Dual-use export control regulates the trade of items which serve both civilian and military purposes. Justification for imposing export controls has been furnished by the need for safeguarding regional and international security, especially the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The rationale for applying export controls has been subject to challenges, however. This Security and Human Rights special issue addresses the underlying justification for imposing export controls by focusing on their technological fronts. Scott A. Jones’ piece sheds light on the regulatory challenges that have arisen for the US’ control over so-called “emerging” technologies. Cindy Whang moves on to compare the US’ approach with that of the EU’s dual-use export control. Ben Wagner proposes a set of policy options for the design of export controls on digital technologies, so that they can serve as an effective vehicle for promoting the protection of human rights.
Liberalisation of the telecommunications sector is a significant part of the political changes that were initiated in 2011 in Myanmar, making smartphones, sim cards, and access to the internet more widely available. Social media (SoMe) platforms, notably Facebook, have emerged as the main access to the internet for many people. But as the transition has proceeded, SoMe has become a space both for human rights activism and for inciting human rights abuses against vulnerable minorities. It is well documented that both the state and civil society in Myanmar have used Facebook to foment violence and mass atrocities against the Rohingya and other vulnerable minorities. This article examines some challenges for internet and SoMe governance drawing on the response of Facebook and various internet service providers in Myanmar in order to explore how to apply the norm of R2P on the net. The article aims to provide input for lessons learnt on mass atrocity prevention in a digital age.
The escalation of violence by Myanmar’s military forces against ethnic Rohingya populations in Rakhine State in 2017 served as a test case for Australia’s commitment to R2P, and its capacity to protect populations from widespread and systematic atrocities in its own regional neighbourhood. Australia’s response to the crisis in Myanmar was mixed; it co-sponsored a UN Human Rights Council resolution to establish the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that was instrumental in determining the extent and nature of violence committed by Myanmar’s armed forces during the so-called ‘clearance operations’, and provided substantial humanitarian aid for affected Rohingya populations. Australia has, however, been criticised for not doing enough to pressure the government of Myanmar on the issue, for maintaining defence cooperation with Myanmar throughout the crisis, and for its reluctance to accept Rohingya refugees fleeing the violence. This article examines Australia’s response to the Rohingya crisis in the areas of international, regional, and bilateral diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, and defence cooperation. It asks why Australia did not take a more proactive role in confronting atrocities committed by the Myanmar government, and identifies lessons learnt and recommendations for strengthening Australia’s atrocity prevention architecture that is consistent with Australia’s pragmatic approach to regional assistance and its principled international advocacy.
This article addresses the somewhat paradoxical situation that during the reform years in Myanmar, Western optimism about democratisation existed side-by-side with increasingly dire reports about the human rights abuses against the Rohingya. In order to understand this puzzle, the article analyses the Norwegian government’s policy shift towards Myanmar, and its deepening engagement up until the landmark 2015 elections. The article argues that the widespread characterisation of the conflict in Rakhine as ‘intercommunal’, rooted in poverty and underdevelopment in Rakhine State, enabled the narrative of progress and democratisation to be upheld. This prevented actors from seeing the treatment of Rohingya through an ‘atrocity prevention lens’, and thereby from seeing Myanmar as a case where the responsibility to protect should be applied.
Export controls are domestic trade restrictions placed on technologies that have been determined to be important to the national security concerns of a country. In recent years, the policy purpose for maintaining export control regulations have shifted, and how these new export control regulations would interact with new emerging technologies is something that should be analyzed and considered. The passage of the United States (US) Export Control Reform Act (ecra) of 2018 and the proposed regulatory changes for the European Union’s (EU) Council Regulation (ec) No. 428/2009 have shifted the focus of dual-use export controls so that the national security goals of these controls have broadened to include economic security and human rights concerns. This paper argues that the infusion of geoeconomics into US national security considerations and the proposed expansion to include human rights considerations into EU export control regulations are made mutually exclusive of each other and were not made to expand the reach of export controls in a unifying way. Rather, the purpose and structural change to export control regulations serves to create more regulatory barriers on the trade of emerging technology industries that would not only impact the US and the EU, but also their international trading partners.
What kinds of politics do export controls entail and whose rights do they enable? The following article will take a critical perspective on the governance challenges associated with export controls of dual-use technologies. After discussing challenges around transparency, the performance of human rights and export control havens, this article will then turn to looking at policy solutions, including audits, transparency and targeted international governance mechanisms. With conclusion, export controls continue to constitute an important policy tool to promote human rights and can be improved considerably to strengthen human rights further.
This article considers the legal tests for establishing genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to the situation in Xinjiang. It suggests that the currently available evidence is likely sufficient to establish atrocity crimes and that the situation in Xinjiang requires urgent international attention, regardless of the precise legal label applied to it.
In this contribution the author examines options for legal accountability in relation to possible crimes against humanity and genocide against the Uighurs. While China’s reluctance to accede to international adjudication mechanisms means there are limited avenues for accountability, recent developments in relation to the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over crimes with a transboundary element may open the door to possible investigation and prosecution of Chinese nationals. However, more immediate steps to respond to the situation in Xinjiang will focus on securing access for an independent fact-finding investigation and persuading China to uphold its responsibility to protect.