Peace processes

    Myanmar: Karen rebels urge nonviolent solution to Rakhine crisis on ceasefire anniversary
    18.10.17
    Sean Gleeson, Frontier

    One of Myanmar’s leading non-state armed groups has urged the government to find a “politically dignified and nonviolent” resolution to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, warning that failure to do so could jeopardise the government’s peace process. On Sunday, the second anniversary of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, the Karen National Union released a statement reaffirming its commitment to ending Myanmar’s decades-long history of civil conflict through political dialogue. However, it went on to criticise the northern Rakhine security crackdown that began in August, noting the...

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    Is judicial wrangling fuelling Kenya's election turmoil?
    18.10.17
    Aileen Kimutai, Nairobi

    Kenya's annulled presidential elections have thrown the country into the worst political crisis since the 2008 post-election violence which saw over 1,000 people killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. Tension is high as the scheduled October 26 re-run approaches. "Kenya has had a very tough year so far and the going looks as if it will get tougher," says Robert Shaw, a public policy and economic analyst in Nairobi. "The country is dangerously polarized and fatigued, which is a lethal cocktail. There is an increasing number of antagonistic and inflammatory comments by some leaders that...

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    “Embattled Burundi government using impoverished people as a rampart”
    04.10.17
    JusticeInfo.net

    In Burundi, repression has been directed at all democrats in the country since 2015, even if there has been some ethnic targeting, according to French sociologist and African Great Lakes specialist André Guichaoua. He says the core hardliners of embattled President Nkurunziza’s government are still trying to use the country’s “impoverished and pressurized population” as a rampart against perceived foreign threats. JusticeInfo spoke to André Guichaoua:   JusticeInfo: What is your assessment of the current human rights situation in Burundi? Is there still a risk of genocide as some observers...

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    Week in Review: When failure to tackle impunity hinders peace
    24.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    The exodus and massacre of Rohingyas, a mainly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar, marked the week in transitional justice. French President Emmanuel Macron said this was “genocide”, while the UN Secretary General called it ethnic cleansing. But according to Myanmar’s de facto leader, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. Everything indicates, however, that some 400,000 Rohingyas, i.e. nearly half of this community living in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine or Arakan, have fled their country pursued by the army, and that hundreds have been shot...

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    Colombia's FARC rebels need a leader
    12.09.17
    Fabio Andres Diaz

    Ever since Colombia signed its fragile, contested peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016, the big question has been: What will this no-longer-armed insurgency do next? On Aug. 28, the FARC made its official reply. In its first congress since disarmament, the Marxist guerrilla group unveiled Colombia’s newest political party: the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, or Commoners’ Alternative Revolutionary Force. “The new party will be built with many voices and diverse ideas,” announced Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the FARC’s top...

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    Week in Review: A victory for rule of law in Africa?
    03.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The highlight of  the week was undoubtedly Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya to invalidate the August 8 presidential election, a first in Africa. Kenya’s media hailed the decision which, as said by daily newspaper The Star, "will reverberate for years to come in Kenya and around the continent". This is all the more so since President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta has accepted the decision, even if he launched a sharp verbal attack on the Court.   Representatives of opposition parties in Africa have also hailed the decision, including in Zimbabwe, Guinea and Mali. “The decision of the...

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    Post-Charlottesville: Should we write off the past?
    22.08.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    The French revolutionaries dreamed of writing off the past. But it is not so easy to throw the legacy of time past into the dustbin of history when it directly affects the present and future. This is the drama that played out recently in Charlottesville.  Through the fate of General Lee’s statue, what was at stake in Charlottesville was not what happened in the War of Secession (1861-1865), but rather the way Americans see themselves at a crucial turning point. For the first time, Americans citizens are contemplating the fact that in two decades Whites will be in the minority in the US....

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    Tunisia adopts pioneering law on violence against women
    15.08.17
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunis

    On July 26, Tunisia’s parliament adopted a law to fight violence against women, becoming the first Arab country to do so. This was the culmination of a long struggle by feminists, lasting more than 20 years. MPs present in parliament that evening unanimously approved the new Organic Law on Elimination of Violence against Women. The law’s adoption stirred emotions among most women MPs (72 out of a total 217), who launched cries of joy in parliament. Tunisia thus becomes the first Arab country and the 19th in the world to adopt legislation on fighting violence against women.  The new law is...

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    “Risk of Central African Republic exploding has never been so high”
    10.08.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks of fighting between armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), as a UN official warned of possible genocide. In this interview Didier Niewiadowski, jurist and former advisor to the French embassy in Bangui, gives his view of the situation in that troubled country. He agrees with the UN that “the risk of a national explosion has never been so high”, but says he does not at this stage see early warning signs of genocide.  Do you agree with UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O'Brien that there are early warning...

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    Doubts and Division in Guinea, as President hints at third term
    02.08.17
    Aïssatou Barry in Conakry

    The possibility of a third term for President Alpha Condé is dividing Guinea. Condé himself has made same indications that he wants to run again, but has refused to make an official pronouncement. His supporters are not hiding the fact that they want to change the Constitution. The opposition, supported by some civil society, is preparing for battle and brandishing threats. “Let’s stop having a dogmatic view of whether one, two or three mandates is best,” Condé said during a visit to France in April. “It’s not up to external powers to decide, it depends on each country and the will of...

