Regional Conflict Insights


Why seek common ground?

There is virtue in pursuing common ground because when you study what actually transforms people — what turns militants into peacebuilders, provocateurs into bridge-builders, and yes, even racists into champions of diversity — you see that it is almost never the experience of being shouted down or shut out, but rather human connections with the very people that they had learned to hate.

by Shamil Idriss, CEO, Search for Common Ground

See full statement on Global Conflict Insights (Facebook)

Immigrant Caravan approaches USA as Trump uses it for fearmongering.

 BBC Reports:

'A significant setback'

Analysis by BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Concern about Russia's development and deployment of a missile system that breaches the INF treaty predates the Trump administration. But the president's decision to walk away from the agreement marks a significant setback for arms control.

See: the latest on Brexit at: "Bexit and all that."

Reminder: See "Global Conflict Insights" on Facebook for updates and related stories.

New: Update on Climate Change . See October conflict below!

New: Seeds of GlobalConflict 

The election of Judge Kavanaugh to the supreme Court of the USA.

Kavanaugh, though, has a distinct honor: He will be the first justice nominated by someone who lost the popular vote to earn his seat on the bench with support from senators representing less than half of the country while having his nomination opposed by a majority of the country.



                The Important Issue of Climate Change              Hurricanes bring issues of development , preparation and Climate Change to the fore in the Caribbean and the USA.   See September conflicts below.


 

                      So Much Trouble in The World

Sing along , play along and ponder the words of Peace in Music and Poetry on our page "Peace Music Poetry and the Arts"

Feel free to submit Poetry, Music and other forms of artistic expression to us to display on our "Peace Music Poetry and The Arts" page.

   2017 Conflict Flashback

The last two months of 2017 brought these conflict situations:

November:  Robert Mugabe ousted as President of Zimbabwe. This is a sign of the changing times.

US FCC challenges the accepted idea of free internet services. (More on this soon.)

As Trump tweets anti - Islamic videos North Korea fires another missile. And both are greeted with international condemnation!

December: Honduran elections a new source of conflict in Central America.

President Donald Trumps's recognition of Jerusalem ignites violent protests in Palestinian communities.

2018 Conflict

January:  US President Trump refers to Haiti and African countries as "shithole" countries in immigration briefing!

In January 2018 we say : "Anger is a tool for change when it challenges us to become more of an expert on the self and less of an expert on others". Harriet Lerner , Ph.D.

February : South Africa's President Jacob Zuma resigns. In the USA yet another school mass shooting. Firestorm in Jamaica over appointment of acting Chief Justice.

Russian nationals and companies indicted for interfering in 2016 US Presidential Elections.https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/special-counsel-mueller-charges-13-russians-interfering-2016-election-n848686

Tensions between Israel and Iran rise. 

March: Students in USA rally against guns and gun violence

 April             Syria becomes location for possible new US /Russia conflict. Missiles likely to be fired by the USA and shot down by Russians.

North Korea and US to meet in Summit. North Korea stops missile testing. What's at stake here?

  • Democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades in 2017 as its basic tenets—including guarantees of free and fair elections, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law—came under attack around the world.
  • See:https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2018


In a historical step North Korea and South Korean leaders meet. at the DMZ and agree to make it a zone of peace. 

Problems viewing? View as a web page
The D Brief
April 27, 2018   
 
 

North, South Korea vow to end the Korean War. North Korean autocrat Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met, took a walk, and planted a tree before issuing a joint declaration that put a bow on a remarkable day. Reuters: "The declaration included promises to pursue phased arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone and seek multilateral talks with other countries including the United States."
International reaction: Applause from Tokyo, wary encouragement from Beijing, and offers of help from Moscow.

May Conflict Events: 

 May Day Celebrated in the Caribbean and worldwide. Below is a clip from Guyana.

UN tells President Trump not to leave Iran nuclear deal:

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-43985894/un-leader-tells-us-not-to-end-iran-nuclear-deal

June Conflict Events

http://www.looptt.com/content/antiguan-pm-calls-regional-unity-against-unfair-economic-policies

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, is calling for regional unity against what he calls deceptive acts of economic aggression against Caribbean countries.

Browne referred to various economic challenges facing the region. He stated: “The man-made catastrophes are mounting.  They include de-risking; the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations which, at best, have pushed up the cost of doing business by our countries and adversely affected our global competitiveness. At worse, we continue to face the real possibility of being excluded from the world’s trading and financial system,” he said.   “Similarly, we have been coerced into accepting constraints on our capacity to compete in trade in goods and now on financial services.  Those who control the global trade and financial system insist that competition in the areas of their advantage are good, but they deny us the right to compete in financial services, particularly in differentiated taxation to attract investments.  They have sought to deny us our rights to operate well-regulated investor immigration, gaming and offshore banking industries, using the deceptive notion that they are harmful to them.”

June Conflict Cont.

 As G7 ends in disarray Trump signs agreement with Kim Jong-un to denuclearize Korean Peninsula.  

 German Newspaper: Another Der Spiegel commentator wrote: “The G-7 debacle shows the real problem with Donald Trump’s politics is Donald Trump. His behavior follows no order, no logic, instead just the desire to be the best, most important and biggest. The collapse of the West, the destruction of decades of friendship is simply a product of his unprecedented ego trips.”

