Tag Archives: SCID

Moving On – SCID Blog Developments

It is with mixed feelings that I write this post to announce changes in this Blog. It is difficult to be reminded of the wonderful SCID community we built together, now that I am working on a different programme. However, I intend to maintain this Blog for everyone associated with SCID and for anyone with an interest in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and development. I hope, therefore, that my departure to Monash University will broaden the networks, discussion and action on issues related to security, conflict and international development. Nonetheless, it has been difficult to formally leave SCID.
img_7780I was solely responsible for developing the SCID programme from scratch over a 2-year period and delivering it since its inception in 2012. I am very attached to it for this reason and also because of the inspirational students I had the pleasure of working with – immensely hard working (mostly working in difficult jobs in conflict-affected environments and still finding time to complete a Master’s degree); dedicated to giving their all to addressing the challenges of conflict and to continue learning and progressing; uncomplaining (even when the harsh realities of working in conflict zones hit home); and brilliant in their insights, compassion and commitment. I am also attached to the programme because of the wonderful people that comprise the SCID Panel of Experts, a large group of leading international experts in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. I established the Panel of Experts in 2013 in order to enrich the learning experience of students and bridge the gap that often exists between academia and practice. It has been a pleasure and an honour to work with such wonderful, dynamic and gifted people, who have added enormous value to the SCID programme. It was also great to work with Professor Adrian Beck, whose brilliant and innovative ideas (not least to develop the SCID App), tenacity, diplomacy, and unwavering support were inspiring and meant a great deal to me. Lastly, but by no means least, the Course Administrators, notably Val Findlay, were the backbone of the course; endlessly providing support, guidance and help to students, Panel members and staff (i.e. me!) whenever needed.

img_7798My main motivation in developing the SCID course was to deliver the type of course I would have wanted to do while I was a practitioner, equipping me with the skills and knowledge that would have benefitted me, in a way that would have kept my attention and enabled me to continue working in the field while studying. I hope the course has also enabled useful networks to be developed, as well as underscored the importance of bridging the worlds of academia, policy and practice. Moreover, my motivation was to develop a course focussed on building security after conflict which integrated human rights issues, demonstrating the intrinsic relationship between human rights and security – a course which showed that often those engaged in protecting and promoting human rights issues are on the same page and addressing the same issues as those engaged in the security sector. I hoped that, as a result, the course would have an impact on the field, as a result of the continued work of SCID graduates. While working in the field I was often frustrated that the differences rather than the similarities between these two groups of actors were often focussed upon, to the detriment of what we were mostly all trying to do. It has therefore meant a great deal to me that many of the excellent Master’s theses written by SCID graduates, who are primarily middle-to-senior management level security professionals, have been on subjects related to human rights, gender equality and security sector governance.

img_7808I am, therefore, sad to no longer work on the SCID programme or with the wonderful people associated with it. I am happy, however, to be in a place which encourages innovation, academia-industry links, and impact in the field. I also consider the move to Monash University to be an opportunity to broaden the networks that have already been established through SCID, its students and the Panel of Experts. This Blog will therefore become a resource where people can keep in touch and share thoughts on issues related to security, conflict and international development – and it will continue to be open to anyone to follow and contribute to. I will also be encouraging my new students on the Master in International Development Practice (MIDP) to follow and contribute, in due course. I expect some very interesting discussions will follow and networks will usefully broaden.

Thanks to all former and current SCID students and members of the Panel of Experts for making my work so enjoyable and worthwhile – and I hope we continue to keep in touch, not least through this Blog. I look forward to reading your posts and hearing your news – please do post updates and reflections; I know I am not alone in wanting to hear from you. I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

Best wishes, Eleanor

img_7738Photos: Melbourne’s White Night (Feb 2017) – a celebration of creativity with four creative pillars: Inclusion, Accessibility, Engagement and Innovation.

‘Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive.  When the destructive analysis of day is gone, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.’ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

UN International Day of Peace

dan-smithOn the occasion of the UN International Day of Peace, Dan Smith (Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manchester, and former Secretary General of International Alert) has uploaded an excellent blog post on the current state of global armed conflict and progress towards peace. There are some clear correlations with the conflict predictions and factors which are said to contribute to conflict risks, which are currently being posted to the Blackboard Discussion Board by newly-enrolled SCID students. I would suggest that while Colombia is one of the most positive current examples of how peace can be found in the most intractable of conflicts, there are still significant risks present in Colombia (notably high levels of organised crime and corruption, and massive socio-economic inequalities) which are not adequately addressed by the peace agreement and, if left unaddressed, may compromise the peacebuilding process.

This post also includes SIPRI’s summary reflection on conflict and peace building in 2016, which is also very informative –

 

 

 

SCID Alumni

Hi everyone

Just to encourage all current and former SCID students to stay in contact after you graduate, not least to remain part of the excellent network we have of those affiliated to the SCID programme. As mentioned on the alumni page of this Blog, do let me know if you would like to be part of the formal SCID alumni and broader alumni of the Department of Criminology (email me on eg132@le.ac.uk with your name and email address). Also let me know if you want to be on the JISCMail group after you graduate and continue being signed up as an author to the SCID Blog.

You might also want to join the SCID (University of Leicester) LinkedIn Group – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8491050 and the Department of Criminology Students and Alumni LinkedIn Group – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7470047/profile.

For further details, please see the poster recently developed to profile SCID Alumni within the Department in Leicester. Thank you very much to Tim Ford and Ishaq Ibrahim who very kindly responded to a request for information and who are featured on an Alumni poster which will be displayed in the Department.alumni

SCID Panel of Experts – Online Guest Lecture – Steven Smith MBE – The Global Humanitarian Harm from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)

This is the 14th Online Guest Lecture by members of the SCID Panel of Experts. Steven Smith MBE presents a lecture entitled The Global Humanitarian Harm from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

steven smithSteven Smith is the Chief Executive of Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a UK-based, international NGO. In this role, he has overseen a broad range of activities, including agricultural training for former combatants in Liberia, landmine clearance in Western Sahara, arms control measures in Sierra Leone, and armed violence reduction programmes in Burundi.

In this Lecture, Steve talks about the role of his organisation, AOAV, in mine action and the global threat posed by IEDs. Steve discusses the number of casualties and how casualty rates compare over time, in different countries, and according to the type of weapon used. The Lecture also considers the different users and primary target locations, as well as detonation methods (for example, suicide attack or victim-activated). The Lecture refers to various incidents (such as the Moon Market bombings in Lahore and suicide bombings in Nigeria).

Steve’s analysis shows that IEDs are the weapon of choice for non-state actors, civilians are casualties more often than armed actors, and that the worst attacks happen in populated areas. Steve also underscores that behind each statistic is a person killed or injured. Steve also draws attention to the fact that harm is not just physical: commerce, infrastructure, education, and families all suffer from the use of IEDs.

Steve draws the Lecture to a close by analysing what can be done to address the threat posed by IEDs, concluding that key preventative measures include stigmatisation, control of precursor materials, and security of military stockpiles.

Click below to access Steve’s Lecture. NB Should the presentation not run automatically or the audio not work, please click ‘Save As’ (and then open once you have saved on your computer) rather than ‘Open’. Alternatively try a different browser (Firefox rather than Internet Explorer).

The Global Humanitarian Harm from Improvised Explosive Devices – SCID Lecture Apr 2016 – Steven Smith MBE – Show

Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for Steve’s attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.

