Showing posts tagged as "report"

Showing posts tagged report

22 Jan
Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle
Erbil/Damascus/Brussels  |   22 Jan 2013
Syria’s conflict gives its Kurdish population an opening to rectify historic wrongs and push for more autonomy, but facing internal divisions, poor ties with the non-Kurdish opposition and regional rivalries , its challenge is to articulate clear, unified and achievable demands.
Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the growing influence of Kurdish factions in Syria while warning against entanglement in the broader regional battle over Kurdish independence.
“For the foreseeable future, the fate of Syria’s Kurds lies in Syria and rests on their ability to manage relations with the surrounding society and an emerging, pluralistic political scene”, says Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Syria, Egypt and Lebanon Project Director. “They express specific fears and general demands, but need to engage broader society and define a platform to serve as a basis for negotiations”.
Syria’s conflict has given its Kurds an opportunity to escape from a long period of systemic discrimination. Hoping to avoid a new battlefront and banking on Arab-Kurdish divisions to further muddy the picture, the regime largely left Kurds alone. In turn, Syrian Kurdish factions, many with ties to Kurdish groups based in Turkey or northern Iraq, took advantage of the regime’s preoccupation. This is the case in particular of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD), the Syrian offshoot of Turkey’s PKK insurgency, whose military wing has ousted government officials and security forces from many majority-Kurd areas.
Yet, several factors should give Kurdish leaders pause. Kurdish factions are deeply divided over goals and tactics, as well as more petty rivalries. Some accuse the PYD, the largest and most influential group, of being overly dependent on the PKK. Other Kurdish groups are a motley collection of smaller parties that, unlike the PYD, lack an effective military presence within Syria.
Kurdish factions compete not only with each other but also with the non-Kurdish opposition, whose predominantly Arab nationalist and Islamist narratives alienate many Kurds. In turn, Kurds have raised suspicions about their ultimate goals and notably their willingness to remain part of Syria. The more the conflict drags on, the more ethnic tensions build. Already, there are turf battles between PYD fighters and opposition armed groups. Worse clashes may come.
Finally, the Syrian conflict has exacerbated the undeclared fight for the heart and soul of the Kurdish national movement in the four countries (Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran) across which it is divided. Syrian Kurdish parties, like their regional patrons, have different views on tactics: whether to extract concessions by force or engagement and compromise.
“By and large, Syria’s Kurds already have made strides in their quest for greater rights by being masters of their own areas for the first time in the history of modern Syria”, says Maria Fantappie, Crisis Group’s Middle East Analyst. “They plan to parlay new freedoms into constitutional guarantees in the new order that eventually will emerge. But that will only be possible if their parties and youth groups coordinate, reach out to broader Syrian society and make their struggle for Kurdish national rights part of the larger struggle for citizenship in Syria”.
FULL REPORT

Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle

Erbil/Damascus/Brussels  |   22 Jan 2013

Syria’s conflict gives its Kurdish population an opening to rectify historic wrongs and push for more autonomy, but facing internal divisions, poor ties with the non-Kurdish opposition and regional rivalries , its challenge is to articulate clear, unified and achievable demands.

Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the growing influence of Kurdish factions in Syria while warning against entanglement in the broader regional battle over Kurdish independence.

“For the foreseeable future, the fate of Syria’s Kurds lies in Syria and rests on their ability to manage relations with the surrounding society and an emerging, pluralistic political scene”, says Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Syria, Egypt and Lebanon Project Director. “They express specific fears and general demands, but need to engage broader society and define a platform to serve as a basis for negotiations”.

Syria’s conflict has given its Kurds an opportunity to escape from a long period of systemic discrimination. Hoping to avoid a new battlefront and banking on Arab-Kurdish divisions to further muddy the picture, the regime largely left Kurds alone. In turn, Syrian Kurdish factions, many with ties to Kurdish groups based in Turkey or northern Iraq, took advantage of the regime’s preoccupation. This is the case in particular of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD), the Syrian offshoot of Turkey’s PKK insurgency, whose military wing has ousted government officials and security forces from many majority-Kurd areas.

Yet, several factors should give Kurdish leaders pause. Kurdish factions are deeply divided over goals and tactics, as well as more petty rivalries. Some accuse the PYD, the largest and most influential group, of being overly dependent on the PKK. Other Kurdish groups are a motley collection of smaller parties that, unlike the PYD, lack an effective military presence within Syria.

