International Alert

International Alert was founded in 1986 to help people find peaceful solutions to conflict.

At that time, the number of conflicts between countries was decreasing, but there was an alarming increase in the number of conflicts within countries. These conflicts were undermining development and leading to gross violations of human rights. Identifying and highlighting individual abuses of human rights was not enough.

In the mid-1980s, politicians, ministries of foreign affairs and experts in human rights, international law and conflict, met to discuss an alternative approach. In 1985 the Standing International Forum on Ethnic Conflict, Development and Human Rights (SIFEC) was founded with the purpose of addressing the issue of internal conflicts and to alert governments and the world to developing crises. The following year, SIFEC merged with another organisation, International Alert on Genocide and Massacres, to become the charity we know today.

In 1986 they named their first Board of Trustees and Secretary General, Martin Ennals. Martin was the former Secretary General of Amnesty International and founder of Article 19, and a pioneer of the human rights movement. He served as our Secretary General – and for a time our only full-time member of staff – from 1986–1990. It is thanks in no small part to his energy, inspiration and vision that they have become the organisation that they are today.

Building on their early work in Sri Lanka, Uganda and the Philippines, International Alert now help people find peaceful solutions to conflict in over 25 countries around the world and are one of the world’s leading peace building organisations.

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7627 6800
Fax: +44 (0)20 7627 6900
Email: info@international-alert.org
346 Clapham Road
SW9 9AP London
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Tools

Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System

bangsmoro monitoring tool

International Alert,with support from the World Bank, has launched a platform for monitoring and analyzing conflicts in the Bangsamoro, the area encompassed by Muslim Mindanao. It consists of a database to help inform development policies and programs in conflict-affected areas:

"Comprehensive data about conflicts in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is now available to anyone with a computer or a mobile device with the launch of the Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS) website.

The number and kinds of conflicts, where these took place, their causes and costs, and the implications these have on policy can now be accessed at www.bcms-philippines.info.

Making timely and credible data on conflicts readily available to policymakers, development workers, researchers, academics, media and the general public is expected to inform interventions and development programs and policies for Muslim Mindanao, while nurturing vigilance against the occurrence or recurrence of violent disputes.
BCMS users can explore the available data, generate the information they need, produce reports and download these together with visuals."

Read more here

Tool

Improving the impact of preventing violent extremism programming: A toolkit for design, monitoring and evaluation

This document aims to help provide the systems and tools for understanding the suitability of PVE as an approach, and the impact that PVE interventions have in different contexts. It was designed for UNDP practitioners and partners who are working on programmes that are relevant to PVE.

"It draws on best practice for design, monitoring and evaluation in complex, conflict contexts adapting these for PVE programming. The toolkit includes modules, processes and approaches as well as an indicator bank that can be used within UNDP, with national and community level partners and as part of a capacity-building approach around monitoring."

To access the toolkit Improving the impact of preventing violent extremism programming, please follow the link.

Tool

Policy and Research Papers

Civil society’s role in security sector reform in Lebanon

An assymmetric partnership despite a growing working relationship with security services

"This paper seeks to provide a context analysis of the complex and evolving interaction between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the security services in Lebanon, which have shown some constructive aspects in the past decade. It also attempts to outline the main types of interventions by Lebanese civil society organisations (CSOs) in the area of security sector reform (SSR)." 

Read the Background Paper 

Paper

Formulating Sierra Leone's Defence White Paper Process

This paper outlines the process of producing Sierra Leone’s 2002 defence white paper. Unique to this process was the document’s explicit aim of explaining to the general public both the progress and the shortcomings of security sector reform (SSR) in Sierra Leone’s defence system. The white paper was produced on the assumption that without making this information publicly available, opportunities to engage ordinary people in future reform initiatives would be limited. 

The paper also describes some of the challenges faced in the white paper’s production, including those from military counterparts in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and from international military and civilian advisers.

