VeenaSoft Ecommerce applications are smart online business tools.

(This is a trial article I had provided to a client)

VeenaSoft

Elegantly appealing, smartly responsive, technically advanced yet fluid, VeenaSoft   Ecommerce applications work to push your online sales.  The reason is simple. We closely customize the online store to enhance customer experience, an assured way to increase online business. Here are 10 distinctive features we build into every Ecommerce application.

Responsive ecommerce Websites:

Smart phone or tablet, PC or laptop, let the customer come from any devise, VeenaSoft   built ecommerce websites fill the screen fluidly. The customers enjoy comfort of easy navigation and a clear view. You avoid having separate native apps and save money in terms of development and maintenance costs.

Responsive Mobile Site:

Will your customers be happier if they can view clearly, whether they are holding the mobile horizontally or vertically? You can be sure that users like handy sites where images and text auto-adjust their appearance, navigation menu merges into a button and all this happens seamlessly. Providing that convenience is what we call as smart online business tools.

Payment integration and seamless checkout

The point at which the visitor turns into a customer is the crucial moment. It hinges upon ease of payment facility. Our E commerce Development Service professionals design Payment integration and Seamless checkout options for quick and ease of use. You will be able to offer multiple payment modes and receive payments through debit/ credit cards, PayPal, Qpay, Skrill, online transfer and other options of your choice.

Self-manageable ecommerce platform

The ecommerce applications we build are highly advanced both technologically and technically. And yet, they are easy to manage and maintain. You get full control over hosting, editing content and imagery and integrating of audio-visual media. To say it differently, the self-manageable platform brings you freedom, flexibility, security and savings.

Sales Management

Automate your sales management for accuracy and better administration. VeenaSoft   ecommerce applications help you to organize Orders, Invoices, Shipments, Transactions and Terms and Conditions through a few clicks.

Catalogue Management

Handle thousands of Products without effort. Our application assists you in updating products continuously and expanding categories anytime. Superior merchandising features help you establish a better connect with the customers through product information. You will have flexibility to sell across multiple channels and manage inventories and categories simultaneously. Catalogue management can be achieved without too advanced technical capability.

Promotions management and Newsletters

Acquire new customers and retain them through regular newsletters. Our developers provide in-built Promotions Management and Newsletters circulation features.

Reporting

How are things doing? Find out anytime; just click through the helpful “Reports” menu. You can quickly know which of your products are making profits and which need attention. Track your bank account, categorize vendors on quality, margins and other metrics, or communicate through integrated Email feature. We put information at your fingertips.

Custom E-commerce Website Design:

Customization is a too frequently used word. For us it has a special meaning- your requirements. Every ecommerce application we build is bespoke and is designed to meet your business requirements. We devote as much thought to consumer behavior as to software development. The result will be a perfect, stable and rich-looking ecommerce website.

Feature you will love most:

Here is the 11th and most important feature. We work fast and deliver as per agreed to timelines. And, savings in development costs can be pleasantly welcome. Connect with us; we shall tell you more. 

 

National Reconciliation in Angola

(Note: This is an extract from an academic dissertation. If you need assistance with writing essays. dissertations and similar coursework in Law, Management or computer science engineering, I will be glad to help out.)

serra-da-leba

Serra da Leba, Angola (Pic courtesy Wikipedia)

Abstract

From legally sanctioned slavery until abolition in 1836[1] to constitutionally guaranteed human rights[2] in 2010 when the latest constitution came into force, Angola is experiencing a significant transformation.

Conflict has ended[3] in 2002 and Angola is in a state of reconciliation where “enemies are becoming friends[4]“. Reconciliation typically is a peacemaking process between one-time enemies who move to recognise the causes and injuries suffered. The antagonistic groups then show mutual conciliatory accommodation to establish a “relatively cooperative and amicable relationship[5].”

A scrutiny of Angola’s context makes it evident that certain causes and their effects mutually fuelled each other over centuries. A singular lack of respect for human dignity and life led sequentially to division of the society on ethnic lines, centuries of foreign rule and decades of civil war. These in turn severely infringed human rights resulting in a strife-ridden and divided society.

This study shows that the logical solution for achieving National Reconciliation and a prosperous Angola, a robust and inviolable human rights regime is essential.

Introduction

Angolan narrative puts out three propositions. Firstly, a strong human rights framework conditions the state to act in such a manner that is conducive to peace. Secondly, the framework must temper the non-state actors (and foreign states) as much as it guides the state. Thirdly, rights are rarely conferred; it is for the society to secure the human rights for itself.

Since, the last proposition may appear rather unscholarly and is likely to be misconstrued as aggressive, it is clarified that absolutely no belligerence is advocated. For, peace can be achieved through peaceful means. As Freeman[6] observes, India’s Gandhi formulated a unique pattern for “effectuating change within the law when law’s normal procedures were inadequate or held captive by anti-legal forces” and could bring about the “necessary change in a democratic, consensual, non-violent way.” Subsequent discussion will show that reconciliation is possible only through a strong democracy.

Returning to the discussion, it is admitted that the first proposition is not a novel one. History, particularly Angola’s history, scholars, jurists and case law have repeatedly proven that societies with a vigorous human rights regime enjoy peace and economic development[7].

The second proposition is situated in the relationship between human rights and non-state actors. Commenting on the 1991-2002 conflict in Angola, Comerford[8] says that “the ‘tribal differences’ could be exploited by others unless the seeds of discord” were identified and cured.” This is exactly what happened between 17th and 19th century.[9]

Angola’s history of breach of human rights, though the concept had not evolved fully and was not known by that name, begins with slavery. Ethnic and linguistically divided people fought frequent battles with each other and enslaved the losers. The modern concept of ‘nation’ was absent and consequently there was no ‘national law’ to prohibit slavery. It is widely accepted that there was a sizeable indigenous slave population in Africa before the Europeans arrived[10].

