In War, Not All Violence is Equal

The use of military force may reduce killings, but not necessarily sexual violence.

On 19 June this year, the UN marked the very first International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict. Meanwhile, women and men continue to be subjected to sexual violence on a daily basis in several of the wars taking place today, for example in Syria and South Sudan.

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A grieving family during the Bosnian War. PHOTO: Creative Commons

This Week in South Sudan – Week 33

Top stories of the week: SPLM (IO) leader Riek Machar has fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Recruitment of child soldiers is rising in South Sudan, with more than 650 children having been recruited by armed groups so far this year. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has ordered an independent investigation into the July raid… Read more »

India’s Membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime

India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 27 June 2016. The MTCR is an informal and voluntary association of suppliers of ballistic and cruise missiles capable of delivering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and other unmanned aerial vehicles. It was established in 1987 with merely seven countries. Though the MTCR does not force any of its members to take ‘legally binding obligations’, in reality, members normally incorporate decisions taken in the informal body. During the Cold War, as more countries joined the MTCR, there were frequent struggles among its members over harmonization. In 1992, the US put India along with a Russian entity sanctions under MTCR for transacting business in cryogenic engines. Though these particular sanctions captured the global limelight, there were many other curbs on India by the MTCR.

The Agni - III Missile passes through the Rajpath during the 59th Republic Day Parade - 2008, in New Delhi on January 26, 2008.

The Agni – III Missile passes through the Rajpath during the 59th Republic Day Parade – 2008, in New Delhi on January 26, 2008.

In 1999, the members of the MTCR began a process to draft the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, also known as The Hague Code of Conduct, to counter the threat emanating from ballistic missile proliferation. It was opened for the international community, and India participated in the negotiations process, but did not subscribe to the Code. In recent years, India has set its sight on membership in all the multilateral export control regimes, including the MTCR and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). In 2005, a joint India-US statement effected harmonization between the Indian regulatory system and the MTCR. Efforts were gradually increased, and on 2 June 2016, in the run-up to the MTCR meeting on India’s membership later that month, the Indian government finally issued a press release through which it informed that India had subscribed to The Hague Code of Conduct.

This Week in South Sudan – Week 32

Tuesday 9 August The government of South Sudan (GOSS) is seeking a US$1.9 billion loan from China to develop its oilfields and roads, as the inflation rate, which exceeded 660 per cent last month, continues to increase. SPLA and SPLA (IO) forces clashed around Yei, Central Equatoria State. Clashes have also been reported by the… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 31

Monday 1 August The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) warned that further deterioration of the security situation in South Sudan could lead to the cessation of oil production, practically the only source of government revenue. Tuesday 2 August Lam Akol, agriculture minister and the leader of SPLM-Democratic Change resigned, stating the August 2015 peace… Read more »

Several Securities at Stake in Rio?

This Friday the iconic Maracanã stadium in Rio is set to host the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games. For the first time in South America, the world yet again comes together to celebrate sports, unity and diversity. Against the backdrop of turbulent times marked by all sorts of global economic, geopolitical and humanitarian challenges, the Olympic enterprise has traditionally promoted a sports-for-good rhetoric, and the games are often portrayed as one of the best tools the international community has at its disposal to highlight values linked to peace and global cohesion. The run-up to the games in Rio, however, has been characterized by a range of concerns and controversies. Contradicting the optimism inspired by the noble and benevolent Olympic values, the road to Rio has been marked by doubt and apprehension concerning the city’s safety as well as Brazil’s ability to provide and ensure security during the event.

A Brazilian Army Forces soldier patrols on Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

A Brazilian Army Forces soldier patrols on Copacabana beach ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

As noticed in the past days and months by a wealth of international and Brazilian media outlets, an economic recession, a political crisis amid acute corruption scandals, the impeachment of president Rousseff, a Zika epidemic, construction delays, and concerns with crime, terrorism and water pollution, have all led audiences to ask: How safe and how ready will Rio be for the Olympics?

This Week in South Sudan – Week 30

Monday 25 July The recent upsurge in fighting in South Sudan, and subsequent refugee influx is overwhelming Ugandan reception centres. Tuesday 26 July President Salva Kiir appointed and swore in Taban Deng Gai as his new first vice president, replacing SPLM (IO) leader Riek Machar. While the UN warned Salva Kiir that new appointments must… Read more »

This Week in South Sudan – Week 29

Monday 18 July IGAD calls for full demilitarization of Juba, demanding the withdrawal of SPLA and SPLA (IO) rival forces. Alleged clashes between government forces and the SPLA (IO) in Leer county, Unity State. Tuesday 19 July China National Petroleum Corp. evacuated 191 employees, leaving 77 people to try to maintain normal operation. The African… Read more »

Moral Readiness – Do We Speak too Little About it?

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Readiness is about more than simply the emergency services and the other key homeland-security institutions. It is about all of us and our shared values, what Jens Stoltenberg in the days after 22 July 2011 spoke of as the need for more democracy, openness and humanity. Photo: Sjur Stølen

Five years have passed since the shocking events of 22 July 2011. We still notice how these events have taken hold of us. We notice it all the more when similar terrorist attacks take place elsewhere in the world: in Istanbul, Dallas or Nice. We shed tears in sympathy with the victims. And of course we fear for our own safety.

One of the most important debates that follows in the wake of terrorism is the debate about readiness and security. The newspaper Dagbladet deserves credit for its active coverage of Norway’s state of readiness. What have we learnt? What has been done? What has not been done? Are we capable of protecting our own population?

These questions are both important and timely, and much of the debate has been of high quality. But readiness is not only about the emergency services and other key homeland-security institutions.

A Sense of Community in Times of Terrorism

Streets of Oslo following 22 July 2015. Photo: Jørgen Carling, PRIO

“I am now even more convinced than I was five years ago that a sense of community has to be part of the solution to counter terrorism”. Photo: Jørgen Carling, PRIO

In contrast to the impression one may derive from “the debate about the debate” in Norway, “we” – the overwhelming majority – can agree on many points, including the fact that we stand united in the struggle against extremism. We succeeded in doing so in the “rose marches” five years ago, and we can continue to do so now that the roses commemorating 22 July, 2011 have long since withered.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 22 July, I wrote about “fragmentation in times of terrorism” [in Norwegian]. My message was that stigmatization and enemy images create and reinforce fragmentation. Like many others in Norway at that time, I called for people to stand united, and to remain united after the roses had withered.

The roses of 22 July have withered. Since then we have unfortunately seen several – albeit smaller – seas of flowers in the streets of Oslo: outside the embassies of France, Belgium and the United States. These tributes have symbolized grief and solidarity with those affected. These roses have also withered. Sadly it will not be long, however, before more flowers take their place.