Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,It is our pleasure to provide you with the new White Paper of the White House Interagency Policy Group's Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, presented by U.S. President Barack Obama on March 27, 2009 with a fresh new approach towards Afghanistan and Pakistan - now called AfPak - which is in line with many of the recommendations of the World Security Network Foundation for FATA, Pakistan and Afghanistan as promoted for many years (see our newsletters below).
Please read the text of this important document and the WSN proposals here:
U.S. President Barack Obama: "The core goal of the U.S. must be to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan, and to prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan."The United States has a vital national security interest in addressing the current and potential security threats posed by extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Pakistan, al Qaeda and other groups of jihadist terrorists are planning new terror attacks. Their targets remain the U.S. homeland, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Europe, Australia, our allies in the Middle East, and other targets of opportunity. The growing size of the space in which they are operating is a direct result of the terrorist/insurgent activities of the Taliban and related organizations. At the same time, this group seeks to reestablish their old sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
Therefore, the core goal of the U.S. must be to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its safe havens in Pakistan, and to prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan.
The ability of extremists in Pakistan to undermine Afghanistan is proven, while insurgency in Afghanistan feeds instability in Pakistan. The threat that al Qaeda poses to the United States and our allies in Pakistan - including the possibility of extremists obtaining fissile material - is all too real. Without more effective action against these groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan will face continuing instability.
Achieving our core goal is vital to U.S. national security. It requires, first of all, realistic and achievable objectives. These include:
Disrupting terrorist networks in Afghanistan and especially Pakistan to degrade any ability they have to plan and launch international terrorist attacks.
Promoting a more capable, accountable, and effective government in Afghanistan that serves the Afghan people and can eventually function, especially regarding internal security, with limited international support.
Developing increasingly self-reliant Afghan security forces that can lead the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fight with reduced U.S. assistance.
Assisting efforts to enhance civilian control and stable constitutional government in Pakistan and a vibrant economy that provides opportunity for the people of Pakistan.
Involving the international community to actively assist in addressing these objectives for Afghanistan and Pakistan, with an important leadership role for the UN.
A New Way Forward
These are daunting tasks. They require a new way of thinking about the challenges, a wide ranging diplomatic strategy to build support for our efforts, enhanced engagement with the publics in the region and at home, and a realization that all elements of international power - diplomatic, informational, military and economic - must be brought to bear. They will also require a significant change in the management, resources, and focus of our foreign assistance.
Our diplomatic effort should be based on building a clear consensus behind the common core goal and supporting objectives. To this end, we will explore creating new diplomatic mechanisms, including establishing a "Contact Group" and a regional security and economic cooperation forum. The trilateral U.S.-Pakistan-Afghanistan effort of February 24-26, 2009 will be continued and broadened, into the next meeting planned for early May, in Washington.
The United States must overcome the 'trust deficit' it faces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where many believe that we are not a reliable long-term partner. We must engage the Afghan people in ways that demonstrate our commitment to promoting a legitimate and capable Afghan government with economic progress. We must engage the Pakistani people based on our long-term commitment to helping them build a stable economy, a stronger democracy, and a vibrant civil society.
A strategic communications program must be created, made more effective, and resourced. This new strategy will have no chance of success without better civil-military coordination by U.S. agencies, a significant increase of civilian resources, and a new model of how we allocate and use these resources. For too long, U.S. and international assistance efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan have suffered from being ill-organized and significantly under-resourced in some areas. A large portion of development assistance ends up being spent on international consultants and overhead, and virtually no impact assessments have yet been done on our assistance programs.
We must ensure that our assistance to both Afghanistan and Pakistan is aligned with our core goals and objectives. This will involve assistance that is geared to strengthening government capacity and the message that assistance will be limited without the achievement of results.
Additional assistance to Afghanistan must be accompanied by concrete mechanisms to ensure greater government accountability. In a country that is 70 percent rural, and where the Taliban recruiting base is primarily among under-employed youths, a complete overhaul of our civilian assistance strategy is necessary; agricultural sector job creation is an essential first step to undercutting the appeal of al Qaeda and its allies. Increased assistance to Pakistan will be limited without a greater willingness to cooperate with us to eliminate the sanctuary enjoyed by al Qaeda and other extremist groups, as well as a greater commitment to economic reforms that will raise the living standard of ordinary Pakistanis, including in the border regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the North West Frontier Province, and Baluchistan.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
The following steps must be done in concert to produce the desired end state: the removal of al-Qaeda's sanctuary, effective democratic government control in Pakistan, and a self-reliant Afghanistan that will enable a withdrawal of combat forces while sustaining our commitment to political and economic development.
Executing and resourcing an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan
"Increasing economic assistance to Pakistan - to include direct budget support, development assistance, infrastructure investment, and technical advice on making sound economic policy adjustments - and strengthening trade relations will maximize support for our policy aims"Our military forces in Afghanistan, including those recently approved by the President, should be utilized for two priority missions: 1) securing Afghanistan's south and east against a return of al Qaeda and its allies, to provide a space for the Afghani government to establish effective government control and 2) providing the Afghan security forces with the mentoring needed to expand rapidly, take the lead in effective counterinsurgency operations, and allow us and our partners to wind down our combat operations.
Our counter-insurgency strategy must integrate population security with building effective local governance and economic development. We will establish the security needed to provide space and time for stabilization and reconstruction activities.
