foreign-affairs

sea-globe.com
Southeast Asian representatives take to the global stage at UN General Assembly meeting
Representatives from across Southeast Asia used the 71st meeting of the UN General Assembly to defend and extol their domestic policies to the international community.

A number of Southeast Asian government representatives used the 71st UN General Assembly meeting, held this past weekend at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, to deflect international criticism of their policies.

The Philippines’ secretary for foreign affairs Perfecto Yasay argued that the ongoing war on drugs in his country had been misunderstood.

“Our actions have grabbed both the national headlines and international attention for all the wrong reasons,” he told the assembly, adding that the country’s drug problem was a hindrance to development and intrinsically tied to a culture of corruption.

“It has torn apart many of our communities, destroyed our families and snuffed out the hopes and dreams of our people – young and old – for a bright future,” he stated.

However, contrary to numerous accusations, he argued that the state had not sanctioned the killing of drug dealers.

“We have not and will never empower our law enforcement agents to shoot-to-kill any individual suspected of drug crimes,” he claimed, before adding that “extrajudicial killings have no place in our society and in our criminal justice system”.

Human rights advocates, from within the UN and elsewhere, have been openly critical of Duterte’s war on drugs, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Yasay also praised improvements made by Duterte’s government to social services in the Philippines.

Also on the defensive was Cambodia’s foreign minister, Prak Sokhonn.

Sokhonn claimed that Cambodia’s ruling CPP had been up against unrealistic expectations of “perfect democracy” ever since the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement.

A leaked report by the UN’s special rapporteur for Cambodia lambasted Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government for its political repression of opposition groups and members of civil society.

Last week, Hun Sen threatened to “eliminate” his opponents should they hold mass demonstrations against a wave of legal cases and arrests of its members and senior leadership.

A recent joint study into electoral systems conducted by Harvard University and the University of Sydney showed Cambodia’s elections to be the least fair in the Asia-Pacific region and in the bottom ten globally – partly because of such intimidation.

Sokhonn, however, claimed that the opposition had brought this repression upon themselves.

“We often find ourselves in a situation in which our opposition is committing very serious crimes,” he said, attempting to justify his government’s position.

The foreign minister also argued that the world’s wealthier countries are responsible for enabling the developing world to reach the UN’s sustainable development goals.

“I wish to emphasise here the responsibility of the rich countries which have the means to turn these goals into reality,” he said.

Delegates from both Malaysia and Indonesia prioritised regional and international security issues.

Malaysia’s representative to the General Assembly, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, addressed issues facing the Islamic world, including the humanitarian crises in Syria, Palestine and Myanmar.

“Although Malaysia might not be a major player [on the world stage], we can contribute and also be involved in universal human issues,” he said.

The deputy prime minister also called for the world to stand united against terrorism and praised his government’s successful de-radicalisation programme.

Indonesia used the assembly meeting to launch its candidacy for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council – a powerful organ within the UN charged with maintaining international peace and security.

The world’s most populous Islamic nation has pledged to increase its peacekeeping force to 4,000 by 2019 and to fight terrorism regionally and globally.

Speaking to the assembly, Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla identified democracy, tolerance, pluralism and peace as virtuous objectives.

Reacting to regional nations’ showing at the assembly, Tang Siew Mun, head of the Asean Studies Centre at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said that the assembly, while far from perfect, could be considered an equaliser within the UN.

“Although it has been critically lambasted as a ‘talk shop’, it does serve the important function of giving voice to each and every member of the organisation, regardless of its size and power,” he said.

Mun added that membership of the security council is highly sought after due to the greater international reach it provides.

“The UN Security Council is the playground of the powerful states, especially the ‘Permanent Five’ members, while [the General Assembly] is the domain of the less powerful,” he said.

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As Secretary of State, Hillary Admits to Deporting Orphaned Refugees to Send Message to Warlords Not to Let Them Flee

Hillary Clinton’s Child-Deportation Flip-Flop

     “’We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across            the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,’ she said.”

     “’We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws, or we’ll               encourage more children to make that dangerous journey,’ she added.”

Hillary Clinton Defends Call To Deport Child Migrants

Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Latino Vote

Dalia Mogahed is the first hijabi in the White House. She became President Barack Obama’s advisor on Muslim affairs. Born in Egypt, she is the president and CEO of Mogahed Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in Muslim societies and the Middle East. (Read more on Dalia Mogahed right here.) 

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Confidence in Hillary Clinton to handle world affairs is generally high in the European and Asian countries we surveyed this spring. By comparison, few trust Donald Trump to do the right thing when it comes to foreign policy.

Clinton finds support in Europe, while Trump inspires little to no confidence in Europe or Asia

vice.com
The Philippines Is Still Pissed Off That Vancouver Is Using It as a Giant Garbage Bin | VICE | Canada
Senators are demanding that Canada take back its shipping containers full of rotting food and adult diapers because ewww.

Vancouver, a city known for its borderline self-righteous waste disposal policies, is being called out by the Philippines for essentially using the island nation as an enormous trash bin.

Ontario company Chronic Inc. sent 50 shipping containers, or 2,500 tonnes, of “plastic for recycling” to the Philippines in 2013, but closer inspection by the country’s Bureau of Customs revealed the bins were filled with regular old trash, including rotting food and adult diapers.

The Philippines has not taken kindly to this nasty surprise, with politicians and environmentalists arguing Canada violated international hazardous waste laws by shipping its crap overseas.

“Canada should take back its waste,” Philippine Senator Loren Legarda told fellow senators at a hearing last week, while Leah Paquiz, a member of the House of Representatives is demanding Canada “show us the decency that we so rightfully deserve as a nation. My motherland is not a garbage bin of Canada.” At a protest staged outside the Canadian Embassy in May, one person reportedly dressed as a garbage-filled shipping container. There’s even a change.org petition calling for a congressional inquiry into “imported Canadian garbage.” To date, the pile of trash is still festering in a Manila port. […]

bit.ly
Hundreds of lobbyists got together to write a trade deal. What happened will scare you senseless.

Congress is about to sign away it’s Constitutional right to oversee a huge trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP for short) – and members of Congress won’t even get a chance to read the agreement first! The text of the treaty is a closely-kept secret, but based on what’s leaked out of the negotiations, we can be sure the TPP will be a massive corporate power-grab.

Our last best hope to stop this deal is to convince Congressional Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to come out against “fast-track” authority, which would surrender Congress’s right to amend the deal. We need to flood her office with calls to make sure Congress doesn’t pass NAFTA on steroids without reading it.

shd.ca
3 countries that aren't Syria where Canada is fuelling the refugee crisis
With the refugee crisis unfolding and dominating the forefront of many people’s minds, the stories we tell and our responses to them are noteworthy.

[…] Eritrea:

In Eritrea, a country in northeast Africa, people are leaving in droves. There are a number of reasons, but one of the primary ones is the threat of indefinite military conscription. Upon finishing high school, most Eritreans are forced to take part in the country’s National Service. If they don’t, they can face serious retribution. These military conscripts are, primarily, put to work in various projects owned and operated by the government. One of these projects is mining in the Bisha region, where they’re underpaid, undernourished, overworked, and often tortured. The company operating in Eritrea right now is Nevsun Resources, a Vancouver-based mining company. A Vancouver-based company, therefore, is using essentially slave labour and fueling Eritrea’s refugee crisis. Soon, another Vancouver-based company, Sunridge Gold Corp., is set to operate in Eritrea, potentially engaging in the same practices.

Somalia:

“Some 34,300 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied or separated children in 82 countries in 2014, mostly by Afghan, Eritrean, Syrian, and Somali children. This was the highest number on record since UNHCR started collecting such data in 2006.” World at War: UNHCR Global Trends, Forced Displacement 2014

In 2006, US forces invaded Somalia with the help of Ethiopian troops. Canada supported the attack that took the lives of about 6,000 civilians, creating 335,000 refugees. The following year, Canada helped install a government unrecognized by most Somalis. The recent history of war in Somalia is the most pressing reason people are leaving. And Canada’s role is significant.

“Washington and Ottawa portrayed their intervention in Somalia as a simple struggle against Islamic terrorism, but the mission was also driven by geopolitical and economic considerations,” writes Yves Engler in Canadian foreign policy with Canada in Africa — 300 years of Aid and Exploitation.“Somalia’s 1,600-kilometre coastline is “near two important oil choke points; Babel-Mandeb between Yemen and Djibouti, and the Strait of Hormuz between the most northern part of UAE and Iran,” notes Patrick Lennox…In addition to its strategic location, Somalia possesses oil.”

Sudan:

In Sudan, Calgary-based Talisman Oil has been accused of forcibly displacing people around their sites. Talisman helped build an airstrip that became a base for bombing raids on the southern Sudan. “Talisman provided expertise, China provided manpower, and Sudan provided army and loyal militias who not only protected the pipeline and facilities, but also aggressively cleansed the oil fields of people,” writes Madelaine Drohan inMaking a Killing: How and why corporations use armed force to do business.

Not only did an oil company’s operations force people to leave - it also fueled a conflict that’s killed countless and pushed many away from their homes.

politico.com
The World Looks at Trump, Confused
On the RNC's “America First” night, overseas reporters try to figure out what he's really talking about. By JULIA IOFFE

The theme of tonight’s Republican National Convention is “Making America First Again”—a reference to our nation’s place in the world, and to Donald Trump’s foreign policy vision—and there’s a small room walled off by blue fabric in the back of the Cleveland Convention Center packed with people sent here to puzzle out exactly what that means. These are reporters from overseas media outlets, the people charged with figuring out what the Republican Party is up to this week, and explaining it to their readers and viewers back home. It has not been an easy job.

“Okay, America first, but then who’s second?” asks Thomas Gorguissian, a correspondent for Al Tahrir, an Egyptian news site. “It’s like Bill Gates saying he’s the richest person in the world. Okay. But what does that mean for the other seven billion in the world?”

Even by the domestically obsessed standards of American presidential races, Donald Trump’s campaign has been unusually indifferent to the niceties of world affairs. He kicked things off last year with his most popular and enduring promise—to build a wall with Mexico and make them pay for it—and fueled his rise by promising a trade war with our most important trading partner, China. He has threatened to renegotiate America’s debt and to bomb the unmentionable out of ISIL. Some of his kindest words have been for Vladimir Putin, a strongman whom most Western nations were counting on America’s help to keep in check. As a result, numerous Republican foreign policy specialists have run screaming for the Clinton camp.

Read more here