A Historical Context for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was a by-product of international commitments to human rights, but its history lies in the complex and contradictory developments of the twentieth century, when elevated expectations regarding the welfare of children confronted the realities of war. In the late nineteenth century, material conditions and reform efforts redefined the lives of children in the Western world and created new sentiments about childhood and investments in children’s progress. World Wars I and II exposed children’s acute vulnerability and the myth of inevitable progress. After each of these wars, defining what was owed to children and how best to meet their needs was part of larger international negotiations regarding power and prestige. Throughout this period, the involvement of women, a new Swedish presence in international diplomacy, and the growing role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) affected what would become a rearticulation of child welfare and protection and a more active commitment to children’s rights.

Football and Post-War Reintegration: exploring the role of sport in DDR processes in Sierra Leone

Growing enthusiasm for ‘Sport for development and peace’ (SDP) projects around the world has created a much greater interest among critical scholars seeking to interrogate potential gains, extant limitations and challenges of using sport to advance ‘development’ and ‘peace’ in Africa. Despite this interest, the role of sport in post-conflict peace building remains poorly understood. Since peace building, as a field of study, lends itself to practical approaches that seek to address underlying sources of violent conflict, it is surprising that it has neglected to take an interest in sport, especially its grassroots models. In Africa, football (soccer) in particular has a strong appeal because of its popularity and ability to mobilise individuals and communities. Through a case study on Sierra Leone, this paper focuses on sports in a particularly prominent post-civil war UN intervention—the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process—to determine how ex-youth combatants, camp administrators and caregivers perceive the role and significance of sporting activities in interim care centres (ICCS) or DDR camps. It argues that sporting experiences in ddr processes are fruitful microcosms for understanding nuanced forms of violence and healing among youth combatants during their reintegration process.

“We Are All Rwandans”: Repatriation, National Identity, and the Plight of Rwanda’s Transferred Children

While much has been written about children caught up in the all too numerous conflicts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, what is not as apparent is the impact these conflicts have on “transferred” children: Those removed from the conflict areas by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and private individuals. The practice of removing children from conflict zones has been a byproduct of many of the most violent events in recent memory: the rescue missions during the Armenian genocide, the Refugee Children Movement, kindertransport and hidden children of the Holocaust, and the lesser-known transfer of children during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. This article addresses the underreported events surrounding the transfer of children during the Rwandan genocide as a way to interrogate the consequences of this practice. It argues that as the most vulnerable of those caught up in unimaginable violence, these children become yet another face of human suffering during the conflict and in the aftermath they become the nexus for issues of identity, repatriation, and assimilation that are mobilized in national discourses of reconciliation and national unity. Of note in the cases of transferred children is how the patterns of familial fracture, alternative family structures, conflicts over the fate of former transferred children, and governments’ transborder claims to their citizens are, on the one hand, mobilized to support transferred children and, on the other, to support and provide legitimation for political policies and the project of creating a new postconflict society.

International Statebuilding and Contentious Universities in Kosovo

This article discusses the politics of international administration and ownership in Kosovo, examining the case of the rebuilding of the higher education system in the period 1999–2007. It looks at the practice of international administration, analysing both the efforts of international actors to rebuild the Kosovar university system and the responses of local actors resisting and deeply influencing this process. A fine-grained reconstruction of the role of the UN administration in the process of building a new inter-ethnic university system in Kosovo reveals that local and international actors negotiated and dealt with each other, creating in the process an institutional structure that reflects the fundamental tensions and lack of consensus between the different stakeholders. The paper also argues that a mechanical view of the concept of ownership is not helpful, and that even in cases of international administration local actors are ‘co-owners’, who have a great influence on international plans and projects. It concludes that although the UN played an intrusive role in the process, the mission did not manage to achieve its goals.

The use and limitations of conflict analysis: the case of the UNDP in the occupied Palestinian territory

The past two decades have seen international agencies pay closer attention to the relationship between conflict and development. An example of this is the UNDP and its conflict-related development analysis (CDA), which aims to identify the causes of conflict and design measures that will enhance development while reducing conflict. Through the case study of the CDA’s application in the occupied Palestinian territory, the article reveals its main limitations including an emphasis on conflict management (as opposed to conflict reduction), the choice of (neo-liberal) development model, prioritisation of particular partners over others (i.e. ‘state’ over non-state) and an erroneous assumption of neutrality. These have become manifested into the UNDP’s current programme for action which undermines its own stated objectives, to work ‘on’ the causes of conflict rather than ‘in’ or ‘around’ conflict. The UNDP’s experience therefore has important lessons for the use of conflict analysis and policy design elsewhere.

World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development

The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.

Assessment of Development Needs of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Eastern Sudan

East Sudan has received a continuous influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees over the last forty years. Mass influxes were witnessed during years when the region experienced natural catastrophes as droughts and floods, or an escalation of tensions and conflict in neighboring countries, mainly Eritrea and Ethiopia. Presently there is still a steady but smaller in numbers influx of refugees, mostly from Eritrea, but with an apparent change in their social composition and expectations. Present day internal population movements relate to more conventional forms of migration within Sudan, that is, households in search of work and economic opportunities. Still, the situation of the large number of IDPs that moved to the area over 15 years ago and are living in camps is precarious and needs urgent attention. Presently there are not the basic conditions required to provide a durable solution to the refugees in a protracted situation in eastern Sudan. To a large extent that also applies to IDPs with long permanence in camps; there are not conditions to achieve self-reliance by most of the displaced population given the situation of their locations in eastern Sudan in terms of natural environment and its capacity to support sustainable agriculture and other urban and rural economic activities. Within the overall mission of the World Bank, its strategic objective in contributing towards the durable solution of forced displacement situations is to bring the affected countries and displaced population back to the path of peace and development, enabling the application of pro-poor policies and fostering economic growth. Under these conditions, the World Bank will be in a better position to engage the affected countries through its regular operations.

