Justiz Assignment 12 – Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR)

Charles Justiz

The Arab Organization for Human Rights, or the AOHR, aims to create a safer life for citizens of Arab countries. The AOHR defends these citizens rights, as well as defends them from torture or persecution. The AOHR carries out extensive missions to free political prisoners in Arab countries. In some cases, the AOHR acts as a third party and in other cases, as a member of the prosecution team against countries found to be violating human rights.

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The AOHR can receive input from individual persons or organizations and when countries are found to be violating human rights, the AOHR contacts the respective authorities. The organization provides legal assistance and financial aid to victims and families of victims. The AOHR played a vital role in the creation of the Arab Institute for Human Rights in Tunisia, along with the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Arab Lawyers Union, and the Centre for Human Rights in the United Nations.

As the AOHR operates in areas where human rights are violated constantly, especially with the introduction of ISIS agency to the already established social structure, the AOHR faces large amounts of conflict in their operations. In December 2012, The Arab Organization for Human Rights published their report that cited the Palestinian Government in “inhumane practices and human rights violations” against the citizens of Palestine. The report alleges that from 2007, the Palestinian government detained 13,271 citizens, and tortured more than 90% of them, resulting in multiple deaths.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights

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The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent Palestinian human rights organization based in Gaza City. Established in 1995, a group of Palestinian lawyers and human rights activists created a foundation of principles to protect human rights and promote the rule of law, build democratic institutions promoting democratic and civil culture within Palestinian society, and support Palestinian people’s inalienable rights and independence.

PCHR reports on cases dealing with violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel. This ranges from complaints and eyewitness testimonies on any individual in the Israeli occupying forces, security services or any other persons in regards to violating human rights in accordance with international law. Unfortunately many cases go without prosecution and fail to investigate legal obligations condoning human rights violations. PCHR uses law instead of violence to seek further justice for Palestinians through a unilateral position and calls for the Israeli government to prosecute under its legal obligations under international law. They have an administrative board and multiple units dedicated to specific work for the organization such as fieldwork, legal, or economic and social rights. Reports are made weekly and include multiple publications of human rights awareness, submissions to the UN, or closure updates.

PCHR holds training courses to educate about international humanitarian law, legal terminology, and various human rights law. They hold a prisoners’ committee about prisoners’ rights and aim to socially create a long-term effect on promoting human rights in Palestinian society. PCHR defends Palestinian people from the lack of fundamental human values of the political structures established and give hope to many oppressed Palestinian refugees. They aim to generate a more strong civil society educated and committed to democratic human right ideals to improve political situations among Palestinians resident both inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories.

PCHR mission goes beyond the borders of Israel. Their groundwork is based on a universal social impact and calls for justice based on humanitarian worldwide law. They expose the violence caused by Israeli forces and provide detailed documentation and reports on every case submitted or claimed. By educating and informing, PCHR allows for strengthening a civil society and ensures the interests of each individual. They provide resources and demonstration to people subjugated by the lack of prosecution upheld by the Israeli government and exploitation of the flawed legal system currently in place. PCHR incites both the Palestinian people and the world by advocating human rights and democratic establishments. They create change from the inside out.

BY: Tamarind Jitnoom

http://rinf.com/alt-news/latest-news/ignored-root-cause-occupied-palestine-violence/ (picture)

http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/

Global Conflict and their Responders: Who, Why, and How Much?

The nature of the wars current Non-Government Organizations respond to has changed in the time during the post-Cold War era. Many such wars are domestic, fought between groups within one nation, clear battlefields are non-existent, and the distinction between military and civilian is no longer evident. Citizens of multiple nations across the globe have increasingly attributed wars to their leaders’ greed, and not only see war as destructive, and ineffective, but self-perpetuating as well. War is no longer seen as a means of restoring justice, and on the other hand, opposing war can be dangerous, as critics are seen as disloyal.

Special operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased discussion within the NGO community on what constitutes “humanitarian space.” This phrase has been used in the sense of an area protected by the imperatives of neutrality, impartiality, and independence: the cornerstones of the Non-Government Organization, ‘Oxfam Quebecs’ work in conflict areas. International NGOs flooded into the conflicted nations stated above after US invasion, creating an uproar of domestic and foreign humanitarian efforts. The United States, Great Britain, and their allies poured tens of millions of dollars into projects run by the Canadian NGO Oxfam Quebec and alternatives, lured to occupy Iraq by the $300 million CIDA spent to support the foreign occupation and reconstruction (Engler 2010).