Studying and Working in the Field

Iain Blackwood and Conor FoleyWith kind permission of Iain Blackwood (SCID student March 15 intake) and Conor Foley (member of the SCID Panel of Experts), here is an excellent photo of both of them when they recently met a couple of months ago in Kabul, Afghanistan. Coincidentally, they have met a couple of times while they were both working in Afghanistan, and spoke about the SCID Course and SCID-related topics. It is also credit to Conor that Iain decided to choose the SCID MSc course, after talking to Conor about which Master’s course to pursue when they met early last year. It’s a small world and great to hear how often the paths cross of those affiliated to the SCID Course. Thank you very much for sending the photo, Iain, and for advocating on behalf of the SCID Course, Conor.

It’s great to hear such stories and also see photos of SCID students, alumni and Panel members in the field or meeting together – so please do continue to send and I’ll upload them to the SCID Blog as I’m sure others are equally delighted to see them.

Thanks again and best wishes, Eleanor

Dividing the Threat Multiplier: An Argument for Effective International Prosecution Against Grand Corruption and Kleptocratic Regimes – Maren Moon

The release of the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has fuelled spectacular revelations regarding the scale of grand corruption and the wider system which enables it (ICIJ, 2016: np).  The scandal is exposing involvement by the very people and institutions who should feel morally and legally compelled to act with the highest integrity but who instead participate in a system all too frequently perpetrating wholesale crime, undue privilege, and the global erosion of security.  (Wolf, 2014: 3). They are doing so with impunity, and they are doing so while the world’s watchdogs cannot help but possess full knowledge that ‘the link between grand corruption and mass human rights violations is undeniable’ (Freedom House, 2014, and also Woodrow Wilson Center, 2016: np., and Transparency International: 2008, ).

No less than heads of states and global financial institutions linked to London, New York and Switzerland have now been connected to an enormous shadow economy responsible for: hiding assets; exercising bribery; facilitating tax evasion; practicing financial fraud; enabling drug trafficking; and participating in sexploitation. (See ICIJ, 2016 and Huffington Post a, 2016, Huffington Post b, 2016: np, and BBCb, 2016: np ). And no fewer than 11 million documents have laid bare the global elite’s participation in a system purposefully rigged to increase the gap between the absurdly wealthy and the tragically poor.  The international community would do well to note too that this is a system which facilitates crime in desperate and conflict-vulnerable settings while arming the insurgents and terrorists who operate from within such settings (Patrick, 2009 and Napoleoni, 2003). We should also recall the system intentionally erodes democratic principles of transparency, fair taxation, the right to peaceful protest, and the exercise of free speech (Woodrow Wilson Center, 2016: np and Wolf, 2014: 5-8).  In short, this is a system wherein leaders and criminals alike actively undermines everything to which the international community aspires, and for which it ultimately endeavours; sometimes selflessly and in conditions of great hardship.

It should not go unrecognised that the responses of those who have been unveiled as both witting and unwitting participants in the darker aspects of this economy, all too consistently reiterate a mantra which should give each of us a moment’s pause for reflection – that lawyers and financial experts alike still possess the legal means of perpetrating unfair, corrupt, and increasingly unfair and corrupting practices. Vested interests in lofty positions have suggested big businesses, and their high-flying personnel, need to work in the shadow economy even when it lowers opportunities for smaller businesses and honest entrepreneurs.  They argue further that legislation against bribery ‘puts British companies at a competitive disadvantage’ (Barrington, 2016: 4). And yet still too, others have intoned that society needs to tacitly accommodate unethical practices in the financial sector on the grounds that businesses in their countries are too big to fail, or too important to risk having relocate to another country. But in making these accommodations we will be enabling the capture of entire governments by organisations whose interests do not include the common citizens who eke by and sustain the infrastructure enjoyed by those who have rigged the system against them (Johnson, 2009: np).  Such accommodation could only serve to entrench profit for the few at the cost of the many. We are, in effect, now experiencing parallel attacks on democracy by the licit and illicit economies alike – both of whom are seemingly melding into a deeper, more committed relationship in an increasingly shady capacity and whose political-economy will forever thwart the international community’s efforts in bringing peace and security.

Those who evade tax legally are allowed to escape criminality by conveniently structured legal technicalities. This phenomena is relatively easy to rectify. But the Big King Kleptocrats who knowingly act outside the law, do so understanding that successful prosecution against their acts is nearly unheard of. History and statistics remain firmly on their side. This is occurring regardless of corruption’s increasingly evident role in destabilising entire continents such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Central and South America (Carnegie, 2015).  These actors smile comfortably while insinuating that exposure of their misdeeds might expose a larger, darker reality in which too many purportedly clean-skinned actors may also be complicit.

And while they may not be kind, they most certainly are proving wise.

Indeed, these same kleptocrats, and their advisors, will have followed closely the freedom and riches once more enjoyed by Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak who has now escaped charges of corruption and murder on a mere technicality (Reuters, 2015: np). Mubarak was a kleptocratic despot whose legacy includes death, blood, fear, and a deeply troubled country. He did not operate in a vacuum, and he was aided by the most powerful regimes in the world. But that does not excuse the outcome – nor does it justify the continuance of such behaviour. Those choosing to play in the dirty sandbox of blood and money in today’s shadow economy will have either dismissed the importance of the Arab Spring’s impact on security and human rights or cynically regarded the situation as yet another opportunity from which to leverage additional millions.  I argue that humanity can no longer afford such cynicism.

I further assert these same actors will have understood President Goodluck Jonathan’s dismissal of his bank governor following the well-intended public servant’s disclosure to the ‘Nigerian Senate that the treasury was missing billions of dollars in expected oil revenue’ (Wolf, 2014: 5). Indeed, Jonathan and his cronies seemed content to turn a blind eye to the networks which channelled money and arms to Boko Haram while leaving security forces ill equipped to quell an uprising which has now left more than 10,000 civilians and security personnel dead at the hands of Islamist savagery (Foreign Policy, 2015: np).

The kleptocrats will have further monitored the toppling of corrupt regimes in Tunisia and the Ukraine and reacted like narcissistic sociopaths unable to emotionally register the gravity of their actions, while concurrently making plans to fly to safety while maintaining access to their ill-gotten gains if the same danger knocks on their door.

The impunity enjoyed by this cohort, and structured into our globalised economy, has paved the way for much of the harm we see unfolding on the world’s stage. It has also provided resonant and compelling reasons from which the so called Islamic State, Boko Haram, and the Taliban find a seemingly endless supply of recruits (Chayes, 2007: 22, and Woodrow Wilson Center, 2016: np, and Schirch as cited in Mertus and Helsing, 2009: 68).

Whether knowingly or not, every last player in the shadow economy has contributed to an encroaching threat against humanity and which serves as nothing short of a security threat multiplier. It is of epic and global proportions.

The 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa provides an immediate example of how easily corruption might impact security on a global scale. UN donor contributions topping $5.2bn were dispersed to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  Almost all of it vanished, and only a fraction of the disbursement was ever audited. ‘In all three countries, no individual has been tried, much less convicted, for their role in the mismanagement of money meant to save the lives of the dying’ (Al Jazeera, 2016: np.).  These funds were also intended to contain the outbreak and prevent its spread.  The UN’s Global Ebola Response data refers to the outbreak’s nature as having been of ‘widespread and intense transmission’ (UN, 2014: np). But to date, the myriad pages and resources on their website speak only of a level of need and the current status of the situation.  Their silence of the flagrant misappropriation of funds perpetuates impunity.  And such complicit behaviour could very well facilitate a new pandemic of Ebola or some other virus, which experts warn could be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to halt if not contained early, and with the utmost care; care which could never result in the face of another round of missing but badly needs funds (Oxford Martin School, 2012: np).