With the arrival of Europeans, Portugal in the case of Angola, the trans-Atlantic demand for slaves flourished swiftly. Apart from Portuguese colonial officials, the lineage heads, African rulers and Luso-African merchants were the principal actors in slave trade[11]. The demand incentivised the local populations to further systemise capture and trade their fellow beings into slavery.

Suppose, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 was in existence, the crime by the Angolans and the Portuguese would be in breach of Article 3 and 4 which hold that every individual has the right to life and liberty and that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…”  Suppose, the Angolan constitution was operative in those days, the state (the lineage heads and the foreign colonial forces being representative of the ‘state’) would be in breach of Article 21which directs that individuals will not be discriminated on account of race, sex, origins, colour and other protected characteristics. In fact the entire Section I of chapter II of the constitution including Articles 30, 31, 36 which require the state to protect right to life, human person and human dignity, physical freedom and individual security[12] would have been infringed.

The violations support the point already made that the causes and effects mutually fuelled each other. If the democratic framework was strong, it could perhaps have prevented the ‘state’ from infringing the human right to individual liberty as above.

The status of human rights appears to be improving. While, opinions that choose to differ may argue that even today the availability of rights is more on paper than in reality, some of the recent Court decisions are promising. In the “15+2” in which the Supreme Court modified prison terms of Luaty Beirão and 16 of his companions to house arrest[13]. Journalist and author Rafael Marques de Morais was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence for “defaming army generals.[14]” Human rights activist José Marcos Mavungo was acquitted of ‘incitement to rebellion and violence’ after serving one year prison sentence [15].

House arrest, suspended jail term or acquittal after one year in jail may not be exactly satisfactory; but viewed against the ground realities, the three decisions are signs of some progress.

The second proposition expects foreign states and non-state actors (NSAs) to be included in the scope of human rights regime for a simple reason. NSAs can be risk multipliers or force multipliers for development.

According to UNICEF, wars are increasingly turning into low-intensity internal conflicts fought for longer time and in which civilians are deliberately targeted[16]. The inference is that NSAs engaged in internal conflicts infringe human rights as much as or more than the state and therefore must be considered in any scheme for national reconciliation. Grossman typifies rebellion as an industry that profits from looting and the insurgents as no different from “bandits and pirates.[17]” This raises a point as to who these NSAs are.

When identifying NSAs, it is easy to categorise armed groups as NSAs and the effects of their actions are easily perceived. There is another category of NSAs who play an equally significant role in disturbing or promoting peace and economy. These are organisations or individuals who do not identify or ally themselves with any country but wield enough economic, political and social power to influence national and occasionally international affairs[18]. Pearlman and Cunningham speak of only political actors with no direct nexus with the state but who pursue aims which affect a state’s vital interests[19]. A list of NSAs, to be holistic must include PMSCs, MNCs, NGOs, interest groups, faith-based organisations and other organised formations.

PMSCs, the new label for old-world mercenaries are a matter of serious concern. According to Ballesteros[20], UN Special Rapporteur, the mercenary “is present as a violator of human rights” whether as an individual or as an employee of multi-purpose security companies. Occasionally he may undertake terrorist operations, illicit trafficking or sabotage. The reason for hiring him is his lack of scruples “in riding roughshod over the norms of international humanitarian law or even in committing serious crimes and human rights violations.” Executive Outcomes, a South African mercenary “firm” is perhaps the one to attract substantial attention for its activities in Angola. One of the firm’s members is reported to have said on television that they killed 300 enemy soldiers on the way to North Angolan village of Cafuno[21].

MNCs are an important sub-category under NSAs. They do bring with them benefits in terms of capital, technology and jobs which are essential for economic progress, but some of them bring adverse effects also along with them. Manipulating the domestic politics and the state, manoeuvring to corner land, raw materials and other natural resources occur in many states. Agbakwa[22], points out how some of the MNCs seriously violate human rights in the third world countries with impunity. He emphasises that the “underlying issues, actors and beneficiaries” must be controlled for ensuring security and equality.

In Angola’s own instance, for some corporations, low-intensity war is more profitable than peace as it enables them to capture higher rents from diamonds and oil. These minority beneficiaries are powerful inflicting large losses on the majority[23]. Of course, it would be unfair and economically unwise to tar all the MNCs with the same brush. International commerce does contribute to progress and the proper approach would be to control the conduct of these Corporations. This point leads to the second main category of NSAs who hold a positive promise for human rights.

In the midst of fragile contexts that prevailed in Angola, it is natural that there is a multiplicity of institutions engaged in relief and welfare. This was not only inevitable but desirable since the local stressors were such that the state was too busy fighting a civil war, did not have a mechanism, inclination or sufficient resources to discharge its civic functions. More importantly, faith-organisations enjoyed a higher degree of trust and acceptance by the population compared to the state or international organisations.

Angola’s churches discharged two crucial functions. While providing relief to displaced population people in conflict zone was commendable, their active role as peacemakers is significant. The Catholic and Protestant bishops adopted a position that the war did not represent either the voice of the people or their interest. They jointly launched “Movimento pro pace” a Movement towards peace in 1999 aimed to create a “new mentality that values peace.” In 2000, all religious leaders convened Congress for Peace. The church as a political actor was a potent factor in persuading the warring MPLA and UNITA towards peace talks[24].

At micro-level, the churches undertook relief work in thier regions. Serrano[25] gives an example of the initiative by Evangelical congregational church in Angola (IECA) which undertook large scale social and relief work in Bunjei province.

Traditional authorities (TAs) are not merely yet another but an imperative actor in reconciliation vis-a-vis human rights discussion. Their importance prompts Ekeh[26] to call the system “two Publics[27]“. In the immediate aftermath of independence, the new postcolonial states in Sub Saharan Africa and the TAs had at best an ambiguous relationship[28]. TAs collaboration with colonial regimes in countering organised resistance and acting as local “agents” in extracting natural and human resources triggered ill feeling which was not always well concealed.

The TAs who had exercised their own peculiar influence over the village population even in the era of the colonial “state”, in fact gained additional sway in the interregnum when the new “national” state was struggling to find its feet. An elder administered the land rights vested in patrimony in the Kongo of northern Angola[29] and similarly sekulu the current elder held land rights in the Umbundu[30].

Ancient beliefs such as the mythical ancestor subsisted despite Christianity or by the state action. Customarily the population was used to depending on the TAs for inexpensive justice in land or family disputes. These factors combined with the nascent state’s inability to exhibit legitimacy ensure that the TAs continue to enjoy their sphere of influence.

The institution of the “elder” proffers both advantages and disadvantages. It is desirable on some counts compared to sole prerogative of the state. The TAs is a local person more attuned to the local needs, easier to access and can carry the public opinion with him than the “far off” state authority. The TAs are or at least can be a valuable asset in building reconciliation. On the negative side, they would be reluctant to let go their power, in other words monetary benefits, would tend to be hegemonistic and subjective. Their attitude may not be conducive to democratic conduct.

The discussion so far has touched briefly on how various stakeholders including civil society National and international organisations Church Traditional authorities contribute to the extreme complexity of the matrix in which the young Angola has to discover durable harmony. That takes this study forward to Chapter 1 in which the role of Nation-state in bringing all the stakeholders on board to complete the national reconciliation process and secure peace and inclusive development. The significance of educational programme of human rights, national unity, reconciliation and justice and the signs of change that are visible today will be presented.

Literature review:

Constraints on human rights hamper peace:

In addition to the “resource curse” caused by abundance of resources, Angola suffers from yet another type of affliction. This “resource curse” is caused by limited availability of information. The government is selectively reticent and opposition is habitually strident so much so that counterchecking to authenticate the available data is often difficult. Marques, Bustelo and Roemersma observe that the “Culture of secrecy,” practised by the state is the chief contributor to the situation. The media is perceived as adversaries than as partners in development and media workers lack knowledge of relevant laws and government policies.[31]

According to Schubert[32], public sphere in Angola “is prefigured by a climate of fear” and the citizens are afraid to speak out openly. Pearce observes that the ruling regime is exploiting the opportunity to systematically politicise memories and indulges in ‘memorialisation’. By endeavouring to redefine the public memory, the government is to positioning itself as the sole liberator from colonial rule.[33]

Faria[34] avers that there is dichotomy of “conformity or resistance” and “pseudo-public or counter-public” because the public is conditioned by past memory and survival struggle. The government is using to breakdown opposing voices into small groups which are “easier to threaten and to co-opt.” In fact, rule of law and political pluralism have become instruments to further control and manufacture endorsement.

The restrictions of freedom of speech and right to association appear to fuel the fear complex and created an environment in which the state is able to infringe other rights easily. Human Rights Watch[35] has catalogued instances of various forced mass evictions, violent removal of street traders, intimidating anti-government voices with surveillance, harassment, criminal defamation lawsuits, arbitrary arrests and unfair trials that occurred in 2014 and 2015. The government has passed Presidential Decree No. 74/15 in March 2015 placing undue restrictions on NGOs[36].

The role of the state and other actors in peace process:

The Angolan government’s actions discussed above are in clear infringement of human rights related to right to physical freedom and personal security, freedoms of expression, press, meeting and demonstrating and association guaranteed by Articles 36, 40, 44, 47, and 48 of the Angola’s Constitution of 2010. The condition automatically sets the agenda for the actors involved in the peace-building.

Galtung distinguishes peacebuilding from peacekeeping and peacemaking. The last two are mere negative aspects of peace, an absence of conflict. Peacebuilding on the other hand embodies the positive aspect of peace based on a “reservoir for the system itself to draw up…” its strength.[37] The logic behind Galtung’s concept of peacebuilding put forward by Chetail and Jütersonke is commendable for being holistic and in fact setting the agenda for all the actors. The authors see peacebuilding as securing social justice through equal opportunity; a fair distribution of resources and power; and the rule of law providing equal protection[38].

Role of the church

Providing care and welfare service during conflict times is what is normally expected from religious organizations. Going beyond the regular call of duty, the Angolan church exercised its extensive influence amongst the population to mentor and foster peace. Comerford[39] brings out the significance of the church’s initiative in peacebuilding. The strong public opinion created by the church was instrumental in compelling the warring parties to the negotiation table which eventually ended the civil war.

Role of the international actors

Prompted by their deep economic interests tied to oil and diamond sources in Angola, Russia and the USA radically contributed to and prolonged the Angola civil war. This inference comes out distinctly from Comerford’s detailed analysis of the history of Angolan conflict [40]. A brief summary of the role played by the international actors Russia intervened actively on behalf of the MPLA from the beginning and continues its support. The USA not wishing to jeopardise relationship with Portugal, a NATO ally was initially tentative but subsequently supported Holden Roberto in 1959, FNLA in 1974 and began actively arming the UNITA from 1985. Approximately 500,000 persons died, tens of thousands suffered mutilation by anti-personnel mines and more than a million people were displaced during the civil war according to US Department of Justice[41].

For a survey of human rights violations in Sub-Saharan Africa, see the report of José Doria in this publication.

Carola Eyber & Alastair Ager, Conselho: Psychological Healing in Displaced Communities in Angola, 360 LANCET 871 (2002).

Louise Mallinder, ‘Global Comparison of Amnesty Laws: The pursuit of international criminal justice: a world study on conflicts, victimization, and post-conflict justice’ (2009) in M. Cherif Bassiouni (ed) (Intersentia 2010) <http://ssrn.com/abstract=1586831> accessed 25 July 2016

That was the role enacted by the international community in the Angola’s past. That also defines their current responsibility to rebuild the nation, support the reconciliation process. Some of the duties proposed by various scholars are as follows.

The international community should adopt mutually accountability approach that holds the foreign actors accountable for their economic and political interests. The international community must persuade Angola to include human rights in the political agenda. Economic and social rights must form an inalienable part of the dialogue in addition to civic and political rights[42].

Role of education in peace process

Tinker[43] upholds views similar to Comerford. She maintains that the modern day peace education programmes are also founded “in religious heritage.” Though the programmes assert their secularity, their philosophical assumptions are seen to be directly and indirectly influenced by religious heritage.

