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  • Author: Jean-Pierre Keller
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Since the fall of Baghuz city in North East of Syria in March 2019, thousands of women, children and former IS fighters have been imprisoned in either camps or prisons. Following the Turkish military operation in October 2019, the security conditions have deteriorated, resulting in fewer guards as well as more instability and vulnerability for all those imprisoned. The worsening living conditions, the absence of adequate medical care and lack of access to education endanger the future of the children imprisoned in the camp. Moreover, the influence of the Muhajirats remains constant as a means for the spreading of propaganda inside and outside the camps.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Children, Women, Islamic State, Transition
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashusen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice. The 2009 law was reviewed with a focus on the following topics: • Fiscal regime; • Climate change; • Access to and use of land; • Community consultations and participation; • Human rights; and • Community development agreements.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Mining, Land, Sustainability, Community
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Sierra Leone
  • Author: Carmen Geha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Lebanese women have been leaders in the revolution that has shaken Lebanon since October 2019. This paper argues that the next stage will be critical if women want to transform their involvement into equal rights. For them to do so, they need to move beyond informal revolutionary politics to formal electoral and party politics with meaningful and substantive representation.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Feminism, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Beirut
  • Author: Eyal Rubinson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: What is the role that democracy and adherence to hu- man rights play in NATO enlargement decisions? Democratic conditionality, a strategy of setting clear benchmarks of liberal-democratic reforms as a pre- requisite for membership, has been a central theme in NATO history. Adherence to democracy and human rights was cited in the Washington Treaty of 1949, and more recently in the 1995 Study on NATO En- largement, the 1994 Framework Document of the “Partnership for Peace” programme, the 1999 Mem- bership Action Plan (MAP) and other fundamental texts. However, despite this repeated insistence on condi- tionality, many candidate states did not satisfactorily improve their records pre-accession, and are increas- ingly unable to meet the requirement of a function- ing democracy, according to internationally renowned indices.
  • Topic: NATO, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Andreas Schedler
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the invention of modern democracy, political theorists as well as practitioners have alerted us against the dangers of “majoritarian tyrannies,” whose substantive meaning, however, remains unclear and controversial. Many have also alerted us against the dangers of such alerts serving as rhetorical cover for antidemocratic elites. In this twin exercise of conceptual explication and reappraisal, I intend to both clarify the meaning and reevaluate the political role of the idea of majoritarian tyrannies. In the main part of the paper, I elucidate their internal structure and variance by discussing three logical presuppositions: (1) the performance of tyrannical acts, (2) the exclusive targeting of minorities, and (3) collective action by the majority. In the final part, I propose to revalue the concept as an instrument of horizontal accountability among citizens. Antipopulist rather than antidemocratic in nature, it allows the losers of majoritarian decisions to call their fellow citizens to account for the injustices they engender.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Culture, Democracy, Citizenship, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Schwartz, Naz Yalbir
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, security actors in Kenya and the international community have increasingly viewed young people in Kenya's Muslim communities as vectors for radicalization to violent extremism. A number of large scale economic development assistance programs in the country, even as they promote the intense free market entrepreneurialism that continues to leave the vast majority of Kenyans behind, are also increasingly taking on preventing violent extremism objectives. Against the backdrop of heightened international and domestic concerns over the vulnerability of Kenyan youth to violent extremism, this policy brief focuses on the hardships and priorities of youth in Kenya through the voices of young people themselves. Drawing on a series of focus group discussions conducted by the Kenya Community Support Centre in September 2018, the paper explores the daily challenges confronting young people in Mombasa County as they struggle to make ends meet in the face of joblessness, wage theft, nepotism, and political corruption. While the serious threat posed by al-Shabaab cannot be ignored, the paper argues that the overriding drive to prevent violent extremism among Kenyan youth, especially in Muslim and Somali communities, is not only disproportionate but also counterproductive, threatening to overshadow the overwhelming need for economic justice, governance accountability, and reform.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Youth, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Tobias Vestner, Alessandro Mario Amoroso
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Tobias Vestner and Alessandro Mario Amoroso, from the GCSP Security and Law team, are the authors of a Training Guide designed for Swiss private security companies to fulfil the obligations introduced by the Federal Act on Private Security Services provided Abroad (PSSA). The guide is tailored to the needs of companies operating and maintaining weapons systems and/or providing installation services, training on equipment and systems, and/or operational or logistical support to armed forces. Its purpose is to enable company personnel to understand key concepts and standards of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the risk and avoidance of direct participation in hostilities. The various chapters provide the necessary knowledge and tools to train company personnel to identify, prevent, and report activities that can constitute direct participation in hostilities or complicity in human rights and international humanitarian law violations. The guide includes thirty practical scenarios for training on direct participation in hostilities, with answers, which can be used to discuss the risk and avoidance of activities amounting to direct participation in hostilities.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Weapons , International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
  • Political Geography: Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Eleanor Acer
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: The Trump Administration has purposefully mismanaged the refugee and humanitarian challenges pushing people to flee political repression, human rights abuses, economic deprivation, and climate displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Trump Administration policies have actually made things worse, cutting programs countering displacement, turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, encouraging crossings between official ports of entry, and punishing people seeking U.S. protection through punitive and traumatizing family separations and detention. These harmful policies have aggravated humanitarian challenges—deliberately provoking disorder, chaos, and confusion. Congress must take swift action to push real solutions, and over the longer term the next administration will need to ensure these solutions are enduring. Congress should champion a new initiative to strengthen protection across the region. This initiative must truly tackle the rights abuses and deprivations pushing people to flee, greatly enhance the capacity of Mexico and other countries to provide asylum and host refugees, and set a strong example at home by upholding America’s own refugee protection commitments. Upholding human rights commitments is not only the right thing to do, it is also in the U.S. national interest. These commitments have saved millions of lives and encourage countries around the world—including front-line countries that host the vast majority of the world’s refugees—to continue hosting refugees. The heroic work of many Americans—working and volunteering with faith-based shelters, community groups, legal representation, and other organizations—should be supported. They are, and always have been, an essential part of the solution. The measures outlined below would restore order to the region and the U.S. border while upholding the United States’ legal and humanitarian commitments. Key steps include: 1. Address the actual causes of displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The United States should increase support for effective programs that counter violence, strengthen justice systems, spur economic opportunities, and safeguard communities from climate displacement, so that people do not need to flee in search of safety or survival. In addition, U.S. diplomats must press the leaders of these countries to safeguard rights, support anti-corruption efforts, and address abuses from security forces. 