Ross Reynolds talks with Judith Kumin, former United Nation's official and current professor of International Human Rights at the University of New Hampshire, about why the number of displaced people in the world is on the rise.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:11 pm
South Sudan has been in a downward spiral for months, and now the United Nations says hundreds of civilians were rounded up and killed by a rebel group when it recently took control in the town of Bentiu, an oil hub.
It's been 20 years since the Rwandan genocide, in which political ideology and ethnic hatred gave license to thousands of Hutus to kill Tutsi families. But ethnic ideology may not have unleashed the genocide if the international community had not stepped back and allowed it to happen.
One notorious episode of abandonment changed forever the role of the United Nations peacekeeper. Early in the morning of April 7, 1994, thousands of Tutsis began arriving at a school on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali, seeking the protection of Belgian soldiers stationed there for the U.N.
It has been 33 years since the United States and Iran had diplomatic relations. Now, after an exchange of letters between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, there is new hope for diplomatic dialogue between the two countries.
Iran is currently under UN and Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear program. It claims it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, but according to the BBC, the United States and its allies suspect Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon. Next week, Rouhani will be in New York for the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.
Dr. Shaul Bakhash is the Clarence Robinson Professor of History at George Mason University. He explains the complexity of diplomacy between the two countries.
The United Nations General Assembly opened this week and on the top of the agenda is the crisis in Syria. UN weapons inspectors said that based on their investigation, chemical weapons were definitely used in an August 21 attack of a city on the outskirts of Damascus.
While many officials believe evidence points to Bashar al-Assad's government as being the perpetrator of the attack, Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that the UN and Western officials have incorrectly tied the Syrian government to that attack.
Fred Weir is the Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, he explains why Russia is still blaming the Syrian rebels for the chemical weapons attack.
The United Nations inspectors say they have convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used in a large scale attack in Syria last month. In a report released earlier today the inspectors said the samples they collected from an area of Damascus provided clear and convincing evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used.
The inspectors were not charged with determining who launched the chemical weapons. The news closely follows this weekend’s announcement that Russia and the United States had reached agreement on a framework for Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program. The United States and its allies say military force is still a possibility if Syria fails to follow through on its agreement. Meanwhile the war in Syria continues.
Borzou Daragahi has been covering events in the Middle East for the Financial Times. He’s based in Cairo. He explains what the reaction in the Middle East has been to the announcement that Syria would give up its chemical weapons.
Things are changing fast regarding the situation in Syria. UN technicians are working around the clock to analyze samples from the chemical attacks in Syria. President Obama says he won’t wait for those results.
But definitive proof that Assad used chemical weapons – either from the UN or from another intelligence agency – could have far reaching consequences.
The BBC’s Middle East editor Sebastian Usher has been keeping tabs on UK politicians since they rejected military intervention last week. Usher says proof that Assad used chemical weapons could be enough to tip the balance of public opinion in the UK. He says that could lead to a second parliamentary vote, a vote that could reverse the country’s position and authorize the UK to join the US led coalition against Syria.
Meanwhile, the UN is urging a more cautious approach. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon suggested yesterday that any offensive strike in Syria without UN Security Council approval would be illegal.
Sebastian Usher spoke today with KUOW’s David Hyde.
Thousands of Syrians have crossed the border into neighboring countries to escape the civil war that has been raging since September of 2011. Simon Eccleshall is the head of disaster and crisis management with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. He joins us from Geneva to talk about efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Syria.