In this week’s PSR: Chinese abuse in Zambia; Nigerian election results upheld; Kordofan clashes; Opposition offices attacked in Zimbabwe; Brazilian Truth Commission; Chilean use of force; Anonymous threatens Zeta cartel; First Peoples plan rejected in Australia; Mine explosion in China; Chinese critic under pressure; Sentence for U.S. soldier in South Korea; U.S. Embassy attack in Bosnia; French newspaper bombed; Greece economic woes; Auschwitz investigations reopened in Poland; Iran intervention in Bahrain; Libyan weapons spreading; Syrian govt. accepts peace deal; Afghanistan’s future in the region; India building Afghan-Iran railroad; Pakistan grants India MFN status.




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IPSI's Peace & Security Report (PSR) is a concise weekly e-publication intended to brief busy students, academics, advocates, and practitioners in the conflict management community on pertinent global news, events, and trends.  Meticulously researched and written by IPSI, the PSR empowers us all to take a step back from our immediate deadlines each Friday and gain a greater understanding of the week's global events.


Featured Article   

Zambia: Workers Detail Abuse in Chinese-Owned Mines 

Human Rights Watch 

IPSI Featured Article Image Chinese-run copper mining companies in Zambia routinely flout labor laws and regulations designed to protect workers' safety and the right to organize, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Zambia's newly elected president, Michael Sata, a longtime critic of the Chinese labor practices, should act on his campaign promises to end the abuse and improve government regulation of the mining industry to ensure that all companies respect Zambia's labor laws.  


NIGERIA: Contested election results upheld
A national election tribunal voted Tuesday to dismiss the charges of fraud in last April's presidential election. The opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CDC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, had alleged vote-rigging in President Goodluck Jonathan's victory, in which Jonathan garnered 59 percent of the vote. While President Jonathan encouraged his opponents to accept the judgment, the CDC rejected the result and stated it will file an appeal. Comment: Approximately 500 were killed and 40,000 displaced in the violence that followed the election in April. Nigeria has a long history of violent and contested elections, though many observers believed this year's election results to be the most credible since the end of military rule in 1999. (Vanguard, Reuters, AP, BBC)

SUDAN: Government forces, rebels clash in Kordofan
Escalating tensions over the weekend led to violence in Sudan's Kordofan state, located on the border with South Sudan. Fighting broke out on Monday between Khartoum's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), reportedly resulting in hundreds of casualties. Both sides blamed the other for instigating the violence and both claimed territorial gains in the border city of Taludi. Comment: Tensions in the region have periodically erupted into violence since South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July. The border state of Kordofan remained with Sudan, although rebels control much of the isolated mountainous areas in the state. Kordofan is now Sudan's only oil-producing region. (Sudan Tribune, Reuters, BBC)

ZIMBABWE: Police fire tear gas into MDC offices in Harare
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Harare were subjected to a bombardment of tear gas by police on Tuesday afternoon. Officials claim the police were pursuing several vendors who resisted arrest for selling pirated compact discs; the suspects allegedly ran into the MDC building during the pursuit. Witnesses report that dozens of police dressed in riot gear also fired tear gas into crowds, dispersing hundreds of bystanders. Comment: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the MDC party, held a press conference on Wednesday in which he condemned the police for the incident. He also blamed the police force, which is controlled by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, for barring or disrupting MDC rallies in recent weeks. President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai have shared power in Zimbabwe since 2009, following a violent election in 2008. (All Africa, Reuters, AP, Voice of America)

Researched/Written by  Nori Kasting


BRAZIL: Truth Commission created
On Friday, the Brazilian Senate passed legislation that would create a truth commission to investigate crimes committed during the country's 1964-1985 military dictatorship; however, due to an amnesty law from 1979 that the Supreme Court upholds, no trials will be held. Once the legislation is signed by President Rousseaf, the commission will have two years to analyze the cases presented. Comment: Compared to similar initiatives in the region, Brazil's is the only law that does not include legal ramifications for perpetrators, causing critics to claim it protects military officers from criminal prosecution and is too soft. Yet others, including the government, believe this commission is the key to national reconciliation, guaranteeing "people's right to memory, and historic truth." (BBC, AFP, MercoPress)