2. Strongly support increased asylum and refugee-hosting capacity in Mexico and other Latin American countries, so that these countries—which are already hosting growing numbers—have the ability to continue accepting refugees. Asylum filings in Mexico, for example, have increased by over 700 percent since 2014. The United States should sharply increase support for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to increase regional capacity, to develop strong asylum and refugee protection systems, and to better integrate refugees in Mexico and the region. U.S. diplomacy, law enforcement cooperation, and rule of law assistance should be leveraged to reduce violence against refugees and migrants in Mexico. In addition, the United States should launch a regional resettlement effort, providing some refugees with routes to safety in the United States as well as other countries, and relaunch the Central American Minors (CAM) program to allow some children with family in the United States to come to our country safely. 3. Combat smuggling in the region while safeguarding access to protection. U.S. agencies must ensure anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking efforts do not block escape from dangerous countries and include measures to safeguard human rights and access to asylum. By strengthening asylum, resettlement, and work visas in the region, more refugees and migrants will have alternate routes to protection. 4. Manage U.S. asylum arrivals effectively through a genuine humanitarian response that upholds U.S. law and provides order, including: Restore timely and orderly asylum processing at ports of entry and ensure humane conditions at all Department of Homeland Security (DHS) facilities; End the Remain in Mexico scheme and “metering” policies that push people to cross between ports of entry and put the lives of asylum seekers at risk as they wait in danger in Mexico; Support and fund NGOs and shelters in the United States—including faith-based groups that have been effectively partnering with DHS in U.S. cities along the border—to address humanitarian needs, a typical and necessary move in managing refugee arrivals; and Launch a community-based case management program that supports appearance, as recommended by ICE’s own advisory group, rather than jailing asylum seekers for even longer. 5. Restore order through measures providing timely, fair, and effective U.S. adjudications, including: Increase, rather than “get rid of,” immigration judges and interpreters. In order to understand what is being said in their courtrooms and ensure due process, judges must be supported by interpreters. And, since a judge set on furthering a politicized agenda is worse than no judge at all, safeguards against politicized court hiring must be immediately restored. Additional measures to support judges include: increased recruitment of interpreters who speak indigenous dialects to assure accurate hearings and prevent continued adjournments, ensuring the time necessary to gather evidence to prove cases, and rejecting absurd schemes that would entrust protection determinations to border agents or rush cases through adjudications; Support a major legal representation initiative to ensure eligible refugees receive protection at the earliest stages of the process and institute universal legal orientation presentations (LOPs)—including for families released from DHS/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody—to explain appearance obligations, the legal system, and how to secure counsel; Enable more cases to be granted efficiently at the USCIS asylum office by providing initial decision-making authority to the asylum office in all asylum cases, changing policies and practices that have prompted asylum officers to refer, rather than grant, cases that meet the asylum criteria— unnecessarily adding them to the immigration court caseload—and assure the availability of an application process for “cancellation of removal” relief so these cases do not clog the asylum system; Make the immigration courts independent, as the American Bar Association recommends, to secure due process and judicial independence, ensuring that political appointees can no longer attempt to improperly influence the courts’ decisions in asylum and other cases; and Reverse Trump Administration efforts to prevent refugees from receiving asylum in the United States—including former Attorney General Sessions’ ruling attempting to deny protection to women who have fled domestic violence and families escaping from deadly gangs. The measures outlined above would restore order and bring about real and enduring solutions. As the president and top Trump Administration officials are doubling down on punitive policies and political rhetoric that fail to solve these challenges, Congress must demand effective strategies that are consistent with America’s ideals.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Prisons/Penal Systems, Border Control
  • Political Geography: United States, Central America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador
  • Author: Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with realization of human rights and broader public interest objectives. This Chapter provides an overview of the interaction between human rights law and the investment treaty regime. It highlights the challenges that arise from tension between international human rights and investment norms, including the impact of the investment regime on the ability of host states to regulate and on access to justice for investment-affected rights holders. The chapter also explores whether and how human rights issues have been addressed by the investment regime to date, highlighting recent developments in treaty drafting practice and responses to human rights argumentation by investment tribunals. It notes the shortcomings of current approaches, and concludes by briefly setting out options for reform.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, Treaties and Agreements, Reform, Investment
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments. Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors. This report presents a call to action to help communities secure the support they so crucially need. The report explores options for tapping new funding sources for community support. These include: Government marshaling of funding from companies and others, through taxes, fees, and penalties Basket funds, operated by independent, trusted entities and funded by contributions from multiple actors Market-based impact investments and social impact bonds Direct company funding Third party funding Other solutions for increasing funding or reducing costs, including crowdfunding, generating profits from social enterprises, affordable user fees or in-kind services, contingency and uplift fees, and court-ordered fee shifting. The report also presents overarching considerations for developing a new financing initiative. These include: the initiative’s likely cost, efficiency and financial sustainability, political complexity and obstacles, political economy implications, the importance of strong governance mechanisms, and the logistics required to link funding, communities and support providers.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Human Rights, Natural Resources, Investment, Land
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights. Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in achieving climate solutions, the degree to which climate change may reshape regional abilities to support sustainable ecosystems, and the ways in which these land and climate interactions might affect land rights, human rights, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simon Adams
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: In this occasional paper from the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Simon Adams tests the resilience of the international community’s commitment to defending human rights and upholding its Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The paper highlights the failure to respond to patterns of discrimination that eventually led to a genocide in Myanmar (Burma) during 2017. But it also draws attention to other recent situations, such as in the Gambia, when the international community seized the moment to respond in a timely and decisive manner to an emerging threat of devastating conflict. In doing so, Adams emphasizes that even when bodies such as the UN Security Council appear paralyzed and inert, a mobilized international community can still act to prevent atrocities, protect vulnerable populations, and hold the perpetrators accountable.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Law, Ethnic Cleansing, International Community, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), UN Security Council, Atrocities
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Ric Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ric Smith has masterfully woven archival material, memories of his own time as a foreign service officer, and conversations with other officers of the then Department of Foreign Affairs to recount the crisis in East Pakistan in 1971 and the difficult birth of Bangladesh. Smith highlights the Cold War incongruities of the crisis, including the Soviet Union’s support for democratic India’s position during the crisis, while the United States supported the military regime in Pakistan. The episode also stands as an example of Canberra diverging from Washington on an issue that was garnering political and media attention in Australia. Australia was able to pursue a policy toward the region that was independent from the United States, accepting early that East Pakistan was “finished” and that there was a need to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Smith’s book imparts important lessons about diplomacy for Australia: It is not only possible for Australia’s politicians and diplomats to take independent positions on major international problems, but they are sometimes respected by their allies when they do so.
  • Topic: Cold War, Human Rights, Democracy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Europe, India, Asia, Soviet Union, Australia
  • Author: Ahmed Ezzat
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Egyptian cause lawyers have constituted a strong socio-professional group and successfully used “strategic litigation” to challenge the state’s policies and counter its conservative narratives. With President El-Sissi in power and the security grip over legal institutions and courts, doubts were raised as to whether it still makes sense to go to court against the state over matters of rights and freedoms. By reviewing several emblematic cases, the author analyzes the impact of cause lawyering on mobilization and social movements and how it contributed to reshaping the public sphere, as well as the challenges the cause lawyers’ movement faces under El-Sissi.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Legal Theory
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Nicholas Crawford
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China has become the largest lender to developing countries, and a major investor there too. As a result, it has a major stake in many countries facing political and economic instability. Western policymakers involved in responding to instability and crises overseas need to understand how China navigates these situations. China’s approach is similar in some respects to that of Western states, but there are also important differences. China’s policy towards countries facing political and economic instability is driven by four main concerns: It seeks to strengthen and maintain its partnerships with those countries to ensure they remain open to and supportive of the Chinese government and its businesses. China is determined to protect its financial interests, businesses and citizens from the harms that result from instability. It is concerned to see its loans repaid, its investments secure, its workers safe and its supply chains undisrupted. It wants to maintain its narrative of non-interference. Any intervention in the politics or policies of its partner states must be seen as being at the invitation of their governments (although China may pressure its partners for consent). China wants to increase its influence in the world, independently and distinctively. It is increasingly proactive in its response to instability in partner countries. Some responses seek to address the instability directly; other responses are intended to protect Chinese interests in spite of the instability. This paper analyses the political economy of China’s responses to instability, identifies the types of responses China undertakes, and assesses these responses.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, Developing World, Political stability, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Europe, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Kanchi Kohli
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This essay examines the role of India’s 2006 Forest Rights Act in the procedures that regulate transfer of forest land to large infrastructure projects. Specifically, it shows the gap between the legally mandated requirements and how these are implemented in project approval processes. This is illustrated through a case study of the coal mining approvals in the Hasdeo Arand forest region in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The essay also outlines the different actors who have influenced the discourses on forest rights of Adivasi and other forest dwelling communities and what they identify as factors that challenge the implementation of this law on the ground. It juxtaposes this analysis in the context of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of India on eviction of forest dwellers and examines whether that would bring in any structural change in the way the law is implemented.
  • Topic: Environment, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Courts, Conservation, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak, Teddy Atim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Few large-scale, structured surveys have been conducted on the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by warring parties against civilians and how this relates to disability. Using data from a panel survey carried out in 2013, 2015, and 2018 that is representative of all of Acholi and Lango sub-regions in northern Uganda, this working paper reports the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity for individuals and households; their association with disability; and the resulting effects over time on people’s lives in terms of food security, wealth, access to basic services, and healthcare. The study contributes to an understanding of people who have experienced alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity that affect them physically and psychologically; the relationship between experience of these alleged crimes and their experience of disability; the effects of these crimes on their wealth, food security, and access to livelihood and social protection services; the effects of these crimes on their access to basic and therapeutic healthcare; and a better understanding of the key obstacles faced by victims of these alleged crimes when they are unable to receive basic and therapeutic healthcare.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Melissa Dalton, Hijab Shah
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: With the range of security challenges confronting the United States in the 21st century, characterized by competition by both state and nonstate actors, the importance of working with allies and partners to address common challenges is paramount. Deeper examination of the relative effectiveness of U.S. security sector assistance and how it must nest in a broader foreign policy strategy, including good governance, human rights, and rule of law principles, is required. Improving oversight and accountability in U.S. security sector assistance with partners are at the core of ongoing security assistance reform efforts to ensure that U.S. foreign policy objectives are met and in accordance with U.S. interests and values. This report examines key areas in security sector programming and oversight where the U.S. Departments of Defense and State employ accountability mechanisms, with the goal of identifying ways to sharpen and knit together mechanisms for improving accountability and professionalism into a coherent approach for partner countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Vincenza Scherrer, Alba Bescos Pou
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Multilateral organizations are playing an important role in shaping the SSR agenda through the development of policy and guidance and by engaging in the provision of a wide range of SSR support on the ground. However, despite their significant engagement in this area, there is no predictability in terms of the type of support that multilateral organizations will take on. While policy frameworks concur that international support should be well coordinated, the support provided by these organizations tends to be compartmentalized in practice. As a result, considerable time is often lost while each organization separately assesses a conflict, maps what others are doing, and agrees on a division of labour. The report presents the findings of a multi-year research project on the approaches of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to supporting nationally-led SSR processes. The study aims at developing an empirically-based understanding of the roles and potential comparative advantages of these organizations in SSR support, as well as avenues for enhanced cooperation. For this purpose, the study examines the following three categories related to the role of multilateral organizations in SSR support: normative frameworks, institutional capacities, and operational practices. This report was commissioned from DCAF by the Security Sector Reform Unit (SSRU) of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Peacekeeping, Reform, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Africa, Europe, United Nations, European Union, African Union
  • Author: Veronika Bílková
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In mid-June 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. It sat in the Council for the third time since the establishment of the organ in 2006. This time, however, it left its three-year mandate (2017–2019) unfinished. The paper analyses the four main arguments that the US put forward to justify its withdrawal from the Council. It shows that while some of the arguments have some merit, none is truly convincing. The paper also warns against any re-assessment of the current Czech candidacy to the Council.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, United Nations
  • Political Geography: North America, Czech Republic, United States of America
  • Author: Arunajeet Kaur
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) came out from a series of controversial actions perceived by the Malaysian Indian community as discriminatory. The issues were topical occurrences such as the errant destruction of Hindu temples and the body-snatching cases of Tamil Hindus, thought to have been converted to Islam, as well as the state of poverty confronted by the Tamil Hindu community in Malaysia. From a protest rally in November 2007, led by mainly Malaysian Tamil lawyers, the Malaysian Indian community framed its demands in legal terms and questioned the position of not only the Malaysian Malay-Muslim majoritarian government but also the decolonising decisions of the departing British colonial authorities at the point of Independence in 1957. The 2007 event become known as the HINDRAF rally. It had an overwhelming impact internationally, in drawing attention to the plight of Malaysian Tamil Hindus. Inside Malaysia, by garnering the support of non- Malays, mainly the Chinese, to unite with the Indians, it affected the Malaysian general election in 2008, as the ruling Barisan Nasional government lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament. There was also an unprecedented number of Malaysian Indians who were elected into Parliament in 2008. However, this paper will demonstrate that by the subsequent two Malaysian general elections of 2013 and 2018, the Tamil Hindus, as represented by HINDRAF, had not achieved their goals. Enduring heavy-handed treatment by the Malaysian authorities previously and troubled by internal strife and leadership issues within HINDRAF, this movement of Tamil Hindus in Malaysia stands diluted and divided. After the 14th general election of 2018, it seems that the leadership has also accepted a compromised position. Malay-Muslim majoritarianism remains dominant and the “New Malaysia” appears less than that heralded in the early days of the new Pakatan Harapan government.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Religion, Governance, Discrimination, Decolonization
  • Political Geography: Malaysia, Asia
  • Author: Melissa Conley Tyler, John Robbins
