UNHRC

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS IN POST-CONFLICT RECONSTRUCTION

 
 

Of the many faces of war that shape public political discourse, the face of the child is perhaps the most pervasive. Disconcertingly, it is also the least understood. Conflict-affected children make for powerful imagery – often featured in news headlines – and provide arguably the best case against war and conflict. Unfortunately, even though great strides have been made in children’s rights protection in international law, violations of these rights in real-world conflicts have been on the rise. Even more alarming is what comes after – whole generations lost as the processes of post-conflict reconstruction fail to ensure the rehabilitation of children, with dire consequences for both the individual and for post-conflict society as a whole.

Children represent both the biggest challenge and the greatest hope for successful post-conflict reconstruction. Their lives, fundamentally informed by conflict, are going to be the bedrock of their war-weary societies’ gradual recovery – or of their downfall. Overcoming discordant patterns created by individual and collective trauma requires a great amount of effort on all sides, and to effectively aid this process the international human rights regime must develop accordingly.  Affording children a larger role in all stages of post-conflict reconstruction thus represents the next logical step not only in the better protection of their rights, but also in an unparalleled advancement of the international human rights regime – as a source of peace and stability where they are most needed.

 

UNSC

ADDRESSING
THE CAUSES OF INSTABILITY
IN LIBYA

 

To portray contemporary Libya as a state in the modern sense of the word would be to obscure much of what has emerged since the toppling of the Gadhafi regime in 2011. Today, three self-styled governments vie for legitimacy in a territory spanning almost 1,8 million square kilometres. From this vastness, a motley of government forces, local militias, religious extremist groups, private contractors, ancient tribes and foreign operators was spawned; each driven by its idiosyncratic material and ideological inclinations, pursuing its individual abstruse calculus. As oil exports stand at a constant risk of disruption, much of the infrastructure, both physical and institutional, started to degrade. Those who have not left the country make ends meet whichever way possible. Illegal trade in gasoline, weapons, narcotics and people has become the cornerstone of the new Libyan economy.

Although few, if any, of these issues have gone entirely unaddressed, approaching different vectors of instability as separate issue-areas greatly diminishes the likelihood of finding a viable long-term solution. If a more sustainable order is to be established, policymakers first need to understand the intricacy of causal connections that fuel instability in Libya. In this sense, the Salient 2017 UN Security Council simulation was envisioned as a learning experience through which participants would come to grasp the totality and causal complexity of contemporary conflicts. 

 

EU FAC

TRANSNATIONAL
REGULATION OF PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES

 

In the early 1990s a surplus of idle military expertise, brought about by the of the Cold War, and rapid regulatory liberalisation in the service sector gave rise to the contemporary incarnation of a highly skilled and well-organised mercenary – the private security company (PSC). While PSCs are much more constrained in their operations, concerns reminiscent of their late medieval counterparts have not been uncommon, with lack of transparency, criminal accountability and grave-human rights abuses defining their public image. Equally alarming is the extent to which state institutions have come to rely on their services and how this has in turn spurred a similar trend in the wider security sector.

Despite the fact that, apart from North America, Europe is home to the largest number of private security companies, private military and security services remain predominantly unregulated at the European level. Given the increasing number of both UN and EU peace operations, accompanied by the rationalisation of national militaries, this raises several concerns. To prevent PMCs abusing their power, protect people who are directly or indirectly engaged with them, including those they employ, and provide a legitimate basis for the solicitation of their services, a transnationally harmonised approach is required. To accomplish this, foreign ministers representing member states in the Foreign Affairs Council configuration of the Council of the EU will need to skilfully navigate a complex terrain of common security aspirations, military budget restraints, mutually exclusive legal provisions, numerous vested interests, and divergent views on what the security landscape should look like in the 21st century.