Grand Corruption further impacts security by destabilising regions in concussive shock waves. As migrants flee corrupt regimes and insurgencies (again, simultaneously fostered by the shadow economy), we see communities decimated, resentments grow, borders close, and trust diminish. (BBCa 2015: np,). Actions originating thousands of miles away from Europe’s shores are now threatening the cohesiveness of European states and the long architected interdependence of the EU.   The Schengen Agreement is further threatened as once ceded sovereignty is being repossessed by politicians seeking to erect borders and control the influx of desperate people fleeing the regimes which grand corruption has enabled.

Finally, kleptocracy feeds the thickening of the crime-conflict nexus as human traffickers, arms dealers, and smugglers share mutually beneficial relationships with terrorists, insurgents and the ruling elite. The nexus will continue to thicken so long as the chaotic conditions and lack of governance resulting from unabated kleptocracy ensures the conditions favourable to its growth.  (see Patrick, 2009,  and Lacher, 2012, and McMullin, 2009, and Jesperson, 2015 and Sloan and Cockayne, 2011).

And it is for these reasons, and so many more, that we must strive to end impunity for grand corruption – and the shadow economy in which it thrives.   Such a task will require concerted, relentless multilateral efforts and incredible political will.  But it can, and must be done.

We can begin by seizing opportunity from the momentum gathering in the wake of the Panama Papers and the associated Unaoil scandals in current headlines.  We can further reach out across the international community and form inter-organisational working teams to apply pressure on host-countries, the Bretton Woods institutions, and home governments.   We can institute training programs which dispel the activities which remain shrouded in mystery but whose reality can be unpacked in simple terms.  But most of all, we must challenge the sovereignty of those countries who refuse to participate in fair trade and good governance – and we must have an international court with both the will and capacity to challenge the problem.  And that court must somehow operate separately from the arbitrary and political interests of the United Nations Permanent 5.

But it has to start. Impunity has to end. And accountability must follow. And never has there been a more pressing time.

Postscript

As a post-script to my previous position piece, I would like to gently assert that the International Community has understandably tolerated grand corruption in the theatres of peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. The conditions in many of these theatres have necessitated that our precious resources be used first to protect lives and second to institute the ground-level security needed to maintain sufficient equilibrium from which to begin the long, hard institutionalisation of security sector reform, transitional justice, and micro-development projects.  But this too provides another reason why the solution to grand corruption requires an international effort outside the influence of the P5 (whose own members might be guilty of grand corruption or geopolitics).  We must seek a solution which can pre-empt the looting of banks and act independently of outside political agendas which might situate a vulnerable country between winning and losing scenarios as powerful countries battle for control by proxy. We need a solution which sends a clear signal to corrupt elites across the entire world, and not simply those situated in areas of conflict, that corruption will no longer be tolerated, nor paid for by blood of innocent people.  But we, the donor countries, must see to our own houses first.  We must ensure our hands are clean and that any authority we exercise is comprised of substance and never hollow in its nature. We must lead from the front, and from genuine experience.  But we simply cannot afford to turn away from this issue – at home or abroad.  People are dying by guns and by starvation; and they are dying by torture when taking action to stop the atrocity at hand while having inadequate support behind and beside them.  We must be that support.

References

Al Jazeera Media (2016) The plunder of west Africa Ebola funds. Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/plunder-west-africa-ebola-funds-160125140155872.html (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

BBC (2016) Migration and citizenship, start the week – BBC radio 4. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ybg7h (Accessed: 3 April 2016).

BBC (2016) Panama papers: What the documents reveal. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-35956055 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Barrington, R. (2016) ‘Spot the Difference: Corruption Research, Academies and NGOs’, British Academy: British Academy. pp. 1–7.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2014) Corruption: The Unrecognized Threat to International Security. Available at: http://carnegieendowment.org/files/corruption_and_security.pdf (Accessed: 14 March 2015).

Chayes, S. (2007) ‘Days of Lies and Roses: Selling Out Afghanistan’, Boston Review, , pp. 21–23.

Foreign Policy (2015) In Nigeria, $2 Billion in Stolen Funds is Just a Drop in the Corruption Bucket. Available at: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/18/in-nigeria-2-billion-in-stolen-funds-is-just-a-drop-in-the-corruption-bucket/ (Accessed: 20 November 2015).

Freedom House (2014) ‘Combating Impunity: Transnational Justice and Anti-Corruption’, Washington, DC: Freedom House. pp. 1–10.

Huffington Post (2016) Big Banks Aided Firm at Center of International Bribery Scandal. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unaoil-citibank-hsbc_us_56feba02e4b0daf53aefa1da (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Huffington Post (2016) There’s A huge new corporate corruption scandal. Here’s why everyone should care. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unaoil-bribery-scandal-corruption_us_56fa2b06e4b014d3fe2408b9 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

ICIJ (2016) Giant leak of offshore financial records exposes global array of crime and corruption. Available at: https://panamapapers.icij.org/20160403-panama-papers-global-overview.html (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

ICIJ (2016) The Panama papers. Available at: https://panamapapers.icij.org/ (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Jesperson, S. (2015) ‘Development Engagement with Organized Crime: a Necessary Shift or Further Securitisation?’, Conflict, Security, & Development, 15(1), pp. 23–50.

Johnson, S. (2009) The Quiet Coup. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Lacher, W. (2012) Organized Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region.

McMullin, J. (2009) ‘Organised Criminal Groups and Conflicts: The Nature and Consequences of Interdependence’, Civil Wars, 11(1), pp. 75–102.

Napoleoni, L. (2003) Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks. London: Pluto Press.

Oxfam International (2015) Richest 1% will own more than all the rest by 2016. Available at: https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2015-01-19/richest-1-will-own-more-all-rest-2016 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Oxford Martin School (2012) Pandemics – can we eliminate major worldwide epidemics? | videos. Available at: http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/videos/view/208 (Accessed: 4 April 2016).

Patrick, S. (2011) Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reuters (2015) Egypt’s high court overturns last conviction against Mubarak. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-mubarak-idUSKBN0KM0O620150113 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Schirch, L. (2006) Human Rights & Conflict: Exploring the Links between Rights, Law, and Peacebuilding. Edited by Julie A Mertus and Jeffrey W Helsing. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.

Sloan, B. and Cockayne, J. (2011) ‘Terrorism, Crime, and Conflict: Exploiting the Differences Among Transnational Threats?’, Policy Brief, , pp. 1–11.

Transparency International (2008) ‘Human Rights and Corruption’, Working Paper, 05, pp. 1–6.

United Nations (2014) Global Ebola crisis response | data. Available at: http://www.un.org/ebolaresponse/data.shtml (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Wolf, M.L. (2014) ‘The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court’, Governance Studies at Brookings, July, pp. 1–15.

Woodrow Wilson Center (2016) Combatting grand corruption internationally. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN6HDEgiSc8 (Accessed: 6 April 2016).

Small Arms Control – Jonathan Bradbeer

One of the great challenges facing the world today is the widespread availability of small arms. Deaths related to Small Arms account for large proportion of the average of 52,000 battle deaths per year, along with the average of 500,000 non combat violent deaths per year (Krause 2010 p.4).

The destruction of Small Arms often occurs during a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process at the end of conflict, a process that aims to ensure that combatants return to civilian life and do not return to armed conflict. Whilst human combatants can have alternate occupations, weapons do not, as they are designed and built to kill people. Destruction of weapons guarantees they will not kill again.

Whilst the production of Small Arms is unlikely to cease, the destruction of exisiting surplus firearms should remain a priority for the international community, for the simple reason that it is a way to reduce violence: it is more difficult to raise and arm a violent group if there are no guns available.

