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Human Rights and Conflicts

Armed conflict , not between nations but between opposing factions within the
same state , are currently one of the most serious threats to international peace
and security threats. Although this is internal violence , they often transcend
national borders, threatening the security of other states and provoking complex
humanitarian emergencies . The abuses of human rights prevailing in internal
conflicts are today among the most egregious in the world. In 1996 there were 19
domestic violence situations in the world in which 1,000 or more people had been
killed . These conflicts , called " high-intensity conflicts " caused cumulatively
between 6.5 and 8.5 million deaths. That same year also saw 40 " low intensity
conflicts " , each of which caused between 100 and 1,000 deaths . To these figures
must be added another 2 million dead, taking into account the situations of internal
violence had decreased in intensity in 1996.
The death toll just gives an idea of suffering, displacement and enormous
devastation caused by conflict. The attacks on the fundamental right to life are
widespread : massacres , indiscriminate attacks on civilians, executions of
prisoners , whole populations starve ... Torture is common in internal conflicts , as
are measures to restrict the freedom of movement ( forced relocations , mass
expulsions and repeal of the right to seek asylum or the right of the individual to
return home ) . Women and girls are raped by soldiers and forced into prostitution
and kidnaps children to become soldiers. Tens of thousands of people arrested in
connection with conflicts "disappear " every year , usually killed and buried in
secret, and their tormented families never know the fate . Thousands of others are
arbitrarily imprisoned without ever being prosecuted or , if so, under extremely
unfair trials . Homes, schools and hospitals were deliberately destroyed. Attacking
relief convoys , trying to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians .
The denial of fundamental rights related to employment , housing, food and respect
for cultural life , as well as large-scale discrimination and excluding people from
decision-making processes of society, are fundamental causes of many of the
current serious crisis. Armed conflicts clearly illustrate the indivisibility and
interdependence of human rights. The collapse of infrastructure and civic
institutions undermines the whole range of civil, economic , political and social
rights. The rights to health care , adequate housing and education, freedom of
movement and expression , privacy and fair trial are just some of the fundamental
rights and freedoms to suffer when hospitals and schools are closed and the water
and sanitation polluter when local governments can not function and when the
police and the judicial system are destroyed or are corrupt. When the armed forces
assume the functions of civilian police and military courts try civilians , often occurs
increasing militarization of government institutions . Prolonged conflicts also affect
rural areas , the destruction of crops destroys productivity of subsistence
agriculture and leads to chronic food shortages , malnutrition and hunger. Poor
health and poverty are often the most devastating consequences to long -term
conflict .

The experience to help countries in transition to democracy has shown how important it is that human rights provisions in peace agreements or transition are included. After the restoration of constitutional order in October 1994 . beginning with the mission to El Salvador in 1990 . since its inception in February 1993 . The sharp increase in the bloody conflicts and man-made calamities in the current decade clearly indicate the need to strengthen these vital connections. or end them . in particular the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Peacekeeping .Human rights and transition to peace At the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 . Prevent the occurrence of violations of human rights on a large scale . also strengthen their ability to deal with complaints of violations of human rights. offices and programs of the United Nations in charge of peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance . The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is forging close links with the departments . The international community has recognized that the protection of human rights as a result of conflicts can not be separated from the way that you are ending the conflict. civic education . Guatemala and Haiti. including measures to reduce violations of human rights in situations of internal violence. A presence on the ground in human rights was part of the peace process in Cambodia. the latter in the exercise of its "good offices " have the assistance of the Department of Political Affairs. the United Nations is strengthening its capacity for early warning and response to conflict by integrating surveillance human rights to the maintenance of peace. . a series of operations of peacekeeping operations and other policies have included a human rights component . respond to violations before they become conflicts and manage and resolve conflicts before they escalate further . strengthening democratic institutions.conflict reconstruction . For example . Thus. are the fundamental objectives of preventive action . the Department of Political Affairs . The United Nations is stepping up its efforts to prevent conflict. the Mission expanded its work to include the promotion of human rights . as it fosters mutual trust and helps restore a climate of understanding . the Security Council and the Secretary General . the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR ) . Also supports the National Commission for Truth and Justice and helps to strengthen the Haitian judicial and penal system. the realization of the right to development and the achievement of universal respect for human rights. It is putting special emphasis on the protection of minorities . In the context of preventive action and peacemaking . The human rights program is playing a vital role not only in the early warning system of the United Nations but in the post. electoral assistance and institutional strengthening . the crucial link between peace and security and the rule of law and human rights and put all those elements in the broader context of democratization and development are stated . the International Civilian Mission in Haiti has verified the respect of human rights in that country . El Salvador . Aware that violations of human rights are often the root cause of conflict and humanitarian crisis . In recent years .

