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December 17th, 2014

Potential for “Slow-Burning Genocide” in Burma

By Sho Shibata, Blog Writer

While much of the world applauds Myanmar for its recent policy shifts towards a democratic system, the Rohingya Muslim population continues to face systematic extermination. The Rohingya are increasingly in danger of a “slow-burning genocide,” and so it is imperative that world leaders speak out against those responsible. Other nations have hardly taken Myanmar’s government to task for its segregationist policies and a situation increasingly reminiscent of apartheid. Such policies are not recent developments either – they are, in fact, very old news.

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December 9th, 2014

Tabit Mass Rape Allegations Provoke Backlash Against Darfur Peacekeepers

By Evan Gray, Blog Writer

Last month, local media outlets in Sudan’s Darfur region reported horrifying allegations of a mass rape committed by Sudanese soldiers in the town of Tabit. According to these reports, more than 200 women and children were subjected to sexual violence on the orders of a Sudanese army commander, who mistakenly believed the villagers to be responsible for the disappearance of one of his men. The recent events in Tabit have refocused international attention on the ongoing violence and insecurity in the Darfur region – a serious problem that had fallen out of the public eye in recent years. However, widespread criticism of the response by UNAMID’s, the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, has also created a parallel controversy, calling into question the effectiveness of the world’s largest peace-keeping operation.

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December 2nd, 2014

Building a Syrian State

By Chad Rickaby, Blog Writer

Subaltern Realism, as proposed by Mohammad Ayoob, is an interesting re-conceptualization of international relations which pushes the margins of society to centre stage. When applied to the situation in Syria, the theory encourages us to consider the experience of the subaltern (un-empowered people on the margins of post-colonial societies) in the context of state-building. As we will see, Subaltern Realism provides an explanation for Syria’s recent trend of political divisiveness, which progressed quickly into anarchy. Syria’s longstanding inability to develop a unified national identity (which included its subaltern groups) created opportunities for groups like ISIS to garner support and control of the volatile area.

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November 28th, 2014

The Plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya

By Jeremy Luedi, Policy Researcher

In recent years, Myanmar has begun to open up and embark on a laudable path towards democracy. Despite this trajectory, however, another disturbing narrative exists which is increasingly coming to the world’s attention. The plight of the Muslim minority Rohingya people is one of systematic repression teetering on genocide. In 1982 a law was passed denying citizenship to the Rohingya people, who now live in camps or cordoned off villages. Widespread hostility towards the Rohingya and government repression of the group threatens to escalate to systematic violence if relations deteriorate.

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November 18th, 2014

Bringing Peacekeeping into the 21st Century

By Evan Gray, Blog Writer

Since its founding in 1945, the United Nations has taken the maintenance of international peace and security as one of its most important goals. With the organization’s founding member states determined to prevent a repeat of the horrors of WWII, peacekeeping was from the outset seen as a crucial part of the UN’s mandate. This need for an effective international force to keep the peace where governments fail to do so has not diminished, as is evident from the persistence of armed conflict in many parts of the world. However, a look at the history of international peacekeeping shows that the UN’s attempts at intervention often fall far short of the promises contained within its own charter.

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