Friday, 6 November 2009

Key Policy Institutions and Think Tanks in Peacebuilding

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:56 PDT

Over the past two decades, many new institutions from governments, foundations and nonprofits have emerged that provide in-depth policy analysis of current conflicts and the effectiveness of existing responses. In order to stay up to date on current crises, success stories in preventing, managing and transforming conflicts, and larger policy lessons for the field, reading reports from many of these institutions is indispensable.

While it is not possible to provide a complete list of all these institutions in the world, I wanted to start off by providing a list of some the key institutions out there….

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African Peace-building Agenda: “Elements of a New Strategy to Disarm the LRA”

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:38 PDT

Last month, during the Great Lakes Contact Group meeting in Washington, the US government confirmed they had received a new shopping list of requests from the Ugandan government to help them hunt down the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). US military support to find an end to Joseph Kony’s murderous insurgency is definitely necessary. But supporting ill-conceived and poorly implemented Ugandan military operations in helpless countries of the region is not the solution.

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MSF vaccination used as bait in unacceptable attack on civilians

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth,Human Rights,International Law: War,Peace and health — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:12 PDT

Kinshasa – Seven Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) vaccination sites, where thousands of civilians had gathered, came under fire during attacks by the Congolese army against the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)…

MSF launched a mass vaccination campaign in Masisi district to support the Ministry of Health in response to a measles epidemic. On October 17, MSF medical teams were vaccinating thousands of children in seven different sites in Ngomashi and Kimua zones, controlled by the FDLR at the time.

All parties to the conflict had given security guarantees to MSF to vaccinate at these locations at those times. However, the Congolese national army launched attacks on each of the vaccination sites. All the people who had come to get their children vaccinated were forced to flee the heavy fighting. Scattering everywhere, they are now in unknown locations and thus cannot be vaccinated. MSF had to stop their activities in these zones and evacuate the teams to Goma city.

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World court to investigate Kenya violence

Filed under: Africa files,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:11 PDT

NAIROBI, Kenya – Members of the political elite in Kenya, a nation where top leaders have long escaped prosecution for corruption and other crimes, could now face an international investigation into the violence that shook the country after disputed elections last year.

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Zambia: Media Can Be Dangerous Tool

Filed under: Africa files,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:08 PDT

PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that the media can be a dangerous tool if placed in the hands of non-professionals, especially during election time when political tension is high.

Chairperson of the committee on information and Broadcasting Services Mwansa Kapeya said this when he presented a motion to adopt the committee’s report.

Mr Kapeya, who is PF Mpika Central MP said professionalism was the safeguard for the media and that politicians should not use it to fan violence.

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Burma: Opening the Door

Filed under: Myanmar — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:07 PDT

The dialogue is changing. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and his deputy Scot Marceil visited Burma and held talks with Burmese officials and Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi. It is the highest-level visit to Burma in more than a decade, and follows the State Department’s September announcement of its Burma Policy Review, which began shortly after President Obama took office.

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In Defense of the Goldstone Report

Filed under: International Law: War,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:05 PDT

The U.S. House of Representatives condemned a UN report accusing Israel of crimes against civilians during the war in Gaza. Though the House accused the report of a bias against Israel, the original version, by the Jewish South African judge Richard Goldstone, found evidence that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes.

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Tragedy in service of reconciliation

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:05 PDT

TEL AVIV – The face of the conflict in the recent war in Gaza was indeed the face of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. His call for help, broadcast live on primetime Israeli television, poignantly revealed the human tragedy of that war to the world in general and to Israeli viewers in particular.

Dr. Abuelaish lost three daughters and a niece in that war. Bessan was 20, Mayar was 15, Aya was 14, and his niece Nur was 17. He handled the dreadful calamity that befell his family with a rare dignity. His message to the world was completely free from the rhetoric of revenge. The fact that he used his tragedy to illustrate the madness of the conflict and to make a plea for reconciliation made an enormous impression on thousands of Israelis and must have moved even the most hardened of hearts…

Parents Circle – Families Forum are grateful to Search for Common Ground for giving Dr. Abuelaish the Common Ground Award last week and thus recognising the importance of his message.

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Film review: Forgiveness: Human or Divine?

