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News Roundup: 15 June - 21 June 2015 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Jun 22, 2015

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Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Security and insecurity in a police state: Security Sector Reform in the occupied Palestinian territories and the law of unintended consequences

Tahani Mustafa has launched a provocative rebuttal of the effects of and motivations for Security Sector Reform (SSR) programs in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Mustafa argues that SSR programs have purposely “advance[ed] the security agendas of international stakeholders”, including Israel, at the expense of Palestinian ‘emancipation and empowerment’. Mustafa further tackles SSR by highlighting what she sees as the use of SSR programs as a tool of foreign domination that have resulted in the entrenchment of bio-political domination, at the cost of becoming counterproductive to the proclaimed aims of SSR—democratic governance and the rule of law.


Did PRTs in Afghanistan Decrease Security for Aid Workers

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) have been faulted by NGOs for ‘blurring the lines between military and aid activity’; but in doing so, have they decreased the security of aid workers in Afghanistan? David Mitchell, a PhD candidate in Security Studies at Kansas State University, blogs about his work employing quantitative methods to answer this pressing question. Mitchell has found that although the presence of PRTs has led to minor differences in the frequency of attacks on aid workers, “it would be difficult to conclude that PRTs in general are culpable for lax NGO security.” Mitchell further outlines plans to use qualitative and quantitative methods to ‘provide a more complete understanding of why attacks on aid workers occur’.



Senior Project Manager

The Security Governance Group (SGG) is looking to recruit a senior project manager to assist with the continued growth of the SGG. The position involves overseeing projects, raising funds, nurturing partnerships and engaging in overall strategic planning. The deadline to apply is 26 June, 2015.



Ashgabat offers to establish disarmament centre in Asia

Turkmenistan has proposed to establish a UN Regional Centre for Disarmament in Asia, stressing its importance to resolving Afghanistan-related issues through “peaceful, political and diplomatic means”. – Aynur Karimova, AzerNews.

Sri Lanka returns land confiscated by military during decades-long war

The Sri Lankan military has handed back pieces of land seized in the country’s northern tip, during the decades-long war with the Tamil Tigers. The move is part of a plan to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of former rebels. - Amantha Perera, IRIN.

Army wants more women involved

At a gender, governance, peace and security seminar, the Namibian Defense Force announced its intention to have women represent 30% of the force, bringing the force more in line with the aims of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. – Adam Hartman, The Namibian.

Congolese troops must be disarmed if rapes are to stop, says Denis Mukwege

Leading Congolese gynecologist, Dr. Denis Mukwege, has called for government troops to be stripped of their arms and replaced by new recruits who have not previously committed sexual violence. According to the UN, two thirds of rapes in the eastern part of the country are committed by the army. – Mark Townsend, The Guardian.

European Parliament Passes Conflict-Minerals Bill; UN Releases Report on Money Flows in DRC

The European Parliament has passed a bill which is set to remove “around $13 million a year” from ‘some 25 to 49 armed groups that continue to cause insecurity in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. – Carley Chavara, New Security Beat.

Ukraine’s Tornado Battalion Resisting Disarmament, Shoots Police Drone

A Ukrainian volunteer military battalion shot down a police drone as they continue to ignore government orders to disband in the face of allegations of criminal misconduct. – Sputnik News.

‘FARC attacks’ force Ecopetrol to suspend operations in northeast Colombia

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol has been forced to suspend production in the northeast of Colombia following a series of attack allegedly by FARC rebels. Hundreds have died in recent weeks in the region as righting between government and FARC forces intensifies. – Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports.

Nigeria: U.S. Donates U.S.$5 Million, Not U.S.$5 Billion for Boko Haram - Embassy

The US Department of State has clarified that it is to donate $5 million to the Multinational Joint Taskforce fighting Boko Haram insurgents. The clarification was made necessary by a serious of misquotations in the media putting the level of financial aid at $5 billion. – Daily Trust, All Africa.

Philippine leader tries to resuscitate peace deal with Muslim rebels

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has called on ‘lawmakers to grant autonomy for the predominantly Christian nation’s restive southern region’ before ongoing peace talks end with failure. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front handed over a token 75 weapons at a ceremony on Tuesday, however they are unlikely to go ahead with the decommissioning of all 15,000 weapons unless they receive control of their economy, culture and politics—a process originally undertaken under the auspices of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. – Manuel Mogato, Reuters.