Vast stockpiles of weapons exist in the world today, often insecurely stored and vulnerable to theft. A large majority of these weapons are still potentially lethal, but are outmoded in terms of design or calibre, and are thus unlikely to be carried by frontline troops in modern armies. Many of these weapons are Soviet designs from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and are of extremely robust construction, meaning that once they find their way into a conflict zone, they are liable to remain in circulation for at least half a century. These weapons, typically assault rifles and sometimes smaller calibre sub-machine guns, have a high rate of fire and a very high destructive capability, but are relatively cheap, owing to their obselescence and large numbers (Collier 2009).

Many armed groups today consist of ill-trained recruits under the age of eighteen who cannot expect to be paid a wage, but instead rely on rentseeking activities from populations that live in areas that have seen a breakdown in state authority (Kaldor 2012). Africa, and the Great Lakes Region in particular, have suffered from the curse of a surplus of small arms in widespread circulation, exacerbating conflict and adding to civilian deaths. Ownership or use of an automatic weapon itself often holds appeal, as it can be used endow the owner with a sense of power and threat (Munkler 2006).

Central to any policy in reducing Small arms needs to be the tracing of the movements of small arms and tighter regulation of all small arms transfers internationally. Progress has been made at the international level in reaching agreements for the creation of linked databases to aid in the tracing of weapons, along with innovations in the marking of weapons to assist in tracing (McDonald 2015). Some progress has also been made in reducing government stockpiles in Eastern Europe, a positive development as surpluses such as these can end up being sold to third world governments.

However, the pysical destruction of weapons must remain a central focus, and it is worth considering whether this process could be streamlined and be made more efficient. On the ground, methods of disposal of weapons often remain very basic, with ritualised burnings of weapons in ceremonies, crushing of weapons with heavy vehicles and the manual destruction of weapons on lathes. This destruction process is lengthy and difficult and time consuming, as is the procedure of collecting weapons and storing them until actual destruction occurs.

One proposed solution to this could be the creation of mobile crushing units, consisting of a crushing machine that can shred steel, set on the back of a middle-weight truck, with the shredded material being conveyed on a slide to a neighbouring dump-truck type vehicle. Systems such as this could speed up one aspect of the DDR process and thus contribute to a peacebuilding process, for example meaning that once the details of a weapon are recorded, it can be destroyed immediately, without the need to collect, store and guard weapons until such time as the destruction process is begun. This does not mean that a ceremony cannot be held with select weapons at a given time, only that immediate disposal options are available. Although there are no easy ways to dispose of ammunition other than traditional demolition methods, the instantaneous destruction of small arms could already be a first step in speeding up a disarmament process.

The case for an accelerated pace in the collection and destruction of Small Arms has notably been made by events in Libya in recent years, where rebels captured huge stockpiles of weapons amassed by the Qaddafi regime and these weapons have begun to be disperesed accross Africa. These weapons have already been shown to have helped fuel the ongoing conflict in Mali (Anders 2015), and will no doubt continue to be found in Africa and beyond for years to come.

Postscript

The UN has made slow but steady progress in helping to coordinate international policies regarding Small Arms and the latest Biennial Meeting of States produced a document in the form of BMS5, which features important recommendations on stockpile management, weapons marking, record keeping as well as tracing, with the progress in the latter category being a useful step forward (McDonald 2015).

However, little discussion was devoted to  weapons disposal, and possible ways forward here needs to be discussed more widely, to see what can be done to raise awareness and thus funding for projects that involve DDR. The physical destruction of weapons component of the DDR is perhaps the easiest to address and is easy to enact, and makes a simple platform to appeal from during fundraising activities, either at the regional or international level. Until this time, it seems that insufficient press has been given to DDR activities, and weapons disposal in particular, a situation which should be remedied as soon as possible since raising awareness of DDR can also raise awareness of conflict and the political choices wich can affect conflict.

References

Anders, H. (2015) ‘Expanding Arsenal: Insurgent Arms in Northern Mali’ in Small Arms Survey 2015, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Collier, P. (2009) Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places. Vintage:London

Kaldor, M.(2012) New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (3rd Ed.). Polity Press: Stanford

Krause,K.(ed.)(2010) Armed Groups and Contemporary Conflict: Challenging the Weberian State. Oxford: Routledge

McDonald, G. (2015) ‘One Meeting After Another: UN process Update’ in Small Arms Survey 2015, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Munkler, H.(2005) The New Wars. Polity Press:Cambridge.

Where are all the women? – Jane Townsley

Across the World there continue to be lost opportunities to build security and justice in post conflict environments by the marginalisation of women. It doesn’t make sense not to include those who can represent the needs and expectations of half the population. In the words of US Secretary of State John Kerry “no team can possibly win leaving half of the team on the bench” (Kerry, 2014 n.p.).

Women play a key role in our societies, they know what is happening within local communities and in many cases are able to influence others, including within traditional societies, where mothers have an important role to play in guiding the future path of their children. So when post conflict reform programs are being designed women need to be included in that process and in their subsequent delivery. There is evidence that when security actors take into account the differing needs of both men and women the likelihood of achieving their objectives is increased (Whiteman & O’Neill, 2012).

Focusing in particular on police reform the lack of involvement of women in certain environments particularly post conflict is shameful. According to Abbas (2016) the expansion of women’s role in law enforcement as well as the broader criminal justice system ‘Is the key necessary element to open the doors of peace and harmony around the globe. It is especially so in conflict zones and regions facing socioeconomic turbulence and instability”.

Gender responsive policing is about ensuring the needs of men and women, boys and girls are taken into account equally when delivering policing services as well as the needs of those men and women working within the police. In most cases the creation of a fully gender responsive police service within a post conflict environment requires not only increasing the number of women but also ensuring all officers are professionally trained and equipped to provide the best services to the communities they are there to protect. This does not mean that women should be restricted to non operational back office roles or that they alone should deal with women and children victims. Women officers can make a valuable contribution to operational roles, just their presence in hostile situations can defuse tensions. It is essential that male officers too have an awareness of the needs and expectations of women within society if trust and confidence is to be built for sustainable security and justice.  As stated by Bastick (2008:5) ”SSR efforts should, however not treat young men primarily as a security risk and women and girls primarily as victims”.

The status of women in law enforcement and governance is reflective of the status of women in communities which, in turn, determines a government’s ability to respond effectively to conflict (Bird, Townsley, 2015). Increasing access to justice for victims of gender based violence, something that is often prolific following conflict and disproportionately effects women and girls, is another benefit of gender responsive policing. In post-conflict societies it is far more likely that female victims would be dealt with by male officers, probably at police stations where there are no victim friendly facilities. More women officers can provide victims with the courage to take their first steps into the justice system however they need relevant training. For example, just staffing violence against women units with women officers who have had no specific training will do nothing to increase trust and confidence. Equally, professionally trained male officers can provide the necessary support and understanding required.

Where the numbers of women have been increased in policing within post-conflict environments they often are subject to discriminatory practices. In Pakistan, female officers make up less than 1% of police numbers and lack basic equipment, they are also discriminated against when it comes to nominations for training (Peters, Chughtai, 2014). In Afghanistan, where there is only 1 female officer for every 10,000 women (OXFAM, 2013) policewomen are often side lined into demeaning roles, abused and even killed (IAWP, 2014) “If you cannot safeguard women in the police, how can you possibly improve the situation for women in the community?” (IAWP, 2014: 1).

There is a disproportionate impact from conflict on women and girls when it comes to security and justice, yet they continue to be excluded from many post-conflict reform programs. Despite many advocates that the inclusion of women is essential for lasting peace, progress continues to be slow. Within security reform recruiting more women to the police alone will not solve the problem, policies and procedures need revising to create a fully inclusive police service. In order to achieve ‘real’ change, gender mainstreaming need to be replicated across the entire criminal justice system.

