In May, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to include an item about “the Responsibility to Protect” on the Assembly’s annual agenda. On one view, the resolution is not a big deal. There are more than 100 standing items on the annual agenda, on topics ranging from
Recent media reports suggest that different perspectives on maritime boundaries are creating tensions between Australia and Indonesia. An Indonesian border negotiator told The Australian Financial Review last month that talks between Australia and Indonesia on maritime boundaries had restarted in
It’s been almost three months since Myanmar’s military junta seized power from the democratically elected government. More than 700 protesters have been killed, and more than 3000 arrested. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said that the military is likely committing
For decades, Thailand has served as the primary regional hub for UN agencies and programs, international humanitarian organisations and advocacy groups. In comparison to their neighbors in mainland Southeast Asia, Thai people have enjoyed a relatively open civic environment. Thailand has long been a
In remarks delivered at the US State Department in early February, President Joe Biden championed the rule of law as part of “America’s abiding advantage” and spelled out his vision for a nation leading “not just by the example of our power but by the power of our example”. In its swing
When a business manager is willing to spend US$200,000 to send home five employees whose contracts have expired and bring five colleagues to replace them on the spot, later telling a reporter the cost was the least of their worries, you can be sure a crisis is involved.
In this case, it is on the
Australia is a peaceful, prosperous nation that vocalises its support for human rights – and yet last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, one after another, countries voiced their concerns about serious human rights violations that are being committed in Australia, particularly relating
Throughout 2020, a renewed debate has taken hold over international legal frameworks and the governance of outer space. A flurry of outer space activities has ensured this debate has gained extra attention. These include China’s Chang’e-5 mission, which in December landed an unmanned craft on
Youth voices are central to all peace and security issues. This is particularly important in the Asia-Pacific, where youth make up almost 60% of the population – in the Pacific over half the population is under 23, while in the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a third of
On Monday last week, 72 countries at the United Nations offered their “unwavering support” for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Among them were Australia, Canada, the UK, France and others that have signed the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. In doing so, these states expressed
Twenty years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, a landmark to formally recognised the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls. Yet this year, there is no new resolution to mark the anniversary of what became the Women, Peace and
The recent announcement that the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Program (WFP) attracted little attention in Australia. It is true that the spirit of internationalism is not strong across the globe at present. Nevertheless, Australians should celebrate WFP’s global role. Over
Although the “rules-based international order” is central to Australian strategy, what exactly this concept means remains a work very much in progress. For Australia to achieve its objectives for the order, it will have to get more specific.
A hardy perennial
The importance to Australia of
You could be forgiven for assuming that governments of the world inhabit two parallel universes. In July this year, Australia launched the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, which concluded that its region “is in the midst of the most consequential strategic realignment since the
The 75th United Nations General Assembly held last month was unique. The media spectacle of leaders’ speeches gave way to resident diplomat introductions, pre-recorded video presentations, and videoconferences. For some, the unspectacular and even boring nature of the General Assembly’s high-
In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
President Xi Jinping grabbed headlines last month with the announcement that China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is aiming for carbon neutrality within 40 years. Xi’s speech, to the UN General Assembly, gave no details about how this would be achieved, beyond a
Indonesia last month assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council for the second time during its 2019-2020 tenure as a non-permanent member.
Consistent with the country’s campaign for the Security Council seat, which focused on “Investing in Peace”, in its first presidency in May 2019
After the United States experienced a rebuff at the United Nations last week – with almost the entire membership of the Security Council rejecting its attempt to re-impose UN sanctions on Iran – US officials warned that the dispute could lead to a major crisis in the Council, damaging the
Mauritius is the legitimate sovereign over the Chagos Archipelago, including the island of Diego Garcia, which hosts an important US military base in the Indo-Pacific region. The government of Mauritius has publicly announced its willingness to enter into an agreement that would preserve the base,
Persistent debates over the meaning of the “liberal” or “rules-based” international order demonstrate a point of agreement among scholars and policymakers: the real power of the concept when employed as a metaphor for a disrupted global order.
Less well understood in comparison is the
In the early hours of 3 January 2020, missiles fired from US drones killed ten people near Baghdad airport. Drone strikes by the US are almost commonplace these days, but what made this particular strike noteworthy was its target: General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force, a unit of
On Saturday last week, following weeks of lobbying by humanitarian agencies and difficult diplomatic negotiations, the UN Security Council renewed its authorisation for the UN and its partners to provide humanitarian assistance in north-western Syria from across the Turkish border. The final
States have many tools at their disposal to gain influence and project power. Some opt for pressure, coercion or force. Others seek to build closer people-to-people relationships that offer reciprocal benefits and greater cooperation.
