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News Roundup:20-27 February 2017

February 27, 2017

UNICEF: At least 65,000 children released from armed forces and groups over the last 10 years, UNICEF

A Deadly Peace in Colombia as FARC Disarms

Malian government says armed groups will return authorities to north

Building peace through video games in South Sudan

Russia-backed rebels issue ultimatum to Ukraine

Chatham House: Syrian Rebels Are Pushing Back Against Their Patrons

Turkish-backed rebels seize centre of al-Bab from ISIL fighters in Syria

‘Al-Qaeda is eating us’: Syrian rebels are losing out to extremists

Iraqi jets strike Islamic State in Syria for first time as troops advance in Mosul

Yemen’s Deputy Chief of Staff Killed by Rebel Houthi Attack

Rebels return soldiers’ bodies to Azerbaijan after row

10 Police Officers Killed in Ambush by Militants in Afghanistan

Senior Taliban leader killed in Kunduz air raid

3 soldiers and a woman killed in alleged rebel attack in Kashmir (India)

Thai army claims breakthrough pact with separatists in restive south

Myanmar’s Kachin armed groups want ‘terrorist’ label removed

Philippine militant group posts video claiming to show beheading of German hostage

Oslo Forum Peacewriter Prize

February 24, 2017

The Oslo Forum Peacewriter Prize, launched for the first time by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) this year, remains open for entries until midnight (Central European Time) on 12 March 2017.

The Prize is an essay competition seeking bold and innovative responses to today’s peacemaking challenges. Submissions should take the form of an analytical essay relevant to the practice of conflict mediation.

The opportunity:

  • Stake your credentials as an innovative thinker in the field by presenting your strategies, approaches or solutions to challenges in the practice of conflict mediation.
  • A unique chance for your cutting-edge thinking to be discussed by leading conflict mediators at the 2017 Oslo Forum (www.osloforum.org).
  • Influence a wider audience via online publication after the event.
  • 1,000 Swiss Francs in prize money for the winning essay.

The background:

Today’s conflict landscape is increasingly characterised by sectarian tensions, geopolitical upheaval and regional rivalries, giving rise to unconventional scenarios for peacemakers such as state collapse and the seizure and administration of territory by extremist groups. Since 2010, the numbers of armed conflicts, battle deaths, terror attacks and displaced people have been rising, and peacemakers must refine their tools to respond to changing demands.

This essay competition is aimed at those with a keen interest in finding innovative solutions to these peacemaking challenges. The winning entry will be published as part of the briefing material for participants at the Oslo Forum (www.osloforum.org) and will be profiled at the event itself. The Oslo Forum is the world’s leading network of conflict mediators. Past participants have included John F. Kerry, Federica Mogherini, Kofi Annan, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Juan Manuel Santos, Gerry Adams and Fatou Bensouda.

The criteria for entry:

  • Submissions should take the form of an essay or piece of analytical writing that is tailored to an audience of high-level mediation practitioners.
  • Successful essays will be practically-oriented with a clear idea of how practitioners can address specific mediation challenges (such as mediation in fragile states, mediation with fragmented parties, or managing the cross-border movement of combatants).
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submissions must be original and cannot have been published elsewhere.
  • Joint submissions are acceptable. The winning entry can be published pseudonymously upon request.
  • Maximum of 3000 words.
  • In addition to the above word count, submissions must be accompanied by:

(1) A short paragraph (of no more than 200 words) summarising the submission and explaining how it is an innovative contribution to the field;

(2) A biography (of no more than 100 words) of the entrant(s).

  • All sources must be cited and referenced in the respective part of the essay.
  • All entrants must be aged 18 or over.

Entries should be sent to osloforum@hdcentre.org by midnight (Central European Time) on 12 March 2017.

News Roundup – 13-20 February 2017

February 20, 2017

What happens when States no longer govern?

South Sudan army says it controls formerly rebel held territory. 

Who cares about the ICC’s trial of LRA fighter Dominic Ongwen?

Senior UN official appalled by airstrikes that kill women and children in Yemen. 

Swedish court hands out life sentence to Syrian armed group member for war crimes in the context of a ‘trial’. 

HRW: Sunni women tell of ISIS detention, torture in Iraq. 

Syrian government ready for prisoner swaps with rebels. 

New UN team aims to bring Syria war crimes to court. 

Fighting intensifies in Syria’s Deraa. 

