PSR: July 14, 2017

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July 8 – July 14
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This week in Peace & Security Publications

Mapping Global Practice: Healing Communitites, Transforming Society Mental Health, Psychosocial Support and Peacebuilding

Featured Report  

War and conflict weaken the social fabric that governs relationships and the capacity for recovery. In the aftermath, the causes of interpersonal conflict might still exist, and may even have worsened as a result of violence during the conflict. The ability of individuals and societies to cope with such extraordinarily painful experiences and with the developed distrust and fear is often impressive but also limited, and the breakdown of coping strategies is often…

This week at IPSI
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This week in Sub-Saharan Africa

CAMEROON: Suicide bombers kill 14, wounds 40

Cameroon - Suicide Bombers  

On Wednesday night, two female suicide bombers detonated their explosive devices in Waza, east Cameroon, killing a dozen civilians, and injuring 40 more. A local source reports that a third suicide bomber, who did not detonate her device, was killed by security forces. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the area, which borders Nigeria, is susceptible to attacks from the jihadist group Boko Haram. This latest attack prompted the city’s closing so that, no one can enter or exit. Comment: The Cameroonian army is committed to fighting Boko Haram, with mixed results. Last Friday, eight Cameroonian soldiers were buried after fighting Boko Haram. (CameroonPostlineJeune AfriqueReuters)


SOUTH AFRICA: Bird flu continues to spread

  South Africa - Bird

On Wednesday, the South African agriculture department Spokesperson, Bomizaki Molapo, reported two more commercial farms have been contaminated by bird flu (H5N8) in Mpumalanga and Guateng. The symptoms include red hocks, swelling around the eyes, lethargy and sudden death. Comment: In June, bird flu was detected on a broiler breeder farm in Free State, and on an egg-laying farm in Mpumalanga. The two newly infected farms mark the continued spread of the disease, despite strict quarantine measures having been enacted. Over 200,000 birds have been culled to contain the outbreak, which came from wild ducks migrating from Europe. South Africa ended the sale of live hens throughout the country. Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana had already banned imports from South Africa. The flu has not mutated to transmit to humans. (TheSouthAfrican, AllAfrica 1, 2, Reuters)


ZAMBIA: Zambia’s parliament approved 90-day state of emergency

On Tuesday, Zambia’s parliament approved a 90-day state of emergency invoked by President Edgar Lungu last week, following a string of arson attacks. The President believes that the opposition parties were responsible for the attacks. Only 85 out of 118 voted in favor of the state of emergency as 34 exempted themselves from the vote and 47 members of the opposition party, United Party for National Development (UPND), are currently suspended for boycotting the President’s address in March. Comment: The state of emergency allows law enforcement agencies to take “enhanced measures” to curb “rising cases of politically motivated fires and vandalism of vital electrical supplies.” During this period, police can also prohibit public meetings, close roads, impose curfews, and restrict movement, although, the latter is not being implemented at this time. Zambia has seen rising tensions since the arrest on treason charges of the president of the UNDP, Hakainde Hichilema, who narrowly lost to President Lungu last year. (IOL, AfricaNews, AllAfrica)

Researched/Written by Angelica Aimé Silfa

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This week in the Americas & Caribbean

CHILE/PERU: Historical Binational Cabinet is successful

Chile-Peru - Historical  

Last Friday through Sunday, Peruvian head of state Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet presided a formal gathering of cabinet ministers from both countries, the first of its kind in 200 years. In addition to their focus on foreign trade, security and defense, respect for human rights, condemnation of corruption, and sustainable development, they discussed their difficult past and made plans for future cooperation and integration between the two countries, particularly on the development of their border areas. The formal gathering ended with the signing of the 25-point Declaration of Lima. Comment: The Binational Cabinet has been described as historical due to the contentious past between the two countries. Stemming from the 19th Century War of the Pacific between Chile, Peru and Bolivia, most recent tensions involve the six-year dispute over their maritime border, which was settled by an International Court of Justice ruling in 2014. (El Comercio, El Diario Correo, EFE, Santiago Times)


ECUADOR: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights discusses indigenous displacements in Ecuador


Last Friday, in Lima, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) addressed the displacement of indigenous peoples in Ecuador due to the implementation of extractive industries in the region. It criticized the Ecuadorean government for its lack of consultation with indigenous groups before signing international agreements that may affect them.  Members of the human rights and indigenous rights groups that met with the IACHR define the situation as a “humanitarian crisis” that puts indigenous peoples  fundamental human rights at risk, and demand “a previous, free and informed consultation.” Ecuador claims that the requested territory does not correspond to ancestral lands. The IACHR criticized Ecuador for not participating in the two sessions to which it was summoned. Comment: These hearings are placed in the broader context of the 163rd Extraordinary session of the IACHR – a main branch of the Organization of American States – in Peru. It discussed various human rights issues in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, México, and Venezuela. The Ecuadorean hearing mentioned the displacements caused by the Sarayaku and San Carlos-Panantza cases, where territory was conceded to China’s Andes Petroleum and Explorcobres (ECSA).. San Carlos-Panantza saw the displacement of 200 natives from the community of Nankints, in the Morona Santiago province. (El Comercio, El Diario, La Republica, CIDH, CONAIE)


HAITI: Government to reform army after 20 years without military

  Haiti - Government

On Monday, Haiti’s Defense Ministry announced that, in order to “reconquer [their] national sovereignty,” soldiers will be recruited between July 17-21, for the creation of a new national army. It seeks to recruit 500 men and women between ages 18 and 25, to help deal with its border patrols and natural disasters. Critics, however, worry about its potential politicization and say that the Haitian National Police (HNP) of about 15,000 officers is sufficient. The UN had decided that HNP would be the strong backbone of the country. Comment: Haiti has not had an army since 1994, and its reestablishment has been the subject of a contentious debate since the UN’s announcement in April to withdraw its security forces from the country. After nearly 13 years of presence, the UN will maintain only a small police presence made of Brazilian troops in support of the local police. The Haitian army has a history of repression and helping a series of authoritarian presidents crack down on political dissent. It is estimated to have killed about 4,000 people during the military coup of 1991, which ousted the first democratically-elected president. (Loop Haiti, Haitian Defense Ministry, BBC News)

Researched/Written by Nastasia Stipo


This week in East Asia & Pacific

CHINA: People’s Liberation Army opens first overseas military base

China - People's  

On Tuesday, ships carrying military personnel departed from Zhenjiang in Guangdong province to set up China’s first overseas naval base in Djibouti. Beijing officially terms the naval base as a “logistics facility” designed to support humanitarian missions and protect security interests abroad. The government has not declared when the base will officially open for operations. Comment: According to a report by European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR), China’s increasing military expansion within Africa during the past few years is an explicit part of Beijing’s foreign policy.” The Djibouti naval base allows strategic access to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Djibouti also houses naval bases for Japan, France, and the U.S. (Xinhua, Reuters, CNN)


INDONESIA: Government bans extremist organizations


On Wednesday, the Indonesian government issued a decree that will allow the government to ban extremist organizations that violate Pancasila, Indonesia’s pluralist state ideology and the 1945 Constitution, without judicial process. The new order mainly targets the group  Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), whose members promote a global caliphate governed by Sharia law. Human rights groups fear the decree will be used to disband any groups found in opposition to the government. Comment: An existing 2013 law banning extremist organizations required the government to give organizations three warnings before dissolving the organization through the legal system, a lengthy process that could last up to four years. The new decree is meant to speed up the process, and possibly to limit hardline Islamist groups who were successful in mobilizing against Christian politician and presidential ally, Basuki Purnama, earlier last year. (Sydney Morning Herald, The New York Times, Straits Times)


MYANMAR: Farmers enter week-long protest over property disputes

  Myanmar - Farmers

On Wednesday, hundreds of farmers in Myanmar’s central Mandalay region protested the illegal seizure of land and an increase in lawsuits over property disputes. The farmers have been protesting for seven days, demanding government leaders to release imprisoned farmers, drop related charges, and return confiscated land to original owners. Currently, 500 villagers in the Mandalay region face criminal charges regarding illegal land seizure. Comment: During the junta government rule in the 1990’s and 2000’s the military was frequently accused of forcibly confiscating land, displacing thousands of villagers and farmers. During the first free elections in 2015, current State Counsellor Suu Kyi won on promises to provide land ownership reform; however, according to farmers and villagers, little has been done to address grievances related to land-grabbing. (Channel News Asia, Myanmar Times, Straits Times)

Researched/Written by Laura Bisbee


This week in Europe & Central Asia

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Identities of 27 victims of alleged extrajudicial executions in Chechnya published


On Sunday, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published the names of more than two dozen people allegedly executed in January by Chechen security forces who were unlawfully detained in December. On Monday, Amnesty International called on Russian and Chechen authorities to investigate the alleged executions. Russian Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the Kremlin has “taken note” of the reports, and of Chechen officials’ denial of such allegations. Comment: In April, Novaya Gazeta reported that upwards of 200 men were arrested and tortured on the basis of their perceived homosexual orientation, but Russian and Chechen authorities declined to investigate the report. Chechen officials have claimed that homosexuals do not exist in Chechnya, and that the raids in December were anti-terror raids; international LGBT and human rights groups are calling these raids an ongoing anti-gay purge. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the U.S. State Department are among those condemning these raids and calling for proper investigations. (Novaya Gazeta 1, 2, The Moscow Times, Blade, RFE/RL, Amnesty)