To prevent future attacks on the U.S. and its allies - including the local populace - the development of a strategic communications strategy to counter the terror information campaign is urgent. This has proved successful in Iraq (where the U.S. military has made a significant effort in this area) and should be developed in Afghanistan as a top priority to improve the image of the United States and its allies. The strategic communications plan -- including electronic media, telecom, and radio -- shall include options on how best to counter the propaganda that is key to the enemy's terror campaign.
Resourcing and prioritizing civilian assistance in Afghanistan
By increasing civilian capacity we will strengthen the relationship between the Afghan people and their government. A dramatic increase in Afghan civilian expertise is needed to facilitate the development of systems and institutions particularly at the provincial and local levels, provide basic infrastructure, and create economic alternatives to the insurgency at all levels of Afghan society, particularly in agriculture. The United States should play an important part in providing that expertise, but responding effectively to Afghanistan's needs will require that allies, partners, the UN and other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations significantly increase their involvement in Afghanistan.
Expanding the Afghan National Security Forces: Army and Police
To be capable of assuming the security mission from U.S. forces in Afghanistan's south and east, the Afghan National Security Forces must substantially increase its size and capability. Initially this will require a more rapid build-up of the Afghan Army and police up to 134,000 and 82,000 over the next two years, with additional enlargements as circumstances and resources warrant.
The international community must assume responsibility for funding this significantly enhanced Afghan security force for an extended period. We will also have to provide support for other Afghan security forces such as the Afghan Public Protection Force. Salaries paid to Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police must become more competitive with those paid by the insurgents.
Over time, as security conditions change, we should continue to reassess Afghan National Security Forces size, as it will be affected by such factors as: the overall security situation, the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, and the rate at which we can grow local security forces and integrate them into the overall ANSF structure.
Engaging the Afghan government and bolstering its legitimacy
International support for the election will be necessary for a successful outcome. We should do everything necessary to ensure the security and legitimacy of voter registration, elections, and vote counting. The international military presence should help the Afghan security forces provide security before, during and after the election. International monitoring will also be required to ensure legitimacy and oversee Afghanistan's polling sites.
The overall legitimacy of the Afghan government is also undermined by rampant corruption and a failure to provide basic services to much of the population over the past 7 years. Where Afghan systems and institutions have benefited from high quality technical assistance and
mentoring, they have made great progress. Making such support more consistent with qualified mentors to advise and monitor officials, pushing such efforts to the provincial and district levels, and channeling more assistance through Afghan institutions benefiting from this high quality support will help restore and maintain the legitimacy of the Afghan government.
Encouraging Afghan government efforts to integrate reconcilable insurgents
While Mullah Omar and the Taliban's hard core that have aligned themselves with al Qaeda are not reconcilable and we cannot make a deal that includes them, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won without convincing non-ideologically committed insurgents to lay down their arms, reject al Qaeda, and accept the Afghan Constitution.
Practical integration must not become a mechanism for instituting medieval social policies that give up the quest for gender equality and human rights. We can help this process along by exploiting differences among the insurgents to divide the Taliban's true believers from less committed fighters.
Integration must be Afghan-led. An office should be created in every province and we should support efforts by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance to develop a reconciliation effort targeting mid-to-low level insurgents to be led by provincial governors. We should also explore ways to rehabilitate captured insurgents drawing on lessons learned from similar programs in Iraq and other countries.
Including provincial and local governments in our capacity building efforts
We need to work with the Afghan government to refocus civilian assistance and capacity-building programs on building up competent provincial and local governments where they can more directly serve the people and connect them to their government.
Breaking the link between narcotics and the insurgency
"There are no quick fixes to achieve U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The danger of failure is real and the implications are grave. In 2009-2010 the Taliban's momentum must be reversed in Afghanistan and the international community must work with Pakistan to disrupt the threats to security along Pakistan's western border."Besides the global consequences of the drug trade, the Afghan narcotics problem causes great concern due to its ties to the insurgency, the fact that it is the major driver of corruption in Afghanistan, and distorts the legal economy. The NATO/International Security Assistance Forces and U.S. forces should use their authorities to directly support Afghan counternarcotics units during the interdiction of narco-traffickers. The new authorities permit the destruction of labs, drug storage facilities, drug processing equipment, and drug caches and should contribute to breaking the drug-insurgency funding nexus and the corruption associated with the opium/heroin trade. Crop substitution and alternative livelihood programs that are a key pillar of effectively countering narcotics have been disastrously underdeveloped and under-resourced, however, and the narcotics trade will persist until such programs allow Afghans to reclaim their land for licit agriculture. Targeting those who grow the poppy will continue, but the focus will shift to higher level drug lords.
Mobilizing greater international political support of our objectives in Afghanistan
We need to do more to build a shared understanding of what is at stake in Afghanistan, while engaging other actors and offering them the opportunity to advance our mutual interests by cooperating with us.
Bolstering Afghanistan-Pakistan cooperation
We need to institutionalize stronger mechanisms for bilateral and trilateral cooperation. During the process of this review, inter-agency teams from Afghanistan and Pakistan came to Washington, DC for trilateral meetings. This new forum should continue and serve as the basis for enhanced bilateral and trilateral cooperation.
Engaging and focusing Islamabad on the common threat
Successfully shutting down the Pakistani safe haven for extremists will also require consistent and intensive strategic engagement with Pakistani leadership in both the civilian and military spheres. The engagement must be conducted in a way that respects, and indeed enhances, democratic civilian authority.
Assisting Pakistan's capability to fight extremists
It is vital to strengthen our efforts to both develop and operationally enable Pakistani security forces so they are capable of succeeding in sustained counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. In part this will include increased U.S. military assistance for helicopters to provide air mobility, night vision equipment, and training and equipment specifically for Pakistani Special Operation Forces and their Frontier Corps.
Increasing and broadening assistance in Pakistan
Increasing economic assistance to Pakistan - to include direct budget support, development assistance, infrastructure investment, and technical advice on making sound economic policy adjustments - and strengthening trade relations will maximize support for our policy aims;
it should also help to provide longer-term economic stability. Our assistance should focus on long-term capacity building, on agricultural sector job creation, education and training, and on infrastructure requirements. Assistance should also support Pakistani efforts to 'hold and build' in western Pakistan as a part of its counterinsurgency efforts.
Exploring other areas of economic cooperation with Pakistan
We need to enhance bilateral and regional trade possibilities, in part through implementing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (which were recently re-introduced in Congress) and encouraging foreign investment in key sectors, such as energy. In addition, assisting Islamabad with developing a concrete strategy for utilizing donor aid would increase Islamabad's chances for garnering additional support from the international community.
Strengthening Pakistani government capacity
Strengthening the civilian, democratic government must be a centerpiece of our overall effort. Key efforts should include fostering the reform of provincial and local governance in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the North West Frontier Province. We need to help Islamabad enhance the services and support in areas cleared of insurgents so that they have a real chance in preventing insurgents from returning to those areas.
With international partners, we should also promote the development of regional organizations that focus on economic and security cooperation, as well as fostering productive political dialogue.
Asking for assistance from allies for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Our efforts are a struggle against forces that pose a direct threat to the entire international community. While reaching out to allies and partners for their political support, we should also ask them to provide the necessary resources to accomplish our shared objectives. They have the same interest in denying terrorists and extremists sanctuaries in Pakistan and Afghanistan that we do. In approaching allies we should emphasize that our new approach is integrated between civilian and military elements and in looking at Afghanistan and Pakistan as one theater for diplomacy.
For the mission in Afghanistan, we should continue to seek contributions for combat forces, trainers and mentors, strategic lift, and equipment from our friends and allies. The U.S. will also pursue major international funding and experts for civilian reconstruction and Afghan government capacity building at the national and especially the provincial and local levels.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan should take the lead in exploring ways that donors could systematically share the burden of building Afghan capacity and providing civilian expertise. As part of its coordination role for civilian assistance, the UN should consolidate requests and identify gaps.
In Pakistan, the U.S. will urge allies to work closely with us both bilaterally and through the 'Friends of Democratic Pakistan' to coordinate economic and development assistance,
including additional direct budget support, development assistance, infrastructure investment and technical advice on making sound economic policy adjustments. Similarly, we should ask them to provide technical advice and assistance in strengthening government capacity, such as improving Pakistani institutions.
There are no quick fixes to achieve U.S. national security interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The danger of failure is real and the implications are grave. In 2009-2010 the Taliban's momentum must be reversed in Afghanistan and the international community must work with Pakistan to disrupt the threats to security along Pakistan's western border.
This new strategy of focusing on our core goal - to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually destroy extremists and their safe havens within both nations, although with different tactics - will require immediate action, sustained commitment, and substantial resources. The United States is committed to working with our partners in the region and the international community to address this challenging but essential security goal.
White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group's Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan from March 27, 2009
FATA - Pakistan - Afghanistan: Fresh Proposals and Action Planwritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
On February 19, 2009, more than 100 experts assembled on invitation of the independent World Security Network UK (WSN) at the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London to discuss fresh approaches for the important regio ...more
Pakistan: A new GCC-EU FATA Friendship Fund and Double Strategy to Contain Terrorism and the Talibanwritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann and Dieter Farwick
In the famous Hotel Adlon at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the independent non-profit World Security Network Foundation launched a fresh fact-finding FATA Round Table and a concrete initiative to stabilise the fragile situation in the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan on the border to Afghanistan.
More than 50 hi ...more
Tribal Areas (FATA): U.S. Air Strikes Counterproductive - Smart Power is better than Hard Powerwritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
Recent reports from Washington, D.C. indicate that some officials in the Pentagon and CIA are considering continuing and even scaling up air strikes in the tribal areas (FATA) between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They argue that the use of air power, especially by Predator armed drones, is aimed solely at Al Qaeda.
This sounds nice and logical, but knowing the situation in this important war-torn region of the world, such a U.S. approach is extremely counterproductive; i ...more
Pakistan: Land in the Line of Firewritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
Pakistan – a large and beautiful Islamic country in Asia with 166 million inhabitants – is squeezed in between the economically booming India with 1.1 billion inhabitants and Afghanistan, wasted away after years of war. In the West, Pakistan receives bad press; the media’s list of negatives is indeed long: in many of the Madrassas, the many thousands of small religious schools, a militant version of Islam and Jihad is preached and terrorist ideology is taught; Al Qaeda, a thou ...more
Afghanistan & NATOs Mission Impossible:A Radical New Grand Design Needed or Defeat is Guaranteedwritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
– A New Strategic Plan of Power and Reconciliation and Reconstruction –
Slowly, an endless convoy of heavily loaded trucks coming from Pakistan is creeping over the Khyber Pass through the tribal areas toward Afghanistan. Jalalabad is a mere 60 km away, the Afghan capital of Kabul 240 km. For thousands of years, adventurers and explorers like the Persians under Darius, or the Greeks under the famous Alexander the Great traveled through this pass. White ...more
Afghanistan: A new Grand Strategy for NATO, EU and the U.S.written by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
Fulfilling its role to promote fresh new ideas in foreign and defense affairs, the World Security Network promotes a new Double Strategy for Afghanistan.