Japan

The editorial board of the Japan Times, the country’s largest and oldest English-language daily newspaper, wrote, “If U.S. President Donald Trump’s objective is to make himself the center of attention at every international event, he is succeeding. If he aims to undermine the legitimacy of international institutions, he is making progress. If, however, he seeks to make America great again, his actions are working at cross purposes to his goal. Those are the inescapable conclusions to be drawn from last weekend’s Group of Seven leaders summit.”

June Conflict continued: 

Trump reverses "zero-tolerance" policy of separating immigrant children from families.

Supreme Court upholds Trump's travel ban, cites national security justification. see www.abajournal.com

June 27th, 2018

Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP, said: “We have progressed on many fronts in the last decade but reaching greater peacefulness in the world has remained elusive. The challenge is borne out in our research which shows that it is much harder to build peace than it is to destroy it. This partly explains why countries at the bottom of the index remain trapped in prolonged conflict. Ongoing conflicts such as those in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan have, in the past decade, contributed towards a significant rise in battlefield deaths, a surging refugee population and an increase in terrorism.

http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Global-Peace-Index-2018-Snapshot.pdf

July and August

US tariffs begin to take effect against China and in August sanctions reimposed against Iran. 

September Conflict

Hurricanes bring issues of development , preparation and Climate Change to the fore in the Caribbean and the USA.

"Face to face meetings are also important to combat the rumor mill which can be very vicious and destructive at such times. It is important to give people a sense of safety and security and the assurance that all affected persons’ needs are being addressed as swiftly as the country can achieve it. "

Excerpt from article by Francis H V Belle, posted on LinkedIn on 10th October, 2017 . See:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/conflict-resolution-time-disaster-francis-belle/

US, Canada and Mexico reach new trade deal

October Conflict News

Climate Change

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the top scientific body studying the problem, said that the planet is due to experience the worst effects of climate change by 2040, far soon than expected, if major changes are not enacted. From the New York Times report:

Trade War

The International Monetary Fund has warned a trade war between the US and China risks making the world a "poorer and more dangerous place" in its latest assessment of the global economy.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45789669?ocid=global_bbccom_email_08102018_top+news+stories

Problems viewing? View as a web page
The D Brief
October 18, 2018   
 
 

Violence rips a huge void in southern Afghanistan's future, and U.S. troops are wounded as a result. Here's what we know so far: The U.S. commander of the Afghanistan war, U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, was exiting a meeting with Kandahar officials at the governor's compound when the governor's guards opened fire while VIPs loaded into a helicopter, local Tolo News reports.

October conflict continues: Trump threatens to withdraw from missile treaty with Russia.

Immigrant Caravan approaches USA and Trump uses as fearmongering in middterm elections.

11 killed in synagogue shooting in Pittsburg Pennsylvania!

November Conflict

Middterm elections ongoing in USA.

After middterm elections in the USA, Democrats win the House and Republicans remain in control of the Senate with an increased majority.

                Conflict Theme for the year 2018 : Just Beat It!

Our Message to the UN

Legendary author James Patterson partners with Emily Raymond to create the novel “Humans Bow Down”.  Set in the future human civilization is ruled by human –like robots and policed by actual robots. The essence of the message in the story is that the human race creates the seed of its own destruction by its reckless behavior and is replaced by Hu-Bots which is the creation of human beings who have given up hope in humanity.
Humanity continues to survive like any other animal species in reserves and humans are treated like animals by those who have taken over the domination of the earth.
“Humans Bow Down” has been published at a time when humanity is severely challenged, not only by age old problems such as poverty, disease and famine but also by threats such as nuclear war and climate change.
It is also remarkable that some religious leaders speak of these days as the “end times” or the “last days.” But are these the “end times” or the end of this time? Lurking in the shaded confines of our conflicts and constant tribulations, religion and science share common themes.
As we find ourselves acutely embattled over the future of our race, manifested in religious wars, ideological schisms, and division over scientific knowledge it is difficult to say where we will be as a species 20 years from now. Religious and scientific leaders are aware of this.
We all have to care since the limits to mankind’s options are becoming more and more obvious. Either we evolve to be better humans or we perish due to diseases, hunger, nuclear war or the impact of climate change.
Mankind’s nemesis may be a viral or bacterial infection, a religious, ethnic or racial supremacist inspired terrorist act, the reckless discharge of a nuclear device or the slow painful effects of climate change. Or they may be a combination of any of the above.
Climate change alone increases the chances of any of the other actors above occurring. Humans should bow down to common sense, science and the call of mother earth or prepare to face the consequences.
Regionalconflictinsights.org editorial team.
 


North Korean Missile Hoax

A recent online Newsweek article suggests that recent North Korean claims to be able to launch a nuclear capable ICBM which could reach the west Coast of the United States is a hoax. Two scientists have stated that based on public data the North Korea missile would not be able to deliver the strike as the North Koreans have claimed. 

The article states in part:

“The reality is the North Korean Hwasong-14 is a sub-level ICBM that will not be able to deliver atom bombs to the continental United States,” the scientists wrote in a draft version of their report shared exclusively with Newsweek.

The scientists based their analysis on publicly available information about the trajectories of the missiles lofted on July 4 and July 28. These independent experts determined that defense and other analysts who decided the North Korean missiles could carry the weight of a nuclear payload were focused on the rocket motor’s ability to place the rocket on maximum achievable range, as opposed to maximum achievable altitude.

In other words, the independent analysts believe that the North Korean rocket scientists engineered the power of their rockets with an eye toward gaining height, without demonstrating that their devices had the range or thrust to fly far enough horizontally—while carrying the extra weight of a nuclear bomb—to hit a target in Alaska or the continental U.S.