After a complex process of consultation and debate, the defence white paper is a strong statement of where Sierra Leone’s defence sector stands today and the direction it should take in the future. It is obvious that all this chapter’s recommendations will not necessarily be implemented in practice. It is also clear that while Sierra Leone has come a long way in building up a strong and democratically accountable defence system, there are still many challenges ahead.

Paper

Justice-Sensitive Security System Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The focus of this paper is to offer recommendations for ways in which the EU may incorporate justice-sensitive reform initiatives within SSR programmes to address the legacy of impunity for human rights violations and the ongoing human rights violations committed by elements within the security forces. The primary focus is therefore on those sectors of the security system that are currently both abusive and engaged in reform processes – the FARDC and police (Police Nationale Congolaise, or PNC). It is beyond the scope of this paper to examine in detail the justice and penal systems, although the importance of these in addressing impunity, as well as in a holistic approach to SSR, is clear. The author interviewed stakeholders and observers from civil society, national authorities, and the international community in Kinshasa, Bunia, Goma and Brussels between November 2007 and June 2008. Follow this link to view the publication.

Paper

Peace and Conflict Assessment of South Sudan - 2012

This report is an assessment of peace, conflict and peacebuilding in South Sudan, conducted between June 2011 and March 2012. It analyses how local, national and international dynamics around independence in July 2011 and the end of the six-and-a-half-year formal Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) process with Sudan have impacted on peace and conflict in 2011–2012 and how they are likely to influence peace and development over the next decade. Utilising International Alert’s Peacebuilding Framework, it assesses the dynamics, structures and opportunities for building a positive peace under five Peace Factors: Power, Economy, Safety, Justice and Well-being. It also analyses some of the challenges and impact of peacebuilding actors, institutions and strategies over the CPA period and provides a series of recommendations on improving peacebuilding programming beyond 2012 in terms of prioritising approaches, target locations and actors/partners. It concludes that, while the enjoyment of peace is highly variable across South Sudan, the nation as a whole and few if any of its constituent peoples or counties have yet experienced a positive, sustainable peace. Conflictual and rapidly worsening relations with Sudan as well as uncertainty about the length of suspension of oil exports (and thus revenues) appear likely to aggravate longstanding deficits in governance, security, economic opportunity, justice and reconciliation. This in turn increases the risk that South Sudan will become more violent in 2012 and beyond. Follow this link to view the publication.

Paper

Socio-Economic Reintegration of Ex-Combatants

This practice note explains what economic development planners and practitioners can do to support the socioeconomic
reintegration of former combatants. It will assist you in your efforts to mobilise economic actors to play a constructive role in reintegration processes. The socioeconomic reintegration of former combatants is important and relevant for economic development planners and practitioners as successful reintegration will increase security and stability; both necessary pre-conditions for economic development, business expansion and the reduction of costs and risks of doing business. Simultaneously, economic recovery and business expansion are essential preconditions for successful socio-economic reintegration, as most ex-combatants will need to find employment in the private sector.

To access the full text, click here

Paper

Transitional Justice and Security System Reform

The relationship between transitional justice and security system – or sector – reform (SSR) is understudied, yet both contribute to state-building, democratisation and peacebuilding in countries with a legacy of massive human rights abuse. The security system is fundamental in any democracy for protecting the citizens’ rights. Yet in postconflict environments it usually comprises members of the police, military, secret police, intelligence agencies, armed rebel groups and militia – the groups which are often the most responsible for serious and systemic human rights violations during conflict. Reforming the system to ensure security agents become protectors of the population and the rule of law is therefore of the utmost urgency, but the political and security context may pose serious challenges to reform.
This paper draws on research in four very different environments: Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Timor-Leste. Although effective SSR is highly context-specific, this paper argues that the EU could improve the substance of its SSR programming and implementation by drawing on lessons from these four case studies.

Paper

Justice for stability: Addressing the impact of mass displacement on Lebanon's justice system

This policy brief outlines options for strengthening rule of law in Lebanon to improve access to justice for both Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees. It discusses stopgap measures for the temporary stay of Syrian refugees in the country and highlights opportunities for long-term reform of the justice system. The brief provides recommendations to key actors on actions to reduce the unsustainable pressure on the Lebanese justice system and to ensure protection of the displaced population.

For full access to Justice for stability: Addressing the impact of mass displacement on Lebanon's justice system, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Now Is the Time: Research on Gender Justice, Conflict and Fragility in the Middle East and North Africa

This study examines the impact of fragility and conflict on gender justice and women’s rights in the MENA, as a part of an Oxfam project entitled ‘Promoting the Needs of Women in Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa’ funded through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It specifically aims to understand how conflict and fragility in four different contexts – Egypt, Iraq, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Yemen – have impacted the realization of gender equality and gender justice in the past several years of political and social upheaval. 

For full access to Now Is the Time: Research on Gender Justice, Conflict and Fragility in the Middle East and North Africa, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Security that protects

secuthatprot

This policy brief is produced by International Alert and Lebanon Support on the base of a research project "(In)formal hybrid security in Lebanon," as part of a project supported by the Netherland Organisation for Scientific Research WOTRO. The brief aims to inform policy formulation on local-level security provision and refugee protection in Lebanon, and to propose modalities for upgrading the systems of the security institutions in a way that strengthens protection of the Lebanese communities and the Syrian refugees they host.

Based on field research conducted between February and May 2016 in three locations across Lebanon, this brief analyses the challenges to protecting local communities and refugees in a hybrid system, in which formal and informal security actors coexist and implement a mix of security measures. It also argues that the current securitisation approach, which relies on negative deterrence, enhances perceptions of insecurity among the Lebanese and infringes on the rights and dignity of the refugees.

To access the policy brief Security that protects as well as the research report (In)Formal Hybrid Security in Lebanon, kindly follow one of the links.

Paper

Partnerships in conflict: How violent conflict impacts local civil society and how international partners respond

Violent conflict destroys, disrupts and reshapes relationships across society. Despite many years of working in partnership, international organisations often do not sufficiently understand how violent conflict affects local and national civil society organisations (CSOs) and how their own actions (e.g. decisions about which groups to partner with and the terms of partnership, which geographical areas to work in and what activities to focus on) affect the prospects for sustainable peace, security and development. This report aims to contribute to building more equal, effective and enabling partnerships in conflict settings.

For full access to Partnerships in conflict  How violent conflict impacts local civil society and how international partners respond, please follow the link. 

Paper

Factors Contributing to Vulnerability and Resilience to Violent Extremism in the Central Sahel

The armed groups linked to jihadism that have been operating in the central Sahel have had a disruptive effect on the fragile social fabric locally. Confronted with this phenomenon, communities have responded in different ways, ranging from rejection to attraction. This study focuses on young Fulani people in the regions of Mopti (Mali), Sahel (Burkina Faso) and Tillabéri (Niger), and analyses the factors contributing to community vulnerability or resilience to violent extremism.

One of the key findings of this research is the assertion that violent extremism in the central Sahel is primarily a response to local conflicts, and that the link with international jihadism is more rhetoric than reality. In fragile and conflict-affected states, there are a number of factors that may influence the behaviour of marginalised young men and women who are confronted with violent extremism. However, this study shows that the most determining factor contributing to vulnerability or resilience to violent extremism is the experience (or perception) of abuse and violation by government authorities – in other words, real or perceived state abuse is the number one factor behind young people’s decision to join violent extremist groups. On the other hand, the study shows that strengthening social cohesion, supporting young men’s and women’s role in their communities, and mitigating social and gender exclusion could strengthen community resilience.