Somalia’s al-Shabab attacks military base in Mogadishu

Somali security forces have rebutted an attempt by al-Shabab to break into a military compound used to train intelligence officers. The attack, consisting of a large car bomb and a gun battle, reportedly ended in the deaths of four al-Shabab fighters. – Al Jazeera.

Volunteer says Ukraine’s military suffers from corruption, poor training

“If I give you a scalpel, you won’t become a surgeon, right? If you get a sniper rifle, it doesn’t make you a sniper”, states Vitaliy Deinega, a volunteer Ukrainian soldier who, in this interview, speaks out against corruption, failed reforms, and ineffective training within Ukraine’s security sector. – Oleg Sukhov, Kyiv Post.



U.N. peacekeeping and transactional sex

Bernd Beber, Michael Gilligan, Jenny Guardado and Sabrina Karim, analyze the findings of a recent report on the prevalence of transactional sex in UN missions. Transactional sex refers to the transfer of goods or services to those receiving or benefiting from aid, in exchange for sex. The analysis argues that the UN mission in Liberia may have drastically increased the likelihood that a women would engage in transactional sex, while arguing that recruiting troops from countries “where gender norms” are widely held may help resolve the issue. - Bernd Beber, Michael Gilligan, Jenny Guardado and Sabrina Karim, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post.

PSC Summit decides on South Sudan human rights report and takes action on Burundi

Heads of state of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) have agreed to take urgent steps to resolve ongoing issues in South Sudan and Burundi. In Burundi, the PSC announced it would ‘deploy human rights observers and military experts to verify the process of disarming the militias and other armed groups’. While in South Sudan, the PSC has begun to redefine the scope and approach of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to allow negotiations to begin. - Institute for Security Studies.

‘Protest is always hopeful’: Examining the third wave of popular protest in Africa

In an interview with the authors of the book “Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change”, the authors discuss the causes of increased political mobilization. The authors highlight the evolution of African societies from rural to urban based, as fostering cleavages that continue to shape political mobilization. – Kim Yi Dionne, Adam Branch and Zachariah Mampilly, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post.

Yemen: under fire, desperate for peace

Iba Abdo and Nick Grinstead of the Clingendael Institute debate the prospects for peace in Yemen, while considering the factors that may hinder this peace. It is argued that Saudi Arabia’s military campaign has failed, and that the Saudi government has been left without a coherent plan to stabilize their neighbor.  - Iba Abdo and Nick Grinstead, Clingendael Institute.

Colombia, Mexico Seize More Weapons Than Iraq: UNODC

David Gagne highlights how recent UN figures show that more firearms are seized in Colombia and Mexico than in war-torn Iraq. Gagne argues that this is a product of the culture of organized crime in the countries, the shift in gangs outsourcing killings, and the fragmentation of drug trafficking organizations  – David Gagne, InSightCrime.

Responses Fall Short as Violence Displaces More Nigerians

The author argues that the growing number of refugees, particularly those forced to flee from Boko Haram, are not receiving adequate help and debate. Matfess highlights that if the situation continues, it will “only give rise to more violence and suffering”. – Hilary Matfess, The International Peace Institute.

Mexico’s Federal Police Have No Manual for Use of Force?

Arturo argues that “Mexico’s Federal Police, the principal civil security institution in the country, operates without a publicly available manual defining when and how its 40,000 officers can use deadly force.” - Arturo Angel, Animal Politico, republished and translated by InSightCrime.

Preventing Conflicts is Critical in Addressing State Fragility: Q&A with Charles Call  [podcast]

Nadia Mughal interviews Charles Call, Associate Professor at the School of International Service at American University, on how to best prevent conflict. During the interview Call argues for increased funding for conflict prevention tools, before going on to highlight the role police and justice reforms have in preventing violence. Call draws upon reforms in South American nations, such as Mexico and Colombia, to highlight the utility of reforms, but also how people need to pressure governments ‘from below’ to enact these often controversial and expensive reforms. – Nadi Mughal and Charles Call, Independent Commission on Multilateralism and The International Peace Institute.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno on his leadership of UN peacekeeping and “The Fog of Peace”  [podcast]

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the former and longest serving head of UN peacekeeping operations, from 2000-2008, speaks to Fred Dews of the Brookings Institute about his time in this position and the challenges facing peacekeeping in the 21st Century. Mr. Guéhenno also speaks of the pivotal role political processes play in allowing peacekeeping operations achieve their goals. - Jean-Marie Guéhenno and Fred Dews, The Brookings Institute.



