Case Studies

UN Mediation and the Politics of Transition after Constitutional Crises


When a coup d'état or unconstitutional change of government happens, how does the UN respond? This is the question addressed in IPI's latest policy paper: UN Mediation and the Politics of Transition after Constitutional Crises by Charles T. Call.Examining the UN's experience in dealing with such political crises in Kenya, Mauritania, Guinea, Madagascar, and Kyrgyzstan between 2008 and 2011, this report identifies trends across the cases and draws lessons regarding the role of international mediation and the transitional political arrangements that emerged.

Selected Resources

Strengthening the UN's Mediation Support Unit, whose standby team of thematic experts have been successfully deployed in several cases;In order to ensure a principled, coherent, and effective response that prevents the escalation of violence and facilitates a country's return to constitutional order, Call recommends:

  • expanding and adequately resourcing UN regional offices, which have made singular contributions to mediation efforts;
  • appointing mediators with prior professional experience in other multilateral organizations, who can contribute to effective collaboration among international and regional organizations;
  • preparing the UN more systematically for addressing electoral disputes;
  • enhancing communication between the UN Department of Political Affairs and resident coordinators on the ground;
  • creating effective UN mechanisms to monitor transitional arrangements, including power sharing arrangements and other efforts for reconciliation, justice, and conflict-sensitive development.
  • Interestingly, Call argues that the UN should be cautious about adopting a blanket policy of denouncing all departures from constitutional order.
case study


Police in Kyrgyzstan: Perspectives and Experiences

Police in rural communities in Kyrgyzstan tackle a range of issues – from domestic violence, substance abuse and forced early marriage to addressing recruitment of young people into violent groups. Saferworld's documentary shares their thoughts, perspectives and experiences on working with the communities they are there to protect


Policy and Research Papers

Security Sector Reform in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: what Role for Europe?

The security sectors of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are to different extents corrupt, lack democratic control and can even be a threat to the population. They differ in terms of both size and quality, as well as with respect to their willingness to reform. Security Sector Reform (SSR) based on democratic principles is urgently needed but not always welcome. The Western concept of SSR is not very well-known in Central Asia. States are mainly interested in military training and equipment, and less so in long-term measures to democratise and strengthen their security agencies and institutions. European actors hesitantly support Security Sector Reform in Central Asia. Is Europe on track? Should it do more, or less?

To view this article, please follow this link.


Kyrgyzstan: State Fragility and Radicalisation


This briefing paper analyses the current situation in Kyrgyzstan and highlights some factors which create a favourable environment for radical groups and the need for weaknesses such as high unemployment, inadequate education and absence of rule-of-law to be addressed for the state to be stable. The author argues that the most effective response is to look for political solutions with the goal of winning over communities and thus reducing extremists' space. He explains why, framing the response as "Countering Violent Extremism" (CVE) is a term that may alienate the communities needing help as well as give an excuse for more represseive policies if reconciliation fails.

To access the briefing paper Kyrgyzstan: State Fragility and Radicalisation kindly follow the link.


Why does police reform appear to have been more successful in Georgia than in Kyrgyzstan or Russia?

Reform has been relatively successful in Georgia because, after the Rose Revolution, the new government used its dominance of the state to fire a huge number of officers, purge the old leadership, and instigate a crackdown on police corruption and links with organised crime. This took place in the background of a strong public demand for reform and a state-building process which dramatically reduced public sector corruption and altered state-society relations. In Kyrgyzstan and Russia, neither top-down nor bottom-up pressure has manifested itself into political pressure for reform. In the former, the state has been highly contested and powerful factions have competed to use it to extract resources for their own benefit and/or those of their constituents. In Russia, the state is more stable, but the leadership lacks the know-how or the willingness to implement meaningful reform. Instead of reform being imposed upon each country’s Ministry of Interior, reforms have been co-opted by elements within the ministries, with the result that they have been ineffective.

To access the full paper Why does police reform appear to have been more successful in Georgia than in Kyrgyzstan or Russia?, kindly click on the link.


Central Asia: Climate-related security risk assessment

The Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks, hosted by SIPRI, launched a new report on Central Asia.

The report, entitled ‘Central Asia: Climate-related security risk assessment’, is the final in the series produced by the Expert Working Group during 2018. It identifies four priority climate-related security risks in Central Asia such as border conflicts intensifying as climate changes reduce access to natural resources.

Previous reports in the series have focused on the Lake Chad Region, Iraq and Somalia respectively. Each report builds on research and insights from the field in order to provide integrated assessments of climate-related security risks—as well as social, political and economic aspects.

To read the full report, Central Asia: Climate-related security risk assessment, please follow the link provided. 


Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems

IDLO has produced a practitioner brief which is part of its series on "Navigating Complex Pathways to Justice: Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems” to advance policy dialogue and distil lessons from programming and research but also to help strengthen customary and informal justice systems as an integral part of providing access to justice for all. This Practitioner Brief offers a set of concrete tools, recommendations and good practices to support engagement with customary and informal justice systems.

For full access to the practitioner brief, Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems, kindly follow the link. 

You can also have access to their policy and issue brief on the same topic, Engagement with Customary and Informal Justice Systems, by kindly following the link.


Security Sector Reform in Central Asia: Exploring the Policy - Practice Gap of Police Reforms and the Civil Society Factor in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

This research paper is an abridged version of Olivier Korthals Altes' Master thesis, that analyses the policy - practice gap of democratic reforms of the police forces in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and the role of civil society within it. This evidence-based assessment has been related to theoretical debates about Security Sector Reform, the current dominant concept within academic and international policy circles on security assistance that entails (re)building and professionalising security forces while creating democratic institutions and mechanisms to hold them controllable, transparent and accountable. In his research, he has suggested an approach to measure progress of democratic governance of the police forces through a number of qualitative indicators that include the creation of independent public oversight and monitoring bodies, battling corruption within law enforcement agencies, and transparency of official police reports and statistics. He has put the formulated policies by national governments and the OSCE annual reports on police-related activities next to his research findings gained from reports and interviews with local civil society representatives, to indicate the rather limited progress of police reforms in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It also came forward that strengthening civil society alone will not be enough in a context where the Ministries of Internal Affairs, responsible for the police services and policing, are very resistant to any change, and public support for democratic reforms remains too narrow to make a difference.

To access to the full publication, Security Sector Reform in Central Asia: Exploring the Policy - Practice Gap of Police Reforms and the Civil Society Factor in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, kindly follow the link.


A threat inflated? The countering and preventing violent extremism agenda in Kyrgyzstan

Often overshadowed by regional headline-grabbing hotspots like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan rarely get international attention. The post-Soviet country – once on the ancient Silk Road – rarely makes the news now, but it has its share of challenges. Bisected by the ’northern route’ of opioid traffickers, it struggles with pervasive corruption and the threat of political instability, ethnic conflict and now – purportedly – a jihadist underbelly. In response, alongside counter-terror efforts to bolster Central Asian state security services with training and equipment, international policy towards Kyrgyzstan has become increasingly focused on ‘countering/preventing violent extremism’ (C/PVE).

Please follow the link provided to access the full paper A threat inflated? The countering and preventing violent extremism agenda in Kyrgyzstan.



Children’s Equitable Access to Justice: Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Focusing on Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Montenegro, Children’s Equitable Access to Justice: Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (hereafter Children’s Equitable Access to Justice) provides insights from children, their families and justice sector professionals on why children become involved in justice systems, where children go to seek justice, the main obstacles they face in the process and whether justice procedures are child-sensitive.

For full access to the report on Children’s Equitable Access to Justice: Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, please follow the link. 


Security Sector Reform in Central Asia

This report intends to show the latest developments in security sector reform (SSR) legislation in four Central Asian states. Kazakhstan’s open sources offer the most comprehensive overview of the latest legislation adopted between 2005 and 2011. Kyrgyzstan’s resources are accessible as well, but following the violent regime change in April and the ethnic violence in June 2010, the Parliament and government have started revising many of the laws related to the Interior Ministry and Judicial sector. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have only few pieces of legislation available to the public. The report does not analyse whether changes in the law translated into more democratic and more open control over the military.


The EU Strategy for Central Asia says 'security'. Does this include Security Sector Reform?

This policy brief assesses in what aspects of Security Sector Reform the EU is engaged in with Central Asia andin what context these possible activities should be viewed. The main focus will be on direct engagement on security topics such as the EU Border Management project BOMCA.
However, indirect activities such as education programmes that might be beneficial to security and stability in Central Asia will not be ignored. After an exposé on EU security interests in Central Asia, in the second paragraph attention is devoted to national and regional threats to the security of Central Asian republics and engagement of the EU. The paper concludes with a few recommendations for EU institutions and member states that could help to strengthen EU–Central Asia security cooperation including aspects of Security Sector Reform.


Other Documents

Kyrgyzstan: An Uncertain Trajectory

Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia’s only even nominal parliamentary democracy, faces growing internal and external security challenges. Deep ethnic tensions, increased radicalisation in the region, uncertainty in Afghanistan and the possibility of a chaotic political succession in Uzbekistan are all likely to have serious repercussions for its stability. The risks are exacerbated by leadership failure to address major economic and political problems, including corruption and excessive Kyrgyz nationalism. 

Full article available here

Other Document