February 18, 2009 Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael
In spite of the fact that UN peacekeeping operations are a relative new field for scholarly research,
the literature on the subject has grown into a substantial body. This article distils from
this body of scholarly literature eleven clusters of factors for success and failure for UN
peacekeeping operations in general and tests these on four case studies – Cambodia, Mozambique,
Rwanda and El Salvador – of one particular type of UN peacekeeping operation: the
UN peace-building operations. It concludes that although the results of the four cases of UN
peace-building operations largely confirm the factors for success and failure as found in literature
for UN peacekeeping operations in general, theory on UN peace-building operations
still needs adjustment and fine tuning. Amongst others, it appears from the cases that two
factors that receive a lot of attention in literature – the non-use of force by the operation and
the need for a clear and detailed mandate – are less important....
July 3, 2008 German Institute of Global and Area Studies
Central America has the reputation of being a violent region with high crime rates, youth gangs, drug traffic, and ubiquitous insecurity. Politicians, the media, and social scientists in and outside the region often claim that the societies are in complete agreement with their judgment of the situation and that all society members are calling for law and order and social segregation. Focusing on Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, the paper analyzes the social perception of violence and crime. On the basis of essays written by secondary school students and interviews with citizens from all walks of life in the three countries, the paper points out how elite arguments on violence and crime are translated into
everyday life, and what society members suggest be done to deal with these problems. The sources prove that there are noticeable hegemonic discourses on violence and crime in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Simultaneously, a majority of the respondents call for social and integrative solutions rather than the so-called “iron fist.” The repressive trend in Central American policies therefore does not necessarily receive the presumed affirmation asserted by many authorities on and in the region....
May 12, 2008 University of Ottawa // Paris, Roland
The United Nations and other international agencies conducted three major post-conflict peacebuilding operations in central America in the 1990s: in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Like the many other international peacebuilding missions that were deployed during the 1990s, the operations in Central America aimed to assist local actors in the implementation of peace settlements after civil wars, and more generally to create the conditions for what UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called a 'stable and lasting peace,' or a peace that is likely to endure for the foreseeable future. Peacebuilding, in other words, is more than merely the supervision of ceasefires among former combatants. According to both Annan and his predecessor, Boutros Boutros Ghali, the overarching goal of peacebuilding is to eliminate the underlying sources of conflict in a war-shattered state, in order to reduce the likelihood of renewed violence....
January 2, 2008 German Institute of Global and Area Studies
It has become common to state that youth gangs and organized crime have seized Central America. For theories on contemporary Central American violence, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua present important test cases, demonstrating the need to differentiate the diagnosis. First, national discourses on violence differ from country to country, with varying threat levels, patterns of attention, and discursive leitmotivs. Second, there are border-crossing discursive nodes such as the mara paradigm, the perception of grand corruption, and gender-based violence tied to cross-national, national or sub-national publics.
The paper explores the ambiguity and plurivocality of contemporary discourses on violence, emanting from a variety of hegemonic and less powerful publics....
December 19, 2007 European Conference on International Relations
The article attempts to briefly analyze state-building theories and methods, as applied to justice system reform in post-conflict scenarios. In this respect, the international authorities involved in the reconstruction process may traditionally chose between either a 'dirigiste' or a consent-based approach, which represent the essential terms of reference for past interventions. However, features common to most reconstruction missions and relatively poor results confirm the need for change in the overall strategy. This requires the international donors to focus more on the 'demand for justice' at local level than on the traditional supply of legal aid. In this respect, the articles stresses the need for effectively promoting the 'local ownership' of the reform process, without this expression being merely used by international actors as a political umbrella under which to protect themselves from potential failures....
Like many other conflicts in Salvadoran history, the 1969 war with Honduras, sometimes referred to as the Football War, was rooted in economic disparity. El Salvador is a small country with a large and rapidly growing population and a severely limited amount of available land. Honduras is a larger country with a smaller population and a less-developed economy. By 1969 some 300,000 Salvadorans had drifted over the border and taken up residence in more sparsely populated Honduras. The vast majority of these Salvadorans were squatters, technically illegal immigrants whose sole claim to the land they worked was their physical presence on it. For Hondurans, the land itself was not so much the issue. What rankled them was the image of being pushed and potentially enveloped by the Salvadorans. Throughout the 1960s, the mechanisms of the Central American Common Market worked to the advantage of the more developed economies of the region, particularly those of Guatemala and El Salvador. The growth of Salvadoran-owned businesses in Honduras-- shoe stores were the most visible of these enterprises-- underscored for Hondurans the relative economic disparity between the two countries. The issue of the Salvadoran squatters, despite its lack of real economic significance, became a nationalistic sore point for Honduras, a question of adding territorial insult to perceived economic injury....
The government of President Molina attempted to exert old-fashioned coercive control over the country, using a relatively new instrument, a peasant organization known as the Nationalist Democratic Organization (Organizacion Democratica Nacionalista-- Orden). Orden was established partially in secret in the early 1960s by then President Rivera and General Jose Alberto "Chele" Medrano in association with the GN, which provided some level of counterinsurgent training to peasant cells throughout the countryside. The counterinsurgent orientation of Orden was in keeping with the anticommunist tenor of the times and the general intent of military training and assistance provided to the armed forces of the region by the United States. Orden, however, never became a military force per se but functioned as a paramilitary adjunct and an important part of the rural intelligence network for the security forces. By the late 1970#s, its membership reportedly totaled 100,000....
Following the civil war's end in 1992, some 20,000 landmines remained in 425 minefields covering 436 square kilometers of El Salvador. The FMLN positioned the majority of these landmines to discourage counter-insurgency sweeps, while the Salvadoran military laid the remainder to protect bases and encampments. Although Mauricio Granillo Barrera, El Salvador's ambassador to the Organization of American States maintains the country is mine-free, in 2001, a national media inquiry concerning the explosion of anti-personnel mines and other UXO left after the war led Marcos Alfredo Valladares, then Attorney General in the Office for Hu#man Rights, to admit, "Many have concluded that country is mine-free, but that is in contrast to reality."1 Indeed, following the completion of the National Demining Plan in 1994, the International Danger Disaster Assistance (IDAS), as well as the Armed Forces, FMLN and United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) guaranteed that 97 percent of the mines in place following El Salvador's civil were cleared. El Salvador signed the Ottawa Convention in 1997 and ratified it in 1999, and it is also party to Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons....
December 1, 2004 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // University of Maryland
The Indians constitute 10% (517,000) of El Salvadors's population and primarily reside in the southwestern region in the states of Sonsonate (especially the communities Nahuizalco and Izalco), Ahuachapan, La Libertad, and (to a lesser extent) Santa Ana; the most well known community is Panchimalco, just outside of San Salvador. The Indians of El Salvador are impoverished and lack adequate education and health facilities. However, since 1992 the government has implemented policies to ensure better treatment of individuals and has recognized past human rights abuses by the military and police - officials have even been sentenced to prison. Salvadoran Indians are assimilated into the society and are subject to economic discrimination due to their historical status, but are not discriminated against politically - again, Indians are not officially recognized by the government. As the peace process consolidates in El Salvador, it is not very likely that Indians will organize or mobilize as an indigenous identity group, but rather as a larger part of the rurally poor in society. Furthermore, violence does not seem likely since most protest and organization by these Indians has been peaceful and non-violent. Factors supporting the likelihood of rebellion or protest are all but non-existent....
November 22, 2010 Berghof Conflict Research // Berghof Peace Support
In the context of an authoritarian regime, controlled by the military in alliance with a powerful landowning oligarchy, Salvadoran political-military organizations sprang up throughout the 1970's. Political and economic exclusion were the basis from which a wide popular movement arose. Faced with the closing of arenas for political participation, huge numbers of activists joined the ranks of the guerrilla army during the 1970's. The five Salvadoran revolutionary organizations formed the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in October 1980, with the joint aim of both procuring the government's defeat as well as creating a socialist project.
Following the defeat of the "final offensive" launched by the FMLN to oust the government in 1981, the conflict turned into a longstanding civil war that only came to an end when the main leaders from both sides became convinced it was impossible to attain military victory.
This work analyzes the emergence, dynamics and the transformation of the FMLN into a political party. the work pays particular attention to the causes that led to the armed struggle in El Salvador and the factors that made a negotiated solution to the armed conflict possible....
From 1980 to 1991, a violent and destructive civil war
raged throughout El Salvador, rooted in more than a
century of systemic social, political and economic exclusion
of large segments of the population. From the latter half
of the 19th century, the country had been ruled by an
oligarchic alliance of a small wealthy landowning class
and the military, which maintained its grip on power in
a context of overwhelming inequality through the use of
physical force. The formal institutions of government in El
Salvador were little more than a facade.
These historical divisions were compounded by changes
in the geopolitical context. In the Cold War era, Latin
America was one of the major battlegrounds in the war
between capitalist and communist ideologies. El Salvador
was no exception: during the, war the US provided
more than $1.1 billion to the right-wing government in
an attempt to contain Cuban- and Nicaraguan-backed
revolutionaries. The result of this unfortunate conjunction
of historical injustice at home and geopolitical conflict on
the world stage resulted in a war that led to the deaths
of 75,000 people and the displacement of more than a
And yet, from this challenging and complex point of
departure, El Salvador has achieved significant progress
in developing a system of governance that provides
incentives for the state to act in ways that promote the
wellbeing of the population in general, rather than merely
that of an elite. The country has progressed from a state
of affairs in which physical violence was an accepted form
of political contestation to a norm of non-violent political
October 27, 2010 Human Security Unit - Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Source // United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Over the last decade, the international community
has been working toward a new and broader concept
of security, drawing input from a number of
governments, non-governmental organizations and
civil society groups as well as scholars and other
prominent individuals. This new concept—known
as human security—calls on states to ensure the
survival, livelihood and dignity of their inhabitants.
At the same time, it encourages e≠orts to equip
people to act more e≠ectively on their own behalf. Following the report by the Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now, this booklet seeks to show practical applications of human security and give the concept a human face. Between March-June 2006, in preparation for this publication, the Human Security Unit, a freelance journalist and a team of photographers visited dozens of project sites, conducting hundreds of interviews with local staff and beneficiaries. From these many compelling initiatives, nine stories were selected that reflect the range of issues, regions and institutions involved in human security work around the globe. Human security represents a fundamentally new
way of thinking about a range of contemporary
challenges—from hunger, poverty and failing
schools to armed conflict, forced migration and
human tra≤cking. Because these issues are closely
intertwined, human security emphasizes the need
for multi-sectoral responses and collaboration
among all stakeholders. Moreover, it aims to bridge
the gaps between security, humanitarian assistance,
human rights and development aid....
The Mediation Practice Series (MPS) was initiated in 2008 as
part of the HD Centre’s efforts to support the broader mediation
community. Based on the shared view that mediators often confront similar
dilemmas although mediation differs widely across peace
processes, the HD Centre has decided to produce a series of
decision-making tools that draw upon the comparative experience
of track one mediation processes. As mediators consider engagement with armed groups they
face a variety of challenges and options – including whether it is
wise to engage at all. This contribution to the Mediation Practice
Series addresses engagement by those working toward peace
processes which involve formal interaction between leaders.
The focus is on the dilemmas, challenges and risks involved in a
mediator’s early contacts with an armed group and subsequent
engagement as interlocutor, message-carrier, adviser and/or
facilitator – all roles that may precede and accompany formal
negotiation between parties to a conflict.
The armed groups considered are those whose rebellion or
resistance explicitly challenges the authority of the state, rather
than the full spectrum of non-state armed groups (which would
include criminal organisations and gangs, as well as paramilitary
actors accountable to the state). The former claim their violence
is rooted in legitimate self-defence against the infringement of
their rights. Political in its origin – if at times criminal in its conduct
– armed action is pursued as a means to a political end. While
military pressure, or other actions by security forces, may be necessary to counter it, in almost all cases a lasting resolution to
the conflict will depend on some form of political accommodation
or agreement. Case studies include: The FMLN and the UN in El Salvador (p. 8-13), Dilemmas of talking to the Taliban (p. 13-14), Private mediators and the GAM
in Aceh (p. 15-18), Coping with pre-conditions
on Hamas (p. 20-23), The ICC and the LRA in conflict
at the peace table (p. 23-28), Case study : Norway and the LTTE (p. 28-29), Case study : Engaging the Maoists in Nepal (p. 31-35)....
October 18, 2010 Bonn International Center for Conversion
This brief presents the progress to date in developing
a typology of wartime rape as a first step toward
understanding the different consequences of this form
of violence in war. This publication focuses solely on
wartime rape perpetrated by armed groups against
civilians, though this form of violence is perpetrated
more widely by, and against, different actors during
war. The wider perpetration of rape against other
actors is not presented in this brief, but is nevertheless
included in the Typology. The Typology is a product of
two phases of research: a) an initial phase (November
2008–May 2009) where a preliminary typology was
created based on an examination of two country
cases of wartime rape: Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and El Salvador; and b) a second phase (September
2009–May 2010) where the typology was refined
according to data collected from a review of the
literature on ten additional country cases of wartime
rape (Cambodia, Colombia, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Liberia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea/
Bougainville, Peru, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste).
The Typology was designed on the basis of a definition
of wartime, which includes a myriad of war dynamics
that surround and influence the perpetration of
rape, and which can be organized into the following
type of conflict in which wartime rape occurs;
characteristics of the armed group;
motivations for the rape;
characteristics of the rapist;
characteristics of the raped person; and
characteristics of the rape....