Posts Tagged

United Nations

In Measuring Peace, Professor Richard Caplan of the University of Oxford has written an insightful guide for students and practitioners of peace. The book will help those who want to understand the fundamental principles and existing practices of how to assess peace while at the same time outlining some critical political constraints. Caplan provides a succinct and clear analysis of key approaches to peace measurements, their weaknesses and ways to move forward. Due to its accessibility and policy relevance, the book also stands out among other publications that have sought to evaluate and grapple with the question of how to judge the quality …

Peacekeeping is at the centre of the UN’s efforts to maintain international peace and security. Today, more than 100,000 soldiers and police from 125 countries are serving as blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers around the world. These soldiers and police are endeavouring to keep the peace within, or between, more than 20 conflict-affected states and territories. How effective are UN peacekeeping efforts? There have been spectacular failures (Rwanda) and notable successes (El Salvador) but how great is the contribution of UN peacekeeping overall? Scholars are divided on this question. Virginia Page Fortna’s seminal work on the impact of UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs) …

In late March of this year, a majority of the world’s states will meet at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to start negotiations on a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty. It will be a landmark event in international history. Not only have such negotiations never been held before—nuclear weapons remain the only class of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) not explicitly prohibited by international law—the process itself also marks a turning point in multilateral diplomacy. Emerging as an element of the European “standard of civilization” in the 19th century, the laws of war were meant, in part, to …

What is the United Nations? What does it do and how does it do what it does? Together with Sam Daws, Natalie Samarasinghe has recently co-edited a leading eight-volume reference text on the United Nations – The SAGE Major Work on the United Nations. It is dedicated to the structures and the role of the UN over the course of its history and at the present juncture. In this Q&A, Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the United Nations Association (UNA-UK), responds to the questions of Oxford graduate Genevieve Woods.

Dr Hylke Dijkstra has recently published a new book entitled International Organizations and Military Affairs (Routledge, 2016). This book represents the first comparative study of the politics behind the scenes at the United Nations, NATO and the European Union concerning the use of military force. It is also the result of a research project carried out at the DPIR in Oxford. DPhil candidate Dana Landau interviews him on the most pertinent questions that arise from his work.

https://blog.politics.ox.ac.uk/podcast-player/1640/the-responsibility-to-protect-the-imperative-and-the-challenge.mp3Download file | Play in new windowAt the University of Oxford Alumni Weekend, 17 September 2011, Dr Hugo Slim and Professor Jennifer Welsh, from the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), discussed the concept of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ or R2P in contemporary international relations, and its role in key cases such as Libya and post-election violence in Kenya. Dr Slim discussed the rise of the idea that certain people should be protected in times of war, suggesting that the word ‘civilian’ became a centrepiece of policy during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. He went on to talk about the role and …

Tel Aviv has known many hot summers in its history. But 2011 will probably be remembered as an exceptionally burning summer, one in which the city was flooded by tents occupied by young middle class residents, protesting against the rise in the cost of living.  As Or Rosenboim argues, these protests were characterised by the claim to “go beyond the political”, to ask for social justice, referring to the colloquial distinction between issues relating to security and defence, and particularly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, regarded as “the political”, and “the social”. I wish to argue that  these protests are closely interlinked …

Everyone wants to see wrongdoers punished. But safe exile for bad rulers is often the least worst option. The violence in the Ivory Coast that has left more than 1,300 dead since last November’s presidential election may soon be coming to an end. Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to cede power after losing in the polls to Alassane Ouattara, is reportedly negotiating the terms of his surrender after a week-long offensive by pro-Ouattara forces. What’s puzzling about how this conflict is ending is why Gbagbo didn’t leave sooner, especially after African Union leaders had offered him immunity several times …