|Barómetro issue 6, July - September 2004
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- The number of armed conflicts remained at 25, unchanged from the previous three-month period. However, the level of conflict has intensified in seven of these contexts, particularly Darfur (Sudan), though it has diminished in four more.
- The total number of situations of tension has risen to 57, with the inclusion of new contexts, such as Angola, Chad, India (Manipur), South Ossetia and Yemen.
- In Zimbabwe, the Government announced its intention to approve a law limiting the activities of NGOs in the country, a fact that led to a number of disturbances and protests.
- The increase in tensions in Sri Lanka has rung alarm bells about a potential resumption of the armed conflict.
- Over recent years, peace processes in Asia have generally taken the form of internal negotiations, with third country support in around half of cases, while processes in Africa depend to a much greater extent on UN or multinational peace-keeping operations.
- The peace process between the Sudanese Government and the SPLA, which had been showing encouraging progress, is suffering significant setbacks as a result of the effects of the conflict in the Darfur region. A new Transitional Federal Government has been formed in Somalia after a period of 13 years without any recognised central authority.
- In the area of post-war rehabilitation, opposition parties in Eritrea have met for the first time in many years and agreed to work together to create a "national dialogue". The opposition is divided into two parties. Meanwhile, the lack of political will shown by members of the TNG in DR Congo has impeded the implementation of the proposed transitional agenda.
- As regards humanitarian crises, the plague of locusts affecting 15 countries in the Sahel region, the worst since 1989, may give rise to a very serious food emergency, particularly in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and Niger.
- The United Nations announced that at least 250 million people suffered the effects of various different natural disasters during 2003, three times the figure recorded in 1990.
- The section dealing with militarization and disarmament underlines the fact that there has been an increase in military spending, directed towards improving arms capabilities, a trend that is in contrast with the reduction in troop numbers in many countries' armed forces.
- Negotiations and attempts to dismantle certain nuclear programmes around the world have seen setbacks in places such as India, Iran and DPR Korea. A reduction in the number of DDR programmes was also recorded, due to the lack of funds for new projects and the consolidation of existing programmes.
- In the area of human rights, reports from NGOs centred around the infringement of basic freedoms, particularly the freedom of the press and cases of maltreatment and torture. The UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights agreed to form a Task Force for the protection of human rights in the war against terrorism.
- Turning to development issues, ten years on from the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), UNFPA complained that the budget shortfall (only half the funds promised have been collected) is threatening the viability of the Plan of Action for the coming decade.
- UNEP welcomed the achievements made in the fight to halt the hole in the ozone layer, indicating that it will probably have closed up by the middle of the 21st century.
- Finally, the United Nations has assessed the degree to which the gender perspective has been incorporated in its work on peace and security, underlining the numerous challenges that remain for its proper integration. Meanwhile, reports of sexual violence continue in a number of contexts of armed conflict around the world, particularly in Darfur.
- The AU has included the gender issue for the first time on the agenda for its annual summit, stating that it is committed to gender equality.