ie. Rwanda. MINUGUA is the verification mission of the biggest human rights Organised by the United Nations. in situations of conflict or displacement mass . fundamental human rights law and humanitarian law can be applied in all circumstances for the protection of human rights . With 13 regional and subregional offices and an international staff of 245 people . the nondiscriminatory treatment of the needy and due consideration to the special needs of women and children . All this explains why the United Nations is mainstreaming of human rights into all aspects of their response to conflict. This has been an essential lesson that the United Nations has learned in the 1990s . monitoring of complaints of violations and establishing a framework for the respect of human rights has been considered an integral part of the work to create an atmosphere of trust following a conflict party. the Mission has reported decreased dramatically verified allegations of torture . the former Yugoslavia and the Democratic Republic of Congo ( former Zaire) . for example. whether . the Mission for the Verification of Human Rights (MINUGUA ) was deployed in 1994. preventive action to humanitarian assistance . two years before the government and the opposition front to sign the final peace agreement . However. protection is a recognized priority in humanitarian operations . it is the ultimate humanitarian act . . The United Nations currently leading efforts to establish minimum humanitarian standards . ensuring. In the past two years . Development of fundamental humanitarian rules Just as human rights are a key element in efforts to maintain and consolidate peace . provide assistance to victims of conflict . The aim is to forge the framework of human rights need to find long-term solutions to the root causes of conflict and to prevent the excesses that make it so difficult reconciliation. one of the most urgent problems is how to hold the elements who commit crimes against humanity and that are not states . In each case . forced disappearances and arbitrary detention. In Guatemala . The human rights framework can also help set the parameters and standards for the delivery of humanitarian assistance . there is no doubt that providing food . The High Commissioner for Human Rights has expanded operations in the field of human rights in Burundi. For the United Nations . medical care and basic education is a direct and tangible way to support the human dignity of the affected population. MINUGUA has a presence larger than many national institutions Guatemala ground. The United Nations urges national authorities to respect international human rights standards in such situations. Although traditionally not been considered a function of human rights .The human rights missions in Guatemala and El Salvador demonstrate the critical importance of human rights to restore confidence and foster a climate of reconciliation in the wake of armed conflict . for example.

work together . health and education . The human rights experts of the United Nations help to strengthen independent judicial systems and to train police and security personnel in respect of human rights standards in the field of law enforcement . the fieldwork requires a delicate blend of setting standards . any society not prescribe a preferred economic development or cultural organization model. the most effective is to incorporate human rights specialists to the operations of the United Nations to oversee or implement peace agreements. Durable solutions for these manmade disasters requires a sustained and coordinated effort of reconstruction and reconciliation . international development programs can also help heal the psychological wounds caused by conflict. if fully exercised his powerful influence. The complexity of the situation following the conflict requires that you pay special attention to repair damage caused to large scale economic infrastructure . democracy and development. Haiti and Rwanda. as observers of human rights . the human rights agenda of the United Nations may facilitate successful transition operations between peacekeeping and humanitarian emergency assistance and long-term consolidation of peace and sustainable development . providing for the future of both convergence and considers human rights and mutually binding the decisive element . However. UNHCR has always incorporated the human rights dimension of the humanitarian action . Developed to strengthen respect for human rights will help to create the climate of confidence that society needs to regain his balance . So. minorities and equality of women. They are also the root cause of related problems such as mass exodus and those relating to the status of internally displaced persons and the right of people to return to their homes and communities. To establish the human rights framework . and technical assistance to help strengthen the administration of justice. . The violation of fundamental rights is almost always the root cause of refugee flows . This means that different agents . whether international institutions implementing projects or people working on the ground . A rights-based approach Human rights can be forged vital links between peace . assistance in legal and procedural and funding. El Salvador . These specialists work while monitoring functions . in 1951 . They also advise on the drafting of laws on press freedom. especially with regard to the rights of asylum and non-refoulement . The displacement and forced migration are intrinsically human rights issues . Societies emerging from civil conflict have special needs in terms of human rights and economic development . training. The rights-based approach facilitates the development of civil society . UNHCR's work is based on the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol . The United Nations is developing a parallel approach to humanitarian assistance and long-term care .Refugees are particularly vulnerable to the loss of human rights. recognizing common goals and needs of parallel programs . As demonstrated in Cambodia. From the beginning of his work . which define the rights and duties of refugees.

