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Protection of civilians in a peacekeeping context

Challenges and dilemmas of MONUC/MONUSCO

Christian R. Manahl

“Around Kamanyola in Walungu territory, FARDC soldiers looted property and cattle and gang-raped a lady. When trying to fight off the rapists, two male members of the affected family were killed.” This is a short note from the daily situation report of MONUSCO’s South Kivu office, sent on 10 July 2010. It is one of many similar observations made by the dismayed and overwhelmed peacekeepers of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), whose first priority is the protection of civilians. On another day, or in another duty station, peacekeepers might report about a couple of children being abducted or a family burnt alive in their home by one of the militias roaming the subregion. On a few occasions – in July/August 2010 in Walikale territory in North Kivu, and in January and February 2011 in Fizi territory of South Kivu (see map 1) – the recurrent human rights violations in the DRC reached horrific proportions, with scores of people, including many children, sexually abused. In December 2008 and 2009, hundreds were massacred and several dozen abducted in Haut Uélé district (Province Orientale).

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A Vulnerable World?

“Honor a quien honor merece“

Carmen Maganda and Harlan Koff

Regions and Cohesion has grown from invaluable human and intellectual roots. One source of inspiration, Dr. Virginia García-Acosta, comes from CIESAS-Mexico (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social). Dr. García-Acosta is an internationally recognized scholar who has achieved much through her professional career and touched many through her wisdom and humanity. In recognition of her achievements, she was honored with the title Chevalier dans l’ordre des palmes académiques by France in a ceremony on 16 November 2010 at the Residencia de Francia in Mexico City. The editors of Regions and Cohesion, on behalf of the RISC Consortium, are pleased to recognize this honor by translating into French and publishing in this issue of the journal one of Dr. García-Acosta’s most important articles, entitled: “Le risque comme construction sociale et la construction sociale des risques” (originally published in Mexico as “El riesgo como construcción social y la construcción social de riesgos” in Desacatos No. 19 (2005): p. 11–24).

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Moreno Biagioni

*Full article is in French

Début 2010, les 8 et 9 janvier, à Rosarno en Calabre, en réaction à l’action de protestation de centaines d’immigrés réduits à des conditions de semi-esclavage – ils étaient «utilisés» pour la récolte des fruits et des tomates – une véritable chasse à l’homme s’était déchaînée de la part de la population locale contre les migrants, causant de nombreux blessés parmi ceux-ci.

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*Full article is in Spanish

Asunto: COMUNICADO DE EXIGIBILIDAD El pasado 10 de diciembre (Día Internacional de los Derechos Humanos), las familias desconectadas de los servicios públicos de energía, agua y saneamiento básico, decidimos tomarnos la calle para expresar nuestro inconformismo frente a los alumbrados navideños, realizando una acción directa de noviolencia denominada “Empresas públicas de Medellín (EPM), luz en las calles, oscuridad en las casas” y bajo la consigna “EPM y Alcaldía, miseria y exclusión noche y día.” Esta acción la realizamos en una de las avenidas donde anualmente se instalan los mejores alumbrados navideños, llamada la Playa, porque estamos en contra del despilfarro que se hace, ya que si bien son bonitos, costaron 18.000 millones de pesos y con ese dinero se pudieran reconectar más de 20.000 hogares que en la actualidad, no tienen ni con qué prender un bombillo o poder cocinar en sus casas.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

Since the end of the Cold War in 1990, “regions” and “governance” have become prominent themes in the social sciences and they have often accompanied each other in both political and academic circles. During this historical period, regions have developed in many ways, including the proliferation and deepening of regional integration schemes, including among others, the enlargement of the European Union (EU), the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the passage of the Organization of African Unity to the African Union, and the transformation of the Andean Pact into the Andean Community. While world regions were being established at the supranational level, sub-national regions also began to take form. The 1990s witnessed the development of regional economies, regional identities, regionalist ideologies, political parties, and social movements. In many cases, these transformations could not be contained by national boundaries. The notion of “borders” has recently been replaced by “border regions” as these areas have become accepted as socially constructed territories that transcend political and geographic delineations.

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Michael Keating

It is notoriously difficult to define the region. It is a territorial space, certainly, so we can exclude virtual spaces from our consideration, but it can take a number of territorial configurations. There is a conventional but still useful distinction between substate regionalism, studied traditionally by geographers, planners, sociologists, political scientists and historians, and supra-state regions, studied by other geographers and in international relations and strategic studies. Economists may make use of both. A third conception is the transnational region, which cuts across the boundaries of states, taking in some but not all of the territory or more than one political community. All these meanings, however, are relative to the nation-state, being above, below, or across it but not questioning its standing as the authoritative definer of territorial boundaries. Most of them also unproblematically use the term “nation-state” to define both a sovereign polity and one in which state and nation coincide, although in plurinational polities these are quite different meanings.