        Help Save Truth From Becoming a Casualty of War

Dear Friends,

For the first time in three decades, four countries are on the verge of famine. These famines are not natural disasters, they are man-made. Crisis Group’s experts are on the ground in each country, talking to all sides and identifying opportunities to resolve the wars that are starving millions of people. I hope you will help our efforts by making a gift to Crisis Group today.

Starvation is being used as a weapon of war

The threat of widespread famine is a direct effect of prolonged deadly conflict. Solving these political crises is essential to relieving the chronic hunger that has spread across YemenSouth SudanSomalia, and Nigeria. Crisis Group’s special reporting and advocacy on this issue aims to devise steps that can help the more than twenty million people - including millions of children - who are at risk of starvation in these four nations.

Humanitarian aid is essential but, alone, can only provide a temporary fix. To achieve lasting peace in these crises as well as the other 70+ conflicts and potential conflicts Crisis Group covers, the root causes of mass suffering must be addressed. That is why investing in conflict prevention and resolution is vital to global peace and security.

Your support is needed now more than ever

Conflict is on the rise for the first time in three decades and more than 65 million people have fled their homes due to war and violence – the most massive displacement of people since the Second World War.

With your help, Crisis Group can continue its vital work to understand and explain the politics driving these heartbreaking crises, as well as identify opportunities and advocate measures to end conflict and save hundreds of thousands of lives. Please join us by making a gift today.

With your support, we will continue our work to reverse the current trends toward violence, and pave new roads toward peace.

Yours sincerely,

Jean-Marie Guéhenno

President & CEO
International Crisis Group


                                                                                                            IN WAR, TRUTH IS THE FIRST CASUALTY!

Humanity Conflict and Climate Change

Human existence  on earth spans a few thousand years and this period can be interpreted as a continuous negotiation between mankind and the environment and mankind and himself. Mankind's battle with the environment taught him to seek shelter from the elements, warmth and to utilize tools to secure and gather food and build structures here food could be stored and processed.

Man learnt to move around to escape disaster and find fertile soil  and foods of various kinds. But man also had to learn to protect food and other resources  essential for life and to address shortages. When shortages occurred  man had to find more abundant supplies by fighting for them.

Belief Religion and Conflict

Consequently if man wanted to find peaceful existence he had to establish shared values and beliefs aimed at minimizing conflict and losses which could make existence more difficult. Of course it make sense in any community to vow that they would embrace shared values or beliefs.

It makes sense that man should not kill, steal , rape and engage in sexual conduct which would increase conflict between brothers and sisters.  It must also be important that reverence and respect be shown to people placed in authority and parents who played the natural role of protecting us , feeding us, providing shelter, education. and the nurturing of offspring.

In this latter context religion was necessary and played a pivotal role in maintaining social cohesion, uniting communities behind leaders and supporting conquest and domination of subject people or perceived enemies.

Conflict Resolution and Existence

As man developed he learnt to negotiate, to bargain for the sake of existence, to obtain goods and services, maintain security and procure peace. Unfortunately because conflict between communities driven by environmental and economic issues i.e. issues central to their existence continued religion became a tool of divisive and domineering groups. Religion was used to establish authority, superiority and hegemony and even entitlement. Religion became linked to ethnicity and culture  and these political and social attitudes when associated with religion explain the assumption that Islam for example is connected to violence and terrorism. But in truth and in fact all religions have been used to prosecute acts of violence and terrorism in some form. Acts of terrorism of course have also been used to support political and even environmental goals.

Climate Change

So we come to Climate Change. Paris 2016 was one occasion in recent history where representatives of the majority of mankind have overcome their differences and agreed to embark together on a project  to save the world from mankind's own folly and destruction of the environment.

It is true that the stated goals of COP22 have high costs but their main achievement is symbolic and designed to promote a vision and the political will of the signatories. The symbolic impact of the a global agreement of this nature is that mankind is seen to stand united behind a common goal. In that unity there is recognition of the dangers involved in the alternative and the importance of protecting the future of the Earth for our children.  We know that one of the dangers of doing nothing about Climate Change is that loss of human habitats, access to resources and repeated suffering caused by natural disasters will be increased global conflict. This prospect should not be taken likely.

There are those few, the USA included, who opted out of the Paris Agreement and claim to be protecting their economic welfare. In doing so they are out of step with  international global solidarity which recognises the best interests of mankind. To step away from this community of nations is to declare a lack of interest in humanity's future. It indicates eternal worship  of the god of money versus a god who loves mankind and wants us humans to value Mother Earth.

The interdependence and global cooperation demonstrated by the Paris Agreement are creatures of necessity and not of choice. Choosing not to do what is necessary is an act of stupidity and shows a lack of vision. Indeed where there is no vision the people perish.

Regional Conflict Insights Feature, 2017

See also The Climate Scorecard: The Cause of and Fight Against Trumpism


Former FBI Chief Comey's statement can be accessed below:

resources/Comey.pdf

plus ça change

The more things change the more they remain the same! 

This is the view of many people who believe that human nature would not permit people to really change. While not supporting that view, since the evidence is clear that mankind has changed significantly during the last century alone, the evidence also shows that change is slow in coming in most situations and therefore the more visible picture is that things are not changing.

US foreign policy epitomizes the view "plus ça change". Successive US Presidents early in their terms of office for one reason or the other have found it fit to demonstrate that the US is the world's police force. As one commentator has said in the case of Syria, the US admininstration without taking time to conduct a full investigation has decided that it was fit and right to bomb an airbase in Syria based on the allegation that the said airbase was used to launch a chemical attack on innocent civilians.

The launch of missiles from two US destroyers in the area serves to give notice that the US will not stand by and watch illegal weapons used by any country , states the discourse in justification of the act; and most of the Washington lawmakers and opinion drivers concur.

But a more prudent observer would recognize that the US administration led by Donald Trump is under pressure with the Russia / US Elections investigation and other issues knocking on the door of the White House, to do something which wins some popularity and serves as a diversion from the issues at home.

The question therefore arises , is the airstrike about innocent lives lost in Syria or about  alleviating the stress, and unwanted negative attention caused by the Russia/ US Elections investigation? Perhaps it is also about standing in the polls. 

At the end of the day the airstrikes are typical of US foreign policy. You never really know what is the true motivation. And the necessary investigations have not yet been done to determine whether the action was justified. This kind of decision led to the start of the Iraq War under George W Bush based on the pretext that  Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, an episode often referred to by the incumbent President Trump when he wants to criticize the Intelligence community in the USA.

A Trump presidency makes no difference. This is the way they all behave!

One thing remains true though, that whether right or wrong the airstrike will bring about the destruction of property and infrastructure in Syria and the loss of human lives. Would a few days delay to investigate  and inform the world of the facts have made that much of a difference?

regionalconflictinsights.org editorial team.


                                     END RACISM NOW!

The evidence now is clear. The main issue in the presidential election in the United States is not Hilary Clinton’s policies versus Donald Trump’s or the policies of whomsoever the Republican Party may choose to nominate for the presidential candidacy. No, the main issue is “can the United States of America just like the United Kingdom and a number of other European states get rid of their racism?”

Some of us had doubts or maybe gave the United States the benefit of the doubt when the allegations were being made in relation to Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, now Philando Castile and Alton Sterling along with several others that perhaps these were a few isolated incidents where law enforcement made a mistake. But they have become too frequent and no-one can explain the continuous stream of black men and women who are dying at the hands of law enforcement in the USA.

For some time it may have been presumed that a few unruly persons may be masquerading as typical black men and having unnecessary confrontations with the police. But the incidents are too widespread. They are occurring in the big cities and the small towns in the south and the north the Midwest and West. What do they have in common? Mostly white cops are killing young black women and men.

So we adopt the slogan “black lives matter!” and say to those who think that the political correctness of exposing police brutality and bigotry is in some way corrupting the United States, “sorry but your racism is exposed!”

Law enforcement probably contains an enclave of white racist police officers who think that they are doing the USA a good turn by getting rid of some “unruly” black men. Their bigotry is now being supported by a racist political campaign. The racists who had been quietened by “political correctness” are now mobilized and energized just as they were in the UK to vote “leave”, “take our country back” and “make our country great again!”

The perennial issue of social class is often side-tracked by racial conflict which affects large sections of the working class in the USA and Europe. Many North Americans and Europeans fear the loss of their jobs and way of life and becoming a minority in their own societies. The lid is off the pot of hatred and indifference to the rights and social progress of the black and Latino communities and other minority groups. Racism is bubbling over the top, alive and energized and we have to expose it and eradicate it!

One Love! 

                   

 A New World Leadership?

Many are baffled by recent world events and don't know what to make of it. First there was Brexit then the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA. Russia is accused of meddling in the Presidential election process in the USA and much debate is going on about the need for an independent prosecutor to investigate possible coordination of the interventions in the campaign between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.

There is evidence that , again using hackers , Russia intervened in the French presidential election.

But the news is failing to provide an analysis of Russia's motives for its electoral interventions.  A clue about the true motive may be in Vladimir Putin's recent offer to settle the long standing conflict between North and South Korea. Another may be Russia's role in the Syrian conflict. So what are we seeing here? 

Conclusion: Russia wants to control the global playbook on conflict resolution and peace. Interestingly enough on the economic side China is building a highway that will connect that country with England.

It does not seem unreasonable to presume, based on the evidence that Russia and China are both pursuing global leadership as the United States under the leadership of Donald Trump implodes.

Do you understand the interest in the Presidential elections now?

Editorial Team

Dear Francis,
 
I wish I didn’t have to write this email to you. See, the environmental movement has made such great strides in recent years. We’ve developed new, cleaner energy sources, and lots of people are now taking action to stop the worst of global warming. I've always believed we can turn this thing around, but it's going to take us all pulling together.
 
Having been through presidential elections, both as a candidate and as a concerned citizen, this last one was the worst yet for the climate. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to undo the progress we’ve made together in recent years, even pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. We’re seeing extreme weather events every night on the news. Sadly, we only have to look around at what’s happening with damaging flooding caused by global warming induced storms, record breaking temperatures around the globe, wildfires, and the melting ice caps in the Arctic to know this is not theory — this is reality.
 
But I'm not giving up and neither should you. I've been working hard on my new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. In the movie, we share inspiring stories about the renewable energy revolution that’s already under way. I hope everyone who comes to see it will leave knowing that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can still be overcome when we combine brain power with people power.
 
There’s a lot we can do, and must do. I know it can seem overwhelming. So please, just commit to doing these two things right now and we’ll go from there.
 
