Searched the resource database for : All Results AND Regions=Central and Eastern Europe
Haven't found what you are looking for? To further refine your search: Click on the 'advanced search' menu to filter by title, abstract, source, and/or publication date; to include or exclude multiple resource categories, regions or topics.
Abstract: Ten years after signature of the Ohrid Framework Agreement - OFA - that ended fighting between the country’s ethnic Albanians and Macedonians, much of the agreement has been implemented, and a resumption of armed conflict is unlikely. Macedonia is justified in celebrating its success in integrating minorities into political life, but inter-party and inter-ethnic tensions have been growing for five years. While this part of the Balkans looks to eventual EU membership to secure stability, it remains fragile, and worrying trends – rising ethnic Macedonian nationalism, state capture by the prime minister and his party, decline in media and judicial independence, increased segregation in schools and slow decentralisation – risk undermining the multi-ethnic civil state Macedonia can become. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who has just formed a new government, should work closely with his Albanian coalition partners and opposition parties to pass and implement the measures needed for more democratisation, inter-ethnic reconciliation and a solution to the name dispute with Greece.
Abstract: Three years after their August 2008 war over the South Ossetia region, tension is growing again between Russia and Georgia, and talks are needed to restore stability and create positive momentum in a situation that is fragile and potentially explosive. Diplomatic relations are suspended, and the two have only started limited negotiations, with Swiss mediation, on Russia’s World Trade Organisation membership. Yet, they share interests in improving regional security, trade and transport and should start discussions on these rather than continuing to exchange hostile rhetoric that only makes renewed dialogue more difficult.
Lack of contact has increased distrust since the fighting ended. For Georgia, Russia is an occupier who is undermining its sovereignty and security. While almost the entire international community regards South Ossetia and Abkhazia as parts of sovereign Georgia, Russia recognised both as independent shortly after the war. Moscow maintains an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 combat, security, and border forces in those two territories and is building and refurbishing permanent military bases there, in violation of the ceasefire brokered by the EU presidency in 2008. Some 20,000 persons displaced that year have been prevented from returning home, and casualties still occur along the administrative border lines.
Abstract: The Georgian government must put a stop to forced evictions of internally displaced people and provide them with adequate housing, Amnesty International said today.
The call comes as Amnesty International publishes a briefing, Uprooted again: Forced evictions of internally displaced persons in Georgia, detailing a pattern of forced evictions in June – August 2010 and January 2011 from temporary shelters where people have sought refuge.
With a fresh wave of evictions having started in Tbilisi in July 2011, Amnesty International is urging the Georgian authorities to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.
"In their drive to empty temporary housing shelters in the capital and provide displaced people with durable housing the Georgian authorities have ignored essential protections for those evicted and estranged many from established support networks and livelihoods," said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International's Georgia researcher.
Abstract: People become refugees for many
reasons, not least because of violent
civil conflicts in which ordinary citizens
are the greatest victims. This has
led to large numbers of women,
men and children being forced to
seek sanctuary in their neighbouring
countries and further afield. These
people can remain displaced for years,
or even decades. Some may fear that
the prolonged presence of refugees
will have a negative impact on their
community or country.
In reality, if given the opportunity to
integrate and belong, former refugees
are able to be self-reliant and to
contribute socially and economically,
in many cases becoming an asset to
their host States.
Local integration is one of the
three ‘durable solutions’ for refugees
developed by the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR), in partnership
with host and origin countries. The
other durable solutions are voluntary
repatriation to the refugees’ country
of origin, and resettlement in a third
country. Local integration is particularly relevant
when people cannot return to their
country of origin in a foreseeable
future, or have developed strong
ties with their host communities
through business or marriage. It
is based on the assumption that
refugees will remain in their country
of asylum permanently and find
a solution to their plight in that
State, possibly but not necessarily
though acquiring citizenship.
Local integration is all about
partnerships and collaboration
between agencies and countries in
the pursuit of collective solutions.
Ultimately, however, both the vision
and leadership of host governments
and the support of the international
community are critical to the
ongoing success of local integration
Abstract: What role do women play in statebuilding? How do statebuilding processes affect women's participation? Support for statebuilding has become the dominant model for international engagement in post-conflict contexts, yet donor approaches lack substantial gender analysis and are missing opportunities to promote gender equality. This paper presents findings from a research project on the impact of post-conflict statebuilding on women's citizenship. It argues that gender inequalities are linked to the underlying political settlement, and that donors must therefore address gender as a fundamentally political issue.