Oxfam Quebec, dedicated to humanitarian relief operations generally attempt to maintain a policy that is consistent with the NGO/IFRC ‘Code of Conduct’ in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which has three main guidelines: the humanitarian imperative, independence, and impartiality in situations of conflict. Their purpose is to relieve human suffering regardless of political, ethnic, religious, or other affiliation. NGOs that focus specifically on conflict resolution also value their neutrality; unless they are seen as impartial, they are unlikely to be able to promote dialogue and establish common ground between the individuals and community groups, as well as governments and rebel forces with whom they work. Most human rights organizations along with Oxfam are also careful to limit their advocacy to the rights of individuals or groups, rather than take sides in the conflict.

The changing nature of war lead to three new complexities for NGO Oxfam Quebec interventions. To begin with, such wars are not governed by the strict international codes of war. Next, it is becoming ever more difficult to determine where sovereignty and political legitimacy resides during a civil war or revolution similar to the conflicts occurring in many parts of the Middle east as well as the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, it is difficult to decide where moral legitimacy resides during an opportunistic war or attempted government overthrow, with whom should an NGO negotiate, and to whom should they lend aid in such cases?

By:

Eloy Perez

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Works Cited:

http://www.globalresearch.org

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org

India Williams Assignment 12: The Red Cross

War and conflict have both taken over our world in the past centuries. In many countries, communities are in danger day by day, and governments spend billions of dollars trying to keep them safe, while also keeping focus on militaries. This is where Non-Government Organizations come in to play. NGO’s are, “dedicated to humanitarian relief operations generally attempt to maintain a policy that is consistent with the NGO/IFRC Code of Conduct, which has three main guiding principles, the humanitarian imperative, independence, and impartiality in situations of conflict” (1). One very notorious NGO is the American Red Cross.

Established in 1919, the American Red Cross jumped right into helping coordinate international relief provided outside of conflict areas (2). One conflict zone the American Red Cross has helped tremendously in is Iraq. Providing humanitarian relief to the endangered men, women, and children fleeing violence in high conflict zones of Iraq. Although they are not an Iraq based organization, they still help out those in danger no matter what the nation. With the help of thousands of volunteers and vendors, the American Red Cross provides meals, water, and other relief items to families in need. Another contribution the American Red Cross does is donate money to other more local organizations such as the Iraqi Red Crescent. They donated $50,000 to them to strengthen their ability to provide lifesaving assistance to the displaced people in their nation.

So many families are in need of assistance in order to survive all over the world, and the American Red Cross has saves millions of those lives. It is their job to feed, shelter, and provide emotional support to individuals and communities world-wide. They provide blood, teach skills, supports military members and families, and most importantly save lives. Being a non-profit organization, they have made an enormous impact on a large percentage of the world, and honestly without them, many lives may have been lost and communities crushed to the ground.

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1.) http://www.usip.org/node/5606

2.) http://www.redcross.org/about-us/history/global-red-cross-network/international-federation

The Impact of Solidarites in Afghanistan

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The Solidarites logo, a symbol of its humanitarian efforts

Assignment #12

Hao, Lucy

The conflict in Afghanistan has created a chronic humanitarian crisis that has made it difficult for civilians to receive resources and aid. Currently, 31% of Afghans are malnourished, and more than 70% do not have access to drinking water or sanitary facilities. An absence of infrastructure and public service has caused a large number of Afghan refugees in neighboring countries, as well as a large number of displaced people in Afghanistan itself.  Mass urbanization has caused underdeveloped rural areas and crowded, unsanitary cities. Due to the struggle for power between opposition groups and the government, the welfare of the civilians is often forgotten, leaving the responsibility to provide for the people to the NGOs who operate in Afghanistan. One such NGO is Solidarites. According to its website, Solidarites’s mission is “provide aid as quickly and as efficiently as possible to endangered populations by meeting their vital needs: drinking water, food and shelter.” Its involvement in Afghanistan is mostly providing for the needs of the population, whether that be food, natural resources, sanitation, or shelter. However, with the new wave of tactics of the opposition groups and international military forces to gain favor of the people, it’s become more difficult for Solidarites to operate.