The strategy should combine two equally weighted pillars: a rapid civilian build-up in the provinces on one side, and on the other, effective military containment of the Taliban with as little collateral damage as possible. Over the next few months, we must get away from an exaggerated military approach, and escape from the ...more
The New Art of Peacemaking: Let's Make Friends First Use Arms only as an Ultima Ratio Regiswritten by: Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
Hubertus Hoffmann: The Art of Peacemaking in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working very well at the moment—why not?
Klaus Reinhardt: The cooperation between military and civilian agencies is not well run and lacks coherency in its coordination. The international community can ultimately only win in Iraq and Afghanistan when they not only support weak governments and fight the enemy militarily, but win over the population to their side. There are enough financial resources ...more
The West needs Holistic Formulas for Peace on the basis of Diplomacy plus Power plus Reconciliationwritten by: Dr. Hubertus HoffmannArchbishop Alfons Nossol is a close and influential friend of the Pope's. They were both professors at the Catholic University in Lublin in Poland. He is a dedicated Christian conciliator and, in my view, living proof of the fact that peace between the peoples of formerly hostile countries is indeed possible. In the Vatican, he works in the Papal Committee for Interdenominational Dialogue. ...more
U.S. Foreign Policy: Dangerous - Destructive? Hubertus Hoffmann speech at Trinity College Dublinwritten by: Dr. Hubertus HoffmannThe world's oldest debating society, the University Philosophical Society at the famous Trinity College in Dublin (Ireland) founded in 1684 (Honorary Patrons: Desmond Tutu, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Al Pacino) has invited Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann*, President and Founder of the World Security Network, to discuss the question “The last six years have shown American Foreign Policy to be a dangerous and destructive force in the world” --Yes or No? . ...more
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Director-General UK Foreign Office on FATASir Mark Lyall Grant, Director-General, Political Directorates, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, former British High Commissioner in Pakistan
Sir Richard Dearlove, former Chief UK Secret Intelligence Services (MI6) on FATA Sir Richard Dearlove, Master of the Pembroke College, Cambridge, and former Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)
Sir Paul Lever, Chairman RUSI, former Chairman UK Joint Intelligence Committee on FATASir Paul Lever, Chairman of the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) and former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC
Monday, 30 March 2009
Washington, D.C., March 27, 2009 -
Sunday, 29 March 2009
By Frances Webber
26 March 2009, 2:00pm
This important report lifts the lid on the extreme poverty faced by refused asylum seekers in the UK.
Destitute asylum seekers, who, according to the Home Office's UK Border Agency (UKBA), have 'chosen' destitution because they fear the consequences of return to their home countries.
The Leeds based organisation Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS), which wrote Underground Lives: an investigation into the living conditions & survival strategies of destitute asylum seekers in the UK, found and interviewed fifty-six people from twenty different countries, who are living in the UK on 'less than a dollar a day - the yardstick that defines acute and unacceptable poverty across the globe'.
Among the report's findings are the following:
the overwhelming majority of the interviewees came from wealthy and/ or professional backgrounds in their home countries;
their fears of return appear well-founded, as over two-thirds of those interviewed had experienced torture in their home countries, and over half had been imprisoned;
the average period of time living destitute among those interviewed was two years and five months; one interviewee has lived destitute for seven years;
almost three-quarters are sleeping outside or have done so. Over a third of these have been physically attacked by English people and over a third of women sleeping out have been sexually attacked, including rape. All are terrified of the police;
most of them are surviving on less than £5 per week.
Underground Lives points out that the government's emphasis on tough enforcement, trumpeted in press releases such as that put out in November 2008, 'Third quarter removals at a six year high', which boasted that 'last year someone was removed every eight minutes', involves starving refused asylum seekers into accepting voluntary removal, because forced removals are so expensive and can attract bad publicity when force is used. Three weeks after appeals are rejected, asylum support is cut off for those without children. They are prohibited from working, access to health care is restricted, and they are obliged to leave asylum accommodation. Only by agreeing to return voluntarily, or by showing that it is impossible for them to return to their country of origin, can they access basic, cashless sub-subsistence level support. Refused asylum seekers don't appear in homelessness statistics since they are ineligible for homeless persons' accommodation; they are invisible. At least 26,000 live off Red Cross food parcels.
At the same time, asylum claims are at a 14-year low, less than a quarter of the over 100,000 claims made in the 'peak' year of 2002, and they represented only four per cent of total immigration applications made in 2007.
The words of the asylum seekers and their photographs coming out of the pages of the report at the reader, shame our society and its inhuman policies to those deemed not worthy of asylum.
Underground Lives: an investigation into the living conditions & survival strategies of destitute asylum seekers in the UK by Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS) can be downloaded at the link below.
The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.
Saturday, 28 March 2009
The journey towards the London Summit on 2 April is now entering the home straight following the meeting of the leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union on 19 and 20 March.
In a speech in Saõ Paulo during the last leg of his pre-G20 tour, Gordon Brown has said Brazil and its neighbours have 'a crucial role to play' is tackling the global crisis. In a webchat, Lord Malloch-Brown, UK Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, has said he hopes the London Summit will be the place where the world’s leaders demonstrated confidence in the future and restored confidence to everyone else.
Final Major Gathering: European Union
At the European Union meeting, which was effectively the final major gathering of political leaders before the Summit itself, a number of measures were agreed to help solve the global economic crisis. The package included plans to strengthen financial regulation, restore economic growth and functioning credit markets and provide an extra €75bn to the International Monetary Fund and €25bn for fragile non-eurozone countries. The meeting picked up the baton from the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers in Horsham, southern England, on 13 and 14 March, which resulted in a detailed communiqu‚ and a separate agreement on action to restore global growth and restore lending by the world’s banks.
Brown speaks to African Leaders
In between those two major meetings were a series of events that drew in voices from countries in all four corners of the globe. On Monday 16 March Gordon Brown held talks with a group of African leaders to ensure the needs of poorer countries were tackled as part of the summit of the leaders of the G20 group of emerging and developing economies.
Video: Africa Leaders
Representatives of several states, including Liberia, Ethiopia and South Africa, attended the meeting in central London. Several took the time to speak to the London Summit website about their concerns. Mansur Muhtar, the Nigerian finance minister, said action on preserving world trade was 'critical'. 'The risks this global crisis poses to many countries means there's growing political pressure to revert to protectionism,' he said. 'In this context we must do everything possible to ensure that we have agreements in place to help boost world trade.' Youssef Boutros Ghali, the Egyptian Finance Minister, said that Gordon Brown was the best-placed of all global leaders to lead the reform of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. 'If anyone can chart a course towards reforming the IMF, it is him,' he said.
Friday, 27 March 2009
By Jenny Bourne
The anti-racist movement has lost one of its foremost fighters.
Steve Cohen was not the easiest of men or the least controversial of campaigners, but he has left behind him a host of tangible achievements that few can rival. Unusually for today, he extended his notion of personal oppression, as a Jew, into an understanding of the racist treatment of all migrants in a globalised world. And, yet more unusually, he married theory and practice.
In 1983 Steve was one of the first to suggest in the UK the surreptitious emergence of a form of anti-Semitism on the Left and, though I could not agree with many of his interpretations in the pamphlet That's funny you don't look anti-Semitic (he was always one for a jokey aside), it was certainly a brave broadside.
But it was in the field of fighting immigration controls that Steve's legacy really should be celebrated. Numerous individuals from Nasira Begum and Anwar Ditta to Viraj Mendis and Florence Okolo owe much to his campaigning and even to the fact that we remember those names even today. What he realised very early on when working (he was a trained barrister) at the North Manchester Law Centre was the need to combine community campaigns with the legal battle. It was this understanding that led him to help establish and coordinate the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit for many years.
And it was from his experiences there that he began to extend his writing and campaigning on immigration. He was one of the first people to connect immigration controls with welfare exclusion and later with nationality. His writings, The Thin End of the White Wedge and Immigration Controls, the Family and the Welfare State were prescient and pioneering. He saw very early how immigration control's tentacles reached across the whole state machinery and how other agencies were being drawn into the fight against migrants - illegals. Little wonder that he was, despairing of any beneficial form of immigration control, to write a booklet No One is Illegal. It was this that informed the manifesto of the No One is Illegal Group and the No Borders Network.
Steve might, with an eye to the future, have been far-sighted in his writings, but he was also, simultaneously, keened to history and the parallels he found there with contemporary events. (Maybe this dialectical approach was a hangover from his youthful dalliance with Trotskyism from 1968-1974.) His researches into the Aliens Act of 1905 and the antics of the neo-fascist British Brothers League at the turn of the century were to inform his writings on anti-Semitism and immigration. One of his most recent publications (again with an ironic title) Deportation is Freedom reflected history in today's battles, as did Standing on the Shoulders of Fascism.
A prolific writer and an unflinching fighter, Steve continued his tenacious struggling even as his health gave way. And what a legacy he left
Thursday, 26 March 2009
NEW REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS
The Migrants Rights Network has published a briefing paper on the impact of the new citizenship provisions in the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill.
Download the briefing paper at:
http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/files/briefingpaper/briefingpaper_on_citizenship.pdf (pdf file, 160kb)
The Migrants Rights Network has published the March 2009 edition of Migrants Rights News.
View the newsletter at:
Refugee and Migrant Justice, formerly the Refugee Legal Centre, has published a report on the UK Border Agency Code of Practice for keeping children safe from harm.
Download the report at:
http://refugee-migrant-justice.org.uk/downloads/RMJ_Doeseverychild_Report2.pdf (pdf file, 912kb)
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at Kings College has published a report by George Mair and Helen Mills on: 'The Community Order and the Suspended Sentence Order three years on: The views and experiences of probation officers and offenders'.
Download the report at:
http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/opus1292/Three_years_on.pdf (pdf file, 332kb
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a report by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism on: 'Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development'.
Download the report at:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/terrorism/rapporteur/docs/A.HRC.10.3.pdf (pdf file, 144kb)
The Cabinet Office has published the: 'Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2007-2008'.
Download the report at:
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/124411/isc_annualreport0708.pdf (pdf file, 660kb)
Download the government response to the report at:
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/124408/gov_response0708.pdf (pdf file, 300kb)
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has published: 'Learning Together to be Safe: A toolkit to help colleges contribute to the prevention of violent extremism'.
Download the toolkit at:
http://www.dius.gov.uk/consultations/~/media/publications/17132_DIUS_Learning_Be_Safen (pdf file, 308kb)
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has published: 'The Role of Further Education Colleges in Preventing Violent Extremism: Next Steps'.
Download the report at:
http://www.dius.gov.uk/consultations/~/media/publications/17193_DIUS_Next_Steps (pdf file, 612kb)
The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has published a report on: 'Part 3 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill'.
Download the report at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldselect/ldconst/54/54.pdf (pdf file 658kb)
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 DISCLOSURES
Under the Freedom of Information Act the Metropolitan Police has released information on: 'Search Powers under Section 44 Terrorism Act 2000 Equality Impact Assessment'.