The conceptualisation of teachers as “peacebuilders” is rooted in Galtung’s (1975) distinction between peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

“Culture of secrecy” Rafael Marques, Bustelo MG and Roemersma R, (2003) ‘The media as a tool for civil society’ Unpublished report, Amsterdam: Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) (as cited in Cândido Mendes and Barnaby Smith, Angola Research findings and conclusions (BBC World Service Trust, 2006)

Tinker Peace Education as a Post-conflict Peacebuilding Tool (must be important for chapter on education for peace & church also

Chapter 1

  • The Role of the Recognised Participants in Effecting National Reconciliation and Peace-Building in Angola

The past must be stopped at a point, for reconciliation, by definition is remedying the past and former enemies becoming friends.[44] By corollary, the present and the future should move forward, fully secured against recurrence of previous errors. While all the actors involved in peace building have to discharge this twofold duty, the nation and the state bears the highest responsibility in bringing about positive change.

  • The role of the nation-state

The reason for assigning the primary role to the state in nurturing reconciliation is based on the four significant duties it has to fulfil. 1. Considering that reconciliation is intertwined with fundamental rights, state has to endeavour that all the persons within its territory enjoy the full benefit of fundamental rights. 2. Win over the national actors such as the civil society, NSAs, religious groups and traditional authorities. 3. Influence international community favourably and obtain its cooperation of the in all spheres; and 4. Develop bilateral and multilateral economic and cultural relationships with neighbouring states.

Peace and reconciliation transcend political boundaries and limitation of times. This aspect places certain interlinked obligations on both the nation and the state and leads to a rather quaint requirement. The responsibilities are joint sometimes and are independent at other times e.g. while both the nation and the state have to believe in and foster democratic traditions, the state has to administer the enforcement mechanisms to protect the democratic framework. In other words, the nation and the state have to chaperone each other to achieve enduring peace. For the sake of simplicity, except when it is necessary to distinguish between them, the roles of the state and the nation are discussed together.

The pivotal function fundamental rights in reconciliation:

Building peace in the aftermath of stubborn conflicts is not a sequential process and it is marked with inevitable ups and downs. Long-term commitment on part of the actors than “momentary conjectural optimism or opportunism” alone can achieve peace[45]. Different schools of thought have been putting forward different views on approaches to build peace. These range from ‘retributive and prosecutorial’ proponents to advocates of traditional justice who believe that a mature resolution of the differences and compensating the victims is more appropriate path to harmony.[46]

It is only recently that reconciliation has been recognised as a mechanism to resolve post-conflict reconstruction. While evidence is still being gathered and experience has been limited, the “transitional justice” process has proved itself commendably in South Africa and to a limited extent in instances such as Guatemala.[47] It is a disappointment in a few states including Uganda and Haiti where the post-conflict democracy did not take firm roots.[48]

South African success which in fact prompted global interest in the mechanism and other contracting scenarios such as Haiti, establish a close linkage between successful reconciliation and democratic culture. Bloomfield outlines democracy as “managing conflict arising out of differences in beliefs, ideology, culture, ethnicity without recourse to violence. Instead of eliminating the differences (obviously by compulsion) or excluding the population who have different beliefs from the society, democracy facilitates them to coexist without threatening the whole system[49]. Democracy is evidently interlinked with human rights and the rule of law[50] and as has been seen above, it is the primary building block of peace.

The Angolan experience regarding reconciliation has been at best a mixture of success and satisfaction. A brief review of the situation will assist in understanding the role that the state is playing in reconciliation and peace-building. However, one point has to be made: evaluating Angola is problematic because of lack of transparency. Even Supreme Court decisions are not placed in public domain and the government is studiously tight-lipped most of the time. On the other hand, persons who hold opposing views are highly vocal but it is difficult to cross verify their contentions and reports. Because of this, even favourable analysis or comment generally ends up with an escape clause.

The major challenge facing the state was that the state riddled inherited many flaws in 2002. Generations of dependency characterised the administrative mechanism and political framework, the system was militarised, centralised and corrupted and customised for “colonial purposes and thus ipso facto antidemocratic”.[51]

In spite of such a burden, Angola is striving in the right direction. In a signal development, Constitution 2010 has written a vigorous fundamental rights regime into the legislative mechanism[52]. The 2012 general elections were peaceful and the international community acknowledged them to be “free and fair.” If the status of women is considered for illustration, their representation is 30 per cent and 36 per cent in the judicial system and parliament respectively[53]. The Parliament enacted Domestic Violence Act 2010 which aims to protect women from ‘homemade’ violence is a much needed relief in a male dominated society. The budgetary cuts and inflation however have adversely affected quality of life particularly for women.[54] On education front, the number of children in primary education was tripled between 2002 and 2013 and the current literacy is about 79%.[55]

The real concerns however hover on the human rights. Public posturing by the government authorities is often aggressive. Ambassador Lima believes that the sole formula for peace is to overpower the warring parties who attack democracy with weapons and that African military conflicts cannot achieve peace through a “goalless match.[56]

Chronicling hundreds of cases of torture, killings, mutilation of women’s bodies in Cuango province, Morais observes:” “Cases are not…..a random series of unfortunate events in a context where everything else operates under the rule of law.” It was systematic and premeditated abuse of human rights.[57]

(To be continued)

Bibliography

[1] Linda Marinda Heywood, Contested Power in Angola, 1840s to the Present (Boydell & Brewer 2000) 12

[2] Section I Chapter II Angola’s Constitution of 2010

[3] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, ‘A GENDER PERSPECTIVE Who is benefiting from trade liberalization in Angola?’ (2013) United Nations Publication UNCTAD/DITC/2013/3 <http://unctad14.org/Documents/ditc2013d3_en.pdf> accessed 22 July 2016

[4] Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics, 2010)

[5] Louis Kriesberg, ‘Reconciliation: aspects, growth, and sequences’ (2007) 12(1) Intl J of Peace Studies 1

