Chatham House: Syrian Rebels Are Pushing Back Against Their Patrons
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.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight (Central European Time) on 12 March 2017.
Central African Republic: Executions by rebel group. See also here for HRW report.
Humanity at the Heart of Compliance: Brian McQuinn and Jonathan Somer talk about challenges of working with non-State armed groups
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
In 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.