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Abstract: This is a transcript of an event held on 5 October at Chatham House. The panellists, drawn from the Middle East and North Africa Programme's regional experts, examined the latest round of negotiations aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
As the latest round of negotiations aimed at resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict was embarked on in September 2010, the regional ramifications of the much-interrupted peace process have never appeared more important. State actors close to the conflict such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and non-state actors such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, all have a stake in the outcome of the peace talks. Together with the wider Arab League membership and Iran, not all of them wish the process to succeed, or succeed on the terms envisaged by the US and its allies in the European Union.
This panel drawn from the Middle East and North Africa Programme's regional experts will examine what is at stake for the regional neighbours of Israel and the Palestinians. What influence have they had over the initial progress of the negotiations? Are their actions critical in helping or hindering the outcome of the bilateral talks? What alternatives or reactions might they envisage should this latest attempt at peace fail?
Abstract: This is a transcript of an event held on 11 October at Chatham House. A panel of Pakistani journalists discussed the role of the media in Pakistan and considered what role, if any, the media can play in helping to bring stability to the country.
Abstract: How do societies emerging from war come to terms with their recent violent past? How can people and communities, which are deeply divided and traumatized by war and gross human rights violations, regain trust in their fellow citizens and state institutions? How can they achieve a sense of security and economic stability, rebuild a system of shared values, participatory political structures and an inclusive identity? How can a past that is marked by violence be overcome, and a common future shaped? The peaceful transformation of post-conflict societies is undoubtedly a long and complex process, which ultimately has to involve all layers and structures of a society. However, experience gained over past decades has shown that restoring justice and the rule of law, truth-seeking mechanisms and the development of new social relationships are central to this process.
This FriEnt Briefing Paper explains terminology and concepts of relevance to transitional justice, identifies key challenges and issues arising for development and peace organisations, highlights the most significant problems, and outlines strategies for action.
Abstract: The popular protests in Egypt have signalled major political change but also uncertainty. What lies on the road ahead?
Amongst other issues, Shadi Hamid explored the wider implications of unrest in this region, Ginny Hill examined the knock-on effect in Yemen and Dr Maha Azzam addressed the role of the Muslim Brotherhood.
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: This primer on subnational government in Afghanistan is meant to inform efforts to strengthen local government in recently cleared areas. Among the problems afflicting the Afghan state are the lack of effective service provision and representation, which together should constitute the base of the state's legitimacy. This paper identifies the various entities of local government and identifies opportunities for improvement. It is based on a review of the available academic and nongovernmental studies of subnational government in Afghanistan and interviews with civilian experts, including consultants attached to U.S. and allied government agencies. Opportunities to make the system more participatory and representative should be sought at lower levels to compensate for weak central institutions, and the court system must be strengthened where possible. Good intelligence about local politics must precede engagement. Governance metrics should gauge subjective perceptions of the legitimacy of the Afghan state, rather than objective outputs.
Abstract: The undeniable fact is that the financing made available to debtor countries through international loan agreements has a direct impact, whether positive or negative, upon that country’s human rights situation. There is a real possibility that borrowed funds may contribute, directly or indirectly, to human rights violations in a debtor country. This being the case, there is therefore a need, if not an urgency, to scrutinize loan agreements regarding their potential harmful effects to human rights. This is the function of a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA). It aims to prevent the adverse effects of loan - supported activities or projects to human rights and enhances the effectiveness of foreign loans with respect to the improvement of the human rights situation in debtor countries.
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: Written by Patrice Sartre, a retired French Marine General, this report recounts the achievements and weaknesses of United Nations peacekeeping operations while considering ways to increase robustness.
In the executive summary, Mr. Sartre writes: “The debate about robust peacekeeping pits the enthusiasm of ‘diplomats,’ who believe in peacekeeping but worry that it might not succeed in violent situations, against the scepticism of the ‘military,’ who see its failures as proof that the proper role of military forces is war fighting."
Mr. Sartre served in peace operations in Africa and the former-Yugoslavia. He currently lectures on African Security, UN and EU peacekeeping, and counter-piracy.
