Policy and Research Papers

Women’s participation in the defense and security forces in Mali: A vehicle for trust

One of the main obstacles to peace in Mali is the recurrence of unresolved conflicts. This has largely been due to limitations and failures in conflict management and conflict resolution methods applied by state and non-state actors throughout Mali’s history. According to Malians consulted through dialogue processes led by IMRAP and Interpeace, most citizens do not feel consulted by national, regional and local resolution processes and feel abandoned by the state. Consequently, communities often lack trust in government institutions and their representatives, such as the defense and security forces (DSF).

In addition to this, women are lacking participation in governance and decision-making spheres. Paradoxically, it is especially women who play a key role in fueling and resolving conflicts in Mali, particularly outside of the formal spheres. Therefore, it is essential to improve women’s participation in Mali’s security apparatus in order to foster trust between civilians and DSF.

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Palestinian Refugees of Syria’s Yarmouk Camp: Challenges and Obstacles to Return

Secondary displacement from Syria’s Yarmouk Camp to Lebanon has rendered Palestinian refugees more vulnerable and compounded their lack of protection and assistance. Their dire living conditions in Lebanon's refugee camps push them to seek ways to leave the country but most are reluctant to return to Syria for security and other reasons. Without a genuine political change in Syria, deals of reconciliation and compromise will have no credibility, and talks of refugees’ return will remain hollow.

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Can Ad Hoc Security Coalitions in Africa Bring Stability?

For over two decades, keeping the peace in Africa has occupied a major slice of the United Nations Security Council’s time, resulting in many more peace operations deploying on the continent than any other region. Since 2011, one trend has been an increase in ad hoc coalitions intended to stabilize certain conflict zones in Africa. Advocates suggest these coalitions are well suited for dealing with some of the continent’s deadliest transnational armed groups. Yet debate continues over who should authorize, finance, and provide them with various forms of technical, logistical, and security assistance. Outside of their benefits and drawbacks, it is clear that the coalitions pose particular challenges for the African Union (AU).

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Transitioning Toward Gender Justice: A Trend Analysis of 13 African cases

Gender justice sees equal power relations, privilege, dignity, and freedom for people of different genders as a necessary component for any “just” society and a prerequisite for development. Gender justice includes gender equality, meaning substantive freedom for all genders to have genuine choices about their lives. Mirroring a global pattern in peace and security practice and policy-making, transitional justice (TJ) practice has tended to reduce gender justice concerns to violence against women (VAW). This policy brief advocates for policy-makers to adopt a broader and more meaningful understanding of gender justice, and to incorporate it into their TJ policymaking. To demonstrate the need for a broader understanding of gender justice within TJ processes, this policy brief draws upon a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) on the drivers and impacts of TJ in Africa. The study examined gender trends emerging from 13 African countries that had State-led TJ processes between 1990 and 2011, and their impacts up until 2016. Based on the academic literature and available data for the 13 cases, four key factors were used as basic indicators of gender justice: women’s political rights and representation; women’s economic equity; women’s participation in civil society; and State measures against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

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Security, justice and governance in south east Myanmar: a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey in Karen ceasefire areas

Saferworld and the Karen Peace Support Network present unprecedented insights into people's perceptions of security, justice and governance in south east Myanmar.

In 2017 and 2018, Saferworld and the Karen Peace Support Network spoke to over 2,000 people across 72 villages across south east Myanmar about their experiences during the 69-year-old armed conflict between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and the Karen National Union.

They found that people in Myanmar’s Karen ceasefire areas face severe insecurity amid protracted armed conflict, routine violence, abuse and exploitation. Eighty per cent of households stated experiences of violence or abuse by the authorities, such as shootings and burning of villages. The survey also found relatively high levels of legitimacy of the KNU controlled areas, low levels of trust in the peace process, and fairly high levels of anxiety that fighting will break out again.

Their survey constitutes a unique evidence base to support more conflict-sensitive humanitarian and developmental assistance. It is intended to support efforts to address the root causes of conflict and insecurity.

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