The Humanitarian Times

April 2, 1999

 

- LAST AID AGENCIES LEAVE KOSOVO - DIRECT OBSERVATION REDUCED: Intl aid agencies withdrew all intl. staff from Kosovo earlier this week. The Intl. Comm. of the Red Cross & Médecins sans Frontières left at last on Monday. The Mother Theresa Society shut operations in Kosovo after attacks on their facilities.

- INTERNALLY DISPLACED IN KOSOVO ESTIMATES: 200,000 to 500,000. Kosovo’s capital Pristina is referred to now as a ghost town. Aid agencies have no access inside Kosovo, to provide protection or food aid. The Intl. Crisis Group reports "Some 20,000-30,000 Kosovars are trapped in the Drenica area, moving from one place to another to avoid reprisals by Yugoslav/Serbian security forces & irregulars. Another 30,000 Kosovars are said to be on the run in the Pec region in W. Kosovo, making their way north. Serbian & Yugoslav security forces reportedly separated men from women & children - there is a real risk these men are no longer alive." Albania’s President Rexhep Meidani, asked for NATO ground troops enter Kosovo to stop the killing.

- SHELTER WILL BE THE PRIME NEED OF PROJECTED 500,000 REFUGEES from Kosovo, fleeing ethnic cleansing by ethnic Serbs. An estimated 3,000 Kosovars have been killed, including many political leaders. 300-500,000 Kosovars may end in Albania & Macedonia (which have already received about 180,000 refugees). In all, 380,000 Kosovars have already fled to various European countries in recent months. In Albania, tent camps are springing up as refugees wait movement south, away from Kukes, to the cities of Tirana and Skodra, more accessible to regional relief food stocks and where more shelter exists.

- MILITARY REGIME IN BURMA DENIES OPPORTUNITY FOR FINAL FAREWELL: Oxford Prof. Michael Aris, husband to Burma’s democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, died of cancer on Saturday having been repeatedly denied a visa into Burma by its military rulers. He had not seen his wife, who has been intermittently under house arrest in Burma, since 1996. Last week UN Special Rapporteur Rajsoomer Lallah delivered his report on Burma to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, concluding that the situation of human rights in Burma "is worsening and the repression of civil and political rights continues unabated."

- LANDMARK TRIAL TO PROCEED AGAINST GENERAL PINOCHET OF CHILE, following decision by Britain’s Law Lords last week that former Chilean dictator Pinochet can be extradited to Spain where he was indicted for the systematic torture and massacre of civilians. General Pinochet led the 1973 military coup that ended the Hemisphere’s longest continuous democracy, killing Pres. Dr. Salvador Allende in the coup & 8-10,000 citizens thereafter. In 1991 Pinochet retired as dictator but became (un-elected) Senator. Chilean lawyers contend that Pinochet deserves immunity due to travelling on a diplomatic passport, but Britain’s Gov. concluded that Pinochet was not on an official visit.

- UKRAINE PARLIAMENT VOTES TO ACCEPT NUCLEAR WEAPONS, departing from its ‘nuclear free zone’ status (since 1991), last week in angry reaction to the ongoing NATO strikes in Yugoslavia.

- UNHCR IS HOSTING A HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OF DONOR GOV’S on the crisis in Kosovo April 6.

- APRIL 24-25 SUMMIT ON NATO AND ITS FUTURE IN WASH-DC will welcome three newest members Hungary, Poland and Czech Rep.

- NATO-KOSOVO INTERVENTION RE-KINDLES BROADER DEBATE IN MEDIA about where to intercede around the world on humanitarian grounds: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Angola, E.Timor? Already, NATO has substantially expanded the geographical scope of its original mandate by its involvements in greater Yugoslavia.

- ALL TWENTY MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION RESIGNED following findings of fraud & mismanagement 2 weeks ago. The EU moved rapidly at last week’s Berlin Summit to designate the next Commission President: Mr. Romano Prodi, an Italian, which forces Italy to choose between current Humanitarian aid (ECHO) chief Emma Bonino & Mario Monti for the remaining Comm. post. Spain’s Manuel Marin, who oversees development aid will also be replaced.

- FOOD SHORTAGE MOUNTS FOR 2 MILLION VIETNAMESE in the Cao Bang, Ha Giang and Nghe An provinces, reflecting inadequate rainfall and impaired irrigation.

- BASIC EDUCATION FOUND TO BE ACHIEVABLE IN COMPLEX EMERGENCIES, at intl workshop March 15-17, hosted by the World Bank, with input from Save-Children, IRC, World Vision & other aid agencies. UNICEF ExecDir Carol Bellamy told the participants that crises are no excuse for failure of donors to support basic educaton. Human rights & ethnic tolerance education were also demonstrated by NGOs as viable & effective programs both pre & post-conflict.

- YEAR-LONG WATER AND FOOD SHORTAGE MOUNTS IN KIRABATI: in the S.Pacific Gilbert, Line & Phoenix Isles (UN OCHA).

- UN RAPPORTEUR DETERMINES THAT MERCENARIES WORSEN CRISES: Enrique Ballesteros’ report to the UN Comm. on Human Rights found that in many crises -- Angola, Sierra Leone, & Congo -- private military/security firms undermine self-determination. (UNHCHR)

- RUSSIA REQUESTS $1 BILLION IN US FOOD AID AFTER WORST HARVEST in 40 years in 1998: 47m MT actual vs. 67 expected. Russia asked to the US to increase its aid package in pipeline.

