The Crimean Referendum: Is it Legal Under International Law?

The answer  depends on which part of international law you listen to and how many guns you have.  

On March 16, 2014 the Crimea held a referendum on whether to succeed from Ukraine and join Russia. On March 12, 2014, the Economist published an article titled “Whether Succession in Crimea would be Legal.” The article and this paper concludes that the referendum is defiantly illegitimate though whether it violates international law is a bit harder to determine.

Crimean Referendum

Is the Referendum Legal?

So, what does international law say about state succession? The Economist article argues that international law does not recognize a right to succeed per se. On the other hand, international law does not prohibit unilateral declarations of independence. In the case of the Crimea, the article argues that international bodies will not object to a succession nor will they defend the region’s rights to succeed.

Continue reading

Why Are 30 Million People Still Enslaved Today?

A Map of the World's Slave Workforce

A Map of the World’s Slave Workforce

Slavery may have been formally abolished in almost every single country today, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. The first edition of the Global Slavery Index came out this year form the Walk Free Foundation, an anti slavery NGO that estimates that there are currently 30 million modern slaves today.  According to the index, the countries with the highest number of slaves per capita are Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India and Nepal. However, the, countries with the highest total number of slaves are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Continue reading

Nigeria’s Oil Thieves, Plundering the Nation into Poverty

Nigeria's stolen oil trasported in small boats to refinment

Nigeria’s stolen oil trasported in small boats to refinment

Black is the new gold today, especially in Nigeria. It is Africa’s largest oil producer and 13th largest in the world. However, Nigeria is facing a major problem. Oil is being stolen at an industrious scale with 100,000 barrels stolen every day costing the country over $8 billion in lost revenue a year. Oil theft is  operated by sophisticated multinational criminal enterprises that makes Nigeria’s oil industry very complicated with the lines between what is legal and illegal becoming very blurred.

Continue reading

Syria: The World has Abandoned 2.5 Million Syrians to Suffer

Number of Syrians Displaced to Neighbouring Countries

Number of Syrians Displaced to Neighbouring Countries

Lets face it, the world has totally abandoned the Syrian people. This is probably the worst case of the world’s indifference towards an international crisis since the Rwandan Genocide. Let’s recap. Since the Syrian Civil War started, 110,000 people have lost their lives and over 2.5 million have become internally displaced or are camping in squalled refugee camps in neighbouring countries. That number is expected to skyrocket to 3 million by the end of this year. The amount of money donated by relief organizations is not even a drop in the bucket than the amount needed by these refugees.

Continue reading

Climate Change: Punishing the Poor for Our Deadly Sins

The world has seen remarkable declines in global poverty over the last three decades. The number of people living on less than $1.25 a day in developing countries has decreased from 50% in 1981 to 21% in 2010, despite the 59% increase in the population of the developing world. We should be proud of the progress we have achieved in reducing global poverty. However, there are still over 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty today. The strides we have made in combating global poverty over the past few decades are being threatened by a lethal force, climate change.

It is widely agreed by the scientific community that climate change is now a reality. The ability of the world’s most vulnerable to survive is directly tied to the alarming changes to the earth’s climate. Climate change will most strikingly effect developing nations because of their geographic conditions, their climate, their high dependence on natural resources and their inability to adapt to these rapid climactic changes. Current international development strategies which heavily focuses on foreign aid tend to overlook the relationship between climate change and poverty.

Continue reading

The New Bottom Billion: Why We Need Give Aid to Poor People Instead of Poor Countries

What if I told you that starting tomorrow, we should reduce or even stop giving foreign aid to the world’s poorest countries. Instead, we should direct more of our resources towards middle income countries. How would you react? Its a pretty absurd move right? No, thats exactly what we should be doing.

Countries living under 1.25 a day

Population live under $1.25 a day in millions

The notion that the world’s poorest people, diseased ridden and malnourished bottom billion live in the world’s poorest countries has been the accepted thinking in international development for many decades. But, this thinking is outdated and does not reflect the realities of today’s rapidly changing world. In 1990, over 90% of the world’s poorest people live in the world’s poorest countries. Today however, 75% of the world’s poorest people; those living under $1.25 a day, now live in middle income countries. That over 960 million people who are now the “new bottom billion.” This shift is projected to continue for foreseeable future.

Continue reading

Syria: Preparing for the World’s Next Genocide

The situation in Syria is a dire state. Since the uprising began in March, 2011, over 60,000 Syrians have been killed and 600,000 displaced. With a recent petition by 58 UN member states to refer Syria to the ICC and the head of Syria’s opposition invited to Moscow, Bashar al-Assad’s days in power are numbered.

Death and Destruction in Syria

Crumbled buildings after shelling by government forces

What would a post Assad Syria look like? Would it even be Peaceful? The sad reality is that the killing has just begun. Assad bears sole responsibility for starting the unrest, but he does not bear sole responsibility for crimes already committed or for crimes yet to come. We will bear witness to the world’s next genocide against the 2.5 million Alawites and possibly other ethnic minorities. As the bloodshed continues, Syria is now entrenched along ethic and sectarian lines.  Despite being a Sunni majority country, Syria’s economic, political and military leaders hail from the Alawite minority.

Continue reading