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News Roundup: 22 February - 28 February 2016 By: Antoine Vandemoortele | SSR | Feb 29, 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

Law Enforcement and Perverse Effects: The Evolution of the Central American Maras

In a new post for the SSR Resource Centre, Michael Lawrence discusses how crime and law enforcement are often entwined in a co-evolutionary process by which the actions of one prompt behavioral changes by the other that demand new strategies from the initial actor. While this dynamic is often recognized and anticipated by both law enforcement and criminal groups, it frequently yields perverse effects. The blog post, which highlights the example of Central American youth gangs, outlines the ways in which enforcement measures have inadvertently escalated the threat posed by these gangs and how they may evolve in the future.



U.S. plans to assist Ukraine in defense reform in 2016

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt stated that the U.S. would assist the Ukrainian government with defense reforms in the following year. The goal of the assistance is to help the country build NATO-standard military structures and institutions. - Interfax

Report: Germany Mulling Military Training Mission in Tunisia

Germany is considering sending troops to Tunisia to help train soldiers in the fight against the Islamic State. The engagement is intended to build training capabilities for Tunisian soldiers, who could then set up a training camp in Tunisia for Libyan soldiers. - Defense News

El Salvador sees increase in violence between gang and security forces say police chief

El Salvador has witnessed nearly 100 gun fights between gangs and the country’s security forces in recent months. While the fighting is attributed to the gangs, the police and security forces have come under fire for their hardline approach to ending the violence. - Jennifer Kennedy, Latin Correspondent

480 Gang Members Infiltrated El Salvador Security Forces: Report

Over 480 gang members reportedly infiltrated El Salvador’s armed forces and police between 2010 and 2015. During the same time period, at least 435 members of the armed forces and about 40 aspiring police officers were fired for being gang members or having ties to gangs. - Mimi Yagoub, Insight Crime

Kenyan Police Boost Effort Against Al-Shabab

As part of the fight against al-Shabab militants, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta authorized 30 armored personnel carriers to be deployed to the country’s northeastern and coastal regions. While paramilitary police units will be using the carriers, they will not be doing so with the help of the military or other security institutions. - Mohammed Yusuf, Voice of America

Nicaragua Releases 8,000 Inmates from Overcrowded Prisons

Nicaragua has released roughly 80 percent of its prison population over the last two years to ease overcrowding and increase transparency. Human rights groups and government opponents criticized the measure for political meddling in the judicial system and for the lack of information about the criteria used by officials to determine parole. - James Bargent, Insight Crime

Monitoring Group: Corruption Still a Problem in Afghanistan

The Independent Monitoring and Evaluation Committee released its six-month report on Afghanistan’s progress combating corruption, stating that the government’s commitment to the effort is weakening. This has eroded the public’s trust in whether the government is able to govern. - Ayaz Gul, Voice of America

UN reports widespread human rights abuses in Libya, where “complete impunity prevails”

A new report from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recommends urgent measure to address “the complete immunity that prevails” and to strengthen and reform the justice sector in Libya. The justice system lacks the means and capacity to conduct prompt, independent, and credible investigations or to prosecute those responsible for violations or abuses. - UN News Centre

Back to Iraq: US Military Contractors Return In Droves

Over the past year, the number of private contractors working for the U.S. Department of Defense in Iraq grew eight-fold, a rate that outpaces the number of troops entering the theater to train and advise Iraqi soldiers. The increase underscores the American military’s reliance on civilians even for missions with a relatively small troop presence. - Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One

Ukraine Pressured by Corruption, Renewed Fighting

Demonstrators in Kyiv have expressed their anger at the Ukrainian government for its failure to root out corruption and target the oligarchs responsible for it. Analysts say that, instead of undertaking reforms, many oligarchs reinvented themselves and found new ways to hold onto power. - Luis Ramirez, Voice of America


Iraq’s Popular Demobilisation

The author analyzes the process, and potential implications, of military integration and the absorption of the Popular Mobilisation Units militias into the armed forces. - Michael Knights, Al-Jazeera

SSR and Clausewitz’s “remarkable trinity”

In this blog post, the author discusses the “remarkable trinity” between the military, the other actors in society from whom it draws its place, and the government. Security sector reform programs, such as training and equipping for effectiveness alone, that only consider one aspect of the trinity are likely to fail or cause more harm than good. - Thammy Evans, The International Security Sector Advisory Team

What Does Nigeria’s Use of Private Military Companies Against Boko Haram Mean for the World?

