International Disarmament Institute News

June 23, 2017
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UN Side Event Highlights Importance of Victim Assistance and Environmental Remediation in Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

Roland Oldham, president of Moruroa e Tatou, an organization representing the rights of victims of nuclear weapons testing in Tahiti, presenting at the UN during negotiations of a Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute co-hosted a panel with the Irish Mission on positive obligations in the draft Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty at United Nations Headquarters on 21 June 2017. The event was also co-sponsored by Article 36, Mines Action Canada, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic.

We were honored to hear from His Excellency Ambassador David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Ireland and Deputy Permanent Representative Tim Mawe, who both expressed Ireland’s strong support for positive obligations of victim assistance, environmental remediation, disarmament education and international cooperation and assistance in the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. They suggested that similar provisions in the Convention on Cluster Munitions, negotiated in Dublin, could serve as useful models.

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June 15, 2017
by mbolton
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Side Event on Positive Obligations in a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute will co-host a panel on positive obligations in the draft Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty at United Nations Headquarters, 1.15-2.45pm, 21 June 2017 in Conference Room B.

During the March negotiation session of the nuclear weapons ban treaty, 27 states plus the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the ICRC and civil society called for the new legal instrument to include not only a comprehensive set of prohibitions but also positive obligations on states parties. The first draft of the treaty responded to these calls and incorporated general provisions on positive obligations. Negotiating states should now work to expand and strengthen the provisions in order to maximize their effectiveness.

This panel discussion and dialogue will assess the positive obligations in the first draft of the treaty, suggest ways to improve them, and highlight why such revisions would be particularly important to the prohibition treaty. Including positive obligations would enhance the treaty, its operation and impact and is consistent with recent international weapons prohibition treaties. Such positive obligations could include:

  • Rights and remedial measures (e.g. environmental remediation, risk education, victim assistance),
  • Promotion of the treaty and of its norms (e.g. universalization and disarmament education),
  • International cooperation and assistance to implement the above two sets of obligations.

By promoting the inclusion of strong positive obligations in the new legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons, this event will help ensure that the treaty not only builds on previous humanitarian disarmament treaties but it also contributes to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.

Featured speakers include:

  • H.E. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN
  • Roland Oldham, Moruroa e Tatou (MET), President of an organization advocating for the rights of victims of nuclear testing in Tahiti
  • Bonnie Docherty, Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, expert on humanitarian disarmament law
  • Erin Hunt, Mines Action Canada, expert on victim assistance
  • Elizabeth Minor, Article 36, expert on humanitarian disarmament
  • Matthew Bolton, Director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute

This event in co-sponsored by the UN Mission of Ireland, Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, Mines Action Canada, Article 36 and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Click here for the full flyer.

To read an analysis of positive obligations in the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty by the International Disarmament Institute, click here.

May 31, 2017
by mbolton
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The Role of Education in Advancing Arms Trade Treaty Universalization and Implementation: Lessons Learned from ATT Academy East Africa 2016-2017

Participants of the ATT Academy meet in Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya.

The 2013 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), negotiated and adopted at the UN in New York, offers opportunities to limit the potential for conventional weapons to be used to commit crimes against humanity, terrorism, organized crime, violations of human rights and humanitarian law and acts of gender-based violence. It currently has 90 state parties, but some states that were strong champions of the Treaty have not yet acceded to it. Many states that have joined the
ATT nevertheless report they need technical assistance and training to implement the Treaty effectively.

Responding to these concerns, Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute in partnership with the Control Arms Secretariat organized the ATT Academy 2016-2017, a year-long program of education, research and training on the Treaty for carefully selected East and Horn of Africa officials and key civil society activists. This project was supported by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).

In this report on lessons learned in the project, participants report that the ATT Academy provided them with in-depth knowledge of the ATT, enabling them address accession and implementation challenges in the region. Organizers learned that the ATT universalization and implementation effort will require an educational component, to share information, technical expertise and lessons learned. A targeted, intensive, longterm, in-person and contextualized program of training is better than one-off seminars. High-impact pedagogies like simulations and group discussions are often more effective than a lecture format alone.

