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NTS Bulletin

NTS Bulletin February 2011 (Issue 2)

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Thai-Cambodian Border Clashes Resume

Fighting resumed along the disputed Thai-Cambodian border, covering Thailand’s Si Sa Ket province and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, following the start of gunfire and artillery duels on 4 February 2011. The number of persons killed and injured on both sides continues to rise and the fighting has led to the displacement of more than 20,000 people.

The Preah Vihear temple lies at the centre of the conflict due to its location on the disputed territory. The temple has since sustained damage as a result of the fighting. Its religious symbolism for Buddhists on both sides of the border has contributed to fuelling nationalism within and conflicts between both countries for decades. An International Court of Justice ruling in 1962 had awarded the temple to Cambodia, inciting Thai unhappiness. Further, in 2008, Cambodia had successfully applied for World Heritage status for the temple.

The dispute has provoked comment from fellow ASEAN member states. The Malaysian and Singaporean foreign ministries have expressed that it is in line with the spirit of ASEAN solidarity that the two countries settle the dispute amicably through dialogue and negotiations. The Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has demanded UN Security Council peacekeeping intervention through the formation of a buffer zone along the border. Indonesia holds the Chair of ASEAN this year and Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has sent Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, to Cambodia and Thailand to speak to the leaders of both countries. The minister stressed that a bilateral approach between the two countries is fundamental to the resolution of the conflict.

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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The paper examines the impact of the presence of international organisations (IOs) such as the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS) on human trafficking rates in Haiti. It also identifies factors which contribute to enhancing the role of IOs in addressing this transborder activity and conducts a comparative analysis of the UN and the OAS.

Building on the discourse to extend the focus of criminal law enforcement to the prevention of human trafficking, this article examines alternative frameworks for addressing the issue. In particular, it considers the role of a public health approach. This article is relevant for those researching alternative preventative measures for human trafficking.

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INTERNAL AND CROSS-BORDER CONFLICT

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The book examines the relationship between identities, violence and conflict in the context of internal migration within India. It reviews the existing institutional framework through analysis of the implications of internal migration, livelihood strategies, recruitment processes, and development and policy concerns, with a focus on employment networks, gender dimensions and migration-development linkages. It also puts forward policy recommendations on improving the living and working conditions of migrant workers.

This paper examines progress and insufficiency in promoting and protecting human rights in Cambodia based on the experiences of UN human rights special rapporteurs working in the country. Despite encouraging progress, the country has yet to meet the international benchmark, thus the UN human rights mandate in Cambodia remains very much relevant. In particular, the paper emphasises the importance of the government’s support for the rapporteur’s approach in the promotion of human rights in the country.

The paper highlights that the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) norm has evolved through a feedback loop mechanism rather than via a linear top-down process. In establishing this, the paper considers the processes and causal mechanisms that contribute to the evolution of the RtoP principle, the challenges faced in diffusing the norm and the variation of norm effects across states. The paper gives particular focus to RtoP in China and Japan.

This paper discusses the operationalisation of the Protection of Civilians (POC) norm in Southeast Asia. Whilst noting that the norm may need to be enhanced through a broad-based human security framework, the paper suggests that the implementation of civilian protection needs also to adopt a multi-level and multi-actor approach.

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MIGRATION

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In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the UNHCR provides, through this report, an update on the status of the world’s forcibly displaced populations. Referenced here is the section on Asia and the Pacific, where the complex state of mixed migration in Southeast Asia, in particular, is discussed. It illustrates that the security concerns of states continue to constrain refugee protection and asylum space. The report also highlights the UNHCR’s efforts in addressing some of the challenges and its recommendations for the way forward.

Through an examination of the development and evolution of the UN Guiding Principles on internal displacement and other relevant supplementary soft laws on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the article analyses how the guiding principles exemplified the role of the special procedures of the Human Rights Council in the development of international human rights law with respect to emerging and challenging human rights issues. The article specifically identifies how the mandate-holder or rapporteur has developed a successful and unique relationship with the UN and regional organisations to further augment the relevance and influence of the guiding principles.

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TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

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In this article, the author reflects on the slow implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and explores key political factors preventing member states from following up on the UNTOC. In his view, implementation has failed because the fight against transnational organised crime has been framed as a national security concern.

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WATER SECURITY

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This report looks at the pressures on inland fisheries and the drivers of ecosystems degradation that affect them. It reviews opportunities for sustainably managing inland fisheries through ecosystem management approaches. Case studies in the report give examples of the status and the pressures as well as the development of inland fisheries in different parts of the world.

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About the Centre:

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies was inaugurated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan in May 2008. The Centre maintains research in the fields of Food Security, Climate Change, Energy Security, Health Security as well as Internal and Cross-Border Conflict. It produces policy-relevant analyses aimed at furthering awareness and building capacity to address NTS issues and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The Centre also provides a platform for scholars and policymakers within and outside Asia to discuss and analyse NTS issues in the region.

In 2009, the Centre was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation as a lead institution for the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative, to develop policy research capacity and recommend policies on the critical security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific.

The Centre is also a founding member and the Secretariat for the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). More information on the Centre can be found at www.rsis.edu.sg/nts.


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