1. Greenpeace and a lot of other good folks in the growing global environmental movement are coming together in the court case “People vs. Arctic Oil.” They’re taking the Norwegian government to court because it’s opening up new areas of the Arctic for oil drilling — for the first time in 20 years — while burning oil is a primary cause of climate change. What happens in the Arctic affects us all. Please use your voice and take a stand on climate change by clicking here to add your name to the movement against Arctic oil. Your signature will be presented as evidence in the Greenpeace case.

2. You may know someone who’s on the fence about climate change. In this era of “fake news” it’s hard for people to know what to believe. Instead of dismissing that person, why not reach out to them and offer to go see An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, together? Maybe even share your popcorn with them. For a limited time, Greenpeace supporters can bring a friend for free. Go to Fandango.com and enter the promo code CLIMATEBOGO at check out and share the film with someone who needs to see it.*
 
Since you’re part of Greenpeace, I know you get it. And I thank you for all you’ve done already for the planet. Now, I hope you’ll join us by signing the petition and bringing a friend to see An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
 
Are you with me?


 
Al Gore
 
A note from Greenpeace: A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes — in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion. Learn more about An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power here.


                   Fake News and The Media

 

                                          Focus on Romania

Regional Conflict Insights is privileged to present an original article from Romania by 

Soriana Constantinescu – Local Platform Coordinator and UK Accredited Mediator and

Catalin Grosu Deli Bucharest Coordinator and Head of Foreign Affairs Department of Bucharest City Hall

                                                              THE IMMIGRANT – THE OPPORTUNITY

Romania, the third larger state as surface area and population in Europe, at the cross-roads and interaction of Balkans, Slavic States, Russia, Ukraine,  Turkey with  Central and Eastern  European countries lies between two major areas of conflict, the most recent being the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Transnistrian one with direct impact on the Romanian ethnic population from the Republic of Moldavia. 

Added to this context, other international conflicts developed around the world, as well as, the international economical  situation,  have put Romania to  face an increasing number of migrants from  various countries: China, Irak, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia  etc.   This naturally flow led the local national authorities, in this specific case the   Municipality of Bucharest (the capital city of Romania),   to get involved in DELI European project to better prepare itself for migrants integration.

The Municipality of Bucharest  is a partner in the European research project DELI (Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration) coordinated by the Council of Europe and co-financed by the European Integration Fund,  and has as project partners other capital and large  European cities:  Dublin – Ireland, Munich-Germany, Cartagena and Getxo-Spain, Lisbon-Portugal, London-UK, Reggio Emilia-Italy, Rotterdam –The Netherlands and Vienna- Austria. The DELI project goal  is to promote the economic integration  of the migrant businesses in the mainstream economy throughout: the adoption of policies, the promotion of the inclusion of immigrant entrepreneur in the pull of suppliers, the inclusion of the social and equality clauses in the public contracts.

The project developed  five workshops and two Round Table, giving equal opportunity to all stakeholders involved in the integration of immigrants chain  to voice their concerns and to propose practical measures, to help the immigrant to better integrate and bring his/her valuable contribution to the development of the local economy. As a result of the project the Municipality became more aware about the integration of immigrants issues, about the challenges and the opportunities the immigrants faced when they became entrepreneurs and as a result Bucharest  is willing to create a local integration strategy adapted to the specificity  of the city.  One of the solutions generated from the debates  with  all the stakeholders: authorities, large global companies present in Bucharest, migrants entrepreneurs (successful or at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey), banks , NGO’s with national specific or NGO ‘s working in migration related areas,  was  to identify an  entity (NGO) able to mediate all  the stakeholders interests, legislation limitations  and participants competencies  and to  implement the practical solutions proposed by each category during the project.

Turning back to the international context we can say that the project was not affected by  the situation happening in the country of origin of the migrants or NGO with migrant specific interest taking part in the project. Irrespective of the nationality, or the conflict inside the country of origin   of the participant migrants, these were surpassed by the superior interest which is to foster and  better integrate the migrants in the local economy of the City  and to educate the stakeholders about the opportunities and benefits the society is  having from migrants presence.

Soriana Constantinescu – Local Platform Coordinator and UK Accredited Mediator

Catalin Grosu Deli Bucharest Coordinator and Head of Foreign Affairs Department of Bucharest City Hall

 

Below: Participants in a workshop in Bucharest Romania.

 

                                                                                    CARICOM Standings in Global Gender Gap Report

The Global Gender Gap Report for 2013 has been published. Below is a summary of the report and our own commentary from a CARICOM perspective.

 " The Global Gender Gap Report 2013 benchmarks national gender gaps of 136 countries on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria. The Global Gender Gap Index was developed in 2006, partially to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure of gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. The index points to potential role models by revealing those countries that – within their region or income group – are leaders in dividing resources more equitably between women and men than other countries, regardless of the overall level of resources available.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2013 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the eight years of data available for the 110 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, it finds that the majority of countries covered have made slow progress on closing gender gaps.

This year’s findings show that Iceland continues to be at the top of the overall rankings in The Global Gender Gap Index for the fifth consecutive year. Finland ranks in second position, and Norway holds the third place in the overall ranking. Sweden remains in fourth position. Northern European countries dominate the top 10 with Ireland in the sixth position, Denmark (8) and Switzerland (9). New Zealand (7), Philippines (5) and Nicaragua (10) complete the top 10.

The index continues to track the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its national competitiveness. Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women."

As a matter of interest I took a quick peek to see where certain CARICOM member countries stand in the ranking. Here it goes:  Barbados (29), Jamaica (47), Bahamas (40), Belize (107), Trinidad and Tobago (36), Suriname (110). Outside of CARICOM we have United Kingdom (18), United States (23) South Africa (17) and Canada (20). Apparently the countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are too small to rank.

Read the Gender Gap Report  at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GGGR13/GGGR_CountryProfiles_2013.pdf


                                             Dominican Republic Makes Racism The Law


 By Mark Kurlansky

The ogre is loose on the island again. The highest court in the Dominican Republic, the Constitutional Tribunal, has taken a huge step backward with Ruling 0168-13. The Sept. 23 decision proclaimed that any Dominicans who descend from undocumented Haitians going back as far as 1929 are to be stripped of their citizenship. This affects an estimated 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent but mostly without any connection to Haiti—Spanish speaking Dominicans with no other country. What does it mean that 2.5 percent of the Dominican population (the same percentage in the U.S. would be more people than live in Arizona or Indiana) has just lost most of its legal rights because of race? Why have the old Dominican specters of racism and political instability, disturbing prospects in a country with a history of civil war, risen up at what had seemed a quiet moment for the troubled country?

Race has been the great political divide in the Dominican Republic since its founding. In 1822, the Haitian army that had defeated Napoleon in the world’s first successful slave rebellion and declared the first independent modern black state marched across the island to the Spanish colony on the other side, took it over and immediately abolished slavery. The Haitians believed that only a nation with a large black population could be depended on to never bring back the hated practice of slavery. They began gathering free blacks, often liberated slaves, from the U.S. to make the population “blacker.”

Feb. 27, Dominican independence day, does not celebrate independence from Spain but rather from Haiti in 1844. On Feb. 27, 1844, a nation named the Dominican Republic that banned slavery and welcomed a diverse population was founded, but the people have been arguing about the diverse population ever since.

According to official tallies, the Dominican population is 73 percent mixed, 16 percent white and 11 percent black. So for those who want to worry about such things, population shifts could make Dominicans whiter or blacker. It has become part of not only the politics but the folklore of the country. Uneducated peasants sometimes believe that a pregnant woman can assure a whiter baby by eating white colored food. Milk of magnesia or milk itself is sometimes recommended.

A racist sector of the Dominican political class has clung not only to Western attitudes of black inferiority but to white Western countries themselves. At various times in Dominican history there have been attempts to annex the country back to Spain, to France, to the United States and to Símón Bolívar’s Gran Colombia—almost anything to assure that it would not join up with the black people on the other side of their island.

Read more at  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/dominican_republic_makes_racism_the_law_20140106?ln

 By the Caribbean Journal staff

Is it time for new tactics for CARICOM?

As the Caribbean integration movement continues its search for traction, CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque says the regional body is continuing its integration quest “with an outlook that is shaped by new thinking and different approaches.”

“That outlook will be influenced by the necessity for appropriate responses to the current global environment which has placed Member States in dire straits, stymieing growth and development and denying us the wherewithal to create a better standard of living for the people of the Community,” he said.

LaRocque said the region’s vulnerability — and its capacity for resilience — “came into stark relief last week in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica, when severe weather visited death and destruction and caused a setback to development efforts there. ”

CARICOM’s relatively new Change Team met with stakeholders across the region this year, and the regional body is currently readying its draft Five-Year Strategic Plan, which will set out a new common vision for CARICOM and identify priority areas of focus.

“Unsurprisingly, sustainable economic growth and development emerged as one of the primary areas of concern for stakeholders across the spectrum with whom the Change Team interacted over the past year,” LaRocque said. “It is our intention, through the efforts of the recently-established CARICOM Commission on the Economy, to explore possible avenues to put us on a sustainable path.”

LaRocque made the remarks in his End of Year message released on Tuesday.

Read more at: http://www.caribjournal.com/2013/12/31/new-thinking-for-caricom/

 David Jessop's conclusions about the Dominican Republic Issue 

What happens next is far from clear. Although the Dominican Republic has previously suggested that it has no desire to be isolated within the region in which it is located, it is likely that the emotional aspect of the rift will last, even if a basis can be found for a mediated settlement.

This has significant implications for regional integration and in relation to trade agreements with external partners if, for example, the construct of CARIFORUM were to cease, or if achieving any future consensus on hemispheric or international issues were to become hostage to an inter-regional dispute of the kind that has emerged.

The problem is that it is hard to see how CARICOM, having backed Haiti on the basis of morality, will in future be able to repair what was already for almost all but a few trade negotiators, investors and traders, a distant relationship with the Dominican Republic; matters not helped by the fact that the media in the Anglophone and Hispanic Caribbean have little ability to report on the nuance of what is happening in each other’s part of the region.

The reality is that few in the Anglophone Caribbean know the Dominican Republic, understand its history, know much about its internal politics, have thought much about what it is to have a land border with the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, have shown any interest in understanding the Dominican electorate’s fears, or even know of the role being played by the Republic’s xenophobic ultra-nationalists.

Much the same holds true in reverse. Efforts by the Dominican Republic to improve relations with the countries of CARICOM have been sporadic at best; there is little investment or trade with CARICOM other than in relation to Trinidad; much of the negative thinking about the Anglophone Caribbean from the days of President Balaguer and before remains; and there is a broader, deep rooted culturally based failure to try to understand CARICOM and its history.

This is not to take one side or another, or to minimise the ways in which Haitians have been treated including within their own country, but to attempt to take a longer view and to suggest that this dispute has broader, hard to predict consequences for both the Caribbean and Latin America.

