The Conferences

Libya, United Nations

A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the Bush

The Next Century Foundation recognises the value of close engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Council and the need for more Memorandums of Understanding with key states. We view voluntary technical assistance and capacity building as exceptionally important. However in regard to states most in need of help from the Human Rights Council, help is often not forthcoming. There is no Memorandum of Understanding under negotiation with the internationally recognised government of Libya. Yet this could easily be progressed at this time. Safe travel to Libya to meet the government concerned could be facilitated by the government of Italy which has an embassy there. The same applies to the Syrian Arab Republic. Both governments would be eager to receive the HRC. Now is the time to work with these nations where human rights are most threatened. Not later when the problem is no longer in the public arena. And why is the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated with Bahrain in 2013 not implemented? It should be progressed now without further amendment by the HRC. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Both the Human Rights Council and the office of the High Commissioner could be more helpful and start to think outside of the box.

Bahrain, Syria, United Nations

Treating the prisoners better in Syria

The Next Century Foundation recognises that some of the parties at war in the Syrian Arab Republic mistreat and frequently kill prisoners of war. As a precursor to an eventual peace, it would be constructive if the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic were to take a lead and establish a mechanism to monitor prisons and provide safeguards that ensure abuse and torture is brought to an end and that the killing of prisoners no longer happens. One model might be that adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain as a response to the report of the Bahrain International Commission of Inquiry. The oversight bodies established in that instance in order to secure better standards of human rights included an Ombudsman’s office to examine the practices of the Ministry of Interior, and standards in prisons and police stations under the Ministry’s oversight; as well as a second Ombudsman for places of detention under the auspices of the Security Services; and an independent Special Investigation Unit to investigate allegations of the torture and mistreatment of prisoners brought forward either by the Ombudsman or referred directly. Additionally a National Institute for Human Rights was founded in Bahrain to deal proactively with the public. A system of this kind would work in countries across the Middle East from the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Iraq. But it would be particularly valuable in regard to Syria, a state that wishes to be rehabilitated in the eyes of the international community. The recently appointed Syrian Minister of Justice and the Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs could take a lead in these matters.

United Kingdom

Middle East Migration – the responses of host communities

This is the Panel Discussion at the Middle East Migration Crisis: Genesis and Responses Conference, held in London in June 2016, and organised by the Next Century Foundation and Initiatives of Change. This session looks at the responses that host communities are able to make in response to come of the challenges presented by the migration crisis. The presentation took place four days before the Brexit vote on June 23rd.