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News Roundup: 1 February - 7 February 2016 By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR | Feb 8, 2016

Want to keep up to date on the SSR field? Once a week, the CSG’s Security Sector Reform Resource Centre project posts pertinent news articles, reports, projects, and event updates on SSR over the past week. Click here to sign-up and have the SSR Weekly News Roundup delivered straight to your inbox every week!


SSR Resource Centre

Local and External Perceptions of Security Sector Reform in Guinea-Bissau

For almost ten years, the small West African Country of Guinea-Bissau has been subject to security sector reform as part of international peacebuilding interventions. Since gaining independence in 1973-74, the former Portuguese colony has been characterized by political instability, coups d’état, military overthrow attempts, and the interference of military factions within politics. In this new contribution to the Academic Spotlight blog series, Christoph Kohl summarizes recent research findings on security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau.  Published as part of a partnership between the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding and the Centre for Security Governance, the full journal article is also available free and open access for a period of six months.

Reading List - Security Sector Reform in Haiti

Given the recent news about Haiti President Michel Martelly stepping down without a successor, and with security governance being a key issue at both the national and local levels, the SSR Resource Centre created this reading list to highlight key recent publications on security sector reform in Haiti.


Centre for Security Governance

eSeminar – Climate Change, the Environment and Peacebuilding

Climate change presents new challenges to the global peacebuilding architecture that have yet to be fully addressed by its key stakeholders. As we enter an era that could be marked by climate-driven war and instability, it is important to explore the potential impacts of climate change on global peace and security and how the existing peacebuilding agenda can be adapted to confront them. This will be the central question addressed at the fourth installment of the Centre for Security Governance’s eSeminar series on Contemporary Debates on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding,” presented in collaboration with the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of Global Studies.

The event, which will take place on Friday February 26 from 12:00PM to 1:30PM EST, will be open to the public and free to attend.

News Release - The Centre for Security Governance assumes management of Stability: International Journal of Security & Development

The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is pleased to announce it has acquired Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, a leading open-access journal focusing on security and development challenges in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states.

Stability is now the flagship publication of the CSG. The CSG hopes to expand the reach and impact of Stability in the coming years and cement its place as the ‘go-to’ open-access journal on security and development. The CSG’s commitment to innovation and research excellence will extend to Stability, as it seeks to explore new topics, challenge accepted orthodoxies and develop new research tools and products.



“Re-tooling an army from scratch,” as it fights a war

At the Joint International Peacekeeping Security Center, American forces are working with Canadian, British, and Lithuanian troops to train Ukrainian soldiers. The initial goal of the program is to increase survivability on the battle field, with the longer focus on preparing and equipping the Ukrainian military to the run the training facility on its own. - Cami McCormick, CBS News

The three pillars of America’s newly proposed security policy for Colombia

Fifteen years after Plan Colombia was launched, the United States is renewing its aid to Colombia with “Peace Colombia.” The priorities for the new program will include consolidating and expanding progress on security and counter narcotics while reintegrating the FARC into society; expanding state presence and institutions to strengthen the rule of law and rural economies, especially in former conflict areas; and promoting justice and other essential services for conflict victims. - Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports

Rights Groups Decry Decrepit Conditions in Cameroon Prisons

Rights advocates say that inadequate sanitation, food, and water are rife in Cameroonian prisons. The country’s prisons were built to hold a maximum of 16,000 inmates, but now hold 30,000 with most still awaiting trial. Some prison officials refute allegations about poor conditions and overcrowding, but recent reports show that prisons are being further burdened by an influx of Boko Haram suspects. - Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Voice of America

Funding falls short for task force to fight Nigeria’s Boko Haram

Funding for a multinational force to combat Boko Haram remains short of its targeted budget of $700 million. While intended to be made up of regional African militaries, the force has yet to be mobilized, and national armies continue to tackle Boko Haram individually. – Aaron Maasho and Edward McAllister, Reuters

Nigerian leader says army will limit use of force

The Nigerian military has updated its “rules of engagement in fighting terrorism,” and will only use the minimum force necessary to deal with extremists. The change comes after calls for an investigation into senior commanders over abuses, including the deaths of more than 8,000 detainees. - Associated Press Newswire

Mexico Impunity Levels Reach 99%: Study

A new study from the Center for Impunity and Justice Studies at Universidad de Las America highlights the grave structural and institutional weaknesses that have allowed organized crime to flourish in the country. Only 7% of crimes are reported due to widespread lack of faith in state institutions. - James Bargent, Insight Crime

Macedonia Special Prosecution Charged with Crimes

Macedonia’s Special Prosecution, which was formed to investigate allegations of high-level wrongdoings and corruption, is alleged to have intimidated or molested potential witnesses. Although the officials deny the allegations, seven criminal charges have been filed against members of the team, and pro-government media has speculated that deputy special prosecutors have been persuading police employees to testify by promising milder sentences. - Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight

General says troop cut constrains Afghan training mission

The senior American commander in Afghanistan said that the current proposal to cut U.S. troop levels will constrain the ability to train and advise Afghan security forces. He said that unless Afghan forces improve quickly, the number of American troops will likely need to increase. - Richard Lardner, The Associated Press