The presence of Solidarites in Afghanistan and other NGOs around the world previously dominated humanitarian work in conflict zones, but increasingly, international military forces like NATO and opposition groups like the Taliban have become involved in providing for the population. This is a result of the support and loyalty NGOs were able to gain from the civilians. Especially in Afghanistan, with the power struggle between the government and opposition groups, Solidarites’s work has indirectly and unintentionally created another battle ground for the fighting parties: the hearts of the people.  Moreover, with the increasing involvement of international military forces and the Taliban, it has become more and more difficult for Solidarites to remain neutral. Solidarites now chooses to maintain a low-key profile in order to avoid violence, as both sides are actively trying to undermine each other’s humanitarian missions. The interference of foreign militaries also has made it increasingly difficult for Solidarites to operate independently without the help of military action, a key component to its purpose. Because of their principles, Solidarites refuses to enter areas that have been cleared by international military forces, leaving large populations dependent on foreign militaries or the Taliban for aid. However, Solidarites combats these effects through their programs that teach the populations to be self-sufficient.

Solidarites’s focuses are responding to the needs of the population and also helping civilians become self-sufficient. It emphasizes management of natural resources. One of Solidarites’s programs teaches the rural Afghan population how to secure subsistence through agricultural development, in hopes that the population will eventually be independent of the groups and even Solidarites for food and resourves. Another program in urban Kabul has established water cleaning stations, garbage collection points, and community latrines in the city and also trained civilians to operate these systems. By teaching civilians to become more independent of external aid, Solidarites has begun to diminish the influence international military groups and opposition groups had on the population.

Resources:

https://www.globalpolicy.org/ngos/role-of-ngos-in-the-international-arena/49066.html
http://www.solidarites.org/en/our-missions/afghanistan/our-action
http://solidarites.org/en/our-missions/afghanistan/context

 

Victims of Their Own Demise

Reina Farji

Fundacion Esperanza is a Colombian NGO that foresees the problem of internal human trafficking in Colombia, which is worsening with time. According to the United Nations (UN) and Colombian officials, they highlight the lack of government attention to the domestic aspect of the trade. Their works with trafficking victims has seen a doubling in the number of reports of people trafficked within the country in recent years.
The long-running conflict in Colombia is a major factor exacerbating domestic trafficking. Colombia has the second-highest number of internally displaced people in the world, at almost 4 million, with such people at high risk of being exploited by traffickers. Women in poor rural areas, indigenous people and relatives of members of criminal organizations are also vulnerable to being trafficked within the country, with forced begging a particular problem in cities.

In addition one out of three victims is a child, trafficking people consist of holding them against their will with the use of violence, drugs, coercion or by deception. These victims are sold and transported to other countries specifically to drug lords with the purpose of exploiting them in sexual labor such as prostitution or with the purpose of selling their organs. In other cases it has seen that these people are sold, to be exploited in textile factories or domestic labor. The main problem is that this NGO can’t control when this happens and where it happens. However they have developed strategies and prevention measures to potential victims and furthermore have promoted many laws to be enforced by the government to prevent human trafficking.

Many people live under laws in countries that do not offer extensive protection or punishment of human trafficking. The UN has informed this countries that this “underground” crime will not be tolerated and urges these governments to send a clear message to the public (crime groups and victims). The UN also recognizes the fact that these crime groups are feared by their own government which leads these crime groups to continue with this horrendous acts. In other cases these governments lack the money and resources to prosecute and punish these crime groups.

Although human trafficking is mainly caused by crime groups and drug cartels in many countries like Colombia these people’s lifestyle are terrible enough (either due to poverty or governmental laws) to lead them to look for an alternative lifestyle and they go looking for trouble. They go look for people who “specializes” in transporting them out of the country ( in an “underground” way) to other countries like the United States.

