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News Roundup – 23-24 October 2014

October 24, 2014

Looking back on 10 days of violence in Bangui (CAR)

UN Mission in DRC comes under attack, steps up security

Huge blast rocks Egypt army checkpoint

International Crisis Group report “Toward a Lasting Ceasefire in Gaza” (report, summary)

Sudan Speaks About Contacts With Rebel Commanders in Darfur

Kurdish fighters regain ground in Kobane

Turkey says 1,300 Syria rebels heading to Kobani

Look Who Else Has Drones: ISIS and Al Nusra

Islamic State militants allegedly used chlorine gas against Iraqi security forces

Ukraine Warns of Separatist Attacks, as Rebel Leader Threatens ‘Heavy Military Action’

Russian fighter suspected of terrorism and held in Afghanistan to be prosecuted in U.S.

Marko Milanovic’s “Few Thoughts on Hassan v. United Kingdom


9th Annual Minerva/ICRC Conference on International Humanitarian Law on Access for Humanitarian Action on 3-4 November 2014

October 23, 2014

In a couple of weeks, I have the pleasure to speak at a conference organised by the ICRC and the Minerva Center for Human Rights on “Access for Humanitarian Action: Legal and Operational Challenges in Assisting and Protecting People Affected by Armed Conflict”. This 9th Annual Minerva/ICRC Conference on International Humanitarian Law will take place on 3 and 4 November 2014 in Jerusalem. These IHL conferences always have a great combination of the academics and practitioners and benefit from the excellent local experts (take Yuval Shany or David Kretzmer) and an outspoken crowd of attendees. The organisers have a very good eye for selecting truly contemporary topics. With the recent fighting in Gaza fresh in mind, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, this year’s topic is once again highly relevant.

The conference consists of six sessions. The first day starts with an opening session with two of IHL’s most well-known academics, Yoram Dinstein and Michael Bothe, followed by a general session on “Overviews and Overarching Themes”, featuring, e.g., Tristan Ferraro of the ICRC’s Legal Division. Day two has sessions on “UN Contexts”, “Non-International and Non-State Contexts”, “Arbitrary Withholding of Consent”, and “Humanitarian Access and Gaza”. Speakers of these sessions include Essex’s Francoise Hampson and UN OCHA’s Emanuela Gillard.

For more information on the programme, see here and here. The topic is introduced here.

News Roundup – 22 October 2014

October 22, 2014

British drone operators could be breaking international law, says former GCHQ chief. 

New report: Security impact of drones: challenges and opportunities for the UK. 

Yemen’s Southerners see hope in Houthis rise. 

ISIS claims that it has US airdrop of weapons. 

New freedoms in Tunisia drive support for ISIS. 

Iraq divided: the fight against ISIL. 

My brother wanted to be a jihadi, and society is creating many more like him. 

Attempted kidnapping in Turkey shows reach of Islamic State. 

No alternative to silencing the guns, UN South Sudan envoy tells Security Council. 

KNLA second in command on why he backs a united Karen force. 

News Roundup – 21 October 2014

October 21, 2014

Violence kills a child every five minutes, most of them outside war zones, says UN. 

How to train a Syrian rebel: inside Turkey’s training camps. 

Syria: UN convoy crosses lines to reach children fleeing Kobane. 

Community leaders, religious leaders must condemn ISIL atrocities, UN rights official (see here for press release).

IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for the Kurds. 

UN Security Council extends EU mission in Central African Republic to March 2015. 

South Sudan at ‘crossroads’ as it seeks to combat sexual violence, says UN official. 

Ukraine: widespread use of cluster munitions. 

Eastern Ukraine conflict: summary killings, misrecorded and misreported. 

Karen women’s groups support reunification of ethnic armed forces. 


International and Comparative Disaster Law Essay Contest

October 21, 2014

Flyer - Disaster law essay contestThe first annual “International and Comparative Disaster Law Essay Contest” is due to take place early in 2015. The contest is being co-sponsored by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the American Society of International Law Disaster Law Interest Group (ASIL DLIG), the International Disaster Law Project (IDL) of the Universities of Bologna, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Roma Tre and Uninettuno, with support from the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.

