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Diplomacy & Crisis News

New South Sudan Parliament can ‘infuse urgency’ into peace process

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 20:31
South Sudan has made history with the appointment of two women to senior leadership positions within its Transitional National Legislature, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council on Wednesday, as he encouraged parties to build on these gains in efforts to overcome significant political and security headwinds.

Urgent action needed over artificial intelligence risks to human rights

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 19:55
States should place moratoriums on the sale and use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems until adequate safeguards are put in place, UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.       

Que faisons-nous en Irak<small class="fine"> </small>?

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 19:18
Pas un jour, en Irak, sans que l'on annonce des morts : des militaires de la coalition, mais aussi des diplomates et surtout des civils innocents. Cette guerre apporte le chaos dans la région ; elle est aussi une guerre contre le peuple américain. / États-Unis, Irak, Violence, Torture, Guerre (...) / , , , , - 2005/08

Eating wild meat significantly increases zoonotic disease risk: UN report 

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 18:18
The domestic consumption of meat from wild animals has significant impacts on most species protected under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), says a new report released on Wednesday, including increasing the risk of diseases spreading from animals to humans.  

Zalmay Khalilzad: ‘I Will Reflect’ on What U.S. Could Have Done Differently

Foreign Policy - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 18:06
America’s man in Afghanistan reflects on Trump’s ill-fated peace deal, the pullout, and how everything went wrong.

De la mer en partage au partage de la mer

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 17:08
Découper la mer en zones spécialisées, comme on aménage les terres ? Portée par une directive européenne qui entrera en application en septembre, cette idée part d'un constat : certains espaces juxtaposent des activités parfois incompatibles (transport, pêche, gazoducs, aires protégées, exploitation (...) / , , , , , , , , , , , , - 2016/07

La Russie à la conquête du Grand Nord

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 17:08
/ Russie, Pétrole, Prison, Transports, Géographie, Matières premières, Charbon, Arctique, Gaz naturel - Espace et territoire / , , , , , , , , - Espace et territoire

Global economy projected to show fastest growth in 50 years 

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 16:35
The global economy is expected to bounce back this year with growth of 5.3 per cent, the fastest in nearly five decades, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

COVID crises highlight strengths of democratic systems, says Guterres 

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 16:16
The UN Secretary-General, on Wednesday, urged the world to “learn from the lessons of the past 18 months, to strengthen democratic resilience in the face of future crises.” 

Solving the Karabakh Conflict: Why direct negotiations between Baku and Yerevan are the only way to go

Foreign Policy Blogs - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 15:42


The conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh appears today as frozen again. Yet it remains fundamentally unsolved. Arguably, the conflict is currently as much a time-bomb as it had been before the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. From the point of view of general post-Soviet geopolitics and generic international relations as well as law, two principal issues appear as paramount for the search for a solution of the conflict.

First, the absent or incomplete international reception of the Armenian narrative about Nagorno-Karabakh has little to do with Armenia, Karabakh, the Caucasus and post-Soviet situation. The problem of the Armenian apology for its territorial claim is not a lack of historical or/and demographic justification. Instead, its partly solid grounding in some (though not other) periods of Karabakh’s past is paradoxically the very reason why it will find only limited understanding outside Armenia.

Armenian commentators’ picking of certain historical facts in favor Karabakh’s independence or inclusion into Armenia is a strategy that can be applied by other nationalists in entirely different regions around the world. There are a number of territories across the globe which are, like Karabakh, in view of their history or/and demography politically “misplaced,” according to those or that nationalists. An international acceptance of the Armenian justification for breaking up Azerbaijan or for even enlarging Armenia could thus open a pandora box. There is little prospect for the Armenian quest of a “liberation” of Nagorno-Karabakh ever becoming broadly accepted, therefore. Instead, the Armenian government, people and diaspora need to find – together with, rather in opposition to, Azerbaijan – a solution to this dilemma via direct negotiations with their supposed enemy.

Second, on the Azerbaijani side, there may today be a time of pride and celebration regarding Karabakh. Yet, the current geopolitical constellation around the Southern Caucasus could change. The main regional actors – Russia, Turkey and Iran – all have authoritarian governments prone to abrupt leadership or even regime transitions. As a result, there may, in the future, be also radical changes in the foreign policy preferences of Moscow, Ankara and Teheran, in store.

For instance, a more fundamentalist future Russian president could take a different approach vis-à-vis the Christian-Orthodox aspect of Karabakh’s history than Vladimir Putin. Or a more pro-European or introverted future Turkish president could soften Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan. The entire region is geopolitically undetermined, organizationally underdeveloped, and potentially unstable.