CHILE: Force against students denounced
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Friday denounced the use of force against student protesters in Chile. The complainants compiled 120 cases of alleged police abuse over the past five months of demonstrations. In response, the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Child Rights Paulo Pinheiro urged the government to reform a 1983 law, which regulates public demonstrations and authorizes the government and the police to ban or disband gatherings. Comment: The Chilean government claims that it is not using the 1983 law to legitimize the crackdowns. The director of human rights at the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it is not the intent of the government to repress the freedom of expression, but to combat violet demonstrators. (La Tercera, La Nacion, Terra)

MEXICO: Hacker group threatens Zeta cartel
This weekend, international hacker group Anonymous threatened to expose allies to the Zeta drug cartel in retaliation for the kidnapping of a member of the group during a street protest In Veracruz. Anonymous stated it will publish names and photos of Zeta allies in the Mexican police force, government, and news media if the kidnap victim is not released by November 5. Comment: Analysts say that if Anonymous carries out its threat, violence by rival gangs towards those named as cartel associates is likely, as well as reprisal attacks against suspected hackers. (Hispanically Speaking News, CNN, El Sol)

Researched/Written by  Laura Castelli

East Asia
AUSTRALIA: NCAFP rejects new intervention plan
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples (NCAFP) denounced the federal government's new "federal intervention" plan last Thursday. The new plan would consist of a package of welfare, policing, and social initiatives that would take the place of the previous intervention plan, which lapsed in August of this year. Comment: The NCAFP argued that the plan is largely based on prejudicial and unsupported information, violates indigenous autonomy, and hinders community participation. Chairwoman of the Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council in the Northern Territory, Bess Price, disagreed with the NCAFP stating that the reality of indigenous living conditions will necessitate some state intervention until 2030. Australia's indigenous population comprises over 2.5 percent of the country's total population. (Xinhua Net, The Australian, MSN, The Australian)

CHINA: Gas explosion kills 29 miners
On Saturday, a gas explosion in the Xialiuchong Coal Mine in southern China killed 29 miners and injured six more. The mine had continued to operate despite having its license revoked during the first half of this year for failing to pump out dangerous gasses. Comment: China's mines are considered the deadliest in the world; 2,433 miners were killed in 2010 and nearly 7,000 miners were killed in 2002. Human Rights Watch released a report on Thursday accusing Chinese-run copper mines in Zambia of poor safety practices, exceeding legal shift durations, and intimidation to prevent miners from joining unions. (BBC, BBC, Xinhua Net AP, Aljazeera)

CHINA: Artist Ai Weiwei ordered to pay 15 million yuan
On Tuesday, contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, was ordered to pay 15 million yuan (2.3 million USD) in taxes. Ai, an outspoken critic of the ruling Communist party, spent 81 days in detention during the spring of this year while the government investigated his financial affairs. Comment: Human rights groups argue that Ai is being targeted for his political opinions. Ai claims that he was questioned about state subversion, rather than taxes, while in state custody; he plans to challenge the charge. The government also prevented him from attending an exhibition of his work, which opened in Taiwan last weekend; Ai titled the exhibition "Absent." (Aljazeera, Guardian, Reuters, BBC)

SOUTH KOREA: U.S. soldier sentenced to 10 years for rape
On Tuesday, a U.S. army private was sentenced to 10 years in South Korean prison for the brutal rape of an 18 year-old woman. The U.S. military pledged full cooperation with local authorities in this case, and the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division issued an apology to the victim and her family. Comment: A recent spike in crimes committed by U.S. soldiers against the Korean population has prompted many to call for a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which gives the U.S. military jurisdiction over its soldiers accused of local crimes. This is the second harshest sentence ever handed out to a U.S. soldier in South Korea; in 1992, a soldier was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the rape and murder of a South Korean sex worker. (CNN, Yonhap News, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Caitlyn Davis 

Europe & Central Asia
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Police carry out raids after U.S. embassy attack
On Friday, a suspected radical Islamist opened fire on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo wounding one police officer. Authorities arrested the gunman, 23-year-old Serbian citizen Mevlid Jasarevic. The attack, labeled as a terrorist act against Bosnian-U.S. relations, was condemned by members of the Bosnian government. Bosnian and Serbian police coordinated raids on suspected Islamists associated with the Wahhabi movement on Saturday, arresting 17 people who were later released. Two additional men suspected of aiding Jasarevic remain in custody for a one-month investigation period. Comment: Bosnian authorities arrested Wahhabi-influenced radicals in February 2010 under suspicions of destabilizing Bosnia with racial and religious hatred and seized a large supply of weapons. The U.S. embassy in Sarajevo has never come under attack before, although did briefly close in March 2002 after an unspecified threat to the building. (B92, AP, Reuters)

FRANCE: Newspaper offices destroyed after caricaturing Mohammed
The offices of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo were destroyed by a petrol bomb early Wednesday morning. Prior to the attack, the newspaper named the Prophet Mohammed as the editor-in-chief with a caricature showing Mohammed on the cover. The French Muslim Council (CFCM) and the Association of Imams of France denounced the use of violence as a form of opposition, but also criticized the newspaper for its publication. The newspaper plans to continue with its schedule of weekly issues. Comment: Charlie Hebdo is known for its mockery of all religions. Controversial Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed originally printed in 2005 were reprinted by Charlie Hebdo in 2006. The newspaper was acquitted by a Paris court in 2007 after two Islamic groups sued the paper for incitement to racism. (Le Monde, BBC, AP)

GREECE: Calls for PM to resign
On Thursday, government ministers from Greek Prime Minister Papandreou's own party called for his resignation after his request for a national referendum on the EU bailout deal. The government was on the verge of collapse after several ministers opposed the plan for a referendum. Following an emergency cabinet meeting, the PM decided he would drop the referendum if the EU bailout agreement gains enough support from the opposition. Papandreou has no plans to step down from the government. Comment: Greece would receive 130 billion euros and a 50 percent reduction of its debts from the EU bailout plan. Most Greeks oppose the bailout because of the strict austerity measures required to receive the funds. The EU said it will not transfer the funds of its first bailout of eight billion euros, due later this month, until the government agrees to uphold its requirements. A vote of confidence is planned for today; it remains unclear if the PM will receive enough votes allowing for the possibility of early elections. (BBC, Reuters, AP)

POLAND: Officials reopen investigations of Auschwitz crimes
The Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the state body in charge of investigating Nazi and communist-era crimes, is reopening investigations of crimes committed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War II. This new inquiry is meant to track down any living Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. Over 500 camp survivors still living will be interviewed for information on those involved with the organization and operations at Auschwitz. Comment: Many soldiers and staff accused of crimes against the country were tried after the war, but were released by an amnesty law in 1956. Additional investigations were made in the 1960s and 70s, but ended in the 1980s without any indictments. As part of the Soviet bloc, it was too difficult to investigate those who lived abroad because of suspicions and mistrust between Poland and Western European countries. (Rzeczpospolita, AP, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Erin Bobst

Middle East & North Africa
BAHRAIN: Official warns of Iran intervention in the region
On Tuesday, Bahraini foreign minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa accused Iran of campaigning to dominate the Gulf region, and during his visit to Cairo asked for Arab support in confronting Tehran. Al-Khalifa is charging Iran with attempting to destabilize the predominantly Sunni region, and trying to gain support of Shiites worldwide for its vision of a theocratic government system called Velayeti Fakih, where the country is ruled by a supreme leader. He also described the ongoing turmoil in Bahrain as a political, not sectarian conflict. Comment: Bahrain's Sunni minority rules Bahrain's Shia majority. Some reports suggest the uprising has been religiously motivated given Iran's position and the evidence of brutal crackdowns on the predominately Shia protesters. However, many analysts regard the uprising as a national movement towards equality and reform, since a number of Sunni Bahrainis have also participated. Regardless, Iran's involvement in Bahrain's unrest is still reportedly evident. (AFP, Arutz Sheva, Aljazeera, Fars)

LIBYA: Growing concerns over weapons stockpile
On Wednesday, UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon urged the Libyan authorities to destroy chemical weapons in coordination with international authorities, and to seize control over Col Gadhafi's abandoned stockpile of dangerous weapons such as shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. Thousands of Gadhafi's weapons and storage facilities were destroyed by NATO air strikes; however, there are no accurate numbers of how many remain and who controls them. Comment: This week, a number of reports expressed concern over the circulation and smuggling of former Gadhafi regime weapons. The NTC and senior UN diplomats confirmed reports of "internationally prohibited" weapons believed to be from Libya entering Sudan. Other reports express concern over potential internal and cross-border violence if weapons remain in control of rebels who refuse to disarm or possibly fall into the hands of AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). (Aljazeera, BBC, NPR, Radio Dabanga, Maghrebia, Aljazeera)

