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.
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.
Posted in International Law, International Security, War and Civil Unrest
Tagged Crimea, Customary International Law, referendum, Russia, self determination, soft law, state succession, The Economist, Ukraine
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.
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.
America pivots to Asia. China pivots to Latin America
Proposed Nicaraguan Canal
America, you better watch your back because China is coming into your backyard. Earlier this year, China has announced a $40 billion investment to build a canal through Nicaragua that is to be an incredible engineering marvel. The proposed canal is still in the early stages of development which was rapidly pushed through the Nicaraguan parliament earlier this year. The potential waterway is expected to dwarf the Panama Canal both in economic prospects and in sheer size and glamor. The Panama Canal has long been associated with the military and economic might of America in the region.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted in Human Rights, Middle East, War and Civil Unrest
Tagged Alawites, Arab Spring, Bashar al-Assad, genocide, military intervention, post Assad, Shia, Sunni, Syria