Kurdish factions compete not only with each other but also with the non-Kurdish opposition, whose predominantly Arab nationalist and Islamist narratives alienate many Kurds. In turn, Kurds have raised suspicions about their ultimate goals and notably their willingness to remain part of Syria. The more the conflict drags on, the more ethnic tensions build. Already, there are turf battles between PYD fighters and opposition armed groups. Worse clashes may come.

Finally, the Syrian conflict has exacerbated the undeclared fight for the heart and soul of the Kurdish national movement in the four countries (Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran) across which it is divided. Syrian Kurdish parties, like their regional patrons, have different views on tactics: whether to extract concessions by force or engagement and compromise.

“By and large, Syria’s Kurds already have made strides in their quest for greater rights by being masters of their own areas for the first time in the history of modern Syria”, says Maria Fantappie, Crisis Group’s Middle East Analyst. “They plan to parlay new freedoms into constitutional guarantees in the new order that eventually will emerge. But that will only be possible if their parties and youth groups coordinate, reach out to broader Syrian society and make their struggle for Kurdish national rights part of the larger struggle for citizenship in Syria”.

FULL REPORT

15 Jan
"To overcome PATA’s rising security challenges, the national and provincial leaderships should reclaim the political space ceded to the military."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

"Efforts to revive a shattered economy, once heavily dependent on tourism, have also faltered, and pressing humanitarian needs remain unmet because of continued instability and short-sighted military-dictated policies and methods."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

"Yet, the complexities of PATA’s legal framework still make upholding the rule of law a daunting task."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

"Some serious efforts have been made to enhance police capacity, functioning and presence on the streets, including by increasing the size of the force and the number of police stations, particularly in Swat. However, they are insufficient."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

(Source: http)

"While the militants continue to present the main physical threat, the military’s poorly conceived counter-insurgency strategies, heavy-handed methods and failure to restore responsive and accountable civilian administration and policing are proving counter-productive, aggravating public resentment and widening the gulf between PATA’s citizens and the state."

—from Crisis Group’s recent report, Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA
Islamabad/Brussels  |   15 Jan 2013
To overcome the security challenges and curb extremism in Pakistan’s Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), its national and provincial leaderships should reclaim the political space ceded to the military.
Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA, International Crisis Group’s latest report, assesses the impact of the military-led response to extremist violence on PATA’s security, society and economy. More than three years after military operations sought to oust Islamist extremists, the region remains extremely volatile.
The military’s continued control over the governance and administration of  the region and the state’s failure to equip the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) police with the tools they need to tackle extremist violence lies at the heart of security and governance challenges.
“While the militants continue to present the main physical threat, the military’s poorly conceived counter-insurgency strategies and failure to restore responsive and accountable civilian administration are proving counter-productive”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director. “Neither the federal nor the provincial government is fully addressing the security concerns of residents”.
Although some serious efforts have been made to enhance police capacity, they remain largely insufficient, and the KPK force is still not properly trained or equipped and lacks accountability.  The larger challenge remains the reform of the region’s complex legal framework, which makes upholding the rule of law a daunting task.
While formally subject to Pakistan’s basic criminal and civil law and falling under the provincial KPK legislature, PATA is governed by various parallel legal systems that have isolated it from the rest of the province. Instead of reforming a legal system that undermines constitutional rights and the rule of law, the military has been vested with virtually unchecked powers of arrest and detention.  Pressing humanitarian needs remain unmet because of continued instability and short-sighted military-dictated policies that include travel restrictions on foreigners and stringent requirements for domestic and international non-governmental organisations.
Islamabad and Peshawar should end PATA’s isolation and fully integrate it into KPK, removing the region’s legislative and constitutional ambiguities and revoking all laws that undermine constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.  The military’s control over the security agenda, governance and security must be replaced by accountable, responsive civilian institutions. A deteriorating justice system needs to be strengthened and the police force given the lead in enforcing the law and bringing extremists to justice.
“The state must restore the trust of PATA residents by convincing them of its sincerity, effectiveness and accountability”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Helping them to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, free of the fear of militancy, would go a long way toward inoculating them against extremism and should be at the heart of counter-terrorism strategy”.
FULL REPORT

Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA

Islamabad/Brussels  |   15 Jan 2013

To overcome the security challenges and curb extremism in Pakistan’s Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), its national and provincial leaderships should reclaim the political space ceded to the military.

Pakistan: Countering Militancy in PATA, International Crisis Group’s latest report, assesses the impact of the military-led response to extremist violence on PATA’s security, society and economy. More than three years after military operations sought to oust Islamist extremists, the region remains extremely volatile.