[6] Harrop A. Freeman, ‘The right of protest and civil disobedience’ (1966) 41(2) Indiana LJ <http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3628&context=ilj> accessed 23 July 2016

[7] Andy McKay and Polly Vizard, ‘Human Rights and Poverty Reduction Rights and economic growth: Inevitable conflict or ‘common ground’?’ (2005) ODI <https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/4353.pdf> accessed 22 July 2016

[8] Michael Gerard Comerford, The Peaceful Face of Angola: Biography of a Peace Process (1991-2002) (M. Comerford 2005)

[9] Linda Marinda Heywood, Contested Power in Angola, 1840s to the Present (Boydell & Brewer 2000) 12

[10] Walter Rodney, ‘African Slavery and Other Forms of Social Oppression on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Context of the Atlantic Slave-Trade’ (1966) 7(3) J of African History 431

[11] David Richardson, ‘The Portuguese Slave Trade from Angola’ (1991) 32 J of African History <https://www.jstor.org/stable/182582?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents> accessed 21 July 2016

[12] Angola’s Constitution of 2010

[13] ‘Supreme Court Orders Angola 15+2 to House Arrest from Prison’ (Frontlinedefenders.org)

<https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-angola-15#case-update-id-3732> accessed 23 July 2016

[14] David Smith, ‘Angolan journalist given suspended jail term over blood diamonds book’ Thursday  The Guardian (Africa, 28 May 2015) <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/28/angolan-suspended-jail-blood-diamonds-rafael-marques-de-morais> accessed 22 July 2016

[15] ‘Case History: José Marcos Mavungo’ (Front Line Defenders, 24 May 2016) <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-jose-marcos-mavungo> accessed 22 July 2016

[16] ‘Patterns in conflict: Civilians are now the target’ (UNICEF) <http://www.unicef.org/graca/patterns.htm> accessed 22 July 2016

[17] Herschell I Grossman, ‘A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections’ (1991) 81(4) The American Economic Rev 912-921

[18] Aw Joey, ‘The role of non-state actors in international relations’ <https://www.academia.edu/5124220/The_Role_of_Non-state_Actors_in_International_Relations> accessed 20 July 2016

[19] Wendy Pearlman and Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, ‘Nonstate ActorsFragmentation, and Conflict Processes’ (2012) J of Conflict Resolution 56(1) 3-5

[20] UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights Session 60 ‘The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation’ Report by Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, Special Rapporteur<https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G03/173/13/PDF/G0317313.pdf?OpenElement> accessed 22 July 2016

[21] David Isenberg, Soldiers of Fortune Ltd.:A Profile of Today’s Private Sector Corporate Mercenary Firms‘ (Center for Defense Information Monograph, 1997) <http://www.aloha.net/~stroble/mercs.html> accessed 22 July 2106

[22] Shedrack C Agbakwa, ‘A Line in the Sand: International (Dis)Order and the Impunity of Non-State Corporate Actors in the Developing World’ in Antony Anghie (ed), The third world and international order; law politics, and golbalization (Martinus Nijhoff 2003) pp. 1-18

[23] Kirsten Hegsvold Andersen, ‘Resources and Conflict in Angola An economic conflict analysis’ (Master thesis, University of Oslo 2003) <https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/16966> accessed 21 July 2016

[24] Lawrence C. Reardon, The Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives (Clyde Wilcox ed, Georgetown UP, 2006)

[25] Maliana Serrano, ‘Institutional multiplicity in post-conflict reconstruction: The case of a local church in Bunjei, Angola’, (2013) in Dorothea Hilhorst (ed) Disaster, Conflict and Society in Crises: Everyday Politics of Crisis Response, Abingdon: Routledge 149-166

[26] Peter P. Ekeh, ‘Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement’ (1975) 17(1) Comparative Studies in Society and History 91–112

[27] The concept is elaborated in Chapter 1.2.4

[28]Helene Maria Kyed and Lars Buur, ‘Introduction: Traditional Authority and democratization in Africa’ in Helene Maria Kyed and Lars Buur (eds), State Recognition and Democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa (Palgrave Macmillan US, 2007)

[29] Alfredo Margarido, ‘The Tokoist church and Portuguese colonialism in Angola’ in R. Chilcote (ed), Protest and resistance in Angola and Brazil (U of California Press 1972)

[30] Allan Cain, ‘Angola: Land resources and conflict’ in J. Unruh and R. C. Williams (eds), Land and post-conflict peace building (Earthscan 2013)

[31] Rafael Marques, Bustelo, MG and Roemersma, R. (2003) ‘The media as a tool for civil society’ Unpublished report, Amsterdam: Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa (NiZA) (as cited in Cândido Mendes and Barnaby Smith, Angola Research findings and conclusions (BBC World Service Trust, 2006)

[32] Jon Schubert, ‘Democratisation and the Consolidation of Political Authority in Post-War Angola(2010) 36(3) Journal of Southern African Studies 665

[33] Justin Pearce, ‘Contesting the Past in Angolan Politics’ (2015) 41(1) J of Southern African Studies103

[34] Paulo Conceição João Faria, ‘The Dawning of Angola’s Citizenship Revolution: A Quest for Inclusionary Politics’ (2013) 39(2) Journal of Southern African Studies 293http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy01.rhul.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070.2013.798541

[35] ‘World Report 2015: Angola’ (Human Rights Watch) <https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/angola> accessed 5 August 2016; ‘World Report 2016: Angola’ (Human Rights Watch)<https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/angola> accessed 5 August 2016

[36] ‘Comments on Angola’s Presidential Decree No. 74/15 on the Regulation of Non-Governmental Organizations’ (The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, 4 September 2015) accessed 5 August 2016 <http://fatfplatform.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ICNL-Comments-on-Angolas-Presidential-Decree-No-74-15-4-Sept-15.pdf> accessed 5 August 2016

[37] Johan Galtung, ‘Three Approaches to Peace: Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, and Peacebuilding’ in Johan Galtung (ed) Peace, War and Defense: Essays in Peace Research, vol 2 (Ejlers 1976)

[38] Vincent Chetail and Oliver Jütersonke, ‘Introduction to Peacebuilding: A Review of the Academic Literature’ in Vincent Chetail and Oliver Jütersonke (eds) Peacebuilding: Critical Concepts in Political Science (Routledge, 2014)

[39] Comerford MG, The Peaceful Face of Angola: Biography of a Peace Process (1991-2002) (M. Comerford 2005)

[40] ibid

[41] ‘Armed Conflicts Report Angola (1975 – first combat deaths) Update: September 2003’ (US Department of Justice)<https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2015/09/15/armed-conflict-report_angola_0.pdf> accessed 5 August 2016.