Abstract: Transnistria, a sliver of land on the east bank of the river Nistru, broke away from the rest of Moldova in 1990. Although there was fighting after that, there have been no fatalities since 1992. This is not really a conflict: it is a stand-off which benefits the business interests of those who are close to ruling elites, and suits some external players.
Transnistria has little prospect of being recognised, even by Russia. Meanwhile Moldova has little hope of eventual EU membership while the Transnistrian problem remains. To escape this stalemate, Moldova and Transnistria need to find a solution. Moldova needs to show Transnistrians that a resolution will be good for them, just as the EU works with Russia to show that a solution does not harm Russia.
This study is timely in that it comes at a moment when Moldova is reaffirming its EU perspective, while elections in Transnistria may also presage some change. The problem of Transnistria is now on the borders of the EU: Transnistria is the EU's problem. A German-EU initiative in 2010 sought to address the Transnistrian issue at a strategic level, engaging the key external player, Russia.
This study brought together focus groups of ordinary people both in Transnistria and in the rest of Moldova. It is the first such study. The focus groups provide non-elite input, important when some in the elite have a personal interest in maintaining the status quo. The focus group perspectives have been reinforced by interviews with politicians and experts in Chisinau, Tiraspol and Berlin. The study is in three sections: a conflict analysis, an examination of the players, and themes from the focus groups. At the end, the report provides detailed policy and programme recommendations to the European Union.
The People’s Peacemaking Perspectives project is a joint initiative implemented by Conciliation Resources and Saferworld and financed under the European Commission’s Instrument for Stability. The project provides European Union institutions with analysis and recommendations based on the opinions and experiences of local people in a range of countries and regions affected by fragility and violent conflict.
Abstract: The past century has seen a transformation in women’s legal rights, with countries in every region expanding the scope of women’s legal entitlements. Nevertheless for many of the world’s women the laws that exist on paper do not translate to equality and justice.
Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice looks at how the legal system can play a positive role in women accessing their rights, citing cases that have changed women’s lives both at a local and at times global level. It also looks at the important role women have played and continue to play as agents for change within the legal system, as legislators, as lawyers, as community activists but also asks why, despite progress on legal reform, the justice system is still not delivering justice for all women.
The report focuses on four key areas: legal and constitutional frameworks, the justice chain, plural legal systems and conflict and post-conflict. Drawing on tangible examples of steps that have been taken to help women access justice, the report sets out ten key recommendations for policy and decision makers to act on in order to ensure every woman is able to obtain justice.
Abstract: The Arctic has returned with a vengeance as an area of international contention. Beginning in 2007, Russia has continued to make aggressive moves and claims regarding territory in the Arctic Ocean. These moves undoubtedly have been prompted by global climate change and the importance of energy, with which Russia believes the Arctic is lavishly supplied. These moves apparently were intended to compel other Arctic states, like Norway, to come to terms with Russia. Nonetheless, the tendency to invoke military and security issues and instruments in this region of the world continues apace. These essays, taken from SSI's 2010 conference on Russia, fully explore the Russian and international competition for influence and rights over the exploration and commercial exploitation of the Arctic.
Abstract: While the world’s attention often gravitates to the latest emergency situation, we are acutely aware that
most of the world’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in protracted displacement. Displacement
drags on, sometimes for years or decades, because of continuing conflict, because peace processes are
stalled, or because political settlements fail to provide the necessary security and support for the displaced to find solutions.
The 2nd Expert Seminar on Protracted Internal Displacement was held in Geneva from 19-20 January 2011 on the theme of “IDPs in protracted displacement: Is local integration a solution?” Around 100 participants discussed challenges and possibilities of local integration in diverse protracted displacement situations over the course of the two days.
This publication includes the six case studies commissioned for the seminar as well as an introductory essay which
explores the common themes emerging from the studies on protracted displacement and local integration. By focusing on the possibilities and challenges of local integration in protracted displacement, we hope that these
six case studies lead to better understanding—and to concrete actions—which will bring an end to internal displacement
which has gone on for far too long in these six countries and in many others.