Download the information at:
http://www.met.police.uk/foi/pdfs/policies/stop_and_search_s44_tact_2000_impact.pdf (pdf file, 208kb)
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
The London Summit, to be held on 2 April, will be a follow-up meeting to the G20 meeting held in Washington last November. It will bring together leaders of the world’s advanced and emerging economies, including the G20 and representatives of international financial institutions.
The London Summit represents another important step in the ongoing international discussions aimed at working co-operatively to restore stability and stimulate economic growth.
Speaking at the Foreign Press Association earlier this week, Gordon Brown, Britain’s Prime Minister, outlined what he believed to be the three key priorities which need to be agreed at the London Summit.
The first key priority is the need for co-ordinated actions to revive the global economy and to stimulate growth and employment.
The second priority is for reforming and improving financial sectors and systems to deliver progress on the actions agreed at the G20 Washington Summit.
The third priority is to agree a set of principles for reforming international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the Financial Stability Forum and the World Bank.
Conscious that the issues to be discussed at the London Summit touch everyone’s lives, a new website – www.londonsummit.gov.uk - was launched today by the British Prime Minister, while attending the World Economic Forum. The website will provide an important gateway where one can learn more about the issues to be discussed at the London Summit and where one actively get engaged in the debate.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
What is the Summit for?
On 2 April 2009, world leaders from the G20 countries – representing 85% of the world’s output – will meet in London. They will meet against the backdrop of the worst international banking crisis in generations.
Confidence in the international banking system has fallen. Major institutions have failed. Countries around the world have entered recession, with falling trade and rising unemployment.
At the Summit, countries need to come together to enhance global coordination in order to help restore global economic growth. World leaders must make three commitments:
First, to take whatever action is necessary to stabilise financial markets and enable families and businesses to get through the recession.
Second, to reform and strengthen the global financial and economic system to restore confidence and trust.
Third, to put the global economy on track for sustainable growth. The London Summit will take place against the backdrop of exceptionally challenging economic circumstances. But, just as after the Second World War visionary leaders laid the groundwork for 30 years of prosperity and growth, built on international economic cooperation, this crisis is also an opportunity.The world’s leading economies can come together and lay the foundations not just for a sustainable economic recovery, but also for a genuinely new era of international economic partnership – a global deal, in which all countries have a part to play and all will see the benefits.
Monday, 23 March 2009
The 'criminals' who aren't: getting the record corrected
By Frances Webber
Unknown numbers of asylum seekers, who were wrongly convicted of criminal offences, are unaware that they can apply to have their convictions quashed, but the government is doing nothing to help them, according to a group of migrant and refugee organisations.
In the 1990s, as part of the drive to stop asylum seekers from coming to Britain, immigration officers began to refer for prosecution those who sought to enter on false documents, and as a result, hundreds and possibly thousands were arrested, charged and convicted. Many spent up to nine months in prison. In 1999, the High Court denounced the practice as illegal, since the Refugee Convention, which the UK is supposed to uphold, bans penalties on refugees who enter a country of refuge illegally. As a result, the government created a special defence to charges of possessing false documents or using them to enter the country, which anyone who was fleeing from persecution could use.
But in 2008, a case which went to the House of Lords revealed that instead of respecting the spirit of the 1999 law, immigration officials were getting round it, by charging asylum seekers with offences which did not attract the statutory defence. Ms Asfaw, a woman of Ethiopian origin, was arrested at Heathrow while in transit to the US, where she intended to claim asylum. She was charged with offences under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Acts, to which her defence of fleeing from persecution was accepted, but the prosecution also charged her with attempting to obtain air services by deception, which was not listed as an offence to which the statutory defence applied. The Crown Court judge rejected her argument that it was an abuse of process to try to get round the Refugee Convention's ban on criminalising asylum seekers, forcing her to plead guilty. She was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment.
The House of Lords held in May 2008 that, as someone fleeing from persecution, she should not have been convicted of any offence. Her conviction was quashed. But in a recent letter to the Attorney General, a group of organisations providing advice and help to asylum seekers, including Asylum Aid, Refugee & Migrant Justice and Immigration Law Practitioners' Association, point out that 'there are likely to be a significant number of people who have either pleaded guilty or were found guilty of offences for which the statutory defence would now be available', who should be entitled to challenge their convictions. The letter points out that those wrongly convicted will face serious disadvantage as a result, from problems in getting employment to access to citizenship - even if they have subsequently been recognised as genuine refugees.
The organisations ask what steps have been taken to identify and notify those entitled to have their conviction quashed, and call on the Attorney General to conduct a review of all cases so as to ensure that genuine refugees are not unfairly and unlawfully penalised for their resort to false documents while seeking refuge from persecution
FYI PLEASE NOTE PROGRAMME CHANGE
CELEBRATING NUBIAN WOMEN
As part of International Women’s Month, The Equiano Society and
Windrush Foundation in association with Museum of London Docklands
present a unique weekend event in celebration of NUBIAN WOMEN.
Nubia is the homeland of one of Africa's earliest civilization, with a history
that can be traced from about 10,000 B.C. through Nubian monuments
and artifacts. In antiquity, Nubia was a land of great natural wealth, of
gold mines, ebony, ivory and perfumes.
The main speaker on both 21 & 22 March is Rashid Elsheikh, a Nubian;
Kandace Chimbiri’s presentation onQueen Amanirenas and
Queen Amanishakheto; Performance Poetry by Asher Hoyles (on 21 March)
& Yvonne Bailey (on 22 March).
