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News Roundup: 29 February - 6 March 2016 By: Antoine Vandemoortele | SSR | Mar 7, 2016

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Centre for Security Governance

Publication Announcement - CSG Paper #3: Non-State Security Providers and Political Formation in Afghanistan

The Centre for Security Governance is pleased to announce the publication of a new peer-reviewed paper in its flagship CSG Papers series. This is the first of four papers produced as part of the CSG’s project on ‘Non-State Security Providers and Political Formation in Conflict-Affected States’. The project was made possible by generous financial support from the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

The project considers new aspects of the relationship between security and development by examining how the presence of non-state security providers affects political development in conflict-affected societies. Drawing on three case studies—Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan—the project’s main research questions are: how does the presence of diverse non-state security providers affect the process of state formation and state-building, and how should this shape donor state-building approaches? The overarching goal of the project is to stimulate a discourse and make initial policy recommendations on how donors can better engage non-state security structures in the context of state building and security sector reform programs.


This paper examines how diverse non-state security providers – warlords, tribal leaders and local strongmen – affect the process of state formation and state building in Afghanistan. Its analysis of the nature and scope of international engagement of informal security actors in northeast and southwest Afghanistan suggests that external donors have not primarily promoted liberal peace, but rather a hybrid political order. The support of international actors has allowed non-state security actors to operate without the consent of communities, a situation in stark contrast, for instance, to Afghan tribal leadership in the past, whose authority and survival was predicated on the support of community constituencies. This practice of international state builders has thus impeded the development of a social contract and prevented non-state actors from winning the legitimacy that could potentially make their governance a viable alternative to the centralized state. Considering the adverse effects that international donor support for non-state security providers has had in Afghanistan, the paper argues that a hands-off, “do no harm” approach from international actors with regard to non-state security providers would increase stability more than its current form of engagement.



Somalia needs substantial funding to strengthen security

Independent analysts in Somalia say that international forces are not doing enough to support the government in strengthening the country’s security forces. Insufficient funding for security means that AMISOM forces can only provide protection in certain areas of the country. - Emmanuel Kisiangani, Deutsche Welle

Mexican President Pushes for Police Reform Under International Pressure

Mexican President Nieto urged legislators to start debating the police reform that he promised under international pressure to end impunity. The reform agenda includes plans to implement a federal police force to centralize the over 1,800 police bodies currently operating in the country. - Telesur

Rights Group Decries Violence in Mexico

A new report from the Inter-American Human Rights Commission found that too many crimes, including torture, disappearances, and killings, go uninvestigated in Mexico. The report acknowledged that progress has been made on judicial reforms, but still implicated the police and armed forces in some abuses of power. - Voice of America

Brazil’s Justice Minister Resigns Amid Petrobas Probe

Brazil’s Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo resigned amidst the widening Petrobas corruption scandal, and will take on the role of attorney general instead. Some elements of the Federal Police voiced concerns over political pressures interfering with their work, but Cardozo asserted he had no authority to interfere in police investigations. - Quenton King, Insight Crime

“Killed in Clash”: New Form of Death Penalty in Venezuela

In Venezuela, more than 200 people have died at the hands of police in 2016, which is twice the official tally last provided by the Ministry of Health. Civil society groups allege that these killings are being used as a type of death penalty, even though that punishment is prohibited by the constitution. - Vanessa Moreno Losada, Insight Crime

New U.S. General Takes Command of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan

General John Campbell, the departing commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, encouraged reforms in the country’s security forces. He cited recruiting and attrition of soldiers as areas where the Afghan forces need to focus, so that the forces can establish regular cycles of leave and training time. - Mujib Mashal, The New York Times

UN expert condemns Haiti prison overcrowding, conditions

A UN human rights expert condemned overcrowding at Haitian prisons and the slow pace of the country’s legal system. With prisons at 450% capacity, many inmates spend more time awaiting trial than the proposed length of imprisonment for their crimes. - Yahoo News

Ukraine crisis: Growing sense of despair

Ukraine’s prolonged crisis has created a growing sense of despair and isolation among civilians. A new UN report describes the complete absence of rule of law, reports of arbitrary detention, torture, and the lack of access to redress mechanisms. - Radina Gigova, CNN

Colombia peace tribunal to start with over 32,000 criminal trials

The proposed Special Tribunal for Peace in Colombia is set to hear over 32,000 open trials. At a judicial summit on the court’s establishment, the presidents of the country’s high courts expressed concerns over the role the justice system will play in the new model for peace and over the logistical challenges of establishing the tribunal. - Stephen Gill, Colombia Reports



South Sudan: the juvenile prison where life is better on the inside

The author highlights a juvenile detention center in northwestern South Sudan where mostly petty criminals are sent to serve sentences of less than six months. The only facility of its kind, the house holds 45 offenders and keeps them from the poor conditions of the country’ adult jails. - Nadene Ghouri, The Guardian

Abuse and Institutional Failures Plague Mexico’s Juvenile Prisons: Report

A new report from the Research Center for Development A.C. found a high rate of detainee abuse, long-term detentions without sentencing, and judicial weaknesses that compromised young offenders’ constitutional rights. The report’s findings suggest that treatment within juvenile prisons criminalizes rather than rehabilitates young offenders. - Mimi Yagoub, Insight Crime

El Salvador’s Security Strategy in 2016: Change or More Mano Dura?

In this piece on El Salvador’s security strategy, the authors analyze whether the government will continue its heavy-handed approach of shooting and arresting the problem of violence away. They note that the security situation is also complicated by a lack of political will and few resources within the justice system to tackle tough cases. - Sarah Kinosian and Angelika Albaladejo, Security Assistance Monitor

The corruption that fueled Ukraine’s 2014 revolution won’t go away

The author discusses the difficulty of carrying out the reform process despite small successes, like the creation of a new police force. Analysts argue that political parties are positioning themselves for early elections instead of focusing on policies and reforms. - Andrew Roth, The Washington Post

Why is it so hard to reintegrate Libyan fighters into society?

In this piece on the reintegration of former fighters in Libya, the author highlights the work of the Libyan Program for Reintegration and Development, which offers training for ex-combatants. However, neither the country’s private sector nor public sector has the capacity to provide opportunities for all of the former fighters. - Christine Petre, Al-Monitor

Post-conflict in Colombia: The promise of justice

The author examines the special prosecution model agreed to by both the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas for how perpetrators of serious crimes will be brought to justice. He discusses how the justice system will accommodate the simultaneous needs for impartiality, integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness. - Nelson Camilo Sanchez, Open Democracy

Forging Security Partnerships in Africa: What Lies Ahead?

In this piece on the U.S. approach to security cooperation in Africa, the author considers the myriad of security challenges present across the continent. He highlights combating violent extremism, advancing regional security cooperation and security sector reform, and countering criminal threats as some of the key priorities. - James Schear, The Wilson Quarterly

Troubled waters: What Nigeria can do to improve security, the economy, and human welfare

During a discussion on the current state of Nigeria, the panelists asserted that one of the country’s main challenges is the need to reform its army, police, and government. While praising some anti-corruption institutions and effective governors, they noted that many state-level governments remain too powerful and difficult to reform. - Ian Livingston, Brookings

Reinforcing community and local security structures in Suzak, Kyrgyzstan

In this blog post, the author describes a Saferworld project that supported the Local Crime Prevention Centre in Suzak, Kyrgyzstan. The centre was established to try to prevent and address conflict at the local level by increasing cooperation and joint activity between communities and the local police. - Arzuu Sheranova, Saferworld

A Strong NATO for a New Strategic Reality

In his keynote address at the Foundation Institute for Strategic Studies’ annual conference, the NATO Deputy Secretary General discussed expectations about NATO’s role as an active guardian of security. He emphasized that the first line of defense is effective governance and the rule of law, not troops or heavy weapons. - Alexander Vershbow, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Iraq is broke. Add that to its list of worries.

With more than 90% of government revenue coming from oil, the Iraqi government is struggling to pay out the salaries and pensions for the military and other public sector workers. The U.S. is stepping in to fill the gap on military spending but the budget crisis is a symptom of the corruption within the country’s government. - Loveday Morris, The Washington Post

Where the IDDRS Falls Short – A Case for Political Reintegration

The Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) may have been a successful guideline for ‘first’ and ‘second-generation’ DDR programs; however, it seemingly falls short during ‘third’ generation processes where armed group transformation requires attention. Many hurdles are faced when reintegrating ex-combatants through political reintegration. - Gabrielle Belli, Peacebuilding, Reintegration and Stabilization Group



Prioritizing Security Sector Reform

This new book from USIP focuses on how the United States should design and implement security sector reform policies. With case studies on Libya, Tunisia, and Mexico, the volume highlights the types of environments these policies will be used in and the capabilities required for each. - Querine Hanlon and Richard H. Shultz, Jr., The United States Institute of Peace

Guides to Good Governance

In these guides, the authors discuss a variety of topics that are important to good governance in the defence sector. The guides emphasize the need to incorporate good governance, professionalism, and the active promotion and protection of integrity into the design and management of defence institutions. - Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector

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