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  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by its chairman and prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has radically reformed Ethiopia's political system. The regime transformed the hitherto centralised state into the Federal Democratic Republic and also redefined citizenship, politics and identity on ethnic grounds. The intent was to create a more prosperous, just and representative state for all its people. Yet, despite continued economic growth and promised democratisation, there is growing discontent with the EPRDF's ethnically defined state and rigid grip on power and fears of continued inter- ethnic conflict. The international community should take Ethiopia's governance problems much more seriously and adopt a more principled position towards the government. Without genuine multi-party democracy, the tensions and pressures in Ethiopia's polities will only grow, greatly increasing the possibility of a violent eruption that would destabilise the country and region.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Conflicts among tribes have claimed several thousand lives in South Sudan in 2009, with the worst violence in and around the vast, often impassable state of Jonglei. Violence often afflicts pastoral communities, but in this area it has taken on a new and dangerously politicised character. With the death toll over the past year exceeding that in Darfur and displacement affecting more than 350,000 people, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) should recognise the primarily local nature of the conflicts, extend state authority and prove itself a credible provider of security lest the problems become major obstacles on the road to self-determination and beyond. International partners must simultaneously step up their support or risk seeing the South become increasing unstable ahead of national elections and the self-determination referendum.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The shooting of President José Ramos-Horta in February 2008 underscored the urgency of addressing sources of conflict and violence in Timor-Leste. The unresolved displacement crisis is one of the important problems, both a consequence of past conflict and a potential source of future trouble. Nearly two years after the country descended into civil conflict in April 2006, more than 100,000 people remain displaced. Successive governments and their international partners have failed to bring about the conditions in which they might return home or to prevent further waves of displacements. The new government's national recovery strategy needs to be properly funded and accompanied by a number of other crucial elements, most significantly the creation of a fair and functioning land and property regime, an increase in overall housing stock, an end to the cycle of impunity and reform of the justice and security sectors.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Government, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le risque d'une reprise des violences en Ituri est aujourd'hui limité du fait de la présence de la Mission des Nations unies (MONUC), du démantèlement de la plupart des groupes armés et de la lassitude de la population après des années de souffrance et de destructions. Cependant, les problèmes de fond à l'origine des violences extrêmes qu'a connu le district pendant la guerre – un accès équitable à la terre et une gestion transparente des revenus issus de l'exploitation des ressources naturelles et minières – restent entiers. L'absence de réconciliation intercommunautaire et l'impunité pour la grande majorité des crimes commis pendant la guerre sont également extrêmement inquiétants en perspective d'élections locales en 2009. Afin d'éviter toute reprise de la violence, dont les femmes seraient les premières à souffrir, les éléments fondamentaux d'une paix durable doivent être urgemment mis en place dans le cadre d'une stratégie intégrée impliquant les institutions nationales et provinciales avec le soutien actif de la MONUC et des bailleurs de fonds du Congo.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Civil War, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The 29 March 2008 elections have dramatically changed Zimbabwe's political landscape. For the first time since independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe ran second in the presidential voting, and the opposition – the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – won control of parliament. The MDC went to the polls deeply divided, but Morgan Tsvangirai and his party regained their authority by winning despite an uneven playing field. Instead of allowing democracy to run its course, Mugabe has fought back by withholding the presidential results for five weeks and launching a countrywide crackdown. Zimbabwe is in constitutional limbo: it has no elected president or legally constituted cabinet, parliament has not been convened, and ZANU-PF and the MDC are challenging half the parliamentary results in court. African leaders, with support from the wider international community, must step in to stop the violence and resolve the deepening political crisis, ideally by facilitating an agreement establishing an MDC-led transitional government that avoids the need for the run-off now scheduled for 27 June.