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is pleased to present the latest book in the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs series. In May 2016 the AIIA held a one-day forum to examine the achievements of Australia’s foreign ministers between 1972-83. This forum and publication is the third book in the AIIA’s Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs series following on from Ministers for Foreign Affairs 1960-72 and R.G. Casey: Minister for External Affairs 1951-60.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Diplomacy, Human Rights, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Afifa Mannai
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the role of the human rights movement in Tunisia in influencing state legislations and practices. It also attempts to tackle a shift from largely monitoring and denouncing rights violations prior to the January 2011 revolution to participating in drafting bills and lobbying for policy reforms that could reduce these violations. The human rights movement was not isolated from what Tunisia experienced in the years following the 2011 revolution, which resulted in massive realignments of social and political structures and practices with a heightened awareness of the importance of human rights and the need to continue the struggle to demand and enjoy them. This new climate witnessed a change not only in terms of the scope of the demands put forth by the human rights movement but also regarding the means and mechanisms it used to achieve these demands, which at times succeeded but ended in failure some other times.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Mohamed Outahar
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The relationship between the human rights movement and the state in Morocco has gone through two major stages since the movement appeared in the 1970s. The first phase (1970s–1990s) was antagonistic in the broader ferocious political conflict that lasted from independence till the 1990s. Civil and political rights were routinely violated, and members of the opposition were incarcerated in secret detention centres. The state oppressed or ignored human rights activists or tried to contain them during that stage. This came to a gradual end in the early 1990s. The ruling regime changed the way it viewed the human rights movement and human rights themselves. Political detainees benefited from an amnesty and a process of reconciliation evolved as the state opened up the dark files of repressive practices such as arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearances. The second phase, which began in the mid-1990s, came after the ruling regime had created and stabilized state institutions and the modalities of governance. It was then able to begin a calculated political opening bolstered by various internal and external forces. This, however, did not change the essentially contentious nature of the relationship between the human rights movement and the state. The conflict became subtle and more refined. The state attempted to turn the dark page of human rights’ violations within a process of transitional justice. Despite harsh criticism, this process heralded in some way the end of systematic torture, forced disappearance and detentions without fair trials. The scope and spread of human rights organizations and activists expanded in the following two decades, particularly after the movement of 20 February 2011, leading to the adoption of a new constitution that explicitly acknowledged the supremacy of international treaties and human rights laws and legislation. This paper reviews the history of the state’s relationship with the whole paradigm of human rights as it relates to society and politics and with human rights defenders in particular.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Torture, United Nations, Constitution, Repression
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Morocco, Rabat
  • Author: Mohamed Wazif
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The spectacular political rise of Islamist forces in several Arab countries over the past few years was one of the outcomes of the Arab spring, which included a massive protest movement in Morocco in 2011. This rise, accompanied by several radical and extremist manifestations, raised concerns among civil and political actors about power-sharing and the future of democracy and human rights at this pivotal stage in the history of a people who had recently come to reject many forms of tyranny and oppression. A history of confrontations between Islamists and human rights activists intensified these concerns. This paper examines the relationship between Morocco’s Islamists and the human rights movement through the most prominent historical milestones and controversies. It illustrates the dynamics and evolution of how Islamists operated within the human rights discourse from positions within government or in civil society organizations.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Social Movement, Democracy, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Morocco, Rabat
  • Author: Tom Keatinge, Emil Dall
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Sanctions are a key tool of foreign policy but have taken on greater salience over the last 20 years as governments have reached for leverage in negotiations but foregone the use of force. During this period, the alignment of the design and implementation of sanctions by the European Union and the United States has, on the whole, been an article of faith as the transatlantic allies have pursued mutual foreign policy objectives. Yet despite the consistency of objectives, the bureaucratic structures, technical mechanisms, and processes by which the European Union and the United States design and implement sanctions differ significantly. These differences—always present—have been amplified by the current stresses in transatlantic relations and may be further exacerbated when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019. The reasons behind these differences are myriad and touch upon both structural matters (such as the construction of the European Union and the manner in which its member states can enact policy) and more philosophical matters, as the focus on due process and human rights in EU sanctions policy demonstrates. But given the importance of transatlantic ties and cooperation in managing the sorts of problems that sanctions are usually developed to address, it is important for both the United States and the European Union to work through these differences. Toward that goal, this paper provides a European perspective on US sanctions activity, where there are differences in approach, in particular EU attitudes toward secondary sanctions put in place by the United States, and it explains the complications that may result from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The paper concludes with recommendations for how the European Union can address the challenges it faces in achieving an effective sanctions policy. In short, it recommends the following: The European Union should work through its structural issues to create a more decisive and effective EU sanctions policy. The implementation and enforcement of sanctions at the member state level must be improved, and a formal EU-level sanctions body is needed to independently monitor compliance with sanctions across the European Union. A clear mechanism for ensuring the coordination and effectiveness of EU-UK post-Brexit sanctions policy must be established. The global centrality of both the European Union’s economy and the United Kingdom’s financial sector combine to present a powerful sanctions force and must thus be closely coordinated to ensure maximum effectiveness. The European Union should directly address the matter of human rights exemptions by incorporating it as a key consideration of the EU-level sanctions body identified in the first recommendation. The European Union should establish a clear channel for human rights exemptions throughout the lifetime of sanctions regimes. The European Union should consider its options to address the ability of non-EU actors to abuse EU-originating supply chains and financial services, which represents a considerable sanctions implementation vulnerability. Finally, though US-EU misalignment on sanctions is growing, policy makers must stay seized of the necessity to maintain and improve communications and coordination to prevent current schisms from having serious long-term effects on international security.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Sanctions, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Lara Montesinos Coleman
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: The intellectual authors of neoliberalism were aware of the lethal implications of what they advocated. For ‘the market’ to work, the state was to refuse protection to those unable to secure their subsistence, while dissidents were to be repressed. What has received less attention is how deadly neoliberal reforms increasing come wrapped in social, legal and humanistic rhetoric. We see this not only in ‘social’ and ‘legal’ rationales for tearing away safety nets in Europe’s former social democratic heartlands, but also in the ‘pro-poor’ emphasis of contemporary development discourse. This includes contexts where colonial legacies have facilitated extreme armed violence in service of corporate plunder. To expose these dynamics, I juxtapose the everyday violence of austerity in Britain with neoliberal restructuring in Colombia. The latter is instructive precisely because, in tandem with widespread state-backed terror, Colombia has held fast to the language and institutions of liberal democracy. It has, as a result, prefigured the subtle authoritarian tendencies now increasingly prominent in European states. The reconceptualization of law, rights and social policy that has accompanied neoliberal globalization is deeply fascistic. Authoritarian state power is harnessed to the power of transnational capital, often accompanied by nationalistic and racist ideologies that legitimize refusal of protection and repression, enabling spiraling inequality. Nevertheless, extending Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s discussion of ‘social fascism’, I suggest that widespread appeal to the ‘social’ benefits and ‘legal necessity’ of lethal economic policies marks a significant and Orwellian shift. Not only are democratic forces suppressed: the very meanings of democracy, rights, law and ethics are being reshaped, drastically inhibiting means of challenging corporate power.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Social Stratification, Law, Fascism, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Colombia
  • Author: Cecilia Jacob
