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Abstract: OneResponse is a collaborative inter-agency website designed to enhance humanitarian coordination within the cluster approach, and support the predictable exchange of information in emergencies at the country level. The website will support Clusters and OCHA fulfill their information management responsibilities as per existing IASC guidance. Key characteristics of the site include:
- A global entry page, where all global cluster guidance materials located on www.humanitarianreform.org is currently being migrated.
- Country or emergency specific content will be hosted on the field level site.
- A specific disaster site will be created within 24 hours, during the onset of a new emergency.
- A low-bandwidth version of the site is available, to enable access and exchange of information in poor connectivity environments.
- Information can be categorized as either public or private. This allows sensitive information to be made accessible only to cluster specific working groups.
- Clusters will directly manage their own content on the site.
- OCHA owns the website and is responsible for its management.
Abstract: This report documents numerous abuses during renewed fighting in the past year by parties to the 20-year-long conflict in Somalia. These include the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab, the Somali Transitional Federal Government, the African Union peacekeeping forces, and Kenya- and Ethiopia-backed Somali militias. The report also examines abuses by the Kenyan police and crimes committed by bandits in neighboring Kenya against Somali refugees.
Abstract: This report deals with a series of Indonesian military documents that were
passed to the West Papua Project -WPP- in early 2011.1 The documents
provide remarkable insights into how the Indonesian military (Tentara
Nasional Indonesia – TNI), operates within the disputed territory of West
Papua (disputed, that is, between the vast majority of Papuans and the
Indonesian government), and how they view West Papuan civil society. The
documents reveal the names and activities of Indonesian intelligence agents;
describe how traditional Papuan communities are monitored; and include a
detailed analysis of both the West Papuan armed guerrilla groups and the
non-violent civil society organisations which promote self-determination.
Identifying so many West Papuan leaders and others as ―separatists‖, these
documents effectively show that support for independence is widespread and
surprisingly well organised. West Papuans have long complained of living
under an Indonesian military ―occupation‖ and these documents go a long
way to substantiating this claim.
Abstract: For decades, the trade in conflict minerals has fueled human rights abuses and promoted insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in July 2010, includes a provision that addresses the need for action to be taken to stop the national army and rebel groups in the DRC from profiting from the minerals trade. Section 1502, the Conflict Minerals provision, is a disclosure requirement that calls on companies to determine if their products contain conflict minerals and to report this to the SEC.
This legislation has the potential to make a significant impact on the ground in the DRC; however, there has been considerable misinformation and fear-mongering spread about its requirements and likely impact. This document seeks to clarify some of the most common misconceptions.
Abstract: This publication draws attention to one of the most crucial yet overlooked humanitarian issues of today: violence against health care. Attacking health-care structures and personnel, and ambulances – as well as deliberately obstructing the efforts of the wounded to find help – are common features of conflicts throughout the world.
In Sri Lanka and Somalia, hospitals have been shelled; in Libya and Lebanon, ambulances have been shot at; in Bahrain, medical personnel who treated protesters are on trial; and in Afghanistan, the wounded languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues. From Colombia to Gaza, and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Nepal, there is a lack of respect for the neutrality of health-care facilities and personnel, and medical vehicles, among both those attacking them and those who misuse them for military gain.
The ICRC has been documenting violence against health-care facilities and personnel, and against patients, since 2008 in 16 countries where it is working. The number of incidents that have been recorded is striking. But statistics represent only the tip of the iceberg: they do not capture the compounded cost of violence – health-care staff leaving their posts, hospitals running out of supplies and vaccination campaigns coming to a halt. These knock-on effects dramatically limit access to health care for entire communities, many of whose members may be suffering from chronic or war-related health problems.
Abstract: A new law passed by the Colombian government to make reparation to victims of the
armed conflict has implications for the approximately 455,000 Colombians who live
as refugees, asylum-seekers, or in a refugee-like situation outside the country.
Although these vulnerable individuals may be entitled to reparation for human rights
violations suffered in Colombia, the ongoing armed conflict impedes their access to
this offer. This paper investigates the legal and practical implications of offering such
‘transnational’ reparations to externally-displaced victims in circumstances of
protracted armed conflict.
The new Victims’ Law in Colombia provides for wide-ranging reparation measures to
persons who have suffered damages directly as a result of human rights violations or
infractions of international humanitarian law.
Although refugees and other
EDVs do not figure prominently in its provisions, this new legal framework generates
a range of wider questions about the positioning of such persons vis-à-vis the offer of
reparation from their home country, including:
- To what extent does international law require the home state to address the
specific needs of EDVs when designing reparation measures and
- What are the international law implications of home country reparation to
EDVs for third states?
- What is the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – as the international agency mandated with refugee protection
in such processes?