Postscript:

Why hasn’t effective action been taken to address the issues outlined above? A number of reasons exist but the overriding one is a lack of accountability. Who can hold governments to account? In post-conflict settings there is often at the start of reform and rebuilding processes institutions and government structures are broken if not totally collapsed. International actors including UN Peacekeepers can become involved but even then where does the true accountability lie? The only United Nations body with any ‘authority’ is the security council yet still atrocities persist across the globe, sometimes right under the noses of UN Peacekeepers such as in Rwanda and Bosnia.

The UNSC Resolution 1325 (2000) is specific about the role women should play in peacekeeping and peace building yet where is the accountability when so many member states still do not have National Action Plans 16 years after 1325 was accepted? Still only 60 member states have produced their plans (Institute for Inclusive Security, 2016n.p.). The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals did not succeed by 2015, again who holds governments to account? We now have the Sustainable Development Goals #16 ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’ (UN, 2016) being the most relevant to this paper. How will they be monitored and governments held to account? The UN Security Council was established following the end of WWII yet the World is a different place now and perhaps the make up of the permanent members of the security council is overdue a review something even Kofi Annan recognised whilst he was the UN Secretary General (Annan, 2013:142) as he stated, “For the Security Council to enjoy legitimacy in the twenty-first century, it needs to be not only effective but also representative” He went on to state, “The problem will not be that such countries will actively oppose the Security Council. It’s that they will ignore it” (Annan, 2013: 142).

References

Abbas, H. (2016) ‘Women Fighting for Peace: Lessons for Today’s Conflicts’ Committee on Foreign Affairs United States House of Representatives, Washington D.C.: USA, 22nd March 2016.

Annan, K. (2013) Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, New York: Penguin.

Bastick, M. (2008) Integrating Gender in Post-Conflict Security Sector Reform Policy Paper 29, Geneva: Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Bird, E. and Townsley, J. (2015) ‘Background’ Gender Agenda International, Sheffield: Flinch Design.

IAWP (International Association of Women Police) (2014) ‘Police Women in Afghanistan’ IAWP Campaign Briefing Paper, http://www.iawp.org/campaigns/Afghanistan/IAWPAfghanistanCampaign.pdf  (accessed 4th April 2016).

Institute for Inclusive Security (2016) National Action Plan Resource Centre http://actionplans.inclusivesecurity.org (accessed 4th Aril 2016).

Kerry, J. (2014) ‘Closing Remarks’ at Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, London: Excel Centre, London, UK, 13th June 2014.

OXFAM (2013) Women and the Afghan Police – Why a law enforcement agency that respects and protects females is crucial for progress, OXFAM Briefing Paper 173 http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/women-afghan-police (accessed 4th April 2016).

Peters, A. and Chughtai, H. (2014) ‘Why Pakistan Needs a Few More Good Women’ Foreign Policy http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/07/29/why-pakistan-needs-a-few-more-good-women/ (accessed 4th April 2016).

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) S/Res/1325 (2000), New York: United Nations.

United Nations (2016) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org (accessed 4th April 2016).

Whiteman, T. and O’Neill, J. (2012) Attention to Gender Increases Security in Operations: Examples from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Washington D.C.: The Institute for Inclusive Security.

The Responsibility to Protect doctrine – Mario Torre Alvarez

Considered as a core principle for human security, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, henceforward R2P, has gained momentum as a toolbox used to protect civilians from suffering mass human-induced violence. The formulation of the norm was catalyzed by two key events, the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and the Kosovo war in 1999. The R2P doctrine, which represents and evolution of the thinking of human rights, was embraced by the United Nations (UN) during the 2005 World Summit and endorsed by the UN General Assembly the same year during the 60th session (UN, 2005).

Throughout its three pillars, the R2P attributes the international community the obligation to ensure that the sovereign states exercises their citizen’s protection responsibilities in a timely and effective manner. The norm is aiming to fill any gap of compliance with the duty of protecting civilians by the sovereign states. The R2P doctrine reshaped the concept of sovereignty, by establishing a set of principles for the international intervention should a violation of any of the four protected core crimes be committed (ICISS, 2001).

In addition to its claimed potential corrosive effects, the R2P doctrine has received many critics over the years and continues being controversial. In many occasions, a misconception of the norm mixed with the different intervention criteria and structural problems have polarized opinions. In this context, the intervention in Libya vs the non-intervention in Syria has catalyzed an intense debate about the efficacy of the R2P doctrine, generating different levels of adherence to the norm within the international community. While the intervention in Libya demonstrated the R2P’s capacity to gather support and quickly mobilize a force, the non-intervention in Syria just highlighted the limitations of the norm (Keeler, 2011).

Indeed, the debate around the intervention in Syria was not about how to apply the humanitarian principles aim to prevent harm to civilians but about the self-interest of Russia and China using their veto power to torpedo Security Council resolutions on Syria. In this context, a significant number of academics claim that the different principles applied by the Security Council in both interventions have been led by hidden political agendas with marked positions. (Silander, 2013).

Likewise, the permanent five members continue to prioritize their geopolitical national interests over the protection of human rights. The possibility to tilt the delicate balance power in the region has overcome the atrocities committed in Syria. Like this, despite that the 5 years of conflict over 260,000 people have been killed, 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance and the conflict shows no sign of abating, the United Nations is yet struggling to respond to the challenge. Although, as noted by Petrasek, the R2P is more than a doctrine for military intervention and provide the Security Council has not taken any step to enforce other coercive measures available (Petrasek, 2013). For instance, the mass atrocities committed in Syria by President Assad could have been referred to the International Criminal Court, in addition, to explore the possibility to impose arms embargoes or no fly zones.

The facts above only stress one of the R2P’s structural problems. As witnessed in Libya, the notion of an intervention is difficult to imagine without a country’s self-interests behind, at the same time these very same hidden agendas complicate the task of preventive interventions. Although the war in Syria has reached by far the threshold of requirements established in the R2P doctrine, the mechanisms triggering the response to the violations are lost in a series of politicized decisions unable to build enough consensus to act. Perhaps, as a result to the intervention in Libya where a resolution that was based on humanitarian grounds turned out to be only a change of regime.

Generally speaking, although detractors have decline over the years, the R2P’s intent to equal the importance of the individual and the state sovereignty has not met yet the large expectations. It could be concluded that the R2P ability’s to effect a neutral intervention has been lost due to its slow and selective implementation. Nowadays, the use of the veto power is inconsistent with the core value of saving lives embedded in the R2P doctrine.

Postscript

The following reasons have been identified as key factors preventing appropriate or effective action to address the issue:

  1. The hidden political agendas embedding geographical interest and different regional strategies. It is necessary to develop political commitment through a security sector reform and a much needed reform of the Security Council’s the veto system.
  2. The different criteria when applying the R2P principles. The norm should be promoted outside the existing framework policies. It is paramount to develop alternatives to the military intervention such as economic sanctions, no fly zones or a deeper involvement of the International Criminal Court.
  3. The lack of effective early warning system and capabilities specifically allocated have prevented an effective and efficient response.

References

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (2001) The Responsibility to Protect, Ottawa: ICISS.

Keeler, C. (2011) ‘The End of the Responsibility to Protect?’, Foreign Policy Journal, 12th October: 11.

Petrasek, D. (2013) ‘R2P – hindrance not a help in the Syrian crisis’, https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-petrasek/r2p-%E2%80%93-hindrance-not-help-in-syrian-crisis, (accessed 4th April 2016).

