Conferences and Events
 
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South Africa’s second tenure in the UN Security Council: The Emerging Powers Dimension

The roundtable focused on how South Africa’s non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council so far has been influenced by its emerging power status as a member of IBSA and BRICS and the manner in which the politics of emerging powers and UN forum coalitions have and are playing out on the Security Council.

This involves assessing SA’s role in terms of the issues that have come up before the UNSC in 2011, looking forward to other issues and challenges that will come up on the UNSC agenda during SA’s tenure.


This is part of a project aimed at assessing SA’s second coming in the UNSC, which is generously supported by the Open Society Foundation.

Libya, the UN, the AU and South Africa: 
Wrong moves? wrong motives?

The University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, in conjunction with the Centre for Mediation in Africa and the Political Sciences Department held a panel discussion on 15 September 2011, titled Libya, the UN, AU and South Africa: Wrong moves? Wrong Motives?

The issue regarding international intervention in Libya has generated much debate, as was continued in the panel discussion between delegates experienced on the subject.



The delegates included Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO), Ebrahim Ebrahim; the French Deputy Head of Mission in South Africa, Olivier Brochenin; Executive Director of the Institute of Global Dialogue (IGD), Dr Siphamandla Zondi; and the Director of the Centre for Mediation in Africa, Dr Laurie Nathan.

Public Lecture - 1 June 2011

‘Is peace possible in the Great Lakes Region?’
The Centre for Human Rights and the Department of Political Sciences held a public lecture on the 1st of June 2011 which was presented by the European Union (EU) Ambassador Mr Roeland van de Geer. His lecture was titled ‘Is Peace possible in the Great Lakes Region?’ The evening formed part of a project which focuses on South Africa’s human rights and foreign policy which is funded by the Open Society Foundation of South Africa.

 

roeland_van_de_geer2

Ambassador van de Geer, the current EU Ambassador in South Africa, is a very knowledgeable person on the situation in the Great Lakes area, as he served as the EU Special Representative for the Great Lakes region between 2007 and the start of 2011.  In addressing the question “Is peace possible in the Great Lakes region?’, Ambassador van de Geer briefly sketched the background to the conflict in the area. He emphasised three aspects: (i) The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and its ‘spill-over’ effect into the eastern DRC,  provided a racialisedor ethnic basis to the conflict. (ii) This basis was overladen and exacerbated by the extraction of minerals in the DRC, which provides a material source that keeps fuelling the conflict. (iii) The complexity of the conflict is related to the fact that the DRC shares its border with no fewer than nine states.

In its efforts to address the conflict and its root causes, the international community has engaged with military groups and governments in a series of ‘peace processes’. In the North, the ‘Juba process’, involving the Lord’s Resistance Army, showed some promise but was eventually not formalised into a final agreement.  In the Central region, the ‘Goma process’ sought to engage with the Rwandese government, and was partially successful. In the South, the ‘Burundi process’ was well on its way, before it was, to some extent, derailed by the 2010 elections.

The speaker identified the three main issues affecting the prospects for peace in the eastern DRC:

  • The integration of militias into the existing formal armies, amongst others, in order to reduce uncontrolled sexual violence against women and girls in the region.
  • The illegal exploitation of resources, which keep the militias afloat.
  • The Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), its leadership and its role in the region.

In conclusion, Ambassador van de Geer contended that there is relative peace in the region, but added that there is much potential for the region to erupt into conflict, in particular because there is a failure to address the root causes of the conflict. As for future international responses, he pleaded for a more active role for the African Union to ‘pull together’ efforts by sub-regional bodies.  He also emphasised that South Africa should prioritise the situation in the Great Lakes area, despite all the claims on its foreign policy priorities and its limited military capacity.

Photos:

Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June  2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June  2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June  2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June  2011

Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1  June  2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011

Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1  June  2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011 Roeland van de Geer (EU Ambassador) Public Lecture :: 1 June   2011

Seminar - 5 April 2011

Do Normative Frameworks 'Save us from Hell'? - Dealing with crimes against humanity
Dr Henning Melber, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala; Prof Johan van der Vyver, Extraordinary Professor, UP; Prof Erika de Wet, Co-Director, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Dr Bjorn Moller, Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen

The discussion was chaired by Prof Michelo HansUngule, UP Centre for Human Rights. It took as its starting point the words of Dag Hammarskjold: the United Nations was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell.
The March 2011 edition of the journal, Development Dialogue, dealing with the broad theme of crimes against humanity, was also launched at the panel discussion.

Seminar - 30 March 2011

South Africa's Second Term on the United Nations Security Council
Mr Marius Fransman, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Mr Joao Ramos Pinto, Ambassador of Portugal and Dr Bjorn Moller, Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS)

A panel discussion, presented by the Centre for Mediation and the Centre for Human Rights on South Africa's Second Term on the United Nations Security Council

Seminar - 17 March 2011

The Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire
Presented by Mr Sery Zady Aurelian

In November 2010 the President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, precipitated a crisis when he refused to accept the results of a UN supervised election apparently won by the opposition leader Alassane Ouattara. The country
remains poised on the brink of civil war. The response of African countries and international bodies has been mixed. ECOWAS and the AU have recognised Ouattara as the president-elect. Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and Burkina Faso
have proposed military intervention but South Africa and some other African countries favour a negotiated solution. The AU is pursuing mediation and its High Level Panel will soon convene a meeting to conclude its mandate from
the AU Peace and Security.

The aim of the seminar will be to clarify and explore these different positions, as well as the most recent negotiations amongst the various parties involved. Mr Sery Zady Aurelian, a political analyst from Abidjan, is currently the guest of
the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in Pretoria and will address the seminar on these issues. The discussion will consider the implications of recent events for peace-making and stability in Côte d’Ivoire.

Photos:

The Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire :: Mr Sery Zady Aurelian The Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire :: Participants at the seminar

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