- What does ‘reparation’ mean for refugees and other EDVs, and what are
their needs in this regard?
- What are the political consequences of the often tense border dynamics
that accompany refugee outflows for the implementation of any reparation
measures for EDVs?
By addressing these questions through a Colombian case study, this paper constitutes a
first step towards understanding what the provision of reparation may mean for
refugees and other displaced persons where the circumstances giving rise to their
Abstract: Multiple threats to Libya's stability and public order could emerge if the Qaddafi regime falls. Scenarios range from Qaddafi loyalist forces launching a violent resistance to internecine warfare breaking out among the rebel factions. This instability in Libya could lead to a humanitarian disaster, the emergence of a new authoritarian ruler, or even the country’s dissolution. Given these potential consequences, Daniel Serwer recommends in this Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum that the European Union lead a post-Qaddafi stabilization force in Libya. The force preferably should fall under the United Nations umbrella with modest participation from the African Union and Arab League. The United States should support the stabilization effort with the aim of helping to establish a united and sovereign Libya with inclusive democratic institutions.
Abstract: This report is published by the Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq -UNAMI- in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights -OHCHR- under their respective mandates. Information for this report has been gathered from direct monitoring by UNAMI as well as from a variety of other sources, including Government, UN Agencies, civil society, NGOs and media. It covers the period from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010. The draft of this Report was submitted to the Government of Iraq and the Government of the Kurdistan Region prior to publication and their views are referred to in the text or footnoted where appropriate.
Abstract: There are numerous sources of local conflict in Afghanistan today, but the majority cluster around a few issues: disputes over land and water rights; family disputes, particularly inheritance; and disputes over control of local positions of authority.
Lack of capacity or resources in the formal justice systems has been blamed for the lack of effective dispute resolution. But the fact that disputes were resolved more regularly in Afghanistan before the war years, when the formal justice system had even fewer resources, indicates that other causes are involved.
Lack of political and personal security of dispute-resolution practitioners and the increased
power of local commanders, whose authority is not community-based, have undermined the traditional dispute-resolution system. At the same time, corruption and inefficiency have delegitimized the formal justice system in the eyes of many disputants.
Afghans and foreign donors alike note that Afghanistan has both state (court-based) and • nonstate (based upon a combination of customary and religious law) justice sectors, and it is often assumed that these systems solely compete with each other for dispute-resolution authority.
USIP research shows that, contrary to assumptions, successfully resolved disputes rely on • a combination of formal and informal actors. Indeed, it is common for disputes to move between formal and informal venues and to be considered by a series of local elders and, more rarely, government officials.
Abstract: Yemen has suffered from internal conflicts and clashes for several years, resulting in severe disruptions of services, lack of security for the population and a large number of internally displaced people. The internal security threats include three distinct elements: a conflict in the north; a secessionist movement in the south; and the threat posed by terrorist elements.
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: Why do some armed groups commit wartime rape on a large scale, while others never turn to sexual violence? Although scholars and policymakers have made many claims about the rates, severity and locations of wartime sexual violence, there have been few systematic efforts to gather data on sexual violence during conflict. Using an original dataset, I examine the incidence of sexual violence by both insurgent groups and state actors during civil wars between 1980-2009. I first establish that there is substantial variation in the severity of wartime sexual violence, both across and within conflicts. I then use the data in a statistical analysis to test a series of competing hypotheses about the causes of wartime sexual violence. I find strong evidence that the choice of recruitment mechanism—namely, whether the armed group abducted or press-ganged its members—predicts the use of sexual violence. I maintain that this finding supports an argument about the use of rape as a method of combatant socialization, in which members of armed groups who are recruited by force use rape to create and to maintain unit cohesion. I also find that contraband funding and genocide predict sexual violence by insurgents. Notably, there is no support for several common explanations for wartime sexual violence, including ethnic war and gender inequality. Drawing on data from the Sierra Leone civil war, I examine the observable implications of the proposed mechanism on the micro level in a brief case study. The results undermine conventional wisdom on the causes of sexual violence and suggest that multiple mechanisms may be at work in understanding wartime sexual violence.
Abstract: Conflict continues to pose one of the biggest
threats to the survival, development and well being
of a significant number of children across the world.
In the past decade, 2 million children have died
directly as a result of conflict and 6 million have
been permanently disabled or seriously injured.
Explosive weapons were responsible for the death
and injury of thousands of children in a number of
conflicts in 2009, including Operation Cast Lead
in Gaza, the final stage of the war in northern
Sri Lanka, and the intensification of conflicts in
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. In these
latter four countries, as well as in the occupied
Palestinian territory and Iraq, the use of explosive
weapons continued through 2010. Children were
often the victims in these conflicts, with too little
attention paid to minimising the risk to them or to
ensuring that their fundamental human rights, such
as the right to life,were not violated.
