Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Internal U.S. report: Syrian military violating ceasefire, attacking aid workers

Josh Rogin Foreign Policy

Syrian government forces continue to attack opposition forces, civilians, and aid volunteers, preventing the international community from getting emergency aid to the Syrian people, USAID has detailed in a series of internal reports obtained by The Cable.

In its latest “humanitarian update,” written at the end of April, USAID reported in detail the extensive attacks perpetrated by Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG) troops, despite an ongoing U.N. monitoring mission and in direct violation of the “cease-fire” there. The USAID report, marked “sensitive but unclassified,” sourced its findings to U.N. representatives in Syria as well as representatives of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), and other aid groups on the ground.

“U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan expressed concerns regarding reports of SARG reprisal attacks in areas where Syrian civilians met with U.N. observers, including in Hamah and Damascus governorates,” the report stated. “The observers report that SARG forces have not withdrawn heavy weapons from urban centers — a condition of the U.N. and Arab League supported ceasefire and peace plan that went into effect on April 12.”

Although the U.N. Security Council has authorized the deployment of 300 monitors, the report could only confirm that “at least 11” U.N. monitors had arrived in Syria as of April 24. (Additional monitors have reportedly arrived since then.)

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May 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SECURITY: New report on R2P challenges humanitarians

IRIN Global Humanitarian News and Analysis

LONDON, 10 February 2012 (IRIN) – The UN recognizes the international community’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P) civilians during conflict, and this philosophy has quickly become embedded in peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions, but a new report questions some basic humanitarian assumptions.

R2P evolved in the 1990s in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in realization that states could no longer be relied on to protect civilians, so the onus was placed on the international community to prevent gross human rights abuses, a belief that has since been cited as a reason to intervene in places like Libya and Syria.

Yet the reality – reinforced by a new study from the UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) entitled Local to Global Protection in Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe – is that in conflicts and crisis people almost always have to provide their own protection, for themselves, their families and their villages.

ODI’s Humanitarian Practice Network set out to see what protection there was for communities facing real and serious crises in two areas of Myanmar, in the Sudanese province of South Kordofan, in Jonglei State in South Sudan, and in Zimbabwe. Their researchers asked people what they saw as the most serious threats they faced, what they themselves could do about the threats, and what they thought of any outside help which might have been available.

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February 10, 2012 Posted by | Humanitarian Assistance, Legal Jurisdictions, Safety and Security Issues, United Nations | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civilian appeals conviction by military court

By MARK SHERMAN, 06.01.11, 05:52 PM EDT AP at Forbes

ARLINGTON, Va. — The first civilian convicted by a military court in more than 40 years is arguing that the Constitution forbids military justice for civilians.

A lawyer for former Army translator Alaa “Alex” Mohammad Ali told an Army appeals court Wednesday that upholding Ali’s conviction would be a “slippery slope” that would lead to increased use of military courts for civilians

Ali, an Iraqi-Canadian, was prosecuted by the military after an altercation in Iraq during which he allegedly stole a U.S. soldier’s knife and used it to stab another translator. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

The case is the first under a 2006 law making it easier to bring criminal charges against civilians working for the U.S. military. Defendants have fewer rights in military than in U.S. civilian courts.

The 2006 provision was intended to close a legal loophole that made military prosecution of civilians very difficult without a formal declaration of war by Congress. The fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has occurred without a congressional war declaration.

In a series of rulings dating back to the 1950s, the Supreme Court has greatly narrowed the use of courts martials for civilians.

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June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Iraq, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , | Leave a comment

US Baghdad embassy will double in size

A private security force some 5,500 strong will protect the large US diplomatic presence in Iraq, Jeffrey told the lawmakers

AFP  April 1, 2011

BAGHDAD — The US Embassy in Baghdad, already the largest in the world, is expected to double its staff after American forces pull out of the country later this year, Washington’s envoy said on Friday.

“We’ll be doubling our size if all of our plans go through and if we receive the money from Congress in 2011 and then again in 2012,” James Jeffrey, the US ambassador in Iraq, told reporters.

He said the staff would increase “from 8,000 plus personnel that we have now to roughly double that by 2012,” adding that US forces would make up only a very small part of that number.

“This will be an extraordinarily large embassy with many different functions. Some we took over from USFI (United States Forces in Iraq) and some of them continuation of the work we are doing now.”

Jeffrey said that US military advisers and trainers would stay or be added to support the Iraqi military with US-made equipment such as M1A1 tanks and other weaponry. He said the added personnel would not include combat troops.

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April 1, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment