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  • Author: Whitney Parker, Scott Worden, Shani Ross, Sahar Azar
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Post-conflict justice mechanisms such as truth commissions, war crimes tribunals and reparations programs have emerged as a fundamental building block of durable peace settlements in Latin America, Africa and Asia. They are relatively rare, however, in Muslim countries recovering from conflict-despite the fact that social and criminal justice is a fundamental principle of Islamic law.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Crime, Islam, War, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Arabia, Latin America
  • Author: Stephanie Flamenbaum, Megan Neville
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Following March 2011's “cricket diplomacy,” there is reason to be optimistic about progress on South Asian normalization as India and Pakistan have resumed bilateral dialogues. Improved relations are critical to U.S. interests in South Asia with respect to the stabilization of Afghanistan, reduction in Pakistan-based militant threats, and alleviation of regional nuclear tensions. Terrorism and the Kashmir issue remain the most toxic points of divergence which could derail progress as in past bilateral talks. Bilateral economic agreements should be pursued in order to enable commercial progress to facilitate political reconciliation. With the looming drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014, and the subsequent shift in the regional power balance, it is imperative that the international community utilize its leverage to ensure that Pakistan-India talks progress.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, South Asia, India
  • Author: Zuhal Nesari, Karima Tawfik
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP observation in the Kabul court system shows that a significant number of legal disputes are being resolved through a combination of formal and informal justice mechanisms, contrary to the assumption that resorting to traditional dispute resolution bodies occurs only in rural areas where legal awareness and access to courts is low. Specifically, the Kabul courts frequently refer cases to conciliators who are not part of the formal judiciary. This yields benefits for both the courts and litigants: Conciliators reduce the courts'; caseload and litigants receive a cost-effective and expeditious alternative to trials. The Afghan civil and commercial procedural codes specifically allow decisions made between litigants and a conciliator to be formally registered with the court, which may provide a legal model for recognition of decisions by traditional shuras or jirgas. In practice, however, litigants are not uniformly provided with the option of settling their cases through conciliators. Therefore, increased public awareness of the legal option to refer cases to conciliators would provide litigants with the relevant knowledge they need to make an informed decision about the best way to resolve their disputes, and reduce the demand for the already overburdened formal justice sector.
  • Topic: Crime, Law
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf, Huma Yusuf, Salman Zaidi
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This brief summarizes the perceptions of Pakistani foreign policy elite about Pakistan's strategy and interests in Afghanistan, its view of the impending “end game”, and the implications of its policies towards Afghanistan for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. These perceptions were captured as part of a project, co-convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and Jinnah Institute (JI) in Pakistan, aimed at better understanding Pakistan's outlook towards the evolving situation in Afghanistan. A full report carrying detailed findings will be launched in August 2011 in Pakistan. Pakistani foreign policy elite perceive their country to be seeking: (i) a degree of stability in Afghanistan; (ii) an inclusive government in Kabul; and (iii) to limit Indian presence in Afghanistan to development activities. They perceive America's Afghanistan strategy to date to be largely inconsistent with Pakistan's interests. Pakistan insists on an immediate, yet patient effort at inclusive reconciliation involving all major Afghan stakeholders, including the main Afghan Taliban factions. Other issues that Pakistan's policy elite view as impediments to a peaceful Afghanistan settlement include: questionable viability of a regional framework; lack of clarity on Taliban's willingness to negotiate; the unstable political and economic situation in Afghanistan; and concerns about Afghan National Security Forces adding to instability in the future. Project participants felt that greater clarity in U.S. and Pakistani policies is critical to avoid failure in Afghanistan, to convince the Taliban of the validity of a power-sharing agreement, and to urge regional actors to play a more constructive role.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Lisa Schirch