This interview delves into the Nigerian government’s use of private military companies in the fight against Boko Haram. It argues that PMCs are cheaper than maintaining a standing army, and do not bring with them the corruption and political ambition seen within traditional forces. - Bruno Bayley, Vice

How to build a prison compliant with human rights norms

Adapted from the new UNOPS manual on prison planning, this blog post outlines how to approach prison infrastructure development through a human rights lens. The authors outline common mistakes in prison design and cite three key principles, which are that physical requirements involve more than cell dimensions, good security can increase prisoner freedom, and planned facilities should be fit for purpose. - Gordon Nuttall and Pedja Jurisic, Penal Reform International

U.S. must support Tunisia to defeat violent extremism

In this opinion piece, the author calls for the U.S. government to support Tunisia’s path to democracy like it supported Eastern Europe in the post-Soviet era. One of the critical areas of need is to build institutional capacity so that Tunisia can counter corruption, strengthen democratic institutions, and facilitate decentralization and local governance. - Radwan Masmoudi, The Hill

Myanmar’s military goes to “democracy school” with new civilian MPs

Both the former military leaders and the new set of legislators in Myanmar lack training in how to run a country, and the author highlights how a UN-led intensive course helped them to learn how to carry out the job of legislating in a modern democracy. The topics of discussion in the training included separation of powers, checks and balances, and ethics. - Sara Perria, The Guardian

In DRC, armed groups dwindle but still aggravate troubled region

In the first part of a series looking at ex-combatants in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the author discusses challenges faced during reintegration. As part of the DDR process, ex-combatants must be cleared by the DRC’s national intelligence, but rarely do officials on either the Congolese or Rwandan sides of the border go after individual combatants who are not eligible for repatriation. - Katya Cengel, Al Jazeera America

Central Americans May Be Ready for Their Own Arab Spring

Rampant corruption is one of the major factors contributing to mass migration and high levels of violence in Central America. In this piece, the author explains the prevalence of extortion in the region and the underlying causes of violence being perpetrated by gangs and other armed actors. - Danielle Renwick, Defense One

How Moscow Is Subverting Ukraine’s Bid for Freedom

While a number of consequential laws have been passed to reform the police and civil service and to fight corruption, the author analyzes how Ukraine’s reform agenda has stalled. He notes that the country’s post-Soviet corruption networks are still present despite the new political leadership’s efforts. - Andreas Umland, Foreign Policy

Police Reform – What Does the Evidence Tell Us About State Policing?

In this opinion piece, the authors analyze policing in Nigeria, and whether a central structure for the Nigerian police is the best model to follow. They describe how policing has adapted to regional and local needs within the country and how an array of security forces already work alongside the existing national police at the local level. - Cleen Foundation and Olly Owen, All Africa

Enhancing our Understanding of the Social Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: The Case of Aceh

Using Aceh as a case study, the author discusses the importance of understanding local communities in order to carry out the social reintegration of ex-combatants. Previous research has looked upon the issues of acceptance, trust, and forgiveness by community members, all of which focus on the individual, rather than the community as a whole. - Linn Grindborg, Peacebuilding, Reintegration and Stabilization Group



Police Integrity Building Programme (PIBP): PIBP Strategy and Tools

The Police Integrity Building Programme (PIBP) Strategy and Tools were developed to support and complement different PIBP activities. The PIBP was designed to assist countries in their efforts to develop and maintain police services that function with the highest level of integrity. The PIBP strategy is comprised of two strands including awareness-raising activities and capacity-building initiatives, which are combined to support police services in developing measures relevant to their needs and context. - Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces

The Philippines: Civil Society – Military – Police Capacity Building

In this case study on civil society – military cooperation in the Philippines, the authors examine how Filipino civil society organizations identified the military and police as critical stakeholders in the peace process. While foreign security assistance programs for the armed forces concentrated on train and equip programs aimed to enable counterinsurgency, the country’s robust and highly skilled civil society reached out to the military and police to offer training and advice on building peace. - The International Security Sector Advisory Team

An Unhappy Marriage: Civil-Military Relations in Post-Saddam Iraq

In this publication, the author analyzes how four Iraqi army divisions disintegrated when confronted by an assault by the Islamic State. The armed forces’ say over defense policy and management under Prime Minister Al-Maliki, leading to weakened institutional capacity and combat capability. Many army commanders were also unwilling or unable to perform the role of defense management. - Florence Gaub, Carnegie Middle East Center

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