The research also identifies strategies to deploy to curb violent extremism in the central Sahel. Due to communities’ loss of trust in the defence and security forces, the ‘total security’ approach is doomed to fail. Widespread violence increases community vulnerability and their need for protection, which violent extremist groups exploit to increase their acceptance across communities in the Sahel. In this context, the deployment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, supported financially and politically by international powers, risks undermining its aim to reduce violence and could instead weaken regional stability and communities’ wellbeing.

To restore trust between marginalised citizens and their governments, international partners need to prioritise efforts aimed at supporting state accountability towards its citizens; improve access to justice, especially transitional justice, and ensure inclusive governance; improve supervision of the armed forces; and promote youth employment, including through migration. Given the possible escalation of violent extremism in the central Sahel, the international community cannot afford to make wrong choices.

For full access to the report, Factors Contributing to Vulnerability and Resilience to Violent Extremism in the Central Sahel, please follow the link. 

Paper

Factors contributing to vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism in the central Sahel

The armed groups linked to jihadism that have been operating in the central Sahel have had a disruptive effect on the fragile social fabric locally. Confronted with this phenomenon, communities have responded in different ways, ranging from rejection to attraction. This study focuses on young Fulani people in the regions of Mopti (Mali), Sahel (Burkina Faso) and Tillabéri (Niger), and analyses the factors contributing to community vulnerability or resilience to violent extremism.

One of the key findings of this research is the assertion that violent extremism in the central Sahel is primarily a response to local conflicts, and that the link with international jihadism is more rhetoric than reality. In fragile and conflict-affected states, there are a number of factors that may influence the behaviour of marginalised young men and women who are confronted with violent extremism. However, this study shows that the most determining factor contributing to vulnerability or resilience to violent extremism is the experience (or perception) of abuse and violation by government authorities – in other words, real or perceived state abuse is the number one factor behind young people’s decision to join violent extremist groups. On the other hand, the study shows that strengthening social cohesion, supporting young men’s and women’s role in their communities, and mitigating social and gender exclusion could strengthen community resilience.

The research also identifies strategies to deploy to curb violent extremism in the central Sahel. Due to communities’ loss of trust in the defence and security forces, the ‘total security’ approach is doomed to fail. Widespread violence increases community vulnerability and their need for protection, which violent extremist groups exploit to increase their acceptance across communities in the Sahel. In this context, the deployment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, supported financially and politically by international powers, risks undermining its aim to reduce violence and could instead weaken regional stability and communities’ wellbeing.

To restore trust between marginalised citizens and their governments, international partners need to prioritise efforts aimed at supporting state accountability towards its citizens; improve access to justice, especially transitional justice, and ensure inclusive governance; improve supervision of the armed forces; and promote youth employment, including through migration. Given the possible escalation of violent extremism in the central Sahel, the international community cannot afford to make wrong choices.

To read the report If victims become perpetrators: Factors contributing to vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism in the central Sahel, please follow the link.

Paper

4 ways to support reconciliation: Lessons from Rwanda and Liberia

International Alert identified two strands to support people in finding peaceful solutions to conflict. One strand involves working with communities to improve relations between people and the state. This often means bringing together communities with local and national authorities to discuss improving the accessibility and quality of public services. The other strand is about supporting reconciliation within and between communities.

Reconciliation projects in Rwanda and Liberia that came to an end in recent years provide an opportunity to identify good practice in this area. Based on achieved results, four elements of good practice in reconciliation programming can be pointed out.

In order to read, 4 ways to support reconciliation: Lessons from Rwanda and Liberia, please follow the link.

Paper

If victims become perpetrators: Factors contributing to vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism in the central Sahel

Violent extremism is affecting the lives of millions in the Sahel, but the essentially military responses to date have failed to reduce violence and have instead undermined community resilience. This research adds to the analytical evidence explaining the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel and provides guidance for governments and international actors to step up responses for the peaceful resolution of this crisis.

For full access to the report, If victims become perpetrators: Factors contributing to vulnerability and resilience to violent extremism in the central Sahel, please follow the link. 

Paper