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  • Author: Ari Kerkkänen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Few would dispute the assertion that human security has failed in Syria. Authoritarian regimes in the Arab world have had well-documented deficits in human security emerging from coercive internal politics, a lack of respect for human rights such as freedom of expression, and limited freedom from fear and want. The concept of human security has developed mainly within the domain of UN development policy, but it has also made headway in security policy, being advocated as one approach in international crisis management and peacekeeping. Less attention has been paid to its adaptability in forming the basis for the internal security policy of any given state. The main argument of this paper is that human security principles can be the cornerstones of state security, potentially preventing, mitigating, and remedying security issues within a state that could lead to societal upheaval. The argument is presented by outlining some major developments in the history of modern Syria up to its present state of civil war. The paper shows that the security paradigm exercised in Syria has led to a double failure in which human insecurity has resulted in turmoil for ordinary people and has shattered the authoritarian governance. The paper suggests that the rebuilding of security sectors must be based on the principles of human security, not only in Syria but also in the Arab world at large.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Human Rights, Governance, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the financial crisis recedes and the European Union (EU) regains a measure of internal stability, pressure in Europe\'s neighborhood is on the rise. The Ukraine crisis and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa have elevated foreign policy to the top of the EU\'s agenda. Whether the EU can make its external action more effective will depend in large part on institutional decisions made in 2014—the selection of a new leadership team and the reorganization of the European Commission.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Lori Plotkin Boghardt
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A number of U.S. interests could be served by expanding support to strategic Gulf partners in their efforts to curb Iranian aid to local fighters. On March 6, Bahrain's foreign minister told the UN Human Rights Council that the ongoing violence in his country "is directly supported by elements of the Islamic Republic of Iran." The statement does not accurately explain all political violence in Bahrain, but not every claim of Iranian support for violence should be assumed to represent part of a government propaganda campaign. U.S. intelligence assesses that Iran is in fact providing arms and more to Bahraini and other fighters in the Arabian Peninsula, and Washington should increase support to important Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners to curb it.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Washington, Middle East, United Nations
  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As extremists continue to move into southern Syria, growing security and humanitarian problems may soon outstrip Jordan's ability to handle spillover from the war.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Mirette F. Mabrouk, Stefanie A. Hausheer
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Three years after the citizens of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen took to the streets demanding freedom, dignity, and greater economic opportunity, they are struggling with a harsh reality: political change is a slow, painful process. In many cases, the goals of the revolutions are far from being realized. Yet despite the lack of momentum—and in some cases, notable setbacks—there is a recognition that the wall of fear has been broken. This profound shift means that citizens in these countries will continue to demand basic freedoms and more accountable governments that deliver for their people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Social Movement
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Keith David Watenpaugh, Adrienne L. Fricke, James R. King
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: On a warm June afternoon in Reyhanlı, Turkey, more than 30 displaced and refugee Syrian university students, some with their parents, gathered in the living room of the apartment that serves as the headquarters of the Union of Free Syrian Academics (UFSA). They had assembled to talk with our research team about their efforts to finish their university studies. Before the war in Syria Began, Reyhanlı had been a sleepy border town on the road between Antakya and Aleppo, frequented by smugglers. Today, it hosts tens of thousands of Syrians who have crossed into Turkey at one of the few border crossings that remain in the hands of the Western and Turkish-supported Free Syrian Army. Parts of Reyhanlı now feel like a refugee camp – with the sense of boredom, frustration, and expectation one finds in camps – but without barbed wire and restrictions on movement. We were visiting the town because it is home to several initiatives and programs related to higher education and other necessary support for Syrian students and scholars.
  • Topic: Education, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: On 9 December 2014 UNHCR will convene a ministerial level pledging conference in Geneva on resettlement and other forms of humanitarian admission for refugees from Syria.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The plight of Syrians living as refugees in neighbouring countries has been documented on many levels. Accurately assessing their needs is vital to ensure that the aid essential for their survival is provided. However, the majority of studies have focused on primary needs, with most evaluations employing rapid techniques of data gathering and analysis, which rely on second-hand information and formal records. Oxfam commissioned the Beirut Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) to carry out a wide survey investigating in detail refugees' perceptions of both their current situation and their future prospects. The survey's aim is to paint a bigger picture of the long-term conditions and needs of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Islam, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict is a human rights catastrophe. Over the past two years, nearly 70,000 people have died, mostly civilians, including more than 3,700 children, and nearly one million refugees have fled the country. Although both sides of the conflict are responsible for atrocities, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the vast majority. The regime's security forces have used indiscriminate bombings, intentional mass killings, rape, and torture to kill and brutalize civilians. There is no end in sight.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Human Rights, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Niamh Maria O'Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Few issues in international politics have sparked more debate this year than the events unfolding in Syria. What began 17 months ago as peaceful marches seeking reform has brought Syria to the brink of a civil war that threatens to stop the Arab Spring dead in its tracks. As the death toll rises and accusations of crimes against humanity mount against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling Ba'ath Party, many are calling for an armed intervention to put an end to the Assad regime's widespread human rights abuses. Finding the right way forward for Syria, however, is proving elusive and so we turn to philosophy and, in particular, to Just War theory for guidance. Though often criticized as a soft or unrealistic approach to foreign policy, principles like just cause and proportionality guide our way through the moral enigma that has confounded the international community since the uprising began. The answers are far from easy. As the battle for Syria rages on, the most ethical, and difficult, thing to do might just be to stay out.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil War, Human Rights, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: In its brutal crackdown on civilians, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria has committed mass atrocities. These crimes are not only a human rights catastrophe but also, as the Obama Administration says, a threat to U.S. national security. Yet American diplomatic efforts have failed to curb the violence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political Violence, Human Rights, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Dr. Christine Sylva Hamieh, Dr. Jinan Usta
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Violence Against Women (VAW) is a major public-health and social problem which jeopardises women's development and abuses many of their basic human rights. Recent interventions to combat the problem have focused on including men – not as holders or perpetuators of privileges, but rather as potential and actual contributors to gender equality. These initiatives to include men in programmes to end VAW have achieved some success so far. Several studies in the Arab world have highlighted the importance of addressing VAW. However, of all gender-related issues it still receives the least recognition and acknowledgement from Arab states and policy makers. Instead, the struggle continues to be led by women's organisations fighting to remove all forms of discrimination against women.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, Lebanon
  • Author: Søren Jessen-Petersen
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: With the end of the Cold War, internal conflicts targeting civilian populations proliferated. As international political institutions struggled to figure out how to deal with these conflicts, humanitarian action often became a substitute for decisive political action or, more worryingly, was subsumed under a political and military agenda. The increasing militarization and politicization of humanitarian efforts have led to growing ineffectiveness of humanitarian action on the ground and greater dangers for humanitarian workers. Without a vigorous restatement of the principles of humanitarianism, humanitarian action will remain in a state of crisis and continue to be a selective tool for the powerful and hence fail in its global mission of protecting and restoring the dignity of human life. There are six main causes of the humanitarian crisis, which first began to manifest itself in the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo and later in Afghanistan and Iraq. These causes are principally structural and operational in nature. The new post–Cold War types of conflict have thrown humanitarian workers and organizations into the middle of conflicts, with a constant risk of being perceived as taking sides. Many humanitarian agencies and their donors too easily and uncritically accept the conditions for involvement set by the military in those increasingly frequent operations where security forces are part of the integrated response to a crisis. This problem is aggravated by the fact that key military forces often come from the countries that are also donors to the humanitarian organizations. As recent events in the Arab world demonstrate, there can be no stability if human security is not protected. The main protection responsibility is the legal protection of the displaced and refugees. Today, humanitarian staff is often obliged to provide physical protection and assistance in the midst of conflict zones. There are far too many humanitarian organizations present in new and major emergencies. For example, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there were more than nine hundred international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground. Although there has been considerable improvement in the coordination among humanitarian agencies, a continued lack of coherence among political, security, development, humanitarian, and human rights agencies continues to pose serious problems. In too many operations, the presence of a noticeable number of humanitarian NGOs from the North and the West give weight to the perception in many countries in the South that humanitarian operations are an integral part of a political strategy to maintain and increase the power and dominance of the North and West. The challenges confronting humanitarian action have no easy answers. To begin to address the crisis, the international community should pay more attention to conflict prevention to minimize human costs and to mitigate the need for humanitarian action. Militaries should be trained in how to respect humanitarian principles in their operations, and humanitarian organizations should be proactive in maintaining impartiality and independence of action.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Cold War, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, Balkans
  • Author: Teresita Cruz-del Rosario, James M. Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Shrines, squares and soccer stadiums have provided the settings for anti-government protests and people power in Southeast Asia and the Middle East in recent decades. At times used for mass detentions and torture of regime opponents by the security forces in the Middle East and North Africa, soccer stadiums became battlefields of resistance by soccer fans against autocratic rulers as the fans became politicized, clashing with security forces and increasingly using matches to shout anti-government slogans. The authors project those spaces as venues of political entitlement. They enabled protestors to overcome fear in confronting the regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Benghazi and elsewhere. They also generated a sense of entitlement and demands for far-reaching reforms in post-revolution Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Torture, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Asia, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Deborah Horan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Media in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are freer than they were a decade ago, with a proliferation of satellite television news channels leading the way. Arab newscasts cover events in real time, sometimes scooping their Western competition with spot news coverage of regional conflicts. Talk shows regularly stir controversy by airing contentious views, breaking social taboos, and giving regional platforms to political opposition groups. Government-run media have been forced to compete or lose audiences. Yet most governments in the MENA region have managed to retain a tight grip on media, whether through the arbitrary application of restrictive and vague press laws, limits on media production, or a kinship, political, or business relationship with media owners. There are exceptions, and transnational news channels generally operate under fewer constraints than local broadcasts. But only three Arab countries, for instance, were ranked “partly free” for media by Freedom House in its 2009 Freedom of the Press index; the rest remained “not free.” Similarly, the International Research Exchanges Board (IREX), in its 2006/2007 Media Sustainability Index (MSI) for the Middle East and North Africa, found that media freedom in a majority of Arab countries had worsened or remained stagnant since a 2005 survey; only in five of the 18 countries surveyed had media freedoms slightly improved.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Islam, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia, North Africa
  • Author: Ola Ataya
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Violence against women (VAW) hinders the realization of a wide range of development goals, from the elimination of poverty to the fulfillment of human rights. In Arab countries, many forms of VAW exist and are perpetuated by the deep-rooted sociocultural factors.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The vast Palestinian refugee population is routinely forgotten and ignored in much of the Middle East. Not so in Lebanon. Unlike in other host countries, the refugee question remains at the heart of politics, a recurrent source of passionate debate and occasional trigger of violence. The Palestinian presence was a catalyst of the 1975-1990 civil war, Israel's 1982 invasion and Syrian efforts to bring the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to heel. Virtually nothing has been done since to genuinely address the problem. Marginalised, deprived of basic political and economic rights, trapped in the camps, bereft of realistic prospects, heavily armed and standing atop multiple fault lines–inter-Lebanese, inter-Palestinian and inter-Arab–the refugee population constitutes a time bomb. Until the Arab-Israeli conflict is resolved, a comprehensive approach is required that clarifies the Palestinians' status, formally excludes their permanent settlement in Lebanon, significantly improves their living conditions and, through better Lebanese-Palestinian and inter-Palestinian coordination, enhances camp management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Post Colonialism, Sovereignty, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Howard Adelman
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights Human Welfare (University of Denver)
  • Abstract: “I am sure they (the IDF soldiers) committed this crime.” I read these words just after I had finished the first draft of this paper on 1 February 2009. Oakland Ross, the Toronto Star journalist, was quoting Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish who had trained at the Soroka hospital in Beersheba and the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv. The interview was held at the latter Israeli hospital where another daughter was being treated for her injuries after the IDF opened the Ezer crossing to Gaza in a rare exception and allowed a Palestinian ambulance to meet up with an Israeli ambulance so the injured child could be transferred by IDF helicopter to the hospital. Dr. Abu al-Aish, a gynaecologist at Gaza's main Shifa Hospital, was a peace activist; his children attended peace camps with Israeli children. During the war, he had been heard frequently on Israel's Channel 10 TV station reporting in fluent Hebrew by cell phone via his friend, the Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, to Israelis on the health problems resulting from the war that he had been witnessing in Gaza from his top floor apartment of a five-storey apartment building on Salahadin Street at the corner of Zino Rd. in Jebaliya just north of Gaza City. On Friday, 16 January 2009 less than 36 hours before the ceasefire went into effect in Gaza on Sunday, 18 January 2009, he was on the air when two shells from an Israeli tank parked a block away ploughed through his apartment and killed three of his daughters. 22-year-old Bisan, 15-year-old Mayer, 14-year old Ayan, and his 14-year-old niece, Nour Abu al- Aish.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Arabia, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The plight of women in Iraq today has gone largely ignored, both within Iraqi society and by the international community. For more than five years, headlines have been dominated by political and social turmoil, the chaos of conflict and widespread violence. This has overshadowed the abysmal state of the civilian population's day-to-day lives, a result of that very turmoil and violence.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Human Rights, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ibrahim Muhawi
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explores three contexts of language in Mahmoud Darwish's poetry. The first is Darwish's performative use of language. The second deals with reading Darwish as a resistance poet. The third is Darwish's death, which I interpret as part of his language. This last point is speculative but of considerable interest in view of the role he assumed as the poetic voiceo f Palestine.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Armed Struggle, Culture
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Palestine, Arabia