The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted

Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.

Tackling Criminal Acts in Peacekeeping Operations: The Accountability of Peacekeepers

United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations have been increasingly deployed in many crisis contexts. The practice has been established by the UN to ensure peace and protect victims of different types of armed conflict. Unfortunately, during the past ten years, several cases of serious human rights violations committed by peacekeepers against people who should be protected by them have emerged. The UN has gone through a widespread analysis of the issues involved, from the managerial, administrative and legal points of view. The 2005 Zeid Report has provided the basis for further action within the UN system. Since then, several policy and legal measures have been discussed by relevant UN bodies and organs, and some new developments have taken place. This article offers an account and an analysis of the different steps taken within the UN to face difficult cases of misbehaviour, including human rights violations, which may lead to forms of criminal conduct. It takes into consideration the suggestions provided by the Zeid Report and subsequent UN documents. It focuses on legal developments and discusses the main problems in understanding the legal complexity of this phenomenon. The article includes updated documents and proposals that have been discussed and adopted until the most recent reports in 2009.

Bosnian Education for Security and Peacebuilding?

This article examines education as a security issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where some Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats have learned to hate each other and, at times, violently reinforce ethno-cultural differences through separate education systems. It further explores education as a poorly understood conflict-prevention, post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding tool mainly after the 1995 Dayton Accord. It highlights the OSCE as a significant actor in recognizing and responding to education-related security needs. And it reflects on persistent challenges and prospects for a sustainable peace aided by education. Finally the article identifies new research steps to assess reforms.

Closing the Gap Between Peace Operations and Post-Conflict Insecurity: Towards a Violence Reduction Agenda

This article highlights how the instruments for addressing the presumed source(s) of armed violence need to be sharpened and extended to address the heterogeneous character of armed violence present in many post-conflict situations. These extensions require the development of practical armed violence prevention and reduction programmes that draw upon scholarship and practice from the criminal justice and public health sectors. The article argues that reducing organized violence and insecurity in post-conflict contexts requires responding to the wider dynamics of armed violence rather than focusing exclusively on insecurity directly connected to what are traditionally defined as armed conflict and post-conflict dynamics; and this requires attention not just to the instruments of violence, but also to the political and economic motives of agents and institutions implicated in violent exchanges at all levels of social interaction.

Youth in War-To-Peace Transitions. Approaches by International Organisations

This study deals with youth in war-to-peace transitions and the response of international organizations to them. While youth’s relevance for societal transformation is a long-acknowledged fact, their large numbers and potential roles in conflict have recently caused organizations to consider them a target group for peace and development programs. Reflecting on this process, this study thus assesses the difficulties in conceptualizing the role of youth in peace-building processes on the one hand and the concrete efforts of international organizations to integrate them into their policies and programs on the other. For this purpose, it explores four guiding questions: First, what approaches have international organizations developed regarding youth? Second, on which assumptions about youth and their role in violent conflicts are they based? Third, how do the different approaches affect program development, and, fourth, are they are compatible? In order to explain the various responses of international organizations towards youth in conflict contexts, specifically regarding demobilization and reintegration, this study developed three ideal typical approaches: (1) a rights-based approach, (2) an economic approach, and (3) a socio-political approach. This study concludes that a holistic approach is needed in order for international organizations to profit from their distinct advantages.

The Challenges and Lessons of Security Sector Reform in Post-conflict Sierra Leone

This paper assesses the main elements of SSR process in Sierra Leone, against its historical background as well as the imperatives of a responsive and responsible security sector. The reform of the security sector in Sierra Leone has enhanced the restoration of public safety in the country, and the positive features of the process relate to the inclusion of SSR as the first pillar of the country’s poverty reduction strategy, and the emphasis of SSR on the decentralisation of the security apparatus. Significant gaps however remain. Donor dependency and the ‘youth question’ are continuing challenges. Arguably, the most significant deficiency is the fact that the security sector has not been adequately embedded in a democratic governance framework. There is an absence of functional oversight mechanisms, and a failure to involve other actors beyond the executive arm of government in the governance of the security sector. The paper cautions that SSR can be successful only as part of an overarching democratic post conflict reconstruction framework

Wartime Sexual Violence: Assessing a Human Security Response to War-Affected Girls in Sierra Leone

Wartime sexual violence continues to be widespread and systematic in contemporary conflicts. Although the problem is gaining increasing international attention, it has remained, for the most part, peripheral within the domain of security studies. However, the human security agenda may have the capacity to raise the profile of wartime sexual violence and offer a useful framework from which to understand and respond to the unique needs of war-affected girls and women. This article explores the capacity of the human security agenda, both conceptually and practically, to address the plight of girl victims of sexual violence in the aftermath of Sierra Leone’s conflict. Drawing upon the perspectives and experiences of three girls formerly associated with Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front, the article traces the extreme forms of sexual violence and insecurity girls were forced to endure, both during and following the conflict. It also examines a number of human security efforts implemented in the conflict’s aftermath and their impact on the level of empowerment, protection and security of girls. The broader implications of these human security efforts are explored in light of the girls’ lived realities in post-conflict Sierra Leone.