The proposed UN cybercrime convention has risks and opportunities for defining and protecting vulnerable groups.

In 2019, the UN General Assembly voted to establish an Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to develop a convention on countering the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for criminal purposes. The AHC has met twice since January 2022, convening UN member state delegations in Vienna and New York to negotiate the future cybercrime convention.

The mandating resolution expressed concern about the impact of crimes committed in the digital world on the well-being of individuals. Just as cybercrime is borderless, the impacts of cybercrime on the security of vulnerable groups are inexact.

Vulnerable and marginalized groups offline face newfound, rapidly evolving, and ill-defined threats online.…  Seguir leyendo »

Let’s face it, the International Criminal Court, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary on July 1, is suffering from a lack of results.  In two decades, and at a cost of almost two billion dollars, the ICC has never sustained the atrocity conviction of any state official at any level anywhere in the world. Some of its leading cases have collapsed because of faulty case-building, reversals on appeal, and outright sabotage by targeted officials. The only defendants convicted of atrocity crimes in 20 years have been five African rebels.

And yet, the ICC has had an important impact on global justice, through its governing Rome statute which has been transposed into many national laws, and the  baseline international presumption in favor of accountability it helps promote, as well as through the pressure it has exerted on some states like Colombia to undertake prosecutions or risk an ICC investigation.…  Seguir leyendo »

At the beginning of my career, I visited a Sudanese refugee camp in Uganda and saw a two-year-old girl die before my eyes. The technical term for what this girl experienced, when you are too thin and malnourished for your size, is childhood wasting. And it was, indeed, a waste. A young life—with all its potential—gone forever. There was enough food in the world to go around. There was no reason for her to die.

That image has stayed with me for decades, and I have devoted much of my career to trying to identify and combat the root causes of conflict, famine, and human suffering.…  Seguir leyendo »

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet leaves after she addressed the press on the opening day of the 50th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 13. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights is one of the world’s custodians of justice, civil liberties, and accountability. Navi Pillay initiated a U.N. inquiry into crimes against humanity in North Korea. Zeid Raad Al Hussein called for an International Criminal Court probe into atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar. In contrast, Michelle Bachelet, who has just announced she won’t stand for a second term as high commissioner, whitewashed the crimes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Whoever holds the office of U.N. high commissioner for human rights is looked to as a moral leader.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kofi Annan’s Lessons in Global Leadership

The world is facing a set of acute crises without recent parallel: a war in Europe that could escalate into a nuclear conflict, skyrocketing food prices that are hitting the poor the hardest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate emergency. We need principled statesmen and women to forge bold, morally consistent responses to these and other global problems. Sadly, such leaders are in short supply.

Many politicians prefer to advocate polarizing policies, avoid hard choices, and deny the scale of the threats at hand. Others have tried to address these issues honestly. But those who favor cooperation and solidarity in dealing with global threats are on the defensive, as last year’s underwhelming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and grossly unequal global access to COVID-19 vaccines clearly illustrate.…  Seguir leyendo »

Conviene recordar que el 10 de diciembre del 1948 se adoptó por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos. A pesar del tiempo transcurrido para adaptarse, hay países como Rusia, China, Corea del Norte, Venezuela, Cuba y otros que no cumplen con los preceptos de dicha declaración. Lo que parece no importar ni a la propia Organización, ni a gran parte de la comunidad internacional.

A pesar de lo anterior, la ONU consideró que tenía cosas más importantes en las que pensar y en el año 2015 alumbró la Agenda 2030 estableciendo hasta 17 ODS, Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible, que se debieran alcanzar en dicho año.…  Seguir leyendo »

An undated picture shows a session of the League of Nations Extraordinary Council in Geneva. Mondial Photo Presse/AFP via Getty Images

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army reduced one Ukrainian city after another to rubble, crushing civilians caught in apartment blocks and shopping malls under a rain of artillery and missile fire, many observers in the rich world bemoaned the dysfunction of the United Nations for not being able to overcome an obstacle written into its very charter: Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is one of the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members and, as such, enjoys veto power—allowing it to block any measure it disapproves of.

The scattered calls for United Nations reform that this provoked came against the backdrop of another source of Western displeasure.…  Seguir leyendo »

A board shows the passage of a United Nations General Assembly resolution seeking to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council in New York City on April 7. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

This month, the United Nations Human Rights Council began a new session. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov began to speak on March 1, hundreds of diplomats stood up and, turning their back on him, walked out of the meeting in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It seemed to be a powerful statement—one followed up by yesterday’s suspension of Russia from the council. But it’s not enough. The very foundations of the Human Rights Council are flawed.

The council’s president, Federico Villegas, Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations, told U.N. News that the council must “learn from history and find the opportunity for constructive dialogue”.…  Seguir leyendo »

En esta foto del 12 de julio de 2021, un hombre es detenido en una manifestación contra el gobierno del presidente Miguel Díaz-Canel en el municipio Arroyo Naranjo, La Habana. Según un informe de Prisoners Defenders hay 1,007 presos políticos en Cuba. (Yamil Lage/AFP vía Getty Images)

Luis Robles salió a caminar por el boulevard de La Habana el 2 de diciembre de 2020 con un cartel que decía “Libertad, no más represión, #Free-Denis”. No pasaron ni tres minutos y el joven, que hoy tiene 29 años, estaba rodeado de policías y militares que lo arrestaron. Fue llevado a prisión, donde un año y tres meses después le han notificado que su condena es de cinco años de cárcel por su gesto. Semanas antes de conocer su pena, escribió una carta desde la prisión de máxima seguridad donde se encuentra. Ahí explica el porqué de aquella decisión: “Quiero que Cuba sea un país para los cubanos, no importa su manera de pensar, para que las calles de mi país sean para todos y no solo para los comunistas, porque sueño vivir en un país con democracia”.…  Seguir leyendo »

On June 30, 1936, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia appeared before an international body charged with maintaining world peace and providing a forum for resolving international disputes. In Geneva, Haile Selassie pleaded for his people before the world’s mightiest nations—collectively, the League of Nations—to prevent further destruction by a power bent on a war of conquest, Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy. Haile Selassie’s beleaguered forces continued to fight against a better armed, more powerful foe. The assembled nations listened and sympathized but ultimately took no action in collective security to stop the war. Some nations sympathetic to Italy, the aggressor, because of ideological alignment and opposition to the then-existing world order, balked at unified action to stop the war.…  Seguir leyendo »

A new UN cybercrime treaty process is raising strong awareness about one of the biggest global challenges and the complexities of addressing it.

At the end of February, negotiations for a UN treaty to counter cybercrime began. This is significant for many reasons.

Firstly, while there are several instruments that address cybercrime, this is not only the first time states are negotiating a binding UN instrument on cybercrime, but also the first time states are negotiating a binding instrument on any cyber issue.

Secondly, the convention has the potential of reducing impunity of cybercriminals by harmonizing national approaches to criminalization. Relatedly, the convention could play a crucial role in improving international cooperation by providing effective investigatory frameworks and facilitating cross-border data exchange.

Moreover, the convention  could help build the capacity of countries with less experience in tackling cybercrime and provide the basis for technical assistance.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una familia ucrania saluda desde un tren que va a Varsovia, en la estación de tren de Przemysl, Polonia, el jueves 10 de marzo de 2022.Petros Giannakouris (AP)

La dramática escalada del conflicto en Ucrania pone de manifiesto, una vez más, la poca capacidad de la ONU para dirimir las disputas entre países y asegurar la paz. En un mundo reacio al multilateralismo, donde se intensifican las amenazas globales, se agudizan las desigualdades y se multiplican los conflictos; la ONU se ha convertido en un actor cada vez más marginal y cuestionado. ¿Puede una organización que ha permanecido intacta desde 1945 ser la plataforma para resolver los problemas actuales? ¿Se encuentra el multilateralismo en peligro de extinción?

