The overall goal of the project is to empower citizens to challenge actual and perceived threats to human security and personal safety experienced by vulnerable members of the community, especially women and girls in war-affected countries and communities of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The project focuses on the human security experienced by women and girls in the Mano River Union countries, taking into consideration the peace and harmony that has eluded these three countries for so long and offering an opportunity to promote dialogues and social interactions between and amongst the peoples of the remote border communities.
The nine target communities in which Alert works are located along the borders of the three countries, in areas where cross-border communities share linguistic and cultural groups. As one of the core elements of this project, community radio stations previously established by Alert, which are located in these border communities, have been fully engaged and serve as a tool for promulgating messages of hope, peace, respect for the rule of law and security and promoting regional integration, instead of hatred and disharmony, and changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviour with regards to sexual and gender-based violence, both in terms of challenging impunity and in counteracting the stigma and ridicule often experienced by survivors.
In addition to helping to change attitudes towards sexual violence, Alert facilitates access to the use of redress mechanisms by victims by strengthening capacities among community activists to advocate so they are able to act as ‘animators’, providing assistance, guidance and support. We also contribute to more strategic and effective policies by local, national, regional and international institutions by providing training to the police and state and traditional justice personnel as well as engaging in advocacy with regional and international intergovernmental bodies.
Participation and Obstruction: Justice and Security Sector Reform in Nepal
Rebecca Crozier and Zuleika Candan
Toolkot for Advocacy and Action,
Toolkit for Advocacy and Action,
Security Sector Reform,
The accessible and accountable provision of security and justice services is essential for long-term development and sustainable peace. People need to feel safe to go about their daily lives, trusting that security and justice providers are able and willing to do their jobs effectively and accountably. To date, the mandate and capacity of key service providers have often been constricted by political interference and a lack of oversight, and discussions regarding the reform of the security and justice sectors have taken place mostly in Kathmandu and behind closed doors.
In the absence of a strong and clear public voice demanding improvements to security and justice provision, and an understanding of how the provision of these vital services needs to change in order to respond to the diverse needs of the Nepali population, it is unlikely that any future reforms will result in a significant improvement in the lives of the majority.
This project aims to address this risk by supporting civil society to inform and monitor the development of inclusive justice and security sector reform policy and practice at the local, regional and national levels. It will do this by:
1. Building civil society knowledge, awareness and capacity to generate and participate in JSSR policy discussions at the local, regional and national levels;
2. Supporting the development of civil society advocacy networks to promote inclusion of public concerns in local and national JSSR policy development and practice;
3. Linking civil society to JSSR service providers and decision-makers in order to ensure that national-level policy debates on JSSR are informed by and reflect local-level realities and concerns.
Banke, Jumla, Kailali, Kathmandu, Nawalparasi, Siraha and Sunsari
Antenna Foundation, Equal Access, Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), IHRICON, NGO Federation, Saferworld.
Donor: Government of Denmark
Sadhana Ghimire Bhetuwal, Senior Programme Officer – Security & Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org
The effective provision of security and justice is one of the main requirements for a peaceful society and sustained social and economic development. This is particularly important in post-settlement or post-conflict countries, where sources of insecurity may be exacerbated by the actual and anticipated return of ex-combatants, refugees and internally displaced persons to areas of minimal or degraded state presence. Depending on their training, pay, motivation and professionalism, security forces may be part of the solution or part of the problem.
International Alert recently conducted research into perceptions of security and access to justice among stakeholders in three districts of Lofa County in northwest Liberia, as part of its EC-funded Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP) project. The eruption of communal violence in Voinjama while Alert’s team was visiting the county seat provided a stark reminder of the fragility of peace in Liberia and the challenges of security provision in a remote and sensitive region.
Equitable economic recovery is a key requirement for consolidating peace in Nepal, where the economic exclusion of various groups, ownership of productive resources by a small elite, and decades of failed development have fed both poverty and multiple conflicts. Public expectations of “peace dividends” remain high and are defined largely in terms of economic opportunity. The perceived failure of the peace process to meet these expectations thus far is fuelling increased frustration, particularly amongst young people.
International Alert, together with the Bangladesh Institute for Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) and the Regional Centre for Security Studies and the Peacebuilding and Development Institute in Sri Lanka, co-hosted an expert roundtable on the Security Implications of Climate Change in South Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 29th-30th March 2010.
We are pleased to share with you International Alert’s briefing on Public Security in Nepal and the final versions of our security and justice snapshot series. The work for these was carried out as part of the Initiative for Peacebuilding, a consortium led by Alert and funded by the European Commission.
Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP), a consortium supported by the European Union and led by International Alert, recently launched six synthesis papers which summarise lessons learnt, conclusions and recommendations drawn from evidence-based research conducted in the last year and a half by Alert and its partners.
International Alert was recently invited to speak at the GLOBECRAFT Conflict and Climate Change Symposium hosted by the Geneva School of Diplomacy on 7 – 9 September 2009. The symposium brought together experts from the security, climate change, development and humanitarian relief sectors to discuss the emerging security implications of climate change. Participants ranged from high-level climate scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, directors and advisors of relevant UN bodies and NGOs, to government ministers and CEOs of climate-related corporations.
International Alert recently organised and hosted a roundtable discussion in Brussels on “Socio-Economic Reintegration of Ex-combatants – What Role for the European Union?”. The roundtable brought together experts, practitioners and policymakers for a lively and productive discussion about the issues and problems that arise when working towards the socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants into post-conflict societies and communities.
In Liberia, the process of recovery from war includes encouraging both ex-combatants and former IDPs to return to their place of origin and resume their lives there. There are many difficulties, not least the reluctance of some excombatants to go and to stay, and the reluctance of some communities to accept them back.
When the Koshi River which flows through the Eastern Terai region of Nepal flooded in summer 2008, it displaced more than 60,000 people, damaged the national highway, and destroyed crops. Since then, major concerns have been voiced that the fragile embankment will break in more places, flooding an even greater area.
The severity of risk is closely linked to the poor maintenance of dams and river barriers. Responsibility thus ultimately lies with the government.