Editorial - Apr/May 2021

James LewisTuesday 6 April 2021

Welcome to the April/May edition of Global Insight. We have our usual wide-ranging coverage of major issues on the international agenda. As populations around the world hope that roll out of their countries’ vaccination programmes will allow them to emerge from the lockdowns imposed as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, our excellent cover feature explores one of the most pressing issues of the moment: should vaccinations be mandatory?

This edition also has significant coverage of Africa. The profile interview of the IBA’s new President, Sternford Moyo, covers key themes that have been, and remain, a priority for him, both in his home country of Zimbabwe and globally, from corruption and poverty to the importance of international criminal justice and the International Criminal Court. Meanwhile, our Southern Africa correspondent highlights two countries currently experiencing extreme rule of law and human rights challenges: Uganda and Ethiopia.

The war unfolding in Ethiopia is among the world’s newest and most troubling conflicts. In our feature on the situation the IBA President says: ‘The massacre of unarmed children, the use of rape as a weapon of war, indiscriminate shelling, widespread pillage by the Eritrean and Ethiopian forces in the Tigray region of Ethiopia are reminiscent of armed violence against unarmed civilians which led to investigations by the International Criminal Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and the Darfur Region of Sudan’. He continues: ‘The reported activities have all the hallmarks of war crimes and meet the gravity threshold of crimes against humanity. They deserve clear and unequivocal condemnation together with intervention by the international community.’

Such calls are particularly resonant, given that March marked ten years of the conflict in Syria. Global Insight has repeatedly highlighted the need for intervention and the importance of those responsible facing justice. The late Kofi Annan served as the United Nations-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for the Syrian Crisis. When I spoke to him on the subject five years ago, he made the observation that some situations simply do not lend themselves to intervention. He spoke with passion about the need to reform the UN Security Council and with regret that his proposals, presented while he was Secretary-General (from 1997 to 2006), had not been taken up. While the world continues to face such devastating and seemingly intractable conflicts – in Ethiopia, in Syria, in Yemen and elsewhere – it’s surely time to act upon Annan’s advice.