Evaluation Report: Evaluation of the Enforcement and Remedial Assistance Efforts for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by the United Nations and Related Personnel in Peacekeeping Operations

This important new report by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services provides a comprehensive audit of the practice of sexual exploitation amongst UN personnel in peacekeeping operations. The report finds the practice is ‘quite common but underreported’ and that victims are often left without any form of remedial assistance. The report makes numerous recommendations to remedy the issue, including harmonizing discipline procedures and creating a comprehensive funding system for victims. NOTE: After clicking on the above link, this report is second in the list—entitled report number: IED-15-001. - UN Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance

This comprehensive report analyzes the role ‘just security’ should and could play in confronting the crisis of global governance. Section II (4) of the report in particular discusses the key challenges to coping with fragility and violent conflict, before analyzing current responses to this crisis and the reform agenda which should be undertaken across the security sector to improve our responses. – Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance.

Reimagining Peacemaking: Women’s Roles in Peace Processes

This International Peace Institute report ‘examines the challenges and opportunities presented by women’s participation in peace and transition processes’. The report draws upon a comparative study of over forty peace and transition processes from the Broadening Participation Project, to demonstrate ‘that when women are able to effectively influence a peace process, a peace agreement is almost always reached and the agreement is more likely to be implemented.’ - Marie O’Reilly, Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, and Thania Paffenholz, The International Peace Institute.

The regionalisation of the South Sudanese crisis

Berouk Mesfin has authored the latest East Africa Report, with this issue focusing on the regional impact of the crisis in South Sudan. Mesfin highlights how regional players, including Kenya and Egypt, are providing support for different proxies which “could plunge the region into chaos”. Mesfin argues that the events in South Sudan are not only being shaped by outside actors, but they are also shaping events outside South Sudan, which is having grave effects on security and diplomacy in the Horn of Africa. – Berouk Mesfin, Institute for Security Studies.

Fragile States Index 2015

The Fund for Peace has released its eleventh annual 2015 Fragile States Index. The report highlights ‘a spiral of state fragility, and how the cycles of insecurity and poverty that come along with it, are exceedingly hard to break’. The report highlights South Sudan as the most fragile state in the world, with Cuba the most improved country and Ukraine regressing furthest—closely followed by Russia. The impact of the Islamic State is also seen, with insecurity rising across Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. – Fund for Peace.

Institutionalising police reforms in Kenya: lessons from 2012-2015

Saferworld has released a report analyzing the challenges faced by Kenya’s program of police reforms since 2012. The report also utilizes ‘lessons learned’ to provide government and non-governmental organizations with recommendations on how to best move forward. –  Esther Njuguna, James Ndung’u and Kat Achilles, Saferworld.

Making Sense of Informal Economies in Fragile Contexts

This Clingendael Institute report analyses the role of informal economies in fragile contexts. The report highlights the political and social undercurrents that foster the informal economy, before questioning how the informal economy shapes governance, development and conflict patterns in fragile environments. – Steven Schoofs, Clingendael Institute.

Violence against women in Egypt: Prospects for improving police response

Saferworld has released a paper focusing on violence against women in Egypt, and the government’s response. The paper contextualizes the establishment of the Violence Against Women Unit of the Ministry of the Interior, while analyzing the challenges and institutional changes needed to make the unit a success. The papers core recommendations include improved police sensitivity training and increased representation of women within the police. – Nadine Marroushi, Saferworld.



Should the U.S. put boots on the ground to fight ISIS?

The Brookings Institute will host an online debate on whether the United States should put boots on the ground to fight IS. Arguing in favor of intervention will be Michael Doran and Michael O’Hanlon. Arguing against will be Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Jeremy Shapiro. The event takes place on Wednesday, June 24, from 5:30-7:45 PM (UTC-05:00), and is broadcast live from Washington DC.