Abstract: The big-picture issues at the crossroads of peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding were taken up by the Security Council in September 2010, under the presidency of Turkey. Leading up to that discussion, Turkey held numerous bilateral consultations, and, with the support of IPI, organized an expert meeting on these issues in New York in May 2010 and an informal retreat in Istanbul for members of the Council in June 2010.
This publication is intended to document some of that process, and includes the Statement by the President of the Security Council, the outcome summary of the June retreat, and the set of papers that were presented there. Three of these papers draw lessons from the UN’s experiences in different areas of the world (Afghanistan, the Balkans, and the Great Lakes region of Africa), and one paper analyzes cross-cutting themes.
Table of Contents:
Introduction, Francesco Mancini
Security Council Istanbul Retreat: At The Crossroads of Peacemaking, Peacekeeping, and Peacebuilding
Adam C. Smith and Vanessa Wyeth, Rapporteurs
Peacemaking In Afghanistan: A Role For The United Nations?
The Security Council And Peacekeeping In The Balkans, 1992-2010
Richard Gowan and Daniel Korski
The Great Lakes of Africa (Burundi, The Drc, And The LRA-Affected Areas)
Composite Paper on Cross-Cutting Themes
International Peace Institute
Statement by the President of the Security Council
Abstract: Russia’s political leaders are currently pushing a state- and society-wide process of modernization. The Russian military, a deeply conservative institution, is being asked to accept fundamental changes that threaten the very livelihoods of those being asked to implement them. New structures can be created and new equipment and technologies procured, but the crucial element is the degree to which such changes are accepted by the human element. This is often the most difficult aspect in any process of organizational change. It is no wonder that the military modernization process is progressing slowly in Russia. The Russian ground forces will not be very different in the next few years than they are now. Time and future investment will eventually produce the more refined army that a host of Russian politicians have wished to see. But it will take time and investment.
Abstract: Most of the world’s 27.5 million internally displaced people
(IDPs) live in protracted displacement. These are
situations where the process for finding durable solutions
is stalled, and/or where IDPs are marginalised
as a consequence of violations or a lack of protection
of their human rights, including economic, social and
cultural rights.1 Solutions are absent or have failed and
IDPs remain disadvantaged and unable to fully enjoy
The seminar brought together about 100 participants
from around the world, from a range of backgrounds
and organisations. They included representatives of
governments and civil society organisations in countries
with protracted internal displacement, international
humanitarian and development organisations (including
UN agencies) donors, research organisations, academics
and other experts. The Chatham House Rule was in
effect during the meeting to allow participants to speak
The seminar focused on the experiences of six countries
with protracted internal displacement – Burundi,
Colombia, Georgia, Serbia, southern Sudan and Uganda.
For each country field research was commissioned and
the resulting case studies were distributed before the
seminar. Other background materials circulated to participants
included an overview of local integration of
IDPs in protracted displacement and reference materials
relating to durable solutions.
Abstract: Although Chechnya no longer makes international headlines, instability persists and has actually spread within the wider North Caucasus region. Degrading socio-economic conditions, an unstable political situation, and increasing religious tension have made the North Caucasus susceptible to Islamist insurgency and terrorist activity. The modernisation strategy for the North Caucasus launched by Moscow in 2008 has failed to reverse the situation so far. Turning into an arc of insecurity, the region poses a growing challenge to stability within Russia and beyond.
Abstract: Women in Chechnya and Palestine do not become suicide bombers because they are Muslim.
Women in Chechnya and Palestine become suicide bombers because human security levels decrease
during long-term conflict and allow rogue collectives to gain power in the absence of authority. This
research explores how the experience of female suicide bombing is constructed as a response to
foreign occupation, how gender and religion are secondary concerns to supporters of violent
resistance, and how the history of human insecurity in Chechnya and Palestine has resulted in an
‘economy of conflict’ that has little stake in peace.
Abstract: The Examples from the Ground are concrete illustrations of ways in which a gender perspective has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. They range from measures to counter human trafficking in Kosovo, to women’s organisations’ involvement with security institutions in Nepal, to female parliamentarians’ contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda. These examples can help policymakers, trainers and educators better understand and demonstrate the linkages between gender and SSR.
The examples are organised around the following nine themes, for which a short introduction is provided:
• Police Reform and Gender
• Defence Reform and Gender
• Justice Reform and Gender
• Penal Reform and Gender
• Border Management and Gender
• Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• National Security Policy-Making and Gender
• Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• SSR Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender
Individual examples can also be downloaded individually, in English or in French, at: http://gssrtraining.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view;=article&id;=4&Itemid;=131〈=en
Abstract: The war between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 changed the situation in the South Caucasus fundamentally. Russia‘s invasion of Georgia‘s territory made it clear that the conflicts over Georgia‘s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were not merely domestic issues, but had been absorbed into a larger conflict between Russia and Georgia. Moreover, it highlighted the essential differences in Russian and Western foreign policy objectives in the region, and the limited mechanisms for challenging Russia‘s policies in what Moscow considers its exclusive sphere of influence.
In the post-war era, Western powers have largely failed to establish a policy towards Georgia‘s conflicts that takes these new realities into account. This is problematic for several reasons. The post-war status quo is not only unsus-tainable, but also conflicts directly with Western interests in the region. Rus-sia‘s significant military presence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains a violation of fundamental principles of international law, and thus, threatens the upholding of internationally recognized norms and standards in the re-gion. This, in turn, sets dangerous precedents with implications beyond Georgia and the South Caucasus. Secondly, Russia‘s military buildup on Georgian territory, coupled with continued tensions along the Administra-tive Boundary Lines, suggest that the situation in the region is far from sta-ble. This is a direct concern for the West, as the security deficit in the South Caucasus continues to delay reform processes, hamper economic develop-ment, and prevent the West from helping develop this vital transport corri-dor to Central Asia.
This paper examines these key issues from the perspective of international law.
Abstract: Crisis Watch summarises briefly developments during the previous month in some 70 situations of current or potential conflict, listed alphabetically by region, providing references and links to more detailed information sources (all references mentioned are hyperlinked in the electronic version of this bulletin); assesses whether the overall situation in each case has, during the previous month, significantly deteriorated, significantly improved, or on balance remained more or less unchanged; alerts readers to situations where, in the coming month, there is a particular risk of new or significantly escalated conflict, or a particular conflict resolution opportunity (noting that in some instances there may in fact be both); and summarises Crisis Group’s reports and briefing papers that have been published in the last month.
Amid mounting tensions between North and South Sudan over the disputed border area of Abyei, clashes broke out between the two sides at the beginning of the month. Northern Sudanese forces invaded Abyei on 20 May and asserted control in breach of existing peace agreements. Tens of thousands are reported to have fled south. The attacks threaten renewed conflict and weaken confidence between North and South as critical post-referendum arrangements remain unresolved.
Tensions also increased over military control and the presence of armed forces in the transitional areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, and CrisisWatch identifies a conflict risk alert for North Sudan for the coming month.
Violence escalated further in Yemen, where military forces loyal to President Saleh battled on several fronts, renewing fears that the continued political stalemate could erupt into civil war.
President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria continued to use troops and tanks to violently suppress the ongoing revolt, with hundreds of protesters feared killed, thousands detained, and widespread reports of torture.
In Pakistan, the U.S. killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad at the beginning of the month again raised questions about the military's possible involvement with jihadist groups.
Local elections in Albania on 8 May proved even more troubled than anticipated as the race for the Tirana mayor's seat ended deep within the margin of error.
In Guatemala, the Mexican Los Zetas cartel killed and decapitated 27 farm workers in the northern Petén department.
In Serbia, war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military leader accused of commanding the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, was arrested after 16 years on the run. He was extradited to The Hague, where he will stand trial for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Abstract: Russia and Mexico, two of the world’s most murderous countries for the press, are heading in different directions in combating deadly anti-press violence, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index. The index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population, found improvement in Russia as journalist murders ebbed and prosecutors obtained two high-profile convictions. But deadly anti-press violence continued to climb in Mexico, where authorities appear powerless in bringing killers to justice.