In the same way in which Baku was in 2020 able to exploit a peculiar geopolitical constellation for a successful military campaign, Yerevan may, in the future, be tempted to accomplish yet another territorial revision, if it believes that the situation in Ankara, Moscow and Teheran has changed to its advantage. Therefore, Azerbaijan should not repeat Armenia’s mistake of merely focusing and relying on powerful outside actors. The solution of the conflict lies in direct negotiations between Baku and Yerevan rather than in mere propping up of domestic mobilization, military capacities, and geopolitical alliances. Ideally, Armenia and Azerbaijan should become more deeply embedded in old and new multilateral international and regional organizations that would include both countries and provide more effective platforms for conflict solutions than currently such organizations as the Council of Europe or Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe do.


Murray Bookchin, écologie ou barbarie

Le Monde Diplomatique - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 15:07
À la mort de Murray Bookchin, en 2006, le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK) a promis de fonder la première société qui établirait un confédéralisme démocratique inspiré des réflexions du théoricien de l'écologie sociale et du municipalisme libertaire. Une reconnaissance tardive pour ce militant (...) / , , , , , , , , , , - 2016/07

Civilian casualties rise, despite progress in eliminating cluster bombs 

UN News Centre - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 14:53
Casualties caused by lethal cluster munitions continued to increase in 2020, despite progress in efforts to eliminate these weapons, a UN-backed civil society report said on Wednesday. 

76th General Assembly gets underway at UN Headquarters in New York 

UN News Centre - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 23:46
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be the most challenging period the world has seen since the Second World War, said the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday – as the 75th session of the General Assembly gave way to the new – deepening inequalities, decimating economies and plunging millions into extreme poverty. 

After 10 years of war in Syria, siege tactics still threaten civilians

UN News Centre - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 19:32
The future for Syria’s people is “increasingly bleak”, UN-appointed rights experts said on Tuesday, highlighting escalating conflict in several areas of the war-ravaged country, a return to siege tactics and popular demonstrations linked to the plummeting economy.

UN mission responding to evolving needs in Sudan transition process

UN News Centre - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 19:25
Despite setbacks and challenges, Sudan continues its transition towards democracy, the head of the UN special political mission in the country told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Only 2% of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Africa 

UN News Centre - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 18:17
More than 5.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of them in Africa, said World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday. 

First humanitarian flight to Kabul marks 'turning point' in crisis: WFP 

UN News Centre - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 17:57
The return of humanitarian flights to Kabul since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is a turning point in the crisis, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday. 

Norilsk, ville polaire, cité du nickel

Le Monde Diplomatique - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 17:15
Sans grands égards pour les peuples autochtones ni pour un environnement fragile, l'Union soviétique a très tôt exploité les ressources énergétiques et minières au-delà du cercle polaire en déplaçant une importante main-d'œuvre forcée ou pionnière. Les cités arctiques russes sont-elles amenées à disparaître (...) / , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , - 2016/07

The Izoliatsiia Grinder in Russia-Controlled Donets’k

Foreign Policy Blogs - Tue, 14/09/2021 - 15:40

By Stanislav Aseyev and Andreas Umland

One of the most brutal places of incarceration in the occupied territories of Eastern Ukraine – the so-called “Donetsk” and “Lugansk Peoples Republics” known by their Russian acronyms DNR/LNR – is the secret Izoliatsiia (Isolation) prison in the city of Donets’k. Since 2018, Izoliatsiia has become widely known in mass media and especially notorious for its cruelty. Among others, Stanislav Aseyev, who was held in the prison for 28 months, has published widely on Izoliatsiia.

According to Aseyev’s first-hand observations in Izoliatsiia, more than a hundred civilians went through the de facto concentration camp, in 2018-2019. Most of the captives in the Izoliatsiia prison experienced torture by electric shocks, beating, psychological torture, mock executions as well as rape. Many were forced to do hard physical labor.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine 16 November 2019 to 15 February 2020 (pp. 38-42) collected extensive witness testimonies on, among others, the Izoliatsiia torture prison:

“One detainee told OHCHR that his cellmates told him they had been ordered by the ‘Izoliatsiia’ guards ‘to make him talk’, and therefore forced him to march in place all night long in the cell, saying ‘If you do not do it, they will hurt all of us’. Detainees told OHCHR that in ‘Izoliatsiia’, ‘press cells’ were set up, where detainees were intimidated or beaten by cellmates to make them confess. One detainee was threatened that he would be forced to perform oral sex on other detainees in a ‘press cell’ if he did not confess. […] In addition to the beatings during interrogations, ‘Izoliatsiia’ detainees told OHCHR that personnel and other detainees cooperating with the ‘administration’ would beat them to coerce them to confess or to punish them for their alleged pro-Ukraine views or for allegedly disobeying the rules or orders. One detainee was regularly beaten for a year while in ‘Izoliatsiia’ as punishment for his pro-Ukraine views. Guards stepped on his toes and used a baton to hit him on his heels and legs causing him severe pain. Another detainee said he was beaten daily to make him confess and needed help to stand or use the toilet. […] In ‘Izoliatsiia’, a separate room with a table and relevant equipment was used to administer electric shocks. For example, one detainee was tied to the table, hand cuffed and hooded. Perpetrators attached one electrode to his genitalia and inserted a metal tube with a second electrode into his anus. He was subjected to painful electric shocks for several minutes, during which he lost consciousness several times. When he screamed, they put a cloth into his mouth. Another detainee told OHCHR that he was put on the table, hooded and with his arms and legs tied. Perpetrators attached electric wires to his feet and poured water on them. Some detainees held in ‘Izoliatsiia’ could not prevent themselves from urinating and defecating during electrocution. […A]nother detainee told OHCHR that […h]is genitalia was also repeatedly hit with a metal rod. As a result of this torture and sexual violence, the skin on his genitalia turned black and peeled off over several weeks. After refusing to confess to espionage, one detainee was put in a cell where one of the cellmates took off his pants and attempted to force the victim to engage in oral sex. Another detainee said that he witnessed the head of the ‘Izoliatsiia’ detention facility come to the cell and order detainees to engage in oral sex. One detainee told OHCHR that while in ‘Izoliatsiia’, he heard guards scream at female detainees on their way to the shower: ‘Go shave your [vaginas]. You are about to go upstairs to work it off.’ […] Several detainees reported that in ‘Izoliatsiia’, a health professional was present during their interrogations and torture. The man revived those who lost consciousness, and guided the perpetrators about how to torture to inflict maximum pain without causing death. He also examined detainees before the torture and asked about their medical conditions; measured their blood pressure or pulse; and gave injections. He told one detainee during torture: ‘We can kill you anytime we want.’”

Oddly, not only pro-Ukrainian and accidental civilians, but also numerous former so-called “insurgents” (opolchentsy) – i.e. previous DNR/LNR volunteer fighters or mercenaries from both Ukraine and Russia – have been held in Izoliatsiia and other detention facilities. During his more than two years at Izoliatsiia, Aseyev personally met and talked to:

    1. Yurii Tchaikovskii – a Colonel of the DNR’s so-called “5th Brigade,”
    2. Andrei Bogomaz – a Major General of the DNR’s so-called “Ministry of Emergency Situations,”
    3. Vitalii Ivanienko – a Lieutenant Colonel of the DNR’s so-called “Vitiaz’ Battalion,”
    4. Andrei Ibragimov – a Russian citizen and Major of the LNR’s so-called “4th Brigade,”
    5. Evgenii Tverdovskii – a Russian citizen and Lieutenant of the Russian Federation’s navy,
    6. Sergei Stavnichnii – a Lieutenant Colonel of the LNR’s so-called “4th LNR,”
    7. Aleksei Sidorov – a Captain of the DNR’s so-called “Legion Battalion,”
    8. Aleksandr Trudnenko – a Russian citizen and Senior Lieutenant of the DNR’s so-called “Vitiaz’ Battalion,”
    9. Denis Kustov – a Russian citizen and member of the DNR’s Radio-Electronic Intelligence Battalion,
    10. Aleksandr Shestakov – a Russian citizen accused of drug trafficking.

There were additional pro-Russian Ukrainian or Russian inmates during Aseyev’s term held in Izoliatsiia. These fighters not only sat in the same cells as those Ukrainians accused and sentenced because of their real or alleged pro-Ukrainian activities. The pro-Russian prisoners at Izoliatsiia went through similarly brutal torture often designed to extract preformulated confessions on, for instance, spying for Kyiv. The brutal persecution of “one’s own people” is a practice reminiscent of the Stalinist purges of the Bolshevik party and Soviet regime of the 1930s.

Stanislav Aseyev is an Expert on the Donbas with the Ukrainian Institute for the Future in Kyiv, and author of, among other books, “A ‘Light Path’: The History of a Concentration Camp” (L’viv: Old Lion Press, 2020).

Andreas Umland is a Research Fellow at the Stockholm Center for Eastern European Studies, and editor of the book series “Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society” published by ibidem Press in Stuttgart. 

A larger report on prisoners in the occupied Donbas has been published in April 2021 by the Swedish Institute of International Affairs here: