Cruise ships have contributed to the spread of covid-19 around the world and State responses to the pandemic have needed to account for the presence of these ships in their ports and the medical treatment of both passengers and crew on board. This contribution outlines the key bodies of international law that must be brought to bear in deciding on State action in response to cruise ships and their covid-19 cases: the law of the sea, international health law, shipping conventions and especially treaties protecting the rights of seafarers, international human rights law and laws relating to consular assistance. While these laws tend to reinforce each other, it is argued that the need for humanitarian considerations to feature strongly in State decision-making is challenged by systemic weaknesses.
This article addresses the ecology and functioning of the World Health Organization in a time of crisis, zooming in on the pressures on both the organization and its leadership generated by the circumstance that the organization cannot avoid allocating costs and benefits when taking decisions. The article argues that the covid-19 crisis illustrates how international organizations generally and the who in particular are subjected to conflicting demands, and how this impacts on the role of decision-makers. The latter, it transpires, need to display considerable practical wisdom.
When adopted in 2013 the international Arms Trade Treaty (att) was widely heralded for its life-saving potential and for bringing human rights and humanitarian concerns squarely into international arms transfers decision-making processes. This article takes a critical look at the att meeting cycle, which comprises an annual conference of states parties (csp), as well as preparatory sessions and meetings of the Treaty’s working groups. The article is guided by the question, are att meetings being used to their full potential to meet the Treaty’s objectives and prevent atrocities? It studies two aspects of the att meeting cycles—working groups and annual csp thematic areas of focus — to demonstrate the nature of the substantive outcomes that are emerging from conferences. The article identifies that the inability of states parties to use the meetings to address matters of compliance with the att’s prohibition and risk assessment requirements constitutes a major shortcoming, and offers suggestions and alternatives for states parties and other stakeholders.
The Arms Trade Treaty is intended to prevent arms supplies likely to be used to violate International Humanitarian Law or human rights, or exacerbate conflict. Yet, some of the countries who most strongly championed the ATT have continued to supply arms in the face of clear evidence that they are being misused, most notably at present in the war in Yemen. This article addresses this apparent paradox in the case of the UK – the first major arms producing nation to publicly support the ATT. The article situates UK support for the ATT, under the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the context of the domestic political considerations of the Blair Government; in particular, the desire to restore the UK’s image as a “force for good” in the world in the wake of the Iraq War. At the same time, the high dependence of the UK arms industry on exports, in particular to Saudi Arabia, drove the government to fail to robustly implement ATT commitments – as well as those from the earlier EU Common Position, and to allow UK arms companies to continue to engage in “war profiteering” in Yemen and elsewhere.
This article explains gender-based violence (gbv) and the relationship between gbv and the international arms trade. It examines how governments and activists worked together to ensure that the Arms Trade Treaty included a legally binding provision to prevent gbv, and how this provision has been used—or not used—since the Treaty’s adoption in 2013. It also encourages states, arms producers, lawyers, and activists to work to ensure that human lives and wellbeing are prioritised over profits as an imperative to realising the att’s objective and purpose, and to ensuring respect for the rule of law and international law.
Attempts to intervene in the Syrian and Myanmar crises have been hampered by political deadlock, leading even supporters of R2P to question its continued salience. Yet, upon closer consideration, Member States and other members of the international community have, by and large, upheld their protection responsibilities, via the creation of innovative mechanisms that have been used to bypass Security Council deadlock. Not only have these mechanisms served to uphold R2P in these two cases, they have created alternate pathways to operationalise R2P, thus serving to further advance the norm. The theoretical claim put forth is that norm violations have served as an alternate vehicle for norm advancement, as flagrant norm violations committed by the Syrian and Myanmar governments, as well as by the Security Council, have reminded members of the international community of the costs of failing to protect.