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.
On June 2, 2011, Peacebuild, with the financial support of the International Development
Research Centre, convened a day-long discussion on the tumultuous changes taking place in the
Middle East and North Africa.
Objectives for the roundtable were to share up-to-date information on current and longer-term
political issues and dynamics, to assess areas for possible support for democratic transitions in
the region, identify areas of relevant Canadian expertise – diaspora, NGO, academic, business
sector, governmental -- and, based on the discussion, generate a set of policy options and/or
recommendations for people-to-people support, NGOs, academics and the Government of
Participants in Cairo, Ottawa and Montreal were linked into a wide-ranging discussion, which
first focused on hearing activist and expert views from the epicentre of regional change – Egypt.
Among the questions explored with human rights activist Hossam Baghat, strategic analyst
Mustafa El-Labbad, activist author May Telmissany and IDRC regional expert Roula El-Rifai were
the makeup of the reform movements in the region and their objectives, what is the real extent
of political Islam’s influence in the Middle East and what has been the role of the armed forces
in the transitions?...
On March 14, 2011, Peacebuild, with financial support from
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT),
convened the first of a series of six workshops on various
peacebuilding and conflict prevention policy issues. This policy
brief synthesizes the findings and recommendations arising from
the first workshop and from two issue papers prepared to inform
the workshop discussion. It highlights policy and programming
options aimed at improving Canadian and global responses to
June 30, 2011 MiningWatch Canada // CENSAT-Agua Viva for Inter Pares
Canadian foreign direct investment in Colombia has
grown consistently since the 1990s, particularly in
telecommunications, mining, and fossil fuel extraction.
Canadian mining and oil companies are major players in
Despite a concerted public relations campaign by
the Colombian government, Colombia continues to suffer
widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial
executions, disappearances, extortion, and threats.
Control over land, labour, and natural resources are
integral to the war and violence in Colombia, and the
past few decades have seen massive displacement and
murder for political and economic ends. Striking correlations
have been observed between where investment –
both domestic and foreign – takes place and rights abuses,
ranging from murder and massacres and related massive
land and property theft to violations of the rights to
freedom of movement and to a healthy environment.
Human rights violations are linked to efforts by
those behind Colombia’s murderous paramilitaries to
create conditions for investment from which they are
positioned to benefit. There are also ongoing relations
between the paramilitary forces and all levels of government
and the armed forces, up to the highest officials,
and there are clear indications that political cover for
such human rights abuses and crimes will continue....
Progress in Afghanistan has been achieved on a number of fronts at the national, provincial,
district and local levels. The pace of change in Afghanistan however has been slow and not
without setbacks. Sustaining progress—whether political, economic or social—will depend on
continuing Afghan leadership, within government and in particular throughout Afghan society.
While much remains to be done, Canada continues to be inspired by those Afghans who are
fighting for change, for peace, for greater rights and freedoms for women and girls, and for
improved quality of life for all Afghans.
This quarterly report, covering the period of January 1 to March 31, 2011, describes the progress
made on Canada’s six priorities and three signature projects in Afghanistan, through a lens of
how our priorities, projects and partnerships have worked to support Afghan leadership and
ownership of their future. This report also provides insight into some of the progress that has
been made in Afghanistan through the experiences and thoughts of the Afghan people
Peacebuild, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) convened the third in a series of six workshops on peacebuilding and conflict prevention policy issues on 31st May 2011 in the CANADEM conference room in Ottawa. The purpose of the workshop series is to exchange current information and analysis among expert civil society practitioners, academics and Government of Canada officials aimed at developing policy and programming options to respond to new developments and emerging trends.
This workshop examined the dynamics of peace and conflict, including drug violence and crime, in Latin America. This policy brief provides a synopsis of the findings and analysis from discussion and the papers presented during the event, highlighting key recommendations to improve prevention and responses to conflict and crime that emerged from the workshop....
Femicide, the killing of women by men because they are
women, is a worldwide phenomenon. Victims of femicide are
often mutilated, raped and tortured before their deaths. These
acts of extreme violence are most likely to occur in
environments where every day forms of violence are accepted,
and impunity is facilitated by the government’s refusal to deal
with the problem. Femicide is considered to be the most
extreme form of misogynistic violence, one which stems from
the violation of human rights of women in the public and
private sphere. In Mexico, particularly on the Mexico-US
border, the killing of women first made international headlines
in 1993, as a growing number of female bodies started to
emerge at the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez. Since then, the
number of femicides continues to rise despite international
pressure and government-led initiatives. In 2007, for example,
the federal government promulgated a law that sought to
prevent all forms of violence against women, La Ley General
de Acceso a las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violence. Four
years after the passing of the law, the levels of gender-based violence remain the same, while the number of femicides
continues to increase, rendering the law inoperable. From
1993 to 2005, approximately 370 women were killed in
Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua City....
Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) moved into North Sudan's South Kordofan state capital Kadugli at the start of the month, triggering large-scale fighting with Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) units from the region. The UN reported heavy bombardment of villages by the SAF, widespread civilian casualties and at least 73,000 people forced to flee. It also accused the government of blocking aid deliveries and intimidating peacekeepers.
Violence spilled over into South Sudan, with several villages bombed by the North. On 28 June the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (North) signed an agreement on political and security arrangements for South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
In Afghanistan, a standoff between parliament and President Hamid Karzai threatens to deepen the country's political crisis.
Proposals by Senegal's ruling party to amend the constitution were condemned by opposition politicians as undemocratic and sparked unprecedented violent protests.
Myanmar/Burma saw its worst clashes since 2009, as fighting broke out between government forces and the Kachin ceasefire group. Tens of thousands have been displaced and some 20 reportedly killed.
In Mexico, a number of incidents highlighted the deterioration in security around Monterrey, the country's second city, industrial hub and capital of Nuevo León state.
In Venezuela, speculation about President Hugo Chávez's health intensified, leading to infighting within his ruling PSUV party and highlighting the country's lack of alternative leadership.
Colombia currently accounts for the vast bulk of cocaine produced in
Latin America. In 2009, the country produced 270 metric tons (MT)
of cocaine, making it the principal supplier for both the United States
and the worldwide market. Besides Colombia, Peru and Bolivia constitute
two additional important sources of cocaine in Latin America.
In 2009, these two countries generated enough base material to respectively
yield 225 and 195 MT of refined product.
Between 60 and 65 percent of all Latin American cocaine is trafficked
to the United States, the bulk of which is smuggled via the eastern
Pacific/Central American corridor. The remainder is sent through
the Caribbean island chain, with the Dominican Republic, Puerto
Rico, and Haiti acting as the main transshipment hubs. In both cases,
Mexico serves as the main point of entry to mainland America, presently
accounting for the vast majority of all illicit drug imports to the
June 15, 2011 United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
This report urges Congress and the Administration to strengthen firearms laws to stem drug-relating violence, citing report that 70% of weapons recovered in Mexico originated from the United States.
Firearms are trafficked from the United States to Mexico and into the hands
of the country’s drug trafficking organizations. Congress has been virtually
moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain
unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States.
In a June 2009 report, the Government Accountability Office stated that
around 87 percent of firearms seized by Mexican authorities and traced over the
previous five years originated in the United States.
In a June 9, 2011 response to an inquiry from Senator Feinstein, Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Kenneth
Melson stated that of the 29,284 firearms recovered in Mexico in 2009 and 2010
and submitted to the ATF National Tracing Center, 20,504 were United Statessourced.
A country of origin for the remaining firearms could not be determined
by ATF. A copy of this letter and the request letter from Senator Feinstein are
attached in the report appendix.
In 2009, according to tracing data from the ATF, the most frequently
recovered caliber of firearms in Mexico included .223 caliber, 7.62 mm, 9 mm, .22
caliber and 5.7 mm. Other than the .22 caliber, these firearms are the most
commonly found assault rifle and assault pistol calibers in the United States.
Firearms recovered in Mexico overwhelmingly come from the Southwest
border. The Government Accountability Office found that between Fiscal Year
2004 and 2008, approximately 70 percent of firearms traced in Mexico to an
original owner in the United States came from Texas (39 percent), California (20
percent), and Arizona (10 percent)....
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?...
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....
August 5, 2011 The White House // Council on Foriegn Relations
This U.S. strategy document regarding combatting transnational organized crime was released on July 25, 2011. President Obama's opening letter states,
Despite a long and successful history of dismantling criminal organizations and developing common international standards for cooperation against transnational organized crime, not all of our capabilities have kept pace with the expansion of 21st century transnational criminal threats. Therefore, this strategy is organized around a single, unifying principle: to build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat transnational organized crime and related threats to our national security – and to urge our partners to do the same. To this end, this strategy sets out 56 priority actions, starting with ones the United States can take within its own borders to lessen the impact of transnational crime domestically and on our foreign partners. Other actions seek to enhance our intelligence, protect the financial system and strategic markets, strengthen interdiction, investigations, and prosecutions, disrupt the drug trade and its facilitation of other transnational threats, and build international cooperation....
August 5, 2011 Center for Strategic and International Studies
Zimbabwe presents a set of critical, immediate challenges for U.S. policy. Different scenarios, including an unsanctioned snap election, a military coup, and President Robert Mugabe’s early death, could precipitate a sharp, even violent, crisis later this year. The United States can best respond by reinvigorating its active engagement with southern Africa and with the volatile and rapidly changing situation in Zimbabwe. This report details possible scenarios and offers options for strengthening Washington’s immediate and medium-term leverage in partnership with South Africa and the Southern African Development Community. Beyond Mugabe: Preparing for Zimbabwe’s Transition draws on a series of discussions by a CSIS Working Group on Zimbabwe as well as the author’s travel to Zimbabwe and intensive additional consultation with civil and political society within Zimbabwe....
After a decade of major security, development and humanitarian assistance, the international community has failed to achieve a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars in aid, state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population or guarantee human security. As the insurgency spreads to areas regarded as relatively safe till now, and policymakers in Washington and other Western capitals seek a way out of an unpopular war, the international community still lacks a coherent policy to strengthen the state ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign forces by December 2014. The impact of international assistance will remain limited unless donors, particularly the largest, the U.S., stop subordinating programming to counter-insurgency objectives, devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds, and ensure that recipient communities identify needs and shape assistance policies.
As early as 2002, the U.S. established Provincial Reconstruction Teams that gave the military a lead role in reconstruction assistance in insecure areas and somewhat expanded civilian presence but without setting any standards for where and when they should shift from military to civilian lead and when they should phase out entirely. The 2009 U.S. troop surge, aimed at urgently countering an expanding insurgency, was accompanied by a similar increase in U.S. civilian personnel – attempting to deliver quick results in the same areas as the military surge, but without rigorous monitoring and accountability. In their haste to demonstrate progress, donors have pegged much aid to short-term military objectives and timeframes. As the drawdown begins, donor funding and civilian personnel presence, mirroring the military’s withdrawal schedule, may rapidly decline, undermining oversight and the sustainability of whatever reconstruction and development achievements there have been....