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: This Policy Brief examines the real and imagined influence of al-Qa‘ida in North Africa and the Sahel. Despite a perception of the transnationalization of terrorist movements in North Africa under al-Qa‘ida’s banner, robust evidence of an effective al-Qa‘ida’s expansion in the Maghreb and the Sahara/Sahel region remains elusive at best. Rather, doubts about al-Qa‘ida’s actual threat and the efficacy of international response in the context of pervasive state failure in the Sahel raise questions regarding the policy objectives of US-led counter-terrorism in the region.
Abstract: Key facts and figures for Sudan with a focus on Darfur as of June 2011. Categories include:
- Geography and demographics Area Sudan
- Map and focus areas
- Human Development (HDI, Sudan)
- Economy, Budget and Aid
- GDP / govt revenue ($bn, Sudan)
- Aid ($bn, Sudan)
- Acute respiratory infections (incidents / 10,000 population, Darfur)
- Food security
- Cereal production (‘000 MT, Darfur)
- Urbanization (%,Sudan)
- Min. food basket (SDG / day, Darfur)
- Water and sanitation
- Conflict and fatalities (Darfur)
- Fatalities Darfur
- UN & Partners Work Plan 2011
- Displacement and refugees
- Villages affected (Darfur, cum. total)
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: Crimes under international law, including rape and murder, continue to be committed by the Congolese army and armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo following decades of similar crimes across the country, Amnesty International said today.
A new Amnesty International report The time for justice is now; new strategy needed in the Democratic Republic of Congo calls for the reform and strengthening of the country's national justice system to combat impunity that has been fostering a cycle of violence and human rights violations for decades.
"The people of the DRC have suffered war crimes and crimes against humanity - including torture, sexual violence and the use of child soldiers - on an enormous scale and yet only a handful of perpetrators have ever been brought to justice," said Veronique Aubert, Amnesty International's Africa deputy director.
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: 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: For more than a decade, research has stressed the importance of the economic dimension of conflict, and of the economic interests of belligerents. Competition among political, military and business actors for the control of mineral resources in the east of the country is being increasingly recognised as a pivotal factor in assessing the causes of instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report is based on a thorough review of all the main literature on the subject since the year 2000. It describes and assesses the different categories of actors and the processes, chains and linkages that are involved in mining and trading of minerals in the Kivu provinces and in the territory of Ituri. It also reveals some of the main gaps in the information on the issue that is needed to develop and refine more effective peace-building strategies by national and international interveners.
Abstract: A host of publications over the last decade have highlighted the important role played by artisanal and small scale mining of coltan, gold and cassiterite in the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet there is still little awareness of the modus operandi of the various actors involved in the exploitation and trade of these minerals. It is vitally important that initiatives aimed at reforming the artisanal mining industry are based on a thorough knowledge of the political, economic and social dynamics at the grassroots level. This research report analyzes the trading networks within the mining sector and their links to military, economic and political actors in eastern DRC, focusing on the provinces of North and South Kivu, and Ituri District in Orientale Province.
Abstract: State-building is currently considered to be an indispensable process in overcoming state fragility: a condition characterized by frequent armed conflicts as well as chronic poverty. In this process, both the capacity and the legitimacy of the state are supposed to be enhanced; such balanced development of capacity and legitimacy has also been demanded in security sector reform , which is regarded as being a crucial part of post-conflict state-building. To enhance legitimacy, the importance of democratic governance is stressed in both state-building and SSR post-conflict countries. In reality, however, the balanced enhancement of capacity and legitimacy has rarely been realized. In particular, legitimacy enhancement tends to stagnate in countries in which one of multiple warring parties takes a strong grip on state power. This paper tries to understand why such unbalanced development of state-building and SSR has been observed in post-conflict countries, through a case study of Rwanda. Analyses of two policy initiatives in the security sector – Gacaca transitional justice and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration – indicate that although these programs achieved goals set by the government, their contribution to the normative objectives promoted by the international community was quite debatable. It can be understood that this is because the country has subordinated SSR to its state-building process. After the military victory of the former rebels, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the ruling elite prioritized the establishment of political stability over the introduction of international norms such as democratic governance and the rule of law. SSR was implemented only to the extent that it contributed to, and did not threaten, Rwanda’s RPF-led state-building.
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: 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.