Showing posts tagged as "reform"

Showing posts tagged reform

11 Oct
"The Khartoum regime, devoid of any long-term strategy, relies on short-term tactical feints, including piecemeal deals with rebel factions, to preserve power. But without deeper reforms the net result will be further deterioration in urban living standards, rural impoverishment and the spread and intensification of war in the peripheries.”
-Cedric Barnes, Project Director, Horn of Africa for Crisis Group, Sudan: Riots, Reforms, and a Divided Regime
Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr
 

"The Khartoum regime, devoid of any long-term strategy, relies on short-term tactical feints, including piecemeal deals with rebel factions, to preserve power. But without deeper reforms the net result will be further deterioration in urban living standards, rural impoverishment and the spread and intensification of war in the peripheries.”

-Cedric Barnes, Project Director, Horn of Africa for Crisis Group, Sudan: Riots, Reforms, and a Divided Regime

Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr

 

19 Nov
Analysis: How real are Myanmar’s reforms? | IRIN
LONDON, 19 November 2012 (IRIN) - The visit of US President Barack Obama to Myanmar on 19 November has renewed international interest in the country’s democratic reforms, but also skepticism about their impact on the lives of ordinary Burmese.
Since Myanmar’s reform-minded President Thein Sein came to office in March 2011, hundreds of political prisoners have been released, freedom of assembly has been allowed, media censorship has eased, and the country’s cabinet has been reshuffled.
FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)
Photo: Marcel Münch/Flicker 

Analysis: How real are Myanmar’s reforms? | IRIN

LONDON, 19 November 2012 (IRIN) - The visit of US President Barack Obama to Myanmar on 19 November has renewed international interest in the country’s democratic reforms, but also skepticism about their impact on the lives of ordinary Burmese.

Since Myanmar’s reform-minded President Thein Sein came to office in March 2011, hundreds of political prisoners have been released, freedom of assembly has been allowed, media censorship has eased, and the country’s cabinet has been reshuffled.

FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)

Photo: Marcel Münch/Flicker 

16 Aug
Election Reform in Pakistan
Islamabad/Brussels  |  16 Aug 2012
With fresh elections just months away, Pakistan’s government and opposition must urgently implement key reforms to the electoral commission to cement the transition to democracy and stave off another indefinite period of unaccountable rule.
Election Reform in Pakistan, the latest policy briefing from the International Crisis Group, warns of the potentially destabilising fallout if the transfer of power does not take place through free, fair, transparent and democratic elections, either when the government completes a full five-year term in March 2013 or earlier. If the elections are to be credible and ensure a smooth transition from one elected government to another for the first time in the country’s history, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) must be overhauled and made truly independent, fair and effective.
“Polls supervised by an independent and impartial electoral body are far more likely to be accepted as free and fair”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director. “For change to come through the ballot box, and not through the military or the courts, ECP reform is vital”.
Over the last two decades, Pakistan’s elections have often been rigged by the military, using a subservient ECP that lacked autonomy and authority to do its bidding. In 2010, parliament amended the constitution, distorted by General Musharraf’s military regime, to strengthen federal parliamentary democracy. The ECP, in an advanced state of institutional decay, acknowledged its shortcomings and came up with a strategic plan to reform itself. Some of its targets have been met, but many have not been and are unlikely ever to be unless parliament assumes political ownership of the plan and monitors its implementation.
An encouraging sign has been the appointment through unanimous parliamentary consensus of a chief election commissioner – a first in Pakistan’s electoral history – but much more needs to be done. Flaws in the electoral process must now be removed. Voters have to be given time to identify errors and omissions on the electoral rolls; polling procedures should be improved; the code of conduct must be amended to ensure that it does not curb legitimate political activity and disenfranchise voters; and accountability mechanisms for candidates and parties must be strengthened. Dysfunctional election tribunals, responsible for excessive delays and even corruption, should be urgently reformed.
The international community should lend its support to the process by warning the military that it will not accept any postponement of the polls or other steps to derail the voting process. Pakistan’s political parties, meanwhile, must all work together to ensure that the democratic transition continues and remains sustainable.
“The government and the opposition should put aside their political differences and urgently reach consensus on the neutral caretaker government that will be needed to remain in office in the crucial period between the end of the parliament’s term through the 90 days before elections and the subsequent formation of the newly elected government”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Acting Program Director for Asia. “Their failure to do so could disrupt the democratic process, giving the military, potentially with the support of the superior judiciary, the opportunity to disrupt the democratic process”.
FULL BRIEFING

Election Reform in Pakistan

Islamabad/Brussels  |  16 Aug 2012

With fresh elections just months away, Pakistan’s government and opposition must urgently implement key reforms to the electoral commission to cement the transition to democracy and stave off another indefinite period of unaccountable rule.

Election Reform in Pakistan, the latest policy briefing from the International Crisis Group, warns of the potentially destabilising fallout if the transfer of power does not take place through free, fair, transparent and democratic elections, either when the government completes a full five-year term in March 2013 or earlier. If the elections are to be credible and ensure a smooth transition from one elected government to another for the first time in the country’s history, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) must be overhauled and made truly independent, fair and effective.

“Polls supervised by an independent and impartial electoral body are far more likely to be accepted as free and fair”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director. “For change to come through the ballot box, and not through the military or the courts, ECP reform is vital”.

Over the last two decades, Pakistan’s elections have often been rigged by the military, using a subservient ECP that lacked autonomy and authority to do its bidding. In 2010, parliament amended the constitution, distorted by General Musharraf’s military regime, to strengthen federal parliamentary democracy. The ECP, in an advanced state of institutional decay, acknowledged its shortcomings and came up with a strategic plan to reform itself. Some of its targets have been met, but many have not been and are unlikely ever to be unless parliament assumes political ownership of the plan and monitors its implementation.

An encouraging sign has been the appointment through unanimous parliamentary consensus of a chief election commissioner – a first in Pakistan’s electoral history – but much more needs to be done. Flaws in the electoral process must now be removed. Voters have to be given time to identify errors and omissions on the electoral rolls; polling procedures should be improved; the code of conduct must be amended to ensure that it does not curb legitimate political activity and disenfranchise voters; and accountability mechanisms for candidates and parties must be strengthened. Dysfunctional election tribunals, responsible for excessive delays and even corruption, should be urgently reformed.

The international community should lend its support to the process by warning the military that it will not accept any postponement of the polls or other steps to derail the voting process. Pakistan’s political parties, meanwhile, must all work together to ensure that the democratic transition continues and remains sustainable.

“The government and the opposition should put aside their political differences and urgently reach consensus on the neutral caretaker government that will be needed to remain in office in the crucial period between the end of the parliament’s term through the 90 days before elections and the subsequent formation of the newly elected government”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Acting Program Director for Asia. “Their failure to do so could disrupt the democratic process, giving the military, potentially with the support of the superior judiciary, the opportunity to disrupt the democratic process”.

FULL BRIEFING

5 Aug
Interview with Daniel Pinkston | Deutsche Welle
North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un has recently emphasized the importance on the economy and the lives of the North Korean people. That alone does not mean reform, says North Korea expert Daniel Pinkston.
FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: isa_adsr/Flickr

Interview with Daniel Pinkston | Deutsche Welle

North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un has recently emphasized the importance on the economy and the lives of the North Korean people. That alone does not mean reform, says North Korea expert Daniel Pinkston.

FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: isa_adsr/Flickr

30 Jul
US ban on imports hurting people: ICG  |  Myanmar Times
By Agence France Presse
BANGKOK – A US ban on all imports from Myanmar is stifling key job-creating areas of the economy, such as the garment industry, rather than hurting the interests of the corrupt elite it targets, a report said last week.
FULL ARTICLE (Myanmar Times)
Photo: eGuide Travel/Flickr

US ban on imports hurting people: ICG  |  Myanmar Times

By Agence France Presse

BANGKOK – A US ban on all imports from Myanmar is stifling key job-creating areas of the economy, such as the garment industry, rather than hurting the interests of the corrupt elite it targets, a report said last week.

FULL ARTICLE (Myanmar Times)

Photo: eGuide Travel/Flickr

20 Jul
Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities
Guatemala City/Brussels  |   20 Jul 2012
To stem the violence that kills thousands of Guatemalans each year, the government must find the resources and will to carry out long-stalled reforms of the national police.
Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities, the latest International Crisis Group report, explores the prospects for change under President Otto Pérez Molina, who took office in January. Although his government has taken vigorous steps to combat organised crime, it is still overly dependent on the military and special task forces that operate outside the police hierarchy. Such efforts may lead to short-term gains, but they do not address the institutional weaknesses that render the police ineffective and corrupt.
Criminal organisations – from the drug traffickers who move at will over porous borders to the gangs that dominate urban areas – have helped fuel violence that has killed more than 57,000 Guatemalans over the past decade. The National Civil Police (PNC) is on the front lines of the battle against crime, though all too often citizens distrust them as much as the criminals.
Continued foreign assistance is essential to this effort, but donors should do a better job of coordinating their efforts and working closely with the government to establish priorities and devise sustained strategies with clear benchmarks. “The government needs to make police reform a top priority, as part of an overall effort to strengthen justice and law enforcement”, says Mary Speck, Crisis Group’s Senior Guatemala Analyst. “That means providing police with better training, better supervision and better working conditions”.
Progress has been made. Some investigative units – including a homicide unit supported by the Spanish government – have proven that given adequate resources, preparation and supervision, police can solve complex crimes. There are also encouraging developments within the area of preventive policing. In Mixco and Villa Nueva, municipalities outside Guatemala City, local governments are expanding community-oriented police patrols in cooperation with U.S.-financed model precincts.
These efforts remain the exception, however. For reform to succeed, the entire PNC – not just isolated units – must embrace reform as a matter of institutional self-interest and prestige. It is vital to design a police reform strategy with clear priorities and timetables that builds on progress already made, so as to improve oversight, combat corruption and avoid over-reliance on the military.
“Achievements made so far are fragile and easily reversed”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “To turn limited initiatives into genuine reform will require not just continued international support but also the clear commitment of Guatemala’s leaders”.
FULL REPORT

Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities

Guatemala City/Brussels  |   20 Jul 2012

To stem the violence that kills thousands of Guatemalans each year, the government must find the resources and will to carry out long-stalled reforms of the national police.

Police Reform in Guatemala: Obstacles and Opportunities, the latest International Crisis Group report, explores the prospects for change under President Otto Pérez Molina, who took office in January. Although his government has taken vigorous steps to combat organised crime, it is still overly dependent on the military and special task forces that operate outside the police hierarchy. Such efforts may lead to short-term gains, but they do not address the institutional weaknesses that render the police ineffective and corrupt.

Criminal organisations – from the drug traffickers who move at will over porous borders to the gangs that dominate urban areas – have helped fuel violence that has killed more than 57,000 Guatemalans over the past decade. The National Civil Police (PNC) is on the front lines of the battle against crime, though all too often citizens distrust them as much as the criminals.

Continued foreign assistance is essential to this effort, but donors should do a better job of coordinating their efforts and working closely with the government to establish priorities and devise sustained strategies with clear benchmarks. “The government needs to make police reform a top priority, as part of an overall effort to strengthen justice and law enforcement”, says Mary Speck, Crisis Group’s Senior Guatemala Analyst. “That means providing police with better training, better supervision and better working conditions”.

Progress has been made. Some investigative units – including a homicide unit supported by the Spanish government – have proven that given adequate resources, preparation and supervision, police can solve complex crimes. There are also encouraging developments within the area of preventive policing. In Mixco and Villa Nueva, municipalities outside Guatemala City, local governments are expanding community-oriented police patrols in cooperation with U.S.-financed model precincts.

These efforts remain the exception, however. For reform to succeed, the entire PNC – not just isolated units – must embrace reform as a matter of institutional self-interest and prestige. It is vital to design a police reform strategy with clear priorities and timetables that builds on progress already made, so as to improve oversight, combat corruption and avoid over-reliance on the military.

“Achievements made so far are fragile and easily reversed”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Director. “To turn limited initiatives into genuine reform will require not just continued international support but also the clear commitment of Guatemala’s leaders”.

FULL REPORT

18 Jun
US, EU urge peaceful resolution | Myanmar Times
By Zaw Win Than
BOTH the United States and European Union expressed deep concern over violence in Rakhine State and urged a peaceful resolution to the crisis, which has seen a state of emergency declared in the region.
“The United States continues to be deeply concerned about reports of ongoing ethnic and sectarian violence in western Burma’s Rakhine State and urges all parties to exercise restraint and immediately halt all attacks. The Burmese government has announced a State of Emergency and curfews in Rakhine State, but reports of violence continue,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement on June 11.
READ ARTICLE (Myanmar Times)
Photo: Boothee

US, EU urge peaceful resolution | Myanmar Times

By Zaw Win Than

BOTH the United States and European Union expressed deep concern over violence in Rakhine State and urged a peaceful resolution to the crisis, which has seen a state of emergency declared in the region.

“The United States continues to be deeply concerned about reports of ongoing ethnic and sectarian violence in western Burma’s Rakhine State and urges all parties to exercise restraint and immediately halt all attacks. The Burmese government has announced a State of Emergency and curfews in Rakhine State, but reports of violence continue,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement on June 11.

