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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: 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: 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: Can digital media help to build peace in weak and conflict-ridden states or will they foment violence? This paper discusses participatory digital media in the context of 21st century conflicts. It argues that successful intervention cannot be based on the operating frameworks of traditional media support. Evidence from case studies in Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma demonstrates that digital media strategies require dynamism, flexibility and close attention to grassroots reality if they are to build political participation, openness and trust.
Modern conflict is often focused within states, with fighting taking place near population centres. Digital media give more people the tools to record and share their experiences of conflict; they drastically reduce costs and remove the constraints of the formal editorial structure.
Increased access to information and to the means to produce media has both positive and negative consequences in conflict situations. The question of whether the presence of digital media networks will encourage violence or lead to peaceful solutions may be viewed as a contest between the two possible outcomes. It is possible to build communications architectures that encourage dialogue and non-violent political solutions. However, it is equally possible for digital media to increase polarisation, strengthen biases, and foment violence.
Most weak and fragile states are experiencing growth in new technologies, particularly mobile phones. However, the picture is not uniform, and conflict can work as both obstacle and motivator for increased communications access. Many non-profit, research, rights and policy advocacy organisations now work directly as providers of information.
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: 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: 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 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.
Abstract: L’arrivée au pouvoir du président élu Ouattara ne doit pas masquer la réalité. La Côte d’Ivoire reste un pays fragile et instable. Les atrocités commises après le second tour de l’élection présidentielle du 28 novembre 2010 et la tentative de confiscation par tous les moyens du pouvoir perdu dans les urnes par Laurent Gbagbo ont renforcé les tensions communautaires déjà très vives. Les prochains mois seront cruciaux. Il appartient au nouveau gouvernement de ne pas sous-estimer les menaces qui pèseront pendant longtemps sur la paix et de rompre avec la légèreté et l’ivresse du pouvoir qui ont conduit le pays à des choix désastreux au cours des deux dernières décennies. La communauté internationale doit maintenir un regard attentif sur la période actuelle de transition et jouer sa partition dans les domaines de la sécurité, de l’économie et de la coordination de la réponse humanitaire. Le président doit prendre des décisions courageuses dans les registres de la sécurité, de la justice, du dialogue politique, du redémarrage économique et intégrer un élément de réconciliation dans chacun de ces domaines.
Abstract: Scores were killed in Syria as security forces backed by tanks launched an assault on the restive central city of Hama and other towns and cities, at the end of a month which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets as daily anti-regime protests continued to spread. Syrian rights groups reported that more than 1,600 people have been killed and at least 12,000 arrested since the unrest began in March.
In Yemen violence escalated in Arhab, a mountainous area northeast of the capital Sanaa, where at least 40 were killed at the end of the month in clashes between government forces and armed tribesmen loyal to the opposition.
The UN declared a state of famine in Somalia's Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions, both controlled by Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, following the worst drought in half a century and protracted instability.
There were hopes for political reconciliation in Burundi, as opposition parties welcomed President Pierre Nkurunziza's 30 June Independence Day speech inviting opposition leaders to return from exile and resume talks with the government.
In Malawi security forces used live ammunition to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters from 20-21 July, leaving at least eighteen people dead.
At least one presidential guard was killed on 19 July during two separate attacks on the home of Guinea's President Alpha Condé. Security forces arrested 38 people in connection with the attacks, including 25 military personnel. Most of those arrested have links with former junta leader Sekouba Konaté.
Ethnic violence flared in Pakistan's second city and commercial hub Karachi, leaving more than 200 people dead. July was the deadliest month in decades for clashes between supporters of the mainly Pashtun Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, representing the Urdu-speaking majority.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban stepped up their assassination campaign against government officials and key allies of President Hamid Karzai. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president's half-brother and influential governor of volatile Kandahar province, was killed by his own bodyguard on 12 July, while the mayor of Kandahar city and a top adviser to the president died in separate suicide attacks later in the month.
Tensions soared in Kosovo late month after Kosovo special police attempted to take control of two customs posts in the north to enforce a new ban on imports from Serbia, triggering a violent response from Kosovo Serbs.
Abstract: Politics, Religion and Power in the Great Lakes Region covers the political, religious and power relations in the contemporary Great Lakes States : Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya and the Sudan. The work is important because of the nexus between these countries’ shared present and past - their political, socio-economic, cultural and historical aspirations. In terms of regional cooperation, they are the countries, save for the DRC and the Sudan, which form the current East African Community.
The book reflects on the complex dynamics and strategies of the ensuing power struggle, bringing forth a unique set of fascinating revelations of patterns of primitive capital accumulation, resistance, human rights violations and the political compromises between traditional enemies when confronted by a common (foreign) enemy. A critical analysis of the political distortion the region suffered brings to light the relevance of these divisive tools on the current trends in the African countries, drawing inferences from the African Great Lakes Region (GLR).
The study highlights how the conflicts were finally resolved to avert a serious war, thus bringing about new reforms. This history is instructive to the contemporary reader because of the frequent skirmishes caused by ethnic and religious differences, political and territorial conflicts as well as resource and leadership disputes in the GLR.
Abstract: The main aim of emergency response funds - ERFs - is to provide rapid and flexible funding to in-country actors to address unforeseen humanitarian needs.There are currently 14 stand-alone ERFs in operation.
This report provides information and data on these ERFs, including donors to the funds, implementing agencies and sector analysis. The document also provides brief case studies of the use of the funds in Kenya and Somalia.
Abstract: Last February, Reporters Without Borders released its first-ever thematic report on organized crime, the main source of physical danger for journalists since the end of the Cold War. Produced with the help of our correspondents and specialists in several continues, that report underlined how difficult it is for the media to investigate the criminal underworld’s activities, networks and infiltration of society. Aside from covering bloody shootouts between rival cartels, news media of any size usually seem ill-equipped to describe organized crime’s hidden but ubiquitous presence.
Paraguay, which a Reporters Without Borders representative visited from 3 to 10 July, is a good example of these problems. Overshadowed by Brazil and Argentina, its two big neighbours in the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), it has long received one of the world’s worst rankings in Transparency International’s corruption index. It is also a major way station in the trafficking of cocaine from the Bolivian Andes to the Southern Cone.
While the level of violence is not as high as in Mexico, Colombia or some Central American countries, the persistent corruption, judicial impunity and influence of mafia activity on political and business activity prevent the media and civil society from playing a watchdog role. Although elections brought about a real change of government for the first time in 2008, Paraguay is still struggling to free itself from the code of silence and complicity that prevailed during the decades of dictatorship and affects the media as well. This was clear from interviews with journalists, observers and state officials in Asunción and Concepción, in the border cities of Ciudad del Este and Encarnación, and the Argentine border city of Posadas.
Abstract: The death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011 has once again put the media spotlight on Al-Qaeda. The movement’s weakening due to the loss of its main leader does not amount to its elimination: Al- Qaeda has become a brand, mainly targeting the international community, and several scattered movements will continue to lay claim to it, whether situated in Europe, the Maghreb, Yemen and the Sudan, or Indonesia. Al-Qaeda’s weakening does not settle the political and social conflicts which have served as its background. There is hoped however that the erroneous prism constituted by the US-led ‘war on terror’ waged after 11 September 2001 will be abandoned. This ‘war’ contributed to the overlap of an internationalised Jihadi movement with situations of local tension in which Islam was, to very diverse degrees, claimed as a narrative by which to explain the conflict. The idea that every conflict affecting Muslim populations had a more or less direct link to international terrorism distorted Western readings not only of the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, of that between Tamils and government forces in Sri- Lanka, as well as, the understanding of Pakistan’s domestic frailty due to the emergence of its own Taliban movements.
The international community pays regular attention to the Islam issue in the Middle-East. Today it is in a better position to understand the lack of unity that characterises radical Islam in the Maghreb, Mashrek and the Persian Gulf, and has realised the importance of social and political questions (radical Islam is a response to social marginalisation and political repression).
Abstract: Enthusiasts of human security argue that what is needed in the post-Cold-War period is a
foreign policy agenda that is more ‘people-centred’ than the state-centred focus of security
policy during the Cold War period. Among the most enthusiastic proponents of the human
security paradigm in the 1990s was the Canadian government, which, in partnership with
a number of other like-minded governments, sought to press the human security agenda,
taking a number of human security initiatives. However, since the late 1990s, we have seen
a paradox: the concept has attracted increased attention from scholars while its salience
among policy-makers appears to be declining. Using the case of the Canadian government’s
policy towards the crisis in Timor in September 1999, we explore the difficulty that
policy-makers have had in moving human security from the rhetorical realm to the level of
concrete policy that makes a difference to the safety of people whose security is threatened.
We conclude that there was a significant gap between Canada’s human security rhetoric
and Ottawa’s actual policy in Timor. While the Canadian government did eventually
contribute troops to the International Force, East Timor (INTERFET), we show that
Canada’s response was slow, cautious, and minimalist. There was neither the willingness
nor the capacity to be at the forefront of the efforts to send a robust force to East Timor.
This case demonstrates some important limits of the human security agenda, and why this
agenda remained so firmly in the realm of the rhetorical in the 1990s.
Abstract: This briefing note outlines practical and achievable steps that the
UN Security Council can take to ensure stronger protection for children
affected by armed conflict. The recommendations detailed in this note
are based on 32 interviews with child protection stakeholders, including
members of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed
Conflict (Working Group), UN agencies, field- and headquarters-based
nongovernmental organization (NGO) staff, members of the Group of
Friends, and subject experts. The note is timed to coincide with the
Security Council’s annual Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict
(CAC), scheduled for July 2011, and seeks to inform any discussions
regarding a new Security Council resolution.
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: Nearly three generations of Angolans have been at war for 41 years. Together with the destruction of most of the country’s infrastructure, the social capital of Angola’s communities was damaged during one of the longest wars in Africa, a war that was preceded by 500 years of slavery and colonialisation. The war resulted in 500,000 to 1 million war-related deaths; hundreds of thousands of people were directly affected by the armed conflict; there were major internal population displacements of approximately 4.5 million people throughout the country, and approximately 400,000 thousand people fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. Throughout this process, people suffered enormous physical and emotional damage, families were separated; communities were repeatedly fragmented and dispersed. The institutional capacity to design and implement projects of collective interest was crippled. The infrastructure to deliver social services such as health and education was largely destroyed. There are an estimated 2-7 million landmines scattered across Angola; the road network is in tatters, and food production remains below minimum levels of food security.
The level of vulnerability among the general population in Angola is one of the highest in the world. A greater percentage of Angolan people are at risk of disease and destitution than in virtually any other African country. In January 2004, more than 20 percent of the entire population (4 million) was still displaced and at least 10 percent dependent on external assistance to survive. Of the displaced peoples, 65 percent were under the age of 15, with women and children making up more than 80 percent of the total. Displaced and refugee/returnee women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the effects of violence and poverty. Amongst the most vulnerable in this group, are the girls who were separated from their families during the armed conflict. In this group, the formerly abducted girl soldiers are the most excluded and most vulnerable.