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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: 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 paper examines the challenges facing the protracted crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they relate to the international response in eastern DRC, with a particular focus on the relationship between humanitarian assistance, early recovery and stabilisation.
It argues that supporting recovery in DRC requires flexible, risk-tolerant programming. All actors involved need to carefully consider the relationship between assistance, security and recovery, and move beyond simplistic assumptions about how peace and stability can be fostered and encouraged. For humanitarians, there is no time like the present to discuss how to pursue principled humanitarian action and advocate for the protection of civilians, amidst the complex interaction of aid, politics and security.
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: 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: 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: 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: Explosive weapons use in populated areas raises concerns on various grounds,
including from the point of view of armed violence reduction, international
humanitarian law implementation, public health and environmental
protection. This paper will focus on the challenges that the use of explosive
weapons in populated areas poses for the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
Building on a background paper prepared earlier this year for the Discourse on
Explosive Weapons project symposium held on 29 April 2010 in Geneva, and
on discussions at the symposium, this document seeks to address some commonly
heard questions about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and the
implications for policy.
Abstract: In 2001, Pax Christi Netherlands published a report
about the kidnapping industry in Colombia. Seven years on, and the number of kidnappings
worldwide has risen even more. The crime has lost
nothing of its potency as a cause of human tragedy.
Kidnapping is a serious violation of the most
elementary right of mankind: the right to a dignified
existence. We set out in this report to provide a brief
summary of the kidnapping issue on a global level, in
particular of kidnapping in conflict regions and fragile
states. The questions to be answered are concerned with
the financial and political requirements that the
kidnappers set, and with the impacts of these practices
on the conflict and its perpetuation, and on the
performance of the state.
Following on from the previous report, the emphasis of
this investigation is on kidnapping and extortion in
Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Firstly, we wished to
ascertain how the kidnapping issue has developed in
these countries in the past ten years. This raised the
question of whether there was any relationship between
the kidnapping practices in Colombia, and trends in
this crime in the neighbouring countries. Another
primary question regarding Colombia was concerned
with the role of the kidnapping theme in peace talks
and other dialogue between illegal armed groups and
the Colombian government, and with the possible role
of the theme in any future peace talks.
The final chapter investigates the kidnapping-related
policies of the EU member states, and as far as possible
we compare their policies with their actions in practice
in recent years. The main question is whether there is
any European consensus on how to deal with
kidnapping, and how to suppress the phenomenon.
What obstacles are there to a joint approach to the
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: 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: 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 paradox of efforts over the past twenty years to reinvent democracy in Africa has been that
rather than dampening the fires of ethnic conflict, they have often made them more intense and in
the past decade have been accompanied by the explosion of violent conflicts of autochthony,
confrontations of ‘sons of the soil’, that threaten the very bases of social order and cohesion in
multi-ethnic societies. This essay explains the relationship through an argument in five parts.
First, I examine the social construction of African ethnicities since the imposition of European
colonial rule, with particular focus on both the role of the state and the market, as well as the
internal response in African societies. Second, I discuss the particular relationship between the
state, colonial and post-colonial, with effective institutionalization of ‘Big Man’ politics and
patronage as the essential link between ethnic communities and the state and mode of access to
the resources of modernity. Third, we will see that both nationalism and ethnicity in Africa share
a common origin and focus on grasping control of the state apparatus that reinforces rather than
undermines the salience of the nation-state. Fourth, I argue that neo-liberal ‘reforms’ of the state
and market have led to significant political, social and economic decay that can reinforce ethnic
cleavages and undermine democratization in multi-party regimes, even where there have been
serious efforts at constitutional reforms to contain and limit its political expression. Finally, and
fifth, I look at the conflicts of autochthony that have exploded in four very different national
contexts that share a common relationship to economic crisis, growing social decay and
increasing inequality in supposedly democratizing nations.