Purpose of competition

The essay contest aims to stimulate creative thinking and analysis about disaster law in a comparative and/or international perspective. It is open to students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at any university (anywhere in the world) at the time of submission. Essays may examine any issue related to law and disasters due to natural hazards, but must do so either from a comparative or an international law perspective, or both (see below for examples). Comparative essays should examine laws or legal issues from no less than three countries.


Papers must be written solely by the candidate(s), in English, and may not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. Central European Time, 30 January 2015. See full details see here for more information.


The winner of the contest will receive:

  • A waiver of fees and support for travel (up to a maximum of USD 1,600 on economy fare) and accommodation in order to attend the week-long “International Disaster Law Course” ( organized by the IDL and IFRC and hosted by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law in Sanremo, Italy, on 27th April to Friday 1st May 2015.
  • A free annual membership in the American Society of International Law and waiver of fees for attendance of the 2015 Annual meeting on April 11-15, 2015.

The winner and runners will also have their papers published as “Working Papers” of the IFRC’s Disaster Law Programme. They will retain copyright of their papers and may subsequently publish them elsewhere, according to the terms of the Working Papers series.

A message announcing the name of the winner and runners up of the contest will be sent to all members of the ASIL DLIG, as well as to the co-sponsors and made public on the ASIL website.

 Sample topics

As noted above, participants are free to choose any topic they like related to law and disasters linked to natural hazards. The following are a few potential themes provided only by way of illustration:

What impact do existing disaster law treaties have on domestic disaster management?

Can mandatory insurance rules reduce disaster risks in developing countries?

Is there a customary duty to seek international assistance when local resources are overcome by a disaster?

How can legislation improve post-disaster economic recovery?

Should the rules for humanitarian assistance be different in conflicts and disasters?

What is the role of domestic courts in improving the safety and resilience of communities?

What are the pros and cons of a rights-based approach to disaster response?

What are the prospects for a comprehensive global treaty on international disaster assistance?

Should there be a global system of certifying humanitarian NGOs?

Why aren’t land use rules and building codes preventing more deaths and losses?

What special protections do indigenous peoples require with respect to disasters?

How do derogations and limitations to human rights in disasters affect outcomes for affected persons?

What is the right balance between sovereignty and protection when it comes to international disaster response?

What are the most reasonable and successful governmental approaches to post-disaster compensation to affected persons?

How can we reduce legal barriers to speedy and equitable housing solutions after disasters?

News Roundup – 20 October 2014

October 20, 2014

NY times opinion pages: The reign of ‘terror’. 

Armed drones: calls for greater transparency and accountability.

Pakistan calls for global norms to use drones.

Afghanistan: Life inside a Taliban stronghold. 

International Crisis Group report: Afghanistan’s political transition. 

Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds join Kobane fight. 

Dozens dead in Yemen, as Shiite rebels fight Sunnis. 

Nigerian agreement enhances Boko Haram’s stature, says expert. 

Fighting erupts between two Tuareg armed groups in northern Mali. 

Sudan could be funding South Sudan rebels, says report. 

More on the documents allegedly smuggled out of Sudan showing it is funding Machar rebels: The world according to Khartoum. 

Rebel faction in South Sudan says it will not re-unify unless Kiir steps down. 

DRC: UN envoy calls for decisive joint military action to neutralize rebels. 

Eastern Congo faces second deadly attack in a week. 

Gunmen free 100s of prisoners from eastern DRC. 

Central African Republic: UN officials deplore the targeting of hospitals and patients. 

Germany: report blames pro-Russian rebels for M17 crash. 

News Roundup – 17 October 2014

October 18, 2014

Authorities deny ELN presence around Medellin in spite of video showing exact opposite

No justice, no peace for northern Mali

At least six killed in northern Mali ahead of peace talks

Nigeria and Boko Haram ‘agree ceasefire and girls’ release’

Rebels kill 30 people in East Congo, official says

Report of the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office on human rights violations committed by agents of the Congolese national police during operation likofi in Kinshasa between 15 november 2013 and 15 february 2014

Ex-Iraqi air force pilots train IS fighters on Syrian jets

Holding ISIS to account

Minority Rights International report: From Crisis to Catastrophe: the situation of minorities in Iraq

Shiite Rebels Clash With Qaeda Militants in Yemen

Drone strikes in Pakistan: laser or blunderbuss?

SSA-North defies order by Myanmar army to withdraw


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