The programme also includes the screening of Louis Buckley’s NUBIAN SPIRIT,
a beautifully shot documentary that unravels the fascinating and often magical legacy of Ancient Sudan. It shines light onto the Ancient African culture, history and spiritual mythology of the people from the Nile Valley. The film digs deep into Ancient Africa's numerous contributions to modern civilization. It draws out the importance of the male, female relationships and it looks at such disciplines as astronomy, architecture, science and much more that the Ancient Africans used to make sense of their world. The film features
dynamic interviews with leading scholars, an archaeologist and ground
breaking museum curators.
Celebrating NUBIAN WOMEN is at Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay,
London, E14 4AL, from 1pm to 5pm.
ADMISSION Free. Further information from: Tel: 020 7001 9844
P.S. Unfortunately, Mrs Thanaa Mossa, Deputy Director of Nubia Museum, Aswan Egypt, is unable to be at this weekend’s celebrations, but she is due to give her presentation at another event in the coming months.
Rashid Elsheikh, a Nubian scholar, will speak on Queen Nefertari and other Nubian women.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Astronaut John Phillips (foreground), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and astronaut Richard Arnold, all STS-119 mission specialists, participate in a training session in one of the full-scale trainers in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Pathfinder Starts Its Journey
If you're heading through America's Sunbelt this week, you might look out your car window to see driving alongside you a nearly 45-foot-long (13.7 m) rocket assembly. In the background are large, white vacuum spheres in support of the hypersonic wind tunnel complex.
During the STS-119 mission's first spacewalk, astronauts Richard Arnold and Steve Swanson (out of frame) connected bolts to permanently attach the S6 truss segment to S5. The spacewalkers plugged in power and data connectors to the truss, prepared a radiator to cool it, opened boxes containing the new solar arrays and deployed the Beta Gimbal Assemblies, containing masts that support the solar arrays. Image Credit: NASA
Ayoub mzee with the Uganda President H.E YOWERI MUSEVENI
Ayoub mzee with the Mayor of Kampal a city in Uganda Haji Sebagala
Friday, 20 March 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Addressing guests at the ceremony, Museveni noted that whereas the global environmental degradation, was due to green house gas emissions, in Africa, it was due to scarcity of energy.
He cited the cutting down of trees for firewood saying: "In Africa, 40 billion cubic metres of wood are destroyed and this is a greater danger to the environment."
Meseveni said lack of industrialisation had forced Africans to destroy forests in the name of agriculture.
He said extension of electricity to all parts of the continent would save it from degradation.
Commenting on the international financial crisis, the President said there was need for the Commonwealth societies to have in-depth studies about issues affecting their communities.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
“Companies that continue to advertise come out ahead after a recession. And it makes sense: If your competitors are in retreat, you can build your market presence.”
- McGraw-Hill Research
“Particularly in the current climate, targeting ethnic audiences could provide advertisers with the uplift in market share they need to help their bottom line.”
- Saad Saraf, CEO Media Reach Advertising as published in MediaWeek, February 17 2009.
The Trumpet, a newspaper established in 1995 targeting Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora is giving away free advertisement spaces. We are offering 3 adverts for the price of 2. For every two adverts taken out, we will give you a third one FREE.
To take up this offer, please email http://email@example.com or telephone +44 (0)20 8522 6600. Limited spaces are available.
Starting or Running a Newsletter, Newspaper or Magazine?
Do you intend starting a Newsletter, Newspaper, Magazine or any publication for that matter, but don’t know where to start?
Have you started your publication already but can do with some tips on how to run and manage the publication to achieve success?
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Are you battling against the recession and need some tips to survive, thrive and flourish?
Are you worried about the news around the world about job cuts, declining sales and advertising revenue and collapse of Media Houses?
Then one of our workshops might just be what you need.
Come and share in the experiences of award-winning ‘Femi Okutubo – Publisher of The Trumpet Newspaper, Trumpet Lifestyle Magazine and Trumpet Digital.
Femi started The Trumpet 14 years ago and today, it is Britain’s largest distributed Black publication. The Trumpet made headline news in 2001 when it beat other competitors including The Voice and New Nation to become Britain’s largest distributed ABC-Audited Black publication.
For further details on how to book on to one of our Workshops currently scheduled for UK, Nigeria, Ghana and The Gambia, please Email: http://firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone +44 (0) 20 8522 6600 or +44 (0) 7956 385604.
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Search for Mama Africa
The search is on for the epitome of Mama Africa - a woman who embodies strength, love and devotion.
The television show produced By Phoenix Media Partners Ltd, is the search for the ultimate Mama Africa and an opportunity to show and appreciate mothers for the often courageous roles they play. It would be broadcast live on BEN TV (Sky 184) on Mothers’ Day - 22nd March at 8pm.
Entries for the Mama Africa competition must be sent by 15 March to http://email@example.com stating name, contact details and reasons why your mother deserves the title of Mama Africa. The three finalists from this stage will appear in the live show on Mothers’ Day.
Prizes include a weekend break to Paris, Spa treatment, professional makeover, a year’s supply of Malta Guinness and Selfridges’ shopping vouchers.
The first 20 entries would win Africa’s Finest range of products while the first 10 callers on the live show will win luxury picnic hampers courtesy of MoneyGram.
Sponsors of the show include MoneyGram, Kato Enterprises (Official Importers of Malta Guinness), Wanis’ Africa’s Finest and Cornerstone International.
Further information is available by email: http://firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 0207 635 6600
President Museveni, the current Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office, was given a briefing on progress in implementing mandates from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Kampala, Uganda, in 2007, as well as preparations for the forthcoming CHOGM to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in November this year.