- UPCOMING WORKSHOP ON REMOTE SENSING FOR HUMANITARIAN AID April 15-16 at US Institute of Peace to look at GIS (geographic information) technologies and greater sharing of information in disaster response. Details: http://www.usip.org/oc/vd/oe99/oe99.html.

- UPCOMING CONF: "INTL. CONSENSUS FORUM ON HEALTH/HUMAN SECURITY in Conflict and Transition Settings: Policies, Strategies & Programs" will be held April 15-17 in Harare-Zimbabwe, sponsored by WHO, UNDP, USAID, UNHCR, Tulane Univ. and other academic & private voluntary organizations. Goal: strengthen African capacity to respond to complex emergencies and post-crisis transitions. Contact: mockatmailhost.tcs.tulane.edu

- 1998 TEXT "PEACEMAKING AND PEACEKEEPING FOR THE NEW CENTURY" (Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield Pub) The editor, Olara Otunnu (currently Spec Rep to the Sec Gen), suggests the Sec Council adapt to new realities via progressive interpretations of threat to intl. peace. Otunnu calls for a ‘community of values’ that underpins how we reason about intervention in each case. Numerous authors consider the division of labor between UN agencies, bilateral military forces, and regional organizations. Michael Doyle observes "peace-enforcing -- war-making -- missions are third generation operations -- extend from low-level military operations to protect the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the enforcement of cease-fire. Like Chapt VII UN enforcement action to roll back aggression as in Korea 1950 & Iraq in the Gulf War the defining characteristic of 3rd-generation operations is the lack of consent by one or more of the parties to the UN mandate. Neither Somalia nor Bosnia reflected a coherent plan to restore peace by force; both were composites of coercive restraints (no-fly zones, arms embargoes, humanitarian protection, safe areas) and broad-brushed or piecemeal local endorsements" (faction agreements). UNHCR head Madame Ogata observes: "in many situations, even the notion of ‘combatant’ has become largely irrelevant, given the extent to which adults, adolescents & even children have been armed." Though UNHCR has attempted to regularize relationships with western militaries through ‘service package’ agreements, military intervention in humanitarian crises will inevitably remain infrequent & unpredictable. Jan Eliasson, former UN humanitarian chief, writes "full-scale peacekeeping operations are very costly; in Somalia, for example, for every dollar spent on humanitarian assistance in 1993, ten dollars was paid for military protection - and this in a massive humanitarian crisis; as under-secretary- general at the time, I found this hard to accept." Brian Urquhart explains his proposal for a permanent rapid-response UN standby force: "Experience of recent UN operations shows that a small, highly trained group with high morale and dedication, arriving at the scene of action immediately after a Security Council decision, would in most cases have far greater effect than a larger and less well prepared force arriving later."

- 1999 BOOK: "MILITARY-CIVILIAN INTERACTION: INTERVENING IN Humanitarian Crises" by Thomas Weiss (Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield) compares the costs, challenges, and benefits of military interventions in Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, & Haiti, finding that "every case demonstrates that the military is the most costly option," but that military security is, nevertheless, often required for effective aid delivery. The case studies alone make this one of the best reviews of complex emergencies ever published. Weiss views "the simplistic notion of ‘exit strategy’ as "superfluous" as it does not acknowledge that these settings are "characterized by uncertainty & changing tactics on the ground." In the Balkans he finds that the UN preventive force Macedonia has "worked only because the intl bluff has not yet been called."

- RECENT BOOK: "POLICING THE NEW WORLD DISORDER: PEACE OPERATIONS and Public Security" R Oakley, M Dziedzic editors (1998, WashDC: National Defense Univ), looks at 7 recent country cases of civilian police (civpol) performance in training and monitoring of local police cadres, mediating local disputes and imposing public order directly. Military forces often must perform constabulary functions until violence is quelled. Still, in postconflict settings, the rates of violent crimes swells as government security forces are demobilized or restricted to cantonments. The editors provide a valuable framework for parsing the different challenges (deployment, engagement, institutional) faced by civpol teams. Ex: "Intl. police are incapable of dealing with serious lawlessness of the sort that tends to arise during postconflict situations." Cases range from success to relative failure: "Years after the intervention, Haiti’s judicial system remain(s) unchanged... failure of judicial reform undermines police reform and breeds attitudes that could lead to replication of traditional abuses." James Wood deems the Mozambique civpol effort a qualified success as it opened up territory, curbed police abuses and allowed fair elections. Michael Kelly concludes that "resolution of such conflicts depends on the ability of the intervening force to manage & begin the resolution of inherent grievances, guarantee security, & create mechanisms that give all parties confidence that this guarantee will continue on the departure of the force."

- NEW BOOK: "PLANNING FOR INTERVENTION: INTL COOPERATION IN Conflict Management" by A Handler Chayes, A Chayes (1999, The Hague: Kluwer Law) looks into the institutional face of miiltary and humanitarian agencies involved in recent relief efforts & the patterns of their coordination, including the Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC). Decentralized vs. rigid bureaucratic structures are contrasted, with cases from El Salvador, Somalia & Georgia compared.

- "ASSESSING REQUIREMENTS FOR PEACEKEEPING, HUMANITARIAN Assistance, and Disaster Relief" (B Pirnie, 1998, Rand) succinctly defines the gamut of military actions other than war, their phases and the division of labor between forces. It builds on the 1996 RAND book by B Pirnie "Soldiers for Peace, an Operational Typology" that distinguishes criteria that bound peace operations, such as consent of the parties, & impartiality.

- RECENT BOOK: "HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION: JUST WAR VS. PACIFISM" captures a back and forth debate between authors R Phillips & D Cady (Rowman, Littlefield) that traces history of pacifism & compares means and ends in recent military campaigns.