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Abstract: This report presents information on the current state of femicide in
Guatemala. In Part II, we discuss the meaning of the term “femicide” and
place the phenomenon as emerging out of a culture involving pervasive and
widespread violence against women. In Part III, we revisit a topic
examined in our prior two reports — the theories regarding the causes for
the escalating gender-motivated murders of women. In Part IV, we detail
the response of the Guatemalan government to rising violence, as well as
the efforts and pronouncements of international human rights bodies
regarding the femicide. We also examine the efficacy, or lack thereof, of
recent developments in Guatemala, as well as the barriers that exist to
meaningful change. Finally, in Part V, we discuss recommendations for
action by the Guatemalan government, as well as for other significant
actors involved in developing a response to this phenomenon, including the
United States government.
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: Peacebuild, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) convened the third in a series of six workshops on peacebuilding and conflict prevention policy issues on 31st May 2011 in the CANADEM conference room in Ottawa. The purpose of the workshop series is to exchange current information and analysis among expert civil society practitioners, academics and Government of Canada officials aimed at developing policy and programming options to respond to new developments and emerging trends.
This workshop examined the dynamics of peace and conflict, including drug violence and crime, in Latin America. This policy brief provides a synopsis of the findings and analysis from discussion and the papers presented during the event, highlighting key recommendations to improve prevention and responses to conflict and crime that emerged from the workshop.
Abstract: Guatemalans go to the polls in September 2011 to elect a
president, the Congress and local officials. The vote itself
is likely to be reasonably free, but violence and unregulated
campaign finance imperil the country’s political institutions.
Deteriorated security, drug traffickers’ brutality and
polarised politics leave candidates especially vulnerable
to attacks. An exorbitant campaign, meanwhile, threatens
to indebt office-holders to powerful financial interests, including
organised crime, deepening corruption and widening
the gulf between citizens and their politicians. State security
agencies should redouble efforts to prevent bloodshed,
especially in the most dangerous municipalities; politicians
and parties must fully reveal who funds them, and
the Public Prosecutor’s office, electoral authorities and donors
should press them to do so.
Abstract: Colombia currently accounts for the vast bulk of cocaine produced in
Latin America. In 2009, the country produced 270 metric tons (MT)
of cocaine, making it the principal supplier for both the United States
and the worldwide market. Besides Colombia, Peru and Bolivia constitute
two additional important sources of cocaine in Latin America.
In 2009, these two countries generated enough base material to respectively
yield 225 and 195 MT of refined product.
Between 60 and 65 percent of all Latin American cocaine is trafficked
to the United States, the bulk of which is smuggled via the eastern
Pacific/Central American corridor. The remainder is sent through
the Caribbean island chain, with the Dominican Republic, Puerto
Rico, and Haiti acting as the main transshipment hubs. In both cases,
Mexico serves as the main point of entry to mainland America, presently
accounting for the vast majority of all illicit drug imports to the
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: 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: Since it began operations in September 2007, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala, CICIG) has brought a degree of hope to a country deeply scarred by post-conflict violence and entrenched impunity. As homicide rates sky-rocketed to rival Mexico’s, and criminals fought for territorial control and dominated or corrupted multiple levels of state agencies, the novel independent investigating entity created by agreement between the government and the UN Secretary-General responded to fear that illegal armed groups had become a threat to the state itself. Much remains to be done, however. During the next years the commission should establish the strategic basis for dismantling the illegal security forces and clandestine security organisations (Cuerpos Ilegales y Aparatos Clandestinos de Seguridad, CIACS) over the long term and building Guatemalan justice capacity, including by supporting national ownership of the commission’s functions and embedding them within the judicial system.
CICIG’s formal mandate is to support and assist domestic justice institutions in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by CIACS, to identify their structures, operations and financing and ultimately to dismantle them. At the same time, CICIG has sought to strengthen the weak judicial system in order to put an end to impunity, a task made infinitely more difficult by the complex relationship between elements of state institutions, political parties, the private sector and the CIACS.
Abstract: As communities emerge from conflict, they often face a critical shortage of
capacities needed to secure a sustainable peace — the core capacities to run a
government, to re-establish institutions of justice, to reintegrate demobilizing
fighters, to revitalize the economy, to restore basic health and education, and many
The United Nations has seen success in humanitarian operations and
peacekeeping, built on a strong partnership with Member States. But the
international community has had less success in supporting and enabling the national
capacities that are essential for an enduring peace. Faced with expanded civilian
mandates in a growing number of crises, the United Nations struggles both to rapidly
deploy the range of expertise required and to transfer skills and knowledge to
national actors. This has increased the risk of relapse into conflict.
In some cases, the needed capacities are just not available. It is difficult, for
example, to find people who can rebuild a judicial system. Conflict may have
weakened capacities at home and the international market has not been able to
provide enough talented people with the right skills, language and cultural fluency
who can deploy at short notice and will stay long enough to be effective.
Often, however, there is more national capacity than is at first apparent. Even
countries ravaged by conflict have latent capacities that must be protected and
Abstract: Criminal violence has taken on epidemic proportions in several Latin American countries. While the violence has complex causes and expressions, a major reason behind the current surge in levels is the strengthening of transnational criminal organisations (TCOs), most of which are based on illicit drug trafficking. TCOs have fuelled a deepening of multi-faceted state crises, which in some cases may be characterised as the “criminalisation of the state”. The seminar on which this report is based focused on the causes of this wave of violence and policy responses at different levels.
The main conclusion from the seminar was that, while US policy includes an array of measures, it is still heavily focused on military assistance and a “supply-side” approach to curbing the flow of drugs and other illicit goods into the US. National responses have in many cases mirrored this approach, focusing on strengthening police controls and in some cases deploying military forces. Regional responses have so far proven weak, yet there are important initiatives in the pipeline. The idea of an alternative agenda is also gaining support both nationally and regionally. This includes measures to decriminalise the production and possession of soft drugs, bolster police and judicial reform, and focus on treatment and finding alternative livelihoods for growers.
Abstract: The latest volume is a collection of English and Spanish articles by academics and practitioners from the Americas who share their perspectives, experience and lessons learned on a multitude of core issues within or closely related to peace operations.
The articles discuss a number of topics including:
- The role of military observers and police in peace operations
- The participation of women and training requirements for addressing gender issues
- Challenges to police reform
- Confidence-building initiatives.
The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre has been engaged in Latin America for a number of years, but its presence has also become more noticeable with the development of the Latin America Peacekeeping Capacity Building project in 2009, funded by the Government of Canada. Working closely with members of the Latin American Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (ALCOPAZ), the project was designed to enhance the Latin American peacekeeping training centres’ ability to contribute civilian, military and police personnel to United Nations peace operations. This project has led to the undertaking of a number of activities with partners in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and others.
These activities allowed the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre to identify several focus areas that will guide its partnership with Latin America in the coming years, such as the participation of women in peace operations, support to ALCOPAZ and new peacekeeping training centres in the region, and police training for peace operations.
Abstract: This issue of CrisisWatch summarizes developments during the month of March 2011 in some 70 situations of ongoing or potential conflict. It assesses whether the overall situation in each case has, during the previous month, significantly deteriorated, improved or on balance remained unchanged. Moreover, it alerts readers to situations where there is a particular risk of escalated conflict or, on the other hand, a conflict resolution opportunity.
Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been growing international momentum to conceptualise, document and
address the various manifestations of “armed violence”. To date the discourse has focused largely on the
causes and effects of armed violence and explored the range of available programming options to prevent
and reduce it. Discussions on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) currently underway in the United Nations
(UN) provide an important opportunity to examine armed violence in the context of decisions concerning
international transfers and the export and import of conventional arms used in armed violence.
One of the objectives of the ATT is to address the “absence of common international standards on the
import, export and transfer of conventional arms.” As the UN General Assembly has noted, this absence
contributes to “conflict, displacement of people, crime and terrorism” thereby undermining peace,
reconciliation, safety, security, stability and sustainable development.” In other words, the absence of such
common international standards contributes to armed violence.
This report is divided into two parts, and includes three case studies drawn from recent examples of armed
violence in Bangladesh, Guatemala and the Philippines. Part I examines how an ATT with a clearly elaborated
risk assessment process can make a contribution to the prevention and reduction of armed violence. Part II focuses on one form of armed violence: firearms-related homicide. Discussions of armed violence
have repeatedly noted that the use of firearms in non-conflict settings is the most prevalent form of armed
violence and the form that results in the most deaths and injuries. This fact underscores the importance of
adopting an approach to addressing armed violence that will encompass violence outside of armed conflict
Abstract: As the so-called January 14 Jasmine Revolution inspires protests in Egypt and other nearby states, it may be worth recalling that North Africa is not the only part of the world clamoring for more representative, accountable government. Despite the current trend toward liberal democracy and open markets, the Americas still have a few regimes that frustrate the political and economic desires of their constituents and do little to attack corruption or reduce income inequality between the rich and poor. While major discontent seems to be in abeyance in the Western Hemisphere, the conditions that feed it are still active in some quarters.