H.E Yoweri Museveni-the president of Uganda addressing the press at Malborough House London
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has called for the social transformation of the developing Commonwealth countries into industrialised societies. Museveni said this should be done through human resource and infrastructure development. Addressing the high commissioners from Commonwealth countries in a meeting at the Commonwealth Secretariat at Marlborough House in London on Tuesday, Museveni said Africa lagged behind, not because of lack of resources, but due to ideological meandering. The President, who is the chairman of the Commonwealth, was in the UK for its 60th anniversary celebrations. He noted that the development of roads, railways and energy would lower costs of production and create a good investment atmosphere. “Let us harmonise our views, share experiences and invest in human and infrastructure development,” a State House release quoted the President as having advised.
Members of the diplomatic fraternity that attended The Uganda President;s address
The High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea arriving for the meeting with the Uganda president
Photos : Ayoub mzee
Monday, 16 March 2009
Nine winners of a special photography contest examining Iranian Women in Society were shown today on VOA's PNN Washington, D.C., March 12, 2009 - Nine winners of a special photography contest examining Iranian Women in Society were shown today on the Voice of America's (VOA) Persian News Network (PNN).
Nearly 400 people inside Iran submitted entries during the two-month-long contest which was judged by renowned photographer Reza Deghati. Winning pictures, including one of a ballerina and another of a cigarette butt with lipstick, were displayed during the Today's Woman show aired in Iran.
Winners in four categories - still photos, mixed photos, series and creative photos - requested that their full names not be used for fear of possible reprisals inside Iran. One winner, who identified himself as Hooman, said he was delighted that "as an amateur Reza Deghati liked and selected my work."
"The photographs help tell the story of Iranian women in today's society," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "They are poignant and, in some cases, even touching portrayals of women in Iran. We are grateful to the participants for their enthusiastic response and willingness to share their talent with our audience."
The Iranian-born Deghati, now a French citizen, is a well-known international freelance photographer whose work appears in the National Geographic. The winner of many international awards, Deghati was presented in November 2005 with the "Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite," the French award for distinguished service in a public or private capacity.
Last Sunday, the winning photographs were part of a one-day exhibition at the University of Maryland's Howard Frank Auditorium.
Today's Woman is a daily discussion show featuring influential women from around the world as well as news and information on a full range of topics. VOA has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA show at least once a week. Programs are also streamed on www.VOAPNN.com.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S.Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
REGGAE ARTIST FROM SIERRA LEONE PERFORMS AT VOA
Much of singer's music inspired by his homeland
Washington, D.C., March 6, 2009 - Reggae artist JR performed on the Voice of America's (VOA) African Beat music program, rapping and reminiscing about his youth in Sierra Leone and his evolving music career since coming to the United States as a teenager. JR, who appeared at VOA yesterday, said many of his songs are inspired by his native country, which he left two decades ago for the United States.A lifelong singer, he began writing music after witnessing from afar the devastation wrought by Sierra Leone's civil war, which left more than 50,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced between 1991 and 2002. In 2004, JR joined with the Sierra Leonean reggae band The Jungle Leaders to play his first composition, Rise Up Sa Lone, which urged the government to help the suffering people. His first solo album, Born Sierra Leonean, debuted in 2006 and has sold 5,000 copies.JR started playing reggae in high school in the United States. After graduating, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served 13 years in active duty. After leaving military service, JR earned his college degree from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. While continuing to pursue his music career, today JR works at Lockheed Martin Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland. VOA's African Beat, first broadcast in 2006, is a daily one-hour music program showcasing various styles of music popular throughout the African continent. Program host David Vandy, a Sierra Leonean native himself, uses music to reach a broad audience regardless of age, tribe, or culture.The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming
Saturday, 14 March 2009
SRILANKANS WERE ALSO NOT VERY FAR
WOMEN AGAINST RAPE
Tel: 020 7482 2496
If Sapphire had been created to protect this rapist, they couldn’t have done a better job.
For 30 years WAR has been doing all it can publicly and privately for the police to take rape seriously, and for 30 years all we have seen is a series of public relations exercises while rape continues to be deprioritised and one case after another is sabotaged by the police.
We are constantly told that rape cases are particularly difficult to prove. The truth is that the police are the rapists’ best friend, and this case proves it. What all these women suffered is a result of a comprehensive refusal by London Sapphire to act on rape allegations: a refusal to gather and keep evidence, search premises, and interview witnesses, and a readiness to dismiss the word of any young woman who has been drinking or drugged and even children, a habit of delaying arrests for days, weeks, or months while rapists continue to assault more and more girls and women.
While the public make protection from violent crime their top priority for what the police should be doing, the Met and the Home Office have other priorities. Investigating rape is low-priority, low-resourced police work. Every day rape survivors comment on how terrorism, surveillance of protests, property crime and arresting sex workers take precedence over the safety of women and girls.
“Public information campaigns” by the Met, the GLA, and the Home Office, advising women to avoid unlicensed minicabs and watch our drinks, distract from the real danger resulting from incompetence, prejudice and laziness by the criminal justice authorities.
No doubt we will be told again that the black cab driver case is an isolated incident and offered more technical fixes. But the only way we will see real change, as opposed to cover up, is for those responsible for this disaster at the highest levels to be sacked -- just as they would be in other jobs where dereliction of duty leads to innocent lives being wrecked. This time heads must roll.
WOMEN AGAINST RAPE
Tel: 020 7482 2496.
Out of hours calls left on answerphone will be picked up till 7 pm and possibly later. Email messages will be checked tonight and on the weekend.
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