Promising a desired lifestyle and the “American dream”. Consequently these people fall to become deceived victims of human trafficking. In a way they were the victims of their own demise, kind of like a Greek tragedy. They tried to run away of some danger and they fell to one even worse than what they had before.. Fundacion Esperanza understands the conditions of these countries and instead of ignoring why people would fall to be victims of their own demise they provide them with counseling and resources to legally find a way to escape their mother country rather than to become victims of their own dreams and ideals. Fundacion Esperanza works along the UN to inform and prevent human trafficking in Colombia and many other Latin American countries, Asia and Europe.

http://www.fundacionesperanza.org.co/annos.shtml
http://www.fundacionesperanza.org.co/quienessomos.shtml
http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/anti-trafficking-laws-not-enough-to-save-colombias-victims
http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/un-warns-growing-human-trafficking-colombia

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The international Crisis Group and its impact On Tunisia Assignment #12 , post # 8

International-Crisis-Group

Rueda,Carlos

The international crisis group is a conflict prevention NGO that researches causes for conflict and attempts to prevent and resolve conflict in many different areas. Thus, we can look at this NGO’s impact on the recent violence around Tunisia’s borders.  A recent increase in violence around the Tunisian border is due to the advance of radical Islam in the Middle East.  Drug traffickers and Jihad activists are now working together, in which is causing a very unstable situation in Tunisia.  Thus the crisis group has now began to head to the area and make reports on the current situation.

The crisis group is now offering many options or plans of action to the Tunisian government in order to down the potential violent risks on the Tunisian border.  These reports alone are impacting the dynamics of violence in this region. The crisis group is deeply analyzing the situation and working in conjunction with that government to diffuse the violence. By implementing many plans of action, they are diffusing the potential violence and calming down the calamities, and ideological differences down in that area. One of the potential plans that are being carried  out is that Tunisia is to create a National Intelligence agency, to regulate the activities of the contraband and drug cartels while dissipating the violence around the border of the country.

As we can denote, the social impact of the international crisis group is extremely significant in this area as the continuous work will eventually bring down social tensions between the Muslim extremists and others around the area. As the Tunisian government is strengthened and is assisted in the dilemma the conflict will begin to be regulated and brought down.  This will not only make the country safer but will accomplish the global impact the NGO wants. Its advancement of civil society and order will be accomplished here.

image:http://www.khaama.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/International-Crisis-Group.png

Sources: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/middle-east-north-africa/north-africa/tunisia/b041-tunisia-s-borders-ii-terrorism-and-regional-polarisation.aspx

Mercy Corps Social Aid Through Improvements in Water and Child Psychology for Syrian Refugees

Zabbatino, Daniela

Assignment 12

Mercy Corps is a global humanitarian organization that helps transform people’s lives.  They are currently composed of 4000 people speaking 100 languages, helping people in 42 countries. It was founded in 1979 as Save the Refugees Fund by Dan O’Neill.  This was in effort to help the people fleeing from Cambodia due to food shortages, war and genocide.  What started with one country quickly spread to many others, addressing the needs for relief, recovery and resilience among refugees.

Their work eventually extended to the Syrian Conflict, seeking to help families fleeing from awful conditions.  In Syria the civil war that is occurring has caused over 9 million people to become displaced and run to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.  This put a strain on the native people of those host countries as well because they now had to share their resources, living space, and jobs, which as we have learned can lead to an increase in the likelihood of conflict between the people.  In order to help these refugees and the natives of the host countries, Mercy Corps has worked on addressing emergency relief, water shortages, child resilience, livelihoods, and conflict mitigation.

In Jordan, even though Zaatari is considered the second largest refugee camp in the world, more of the problems come from the neighboring communities where refugees have moved, clashing with the natives.  Mercy corps has worked on improving shelters that are located outside the camp, as well as worked with community groups in order to try to mediate growing tensions by finding simple, common solutions to the problematic situations.  Jordan is also one of the driest countries in the world; this plus an increase in refugees and a leaking infrastructure put a huge strain on the water supply.  The NGO created wells, aided household and school remodeling to efficiently use and conserve the low resources.  They also renovated municipal water systems to effectively serve the increase in population.  These improvements lead to a decrease in tensions over water and shelter in the areas, as well as leading to healthier lifestyles of the refugees as there was an increase in water and a better source of housing. Similar projects are also seen in Lebanon.

As well as addressing water concerns, there is also a push to address the mental well-being of children.  In Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, playgrounds and Child-Friendly Spaces are being constructed in order to provide a center for positive mental development in these children who have traumatized.  Many of them have seen death, violence and torture of family members, friends and many others.  These images are hard to process for young children, and will often show up as reoccurring nightmares, as they are ingrained into the child’s mind.  Child refugees can become aggressive and emotionally unstable if there trauma is not addressed at a young age.  They can also have trouble making connections with people and their learning abilities can be compromised.  All three of things combined are an unsafe combination of elements that can lead to an increase in violence as the children age.  By intervening at a young age, Mercy Corps is lowering the risk of violence in these areas by offering them protection, managing their psychological well being, and making sure they can healthily integrate into society.

