Speaker Events - Friday, July 15, 2011
Blood and Borders: RtoP and Kin-States
Nations and states seldom overlap. As a result, map lines delineating statehood can become blurred by bloodlines of nationhood. People sharing the same ethnicity may live on different sides of the border: some in the “motherland,” where they are a majority, and others in a neighboring state where they are a minority. What happens when the minority is persecuted? Does the so-called “kin-state” have a right to protect “its” kin? Or is this a recipe for creating bilateral tensions, even conflict? Whose responsibility is it to protect the minority community?
These thorny and topical issues were discussed on July 15th at the IPI Vienna Office during the launch of a new book entitled Blood and Borders: The Responsibility to Protect and the Problem of the Kin-State. The book, published by the United Nations University (UNU) Press, is edited by Walter Kemp, Director for Europe and Central Asia at IPI; Vesselin Popovski, Senior Academic Officer at the Institute for Sustainability and Peace at the UNU; and Ramesh Thakur, Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University.
In addition to looking at the conceptual and political challenges related to the role of “kin-states” in protecting persons belonging to national minorities abroad, the book includes a number of case studies, including Hungary, Syria and Lebanon, Vietnam and Cambodia, Russia and Russians in Ukraine, Brazilians in Paraguay, and the Nigeria-Bakassi situation.
In a roundtable discussion, participants underlined the need for the protection of persons belonging to national minorities and the need for good relations between people sharing the same ethnicity, but highlighted how this can sometimes complicate intrastate and bilateral relations if handled improperly.
“Although the world cannot stand by when minority rights are being violated, neither can the protection of national minorities be used by kin-states as an excuse to violate state sovereignty,” said Popovski.
“Taking unilateral action to protect kin in neighboring states is a perversion of the RtoP norm, and can spark conflict,” warned Kemp. “This problem could be avoided if states were more responsible towards their minorities and their neighbors,” he said.
Edward Mortimer, Vice President of the Salzburg Global Forum (and former Director of Communication at the UN), was the main discussant at the roundtable. He said that “historically kin-states have played a destructive role and in many instances they continue to do so. But the sense of kinship is often an essential feature of people’s self-image and cannot be wished away so it is better to try and use it constructively, as has happened in Ireland.”
For more information on how to order Blood and Borders from the United Nations University Press go to http://unu.edu/publications/books/2010-2020/blood-and-borders-the-responsibility-to-protect-and-the-problem-of-the-kin-state-2.
The Global Observatory
Is a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip Feasible?
The ceasefire proposed by UNSG Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry to put an end to the violence in Gaza may be the best offer on the table, although important lessons from the past need to be heeded.
Key Global Events to Watch in July
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
July 17, 2014
EU and UN Seek Ways to Improve Cooperation in Peacekeeping
The European Union is among the strongest supporters of UN peacekeeping missions around the globe, but the growing challenges faced by UN-led operations have raised the need for better EU-UN cooperation, both on the ground and at the planning level.
July 01, 2014
SRSG Johnson: South Sudan Crisis Changed UNMISS “Mindset”
Hilde Johnson, the outgoing Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), gave an overflow IPI audience a dramatic account of the challenging situation that has faced the United Nations in the country since the eruption of mass violence at the end of last year.
June 25, 2014
Mousavian: Iran and US Have Serious Chance for Rapprochement
From Iraq to Syria, from energy to counterterrorism, Iran and the United States share many common interests across the Middle East and ought to put aside their decades of hostility, said author and former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian.