by Pier Washpon

Is the UN sending the wrong people to keep the peace?
August 3, 2017
While UN peacekeepers are sent to war torn countries to help transition to peace, they are accused of crimes against the people they were sent to protect. Between 2004 and 2016, over 2,000 sexual exploitation and abuse allegations were made against peacekeepers. More women as UN personal, better screening of peacekeepers, and punishment instead of impunity could decrease abuses against women. Paula Donovan, from Aids Free World NGO, believes that “peacekeeping as an idea should be revisited, interrogated, and reconsidered.”

China Tells India That It Won’t Back Down in Border Dispute
August 4, 2017
The geopolitical 34 square mile area of disputed land between China, India, and Bhutan is increasing tension between the nations. China has repeatedly said that they will not let anyone stand in the way of their ‘national sovereignty, security, and development interest’.

U.S. Ramps Up Border Militarism as Trumps Appoints DHS Head General John Kelly to Chief of Staff
August 4, 2017
John Carlos Frey, a two-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker and journalist, believes the there is a culture of cruelty within law enforcement at the Mexico-U.S. border that is exacerbated by Trump’s rhetoric. Not one border patrol agent has been indicted on murder charges in 100 years- even though dozens of people have been killed by agents. Trump promised a border wall and will do anything to appear to follow through on that promise.

UN Peacekeeping Chief: South Sudan Warring Parties Unwilling to End Violence
August 4, 2017
UN official Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited the capital of South Sudan, Juba, to assess security concerns. Both warring parties are not willing to end violence and that is hindering the process for political talks. 150 peacekeepers from Bangladesh have been deployed this month to protect the region, as the humanitarian situation worsens.

Court Throws Out Blackwater Guards’ Sentence for 2007 Baghdad Massacre
August 4, 2017
A federal appeals court ruled to dismiss lengthy prison sentences of three former operatives of the Blackwater Worldwide private mercenary firm. A fourth operative had a life sentence that was thrown out but can be retried. The Blackwater founder is brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos, Erik Prince. In 2007, these operatives killed 14 unarmed Iraqis and injured 17 in Nisour Square, Baghdad. Jeremy Scahill, a journalist and author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Powerful Mercenary Army, welcomed the 2014 conviction, but believes that low level officials are being held accountable while the top people are still in power.

Because ‘This Hell is Not a Thing of the Past,’ Hiroshima Makes Plea for Nuclear Weapons-Free World
August 7, 2017
Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for nuclear disarmament in front of a crowd at the Peace Memorial Park during the 72nd Anniversary of the U.S. dropping of the atomic bomb. He said “as long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment. You could find yourself suffering their cruelty.”

North Korea vows to teach US ‘severe lesson’
August 7, 2017
Two days after the UN Security Council approved sanctions against North Korea, Ri Yong-ho, said that North Korea will not put missiles and nukes up for negotiation if the US takes military action against them. Tillerson said that North Korea should signal that that are prepared to have talks by pausing their missile testing, and encourages the 10 members of the Association of the South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to apply more pressure.

Venezuela crisis: The weekend’s three key events
August 7, 2017
20 people in military uniforms stormed into Fort Paramacay military on Sunday where weapons were stolen. Two attackers were killed and one was injured, while ten escaped. On Saturday, Luisa Ortega, Venezuela’s chief prosecutor was barred from her office. The Constituent Assembly will have more power by extending their time to meet from 6 months up to two years to rewrite the constitution.

Minnesota governor: Mosque blast an ‘act of terrorism’
August 7, 2017
Governor Mark Dayton declared that the explosion should be called an act of terrorism. The FBI is leading the investigation, and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota’s executive is offering a $24,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator.

New wave of violence threatens Colombia’s peace prospects
August 8, 2017
The increased number of clashes between displaced people is causing concern for the Norwegian Refugee Council. Indigenous and Afro-Colombians are disproportionately affected by the violence. Despite peace made between FARC and the Colombian government, continued violence, poverty, lack of resources still need to be address for peace to prosper.