[42]Patrícia Magalhães Ferreira, ‘State-Society Relations in Angola’ (Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP) 2009) <https://www.academia.edu/2700669/State-Society_Relations_in_Angola> accessed5 August 2016

[43] Vanessa Tinker, ‘Peace Education as a Post-conflict Peace building Tool’ (2016) 5(n1) All Azimuth 27

[44]Charles A. Kupchan, How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics, 2010); Louis Kriesberg, ‘Reconciliation: aspects, growth, and sequences’ (2007) 12(1) Intl J of Peace Studies 1

[45] Sami Adwan and Dan Bar-On ‘Shared History Project: A prime example of peace-building under fire’ (2004) 17(3) Intl J of Politics, Culture, and Society 513

[46] Sarah-Jane Koulen, Book Review, ‘Traditional Justice and Reconciliation After Violent Conflict – Learning from African Experiences’ (2009) 53(2) J of African L 321

[47] Mark Freeman and Priscilla B. Hayner, ‘The Truth Commissions of South Africa and Guatemala’ In David Bloomfield, Teresa Barnes and Luc Huyse (eds) Reconciliation After Violent Conflict (Handbook, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2003)

[48] Joanna R. Quinn, The Politics of Acknowledgement: Truth Commissions in Uganda and Haiti (Reprint, UBC Press, 2010)

[49] David Bloomfield, ‘Reconciliation: an Introduction ‘ in David Bloomfield, Teresa Barnes and Luc Huyse (eds) Reconciliation After Violent Conflict (Handbook, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2003)

[50] UNDEF (UN Democracy Fund) ‘Guidance Note of the UN Secretary-General on democracy'<http://www.un.org/democracyfund/guidance-note-un-secretary-general-democracy> accessed 25 July 2016

[51] David  Sogge, ‘Angola “failed” yet “successful.”’ (2009) Working Paper No. 81 Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior <http://fride.org/download/WP81_Angola_failedyetsucessful_ENG_may09.pdf> accessed 25 July 2016

[52] Section I Chapter II Angola’s Constitution of 2010

[53] UNGA Human Rights Council Twenty-eighth session 5 December 2014, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic review: Angola A/HRC/28/11

[54] UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) ‘In-Depth’ (Angola)<http://www.ao.undp.org/content/angola/en/home/ourwork/democraticgovernance/in_depth/> accessed 27 July 2016

[55] Eastin Shipman, ‘Angola’s National Education Development Plan’ (2015) Borgen Magazine<http://www.borgenmagazine.com/angolas-national-education-development-plan/ > accessed 25 July 2015

[56] ‘Democracy in Angola is an edifice under construction – diplomat’ Agência Angola Press  (Madrid , 29 Oct 2015) <http://www.angop.ao/angola/en_us/noticias/politica/2015/9/44/Democracy-Angola-edifice-under-construction-diplomat,2044f963-32ec-41dd-9841-876606862fa8.html> accessed 25 July 2016

[57] Rafael Marques de Morais, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola (Tinta da China 2011) <http://www.tintadachina.pt/pdfs/626c1154352f7b4f96324bf928831b86-insideENG.pdf?tcsid=ppvbre6310p6kp1gdum9cl42q7> accessed 24 July 2017

 

Test- Charter of rights (Canada)

(Note: This is a test essay written for ABSAS, an agency who claim to provide essays/ dissertations, theses for university students. The agency did not bother to give feedback even after 2 weeks and that gives me the liberty to post it here.)

The hypothetical Law question relates to charter of rights available to Canadian citizens and the answer is here.

The issue on appeal is whether prohibiting sales or renting of obscene material infringes the right to freedom of expression.

The respondent Mr. Garcia contends that s. 163 (1) (2) of the Criminal Code, 1985 infringes his right to freedom of expression provided by s. 2 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and that the Crown’s appeal against his acquittal on 242 counts of selling obscene material is not tenable.

Held: The appeal is allowed. The case is remitted for fresh trial of the 242 acquittals. The Charter under s.1 justifies legal prescription of reasonable limits on the rights afforded by     s. 2(b).

Discussion

The facts of the case are startlingly similar to R. v. Butler (1992). While logically, an analogous decision could be entered, a brief analysis of the present case is germane. The courts adjudicating constitutional questions may revisit earlier decisions under the principle that along with the need to maintain “finality and stability” of the law, the courts must have flexibility to comprehensively discharge their role. The review may be undertaken only when there are “significant developments in law” or circumstances that “fundamentally shift parameters of the debate” (Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013).

The question whether there are major developments in law is answered in the affirmative. It is true that the courts have viewed obscenity through a different lens since Butler (1992). An earlier judgement allowed the argument that as the aims behind banning child pornography and adult pornography are different, the notions applied when scrutinising child pornography are not appropriate when examining adult pornography. This argument is not strong since the court went on to observe that combining sex and violence or degradation and dehumanization “are likely to cause harm” (R. v. Smith, 2005). Effectively, this opens the Pandora’s Box on what constitutes harmful pornography and what is not, a situation which leads to subjective assessment.

Another argument is that the degree of an infringement must be assessed to determine whether the law is “catching too much” (R. v. Sharpe, 2001). The inference is it must be seen whether obscene material creates a hazard for the society. A conduct can be categorised as indecent criminal activity if it is proved that it poses a considerable risk to individuals or society (R. v. Labaye 2005). Studies (Dept of Justice, 1985) show that pornography promotes an unfavourable mind-set and affects gender equality.

Finally, there is palpable tension in holding that the public is not affected when a conduct is restricted only to members of a private club (R. v. Labaye 2005). After all, the private members will return to mingle with the public and can then pose a hazard. The private use concept is equally questionable (R. v. Barabash, 2015). The Charter does not distinguish between private and public conduct.

As such the respondent’s contention that he was operating but a private club restricted to members is not valid. The case is returned to the trial court for retrial of the 242 acquittals.

References

Canada Dept of Justice. (1985). Pornography and Prostitution in Canada: Report of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution. (Report No. NCJ 131616). Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/131616NCJRS.pdf

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, [2013] 3 S.C.R. 1101

Charter of Rights and Freedoms (The Constitution Act, 1982

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c.46 (Criminal Code, 1985)

R. v. Barabash, 2015 SCC 29

R.v. Butler [1992] 1 SCR 452

R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697

R. v. Labaye 2005 SCC 80

R.v. Sharpe 2001 SCC 2

R. v. Smith, 2005 CanLII 23805 (ON CA)

 

 

 

 

Clever pundit outsmarts the greedy king.

The king was a miser but still greedy to get a good name as a patron of arts and literature. It was the custom, in those days, for authors to dedicate their writings to the kings or scholars to expound their knowledge in the court and receive rewards.
The king in our story, as said was a miser. He hankered after fame but without spending. Therefore when the pundits came to him to recite there writings, he would set a simple test. Who was Rama’s father? This was an easy question. Everybody on answered- Dasaratha. Dasaratha’s father? Some of the scholars could get the right answer & replied “Aja”. Still lesser number could say Aja’s father was Dileepa.

After Dileepa, none could answer; you see they were grammarians, logicians, authors or linguists. They were not mythologists. The king heckled them, “You don’t know even simple things- how can I reward you?” With downcast faces the people went away.

One smart aleck (yes, there’s always one smart aleck around) found a way to teach the king a lesson. When the king began asking him the names of the Rama’s forefathers, after Dileepa, he went on saying Prabhava, Vibhava and so on, freely borrowing the names of the 60 years in the Hindu calendar. Then he continued with names of the 27 stars, yogas and karanas etc.

The king was stumped. Not only he but none of his courtiers either knew the right answers! The King (fuming inside) handed over reward to the ‘brilliant’ pundit! The moral of the story is this: no one knows what happened so many years ago but everyone pretends to be wise and knowledgeable.

(Adopted from “Bhagavantuni meedi paga” by Viswanatha Satyanarayana, written about 60 years ago.)

Jimmy John’s won’t give you stock, only the sandwich.

Jimmy John’s has shelved IPO plans. The founder Jimmy John Liautaud simply said “I don’t think my wheelhouse is comfortable in Wall Street” to explain away why his privately held company shied away from the Wall Street. Just as a true sandwich creates a mysterious wrap around the filling; his cryptic comment hides true reasons on calling off the two-year long the ‘go public’ tactics.

This despite restaurant stocks in general receiving thumbs-up from market watchers. El Pollo LoCo and McDonald’s Corporation come to mind immediately. Then why is Jimmy John’s calling off Wall Street foray?
It’s not really difficult to deduce the reasons. For one, it is the business model itself. Jimmy John’s makes the much-loved sandwiches. The first store in Charleston, Illinois opened in 1983 and grew and grew into Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC, a retail food chain, generating around $2 billion in sales through 2,300+ stores. Of these, only 51 stores are owned by the company and the rest are franchisee operated.

Given the heavy accent on self-funded franchisee operations, the company isn’t in real need of cash to finance any expansion. The question then will be what should be or rather can be done with the money that the public offering would bring in. There seem to be no logical answers to this right now. Unless the funds are used strategically, the Company will have to simply pay out dividends while the investment is idling.

Loss of freedom which Jimmy John’s enjoys right now is another factor. Public companies are sandwiched between investor expectations and business exigencies. Realization that investors want more and ever more and push the Companies for better performance must have dawned at the proverbial 11th hour. Right now, having to work only with Weston Presidio the private-equity firm which has 30 per cent the sole outside investor, Liautaud enjoys near autonomy with his 70 per cent of the Company. He can fight off slow-downs, follow own pricing norms on his own terms. He won’t be chased by the investors.

The 70% stake is a huge confidence booster. What with Buffet buying Kraft Foods NASDAQ: KRFT, being too recent a story, Liautaud needn’t worry whether his dream outfit too would be targeted by some M&A specialist.
What is the way forward? Even if Jimmy John’s IPO doesn’t come through, you have two cool choices. Habit Restaurants HABT 0.09% and Panera Bread Company PNRA:NASDAQ.

Seven handy MS Word Macros for content writers.

Content writers, students, journalists and anyone who is writing something keeps coming across a few tasks that have to be repeated. And as we all know, repeat tasks are best done through a macro; it saves time, labour and brings in accuracy. Even more importantly,automating tasks helps you to focus more on what you are doing instead leaving the mouse, punching the keyboard and then grabbing the mouse and so on.

Here are a few macros, useful for Microsoft Word 2007. Maybe they will work for later versions. Please check, if you are using the later versions.

And, one more thing; none of these are 100% original. You would find parts or whole of the code for a few of them on Microsoft Office support and other forums devoted to MS Word. What I have done is to put those macros which are useful to content writers in one place. I have also customised the first three particularly for content writers and tweaked others a bit.

Here is what the seven macros do these for you:

1. Proofread and give readability stats for a portion of a document.

2. Tell you the number of words you have written and the balance number of words you have to write.

3. Keyword density – find how many times a particular word or a group words occur in a document.

4. Take you to the beginning of a document

5. Take you to the beginning of a document

6. Help you to paste content from a website/ another document and automatically format it to match the format of nearby portion in the document.

