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News Roundup: 12 May – 19 May By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | May 20, 2014

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Mexican anti-cartel militiamen resisting government plan to demobilize them

As Mexican self-defence militias begin to disarm this week, the government’s push for demobilization has exposed the potential for future clashes between Mexico’s security forces and the militias. Even more worrying, however, is the potential for clashes between rival militias—especially those that have boycotted the disarmament process. –Nick Miroff and Joshua Partlow, The Washington Post

Ukraine’s Military Reform Temporarily Put on Hold

Military reform has temporarily been put on hold for the Ukrainian armed forces. According to Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, reform efforts are not in line with the country’s needs amidst the current political situation. –RiaNovosti

U.S., allies preparing for ‘wider’ sanctions against Russia, Britain’s Hague says

According to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, the United States and Europe are preparing for ‘wider economic and trade sanctions’ against Russia and key regime figures. The sanctions will be implemented if Russia interferes in Ukraine’s May 25 nationwide elections. –Karen DeYoung, Fredrick Kunkle, Anthony Faiola and Daniela Deane, The Washington Post

68 Pakistani Lawyers Are Charged with Blasphemy After Protesting the Police

In a recent application of a colonial-era blasphemy law, one that carries a potential death sentence, Pakistan has charged 68 lawyers at the urging of a Sunni extremist leader. According to human rights groups, the charge was consistent with increasingly common violations of the law by the security services to settle scores, silence opponents, or persecute minorities, all in line with growing religious extremism. –Salman Masood and Declan Walsh, The New York Times

Obama Sanctions Individuals in Central African Republic

In a recent executive order, President Obama has authorized sanctions against five individuals in the Central African Republic connected to that country’s sectarian conflict. Sanctioned individuals include President Fancois Bozize and four other officials, who are associated with the regime or with anti-balaka militias. –Scott Neuman, NPR

Kosovo Women to Petition UN Over Wartime Rape

A number of female cabinet ministers, MPs, and human rights activists have announced that they will urge the UN to produce a thorough report on war rape cases in Kosovo during the country’s 1998-99 conflict with Serbia. Earlier this year, the UN special envoy for sexual violence in conflict launched a reported examining wartime sexual violence in 21 countries across the globe, but excluded Kosovo. –Edona Peci, Balkan Transitional Justice

South Sudan president delays 2015 general elections

South Sudan’s president announced that the country will delay its next round of general elections, scheduled for 2015, owing to continued violence and instability in the country. The 2015 elections were set to be the first since the country gained independence in 2011. –Sudan Tribune



Meet in the peace park? How to use natural resources for peacebuilding

As numerous studies have begun to demonstrate the link between environmental degradation and the breakout or intensification of conflict, international actors are now starting to recognize the need to incorporate environmental factors into peacebuilding programs. –Supreet Kaur, The Guardian Global Development Network

Security progress for all or some? The continuing challenge of violence against women and girls

This article draws on forthcoming research from Development Progress. While pointing to ‘overall’ security progress in Liberia, it also says that women and girls remain vulnerable to specific types of insecurity and violence that are often unseen and unaddressed. –Karen Barnes Robinson, Development Progress

Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone: where to from here?

The closing of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone in March of this year represented a major milestone in the country’s history. According to the UN, Sierra Leone has shown “remarkable achievements” in strengthening its institutions and democracy. However, there are still many steps that need to be taken by the international community to safeguard Sierra Leone’s stability and future. –Gustavo de Carvalho, ISS

Colombia’s Long Road to Peace

This analysis explores disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs as part of Colombia’s struggle for lasting peace. Specifically, it explores how to make DDR programs attractive for those heavily involved in organized crime, which tend to profit from the status quo of internal conflict and disorder. –Matt Ince, RUSI

Nepal’s Micro-Hydropower Projects Have Surprising Effect on Peace Process

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment confirmed a crucial divide in climate thinking: attempts to mitigate the effects of climate change are still considered separately from the vulnerability of people. Within this context, it is important that policy makers understand these two sets of issues as connected and interrelated. This analysis explores this tension while drawing on the case of Nepal. –Florian Krampe, New Security Beat (The Wilson Centre)

Turning fragile states into emerging markets

This article explores what is necessary to unlock the growth and development potential of fragile states. Conflict-affected and fragile states are confronted by a myriad of simultaneous challenges, including the potential for violence, serious and recurring human rights violations, weak institutions, and potential threats from transnational criminal or terrorist networks. –Terry Heymann,

When will victims in Nepal get their justice?

There is a growing call within Nepal for the government to make good on its promises to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Disappearance Commission. The mandate to form these two commissions is enshrined in Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Accord, which was signed in 2006, formally ending the country’s guerrilla insurgency. –Ambika Pokhrel, Insight on Conflict



Mexico’s Police: Many Reforms, Little Progress

This report offers an overview of police reform in Mexico over the past two decades. Despite numerous initiatives to try to reform the police force, it continues to be abusive and corrupt; with the Mexican government largely unable to establish internal or external controls over the force. Without greater effort to ensure accountability, Mexico’s police force will likely continue to commit abuses and perpetuate mistrust with the country’s citizens. –Maureen Meyer, Washington Office on Latin America

Afghanistan’s Insurgency after the Transition

Conflict in Afghanistan is increasingly a contest between insurgents and the Afghan National Security Forces. While many are more optimistic about stability in the wake of the recent president elections, the euphoria must be tempered by a realistic assessment of the security challenges that President Karzai’s successor will face. –International Crisis Group

Global Overview 2014: People internally displaced by conflict and violence

At least 33.3 million people across the world were internally displaced in 2013, according to this new report. The figure is the highest ever recorded and represents a 16 per cent increase in internally displaced people (IDP) from the previous year. Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan represent the majority of IDPs worldwide. –Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council

Ukraine: Running out of Time

Ukraine’s provisional government faces an uphill battle to ensure the country is ready for the presidential elections at the end of May. Faced by separatist agitation and distracted by Russian troops on its borders, the country has failed to assert itself and is increasingly losing control of its eastern regions. It also appears incapable of keeping order in much of the southeast, where separatists likely supported by Moscow, threaten the central state’s visibility and unity. –International Crisis Group


Centre for Security Governance

CSG Fellow Nick Armstrong recently presented a paper with co-author David M. Van Slyke on “Contracting for Reform: The Challenges of Procuring Security Training and Advisory Services in Fragile Environments” at the AFCEA’s Annual Acquisition Symposium, Naval Postgraduate School.


Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Planning for “What’s Next”: The Annexation Shock and its Impact on SSR in Ukraine

Among the pressing security concerns of the day (Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, and the South China Sea stand out most prominently), Ukraine continues to dominate discussions across the North Atlantic. This attention is due in large part to concerns over a resurgent Russia and the unease over what Russia’s latest actions might spell for other East European states with large ethnic Russian populations. –Joe Derdzinki

Sending in the Military: Not a Long-Term Solution to Mexico’s Security Problems

Recent developments in Mexico highlight the ongoing security crisis in swaths of the country and suggest a repetition of past strategies that have not been able to effectively reduce crime and violence. These strategies have also led to a dramatic increase in human rights violations while doing little to strengthen the law enforcement and criminal justice institutions necessary to provide long-term solutions to Mexico’s security challenges. –Maureen Meyer

Corruption’s Poster Child? Understanding the Challenge to Azerbaijan’s Security Sector

In 2012, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev its corruption “person of the year.” According to the project, Aliyev was awarded this dubious distinction based on extensive reports and “well-documented evidence” that the Aliyev family had used its influence over a period of many years to take advantage of profitable business deals being done in Azerbaijan. As a result, the family held preferential stocks in most of the country’s key economic holdings. –David Law and Eric Muller