Global Campus of Human Rights Magazine n 7 (September 2022)

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Nowak, Manfred
Aquino, Elisa
Ballarin, Giulia
Esposito, Isotta
Metsola, Roberta
Gomez, Veronica
Agaltsova, Marina
Karimi, Sahraa
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The Russian war of aggression against the Ukraine might become a turning point in world history. It not only constitutes one of the most serious crimes under international law, the crime of aggression, it blatantly violates the most fundamental rule of post WW II architecture, the prohibition of the use of military force. Notwithstanding various urgent calls by the overwhelming majority of States in the UN General Assembly to immediately stop the war, despite Russia’s exclusion from the Council of Europe and the UN Human Rights Council, and contrary to a legally binding ruling of the International Court of Justice, Mr Putin continues to show a total disrespect for the international rule of law and multilateralism. A!er more than six months of a bloody war with many thousands of soldiers and civilians killed and millions of the most serious human rights violations committed, two possible scenarios seem to emerge. Either Mr Putin realizes that he cannot win this war and will finally engage in international peace negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, or he will win the war. The second scenario would mean the final breakdown of the post WW II architecture and a return to the rule of the jungle. It will encourage Mr Putin to wage further wars, e.g. in Moldova or Central Asia, possibly followed by other States, such as China against Taiwan. During armed conflicts, most human rights are violated on a massive scale, and the international community can do very little to prevent or stop these violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The only mechanism designed by the international community to stop an aggressor and to protect the civilian population against the most serious crimes under international law, namely the collective security system under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, including the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) mechanism, is paralysed if one of the five permanent members of the Security Council is directly involved. As a global network of universities dedicated to human rights, we need to step up our joint efforts of promoting and protecting human rights, even in such an increasingly hostile environment. In our core activity, providing post-graduate human rights education, we recently decided to start an 8th regional Master in Human Rights and Sustainablity in the Central Asian region (including Afghanistan and Mongolia), coordinated by the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. During our recent teaching experience at the Summer School on Human Rights and Human Security in Kyrgyzstan, Imke and I were impressed by the professional standards of the OSCE Academy and the high quality of their students. In addition, we are intensifying the social responsibility, advocacy and practical human rights work of our universities, as exemplified by our program, to provide a safe space for Afghan scholars and students at risk and our new project on “reconceptualising exile”, which we are developing in partnership with our donors and friends at Right Livelihood. Our new priority of closely cooperating with and supporting human rights defenders in all world regions, which we started with the Venice School on Human Rights Defenders and our cooperation with Sakharov and Right Livelihood Laureates, is also reflected in various contributions to this Global Campus Human Rights Magazine, above all the interviews with the Afghan film maker Sahraa Karimi and the Russian human rights lawyer of “Memorial” Marina Agaltsova, as well as the admirable activities of Bucharest University in supporting and providing shelter for Ukrainian refugees. The highlights of our recent activities were the Global Classroom on Internally Displaced Persons in June in Pretoria and our 2nd annual Venice Conference on the Global State of Human Rights in July, which we organise in cooperation with the European Parliament and which was this year dedicated to the rights of children as agents of change. As the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, emphasised in her keynote speech, our future depends on the empowerment of children and their active involvement in our political decision making processes. Let’s hope that Mr Putin does not win his war of aggression, that he will finally be held accountable for all his crimes, and that the post WW II architecture, based on the three pillars of security, development and human rights, will even be strengthened by these unfortunate events! The Global Campus of Human Rights provides the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to those future change makers who will steer our planet in the right direction once again. _______________________________________________________________________ This issue includes interviews and special contributions: Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament; Veronica Gomez, President of the Global Campus of Human Rights; Marina Agaltsova, Russian Human Rights Lawyer; Sahraa Karimi University of Bucharest, Major Hub for Supporting Ukrainian Refugees
Global Campus of Human Rights