time and again. For all these reasons . despite the gravity of the crimes committed . apparently confident that they will never have to to account for their crimes. Where violations warrant special treatment because of their unique nature or severity . the commitment to respect human rights declared by a government is contradicted in practice by alternating cycle of violence and impunity another . In some cases . torture. In some cases . start implementing legislative reforms so that it can conduct effective investigations . Often . The impunity is a relatively new concept to describe an ancient and unfair phenomenon: that serious violations are not punished and large-scale human rights and not even properly indemnize victims . especially those committed against civilians. The judicial system does not work completely independently and impartially. the authorities do not react to complaints by victims. members of armed groups kill . or to urgent appeals of special rapporteurs of the United Nations. In other cases . also encourages impunity. rape or attack civilians with virtual impunity . a spirit of solidarity wrong sometimes undermines the prosecution of members of security forces before military courts. Breaking the cycle of impunity To resolve a conflict . which must meet the same requirements of independence. as in apartheid South Africa . Criminal responsibility and punishment for those who commit serious violations of human rights are two of the most effective ways to address the grave injustices and promote the necessary reconciliation.The human rights standards provide a fair means for achieving reconciliation. There are also cases found guilty of violations or crimes human rights to junior officers . whether by action or omission. The way you react to a government human rights violations committed by its agents . A recurring theme in all human rights violations in conflict is that. their families or representatives . Often intimidates and threatens to kill the victims and sometimes the witnesses to help in the investigation. while those who are in command evade responsibility. In other words. impunity enshrined in legislation exempts from prosecution the perpetrators of violations of human rights. even though there are legal provisions to prosecute violators of human rights. In particular. public inquiries are compromised and light sentences imposed on perpetrators . Very often. Although governments have an obligation to investigate complaints made to them . in some countries impartial investigations are rare. protects against arbitrary revenge. governments have the option of establishing special commissions of truth . impunity continues in practice. you have to deal with the abuses committed . In countries where the judicial system is not functioning properly . impartiality and competition . the United Nations is stepping up its efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of such crimes and break the cycle of impunity . is a clear sign of the extent to which it is willing to effectively protect human rights. sets the parameters for the democratic society achieves a balance between the legitimate interests of victims and the concerns of social harmony. for example . in turn. The human rights framework provides certain guarantees of justice and.

In 1949 a Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War. the Nuremberg Tribunal . crimes against humanity . continue to date . differences of opinion between Member States regarding the jurisdiction of such court prevented any breakthrough towards creation. held in Geneva from April 21 to August 12 . sick or who have surrendered . which prosecuted war criminals of Nazi Germany . In many countries around the world the killing of civilians.that the ordinary courts . the Security Council . In 1948. a day before he adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. these international treaties against genocide. the United Nations has recognized the need for a world court to prosecute and punish those responsible for crimes under international scale as genocide. war crimes and crimes against humanity had entered into force . the international community pledged to "never again" allow monstrous crimes against humanity or genocide. established a tribunal to try the perpetrators of these crimes : the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law committed in the territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991. However. the United Nations responded to the widespread atrocities of "ethnic cleansing" in the Yugoslav conflict between the Muslim. the Khmer Rouge killed more than a million people . The Court highlighted the need for a permanent . adopted four conventions. humanitarian actions of the soldiers in wartime was encoded . The result of the investigations of these committees should be made public and sometimes its recommendations are binding on the authorities compliance. including many women and children. In Cambodia in the 1970s . For nearly half a century. In 1951 . In May of that year. Towards an International Criminal Court In 1945 . prisoners and civilians and the deliberate killing or taking of hostages is prohibited states . forming a so-called humanitarian law international legal set . the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide . there have been many cases of crimes against humanity committed in the war for which no one has been held responsible . In those four Geneva Conventions on the humane treatment of combatants wounded. Yugoslavia and Rwanda are not the only conflict areas where there have been large-scale violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. for example. It is widely felt that the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda were due to the inability of the international community to intervene in time to prevent serious violations of human rights. In recent decades . Serb and Croat . under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. The United Nations asked the International Law Commission to prepare a draft statute of the International Criminal Court ( see below) . war crimes and the crime of aggression. However. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia In 1993 .