To read the full report, click here.

May 31, 2017
by mbolton
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Le Rôle de l’Éducation dans l’Avancement de l’Universalisation et de la Mise en Oeuvre du Traité sur le Commerce des Armes: Enseignements tirés de l’Académie du TCA en Afrique de l’Est, 2016–2017

Le Traité sur le commerce des armes (TCA) de 2013, négocié et adopté au siège de l’ONU à New York, vise à limiter l’utilisation des armes classiques dans le cadre de crimes contre l’humanité, d’actions terroristes, de criminalité organisée, de violations des droits de l’homme et du droit humanitaire, et d’actes de violences sexistes. Il compte actuellement 90 États parties, mais certains des États qui l’ont ardemment défendu n’y ont pas encore adhéré. De nombreux États signataires du TCA ont communiqué un besoin d’assistance technique et de formation pour pouvoir assurer la mise en oeuvre efficace du Traité.

En réponse à ces préoccupations, en 2016–2017, l’International Disarmament Institute de Pace University, en partenariat avec le Secrétariat de la Coalition Contrôlez les armes, a mis en place l’Académie du TCA, un programme d’éducation, de recherche et de formation sur le Traité d’une durée d’un an, adressé à des fonctionnaires soigneusement sélectionnés et d’importants militants de la société civile dans la région de l’Est et de la Corne de l’Afrique. Les participants ont indiqué que l’Académie du TCA leur a permis d’acquérir une connaissance approfondie du Traité, et ainsi d’aborder les défis posés par l’adhésion au TCA et sa mise en oeuvre dans la région.

De leur côté, les organisateurs ont appris que l’effort d’universalisation et de mise en oeuvre du TCA nécessiterait une composante éducative afin de partager l’information, l’expertise technique et les enseignements tirés. Un programme de formation intensif ciblé, à long terme, en personne et contextuel est mieux adapté qu’une série de séminaires ponctuels. Les pédagogies à impact élevé, comme les simulations et les discussions de groupe, sont plus efficaces que les conférences seules.

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May 2, 2017
by mbolton
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Maridhiano Mashinani (Reconciliation at the Grassroots): Reflections on the Role of the Church in Building Sustainable Peace in the North Rift Region of Kenya

Faced with recurrent political and inter-communal violence since 1992, the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret in Kenya has responded in numerous ways to alleviate, contain and end the conflicts that have divided local communities. In a new book co-published by the Diocese and Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute, Bishop Cornelius Korir follows up on the success of his 2009 book Amani Mashinani (Peace at the Grassroots), by turning his attention to reconciliation.

With co-authors from the Diocese and beyond, Korir shows how reconciliation after violent conflict is a subtle, slow and often difficult process that is not just about ending observable fighting. Drawing on almost 25 years of experience with peacebuilding at the community level, Korir argues that reconciliation requires communities to recognize the worth of other, atone for injustice, heal wounds of the spirit and commit to building a non-violent, equitable and just society. While external actors can support it, sustainable reconciliation requires an intensive focus at the grassroots – maridhiano mashinani – by faith institutions and local civil society to build relationships of interdependence.

The book also offers insight into processes of disarmament at the very local level, often overlooked in global and national policymaking processes on arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament.

Click here to read a free e-copy of the new book, titled Mardiano Mashinani (Reconciliation at the Grassroots), click here.

April 1, 2017
by mbolton
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Positive Obligations in a Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons: UN Side Event

Director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute Matthew Bolton chaired a side event on positive obligations at the UN 31 March 2017 during the first round of negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The panel featured Richard Moyes, Managing Director of Article 36, presenting research on stockpile destruction; Bonnie Docherty of the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic presenting research on environmental remediation; and Erin Hunt of Mines Action Canada offering insight into how victim assistance provisions might function.

Dr. Bolton highlighted research by the International Disarmament Institute on possible educational provisions in the treaty. In preparation for the side event he also published an article in the Nuclear Ban Daily on precedents for positive obligations in humanitarian disarmament treaties.

For further information on the side event, read the write-up from Article 36’s Elizabeth Minor.

 

December 28, 2016
by mbolton
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Second ATT Academy East Africa Workshop

Participants in the ATT Academy, Lake Nakuru National Park. Photo: Control Arms.

The second ATT Academy training took place from 05-08 December 2016 at Lake Nakuru Lodge, Kenya and focused on ensuring deeper understanding of the Treaty’s provisions and their practical application. Over four days, participants explored themes relevant to the sub-region including Wildlife Crime, Pastoralist Conflict, Tackling Gender Based Violence and Importer Obligations. Excellent expert speakers, group discussions, homework assignments and hypothetical exercises ensured positive engagement among participants. Field visits with the Kenyan Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers provided participants with deeper understanding of the challenges they face in preventing poaching and preserving wildlife due to the proliferation of illicit weapons in the region.

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Academy brings a new approach to learning about the ATT and its implementation. It provides an in-depth and tailored learning opportunity to carefully selected participants, all of whom engage directly with the ATT in their work as government, or as part of civil society. It also provides an opportunity to explore linkages to other relevant arms, security development instruments, and enables discussion and analysis of regionally-specific issues, such as the link between wildlife crime and small arms proliferation.

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October 25, 2016
by mbolton
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Intersections between Wildlife Crime and the Arms Trade

Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute presented research on how the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) offers opportunities to the address the violent nexus between wildlife crime and illicit arms trafficking during an informal lunch at the UN hosted by Control Arms and Zambia.

The report was well received by representatives of African states that have been affected by wildlife crime, highlighting the importance of the issue and the willingness to cooperate and use existing provisions to address it in a creative way.

For further details on this event, read the write-up from Control Arms.

October 19, 2016
by mbolton
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Next Steps in Addressing Killer Robots: UN Side Event

Side event on killer robots at the UN, 18 October 2016. Photo courtesy of UNODA.

Director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute Matthew Bolton chaired a side event on autonomous weapons systems — “killer robots” — during the UN General Assembly First Committee 18 October 2016.

The event featured Ambassador Tehmina Janjua of Pakistan, chair of the upcoming Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW); Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots; Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley; and Steve Goose, executive director of  Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division.

Panelists raised concerns about the security, humanitarian and human rights implications of growing autonomy in weapons systems.

To learn more about the event, read the write-up by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs or this flyer from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

June 27, 2016
by mbolton
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ATT Academy Trains East African Officials on the Arms Trade Treaty

East African officials and advocates attend a 2016 workshop of the Arms Trade Treaty Academy in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, a project of Pace University and Control Arms Secretariat, funded by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Academy brings a new approach to learning about the ATT and its implementation. It provides an in-depth and tailored learning opportunity to carefully selected participants, all of whom engage directly with the ATT in their work as government, or as part of civil society. It also provides an opportunity to explore linkages to other relevant arms, security development instruments, and enables discussion and analysis of regionally-specific issues, such as the link between wildlife crime and small arms proliferation.

The first training session of the ATT Academy took place from 20-23 June, following four days of in-depth learning about the Arms Trade Treaty. This first session focused on the first several articles of the ATT, emphasizing the Treaty’s Scope as well as Articles 6 and 7. Discussion groups, homework assignments and participatory exercises enabled participants to ask questions and relate ATT obligations to their national context. The workshop also identified links between small arms proliferation, the ATT and wildlife poaching, a serious problem in many East African nations, including Kenya. The training took place at Lake Nakuru Lodge, situated in Nakuru National Park, and participants were briefed by park rangers involved in anti-poaching activities and local peace-building projects.

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