Filed under: Art of Peacework,Rwanda — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:47 PDT

Earlier this month the film As We Forgive, a documentary about Rwanda, was released on DVD… It does not chronicle the 1994 genocide, but what has come after: Rwanda’s struggle to rebuild itself…

The filmmaker, Laura Waters Hinson, took an impromptu trip to Rwanda while pursuing a master in filmmaking at American University. She expected to find stories of devastation, and found stories of hope instead. As We Forgive has since been shown in Congress, at the State Department and in dozens of universities, churches and communities nationwide.

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Devon and Cornwall, UK: Domestic violence costs £700m a year

Filed under: children and youth,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:04 PDT

DOMESTIC violence costs Devon and Cornwall nearly £700 million a year, according to a new report…

It estimates that domestic violence in Devon and Cornwall, which has the highest recorded number of domestic violence incidents in rural England and Wales, costs £693 million – about £440 a year for every person living in the two counties…

Christine McKenna, general manager of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Service in South and West Devon, said it received vital funding from Devon County Council but could do far more with additional support. “All of our services are oversubscribed, not just those for victims of domestic violence and abuse but also perpetrators wanting to change their behaviour.”

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Polarized News? The Media’s Moderate Bia

Filed under: Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:03 PDT

In the argument between the White House and Fox News over whether the cable channel is a conservative mouthpiece, you would think that Fox’s viewers would have its back. Not entirely. In an Oct. 29 Pew Research Center survey, TV-news viewers named Fox the most ideological outlet — and 48% of Fox’s own viewers called it “mostly conservative”…

Fox isn’t alone, though: the survey showed that far more viewers saw ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and NBC as liberal than saw them as conservative.

All of which underlines the obvious: the news audience, if not news itself, is getting more polarized. But categories like Pew’s “liberal,” “conservative” and “neither” imply that our society is as simplistic about media bias as we are about politics (when in fact both involve nuanced positions), and they overlook the most significant bias out there: moderate bias.

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Top financial institutions still invest $20 billion in cluster bomb producers

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Disarmament — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:26 PDT

Almost one year on from the historic signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo in December 2008, 138 financial institutions still provide over $20 billion worth of investments and financial services to eight producers of cluster bombs. These are the findings of the most comprehensive report to date on global financial investments in these banned weapons, ‘ Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; A shared responsibility’. The report authors are calling public and private financial institutions to support the ban and disinvest from cluster bomb producers…

The publication by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen categorizes retail banks, investment banks, asset management companies and private and public pensions into a “Hall of Shame,” a “Hall of Fame” and “Runners-Up”, based on their investment policies and practices. The report also looks at legislative initiatives to prohibit investment in cluster munitions.

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Legislation banning investments in cluster munitions

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Disarmament,Europe — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:20 PDT

Legislation banning investments in cluster munitions has been passed by the following countries:

* Belgium…
* Ireland…
* Luxembourg…

For detailed information and analysis of these countries legislation go to the ‘Worldwide investments in cluster munitions’ report…. [see full story for downloads]

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Citizen- Government Partnerships to be the Theme of Anti-Corruption Conference

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:41 PDT

Details for the next International Anti-Corruption Conference, a biennial event, have just been released. It looks like Global Integrity will be taking a trip to Thailand in November 2010!

Last year’s International Anti-Corruption Conference in Athens focused on the need to create a mechanism to evaluate the effectiveness of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption [UNCAC]. (Global Integrity’s Jonathan Werve was there serving on metrics panel discussion.) Next week, the official UN project evaluation summit will consider adopting a review mechanism as recommended by the anti-corruption community. While many countries have signed the UNCAC agreement, very few have fully implemented its long list of conditions due to limited resources and/or limited political will.

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The Links Between Corruption and Peacebuilding

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Business, Human Rights, Environment — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:36 PDT

Corruption’s role in armed conflict and violence has become a key concern for peacebuilding professionals. And yet, the anti-corruption and peacebuilding fields have rarely converged in a systematic way. One effort towards bringing the two communities into an engaged dialogue is the recent publication of a special theme issue of the journal New Routes on the “nexus between corruption and peacebuilding” published by the Life and Peace Institute based in Sweden (the entire issue is available for free download).

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