia. The president of Somalia pleaded with the Security Council today to act upon this issue so that his people could be protected from acts of aggression from both Kenyan and Al-Shabaab forces.
While Kenya claimed initially that this move was to drive out Al-Shabaab forces, it has since claimed the area as a de facto territory with Kenyan law being applied and enforced through civilian police deployed in the area, an act which is in violation of human rights law.This escalated further when it was revealed in an intercepted document obtained through WikiLeaks that the presence of US drone activity was confirmed. The document detailed the use of MQ-9 drones for the purposes of providing close air support and reconnaissance to the Kenyan forces, however due to the continuous press lockouts that have occurred there has been no response from the US on this that we are able to report accurately on.
Following an open discussion on the issue of sectarian violence in Pakistan, the press delegates present at the Security Council were ejected approximately half way into the first meeting. This followed after directors emphasised the power delegates have in limiting the press’ ability to report during a suspension. This has raised concerns over how the press is able to effectively report on and analyse events when there is no direct knowledge of what transpires.
When questioned as to the necessity of this action, the delegate for Guatemala claimed that during early stages of the discussion there was a need to find out where individual delegates stand on issues and how they intend to proceed, without misleading the press and its readers.
However, despite this attempt to ensure that only accurate information is released, much of the information that was supplied during the suspension was provided only by delegates wishing to remain anonymous. Whether the information that was supplied is any more reliable is highly questionable as it likely represents their own perspective of the issues and comes with the disclaimer of any bias that they may hold.
Sources that were spoken to claim Pakistan have taken a hardline stance against any multilateral proposals and others claim that there is no willingness on their part to accept any offers of outside help. However, claims such as this cannot be verified and it reflects the restrictive limitations that are imposed upon press delegates attempting to report on these events.
Despite the delegate for Guatemala’s assurance that this will occur only in the initial stages, it is expected that events such as this will continue to occur during following meetings.
The United Nations Security Council will meet this week in an attempt to address the growing issue of sectarian violence in the nation of Pakistan and its surrounding regions. The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the levels of violence that have troubled Pakistan for much of its history. This can be attributed largely to the long-standing religious divides that exist between segments of the population worsening and failure on the part of the Pakistani government to act effectively against these groups.
Growing tensions between the Sunni and the Shi’a, the two major denominations of Islam, have seen these acts of sectarian violence escalate significantly in scale and pose a substantial threat not only for Pakistan where much of these acts are localised, but also for the world at large where the consequences of Islamic conflict in this region are much greater in scope.
There has been little effort from the Pakistani government to restrain these acts, due primarily to the entrenchment of individual ethnic and religious prejudices in the political leaders. As a result, the influence of these extremist groups has grown largely unchecked and extends to significant control over areas such as government and education, ultimately increasing the proportion of those who are sympathetic to the causes of these groups.
As such, the deeply held prejudices within the general population and the existing connections between Pakistani officials and terrorist groups has significantly reduced the ability for the government to address this issue, should it even wish to do so.
The Security Council will attempt to address this growing threat to global security, but whether it will be able to provide a diplomatic resolution to this complex issue remains to be seen.