Sources:

http://www.mercycorps.org/about-us/our-history http://www.mercycorps.org/tags/syria-crisis  http://www.mercycorps.org/articles/jordan-lebanon-syria/qa-how-were-protecting-syrian-refugee-kids 

HALO Trust – Land Mine Removal (Post #5)

Peter Reipold

According to Walsh and Walsh, approximately 15,000 to 25,000 people are killed by the world’s almost 110 million active mines. Additionally, there are also many other types of unexploded bombs and stockpiles of these and other types of weapons that pose extreme danger to the civilian population. The The Halo Trust is a British NGO that was established in 1988 with the goal of addressing the issues of landmines and other unexploded ordinances as well as the destruction of stockpiles of mines, small arms, and ammunition. They have operation all around the globe from Cambodia to Colombia; both in former conflict zones (such as Angola) and current conflict zones (such as Afghanistan).

Demining in Afganistan.

Demining in Afghanistan.

The organization has had a significant impact on the areas that it has operated in, taking over part of the government role of protecting civilians. In the case of Afghanistan the removal of mines and other unexploded devices has a major effect on the citizens of the conflict allowing them some level of normalcy. For example, according to Human Rights Watch, the United States dropped cluster bombs on several Afghan villages when they were part of the front line, and some of these did not explode and thus posed a danger to the villagers and limited their ability to rebuild. The Halo Trust was able to remove some of the explosives allowing for the people to resume activities. Aside from it’s impact on the citizens, mine removal has a substantial effect of the US operations. It can help win over the ‘hearts and minds’ of the citizens should it actually prove to help them. However, they can also allow the US to use more dangerous types of munitions (such as cluster bombs), as they have someone who will take care of it for them, so there would be less concern about the effects of possible action.

 

Citations:

Walsh, Nicholas E., and Wendy S. Walsh. “Rehabilitation of Landmine Victims — the Ultimate Challenge.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2003). WHO. World Health Organization. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/81/9/Walsh.pdf&gt;.

Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch United States/ Afghnistan Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and Their Use by the United States in Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Image Source:

Halo Trust. Afghan Deminer Using an Ebinger 420H in the Ghorband Valley. The HALO Trust. Web. 28 Nov. 2014.

Assignment 12: Human Rights Watch

Doug Ghim

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The Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a non government organization which researches cases worldwide in fighting for human rights. They have roughly 400 staff members and they travel around the world finding cases that deal with issues with human rights. They often partner with local human rights groups and investigate these cases.

The HRW are often found working in areas that are not as developed and in social turmoil such as countries in Africa and the Middle East. Basically, the HRW attempts to bring justice to societies whose social structure is either collapsed or undeveloped. Nations such as Libya who are unstable and have broken social structures often are dangerous, and hate crimes are present during these times. The HRW will then often investigate these specific cases and try to bring in some structure and legislation to be able to maintain control of the social issues present.

For instance, the HRW had recent activity in the African nation of Congo. Congo is often referred to as the rape capital of the world. The reason behind the high sexual violence is the nations militia. Often the rape cases involve armed men who torture and abuse women, threatening them with their weapons. Because of the social structure in Congo, these war lords are often considered high figures, and are feared. People are scared to stand up to these figures because of the enormous amount of power they hold. The judicial system is weak and is frequently criticized for not doing enough to enforce the laws that Congo has regarding sexual violence. Without the help of a third party, this phenomenon would likely continue for years until someone would finally stop it. However, the HRW came into the nation, investigated these cases and interviewed countless victims. This month, November 2014, the first Congolese general was successfully prosecuted for sexual violence. Although society is not completely changed in Congo with this one case, it shows the public that justice is being enforced, and therefore could potentially change in the future. This one case is just the start: it sets the precedent of how the judicial system must work in sexual violence cases. It gives Congo a little bit more structure it needs so that they can suppress the corruption within its state.

Although many of the cases are too early to show the full impact of what the HRW has done, the future potential of these societies are apparent. The HRW states, “Change doesn’t come easily, and in some cases it can be painfully slow. And it rarely comes from our efforts alone, but rather from the combined efforts of numerous groups and activists.” The HRW has the ability to use the judicial system in efforts of stopping hate crimes, and ultimately change society for the better.