Abstract: Across the globe today, you'll find almost three dozen raging conflicts, from the valleys of Afghanistan to the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the streets of Kashmir. But what are the next crises that might erupt in 2011? Here are a few worrisome spots that make our list. [Captions provided by International Crisis Group]
Abstract: The military coup d’etat that ousted President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009—and the attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists in the coup’s aftermath—represent the most serious setbacks for human rights and the rule of law in Honduras since the height of political violence in the 1980s. After the coup, security forces committed serious human rights violations, killing some protesters, repeatedly using excessive force against demonstrators, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of coup opponents. The de facto government installed after the coup also adopted executive decrees that imposed unreasonable and illegitimate restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. Since the inauguration of President Porfirio Lobo in January 2010, there have been new acts of violence and intimidation against journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists. This report documents 47 such cases, including 18 killings. While some of these attacks may be the result of common crime, available evidence—including explicit threats— suggest that many were politically motivated. This report documents the state's failure to ensure accountability for these abuses.
Abstract: In the context of an authoritarian regime, controlled by the military in alliance with a powerful landowning oligarchy, Salvadoran political-military organizations sprang up throughout the 1970's. Political and economic exclusion were the basis from which a wide popular movement arose. Faced with the closing of arenas for political participation, huge numbers of activists joined the ranks of the guerrilla army during the 1970's. The five Salvadoran revolutionary organizations formed the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in October 1980, with the joint aim of both procuring the government's defeat as well as creating a socialist project.
Following the defeat of the "final offensive" launched by the FMLN to oust the government in 1981, the conflict turned into a longstanding civil war that only came to an end when the main leaders from both sides became convinced it was impossible to attain military victory.
This work analyzes the emergence, dynamics and the transformation of the FMLN into a political party. the work pays particular attention to the causes that led to the armed struggle in El Salvador and the factors that made a negotiated solution to the armed conflict possible.
Abstract: From 1980 to 1991, a violent and destructive civil war
raged throughout El Salvador, rooted in more than a
century of systemic social, political and economic exclusion
of large segments of the population. From the latter half
of the 19th century, the country had been ruled by an
oligarchic alliance of a small wealthy landowning class
and the military, which maintained its grip on power in
a context of overwhelming inequality through the use of
physical force. The formal institutions of government in El
Salvador were little more than a facade.
These historical divisions were compounded by changes
in the geopolitical context. In the Cold War era, Latin
America was one of the major battlegrounds in the war
between capitalist and communist ideologies. El Salvador
was no exception: during the, war the US provided
more than $1.1 billion to the right-wing government in
an attempt to contain Cuban- and Nicaraguan-backed
revolutionaries. The result of this unfortunate conjunction
of historical injustice at home and geopolitical conflict on
the world stage resulted in a war that led to the deaths
of 75,000 people and the displacement of more than a
And yet, from this challenging and complex point of
departure, El Salvador has achieved significant progress
in developing a system of governance that provides
incentives for the state to act in ways that promote the
wellbeing of the population in general, rather than merely
that of an elite. The country has progressed from a state
of affairs in which physical violence was an accepted form
of political contestation to a norm of non-violent political
Abstract: Over the last decade, the international community
has been working toward a new and broader concept
of security, drawing input from a number of
governments, non-governmental organizations and
civil society groups as well as scholars and other
prominent individuals. This new concept—known
as human security—calls on states to ensure the
survival, livelihood and dignity of their inhabitants.
At the same time, it encourages e≠orts to equip
people to act more e≠ectively on their own behalf. Following the report by the Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now, this booklet seeks to show practical applications of human security and give the concept a human face. Between March-June 2006, in preparation for this publication, the Human Security Unit, a freelance journalist and a team of photographers visited dozens of project sites, conducting hundreds of interviews with local staff and beneficiaries. From these many compelling initiatives, nine stories were selected that reflect the range of issues, regions and institutions involved in human security work around the globe. Human security represents a fundamentally new
way of thinking about a range of contemporary
challenges—from hunger, poverty and failing
schools to armed conflict, forced migration and
human tra≤cking. Because these issues are closely
intertwined, human security emphasizes the need
for multi-sectoral responses and collaboration
among all stakeholders. Moreover, it aims to bridge
the gaps between security, humanitarian assistance,
human rights and development aid.
Abstract: The Mediation Practice Series (MPS) was initiated in 2008 as
part of the HD Centre’s efforts to support the broader mediation
community. Based on the shared view that mediators often confront similar
dilemmas although mediation differs widely across peace
processes, the HD Centre has decided to produce a series of
decision-making tools that draw upon the comparative experience
of track one mediation processes. As mediators consider engagement with armed groups they
face a variety of challenges and options – including whether it is
wise to engage at all. This contribution to the Mediation Practice
Series addresses engagement by those working toward peace
processes which involve formal interaction between leaders.
The focus is on the dilemmas, challenges and risks involved in a
mediator’s early contacts with an armed group and subsequent
engagement as interlocutor, message-carrier, adviser and/or
facilitator – all roles that may precede and accompany formal
negotiation between parties to a conflict.