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: On 28–29 October 2016, the Department of International Relations at The Australian National University, along with the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Queensland, and with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, hosted the conference Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Domestic Processes and Foreign Assistance. The conference was attended by academics, including leading experts in the field, and members and representatives of a wide range of government agencies, the diplomatic community, international organisations, and civil society organisations. Two distinguished keynotes were delivered by the Honorable Gareth Evans, ANU Chancellor and co-chair of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), and Ivan Šimonović, Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect to the UN Secretary-General (SASG). The purpose of the conference was to bring together policymakers, practitioners, and scholars working on areas related to the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), primarily in the areas of state-level responsibility to prevent mass atrocities and protect civilian populations (what we call Pillar One of the R2P), and international assistance to states to fulfil this responsibility (Pillar Two). Recognising that the principle of R2P has gained significant traction within the international community since it was first introduced in the 2001 report The Responsibility to Protect, the conference sought to transcend longstanding debates over acceptance and legitimacy of R2P as a norm. Rather, it sought to clarify what the implementation of R2P entails for the policy and practitioner community, and to push forward new lines of academic inquiry and research that could support the implementation agenda. At its heart, R2P implementation is about strengthening the capacity of states to prevent atrocities from occurring in the first place. Prevention requires enhancing the resilience of societies that face the risk of atrocities through improved access to security, justice, and the rule of law. Effective mass atrocity prevention requires going local – understanding the dynamics of mass atrocities in their specific historical and social contexts; and going international – ensuring that international actors effectively align their priorities, strategies, and resourcing on atrocity prevention in ways that support local and national needs. This is an ambitious agenda, and experts from a range of fields were invited to address the practical implications of implementing R2P across numerous sites. The central themes included atrocity prevention, international accountability, human rights, international humanitarian law, justice for legacies of violence, foreign policy, development cooperation, peacekeeping, and civil–military assistance. The conference brought together different communities working on aspects that support the goals of R2P in order to enhance knowledge across thematic divides, and contributed to clarifying the practical implications that commitment to R2P implementation entails for these communities across the spectrum. This report contains the text of the keynote speeches, and condensed summaries of the panel discussions. These can be read together to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the debates occurring across the spectrum, or can be read as stand-alone sections for those with specific interest in a particular aspect of the R2P implementation.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, International Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Asia, North Korea, Philippines, Syria, Congo
  • Author: Monica Salmon Gómez
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: The human rights crisis in Mexico and particularly the one with migrants in transit through Mexico is not coincidental. The increased securitization of migration has transformed it into a security issue, causing it to be a threat to the national security. The mechanisms and strategies to fight against this crisis has led to terrible consequences to the thousand of migrants that pass through Mexico every year. As stated by David Harvey, the conceptualization of the irregular migration as a threat to the Nation-States has occurred as a consequence of the “global unequal capitalist integration”. This is a structural process that promotes global inequality in a parallel way, creating the undocumented as the others unwanted (Álvarez and Guillot, 2012:24). We then have migration as a phenomenon characterized by the economic globalization and the predominance of the logic of social exclusion, that it reveals itself as a feature for nations and families in their need to seek, among other things, improved living conditions in places that are different from their place of origin
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Migration, United Nations, Inequality
  • Political Geography: United States, South America, Latin America, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Sergio Miranda Hayes
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the academic world, scientific literature comes mainly from the western part of the globe. Ramón Grossfoguel believes that knowledge is determined by power relations in the "post-colonial" era (Grossfoguel, 2002: 16). This means that Western powers dominate the academic world. In constitutional law, this is not the exception. However, while we can accept that it is true that many constitutional provisions, doctrine, jurisprudence and theories of Western constitutional law have influenced Latin American countries, most of these countries have also developed their own constitutional systems that have specific and new features, whose unique identity differentiates them from other systems in the world. In this paper, I will try to study the special features that Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia have in the recognition of indigenous rights and legal pluralism, whose discursive axis entails a “decolonizing” spirit which is the retrieval of their own institutions against the trends of hegemonic governance of the western culture as I will explain later. Latin America has faced numerous problems concerning social differentiation. In the opinion of one of the most cited authors in Latin American constitutional law, Raquel Yrigoyen, the disadvantaged were left behind from the social, economic and political issues through legal measures created by people of a favored minority, in order to maintain privileges (Yrigoyen, 2011: 139). In the case of Latin America, many of the disadvantaged match to be those survivors of the brutal Spanish conquest; the native Indians. I have chosen these three countries since they have a significant indigenous population; more than 36.6 million indigenous people in the region. In Bolivia, the number rises to 4,115,222 natives, in Ecuador 1018176,and in Colombia 1392623. (World Bank, 2014: 24-25) The Constitutions of Colombia (1991), Ecuador (2008) and Bolivia (2009) reflect the new “decolonizing” ideology; Colombia through its jurisprudence, on the one hand, and Bolivia and Ecuador, proclaiming themselves "Plurinational”countries on the other. All made great strides in recognizing indigenous rights and, consequently, in gaining their social inclusion. (Gargarella, 2014: 175) Constitutional systems are a product of history and the struggle of peoples. In these cases, the effort to include indigenous peoples in the economic, political and social spheres resulted in these new constitutional models which can be understood through a comparative study.By understanding this, advantages and disadvantages of each country to improve social inclusion of indigenous peoples in all the mentioned spheres can be found. In the first title, I will talk about the meaning of legal pluralism. In the second, I will discussthe new models of statewhich are conditioned by legal pluralism and indigenous rights. In the third, I will address indigenous autonomies and jurisdictions that are the subject of our study. And in the remaining two titles, I will discuss the most distinctive features, and rights arising from the recognition of this unique legal pluralism. All this with the purpose of exposing the new constitutional spirit of "decolonization" of these countries.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Legal Theory , Colonialism, Decolonization, Economic Inequality
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, Latin America, North America, Ecuador, Bolivia
  • Author: Erica Chenoweth, Tricia Olsen, Kyleanne Hunter, Pauline Moore, Jonathan Pinckney, Heidi Reynolds-Stenson
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: In 2016, USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance launched its Learning Agenda—a set of research questions designed to address the issues that confront staff in USAID field offices working on the intersection of development and democracy, human rights, and governance. This literature review—produced by a multidisciplinary team of graduate students and professors—synthesizes scholarship from diverse research traditions on the following Learning Agenda question: What do we know about the role of citizens, social movements, and other domestic civic actors (as opposed to transnational actors or government officials) in advocating for particular human rights outcomes in their country? And what can we learn from the successes and failures of their activities? Much of the research on this topic has focused on North America and Europe, but do any of these findings have the potential to translate to other country contexts? Are there particular contextual or tactical variables in these country contexts that make it less likely that domestic civic actors can have an impact? Are there some kinds of rights that are easier to fight for than others? Key findings include: Context matters: democratic political systems allow grassroots human rights activists more opportunities and greater likelihood of success; extreme poverty makes grassroots mobilization harder. Rhetorical framing matters a lot, and is tricky: local activists can be more successful by framing their work as a human rights struggle and by positioning that struggle within broader international conceptualizations of human rights, as captured in founding international human rights documents. However, activists must take equal care to translate these concepts into frames that resonate locally and are culturally appropriate. Connections matter: activists are more successful if they build connections with each other—within a particular rights movement and across rights movements, within a country and across countries—and if they build connections to political and economic elites and to a broad constituency base. These vertical, horizontal, and transnational ties can be supported simply by bringing activists together, but also depend on framing, since framing is crucial to how activists see themselves and their peers, how they engage their base, and how they target elites. Organizational structure matters, but there is not an ideal type of organization that consistently is more successful in advocating for improved human rights; rather, organizational type, formality, and complexity depends on the right being fought for, the goals of the rights movement, and contextual factors such as regime type or level of repression. Tactics matter: activists must use tactics that are appropriate to their rights fight and to their context, and often use many different tactics at different times. However, confrontational and disruptive tactics—such as protests or boycotts—are often more effective.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Social Movement, Democracy, USAID
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Mass atrocities, including unlawful killings, rape, torture, and destruction of property, have caused one in three people in South Sudan to flee their homes.
  • Topic: Genocide, Human Rights, United Nations, Refugees, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Author: Alexander Van der Bellen
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia University World Leaders Forum
  • Abstract: His Excellency Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, addresses the Columbia University World Leaders Forum in Low Library.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, International Cooperation, International Affairs, European Union
  • Political Geography: New York, Europe, Austria, European Union
  • Author: YUAN Zhengqing, Li Zhiyong, Zhufu Xiaofei
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The life cycle of international norms is not actually a process of emergence, diffusion and internalization. As is shown by the logic of argumentation and the relational logic of processoriented constructivism, the development of international norms may take another approach, one of origination, diffusion and remolding. Through dialogues on norms, discourse critique, self-remolding and other means, China has enriched the practice of remolding international human rights norms with a human rights theory centered on the right to survive and develop, thereby providing a new approach and new angle of vision that allows non-Western countries to break away from the monist approach of norm development.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Steven Livingston
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: Keck and Sikkink’s boomerang model (1998) and Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink’s spiral model (1999) anchor much of the scholarly debate about human rights norms propagation. At the heart of both models is “information exchange” among members of broad coalitions advocating for better compliance with human rights norms. An updated spiral model (2013) offers a more liminal, ambiguous, and conditional set of actors and processes than appeared in the first boomerang and spiral models. In this context, we consider the effects of a wide array of digital technologies on human rights NGOs advocacy work and how they affect 21st century information exchange. Traditionally, evidence in human rights investigations is collected in face-to-face meetings among activists and on fact-finding missions. We argue that clusters of digital technologies create “digital affordances” that provide nonstate actors with tools that strengthen their ability to gather scientifically grounded information that pressures noncompliant actors toward commitments with broadly shared human rights norms. As to whether this also leads to greater compliance is less clear.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, United Nations, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2015 there was a huge increase in the number of migrants, including refugees, arriving in Greece and travelling along the Balkan route on their way to destination countries further north. According to UNHCR, more than one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2015. This report looks at the protection concerns of people on the move, especially women and children, in Macedonia and Serbia following the closure of the Balkan route. It is based on research and information gathered by Oxfam and its partners: the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Atina in Serbia, and the Macedonian Young Lawyer Association and Open Gate/ La Strada in Macedonia. The report includes recommendations on how to protect and promote their safety, dignity and human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, Refugees, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Serbia, Macedonia
  • Author: Jacqueline Lopour
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Humanitarian crises across the world are the worst since World War II, and the situation is only going to get worse. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), almost 60 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes — that is approximately one in every 123 people on the planet (UNHCR 2016a). The problem is growing, as the number of those displaced is over 60 percent greater than the previous decade. As a result, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held May 23-24, 2016. The world’s attention is focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced 11 million people. But in doing so, the global community has lost sight of an equally severe humanitarian and displacement crisis — the situation in Yemen. Yemen now has more people in need of aid than any other country in the world, according to the UNOCHA Global Humanitarian Overview 2016. An estimated 21.2 million people in Yemen — 82 percent of the population — requires humanitarian aid, and this number is steadily growing (UNOCHA 2016a).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Poverty, War, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Yemen, Global Focus
  • Author: Emily Taylor
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Internet enables the free flow of information on an unprecedented scale but to an increasing extent the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, such as privacy and the mediation of free expression, is being left in the hands of private actors. The popularity of a few web platforms across the globe confers on the providers both great power and heavy responsibilities. Free-to-use web platforms are founded on the sale of user data, and the standard terms give providers rights to intrude on every aspect of a user’s online life, while giving users the Hobson’s choice of either agreeing to those terms or not using the platform (the illusion of consent). Meanwhile, the same companies are steadily assuming responsibility for monitoring and censoring harmful content, either as a self-regulatory response to prevent conflicts with national regulatory environments, or to address inaction by states, which bear primary duty for upholding human rights. There is an underlying tension for those companies between self-regulation, on the one hand, and being held accountable for rights violations by states, on the other hand. The incongruity of this position might explain the secrecy surrounding the human systems that companies have developed to monitor content (the illusion of automation). Psychological experiments and opaque algorithms for defining what search results or friends’ updates users see highlight the power of today’s providers over their publics (the illusion of neutrality). Solutions could include provision of paid alternatives, more sophisticated definition and handling of different types of data — public, private, ephemeral, lasting — and the cooperation of all stakeholders in arriving at realistic and robust processes for content moderation that comply with the rule of law.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Governance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard E. Hoagland
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Central Asia is strategically important to the West because of its neighbors, but not immediately, because it is not a “hot spot” on the world stage. Western governments are ambivalent about the region because of its poor record on human rights and governance. It presents the classic choice: ideology or realpolitik. But Western policy in Central Asia does not have to be one or the other — it can be both. Western nations can engage strongly to support humanist values in Central Asia through quiet and appropriate behind-the-scenes work with government officials who understand and have similar concerns — and they most certainly do exist and can produce results. Western governments need to engage in Central Asia precisely to ensure that it does not become a hot spot and instead becomes, over time, ever more firmly embedded in the community of responsible nations. Strategic engagement by the West is essential, and it will pay off.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Christoph Sperfeldt, Melanie Hyde, Mychelle Balthazard
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Using outreach-friendly television broadcasting of the Khmer Rouge (KR) trials in Cambodia in conjunction with community-based dialogue meetings, the Voices for Reconciliation: Promoting Nationwide Dialogue on the Khmer Rouge Past through the Mass Media and Community-Level Survivor Networks project aimed to 1) increase community awareness and understanding of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) trials, 2) empower conflict-affected groups to create spaces for dialogue at the community level, and 3) build the necessary capacities among those groups and civil society intermediaries to create environments favorable for longer-term reconciliatory processes beyond the ECCC. The project engaged with the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association's Civil Party Representative Scheme, which supports a network of Civil Parties (CPs) and Civil Party Representatives (CPRs) who are party to the ECCC proceedings. To achieve the objectives, the project had a three-prong strategy: 1) the production and broadcasting of television programs and media outreach to the general population, 2) the organization of community-based dialogue meetings using outreach films to inform Cambodians in rural areas about the ECCC and its developments, and 3) capacity building to civil society groups and 46 CPRs who were directly involved with the project. This report was produced as part of an evaluation of the project in Cambodia, and involved an assessment of the project outcomes in relation to the participation of the CPs and CPRs in the project and lessons learned from the project implementation. The results are based on interviews with a non-random sample of 101 CPs and 38 out of 46 CPRs who participated in the project. To complement the survey, four focus group discussions including a total of 18 women and 14 men, were conducted in four different provinces. The interviews and the focus group discussions took place during the first two weeks of July 2015 at the end of the project. The results represent the points of view of study participants at the time of the survey and focus groups discussions only. This project was supported by USAID and implemented by the East-West Center and WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Stanford University.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Human Rights, History, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Cambodia