7. Double EM Dash

1. Check spelling, grammar and readability scores for a portion of the document.

Readability is a critical requirement for content writers because positive response can be expected only when the target audience understand easily what we are saying. FleschKincaid readability is a very useful and built-in tool of MS Word and I am sure majority of the content writers would be dependant on the readability scores for improving the quality of writing.

Problem:

When you want to check grammar and readability for a portion of the document, you select the portion and click the spelling and grammar checking button. Word immediately asks whether you wish check the rest of the document, you need to say, lookup the readability scores that are displayed and then dismiss the scores. These 4 steps.

Solution:

A macro can reduce the steps to two. The advantage is not only less number of steps but you don’t need to let your thoughts stray. Try this simple macro, but when you’re using it for the first time, try it on a test document – just a safety precaution.

Macro

Sub Spel_Cheker()

Dim ThisDoc As Object

Set ThisDoc = ActiveDocument

Selection.Copy
Documents.Add DocumentType:=wdNewBlankDocument
Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
If Options.CheckGrammarWithSpelling = True Then
ActiveDocument.CheckGrammar
Else
ActiveDocument.CheckSpelling
End If
ActiveDocument.Close SaveChanges:=wdDoNotSaveChanges
Windows(ThisDoc).Activate

End Sub

2. Balance number of words to be written

Most of the time, content writers have to produce a prescribed number of words. For students writing academic assignments, the word limit assumes even more importance. So is the case for journalists writing articles/ news stories.

MS Word shows  the number of words in the status bar. You can look this up and subtract it from the required word limit to arrive at the balance of words pending. The task is not difficult, but laborious and stymies your thought process.

Here is a simple Word Macro that tells you how many words you have written, balance to be written and percentage of work pending.

MACRO:

Sub BalanceWords()

Dim WordsWritten As Long
Dim TotalNumberWords As Long
Dim Response As String
Dim BalanceWords As Long
Dim PercentWork As Integer

TotalNumberWords = InputBox(“Enter Total number of words you have to write”)

Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdStory
Selection.TypeParagraph

Selection.Fields.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Type:=wdFieldEmpty, Text:= _
“NUMWORDS “, PreserveFormatting:=True
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend
WordsWritten = Selection

BalanceWords = TotalNumberWords – WordsWritten

PercentWork = (BalanceWords / TotalNumberWords) * 100

Response = “Required Number of words ” & TotalNumberWords & Chr(10) & “Number of words wrritten ” & WordsWritten & Chr(10) & “Balance number of words ” & BalanceWords

Response = Response & Chr(10) & “Pending percentage is ” & PercentWork & “%”

Response = MsgBox(Response, vbOKCancel)
Selection.Delete

End Sub

3. Keyword density

Google is supposed to have given up keyword density for creating Page Rank. And, it has, as you can see from Google results, awkward phrases such as “Car for hire New York” don’t occur anymore. You get a more sensible “Cars for hire in New York.”

Problem:

Even then, many SEO companies and clients insist on having a keyword repeated a certain number of times to achieve appropriate keyword density – KWD.  Proofreaders and persons approving content for publishing and of course, the content writers have to track the KWD.

Solution:

This simple Word Macro does the trick for you. It will count how many times a word or group of words occurs in a document and display the stats. Try this macro and tell me if you want further tweaks.

Sub KountKeyWord()

Dim KeyWorder As String

Dim NumKeyWords As Integer
Dim KeyDensity As Integer
Dim Response As String

Dim TotalNumberWords As Long
Dim KWD As Integer
KeyWorder = Selection
Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdStory
Selection.TypeParagraph

Selection.Fields.Add Range:=Selection.Range, Type:=wdFieldEmpty, Text:= _
“NUMWORDS “, PreserveFormatting:=True
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdLine, Extend:=wdExtend
TotalNumberWords = Selection

Selection.Delete
Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory
Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
With Selection.Find
.Text = KeyWorder
.Replacement.Text = “”
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = True
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute
While Selection.Find.Found
NumKeyWords = NumKeyWords + 1
Selection.Find.Execute
Wend

KWD = (NumKeyWords / TotalNumberWords) * 100

Response = MsgBox(“Key word ” & “‘” & KeyWorder & “‘” & ” is repeated ” & NumKeyWords & ” times” & Chr(10) & Chr(10) & “Keyword density is ” & KWD & ” %! ” & vbOKOnly)
End Sub

That is it. You can now easily find KWD anytime with just a click.

4. Go to the beginning of the document.

When working on a lengthy document in MS Word, you would need to go the beginning frequently for checking something or other. Pressing Ctrl+Home is a facility but you’ll have to take hand off the mouse, press two keys – slightly cumbersome for lazy people like me.

Try this one line macro, you can go the beginning of the document with just one click of the mouse. (Of course, you have to link the macro to button and place it on the toolbar.)

Sub Home_Go()

Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory

End Sub

5. Go to the end of the document.

When proofing or editing somewhere in a MS Word document, you may have to go the end of the document. Instead of taking off the hand from the mouse, clicking CTRL+End, try this one line macro. It makes life simpler.

Sub End_Go()

Selection.EndKey Unit:=wdStory

End Sub

6. Make sure pasted content follows formatting of the surrounding text

When copying and pasting content from websites or other documents, you must have been irritated that it brings its formating with it. You have to laboriously reformat it, reset the language and so on. Try this small Word Macro; you will find it saves time and labor. (You have to first copy or cut the content from the source document before invoking this macro)

Sub Text_Paste()

Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText

End Sub

7. Double EM Dash:

Frustrated about the double EM Dash? If you are an academic writer or a student writing a dissertation and using OSCOLA reference style, you must have faced the tedious task — typing the Double EM dash” — “. MS Word is as usual more than (and over?) helpful. It offers three ways to type the double em dash; you can type CTRL+ALT+minus on the numeric keypad. Or insert the special character from the Insert menu. A more complicated method is ALT+0151. None of these are workable, when you are concentrating on writing an article.

Try this macro. It will make life simpler.

Sub EM2()

Selection.TypeText Text:=”–”

End Sub

That’s it. You have easily typed the double EM dash “–“