A few days ago, I blogged (here) about France’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which took place on the 21st, and the implications for and insight into its foreign relations. The unedited, draft report from that UPR is now available publically here. France has until the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council in June 2013 to provide responses, which will make for a much more interesting analysis, but in the meantime, here’s a few highlights and initial thoughts.
During the “interactive dialogue” portion of the UPR, 84 states made statements, which are summarized in the draft report. The draft report also includes 165 recommendations. Although a lot of the recommendations repeat each other, it’s quite insightful to see which issues are most commented upon, as well as which countries care about which issues. Building on the last post I wrote on this topic, I’ve focused on the recommendations related to discrimination, minority rights and religious freedom below.
There’s been some very interesting pieces written about Mali in the past few weeks which I wanted to share as I’ve found them very useful in understanding the current situation. I originally wanted to keep this to analytical pieces related to France’s involvement in Mali but I thought expanding it to wider issues and themes might be useful. I’ll update this as I find more stuff. Please feel free to send links my way (through the comments here or on the contact page)!
Chronology of events (in French) by Radio France International (not really an analytical piece but a very useful resource
“France in Mali: the End of the Fairytale” – blog post by Gregory Mann on Africa is a Country
“On Intervention, Popularity and Colonialism in Mali” – blog post by Alex Thurston on Sahel Blog
“Mali, dynamic of war” – blog post by Paul Rogers on Open Democracy
“French Military Intervention in Mali: It’s Legal but … Why? Part I” – blog post by Theodore Christakis and Karine Bannelier on the blog of the European Journal of International Law
On the ICC referral
ICC, Office of the Prosecutor, “Situation in Mali – Article 53(1) Report”
“Mali and the ICC: what lessons can be learned from previous investigations?” in The Guardian
“Random Comments on the Mali Self-Referral to the ICC” – blog post on Spreading the Jam
“Is the International Criminal Court Following the Flag in Mali” – blog post on Political Violence @ a Glance
On human rights
“Intervention in Mali: Human Rights First?” – blog post by Andrew Jillions on Justice in Conflict
Letter to French President Francois Hollande on situation in Mali – from Human Rights Watch
“Mali: Civilians Bear the Brunt of the Conflict” – report from Amnesty International (from last year but provides a good overview nonetheless)
On US-French cooperation in Mali
“Thinking Through the Malian Thicket” – blog post by Deborah Pearlstein on Opinio Juris on the legality (international and domestic) of potential US involvement in Mali.
On criticism of the French intervention in Mali
“France Faces Criticism over Malian Intervention as Humanitarian Questions Arise” – blog post/news story by Sasha Papazoff on La Jeune Politique
On 21 January 2013, France underwent its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the first having been in 2008. You can watch the video of the whole thing (about 3.5 hours) here. I’ll write a follow-post to this one once the outcome report (see below) is published as my internet connection here in Cambodia is a bit too dodgy for internet streaming, but here’s a few thoughts about the UPR process in general (as it relates to foreign relations) and about the recommendations to France from its 2008 UPR.
First things first, for those that don’t know or unclear on what is a Universal Periodic Review … Since April 2008, the United Nations – through the Human Rights Council – has been reviewing the human rights practices of all countries in the world. Each state is reviewed every four and a half years, with 42 states being reviewed each year during 3 “working group” sessions of 14 states each. Results of each UPR are published in an “outcome report” which lists recommendations – provided by other states – the country under review is expected to address before its next UPR. The website UPR Info has a detailed explanation of the entire process for those interested in learning more, as well as all national reports, outcome reports, etc.
There’s been little discussion of French-Mali relations prior to the current conflict (by that I mean the past few months …) so I figured this might make for a good first post. This is a really brief overview and not an in-depth analysis but I do think it is useful to put things into perspective.
A little bit of background …
First a few facts. Mali gained independence from France in 1960. Early relations between France and Mali are often discussed in the context of Mali’s 1962 decision to opt out of the Franc Zone (a cornerstone of France’s post-colonial policy in Africa – more on that in a later post, I promise), which is seen by some to have engendered many of the country’s subsequent economic and financial difficulties. This was in large part due to post-independence President Modibo Keita’s socialist-leaning economic policy. Mali signed on the Franc Zone later, in 1967, but under an agreement that saw the Malian franc devalued by 50%. Full integration of Mali into the UEMOA (Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine, “West African Economic and Monetary Union”) did not happen until 1984.