Human Rights

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  • Revision of the DSCO: Human Rights to the Fore

    The Doctrine for Sub Conventional Operations (DSCO) is due for review this year. This Brief suggests directions in which the Doctrine can better address the Human Rights factor.

    March 22, 2011

    Sudhakaran asked: How can the armed forces effectively protect national security interests with commitment towards an impeccable human rights agenda?

    Ali Ahmed replies: The military is committed to following national policy on human rights as defined in the Human Rights Act of 1993. It is a mistaken impression that national security would tend to suffer in any form were the military to affirm its human rights commitments. On the contrary, a military that is in sync with societal culture and national policy is one that is more combat effective. Human rights would not so much come into play in conventional war as would humanitarian law. The military is cognisant of the humanitarian laws, in particular the 1960 Geneva Conventions Act. In so far as subconventional conflict, especially counter insurgency is concerned, adherence to human rights is a force multiplier. It reduces alienation and discredits insurgent propaganda. This enables easier access to intelligence from the people and thereby intelligence based operations. This cycle leads to a lesser imposition on human rights. Therefore, national security is served by adherence to human rights commitments.

    China: Two Decades after Tiananmen

    It is obvious today that realpolitik is shaping the relationship between the world powers and China. There was hardly any debate on the Tiananmen Square Incident barring a few newspaper articles. It appears is that the world order has accepted the way China behaves and is also ready to make concessions on the Human Rights issues as seen during the Tibetan Uprising last year. The question is why is the world ready to make so many compromises when it comes to China?

    June 19, 2009

    Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza and Some Limitations of International Law

    Notwithstanding calls for the establishment of an independent and international commission of inquiry to investigate war crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups during the Operation Cast Lead, a legal issue is whether the use of certain weapons by the Israeli forces is in contravention of international law.1

    March 04, 2009

    For EU, Trade Will Trump Tibet

    The streets of Lhasa have started to become quiet once again. It would be just a matter of weeks if not months before the Forbidden City once again invites tourists to the roof of the world to experience ‘Tibetan culture’, the preservation of which has been one of the central demands of the demonstrators. Tibet would soon show its ‘normalcy’ to the world, with the Olympic Torch passing through it.

    March 26, 2008

    Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Imbroglio

    The visit of Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the subsequent resignation of four prominent civil right activists including Human Rights Watch award winner Sunila Abeysekera from an advisory committee of the Ministry of Human Rights, have highlighted the alarming state of human rights in Sri Lanka.

    November 06, 2007

    The Unfolding Crisis in Myanmar

    Myanmar has been in the eye of the storm in recent months. In August, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the Myanmarese military regime led by Than Shwe is known, arbitrarily increased the fuel prices from US $1.18 to $1.96 per gallon. This sudden decision caught the country's impoverished people by surprise, who subsequently began a massive non-violent protest. Similar mass protests had taken place in 1988 against the military regime's removal of bank notes from circulation resulting in loss of savings for the common people.

    October 19, 2007

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