The military’s continued control over the governance and administration of  the region and the state’s failure to equip the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) police with the tools they need to tackle extremist violence lies at the heart of security and governance challenges.

“While the militants continue to present the main physical threat, the military’s poorly conceived counter-insurgency strategies and failure to restore responsive and accountable civilian administration are proving counter-productive”, says Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group’s South Asia Project Director. “Neither the federal nor the provincial government is fully addressing the security concerns of residents”.

Although some serious efforts have been made to enhance police capacity, they remain largely insufficient, and the KPK force is still not properly trained or equipped and lacks accountability.  The larger challenge remains the reform of the region’s complex legal framework, which makes upholding the rule of law a daunting task.

While formally subject to Pakistan’s basic criminal and civil law and falling under the provincial KPK legislature, PATA is governed by various parallel legal systems that have isolated it from the rest of the province. Instead of reforming a legal system that undermines constitutional rights and the rule of law, the military has been vested with virtually unchecked powers of arrest and detention.  Pressing humanitarian needs remain unmet because of continued instability and short-sighted military-dictated policies that include travel restrictions on foreigners and stringent requirements for domestic and international non-governmental organisations.

Islamabad and Peshawar should end PATA’s isolation and fully integrate it into KPK, removing the region’s legislative and constitutional ambiguities and revoking all laws that undermine constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.  The military’s control over the security agenda, governance and security must be replaced by accountable, responsive civilian institutions. A deteriorating justice system needs to be strengthened and the police force given the lead in enforcing the law and bringing extremists to justice.

“The state must restore the trust of PATA residents by convincing them of its sincerity, effectiveness and accountability”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Helping them to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, free of the fear of militancy, would go a long way toward inoculating them against extremism and should be at the heart of counter-terrorism strategy”.

FULL REPORT

20 Dec
Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war.
Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns that the heavily militarised and centralised control of those areas – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – creates serious problems for women’s safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance. They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. The Sri Lankan government has mostly dismissed women’s security issues and exacerbated fears, while the international community has failed to appreciate and respond effectively to the challenges they face.
“More than two years after the end of the war, many women still live in fear of violence by the state and from within their own communities”, says Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director. “The conflict has badly damaged the social fabric and has left women and girls vulnerable at multiple levels. A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed”.
Thirty years of civil war between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has resulted in tens of thousands of female-headed households in the north and east. They struggle daily to cope with the detention or absence of family members, continuing displacement and desperate poverty.  Militarisation and the government’s refusal to devolve power or restore local civilian administration in those areas have directly contributed to complex societal distress, which comes on the heels of the collapse of the preceding repressive regime run by the LTTE.
The consequences for women and girls have been severe. There have been alarming incidents of gender-based violence, and many women have been forced into prostitution or coercive sexual relationships. Fear of abuse and the reassertion of patriarchal norms within the Tamil community have further restricted women’s movement and impinged on education and employment opportunities. The fact that women must rely on the military for everyday needs not only puts them at greater risk of gender-based violence, but also prevents them from building capacity within communities.
The current situation comes in the wake of serious accusations of sexual violence by the military against Tamil women at the end of the war and in the months thereafter. The long-awaited report of the government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), delivered to the president on 20 November 2011 and released to the public on 16 December, largely ignores the issue of sexual violence except to recommend yet another “independent investigation” into video footage that shows what appears to be Sinhalese soldiers making sexual comments while handling the dead, naked bodies of female suspected LTTE – footage that government officials repeatedly have said was “faked”.
“The LLRC’s report acknowledges important grievances and makes a number of sensible recommendations, but ultimately fails to question the government’s version of events with any rigour”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “The crisis of security for women in the north and east warrants a serious financial and political commitment by the government and its international partners, as well as renewed efforts to ensure transparency and accountability, especially around the issue of sexual violence. Without such efforts, the government risks feeding Tamil fears of such violence and the exploitation of those fears by some diaspora activists, both of which could increase the risk of a return to violence”.
FULL REPORT

Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war.

Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, warns that the heavily militarised and centralised control of those areas – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – creates serious problems for women’s safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance. They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. The Sri Lankan government has mostly dismissed women’s security issues and exacerbated fears, while the international community has failed to appreciate and respond effectively to the challenges they face.

“More than two years after the end of the war, many women still live in fear of violence by the state and from within their own communities”, says Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst and Sri Lanka Project Director. “The conflict has badly damaged the social fabric and has left women and girls vulnerable at multiple levels. A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed”.