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Ethiopia-Eritrea impasse carries serious risk of a new war and is a major source of instability in the Horn of Africa, most critically for Somalia. Following Ethiopia's refusal to accept virtual demarcation of the border by the now disbanded Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC), Asmara unilaterally imple­men­ted it and forced out the UN peacekeepers (UNMEE), significantly raising the stakes and shattering the status quo. Its insistence on recovering terri­tory the Commission awarded it – Badme in particular – could lead to unilateral military action by either side but is only one of several war scenarios. The Security Council and key individual states (the U.S., in particular) must recognise the dangers of their inaction and advance a reconfigured political process with new determination if there is to be a change in the calculations of the parties, who appear to be dangerously content with trying to maintain a level of simmering but unpredictable hostility.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le changement politique et économique réclamé par la population guinéenne au prix de près de 200 morts en janvier-février 2007 est largement compromis. Le limogeage du Premier ministre Lansana Kouyaté le 20 mai 2008 et son remplacement par Tidiane Souaré, un proche du président Lansana Conté, risque de compromettre l'ensemble du processus de réforme. Les déclarations apaisantes du nouveau chef de gou- vernement en faveur de l'inclusion et de la poursuite du « changement » ne doivent pas faire illusion. Le gouvernement Souaré-Conté a toutes les chances de remettre en cause les promesses d'élections législati- ves crédibles en décembre 2008, de compromettre le redressement économique du pays et d'enterrer la commission d'enquête indépendante qui doit identifier et poursuivre les auteurs de la répression sanglante de janvier 2007. Plus que jamais, les acteurs de la société civile, les responsables des partis politiques, les auto- rités religieuses et tous ceux qui souhaitent le chan- gement doivent opposer un front uni à la restauration du pouvoir sans partage de Lansana Conté.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: La Guinée-Bissau a besoin d'un Etat. Ses structures politiques et administratives ne lui permettent ni de contrôler son territoire, ni d'assurer les services publics minimums, ni de contrebalancer la domination politique de l'armée. Cette faiblesse structurelle est à l'origine de crises politiques récurrentes, de coups à répétition et de la prolifération de réseaux criminels. Cependant, la Guinée-Bissau semble être engagée aujourd'hui dans un nouvel élan grâce au pacte de stabilité politique signé par les trois partis politiques les plus importants en mars 2007. Le risque est réel de voir le pays devenir un narco-Etat et un no man's land politique et administratif, ouvert à tous les trafics et aux réseaux terroristes du Maghreb. La communauté internationale devrait d'urgence soutenir les efforts du gouvernement actuel pour consolider la démocratie, réformer le secteur de la sécurité et construire des structures étatiques viables.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sierra Leone has made much progress since the civil war ended in 2002, but a number of social and economic time bombs must still be defused if an enduring peace is to be built. The 2007 elections, in which Ernest Bai Koroma won the presidency and his All People's Congress (APC) wrested the parliament from the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), restored legitimacy to the electoral process. Koroma's reform agenda promises much but must overcome big challenges. The majority of the population lives in abject poverty, and an ever-growing army of unemployed, socially alienated youth is a perennial threat to security. Patronage networks and identity politics, though evolving, continue to constrain government decisions. The new government faces a fundamental political challenge in building public confidence in its agenda, while donor support to post-war reconstruction is gradually scaled down. It needs to do more than call for “attitudinal change” and a renewed “social con- tract” if it is to improve accountability and combat corruption. The UN Peacebuilding Commission can make a major contribution.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: En dépit des progrès enregistrés dans la mise en œuvre de l'accord de paix avec le Parti pour la libération du peuple hutu – Forces nationa les de libération (Palipe-hutu-FNL), dernier mouvement rebelle en activité dans le pays, le Burundi traverse une crise politique dange-reuse qui risque de compromettre la tenue d'élections libres et démocratiques en 2010 et d'affecter la stabi-lité du pays. Le retour du chef rebelle Agathon Rwasa à Bujumbura, et la signature de l'accord politique de Magaliesburg le 11 juin 2008 sont des pas importants pour le processus de paix burundais. Toutefois, le processus de désarmement commence à peine, et la question de l'intégration du mouvement rebelle dans les institutions politiques et les corps de défense et de sécurité n'est toujours pa s réglée. Dans ce contexte, l'absence de dialogue avec les partis politiques d'opposition est dommageable à la bonne gestion du pays. Il est urgent que les acteurs politiques locaux et les partenaires extérieurs du Burundi prennent la mesure de ces risques et s'efforcent de les conjurer par un renouveau du dialogue national.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Burundi