In blow to Ukraine’s reform hopes, top official resigns, citing corruption

Ukraine’s Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius resigned after coming under pressure from senior allies of the country’s president to make patronage appointments in state-owned companies and to appoint unqualified deputies to oversee lucrative industries. Opponents say his resignation was an attempt to blame lawmakers for the party’s failure to solve issues. - Michael Birnbaum, The Washington Post



Security and Prosperity in Africa Go Hand in Hand

In this feature, the author examines AFRICOM’s objectives in Africa, which focus on containing terrorist groups, like Al-Shabab, by developing a cadre of regional soldiers to serve as the main peacekeeping forces and disaster-assistance providers. He argues that the approach is merely triage, and that the U.S. should focus on economic development that furthers respect for the rule of law. - Ahmed Charai, The National Interest

It’ll be 2024 before Afghanistan can fully fund its military, U.S. general says

The author highlights U.S. General John Campbell’s remarks at a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing, at which he called for deliberate, measured adjustments to the U.S. approach in Afghanistan. He asserted that 70 percent of the Afghan military’s problems stem from weak leadership. - Alex Lederman, Medill News Service

Analysis: Sliding rand has serious implications for SANDF

In this analytical piece, the author considers the impact of the sliding rand on South African defence forces. The most obvious risk this poses is to equipment projects, and the government’s slow movement regarding Strategic Defence Packages has left the forces poorly equipped. Other potential capability gaps are possible for naval forces, who lack the adequate number of ships, and the national army, which lacks real air defense capabilities. - Helmoed Heltman, Defence Web

What has changed in the five years since Egypt’s police sparked a revolution – and what hasn’t

Five years after protests sparked by brutal police practices, the relationship between Egyptian citizens and the police remains uneasy. Stories about abuses of authority are widespread and reflect the low professionalization of junior officers. While the judicial system is more willing to disclose evidence in some torture and corruption cases, the cases cannot keep up with the frequency of new incidents. - Dina Rashed, Monkey Cage Blog

Tunisia: Landmark Step for Detainee Rights

Tunisia’s parliament approved changes in detainee rights, including the shortening of the maximum pre-charge detention period and granting suspects the right to a lawyer from the onset of detention. Human Rights Watch says that the new law could potentially close loopholes that led to widespread abuses under the former government. - Human Rights Watch

Preventing Ex-Combatants From Spoiling Colombia’s Peace

In this opinion piece, the author discusses the need to design a DDR program in Colombia that will prevent ex-combatants from spoiling the peace process. He argues that designing a conflict-specific program based on baseline data, political analysis, and cultural understanding will be critical. - David Phillips, The Huffington Post

Why Ukraine Must Outsource Its Fight Against Corruption

The author asserts that the most useful model for Ukraine’s battle against corruption could be Guatemala and its anti-impunity commission known as CICIG. He says that Ukraine needs an enhanced version of the hybrid domestic and international body, but with a longer mandate, more funding, and the power to prosecute the individuals it investigates. - Josh Cohen, Foreign Policy

Police reform needs to start from within

In this editorial, the paper calls for changes to be made within Thailand’s police system. Long-standing laws interfere with checks and balances between politicians and law enforcement officials, and police officers are often not provided with the basic requirements, like gasoline or weapons. - Bangkok Post

Destabilizing Defence: How Corruption Undermines Security Across Africa (podcast)

In this podcast, the participants discuss corruption and security governance across Africa. Coinciding with the launch of Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index, the panelists examine the diverse drivers of corruption on the continent and their role in derailing security reform in Uganda and Kenya. – Department of War Studies, King’s College London



What Explains Criminal Violence in Mexico City? A Test of Two Theories of Crime

In this article, the authors examine the two widely cited theoretical approaches focused on social disorganization and institutional anomie that propose different explanations for the causes and dynamics of criminality. They consider the applicability of the theories in Mexico’s capital, a sprawling metropolis of more than 20 million people. The authors administer spatial and general statistical tests to explain the geographical patterns of crime rates across multiple forms of criminality, and the assessment demonstrates that both theories accurately predict the spatial distribution of crime. - Carlos Vilalta and Robert Muggah, Stability: International Journal of Security & Development

Assessing Haiti’s Electoral Legitimacy Crisis – Results of 2016 Survey

This note presents the results of a national survey of 1,766 Haitian adults conducted between January 17 and 22, 2016. Respondents were asked about their participation in voting, barriers to participating in the voting process, their choice for president, and their opinions about a variety of possible solutions to Haiti’s electoral impasse. It finds that there is widespread pessimism about the direction of the country, and detects that voter turn-out in October 2015 was likely lower than officially reported. The survey shows that most Haitians would vote if they were confident that elections were free and fair. The most important issues that Haitians believe the next president should tackle are jobs and the economy, followed by corruption, regaining trust, and education. - Igarape Institute

A new war on terror or a new search for peace? Learning the lessons of Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen

In three new reports analyzing Western counter-terror, stabilization, and statebuilding efforts in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen since 2001, the authors look at the poor track record of such efforts. The reports conclude that lessons from past efforts could be the basis for more effective and constructive strategies to achieve peace in the face of terror and instability. Experience from the three case studies suggests a fresh response to terror threats is needed that is less reliant on military approaches and more strategic about peace; tougher on abuse, corruption and bad governance; more discerning about partners and how to engage with them; and more focused on working with societies to achieve just and lasting peace. - Saferworld

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