Thirty years of civil war between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has resulted in tens of thousands of female-headed households in the north and east. They struggle daily to cope with the detention or absence of family members, continuing displacement and desperate poverty.  Militarisation and the government’s refusal to devolve power or restore local civilian administration in those areas have directly contributed to complex societal distress, which comes on the heels of the collapse of the preceding repressive regime run by the LTTE.

The consequences for women and girls have been severe. There have been alarming incidents of gender-based violence, and many women have been forced into prostitution or coercive sexual relationships. Fear of abuse and the reassertion of patriarchal norms within the Tamil community have further restricted women’s movement and impinged on education and employment opportunities. The fact that women must rely on the military for everyday needs not only puts them at greater risk of gender-based violence, but also prevents them from building capacity within communities.

The current situation comes in the wake of serious accusations of sexual violence by the military against Tamil women at the end of the war and in the months thereafter. The long-awaited report of the government’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), delivered to the president on 20 November 2011 and released to the public on 16 December, largely ignores the issue of sexual violence except to recommend yet another “independent investigation” into video footage that shows what appears to be Sinhalese soldiers making sexual comments while handling the dead, naked bodies of female suspected LTTE – footage that government officials repeatedly have said was “faked”.

“The LLRC’s report acknowledges important grievances and makes a number of sensible recommendations, but ultimately fails to question the government’s version of events with any rigour”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “The crisis of security for women in the north and east warrants a serious financial and political commitment by the government and its international partners, as well as renewed efforts to ensure transparency and accountability, especially around the issue of sexual violence. Without such efforts, the government risks feeding Tamil fears of such violence and the exploitation of those fears by some diaspora activists, both of which could increase the risk of a return to violence”.

FULL REPORT

13 Dec

Nepal’s Peace Process: The Endgame Nears

Kathmandu/Brussels  |   13 Dec 2011

With the future of the Maoist combatants finally settled, Nepal’s peace process has gained momentum after a long stalemate, but challenges remain, particularly the design of a new federal state and evolving coalition and factional dynamics of the parties.

Nepal’s Peace Process: The Endgame Nears , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the new alliances and compulsions that enabled the 1 November agreement which restarted the stalled peace process. The Maoist combatants have finally been surveyed to see how many want to enter the Nepal Army and how many want civilian life. Further negotiations will have to take place on ranks and standards for entry into the army. Combatants with disabilities and women who do not qualify for the army will also push for more appropriate retirement packages. Not all combatants are happy with the Maoist leadership. These issues need thoughtful solutions, but are unlikely to result in another prolonged stalemate.

The parties now have to deliver on their major promise of restructuring the state to acknowledge different identities and become more representative and decentralised. The Constituent Assembly (CA), which was renewed for six months until the end of May 2012, will have to balance maximalist demands from both pro- and anti-federalism constituencies. Beyond the capital, identity-based groups have been mobilising for some time. As the future landscape becomes clearer, resistance could also come from traditionally powerful constituencies that are outside the CA and see the proposed changes as a zero-sum game. Kathmandu’s political class will have to ensure the buy-in of these diverse groups, as elite-driven, top-down decisions are unlikely to go down well.

“Although complex negotiations lie ahead, this is still the best chance the parties have had in the peace process to institute some fundamental changes”,  says Anagha Neelakantan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Nepal. “Federalism goes to the heart of ordinary Nepalis’ expectations and anxieties, and as discussions proceed, groups within and outside the Constituent Assembly will see their options narrow. Political leaders and civil society of all hues will have to resist the urge to sharpen the social polarisation as a way of influencing the debate or gaining points.”

The other major challenge is power-sharing, the most tangible dividend political actors expect from the peace process. The Maoists are ruling in coalition with the Samykuta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of five Madhes-based parties, while the second and third largest parties, the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), are in opposition. All parties will have to work toward a government of national unity to adopt the constitution. Traditionally conservative parliamentary parties are also re-organising and could play a greater role.

The parties have been slow to meet other major peace process commitments beyond federalism. The disappearance and truth and reconciliation commissions must be formed urgently, before ad hoc decisions on war-era abuses become the norm. The promised land reform commission is not being discussed widely. The commitment to democratise the Nepal Army appears to have been dropped entirely.

“Despite naysayers and sceptics, the peace process is finally moving forward in substantial ways and remains relevant and essential”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Politicians must now be alert to the dangers of abandoning the promises they made to the Nepali people of a deep transformation of the state”.

FULL REPORT