Sadly, despite the global community witnessing one of the worst genocides in history that occurred in Rwanda in 1994 and the United Nations unanimously declaring that “Never Again” would such an event occur in the future, genocide is still taking place in various parts of the world. Syria is one of the countries where mass murders are currently being committed. The uprisings in Syria began in March 2011 with rebel forces warring against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. In retaliation, the government exercises violent repression of civilian protests while launching armed attacks on both the rebel forces and the Sunni Arab civilians. The United Nations Human Rights Council estimates that more than 60,000 people have died because of the conflict with close to 700,000 Syrian nationals fleeing to the neighboring nations. South Sudan is another country where civil war has led to the death of more than 250,000 people including women and children. The Sudanese government is accused of attacking Darfur’s ethnic Zaghawa, Massalit, and Fur peoples using helicopter and aircraft gunships. Further, ISIS, an Islamic terror organization, continues in its efforts to eradicate minorities in the Middle East. The terror group has taken over major towns and cities in the region where people from religious minority groups have been executed, kidnapped, tortured, or forced to flee. The terror group also traffics girls and women with most ending up being raped and sexually abused.
At present, the world is experiencing environmental degradation on a wanton scale. Two of the major causes of the deterioration of the world’s natural resources are uncontrolled deforestation and release of harmful fumes into the atmosphere. The natural forests are disappearing at an alarming rate due to encroachment by human settlements and logging to harvest timber for firewood. Secondly, the overreliance on fossil fuels for the global supply of energy is a major contributor to environmental pollution. Combustion of fossil fuels results in the production of carbon-based gases, which are released into the atmosphere on a global scale. The carbon-based gases are known to damage the earth’s ozone layer creating the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, industrialization has spurred the proliferation of manufacturing companies many of which release harmful gases into the atmosphere or liquid effluent into rivers thus causing pollution.
Globalization has also resulted in the emergence of drug trafficking organizations that operate across international borders. The worldwide reach of these organizations enables them to distribute and sell drugs on a global scale. The raw materials are sourced from remote regions, such as South America and the Middle East, with the processed products strategically distributed to the lucrative markets in North America, Europe, and other developed nations where the demand is high. Criminal organizations, such as the Sinaloa cartel, have established intricate smuggling routes while managing to avoid law enforcement agencies through bribery, death threats, and a flawed legal and justice system. The criminal organizations are well structured and akin to modern corporate institutions whose supply chains ensure that the products are easily and readily accessible to the consumer.
Main Weakness of the International System
One of the main challenges to preventing and dealing with genocide is the deficiency of effective international law instruments. While the already existing institutions lack the necessary capacity, the international community requires an efficient formal agency with the mandate to enforce international law. So far, internal instruments have failed to provide effective law enforcement through comprehensive review procedures and the use of checks and controls, such as those of the ILO convention 169 and the European Convention on Human Rights. The international community has made significant strides towards dealing with gross human rights violations, especially with the establishment of the International Criminal Court. However, the institution is yet to become universally acknowledged and respected by major global powers, such as the United States, which is currently opposing the organization. As a result, the global reach of the ICC is hampered since its jurisdiction is limited to its member states.
A second major weakness in the international system is lack of cooperation among the major powers. There are many instances where some of the key global payers, the United States and Russia in particular, have failed to reach an agreement regarding civil conflicts because of each focusing on protecting and serving their interests. Syria serves as a good example in this regard. While the Russian government has provided support to the Syrian government troops and other pro-regime forces, the United States has backed the rebel armies offering them military assistance. In such instances, it is quite challenging for international institutions, such as the ICC or the United Nations, to prevent human rights violations since the conflicts are also pitting major superpowers against each other.
As far as drug trafficking is concerned, the international community has over the past decades focused on the establishment of a drug control system. The United Nations-led initiatives include the drafting of conventions, plans of action, and political declarations as well as the institution of international agencies. Furthermore, a vast amount of resources has been allocated to law enforcement agencies, judicial officers, and diplomats to deal with the issue. However, field studies indicate that the war on drugs has been lost on multiple fronts owing to systemic institutional failures.
One of the underlying institutional failures is lack of adequate resources in the production zones. Criminal organizations have shifted drug production sites to countries with lax state authority and large ungoverned spaces. For instance, many of the illicit crops are now grown in Afghanistan and Columbia where large areas are under the control of non-governmental forces. The Taliban, Afghan Warlords, and Columbian cartels operate as a state within a state with the armed anti-state forces resisting drug eradication campaigns since the drugs form part of their major sources of revenue. Secondly, systemic and prevalent corruption is a hindrance to the war on illicit drugs with criminal organizations penetrating and compromising the law enforcement and intelligence structure. The corrupt officials warn the criminal gangs about impending attacks in addition to hindering investigations.
The main challenge towards environmental stability is lack of adequate financial impetus as far as the current sustainable practices are concerned. The Kyoto protocol serves as a good example. Thus, a significant number of countries have failed to be signatories considering that the agreement would entail negative consequences for their economies. The United States, in particular, was one of the first countries to show support for the agreement that mandates industrialized nations to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions. However, after critical review, the government opted to retreat from the Kyoto Protocol citing that the agreement would result in the closure of some of its major firms, loss of jobs, and a damaged economy.
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