Central African Republic: Executions by rebel group.  See also here for HRW report.

CAR rights groups welcome appointment of Special Crimes Court prosecutor. 

100,000 killed and 2 million displaced by Boko Haram insurgency. 

Colombia’s FARC rebels complete move to demobilisation zones. 

Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities to recognise documents issued in rebel held east Ukraine. 

Humanity at the Heart of Compliance: Brian McQuinn and Jonathan Somer talk about challenges of working with non-State armed groups

February 15, 2017

News Roundup-6th Feb – 13th Feb 2017

February 13, 2017
Fleeing Boko Haram insurgents set village ablaze in Yobe state
Philippines: Duterte makes turnaround on insurgent group’s terrorist reference
Colombia to begin peace talks with eln rebel group February 7
Many airstrikes today on rebel-controlled towns across Syria
South Sudanese army denies Egypt bombing rebel positions
Rebel killed in Mindoro
Philippine army arrests communist rebel leader after peace bid collapses
Civilians injured as clashes renew in western Tripoli’s Janzour district
Analysis: What Role Will China Play in Burma’s Peace Process?
Two Myanmar Ethnic Groups From Strife-torn Areas Not Allowed to Hold Advance Talks
Uncharacteristic Clashes Break Out Between Ta’ang and Shan Allied Armed Groups

News Roundup – 30th Jan – 6th Feb 2017

February 6, 2017

UN calls on parties to take urgent measures to halt civilian casualties, as numbers for 2016 reach record high.

Colombia’s ELN rebels release key hostage Odin Sanchez, while Last child soldiers from Colombia’s rebel ranks to be freed; but Brazil’s PCC is Recruiting FARC Dissidents, according to Colombia Defense Minister

Boko Haram cut off my hand, leg, says ex insurgent

MINUSCA and UNOCA call on UPC and FPRC led coalition for an immediate end to the fighting

Uganda rebel returns add to growing headache for Kabila and Congo, as

M23 rebels ‘kidnapped, tortured and killed’ DRC army helicopter crash survivors

Armed groups clashes in western Tripoli leave deaths and injuries

Ukraine conflict: Rebel commander killed in bomb blast and Civilians face ‘dire’ situation amid ongoing hostilities in eastern Ukraine, UN warns (as does the ICRC)

Turkey ‘detains hundreds’ in major anti-ISIL operation

Syrian rebels evacuated out of besieged Wadi Barada after government forces capture strategic water spring

Idlib’s rebel split: A crossroads for Syrian opposition

Yemen rebel ‘suicide boat’ attack kills Saudi sailors

UN lifts sanctions against Hezb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, following peace deal with the Afghan government

Philippine President Ends Cease-Fire With Communist Rebels

Philippine president Duterte warns rebels after peace talks collapse

Perspectives of Non-State Armed Groups in the CAR

January 30, 2017

pages-from-persepctives-of-non-state-armed-groups-in-the-central-african-republic-finalIn December 2016, Conciliation Resources brought out a new report on what motivates individuals to remain in armed groups in the Central African Republic. The report is based on the perspectives of 70 commanders and rank and file representatives from armed groups previously part of the Séléka coalition, Anti-balaka (local protection militias established in response to the Seleka coalition), and members of self-defence groups in predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods. The interviews proved (i) the motivations which persuaded individuals to stay with an armed group (ii) the factors which could persuade individuals to leave a group and abandon violence (iii) the role of the Government and the international community in resolving the violence and (iv) personal reflections on the situation in CAR.

The main findings of the report are as follows:-

1. A mutual need for security and fear of attack are the primary factors keeping individuals within Anti-balaka and ex-Séléka and self-defence groups.

2. For many, personal and pragmatic interests – including the personal desire for revenge – are stronger incentives to remain in a group than the ideology or collective ambition of the group

3. DDRR and reconciliation efforts led by the Government and the international community are cited by many as the route by which they will leave armed groups, but expectations of the processes vary and trust in them is low.

On the basis of these findings, the authors of the report find that there are significant challenges to implementing successful DDRR in the country. The report ends by recommending the utilisation of local peace cells in order to convene dialogue and reconciliation and prepare for the DDRR process. It recommends that careful consideration must be given to how the DDRR process is communicated to armed groups, in order to manage expectations and encourage people to engage in reconciliation and dialogue. It also recommends that local community groups work to prepare communities for the return of fighters, with specific provision given for female combatants.