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    Constitutional row divides pre-election Mali
    19.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In Mali, the opposition and part of civil society are up in arms against a government plan to revise the Constitution. Opponents of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta accuse him of having concocted the new text to ensure he is re-elected in polls due next year. For the past month, the Malian opposition and authorities have been in a stand-off. Each side is baring its teeth. The cause is a proposed revision of the current Constitution, which has been in place since February 1992. The government of President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta (IBK) says the constitutional revision is part of implementing...

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    Thai smuggling crackdown leaves Myanmar's Rohingya in limbo
    19.07.17
    Hla-Hla HTAY,AFP

    Five years have passed since Hla Hla Sein was forced into a displacement camp in western Myanmar for Rohingya Muslims, where disease and deprivation are rife and armed guards patrol a barbed-wire perimeter.  But after a crackdown on the international smuggling routes that once offered a dangerous -- but viable -- escape route, she now sees no way out.  "We have no idea how many years we will have to live like this," the 40-year-old widow told AFP inside the tiny bamboo hut she shares with her son, tugging nervously at her purple headscarf.  "Our lives are worse than animals... we...

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    Tunisia plans amnesty for corrupt public employees
    18.07.17
    Olfa Belhassine, correspondent in Tunisia

    With many of its articles removed, Tunisia’s law on “economic reconciliation” looks likely to be adopted by parliament in the coming days. But the text is still imperfect and remains controversial.  Two years ago, on July 14, 2015, President Beji Caied Essebsi presented to the cabinet his proposed law on “Special measures concerning reconciliation in the the economic and financial field”. This Bill was submitted to parliament shortly afterwards, but has continued to raise protest, not only in parliament but also on the streets and amongst national and international organizations. One of the...

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    Week in Review: justice versus peace 
    17.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    As the world celebrates International Justice Day this July 17, the peace versus justice debate continues in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and many other countries. On the one hand is the legitimate desire for justice of victims, often scarred forever in their bodies and minds by the crimes inflicted on them. On the other hand  is the necessity for governments to rebuild torn and divided societies. JusticeInfo this week looked again at this ongoing dilemma. The most emblematic case in Africa is Uganda and the terrible Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),...

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    International Justice Day: From dreams to challenges
    14.07.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    In the 19th century international justice, which is being celebrated this July 17 (The Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted in Rome on July 17, 1998), was a utopian dream. But at the end of the 20th century it became a reality, first with the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and genocide in Rwanda, then with the launch in 2002 of the International Criminal Court. But this passage from dream to reality has been a shock, which we are only just starting to evaluate.   Societies’ thirst for justice cannot be extinguished. In Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and dozens of...

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    Film festival reflects state of Myanmar transition
    29.06.17
    Sing Lee, Frontier

    Myanmar's fifth Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was an insight into how far the country has progressed in its political transition, with some liberalizatation but a film on conflict in Rakhine state still banned.  Four years can seem a long time. In 2013, the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was launched amid an uncertain political transition. The term “human rights” had until very recently been taboo; the country’s prisons still housed scores, if not hundreds, of political inmates. For organisers and participants, the fifth incarnation of the...

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    Myanmar journalists face jail for meeting rebel group
    28.06.17
    Nyan Hlaing Lynn, Frontier

    NAY PYI TAW — Three journalists detained by Myanmar's military in northern Shan State have been transferred into police custody in Hsipaw and formally charged with Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act, Frontier has been told. Ko Lawi Weng of The Irrawaddy, also known as Thein Zaw, along with DVB reporters Ko Aye Naing and Ko Pyae Bone Aung, will appear before a judge in Hsipaw on July 11 after being arrested on suspicion of meeting members of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Namhsan Township, near the Chinese border. If convicted, the trio face a maximum sentence of three...

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    The challenge of forging a new army in Myanmar
    20.06.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    One of the greatest challenges of the peace process in Myanmar will be to decide what kind of national army ("Tatmadaw") will be most compatible with the people’s aspirations for a future democratic federal Union. During the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference that ended on May 29, delegates discussed 45 topics under four headings dealing with politics, the economy, the social sector and land and the environment. Agreement was reached on 37 topics and in an official statement, the six-day event was described as a success. Frankly speaking, the statement was not complete...

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    ICRC chief pleads for humanitarian access in Myanmar
    31.05.17
    Frontier Myanmar

    The International Committee of the Red Cross works to provide relief to people within conflict zones. During a recent visit to tour ICRC projects and meet Myanmar officials, committee president Peter Maurer sat down for an interview with Frontier’s Jared Downing and reporters from several other outlets. Your first visit to Myanmar was in 2013. What has been your biggest surprise, coming back this time? From a relatively small operation of the ICRC, [ICRC Myanmar] has become the second largest in Asia, among the top 20 operations of ICRC worldwide. It has now a US$34 million budget, more...

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    Mixed results at Myanmar peace conference
    31.05.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN & OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in Nay Pyi Taw last week ended with some signs of progress but also highlighted the huge challenges the country faces to finally achieve peace.It began with a good-cop, bad-cop routine: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s optimistic speech followed by a threat from the commander-in-chief towards armed groups rejecting the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. But the outcome of the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference was similarly mixed – there was disagreement over the right to “secede” from the Union, but also...

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