Silander, D. (2013) ‘R2P-Principle and Practice The UNSC in Libya’, Journal of Applied Security Research, 25th March: 13.

United Nations (2005) A/RES/60/01 2005 World Summit Outcome New York: UNGA.

Position Paper on the Proliferation and Misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa – Claude Kondor

It has become increasingly clear that as complex security challenges emerge and evolve, old ones still persist. The end of the cold war witnessed the significant proliferation of intrastate conflicts, including guerrilla warfare wherein Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) became the preferred choice of warlords to pursue their brutal aspirations (Peace Building Initiatives, 2011a). Saferworld (2011) argues that SALW are desirable because they are highly portable, deadly, easy to conceal and manipulated to kill millions of people.  Therefore, the fundamental issue that requires increased international attention is “The Proliferation and Misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons in West Africa”, which according to the Department of Criminology (2015) is the most tangible threat that undermines international peace and security. The Department of Criminology (2013) further highlights that the availability of SALW especially in post-conflict environment undermines security and the rule of law, and has adverse effects on the promotion of democracy and good governance, national reconciliation, the protection of human rights, and socio-economic development.

Frey (2004) notes that the global estimated figure of firearms is 640 million which are utilised to kill thousands of people every year. The Small Arms Survey (2003; 2004),  cited in the report of the UN Secretary-General (2008), states that over 1,000 companies in about 100 countries are involved in the manufacture of nearly 8 million small arms annually. It further estimates that at least 300,000 people are killed annually as a result of the misuse of these weapons. For instance, SALW account for between 60 and 90 percent of loss of lives during conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’ Ivoire and Mali.  Therefore it is not shocking that they have been described by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as “weapons of mass destruction in slow motion” (Krause, 2007a:1).

It is against this backdrop that Campaign for Security Everywhere (CASE), a non-governmental organisation working in the areas of security, human rights and justice in Sierra Leone, makes its position very clear in terms of combating the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of SALW, which is in accordance with the 1999 ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and other related Materials (Aning, 2008).    This was well-intentioned by the Authority of Heads of State in order to achieve sustainable peace, stability and development in West Africa. However, ECOWAS has been confronted with numerous challenges, including violent conflicts, in its bid to achieve its initial objective of regional economic integration since its establishment in 1975. It is nevertheless glaring that all these conflicts have been underpinned by the proliferation and misuse of SALW.

To this end, CASE seeks to assist ECOWAS member states in combating the illicit proliferation, circulation and misuse of SALW through advocacy and sensitisation, lobbying of authorities, and also strengthen relevant institutions and civil society actors through capacity building to put an end to this complex and multidimensional phenomenon. The Peace Building Initiative (2011b) suggests tangible ways of regulating the flow and use of illicit SALW including their production and control of movement, regulating civilian possession and use of weapons, and the collection and destruction of weapons as means of getting out of this security conundrum at the national, regional and global levels. Overall, the effective and efficient coordination and collaboration among relevant actors are also quite significant in yielding the synergistic effect of combating the proliferation and misuse of SALW.

Experience has shown that security vacuum frequently follows the end of armed conflict. During this period, people trust SALW for self-protection especially in situations where the security forces are part of the conflict. In addition, some regard their weapons as means of livelihood and are therefore confident in keeping them. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2003) notes that while it is indeed acceptable that licit arms are quite essential in the maintenance of law and order, the uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of such items grossly undermines stability. Consequently, the effective and efficient control of SALW is without doubt a prerequisite for sustainable peace, security and stability in any post-conflict environment.

In a nutshell, the complete eradication of SALW is a significant step in restoring justice and security in post-conflict environments, and therefore should be the utmost priority of the relevant actors including the international community. Arms do not distinguish between sexes, age, tribe, rich, poor, disabled, educated, illiterate, or religious denomination. So let us all join hands together in harmony to completely eradicate this complex reality for the sake of ourselves and posterity.

Postscript

The issue of SALW is transnational in nature which further complicates the matter especially due to cultural and legislative disparities, and lack of political will on the part of member states to end the menace (OECD, 2007). Moreover, Krause (2007b) argues that contextual differences on the issue of SALW pose a major challenge especially in post-conflict situations where the proliferation of SALW undermines peace, security and development.

Additionally, despite clear international standards that have been well articulated, members of the security forces including the police, military, intelligence forces, and other state agents, are in most cases found guilty of committing serious human rights violations using SALW. A typical example of this occurred in Guinea where pro-democracy demonstrators were shot and killed at the stadium on 28th September 2011.   Another fundamental problem in the control of SALW is that actors involved in the sales and trafficking of SALW including terrorist groups, drug barons, and other organised criminal groups are politically and economically powerful, and have the resources to bulldoze their ways to achieve their selfish interests.

In conclusion, the issue of SALW is highly political involving numerous gladiators especially at the strategic level, and the complexities involved make it very difficult to address. However, these are likely surmountable if national accountability, transparency and control mechanisms are strengthened, coupled with strong political will at all levels of implementing the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (IPI, 2009).

References

Aning, K. (2008) ‘From ‘voluntary’ to a ‘binding’ process: towards the securitisation of small arms’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 26 (2):169-181.

Department of Criminology (2013) Security and Rule of Law in Post-Conflict States, Leicester: Department of Criminology, University of Leicester.

Department of Criminology (updated 2015) Conflict and Global Risks, Leicester: Department of Criminology, University of Leicester.

Frey, B. (2004) ‘Small Arms and Light Weapons: The Tools Used to Violate Human Rights’, Human Rights, Human Security, and Disarmament 3: 37-46.

IPI (2009) ‘Small Arms and Light Weapons: Task Forces on Strengthening Multilateral Security Capacity’, IPI Blue Paper No. 5, New York: IPI, available at http://www.ipacademy.org/media/pdf/publications/salw_epub.pdf.

Krause, K. (2007) ‘Small Arms and Light Weapons: Towards Global Public Policy’, Coping with Crisis Working Paper Series, New York: IPA.

OECD (2007) OECD DAC Handbook of Security System Reform: Supporting Security and Justice, Paris: OECD, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/25/38406485.pdf.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2003) Handbook of Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Vienna: OSCE, available at http://www.osce.org/fsc/13616.

Peace Building Initiative (2011) Small Arms and Light Weapons, Peace Building Initiative website, accessed on 11 January 2016, available at http://www.peacebuildinginitiative.org/index.cfm?pageId=1732.

Saferworld (2011) Small arms and light weapons, Saferworld website, accessed on 12 January 2016, available at http://www.saferworld.org.uk/what/small-arms-and-light-weapons.

UNSG (2008) ‘Small Arms’, S/2008/258, New York: UN, available at http://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/SALW/Docs/SGReportonSmallArms2008.pdf.

Corruption – Gregory Pye

Reflecting on the course content carefully, the author has selected corruption as a topic for further discussion. Although included in course content, it is the view of the author that the subject does not have the degree of prominence necessary, to reflect the true reality and importance of corruptive practices, with which individuals working and living in post conflict situations, have to contend on a daily basis. Having lived and worked in Afghanistan for a number of years, the author is confronted by corruptive behaviours, at all levels of society, as an integral part of daily living and working experiences. Beyond the daily expectations of IED,s, Taliban attacks, suicide bombers and hashish fuelled hostility, the single foremost element which generates antagonism, frustration and personal conflict amongst international workers, is the endemic corruption, which prevails across the country. Corruption, by its very nature can be difficult to detect, as the serious Fraud Office indicates (Serious Fraud Office, 2015) the process involves two or more people entering into a secret agreement. Corruption watchdog of transparency International, indicate that corruption can involve abuse of power and resources at any level, within any sector, including businesses, public institutions and the government. (Transparency International global coalition against corruption, 2014). Corruption poses a fundamental threat by diverting public resources into private hands, away from those who should be benefiting directly in post conflict environments and continues to be a major obstacle to poverty alleviation, development and the building of security and justice. The range of activities can be considerable, encompassing as it does, accepting bribes, double dealing, under table transactions, diverting funds, manipulating officials and elections, money laundering and defrauding investors (Investopedia, 2015).