David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at david.jessop@caribbean-council.org


Read David Jessop's complete article below.

        CARICOM SUSPENDS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) - The Caribbean Community said it has suspended the Dominican Republic's bid to become a member of the organization as it strongly condemned the decision of the D.R. Constitutional Court to strip citizenship from hundreds of thousands of its citizens.

A special meeting of the Bureau of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held on Tuesday specifically on the matter of the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal ruling TC/0168/13 dated 23 September 2013. President Michel Martelly participated in the meeting and returned to Haiti on Tuesday.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stated, following this meeting, that it strongly condemned the decision considered odious and discriminatory retroactively depriving tens of thousands of Dominicans, most of Haitian origin, citizenship, making them stateless and without appeal.

CARICOM said that it “cannot allow its relationship with the Dominican Republic to continue as normal.”

In addition , members of the Caribbean Common Market countries denounce the violation by the Dominican Republic to the decision in 2005 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR ) on immigration practices, in accordance with the provisions of the American Convention on human Rights , so that the Dominican Republic had signed this document. CARICOM noted that this measure also violates thereby , international obligations undertaken by the Dominican Republic.


Read more: http://www.sentinel.ht/politics/articles/international/5218-caricom-suspend-dominican-republic-bid-membership#ixzz2lrWWvwlV


               CCJ AWARDS DAMAGES TO SHANIQUE MYRIE AGAINST BARBADOS

         Delivery of the Executive Summary of the Court's Judgment can be found at the CCJ's website at:

http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/judgments-proceedings/audio-video-recordings

 NEW YORK, USA -- The legendary ‘Mighty Sparrow’, Slinger Francisco, is currently in a comatose condition at a hospital in New York City.

Family and friends request prayers on his behalf. Regionalconflictinsights.com joins all other Caribbean and global citizens who join in offering prayers for the Mighty Sparrow.

Read:more at: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/headline-The-Mighty-Sparrow-seriously-ill-in-New-York-hospital-17599.html?


                                                                           Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons

 

Adopted on 28 September 1954 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries convened by Economic and
Social Council resolution 526 A (XVII) of 26 April 1954
Entry into force: 6 June 1960, in accordance with article 39

Preamble

The High Contracting Parties,

Considering that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations have affirmed the principle that human beings shall enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination,

Considering that the United Nations has, on various occasions, manifested its profound concern for stateless persons and endeavoured to assure stateless persons the widest possible exercise of these fundamental rights and freedoms,

Considering that only those stateless persons who are also refugees are covered by the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, and that there are many stateless persons who are not covered by that Convention,

Considering that it is desirable to regulate and improve the status of stateless persons by an international agreement,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1. - Definition of the term "stateless person"

1. For the purpose of this Convention, the term "stateless person" means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.

2. This Convention shall not apply:

(i) To persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance so long as they are receiving such protection or assistance;

(ii) To persons who are recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which they have taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country;

(iii) To persons with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that:

( a ) They have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provisions in respect of such crimes;

( b ) They have committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of their residence prior to their admission to that country;

( c ) They have been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.


                                                     B'DOS/ USA CONFLICT OVER RUM

August 21st, 2013

 By Theresa Blackman 


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados, long known as the proud manufacturer and distributor of fine rum for well over 300 years, can boast of having produced some of the best brands that rival international products. 

However, what was once a thriving rum industry could soon be threatened due to the diminishing local sugar industry. The once flourishing sector is now on a steady decline and the molasses used for rum production is now being imported.

To this end, the Barbados government is prepared to go ‘head to head’ with the US administration in its bid to ensure that there is a level playing field for all Barbadian rum products entering the United States market. 

donville_inniss.jpg
Industry Minister Donville Inniss

And, this has engaged the attention of Industry Minister Donville Inniss, who has responsibility for the sector. He stated during a recent interview that he intended 'to go all out’ to assist local rum producers to right this unfair practice.

“The Barbados rum industry has been under immense pressure due to the high level of taxes imposed on their items going into the US market and it is further compounded by the fact that the US administration provides a subsidy to the industry, what they call a ‘cover over’. This is where US rum manufacturers, in particular in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, receive a high level of subsidies from the fellow government via their local governments, hence reducing the costs to manufacture their competing products and putting them on the market at a considerable advantage over the products we export to the US,” the minister explained.

Speaking about a recent trip to Puerto Rico where he convened a meeting with that country’s secretary of state, representatives of the rum industry and other key players in their government to discuss the issue, Inniss said the discussions proved “fruitful” as there was an understanding on both sides that there was a level of unfairness about this ‘cover over’ and its application, which needed to be addressed.

                                        Haitian Finance Minister Resigns

The Miami Herald reports that Haitian Finance Minister Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie has resigned effective 11/4/13.

"Sources close to the minister told The Miami Herald that while she didn’t go into specifics about her reasons for quitting, she does point out that she no longer feels she has the support of her colleagues in her effort to provide responsible management of Haiti’s finances and economy."

See more at:http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/10/3333824/haitis-finance-minister-resigns.html


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/10/3333824/haitis-finance-minister-resigns.html#storylink=cpy

 

Press release 27/2013

(18 FEBRUARY 2013)

SG LAUDS RESILIENCE OF HAITIANS AS HISTORIC INTERSESSIONAL MEETING OPENS IN HAITI

  (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) That Haiti is hosting its first Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government more than ten years after becoming a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could be no greater indicator that it had taken its rightful place within the Community, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said Monday.