  • Author: M. Murat Erdoğan
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This second paper of the DCAF-STRATIM paper series by M. Murat Erdogan analyses the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and the resulting challenges for both the refugees themselves and for Turkish society. The author argues that although the Turkish government does not officially acknowledge Syrians as refugees, Turkey has maintained an open door policy and provides them with considerable opportunities, rights and services€. The author calls on Turkey to review its approach towards Syrian refugees as the current approach is based on the wrong assumption of it being a temporary phenomenon€. The author expects a high probability that significant numbers of Syrians will permanently remain in Turkey. Since the first wave of Syrian refugees reached Turkey on 28 April 2011, the flow has not halted. With the Syrian civil war in its sixth year, expectations for a peaceful Syria in the short- and medium-term have faded considerably. The author calls for smart strategies, in line with human rights, and supported by Turkish society, for integration and co-existence based on efficient registration, better coordination between relevant agencies, a focus on education and the provision of working permits.
  • Topic: Demographics, Human Rights, Refugee Issues, Refugee Crisis, Syrian War, State
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Romuald Bolliger, Mohamed Elmenshawy, Ragnar Weilandt
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Following the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011, and more markedly after the July 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's military assumed a new role in national politics. In taking on such new responsibilities and control, the military also came to realize the powerful importance of the media, both as a useful political tool and as a significant potential threat. Building upon their traditional, historical role in Egyptian society, the military resolved to adopt strategies aimed at manipulating and severely controlling media organizations and journalists in order to support the military's agenda and shape public opinion. This paper examines the results of this new military approach to public communication. Specific attention is devoted to the military's communication strategy, its evolution since January 2011, its effects on civil-military relations, as well as the consequences for media freedom.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Communications, Military Affairs, Media, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Mahmoud Alawna, Nora-Elise Beck, Vlatko Cvrtila, Fatima Itawi, Saša Janković, Arnold Luethold, Frederic Maio, Felix Tusa
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This working paper aims to support the ongoing efforts of the Palestinian executive authorities, security forces, independent institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media to strengthen the Palestinian complaints system. It identifies deficits in the complaints system of the Palestinian security sector and proposes recommendations to rectify them. It particularly stresses the need to improve coordination between the vast number of complaints units and calls for greater clarity on the role of civil society and the media. It hopes to raise awareness for these issues among Palestinian decision-makers and citizens and international actors. When fully functioning, the complaint handling system can be an effective source of information for the government to improve its performance and develop its services. The paper builds upon the discussions of the complaints working group, consisting of Palestinian government officials and representatives of the security forces, civil society and the media. DCAF presented the recommendations to senior Palestinian decision-makers in late September 2016, providing these with cases of international best practice.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Human Rights, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Palestine, West Bank
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: On the fifth anniversary of the mass Tahrir Square protests that ousted former President Mubarak, Egyptians are suffering severe repression and political instability. As this crisis deepens, Washington continues to send troubling mixed messages about its commitment to trying to resolve it. The U.S. government should, at long last, use its considerable influence to support civil society and advance human rights in Egypt. Such an approach would both help Egyptians and serve U.S interests. This blueprint draws on dozens of interviews with Egyptian human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, academics, families of detainees, lawyers, government officials, and others, conducted during a research trip in January 2016. It examines conditions in Egypt, the strengths and shortcomings of the U.S. response, and potential opportunities for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights. This year will be a defining one as violent extremism, regional conflicts, and political and economic mismanagement threaten Egypt—and as President Obama shapes his legacy in the Middle East. In 2009, he delivered a message of hope in Cairo: “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” Much has changed in the intervening years. In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015, President Obama opted for analysis rather than exhortation, noting that: “repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.” He continued: “I believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength; it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. History shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone.” Yet the U.S. government’s handling of the enduring crisis in Egypt has too often failed to draw obvious conclusions from the Administration’s analysis of the detrimental impact of human rights violations on stability and progress. As a result, many Egyptians view the Obama Administration as supportive of the repressive leadership in Cairo. This support for the dictatorship will render Egypt less stable, undermine U.S. efforts to prevent violent extremism, and further damage Washington’s credibility in the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: On the fifth anniversary of the mass protests in Bahrain that threatened to bring down the country’s autocratic regime, Bahrainis continue to suffer severe repression and political instability. Although the scale of mass arrests and torture the government used to suppress the uprising in March, April, and May of 2011 has diminished, and there have been some largely cosmetic reforms introduced since then, arbitrary arrests and torture in custody continue. Leading human rights activists and peaceful opposition leaders who were able to work relatively unimpeded since 2011 are now in jail, forced into exile, or facing trumped-up charges. The leading civil society and nonviolent political opposition figures arrested and tortured in 2011 remain in prison and there seems to be no prospect of any political dialogue between the government and opposition groups. The protests have not stopped, and a minority have taken on a violent edge, with over a dozen policemen killed since 2011. The country’s prisons are bulging with political detainees, many of whom were sentenced in mass trials after an unfair judicial process. This blueprint draws on dozens of interviews with Bahraini human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, academics, families of detainees, lawyers, U.S. government officials, and others. Despite repeated requests for permission to access Bahrain, Human Rights First has been denied entry to the country since 2012. This report examines conditions in Bahrain, the strengths and shortcomings of the U.S. response, and potential opportunities for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights. Though the smallest country in the Middle East, Bahrain exemplifies several of the major challenges for U.S. policy in the region. 2016 promises to be a defining year as a series of issues converge to threaten Bahrain, including: sectarian tensions exploited by ISIL and other Sunni extremists and by Shi’a-dominated Iran; economic vulnerability linked to sharply falling oil prices; corruption and political instability; a lack of reform leaving the root grievances of the large scale public protests unresolved; and U.S. government support for an authoritarian status quo seen as the best way of protecting major military investments—in Bahrain’s case, the U.S. Naval Fifth Fleet base. This year will also be important as President Obama shapes his legacy in the Middle East. In 2009, at the start of his presidency, he delivered a message of hope in Cairo: “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” Much has changed in the intervening years. In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015, President Obama opted for analysis rather than exhortation, noting, “repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.” He continued: “I believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength; it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. History shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone.” Yet the U.S. government’s handling of the enduring crisis in Bahrain has too often failed to draw obvious conclusions from the administration’s own analysis of the detrimental impact of human rights violations on stability and progress. As a result, in the absence of actions and policies that would suggest the contrary, many in Bahrain and across the region view the Obama Administration as supportive of the repressive leadership in Manama. This support for the dictatorship is rendering Bahrain less stable, undermining U.S. efforts to prevent violent extremism, and further damaging Washington’s credibility in the region.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Reform, Protests
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Bahrain, Manama
  • Author: Joeven Reyes
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: The Philippines has a long history of armed conflicts caused by various factors, including poverty, lack of social justice, continuing HR violations and impunity, discrimination, and non-recognition of the right to self-determination. In spite of this long-standing situation of conflict, only a few CSOs focus directly on supporting peace and peace processes. This can be attributed to the fact that Filipinos’ major concerns, especially in rural areas, are focused more on day-to-day survival and family- and community-related issues than larger national issues. They cannot immediately associate or see the link between their present issues and concerns and the peace process. In addition, there is also a lack of information and knowledge about the peace processes taking place in the country. The intention of this mapping is to identify possible key leaders and organisations in an attempt to ascertain how they perceive the ongoing peace negotiation between the GPH and NDFP, and to identify key issues in the conflict-affected areas that can influence the GPH-NDFP peace process. The research also seeks to ascertain what these leaders/organisations recommend should be done to sustain the peace negotiation and maintain their own interest in and willingness to commit to reviving, revitalising and sustaining a national peace movement that is supportive of the GPH-NDFP peace process.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Self Determination, Social Justice, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: In February, Masoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan, announced that a referendum on the independence of the autonomous region would be held by the end of 2016. He stressed that Kurdistan had the same grounds for demanding statehood as Scotland, Catalonia or Quebec. Equally, he opined, the right of the Kurdish people to decide their own fate was unnegotiable. During an earlier encounter with Western journalists, Barzani pointed to the upcoming centenary of the Sykes-Picot agreement (16 May 1916), which divided Ottoman assets in the Middle East into British and French zones of interest, laying the foundations for the creation of multi-ethnic and multi-religious Iraq and Syria. The President of the Kurdistan Region underlined that 2016 would be the year in which the Franco-British agreement of World War I would be annulled and the policy of “compulsory co-existence” in the Middle East �inally abandoned. The purpose of this brief is to succinctly discuss the case made for Kurdish independence, but also the many obstacles on the way towards it. Solid arguments in favour of secession Mr. Barzani’s central argument in favour of Kurdish statehood is the fact that international borders in the Middle East largely do not correspond to popular will; i.e. they have no legitimacy, only legality. Historically, they are by-products of foreign – Ottoman, and later Western European – rule. As such, they are open for revision, especially if the states in question have a track record of discriminating, forcibly assimilating, or – in the worst case – physically exterminating segments of the population. Another argument made by Mr. Barzani is one concerning “compulsory co-existence”. It's well-known that international power brokers are rather conservative when it comes to recognizing border changes or granting independence to secessionist entities. As a rule, these are considered only in instances of grave human rights violations, and only as a last resort. The Westphalian sovereignty of states has been greatly eroded by the concept of humanitarian intervention. However, international borders are still considered to be sacrosanct and – generally – untouchable. This often leads to the involuntary co-existence of ethnic, national and/or religious groups with no sense of shared identity or mutual interests. In such unfavourable conditions, democracies – if they exist – are little more than tyrannies of the majority.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria, Kurdistan
  • Author: Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the Russian public has embraced an increasingly conservative and nationalistic ideology. Any repudiation of this ideology, let alone the transformation of the country as a whole, will only happen if demand for change from the bottom coincides with a desire for modernization from the top. The new social contract demands that the Russian people surrender their freedom in return for Crimea and a sense of national pride. It seizes on changes that have already occurred in the minds of many Russians. The new ideology is based on a deliberate recycling of archaic forms of mass consciousness, a phenomenon that can be termed the sanctification of unfreedom. Confined to a besieged fortress, surrounded by external enemies, and faced with a domestic fifth column, the people of Russia have begun to experience Stockholm syndrome and have thrown their support behind the commander of the fortress, President Vladimir Putin. They have adopted his logic and even defended his interests, believing that they are members of his team. Freedom of expression has been significantly curtailed through a system of bans and strict forms of punishment, including criminal prosecution, which have both didactic and deterrent components. Pressure on democratic media outlets has also increased drastically. Ideology in Russia is a mass product that is easy to absorb; it is legitimized by constant references to the past, glorious traditions, and occasionally fictional historical events.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Nationalism, Political Economy, Governance, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years at the margins of international diplomacy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has suddenly regained political relevance because of the Ukraine crisis that began in 2014. The organization turned out to be the most appropriate framework to manage the crisis and prevent further escalation. To continue to play a useful role in resolving this issue and in easing tensions between Russia and the West, the OSCE needs to adjust its way of working and strengthen its toolbox. As the relationship between Russia and the West deteriorated at the end of the 1990s, the OSCE’s role declined. The organization’s arms control regime eroded, its debates on human rights relapsed into ideological confrontation, and its work on promoting economic cooperation never got off the ground. The Ukraine crisis has revived the organization. While political crisis management has been left mainly to a few capitals working with the parties to the conflict, the OSCE’s monitoring mission in Ukraine has become an essential factor of stability. Violence has not stopped, however, and the mission’s work remains hampered by insufficient cooperation from the parties. The OSCE has also assumed an important role in facilitating negotiations on implementing the Minsk agreement, which contains a road map for a political settlement. However, little progress has been made so far. diplo
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Fatima Ramadan, Amr Adly
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Authoritarianism under military auspices has been reimposed in Egypt since mid-2013. The state has outlawed protests, strikes, and sit-ins in the public sphere and has subjected public spaces and private media to tight surveillance. It also has mounted repression of the independent labor movement. When taken together, these factors suggest that the labor movement is likely to wane in the near future. Whether this will last over the long term remains uncertain.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Labor Issues, Governance, Authoritarianism, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Egypt