Achieving stability and security is a top priority for any intervention by the international community in an unstable post conflict country. Corruption is potentially fatal to long term stability and security and therefore countering it should be considered a pressing fundamental objective. It is difficult to read accounts about Afghanistan, without reference to multiple references to corruption. Afghanistan remains one of the worst performing countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, ranking in the bottom four in 2014, along with Sudan, North Korea and Somalia (Transparency International, 2014). Scandals range from the Kabul Bank misappropriation of 93 million dollars and the suspension of IMF support, (BBC, 2014) to articles concerning provincial and district police chiefs buying their positions for$100,000. Incredulous as these reports may seem, the author can recount numerous occasions where he has had to fight against corruption at great personal threat to his life. For example in March 2014 the Medium Tax office (MTO) , based in Kabul, received $165,000 in ‘consultants tax’, this money never reached the company tax compliance account, it was taken by an MTO employee, who paid off the National Security Directorate (NDS), who then arrested the author and warned him that this matter should be ‘left alone’! A further reality is the need to carry $1000 in a money belt in order to deal with daily confrontations by police and officials. The levels of corruption in the country are extreme. According to a recent Asia Foundation Study, in 2014, 62.4% of Afghans reported that corruption was a major problem (Asia Foundation, 2014)

In 2012, the Afghan population considered corruption, together with insecurity and unemployment, to be one of the principal challenges facing their country, ahead of even poverty, security, external influence and government inefficiency (UNODC, 2012). Afghanistan has national anti corruption plans, laws, executive decrees and Government instruments all devoted to the fight against corruption, particular the High Office of Oversight and Anti Corruption (HOO), is mandated to co-ordinate and implement the national strategy. Inspite of the continuing efforts of this body, together with the Police, courts, Attorney General’s Office and a plethora of other related organisations, corruption continues to escalate unabated.

The causes are variable and complex. In an attempt to determine and analyse underlying processes, an insight into the historical, economy, social structure, cultural and religious practices of the Afghan Nation is elemental. Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, weak government, drug trafficking and fear, are all instrumental factors in perpetuating an apparently intractable situation. As Lockheart, 2014, suggested, ‘The nexus of security, conflict and international development is new and a comparatively understudied area of work’ (Lockheart, 2014).

The same level of limited academic scrutiny can also be said to exist in the field of corruption research. Solutions are multifaceted, lengthy to implement and many lessons are yet to emerge from work being conducted in combating corruption in a number of post conflict countries, which may be significant in addressing the problems in Afghanistan. However, a positive approach and concerted actions, must be maintained, coupled with the encouragement of greater transparency, surveillance, detection, prosecution and eradication of corrupt norms, at all levels. The work of anti-corruption bodies requires enhanced governmental support, manpower and financial underpinning. This must be married to important associate long term strategies, such as employment creation, increase in public employee wages, reduction in poverty, eradication of drug trafficking, development of robust judicial systems and most crucially the regeneration of trust amongst the populous.

Postscript

Corruption persists in highly corrupt countries because it is not only difficult to monitor and therefore, prosecute, but also, when it is systematically pervasive, people may lack the incentives or initiative, to instigate counter measures. When considering corruption as a deep seated problem, it is perhaps important to examine two sets of dynamics which may be at interplay amongst those contemplating corruptive behaviour. Decisions to indulge in corruption are based on personal choice, coercion or group dynamics and at the same time, surveillance, monitoring, transparency and systems of prosecution, are all variables which may influence an individual’s calculations of whether to engage in corruption.

Anti-corruption activities need to be tailored to context and a thorough understanding of the dynamics of contextual factors is required. For example, greater transparency could be resisted by those in power for fear of exposure of wider pervasive practices.

Individual character, honesty and trust are vitally important, when considering suitability for key appointments. Individuals who are prepared to work within acceptable norms within culture, society, business, legal systems and government Clean up campaigns are only successful when there is a moral consensus behind them.

Measures which will undoubtedly assist in reducing corruption, should be actively engendered. Such measures include inclusiveness, increased dialogue between all stakeholders and continuing review and amendment of anti-corruption plans. Scrutiny should address roles, responsibilities, resourcing and effectiveness. Intractable problems such as corruption cannot always be eliminated completely but with commitment, dedication and resilience, it should be possible over time to contain the problem within acceptable limits.

References

BBC . (2011). Afghan row over failed bank threatens salaries. Available: http//www.bbc.co.uk/newa/world-south-east-asia-13847292). Last accessed 14th February 2015.

Lockheart, C. (2014). Building Security and Justice in Post Conflict Environmen. : A Reader.Proceedings of 2014 Security, Conflict and International Development (SCID) Symposium.. 1 (14), 4-8.

Serious Fraud Office . (2015). Bribery Corruption. Available: http://www.sfo.gov.uk>bribery & corruption. Last accessed 22nd March 2015.

Transparency International. (2014). Transparency International global coalition against corruption. 2014).. Available: http://cpi.trancparency.org/cpi2013/results/). Last accessed 14th February 2015.

UNODC. (2012). Afghanistan: Recent Patterns and Trends. Available: http://anti-corruption.gov.af/en/page/1783/8477.2015). In. Last accessed 15th February 2015.

SCID Alumni

Calling all former and current SCID students. I would be very grateful if you could email me if you would like to be part of the SCID alumni and broader alumni of the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester. Please email me on eg132@le.ac.uk with your name and email address. We will then be able to share with you occasional updates, news items and opportunities.

You might also want to join the Department of Criminology Students and Alumni LinkedIn group – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/7470047/profile.

scid 16It would be also great to be kept informed of your news after you graduate from the SCID course, and wonderful for SCID students, alumni, Panel members and staff to remain in contact – not least to continue discussing ideas, issues and developments related to conflict and peacebuilding, share resources and opportunities, and continue to consolidate the community of interests that is built around the SCID programme.

Hoping you are all keeping safe and well,

Eleanor

The Centre for Security Governance (CSG)

csg feb 16Hi everyone

I’ve recently had the honour of being invited to become a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Security Governance (CSG). So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a bit about this excellent think tank and the many invaluable resources and opportunities it offers.

The CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to the study of security and governance transitions in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states. As detailed on its website, the CSG is based in Canada and maintains a global, multi-disciplinary network of researchers, practitioners and academics engaged in the international peace and security field. The CSG website has a wealth of resources that are of enormous value to the SCID students as well as practitioners and others in this field.

The CSG also hosts free eSeminars, on subjects related to peacebuilding, together with the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) and Wilfrid Laurier University Global Studies Department (WLU). I would highly recommend participating in these eSeminars and, if unable to, accessing the recordings on their website. Previous eSeminars have been on statebuilding, resource conflicts and displacement in the Middle East, and can be accessed here. The next eSeminar is being held on 26 February (12:00PM to 1:30PM EST) and is on the subject of Climate Change, the Environment and Peacebuilding – so especially pertinent to the final Module of the SCID Programme. The panellists for this event are:

– Dr. Mark Sedra, Centre for Security Governance (Moderator)
– Anna Brach,Geneva Centre for Security Policy (Panellist)
– Dr. Simon Dalby, Wilfrid Laurier University (Panellist)
– Dr. Richard Matthew, University of California at Irvine (Panellist)

More details on this eSeminar can be found here and below.

The CSG also now manages Stability: International Journal of Security & Development. This is a leading open-access journal focusing on security and development challenges in fragile, failed and conflict-affected states. Stability is also unique in that it connects policymakers, practitioners, academics and others with timely, peer-reviewed research on a wide range of issues related to peacebuilding, stabilisation, peacekeeping, statebuilding, crime and violence prevention, development cooperation and humanitarian action. If you are looking for an innovative journal to publish your research, I would highly recommend Stability.

Finally, you may be interested to know that the CSG will be posting a call for internships this Spring, and they have said that they have had good experience in the past with Master’s students and graduates from the UK.

Best wishes, Eleanor

 

ABOUT THE EVENT

Climate change poses a series of catastrophic threats to the planet, from rising sea levels that could swallow coastlines to the increasing prevalence of drought that could devastate agriculture and fresh water supplies. While these direct environmental challenges are clear and omnipresent, less attention is often paid to the secondary effects of climate change, such as its impact on peace and security dynamics. Climate change is already emerging as a major driver of conflict and insecurity in many parts of the world, and this phenomenon will only worsen in the future as the environmental impacts of the changing climate become more pronounced.

This 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 instalment 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.

Our distinguished panellists will each give brief introductory remarks, followed by an open Q&A period where participants will be able to engage the panel directly. 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.

 

SCID Blog Stats

Hi everyone, I’ve just looked at the SCID Blog statistics and since this site was created nearly 4,000 people have looked at it and the site has had almost 10,000 views. Thank you all for your posts and comments over the last couple of years – clearly the site is of interest to people beyond those involved in the SCID course.

Please do continue to upload posts and comment on a subject related to security, conflict and international development – it’s great to read your posts and it can help bring attention to some very important issues.

Any ideas on increasing readership are very welcome – the more lateral the better! Let me know if you want discussion threads on the Blog (remembering it’s public) as well as on Blackboard – on any current development, thematic issue or novel approach to understanding and responding to the challenges of conflict and peacebuilding.

For example, this Blog is a good platform for discussing issues tangentially related to but not fully addressed in the SCID course e.g. social media, conflict and peacebuilding; interdisciplinary approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding; bridging macro and micro approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding; religion, conflict and peacebuilding; art/music, conflict and peacebuilding; science, technology and conflict/peacebuilding; and geospatial relations and conflict. These would be great topics to discuss so please don’t hesitate – any problems uploading (you need to join wordpress – click on ‘Discover’ if you don’t already have an account) send me your post (eg132@le.ac.uk).

Don’t forget we also have the SCID twitter for you to post any tweets, get in touch and share info/updates – Thanks lately to Nalini Maharaj and Richard Burne for tweets and RTs!

twitter conflict

Image: Israeli data scientist Gilad Lotan who has mapped interactions across Twitter during the Israeli-Gaza conflict – BBC (2014) ‘Twitter’s Map of Mid-East Conflict’, London: BBC, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025lg7h, accessed on 15/02/16.

Building Security and Justice After Conflict – Student Position Papers

At the end of the SCID Course, students are asked to reflect upon the whole Course and write a position paper (of about 750 words). The paper should be on an issue related to building security and justice in post-conflict environments that they feel most passionate about which requires attention by, at least an element of, the international community. The postscript to the paper summarises reasons why effective action has not been taken to date. Students are asked to draw on their own experience and knowledge as well as academic material, with the aim of persuading the reader to agree with the position put forward and, if necessary, to act, while displaying academic writing and analytical skills.

Those papers that secured a Merit or Distinction (i.e. above 60%) are reproduced on this Blog (below and on a new page entitled Building Security and Justice after Conflict – Student Position Papers). Congratulations to all students who did so well and to everyone in the March 2014 intake for completing the whole course – and all the very best with your dissertations.

Best wishes, Eleanor

Language, War and Peace

This post by Phil Vernon of International Alert – The anti-lexicon of peacebuilding: listening to Edward Saïd and George Orwell – raises some excellent points about the need for language to be clear in the field of peacebuilding (and elsewhere) to avoid ‘misunderstandings and misdiagnoses’.

It is agreed that in order for conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts to be successful, regularly used concepts need to be unpacked and each enjoy a shared, specific and clear meaning. Without a shared understanding of such concepts it is hard for action to be co-ordinated, coherent, efficient and effective. It is also hard to monitor and evaluate progress, identify and utilise lessons learned and best practice, and ultimately improve efforts to prevent and respond to conflict and its challenges. Actions and outputs are less likely to be ambiguous, conflicting and ineffective if communication is clear and the language used to describe aims and outputs is shared and unambiguous.

However, aims and outputs of various actors in conflict-affected environments are not always harmonious, and a shared – if ambiguous – language can be used (and often is) to disguise competing agendas and real priorities. The language of peacebuilding can often be used by those engaged in this field to disguise the politics of intervention. It can also be used to reinforce power relations within the field, which tend to marginalise ‘other’ voices – including those directly affected by conflict and those whose future’s most depend upon the success of peacebuilding.

It is also important to recognise the policy implications of certain concepts and understand the reasons why certain concepts are ascribed to certain phenomena, states or processes above others. As the beginning of the SCID Course addresses, describing a state as failed or fragile may be motivated more out of a desire on the part of other states to intervene (and control threats, or extend their own influence and power, or distract domestic populations from other issues/other threats), rather than ‘concern for the inability of some states to provide for their own population’s security, welfare and rights’ (Call, 2008: 1504). Similarly, describing governance as ‘weak’ may be unhelpful insofar as it often overlooks informal systems of governance and insofar as it is often used as shorthand (and thus specific details or supporting evidence need not be provided). However, it is precisely this value – overlooking the specificities of each system of governance – that makes the term ‘weak governance’ so useful, and tends to generate similar policy responses.

It is suggested that it is necessary to recognise the complexity, power and political dimensions of language – and the ways that it can be used to reinforce or challenge power relations; legitimise actions and intervention; and rationalise, exploit or hide competing agendas. Perhaps we need to accept that the language used in peacebuilding – as elsewhere – can be ambiguous with the same concept being used to mean different things by different people, for instance – just as peace and conflict are experience and mean different things to different people. Rather than aiming to be objective and specific in our use of language, perhaps we need to accept that language is a social construct: it is as part of conflict and peace as it is the tool used to understand these phenomena; it is a means through which conflicts are fought, and peace is forged; it reinforces or shifts power relations and as such is at the heart of conflict. It is informed by our specific experiences as well as shared histories and cultures, as much as it reflects our aspirations and intentions (whether at the micro or macro level). It is suggested that there can be no objectivity when it comes to the language we use: what is important is that we become aware of our subjectivity and how it is reflected in the language we use. In that way we can start to accept the legitimacy of ‘other’ perspectives as well as start to question the validity of metanarratives about conflict and peace – and in such a way potentially better contribute to building more peaceful societies (however we might define them).

Eleanor

Reference: Call, C. (2008) ‘The Fallacy of the “Failed State”’, Third World Quarterly, 28(8): 1491-1507.

Phil Vernon's blog

I think Edward Saïd wrote somewhere that the USA can never hope to contribute to sustainable peace in the Middle East until it is willing and able to describe the situation there objectively, comprehensively and accurately. Good advice for President Obama and his new Secretary of State as they embark on four challenging years in the region. And good advice meanwhile for anyone, be they doctor, secretary of state, international NGO staff member or anyone else, who takes on responsibility to help others fix their problems.

George Orwell, in his 1940s essay, Politics and the English Language (downloadable freely through Google), developed six golden rules for writing clearly about politics:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut…

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