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A successful, legitimate and sustainable approach to peace in Afghanistan requires the inclusion of Afghan civil society and their interests. For the most part, Afghan peace negotiations exclude representatives of civil society and center on a narrow agenda featuring concerns of armed groups. Attempts at a quick fix settlement could compromise the foundations of durable peace, resulting in more costs to the international community, and more death and destruction on the ground. Half of all peace agreements fail. One of the reasons why they fail is that too few people support them. Building a national consensus requires participation by and support from civil society. Afghanistan requires a peace process that is both wide and deep, with structured mechanisms for participatory deliberation and decision-making involving diverse stakeholders from the top, middle and community levels of society. Based on examination of successful peace processes, there are four broad models of public participation in peace processes relevant for Afghanistan. These include direct participation in local peace processes, a national civil society assembly, representation at the central negotiation table and a public referendum to vote on a final agreement. The international community, the Afghan government and Afghan civil society can each take steps to ensure a comprehensive, successful and sustainable peace process.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher, Jonas Claes, Abiodun Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: USIP's annual “Preventing Violent Conflict” conference is designed to spotlight the importance of the subject, address specific challenges facing prevention efforts and identify priority areas for USIP's future work on conflict prevention. This brief summarizes the highlights of that conference.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Crime, War
  • Author: Robert Maguire, Courtney McCreesh
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: President Michel Martelly takes office at a time when Haitians are frustrated with the pace and scale of earthquake recovery and insecure about the future. Haitians are uncertain what to expect from their new leader who has promised much and who now must address a broad range of immediate needs. Progress toward improved personal, social, economic, environmental, political and energy security for Haiti's citizens has been mixed. The Haitian National Police comprise an important building block for improving Haiti's personal safety and security environment. A greater effort is needed to deal with Haiti's chronic problems with jobs, education, healthcare and housing.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Crime, Economics
  • Political Geography: Caribbean, Haiti
  • Author: Noah Coburn, Shahmahmood Miakhel
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Currently numerous disputes at the local level are unresolved in Afghanistan, leading to local instability, a growing distance between the government and people and encouraging communities to turn to the Taliban. In March 2010, USIP began working with local elders, government officials (particularly governors and officials from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs) and religious figures to address a range of disputes in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan. These networks of elders, working closely with government officials and, in some cases, the international military, have addressed conflicts that include land disputes, criminal cases, and disputes involving the Taliban. Since 2010, USIP's Dispute Resolution Project has participated in and recorded the resolution of over 120 cases. The project suggests several methods for facilitating dispute resolution that rely on flexible networks of locally legitimate political figures which will strengthen the government, promote rule of law and decrease the appeal of the Taliban.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Peace Studies, War, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Hamish Nixon
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghans across different groups see the United States as a key party to the conflict whose direct participation in a peace process is crucial to its success, and therefore question the effectiveness of U.S. emphasis on an “Afghan-led” reconciliation strategy. The U.S. must engage directly in negotiating a settlement because of its control over the issue of withdrawal of NATO forces. The Taliban demand for full withdrawal prior to talks appears to be an opening position. A challenge will be linking a structure for drawdown to necessary steps by insurgents to allow a cessation of violence and prevent Afghanistan's use for terrorism. A settlement process will entail discussion of the composition and future of the Afghan National Security Forces, and the current “transition” strategy of a large army and expanding local defence initiatives will almost certainly need re-examining during such a process. The conflict is not only a struggle for power and resources; it is also a legitimacy crisis stemming from a system of power and patronage that feeds conflict. From this perspective, a settlement should address the concentration of powers in the presidency through incremental reform to appointments, elections, or farther-reaching changes to the structure of government over time. There is a tension between reform and using political appointments to accommodate power-sharing demands. A durable settlement will need to involve political and social agreements among Afghans taking into account the views of a range of stakeholders. To manage this tension, the intra-Afghan peace process should be oriented toward broad inclusion of non-combatants while balancing the secrecy required to make progress.
  • Topic: NATO, Government, National Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Taliban
  • Author: Jonas Claes
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: So far the European Union has not operated as the leading actor on prevention that it aims to be. The recent launch of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in December 2010 could present a breakthrough in this regard. Most of the existing prevention instruments will be relocated to the new Service. A tentative organogram of the EEAS also reveals the establishment of a Directorate for Conflict Prevention and Security Policy. It remains to be seen whether this institutional innovation can address the challenges that have constrained the EU's role in prevention so far, including the EU's coherence, consensus, conceptual clarity and ambition.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe