Peacemakers Trust posts news, reports or announcements of interest to people studying or working in the field of dispute resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Inclusion of an item on the media watch blog does not imply endorsement or agreement of Peacemakers Trust with views expressed by authors of posted items.
The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda failed to resolve a border-region dispute at a meeting yesterday, strengthening the position held by rebels whose insurgency has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.
After Congo accused Rwanda of supporting an ethnic Tutsi- led rebellion in the east of the country, President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame held a three-day summit with five other African leaders in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, which borders both countries.
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council on Thursday demanded an end to foreign support for the M23 rebels fighting against the Kinshasa government in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a rebuke diplomats said was aimed at Rwanda and Uganda.
The 15-nation council issued a statement voicing its “strong condemnation of any and all outside support to the M23 and demand that all support to the M23, including from outside countries, cease immediately.”
“They further call upon all countries in the region to cooperate actively with the Congolese authorities in dismantling and demobilizing the M23,” the statement said.
Nigeria was one of the few countries which actually saw an increase in terror attacks...
By Dana Hughes
The number of worldwide terror attacks fell to 10,283 last year, down from 11,641 in 2010 and the lowest since 2005, the State Department reported today.
What’s made the difference? The State Department cites the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members killed last year…
Nigeria was one of the few countries which actually saw an increase in terror attacks last year because of Boko Haram, and Kenya and Somalia continue to experience attacks by a weakened Al Shabab. Benjamin also noted that the Arab spring and other countries in transition could leave important allies like Egypt and Iraq vulnerable to terror groups.
Last Sunday, the attention of the nation was drawn to the killings of innocent Nigerian Muslims, including unsuspecting travellers on the Kaduna-Abuja Highway, by Christians as a reprisal attack to Boko Haram bombings of churches in Kaduna and Zaria. A number of Mosques and shops were also burnt that Sunday in Christian-dominated neighbourhoods in the southern part of the city. In all the attacks, as at the last offical count, has killed 21 Christians, while the reprisals killed 29 Muslims and hundreds were injured. As a result, I will pause my series … to say a word about the matter…
The Christians have often emphasized that there is not enough voice of condemnation heard among Muslims. True. But that has to do more with the lack of protection from the government for those who would dare to do so…
The Christians, on their part, often forget that they have been most economical with their voice against acts of sectarian violence. It is very hard, very rare, and very unusual to hear a Christian voice – a leader or opinion shaper – condemning the atrocities committed by his fellow Christians against Muslims…
FW de Klerk, the Nobel peace laureate and former South African president, has warned that the country is again being poisoned by racism from political leaders, leaving Nelson Mandela’s spirit of reconciliation “almost totally gone”.
De Klerk suggested that the now retired Mandela must feel sad about the betrayal of the non-racial consensus he espoused as South Africa’s first black president, and that only a “second reconciliation” could restore it.
OTTAWA — A senior Canadian general was prepared to admit he’d made a mistake after Defence Minister Peter MacKay directly contradicted him in May by saying he did not know the Libya mission was estimated to cost more than $100 million.
But while Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance was ready to “own up” to making an error, a military public affairs officer waved him off by telling Vance he wasn’t necessarily wrong, and that “a political truth can sometimes be different.”
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) works towards the 2015 elections, it has been advised to ignore any political party that does not have the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
This was the view of experts at a roundtable organised in Abuja yesterday by the Dispute Resolution Unit of the commission on how to minimise electoral cases in Nigeria.
Declaring the event open, INEC national commissioner in-charge of monitoring and development of political parties, Mrs. Amina Zakari, who represented the chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the use of the ADR would help to solve most of the crises that arise within and among political parties.
Shalom, Educating for Peace (SEP), a peace education NGO registered under the law of South Africa and working in Rwanda, will be awarded the Global Peacemaking Award from the International Public Policy Institute (IPPI) on the 9th of June. SEP has been educating communities for peace since 2008, reaching thousands of people in the Ndera, Rwamagana and Rulindo areas. The organisation has developed several programs, including a weekly radio broadcast on peace, training in nonviolent communication, and peace education through sports, theatre and song, amongst others. (read more…)
Though the war has ended, Charles Taylor has been sentenced, and mineral companies are thriving, the poor of this West African country are little better off.
By Greg Campbell
ADONKIA, Sierra Leone — Ten years after the end of Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war over control of its diamond fields, children as young as 3 years old continue to toil in its mines, hoping at best to earn a few pennies for food in a country still wracked by extreme poverty.
But the children aren’t looking for diamonds, which at least hold the hope of a big payday. In a sign of how desperate things remain in Sierra Leone, they’re reduced to one of man’s most difficult labors in their attempt to survive — breaking granite rocks into gravel and selling the piles, cheaply and infrequently, to construction companies for use in cement.
Child labor is nothing new in Sierra Leone, but children working in ad hoc rock quarries southeast of Freetown, the capital, is a new wrinkle resulting from the war, said Foday Mansaray, the headmaster of a free school he founded as the only alternative to a life of hard labor for most of the children enrolled there.
A man was shot dead because he got into a fight with a shopkeeper over change for a packet of cigarettes. This was a fairly un-noteworthy incident in South Africa in the summer of 1994, at a time when the country was in the throes of giving birth to a new constitution. Both the shopkeeper and his customer lived in one of the country’s many shantytowns, and both were well-connected to two opposing factions that had split the township in two. The two factions pledged allegiance to the same dominant liberation movement, but an intense leadership struggle for local control was underway. This meant that the killing assumed local political overtones. The township was tense, with everyone anticipating revenge at the funeral since violence often broke out at these times. The police were perceived as ‘the enemy’ for their role in enforcing apartheid, so local people did not trust they would successfully deal with the situation.
Instead, the local peace committee established under the country’s National Peace Accord (NPA), sprang into action. Meetings throughout the week involved political, religious and social
organizations. There was some tough and angry talk, but eventually all participants agreed on one goal – the funeral had to be peaceful, as indeed it was.1 The local peace committee had managed
to defuse a potentially violent incident. It might also claim credit for having prevented a vicious cycle of revenge attacks.
This study explores these local peace mechanisms and particularly focuses on structures established as part of a larger peace architecture. In 1997, Lederach noted two countries where regional and local peace commissions made effective contributions to peace: Nicaragua in the late 1980s, and South Africa in the early 1990s. Subsequently, similar local peace building mechanisms have been used in several situations as diverse as FYR Macedonia, Kenya, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Serbia, as well as in Northern Ireland. The UN system has been involved in various supportive
roles in some of these countries, and is considering involvement in others. It is too early to arrive at definitive international standards on implementing these structures, but there is a
sufficient body of experience to point to some tentative guidelines – the goal of this study… full paper (pdf)
The selection of 12 bilingual jurors, from a pool of about 1,200, begins today in Ottawa in the war crimes trial of a man accused of participating in the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Jacques Mungwarere, 39, is the second Rwandan to be prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which was introduced in 2000 and allows for prosecution no matter where or when an alleged war crime may have been committed.
The first person prosecuted under the act is Desire Munyaneza, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2009.
Given that the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis took place on the basis of deep social divisions, justice and reconciliation were top priorities when the country emerged from the 100-day cataclysm. “Justice was the first thing that those who lost loved ones claimed,” explains Domitilla Mukantanganzwa, the executive secretary of the national jurisdiction of Gacaca courts.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been criticized by the U.S. government and advocacy groups for cracking down on civil liberties and trampling on human rights. Investors are more focused on how his policies have fostered one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice in November criticized Rwanda’s “closed” political culture. Harassment of civil-society activists, opposition figures and journalists as well as the disappearance of some of them pose the “next developmental challenge” for the country, she said. Her comments echoed similar statements by Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, last week.
Rwanda’s traditional mechanism for resolving civil disputes; the Gacaca courts, will officially be closing on the 4th of May 2012. The Gacaca Courts have tried the bulk of Rwanda’s genocide related Rwanda’s traditional mechanism for resolving civil disputes; the Gacaca courts, will officially be closing on the 4th May 2012. The Gacaca Courts have tried the bulk of Rwanda’s genocide related cases. As of July 2012 the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)’s main body is also closing and will no longer hear any cases except for appeals, which are to be completed by 2014. These developments raise questions about what avenues will remain open for ordinary Rwandans who have not yet had their cases heard.
... the campaign plays into western constructs and prejudices about Africa.
By Firoze Manji, editor of Pambazuka Online
On Thursday March 8, internet users around the globe woke up to a rebel African leader named Joseph Kony pasted across their facebook walls, tilting the trends on Twitter and kicking up a virtual activist storm over an issue few had ever heard of: The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the strife of children in the jungles straddling east and central Africa.
Within hours, the online world was seemingly fit to burst at the seams with righteous indignation over Kony and his alleged war crimes, with users beating the war drums over the possibility of social media ushering in an international movement to bring Kony to justice.
The social media soiree and the fact that the campaign has brought attention to an otherwise obscure topic nothwithstanding, the organisation behind the campaign group “Invisible Children”, co-founded by Jason Russell, has since drawn severe criticism over the financial and ethical underpinning of its ambitions.
Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa spoke to Firoze Manji, the editor of Pambazuka News, a pan-African online news magazine, about the intrinsic value of the #Kony campaign exploding across the internet – and why it has drawn such scathing criticism.
From South Sudan to Sri Lanka, Guatemala to Nepal, specially trained, unarmed civilians are protecting civilians under threat and preventing violence from escalating in areas of violent conflict. Working on the basis of strict nonpartisanship and at the invitation of local civil society, these peacekeepers apply field-tested strategies that create space for local actors to transform conflicts, protect human rights defenders and others made vulnerable by the conflict, as well as supporting local violence prevention mechanisms.
They bring on-the-ground realities of violent conflicts to national, regional and international attention. Their presence provides a bridge between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) and Peace Brigades International (PBI), two of the leaders in unarmed civilian protection, will present how peacekeeping works without guns, what lessons are being learned, and how this practice can now be brought to scale.
March 21, 2012 – 10:00 – 11:30am
U.S. Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037