004_Global12_InBox_V5

Global issue 12

Inbox UN moves a step nearer intervention in Mali Numbers of Syria’s displaced continue to rise As many as 1.5 million Syrians are displaced Interim President Traore describes Mali’s situation as a “tragedy” and threatens its existence is at stake The UN has published official esti- The UN Security Council agreed in late diers sprayed their stationary vehicle with mates that as many as 1.5 million Syr- September to consider a request from West machine-gun fire. Amnesty International ians have been displaced from their African nations to approve military interven- has demanded that the Malian authorities homes during the escalating conflict in tion to remove the Islamist extremists who prosecute those responsible. their country. However, some UN and have been trying to run northern Mali after Amnesty has also documented the use of Red Crescent officials put the number a military coup d’état weakened the national child soldiers both by militias in government- as high as 2 million. They also estimate armed forces in March. Simultaneously, the held areas and by armed Islamist groups in that at least 300,000 have fled into government in Bamako reached a belated the north. It has further noted cases of sexual neighbouring countries. agreement with the Economic Community violence being used against women and the The places seeing the largest evacu- of West African States (ECOWAS) over the enforcement of amputations following the ations of residents include the cities of planned deployment of foreign troops. staging of sham trials by the Islamists. Homs and Hama and the villages and Malian defence minister Yamoussa Ca- On 21 September, interim President towns in the north of the country. Many mara said on 23 August that Mali fully Traore described his country’s situation as of the internal refugees are Sunni Mus- agreed with the deployment of ECOWAS a “tragedy” and warned that its very exist- lims seeking out other communities troops to retake the north and would wel- ence was at stake. of Sunnis, but their destinations often come the establishment of a logistics base ECOWAS has put at least 3,300 troops on then become new scenes of conflict. in Bamako. This issue had previously been standby as it seeks UN approval for an inter- At least 200,000 people have flooded in contention, but the leader of the 22 March vention. Ivory Coast’s ambassador to the UN, into Damascus, according to officials, coup, Captain Amadou Sanogo, was quoted Youssoufou Bamba, told the UN Security taking refuge in the poorer southern as saying he was now at one on the issue Council that the retaking of the north would suburbs, which have subsequently seen with interim President Dioncounda Traore require substantial combat assets, including intense fighting. and Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra. fighter jets. However, negotiations between The new UN and Arab League offi- Previously Sanogo had resisted the pres- different parties to the conflict have been car- cial envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, ence of outside forces. However, the in- rying on in the background. For ECOWAS, recently told Al Jazeera: “The situation ability of Mali’s armed forces to undertake the task of retaking the north would be to is getting worse and is a huge threat disciplined action has now been further some extent simplified if the long-established for the region. These kinds of conflicts exposed by confirmed reports of a massa- Tuareg liberation movement were to separate cannot be bottled up within one coun- cre of a group of 16 Islamic preachers in itself from the Islamists who seized the initia- try, they will invariably spill over.” early September, when rank-and-file sol- tive early in the year. A welcome for Australia’s new refugee quota A decision by the Australian government to national also welcomed the move, which A three-member expert report had increase its annual refugee quota to 20,000 it had long been calling for. recommended the quota increase as has been welcomed by refugee rights groups. Amnesty’s refugee coordinator Graham a measure to encourage migrants to “The increase to Australia’s resettle- Thom said that previously the government use official channels rather than mak- ment quota will provide positive options had been more focused on punitive mea- ing long and dangerous boat journeys. for more refugees living in very difficult sures, such as the recent establishment of Hundreds of would-be asylum seekers and often dangerous conditions,” said offshore asylum seekers’ processing cen- have perished in inadequate and poorly Paul Power, chief executive of the Refu- tres in Nauru and at a remote location in equipped boats travelling from Sri Lan- gee Council of Australia. Amnesty Inter- Papua New Guinea. ka, Indonesia and elsewhere. 4 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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