. In mid-1998 . January 1994 and 31 December 1994 .international criminal court that would address such violation . One person was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 20 years in prison . In November 1994 . The Court also prosecute Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide. The civil war forced hundreds of thousands of Rwandans to flee to neighboring countries. it has been publicly indicted 60 people and 28 of the accused have been apprehended . The main victims of this carnage were members of the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus. had issued eight arrest warrants. Tanzania and Zaire. To date . more than 2 million Rwandan refugees living in camps in Burundi. as the Court was established under Chapter VII of the Charter. Five trials are being conducted before the Court and two failures have already spoken . the civil conflict and internal violence led to large-scale genocide . Netherlands. The Tribunal has primacy over national jurisdictions and may issue international arrest warrants if national authorities are unwilling to cooperate or will not deliver the initial indictment against the accused person . violations of the laws or customs of war . [Click here for information in English on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Thousands more have been internally displaced within the territory of Rwanda. the Security Council established the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Rwanda territoriode . quickly and effectively. ] International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda In Rwanda. The Court attempts to arrest accused persons currently living in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have not generally been successful : the government has persistently refused to comply with its international obligations to deliver those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity . based in The Hague . is the largest body of international research mandate from the Nuremberg Tribunal . the defendant pleaded guilty of war crimes and sentenced to five years in prison. In the other case . crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the territory of neighboring States between 1o. Once issued the arrest warrant . Moreover . Between April and July 1994 a systematically planned by extremist Hutu militia genocide wiped out half a million to a million people . In mid-July . genocide and crimes against humanity. the Court informs the Security Council so that it 's effective. the Security Council can use sanctions and other measures to implement the decisions of that court. The Statute of the Tribunal. The Court . it is defined that has the authority to prosecute persons responsible for four groups of offenses : grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions .

[Click here for information in English on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. so far. 17 intergovernmental organizations. torture and other inhumane acts and sentenced then to life imprisonment. The establishment of the Court makes it clear that the international community will not tolerate violations of human rights without assigning responsibility for them. based in The Hague. Kambanda pleaded guilty of the crime of genocide. crimes against humanity or genocide be tried is an important deterrent that in itself may constitute an incentive to end the conflict. Delegations from 160 countries. specialized agencies and 14 UN funds and 124 NGOs participated in this historic conference five weeks. Tanzania . With the ICC as a missing link in the international legal order is forged . Both courts share a chief prosecutor and appeals court . The ICC will act on the principle of individual responsibility . In August 1998 . recently created a third courtroom to accelerate the process . The former Prime Minister was later sentenced to life imprisonment. ] Establishment of the International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC ) was established . the treaty establishing the court has to be ratified by at least 60 states parties. based in Arusha. This is the first time in history that a defendant has committed publicly admits that crime. 35 persons accused were detained in Arusha. finally. as the International Court of Justice (ICJ ) in The Hague handles only cases between States. the former mayor of the Rwandan district Taba . held in Rome from 15 June to 17 July 1998 .While the court in The Hague has two courtrooms . The appropriate punishment is applicable . In his much delayed initial appearance before the Tribunal. Ensuring that at least some of the perpetrators of war crimes. 1998 . this being also the first time in history that a person has been convicted of the crime of genocide. the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda . The International Tribunal for Rwanda issued its first indictment summary in November 1995 . Unlike the ad hoc tribunals . May 1. the Court is ample to punish the perpetrators of genocide and other crimes against humanity mechanism . with 21 abstentions. One of the most sensational cases before the Court . which will apply equally and without exception to every person throughout the government hierarchy or military chain of command . The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted with 120 votes in favor. 1998 genocide against Tutsi citizens and for the crimes of rape . 7 against . has been the trial of former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda . In a related trial. was sentenced on September 2. at the Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court . In 1998 there were three ongoing trials . To enter into force . Jean -Pierre Ayakesu .

it has been recognized that the crime of aggression is the supreme international crime . The Prosecutor has the power to investigate and prosecute those who commit genocide. Since the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945 . Appellate Division . which is composed of the Chair .to both the heads of state and commanders as a low-ranking soldiers and militia recruits . war crimes . including genocide. . Judges . The Court. the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry. will be based in The Hague . crimes against humanity . The Assembly of States Parties further define the precise nature of the relationship between the Court and the United Nations. war crimes and crimes against humanity. especially in situations of internal violence in countries where there is no legitimate government. The Assembly of States Parties elects the Prosecutor of the Court and 18 judges for periods of no more than nine years. no two judges may be nationals of the same State. elect the President. the Division of Pre Trial. a crime against peace that often prompts the most serious massive violations of human rights. but may meet other parts when necessary . and once you finish define crime of aggression. in turn . Netherlands. which are usually those who must prosecute offenders within their jurisdiction . Ensure accountability at the international level is crucial . The Court will only intervene if national institutions have collapsed due to a conflict (as in Rwanda ) or when a state is unwilling to prosecute their own citizens. The maximum penalty that the court may impose is life imprisonment . The ICC will complement national criminal courts . the Trial Division .