Colombia continued a years-long pattern of improvement, CPJ’s index found, while conditions in Bangladesh reflected a slight upturn. But the countries at the top of the index—Iraq, Somalia, and the Philippines—showed either no improvement or even worsening records. Iraq, with an impunity rating three times worse than that of any other nation, is ranked first for the fourth straight year. Although crossfire and other conflict-related deaths have dropped in Iraq in recent years, the targeted killings of journalists spiked in 2010.
“The findings of the 2011 Impunity Index lay bare the stark choices that governments face: Either address the issue of violence against journalists head-on or see murders continue and self-censorship spread,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Convictions in Russia are a hopeful sign after years of indifference and denial. But Mexico’s situation is deeply troubling, with violence spiking as the government promises action but fails to deliver.”
CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, first published in 2008, identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. For this latest index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010, and that remain unsolved. Only the 13 nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained.
Impunity is a key indicator in assessing levels of press freedom and free expression in nations worldwide. CPJ research shows that deadly, unpunished violence against journalists often leads to vast self-censorship in the rest of the press corps. From Somalia to Mexico, CPJ has found that journalists avoid sensitive topics, leave the profession, or flee their homeland to escape violent retribution.
Abstract: The United States is at a strategic inflection point in South and Central Asia. The death of Osama bin Laden, together with the projected transition to a smaller U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, presents a new opportunity for the United States to protect its enduring interests in the region. In Beyond Afghanistan: A Regional Security Strategy for South and Central Asia, CNAS authors Lieutenant General David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Andrew Exum and Matthew Irvine identify key priorities for the United States and the key components of a regional strategy in light of fast-changing current events.
This report culminates a year-long project examining the future of U.S. strategy in South and Central Asia given the pending drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Barno, Exum and Irvine examine U.S. relationships with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and offer immediate and long-term policy recommendations for protecting U.S. interests in the region.
Abstract: The mostly Armenian-populated Javakheti region, along the southern border with Armenia and Turkey, has been a potential flashpoint since Georgia’s 1991 independence, when a paramilitary group practically ran it, and physical links with the rest of the country were weak. After the 2008 Georgia-Russia war, many outside observers, recalling that there had been violent demonstrations in Javakheti in 2005 and 2006, predicted it would be the next to seek autonomy – or more. But the situation has stabilised. Tbilisi has successfully implemented programs to increase the region’s ties to the rest of the country, stopped projects that were seen as discriminatory and reduced the influence of the few remaining radical groups. It should maintain this momentum and take additional steps to guarantee that Javakheti and its 95,000 mainly Armenian speakers feel fully integrated in Georgia and provide an example of respect for minority rights in a region where minorities who feel discriminated against have all too often been attracted to secession, such as in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Lack of knowledge of the state language (Georgian) and poverty encourages migration from the region to Armenia and Russia. A paucity of media reporting on the isolated area helps reinforce feelings of marginalisation. Many Javakheti residents do not feel like full-fledged citizens, so prefer to become involved in the political and cultural life of neighbouring Armenia, whose nationalist groups are quick to argue that they are the victims of ethnic discrimination due to Georgian government policies and to amplify their grievances over poverty, unemployment, education and the lack of formal laws recognising Armenian as a “regional language” in Javakheti.
Although Javakheti poses no immediate threat to Georgia’s territorial integrity, Tbilisi needs to continue to increase its focus on the region, so as to build confidence with local leaders and engender a sense of loyalty towards the state. This would help to avoid interpretations that the local aspects of nationwide problems, such as the economy, reflect ethnic discrimination.
Abstract: The phrase “Cherkessian Factor” usually refers to the influence exerted by the ethnic solidarity of the Cherkessian (Abkhaz-Adyg) peoples, both those located in the Russian Federation and the Cherkessian diaspora in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Egypt. This influence is felt on political, social, and cultural processes in the Caucasus and in countries with a large Cherkessian population. It is increasingly likely that this Cherkessian factor will lead to further destabilization in the North Caucasus.
The Carnegie Moscow Center, as part of the Black Sea Peacebuilding Network, hosted a discussion on the Cherkessian factor. Alexander Skakov of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nikolay Silaev of the Center for Caucasian Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, spoke on this factor and its potential influence. Carnegie’s Andrei Ryabov moderated.
The speakers concluded by discussing possible avenues for resolving the tensions created by the Cherkessian factor in the North Caucasus, including full-scale privatization of land ownership; implementation of the provisions of federal law for municipalities; and effective action against corruption. They argued that such reforms would “permit a significant portion of the population to return to normal economic activity, which is currently impossible, and would thus automatically reduce the unhealthy interest in politically charged questions of ethnic identity … and in radical Islamism.” However, they warned the Russian government does not seem to recognize the necessity of such reforms to help stem the increasing violence in the region.
Abstract: Ensuring the physical security and
proper management of national
inventories and surplus stocks is key
to minimizing potential hazardous
effects on populations and environments
Many factors create stockpiles of
small arms and ammunition in surplus
to a state’s requirements. Examples
include changes in the security environment,
reductions in the number of security
forces, procurement programmes,
and the influx of confiscated illicit or
unauthorized arms. This surplus
materiel needs to be properly addressed.
This Issue Brief profiles the policies
and procedures put in place by the
South-east European countries operating
within the RASR Initiative to
address their surplus small arms and
Abstract: The EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT)
was established in the aftermath of the 11 September
2001 attacks in the United States of America (US), as a
reporting mechanism from the Terrorism Working Party
(TWP) of the Council of the EU to the European Parliament.
The content of the TE-SAT reports is based on
information supplied by EU Member States, some third
states (Colombia, Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland,
Turkey, and the United States of America) and third
organisations (Eurojust and Interpol), as well as information
gained from open sources.
In accordance with ENFOPOL 65 (8196/2/06), the TE-SAT
is produced annually to provide an overview of the terrorism
phenomenon in the EU, from a law enforcement
perspective. It seeks to record basic facts and assemble
figures regarding terrorist attacks and arrests in the European
Union. The report also aims to present trends and
new developments from the information available to
The TE-SAT is a situation report which describes and analyses
the outward manifestations of terrorism, i.e. terrorist
attacks and activities. It does not seek to analyse the
root causes of terrorism, neither does it attempt to assess
the impact or effectiveness of counter-terrorism policies
and law enforcement measures taken, although it can
serve to illustrate some of these. The methodology for
producing this annual report was developed by Europol
five years ago and was endorsed by the Justice and Home
Affairs (JHA) Council on 1 and 2 June 2006.
This edition of the TE-SAT has been produced by Europol
in consultation with the 2011 TE-SAT Advisory Board,
composed of representatives of the past, present, and
future EU Presidencies, i.e. Belgium, Hungary and Poland
(the ‘Troika’), along with permanent members, representatives
of France and Spain, the EU Situation Centre
(EU SITCEN),1 Eurojust and Europol staff.
Abstract: This report reviews the challenges facing returning refugees
and internally displaced persons after protracted conflict,
questioning the common wisdom that the solution to
displacement is, in almost all cases, to bring those uprooted
to their places of origin, regardless of changes in the political,
economic, psychological, and physical landscapes. While
affirming the right to return, the report underscores insecurity,
lack of economic opportunities, and poor services generally
available in areas of recent conflict where people are expected
to rebuild their lives, documenting cases of seriously flawed
return efforts. Greater flexibility in determining the best
solutions to displacement and more investment in
alternative forms of reintegration for those who
have been displaced is needed.
Abstract: The popular uprisings that swept the Arab world in early 2011 have been compared by some commentators to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In an exhilarating push for democratic change, long-term rulers have been ousted and others challenged seriously for the first time. But despite what has been achieved, many voices from the region have urged caution: even in those countries which have seen the greatest changes, the internal security apparatus and other structures of repression have remained largely intact and the struggle for real constitutional reform continues. The ability of a state to undergo political change without violence is widely considered a hallmark of a mature democracy (although the record shows that democracies, even very old ones, are hardly immune from violent conflict). Which combination of circumstances, then, makes the onset of mass killing more likely and which conditions lower the risk of a state, even an autocratic one, descending to bloody violence? It is to help answer such questions that Minority Rights Group International has developed the Peoples under Threat index. Since 2005 Peoples under Threat has pioneered the use of statistical analysis to identify situations around the world where communities are most at risk of mass killing. On numerous occasions since the index was first developed, countries that have risen sharply up the table have later proved to be the scene of mass human rights violations.