Una mirada sobre el desempeño del organismo internacional debe reconocer éxitos y fracasos.…  Seguir leyendo »

La idea de competencia geopolítica entre grandes potencias como principio rector de las relaciones internacionales está ganando terreno frente a la de la cooperación basada en normas entre Estados interdependientes. La actual agresión de Rusia contra la soberanía y la integridad territorial de Ucrania parece confirmar esta tendencia, dando la razón a quienes creen que el derecho internacional va camino de ser sustituido por la ley del más fuerte.

La competencia estratégica permea también la declaración conjunta realizada por Rusia y China en Pekín el 4 de febrero, que rezuma de mensajes implícita o explícitamente antioccidentales. En ella China se opone por primera vez a la expansión de la OTAN y avala la propuesta rusa de establecer “garantías jurídicas en materia de seguridad” en Europa (garantías que, tal como las ha planteado Rusia, significan, de facto, el reconocimiento de una zona de influencia rusa).…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya looks at papers during the United Nations Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York City on February 27, 2022. Andrea Renault / AFP

The United Nations General Assembly will hold an Emergency Special Session on the war in Ukraine this week, beginning today. This is potentially a key moment for all members of the UN to condemn Russia’s aggression, call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and reaffirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The General Assembly must send a clear message in support of Ukraine, and African, Asian and Latin American members in particular should make their voices heard.

This week’s General Assembly session follows Russia’s predictable decision to block a Security Council resolution deploring its actions last Friday. On Sunday 27 February, the Council passed a procedural resolution – with eleven votes in favour, three abstentions and Russia’s no-vote (Russia could not veto the text under UN rules) – requesting the General Assembly to meet in line with the long-established but rarely used “Uniting for Peace” formula.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Afghan woman walks on the street during a snowfall in Kabul, Afghanistan, 3 January 2022. REUTERS / Ali Khara

The UN Security Council faces hard choices about the future of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The UN’s role in Afghanistan has grown more important following the Taliban victory in August 2021 and the shuttering of many embassies and international organisations. UNAMA, originally launched in 2002 after the U.S. toppled the first Taliban government, has stayed in place, acting as a point of contact for engagement with the new Taliban authorities. The mission also has the potential to serve as the “eyes and ears” on the ground for outside powers and aid donors, monitoring the human rights situation and coordinating the work of UN agencies in responding to the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis.…  Seguir leyendo »

Diplomats at the United Nations are preparing for an unholy row over Ukraine. As Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy reported this month, the Biden administration “is planning for a high-profile public showdown with Russia” in the Security Council if Moscow launches a new offensive against its neighbor. If hostilities escalate, the United States, its allies, and Ukraine are also likely to push for other U.N. bodies, like the General Assembly and Human Rights Council, to condemn Russia. While Russian diplomats will reject these criticisms out of hand, the crisis could make it harder for Washington and Moscow to compromise over other crises on the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

How UN Member States Divided Over Climate Security

On 13 December, Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on climate security tabled by Ireland and Niger. This draft resolution was a relatively modest text, focusing on improving the UN’s analysis of the links between climate change and instability in countries and regions on the Council’s agenda, and requesting the Secretary-General to produce a report on these issues by December 2023. Russia argued that there was not enough evidence to justify these links and complained that the Irish and Nigeriens had made insufficient efforts to secure consensus for their initiative. While twelve Council members voted for the resolution, India opposed it on similar grounds to Russia, and China abstained.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudanese refugees try to repair their hut in flooded waters from the White Nile at a refugee camp which was inundated after heavy rain near in al-Qanaa in southern Sudan, on 14 September 2021. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution calling for stepped up international efforts to understand and respond to the implications of climate change for peace and security. Ireland and Niger, two elected members of the body, put the draft “in blue” – meaning the text is in near-final form – late on 6 December. On 9 December, Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum will preside over a Council session on climate change and terrorism. A vote on the draft resolution could come as soon as 10 December, or early next week. China and Russia are not supportive, and either could decide to veto.…  Seguir leyendo »