“This is certainly one occasion that the use of the word historic is most fitting. Ten and a half years after its formal accession as a Member State of CARICOM, for the first time a President of Haiti is Chairman of CARICOM. Also for the first time, Haiti is hosting a Meeting of the Heads of Government. There can be no greater indicator, symbolic and substantive, that Haiti has taken its rightful place within the Caribbean Community. I am certain that this is a unanimous sentiment,” Amb. LaRocque said as he addressed the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Fourth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Petion Ville, Haiti.

The Secretary-General said that Haiti’s ability to rise above its “monumental challenges of the recent past” to take over the leadership of the Community was testimony to the strength and resilience of its people.

“These are attributes which have earned you, the Haitian people, the admiration of all the Caribbean and should serve as an inspiration to your brothers and sisters in the Region as we all confront the tough social and economic challenges of this time,” Amb. LaRocque added.

His comments were made against the background of the serious financial and social challenges facing the Region. He alluded to the financial and economic contagion of 2008; the excruciating debt burden and the policies of the International financial Institutions (IFIs) which disqualified many Member States from concessionary financing based on criteria that was inappropriate to the circumstances of the Region; and crime. The latter is a major agenda item of the Meeting. Discussions on combating the growing levels of crime in the Region will include an exchange of views with Mr. Eric Holder, Attorney-General of the United States.

Focusing on opportunities for improving the lives of Haitians within the Community and through its participation in the CARICOM Single Market, the Secretary-General referred to cooperation in health and education, benefits to be derived through commerce and trade, one-way duty-free access to other Member States for some products from Haiti, and collaboration among universities within the Region.

The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Community this year has added significance to Haiti’s assumption of the leadership of the Community, Secretary-General LaRocque said.

“This year, we celebrate our 40th Anniversary and what better way to begin that commemoration than having our most recent Member leading the way. For, even as we look back with justifiable pride in our achievements over the last 40 years, we must embrace the promise of our future through accepting new ideas and seeking new perspectives. The achievement of the past is no guarantee of success in the future,” he noted.

Summoning the strength and resilience of the Haitian people as a guide and inspiration as the Community moved to the future, Secretary-General LaRocque acknowledged CARICOM’s perseverance during its “fair share of trials and tribulations” over the past 40 years, and encouraged the Region to “stave off existing challenges” by strengthening its commitment to integration as the only way to survival and prosperity.

CONTACT: piu@caricom.org; caricompublicinfo@gmail.com

 

                               Protecting Our Caribbean Sea For Future Generations

Sustainable Development of Caribbean Sea.pdf Sustainable Development of Caribbean Sea.pdf
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                       TWO FACES OF OUR REGION

The Caribbean is seeing two sides of its character played out in the news over the past fortnight. Starting with the positive news. An energetic and enthusiastic West Indies Cricket team recently won the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka    giving the West Indies its first world championship since 1979. The team coach is quoted below in a story from “Caribbean News Now!” saying that unity brought victory for the team.

Some of us with trade union background would be familiar with the slogan “unity is strength!” The West Indies Cricket team confirmed the validity of this saying.

But on the island of Grenada, once again we see disunity tearing a ruling party apart and threatening to bring down a government. The violent conflict which preceded the demise of the Grenada Revolution in 1983 must be in the minds of many a political thinker who no doubt is well aware of the different circumstances today which would probably guarantee that this debacle would come to a peaceful end. But yet the niggling issue remains; why would people who have so much to lose repeat the mistakes of the past? Why is it not possible to have dialogue which solves some of these internal party problems, and why must they be played out in the public domain?

We cannot resolve all conflict but it would be reassuring to hear someone on the Grenada scene speak of efforts of reconciliation between the warring factions in the NDC government. What effort has there been to utilize mechanisms of dialogue to avoid the action which came about last week where a number of leading NDC members were expelled from the party?

This call is not about saving a friend or ally. It is about saving the people of a fellow CARICOM country from the disappointment which is felt when ruling parties implode in this way, letting down not only supporters and friends, but all of us who would like to see the kind of solidity in politics in the region which exists in the developed world.

Politicians in countries such as the United Stated and Canada are not beyond failure but they seem to have a better grip of the need to put their people first when these kind of internal differences emerge. We have no doubt those advisers to leaders in those countries draw on their repertoire of skills to ward off public political masochism.

Conflict resolution skills must be included in the resource base of our Caribbean leaders, otherwise we are doomed!  

 

                                             Separate The People From The Problem !

From The Gleaner, Jamaica

Grenada's ruling NDC boots key officials

 
Published: Sunday September 30, 2012 | 6:13 pm

Seven members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), including the general secretary Peter David and trade unionist Chester Humphrey have been expelled from the party.

The other members who have been banned include former cabinet ministers Joseph Gilbert, Karl Hood, Arley Gill, Glynnis Roberts and disciplinary committee member Siddiqui Sylvester.

Supporters voted overwhelmingly to expel the members at today’s annual convention of the NDC in the eastern parish of St Andrew’s.

David, the former tourism minister, Hood, the former foreign affairs minister and ex environment minister Roberts resigned from the cabinet in recent months citing differences with the four and a half year old administration of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.

Prime Minister Thomas recently ordered the proroguing of parliament in an effort to avoid debate on a motion of no confidence against his administration filed by Hood.

Caribbean conflict issues, Grenada, CARICOM, Cricket, OAS, Unemployment , Roger Fisher, Negotiation.