As well as governments’ use of explosive weapons
in populated areas, recent decades have seen
a rising number of non state actors using more
sophisticated explosive weapons. For instance,
information leaked from Afghanistan indicates that
the Taliban has used shoulder launched surface to
air missiles, which are more technologically
advanced than the rocket propelled grenades they
frequently use. Improvised explosive devices
have also become more sophisticated and more
deadly over the past two decades.
Section 1 of this report describes the impact
of explosive weapons on children and their
communities. Section 2 outlines the international
human rights and legal framework that could
and should be implemented to protect children.
In Section 3, Save the Children proposes three
steps towards minimising the impact of explosive
weapons on children and makes recommendations
to the international community, governments and
Abstract: IKV Pax Christi strives to enhance the protection of civilians in conflict. In the report, IKV Pax Christi expresses her concern about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
From relatively simple improvised explosive devices to advanced aircraft-delivered bombs and missiles, all explosive weapons share certain characteristics that make their use in populated areas especially dangerous for civilian populations. By projecting a blast wave and shrapnel, explosive weapons indiscriminately damage the area around the point of detonation, making no distinction between soldiers or civilians. Furthermore, explosive weapons can also destroy critical infrastructure and frequently pose a long-term risk to populations in the form of unexploded ordnance. For these and other reasons, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas urgently needs to be addressed.
The report provides an overview of recent debates on the use of these weapons, existing agreements in International Humanitarian Law, and the consequences of the use of these weapons for civilians when used in populated areas.
Abstract: In February the conflict was sparked by anti-Government protests which drew a Government of Libya response. Since then, the
conflict has moved back and forth across Libya. The humanitarian and protection situation remains of utmost concern to the
humanitarian community. Over 686,422 migrants have fled the violence, including 261,118 third-country nationals. Hundreds of thousands of Libyans are internally displaced. At least 40,000 are refugees in neighbouring
Tunisia. Humanitarian partners have provided over 5,180 metric tons of aid including food, medical supplies, shelter
and non-food items. Over 12,800 people have been evacuated from Misrata so far. The humanitarian community is in
contact with all parties to carry out assistance. By far the greatest impact has been wrought on Misrata, a city of 300,000
people, which has seen the bloodiest fighting with thousands of casualties. Precise numbers of civilians killed or injured are unknown.
Abstract: After the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, Cambodia set about the difficult process of state-building. Despite violent clashes in 1997-98, the Cambodian government has been largely successful in establishing full control of military forces, into which former Khmer Rouge soldiers have been reintegrated. The Cambodian government, with support of donors, successfully improved infrastructure throughout the country, built up capacity in key state institutions, and provided basic public services to the people. Behind these achievements was assistance from a grassroots network built by the Cambodian People‟s Party in the 1980s. This network is characterized by patronage connections between the government and village chiefs, and between the latter and villagers. Consequently, the legitimacy of the state has been strengthened. In contrast, social empowerment has been delayed, and people's political rights and freedoms have been restricted by the state. As shown by the recent increase of corruption charges and land tenure disputes, the imbalance between the powerful state and a stunted civil society is a potential factor of instability.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the historical relation between conflict and land tenure in Rwanda, a country that experienced a harsh civil war and genocide in the mid-1990s. The victory of the Tutsi-led rebel, Rwandan Patriotic Front - RPF - at that time triggered a massive return of refugees and a drastic change in land tenure policy. These were refugees who had fled the country at around the time of independence, in 1962, due to the political turmoil and persecution (the "social revolution") and who shared the background of the core RPF members. The social revolution had dismantled the existent Tutsi-led political order, compelling many Tutsi families to seek refuge outside their homeland. Under the post-independence rule of a Hutu-led government, the Tutsi refugees were not allowed to return and the lands they left behind were often arbitrarily distributed by local authorities among Hutu peasants. After victory in the mid-1990s civil war, the newly established RPF-led government ordered the current inhabitants of the lands to divide the properties in order to allocate portions to the Tutsi returnees. Different patterns of land holding and land division will be explained in the paper from data gathered through the authors' fieldworks in the southern and eastern parts of Rwanda. Although overt resistance to land division has not been observed to date, the land rights of the Tutsi returnees must be considered unstable because their legitimacy depends primarily on the strength and political stability of the RPF-led government. If the authority of RPF were to weaken, the land rights will be jeopardized. Throughout Rwandan history, in which political exclusion has often led to serious conflict, macro-level politics have repeatedly influenced land holding. Promotion of an inclusive democracy, therefore, is indispensable to escape the vicious circle between political instability and land rights.
Abstract: Here is the full text of the UN Security Council statement on Syria, agreed after days of debate. At least 1,600 people are believed to have been killed since anti-government demonstrations began in March.