The armed groups considered are those whose rebellion or
resistance explicitly challenges the authority of the state, rather
than the full spectrum of non-state armed groups (which would
include criminal organisations and gangs, as well as paramilitary
actors accountable to the state). The former claim their violence
is rooted in legitimate self-defence against the infringement of
their rights. Political in its origin – if at times criminal in its conduct
– armed action is pursued as a means to a political end. While
military pressure, or other actions by security forces, may be necessary to counter it, in almost all cases a lasting resolution to
the conflict will depend on some form of political accommodation
or agreement. Case studies include: The FMLN and the UN in El Salvador (p. 8-13), Dilemmas of talking to the Taliban (p. 13-14), Private mediators and the GAM
in Aceh (p. 15-18), Coping with pre-conditions
on Hamas (p. 20-23), The ICC and the LRA in conflict
at the peace table (p. 23-28), Case study : Norway and the LTTE (p. 28-29), Case study : Engaging the Maoists in Nepal (p. 31-35).
Abstract: This brief presents the progress to date in developing
a typology of wartime rape as a first step toward
understanding the different consequences of this form
of violence in war. This publication focuses solely on
wartime rape perpetrated by armed groups against
civilians, though this form of violence is perpetrated
more widely by, and against, different actors during
war. The wider perpetration of rape against other
actors is not presented in this brief, but is nevertheless
included in the Typology. The Typology is a product of
two phases of research: a) an initial phase (November
2008–May 2009) where a preliminary typology was
created based on an examination of two country
cases of wartime rape: Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and El Salvador; and b) a second phase (September
2009–May 2010) where the typology was refined
according to data collected from a review of the
literature on ten additional country cases of wartime
rape (Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Liberia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea/
Bougainville, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste).
The Typology was designed on the basis of a definition
of wartime, which includes a myriad of war dynamics
that surround and influence the perpetration of
rape, and which can be organized into the following
type of conflict in which wartime rape occurs;
characteristics of the armed group;
motivations for the rape;
characteristics of the rapist;
characteristics of the raped person; and
characteristics of the rape.
Abstract: The Washington Office on Latin America promotes human rights, democracy and social and economic justice in Latin America and the Caribbean. WOLA facilitates dialogue between governmental and non-governmental actors, monitors the impact of policies and programs of governments and international organizations, and promotes alternatives through reporting, education, training and advocacy. Founded in 1974 by a coalition of civic and religious leaders, WOLA works closely with civil society organizations and government officials throughout the Americas.
Abstract: The political economy of violence in Central America is widely perceived as having undergone a critical shift during the past two decades, often pithily summarized as a movement from ‘political’ to ‘social’ violence. Although such an analysis is plausible, it also offers a depoliticized vision of the contemporary Central American panorama of violence. Basing itself principally on the example of Nicaragua, the country in the region that is historically perhaps most paradigmatically associated with violence, this article offers an alternative interpretation of the changes that the regional landscape of violence has undergone. It suggests that these are better understood as a movement from ‘peasant wars of the twentieth century’ (Wolf, 1969) to ‘urban wars of the twenty-first century’ (Beall, 2006), thereby highlighting how present-day urban violence can in many ways be seen as representing a structural continuation of past political conflicts, albeit in new spatial contexts. At the same time, however, there are certain key differences between past and present violence, as a result of which contemporary conflict has intensified. This is most visible in relation to the changing forms of urban spatial organization in Central American cities, the heavy-handed mano dura response to gangs by governments, and the dystopian evolutionary trajectory of gangs. Taken together, these processes point to a critical shift in the balance of power between rich and poor in the region, as the new ‘urban wars of the twenty-first century’ are increasingly giving way to more circumscribed ‘slum wars’ that effectively signal the defeat of the poor.
Abstract: The scale and severity of the challenges facing the Guatemala state have been underlined by events over the past year. Humanitarian crises and a continuing wave of violent crime, exacerbated by the penetration in Guatemalan territory of Mexican cartels, have multiplied the demands on public authorities. The government of President Alvara Colom, a self-declared social democrat, has vowed to fight poverty and clean up the security and judicial systems. To a significant extent, the country is still locked into the terms of the informal political and economic settlement that lay beneath the formal peace process ending the country's civil war in 1996. Whereas the peace accords promised rural development, a stronger and wealthier public sector, and a dismantling of the structures of counter-insurgency, the post-conflict reality fell under a different paradigm. Criminal groups, involving former military officers, acting state officials, criminal entrepreneurs and gang members, extended their influence. This paper, which forms part of the broader Clingendael research programme into post-conflict and fragile states, aims to unpick these constrains on governance in Guatemala, and also points to the emerging trends that are now altering the country's internal balance of power. In particular, the election of Colom in 2007 and the creation in the same year of the UN Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) are landmark events that appear to have undermined the post-conflict settlement. However, recent setbacks, including the paralysis of key policy initiatives - such as tax reform - and repeated acts of corruption in the security forces and the judicial system have raised questions over whether reform of the state is possible, and how it is to be carried out.