READ ARTICLE (Myanmar Times)

Photo: Boothee

8 Jun
International Crisis Group

Zimbabwe's Reform Process

Zimbabwe’s Reform Process | International Crisis Group

6 June 2012: Piers Pigou, Project Director for Southern Africa, talks about the recent decision of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to block elections without reforms in Zimbabwe and about concerns around Robert Mugabe’s candidacy. 4:30

Photo: openDemocracy/Flickr

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21 May
AllAfrica | Zimbabwe: ‘No Lifting of Sanctions Without Real Reforms’
By Elias Mambo
WHILE Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team with the European Union (EU) was upbeat about the possibility of the bloc lifting sanctions after its trip to Brussels last week, analysts have warned that without meaningful reforms on the ground it would still be difficult to ensure the removal of the restrictive measures.
Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) and Regional Integration and International Co-operation minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) led the re-engagement team in talks with the EU in the Belgian capital.
Talks have been ongoing since 2009 as part of broad efforts to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to restore political and economic stability before free and fair elections are held.
Negotiations are going on within the framework and context of the EU-Africa Cotonou Agreement, Article 96, which says “political dialogue concerning respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall be conducted within the parameters of internationally recognised standards and norms”.
"The parties may agree on joint agendas and priorities. Benchmarks are mechanisms for reaching targets through the setting of intermediate objectives and timeframes for compliance," it reads.
The EU slapped President Robert Mugabe and his top allies and associated companies who either owned, controlled or were linked to Zanu PF with the measures in 2002, citing rampant political violence and gross human rights violations which it said hindered the holding of free and fair elections in the country.
The targeted sanctions specifically followed the expulsion of EU election observer Pierre Schori, a Swedish UN diplomat whom the group had designated head of its proposed 150-strong team for the disputed March 2002 presidential polls.
FULL ARTICLE (AllAfrica)
Photo: Mangwanani/Wikimedia Commons

AllAfrica | Zimbabwe: ‘No Lifting of Sanctions Without Real Reforms’

By Elias Mambo

WHILE Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team with the European Union (EU) was upbeat about the possibility of the bloc lifting sanctions after its trip to Brussels last week, analysts have warned that without meaningful reforms on the ground it would still be difficult to ensure the removal of the restrictive measures.

Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) and Regional Integration and International Co-operation minister Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) led the re-engagement team in talks with the EU in the Belgian capital.

Talks have been ongoing since 2009 as part of broad efforts to implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to restore political and economic stability before free and fair elections are held.

Negotiations are going on within the framework and context of the EU-Africa Cotonou Agreement, Article 96, which says “political dialogue concerning respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall be conducted within the parameters of internationally recognised standards and norms”.

"The parties may agree on joint agendas and priorities. Benchmarks are mechanisms for reaching targets through the setting of intermediate objectives and timeframes for compliance," it reads.

The EU slapped President Robert Mugabe and his top allies and associated companies who either owned, controlled or were linked to Zanu PF with the measures in 2002, citing rampant political violence and gross human rights violations which it said hindered the holding of free and fair elections in the country.

The targeted sanctions specifically followed the expulsion of EU election observer Pierre Schori, a Swedish UN diplomat whom the group had designated head of its proposed 150-strong team for the disputed March 2002 presidential polls.

FULL ARTICLE (AllAfrica)

Photo: Mangwanani/Wikimedia Commons

17 May
The New Republic | Are Sanctions Changing Burma?
By: Nathan Pippenger
Today, the White House is expected to announce new steps designed to ease investment in Burma, the notoriously closed-off country whose ruling junta, to nearly everyone’s surprise, has recently begun to liberalize. The White House’s decision follows years of sanctions against Burma, but it’s far from clear that sanctions spurred the government’s recent reforms.  In fact, their efficacy has long been disputed. What made effective sanctions against Burma so difficult?
According to a 2004 analysis by the International Crisis Group, it’s difficult to hobble Burma’s economy because Burma doesn’t have much of an economy to begin with. “The country does not have a modern economy,” the report declares. “Most people still live at a subsistence level,” and “the informal economy may be as large as or larger than the formal economy.” 
FULL ARTICLE (TNR)
Photo: Wagaung/Wikimedia Commons

The New Republic | Are Sanctions Changing Burma?

By: Nathan Pippenger

Today, the White House is expected to announce new steps designed to ease investment in Burma, the notoriously closed-off country whose ruling junta, to nearly everyone’s surprise, has recently begun to liberalize. The White House’s decision follows years of sanctions against Burma, but it’s far from clear that sanctions spurred the government’s recent reforms.  In fact, their efficacy has long been disputed. What made effective sanctions against Burma so difficult?

According to a 2004 analysis by the International Crisis Group, it’s difficult to hobble Burma’s economy because Burma doesn’t have much of an economy to begin with. “The country does not have a modern economy,” the report declares. “Most people still live at a subsistence level,” and “the informal economy may be as large as or larger than the formal economy.” 

FULL ARTICLE (TNR)

Photo: Wagaung/Wikimedia Commons