SYRIA: Government accepts a peace deal
On Wednesday, the Syrian authorities agreed to an Arab League initiative to end the political crisis. As part of the deal, the government agreed to end the violence against protesters and release political prisoners. They also agreed to allow Arab League observers and regional journalists into Syria and promised to launch a "national dialogue" moderated by the Arab League; however, the violence did not cease as opposition groups say 25 people were killed on the same day the peace agreement was accepted. Comment: Reports question Syria's true intentions, as the government has not specified when it will allow media observers to enter. The government also insists on conducting a mediated national dialogue in Damascus, which is causing doubt among the protesters who are opposing the Arab-sponsored peace deal. Activists against the peace initiative explain that after seven months of violence, diplomacy will not solve the crisis. Over 3,000 pro-democracy protesters have reportedly died since the uprising started seven months ago. (CNN, BBC, Gulf News, UPI)

Researched/Written by Ibrahim Al-Hajjri

South Asia
AFGHANISTAN: Leaders meet to discuss Afghanistan's future
The Presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey met in Istanbul this week and agreed to increase cooperation in the region. President Zardari and President Karzai also announced that the two countries will collaborate on a joint mechanism to investigate the killing of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani. The summit was followed by a one-day global conference of senior diplomats from 20 countries on the future of Afghanistan. The delegations pledged to protect Afghanistan's sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, and ensured cooperation on dismantling terror sanctuaries. Comment: The gatherings seek to chart the way ahead for Afghanistan in light of the impending NATO troop withdrawal and ease relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have been especially fraught since the assassination of former President Rabbani. (AFP, Dawn, SANA, RFERL)

INDIA: India to build Afghanistan-Iran railroad
India is finalizing plans to build a 900-km railroad that will connect Afghanistan and Iran. Details of the plan surfaced in the Istanbul Conference this week. The rail-link will extend from the Chabahar port in Iran to the Hajigak region, home to Afghanistan's largest iron-ore deposits. It will give Afghanistan access to the sea thereby reducing its dependence on Pakistan. Comment: The rail-link idea has been under discussion between India and Iran since 2003. It is expected to increase India's economic opportunities with Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia. It also increases India's strategic leverage in Afghanistan that might potentially heighten tensions with rival Pakistan. (Hindustan Times, SANA, Telegraph)

PAKISTAN: Pakistan to grant India Most Favored Nation trade status
On Wednesday, Pakistan's Cabinet announced that it has decided to grant India the Most Favored Nation (MFN) trade status. Prime Minister Gilani stated that Pakistan could not afford to live in isolation and regional trade would benefit the country. The MFN status will require Pakistan to give the same trade treatment to India as it does to its over 100 other partners and end heavy restrictions on Indian imports. Comment: Analysts state that inflation and food scarcity may be behind Pakistan's decision. India granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996. Currently, bilateral trade stands at a meager USD 2.65 billion. The increase in trade is expected to help normalize fragile relations between the two neighbors. (Economic Times, Hindu, Hindustan Times)

Researched/Written by Megha Swamy


November 04, 2011
Go to IPSI's Homepage

In This Issue

Featured Article



East Asia

Europe & Central Asia

Middle East & N. Africa

South Asia



IPSI News 
Gareth Evans  IPSI Advisor Gareth Evans pens the following opinion piece: The 'responsibility to protect' comes of age.


IPSI Alumni News 
George Gachara   IPSI alumnus George Gachara is presented with the Association of Conflict Resolution's 2011 Outstanding Leadership Award.


IPSI Alumni News 
Nirmanusan Balasundaram   IPSI alumnus Nirmanusan Balasundaram  is
 awarded First Prize for News Reportage at the 16th Annual Reportage Festival in Apatin, Serbia.


IPSI Alumni News 
Jasmine-Kim Westendorf   IPSI alumna Jasmine-Kim Westendorf writes the following op-ed: Excluded: The forgotten women of war and peace.


IPSI Leadership 


Cameron M. Chisholm

Dr. I. William Zartman 
Dr. P. Terrence Hopmann 
Alexander Little 
George Foote
Pamela Aall 
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Betty Bigombe 
Jan Eliasson
Gareth Evans 
Dr. Ted Robert Gurr
Amb. Jacques Paul Klein
Peter Kyle 
Dr. Jean Paul Lederach
Jeffrey Mapendere
John Marks 
Susan Collin Marks 
Dr. Joyce Neu

Dr. Valerie Rosoux 
William Stuebner 
Dr. Ruth Wedgwood

Dr. Craig Zelizer


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