Falling somewhere between these two options is “
As the historical development of international law has been dominated by European principles and doctrine, there is an argument that public international law has always been associated with a Western-centric view of the world. Moreover, major public international law judicial organs such
The Chagos Archipelago of 54 islands, formerly administered as a dependency of the British Colony of Mauritius, was excised from Mauritius by the UK in 1965, three years before independence. It was renamed the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), and its inhabitants (about 1500 people) were
Although the idea is hard to bear, we now all know that Australia’s 2019–20 bushfire catastrophe and the Covid-19 crisis will not be one-off historical events. Public health experts have long warned zoonotic disease pandemics will be on the rise due to global warming and ecological, behavioural
Last week, the United Nations elected five countries to the Security Council for two years from 1 January 2021: India from the Asia group, elected by an impressive 184 votes of 193 cast; Mexico from Latin America and the Caribbean; Kenya from Africa; and Ireland and Norway from the West Europe and
On 26 June, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet virtually for their 36th semi-annual summit. The meeting is expected to include a focus on the re-opening of borders and economies post-pandemic, as well as discussions about the continuing tensions in the South
In April, the UN Security Council issued a statement endorsing the UN Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire in Yemen to better enable a response to Covid-19. The Council recognised that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen made the country “exceptionally vulnerable”, and that any further
International health law is closely associated with the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the treaties it oversees, of which the 2005 International Health Regulations are the most prominent. In recent months, the United States has been critical of the WHO and its response to the Covid-
Diego Garcia is the United States’ major geostrategic and logistics support base in the Indian Ocean. Sovereignty over the island is increasingly being challenged by Mauritius, but it seems unlikely that Washington would be interested in a deal that would facilitate its transfer.
The base has
Last year, the UN estimated that 168 million people depended on humanitarian relief as a result of conflict, violence, and disasters, and peacekeepers were deployed to 13 countries to help conflict-affected societies navigate the often-bumpy road from violence towards peace. Covid-19 has already
In this episode of COVIDcast, Natasha Kassam, Lowy Institute Research Fellow, sat down with Joel Negin to discuss the current controversy surrounding the World Health Organization and its handling of the pandemic. Negin is Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
“We can lament
This should be the greatest hour for the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Geneva-based body dedicated to fighting just such a global threat as Covid-19.
Instead, WHO is struggling to defend its own credibility – while the impact of the contortions into which it has forced itself by adhering
The War on Covid-19
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the mobilising language of war is being used by leaders from UN Secretary-General António Guterres and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to France’s President Emmanuel Macron and British
What do the East Timorese defence force, “clean coal”, women’s empowerment, and Kevin Rudd’s first-term government have in common?
The answer is the year 2020.
Back when 2020 felt like a halcyon time far-far away, this was the year that, respectively, the Government of Timor-Leste, the
As the Syrian Government intensifies its offensive against Syria’s Idlib province, the final opposition stronghold in the nine-year old war, diplomats and UN officials are running out of words in their attempts to convey the severity of the crisis to the UN Security Council. The UN Emergency
One would think that, after 100 years, the International Court of Justice would know about administering international justice. To the extent that the “world court” does or doesn’t understand international justice really depends on your interpretation of the term. The ruling on Myanmar’s
The recent news that Tonga was among seven countries that had lost their right to vote in the United Nations General Assembly over unpaid dues has brought an additional element to an already complex issue over the financing of the United Nations. In 2019, the Secretary General highlighted the UN’s
Indonesia won a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council this month, elected for a 2020–22 term, having received the backing of 174 countries in a secret ballot, the most votes in the Asia-Pacific region. This is not Indonesia’s first time on the council – indeed, it will be its fifth
More than 700,000 men, women, and children, many identifying as Rohingya, crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh in 2017, fleeing violence at the hands of the military and security forces. A UN Fact-Finding Mission was established to determine the facts and circumstances
Book review: The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir, by Samantha Power (Harper Collins 2019)
Samantha Power, an Irish immigrant whose tenacity and intellect earned her a place at Yale and Harvard and led her to become a war correspondent in the Balkans, rose to prominence when her 2002 book, A
Last week in the United Nations Security Council, Russia and China blocked a resolution that would have demanded an end to fighting in the Syrian province of Idlib, the final stronghold of the opposition. It marks the 13th time that Russia has used its veto to block Security Council action on Syria
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET), a multinational mission led by Australia to stabilise the country in 1999. As a former Army officer posted to Timor-Leste after INTERFET, I’m proud to be back in Dili today to represent the
The US decision to impose travel restrictions on Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif when he made a visit to UN headquarters in New York for a 17 July meeting inflamed already strained tensions between Tehran and Washington.
In a break from the usual courtesy extended to foreign dignitaries
The candidates for two non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2021–22 are now in, with three countries heading to the final stage to gather support and votes for their respective bids: Canada, Ireland, and Norway, representing the “Western European and Others” group,
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is best known for big infrastructure projects such as train lines and ports, but in this age of omnipresence online, there is a communications counterpart running in parallel, known as the Digital Silk Road. But as with the physical manifestations of China’s big