UNITED KINGDOM: Annual Northern Ireland parade remained peaceful despite history of sectarian violence and current political tension

UK - Annual  

On Wednesday, Northern Ireland’s annual parade commemorating the 1690 Protestant victory of King William of Orange over Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne proceeded through Belfast peacefully— despite a history of inciting violence between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists. This year’s parade, organized by the Protestant Orange Order, is considered the biggest and most peaceful parade in a generation, though it came just six months after a power-sharing coalition between unionists and nationalists collapsed in January. Comment: Even with a few sectarian incidents on Tuesday night’s Eleventh Night bonfires, tensions had eased by the time of the parade on the twelfth. The lack of sectarian violence is significant in respect to the rising political tensions between pro-British loyalists and Irish nationalists, particularly over the issue of Brexit. (Irish News, The Guardian, BBC, Reuters)


SLOVENIA/CROATIA: Leaders reconvene to discuss border dispute

  Slovenia-Croatia - Leaders

On Wednesday, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar met in Ljubljana. This meeting is their first since The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled last month in Slovenia’s favor over disputed access to the international waters of the Adriatic Sea. Though the court’s ruling is final and binding, Plenkovic refuses to acknowledge its validity after having withdrawn from the arbitration process in 2015 – claiming Slovenia violated tribunal rules. Cerar said that Slovenia will likely implore the European Commission to assist in implementing an international ruling on the border dispute. Comment: The issue dates back to the independence of Slovenia and Croatia in 1991 and their disputes over land and sea borders. Despite disagreeing over immediate next steps, both prime ministers have agreed that dialogues between the two countries will continue. (Total Croatia News, ABC, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Natalie A. Landau


This week in the Middle East & North Africa

IRAQ: Days after declaring victory, Iraqi forces strike self-proclaimed Islamic State in Mosul


On Wednesday, more than 36 hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced victory over the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), the Iraqi forces clashed with IS jihadists still holding out in Mosul’s old city. Iraqi forces exchanged gunfire with the militants before midnight and throughout the day. An Iraqi official said that the clashes were “clearing operations.” Comment: Civilian activity has quickly returned to much of Mosul and work is underway to repair damaged homes and infrastructure, The United Nations estimates reconstruction will initially cost more than USD one billion. (LBC, Al Arabiya, Reuters)


PALESTINE: Israeli Defense Force Kills two Palestinians in raid on Jenin camp

Palestine - Israeli  

On Wednesday, before dawn, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) killed two Palestinians and shot a third one in the leg during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West bank in this wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015. The IDF said that soldiers opened fire toward “attackers.” An IDF spokeswoman said none of their forces were wounded in the raid on the camp. According to Reuters, the camp residents did not mention any Palestinian gunfire in their accounts of the raid. Comment: Twenty-one Palestinians across the West Bank were arrested by the IDF during recent early-morning raids, mostly for rock-throwing and taking part in protests. A wave of unrest broke out in October 2015 and has claimed the lives of 277 Palestinians, 42 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP news agency toll. (Asharq Al-Awsat, Gulf News, Daily Mail, Al Hurra, Reuters)


QATAR: Rex Tillerson meets Gulf officials to mediate Saudi-led quartet bloc on Qatar

  Qatar - Rex

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended talks with foreign ministers of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in Jeddah after meeting the Saudi king to discuss the Qatar crisis. The talks concluded without breakthrough. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Tillerson visited Doha and signed a memo of understanding between the U.S. and Qatar on terrorism financing that had been suggested by U.S. President Donald Trump. The Saudi-led bloc issued a joint statement on the same day appreciating U.S. efforts to fight terrorism, but also stating that signing the memo was “insufficient” and Qatar’s government “cannot be trusted.” Comment: The Qatar crisis started last month when the quartet cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and asked for a 13-demand-list to end the blockade. The demands include curbing Qatar’s relations with Iran, closing the Doha-based Al Jazeera TV channel, shutting a Turkish military base in Qatar, and handing over all designated “terrorists” on its territory. All of the countries involved in the crisis; Qatar and the blockade quartet, are U.S. allies. (Al Hayat, Aljazeera, BBC, Reuters)

Researched/Written by Atika Alkhallouf


This week in South Asia

INDIA: Seven Amarnath Yatris killed by gunmen, 14 wounded

India - Seven  

On Monday, gunmen opened fire on a tourist bus in Batingu, Jammu and Kashmir, killing seven and wounding 14. The passengers were Hindu pilgrims from Gujarat, returning from the Amaranth caves as part of the pilgrimage of “shravan,” dedicated to the Lord Shiva. According to the police statement, the gunmen first attacked a police vehicle with the police returning fire. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Prime Minister Modi, along with three prominent Kashmiri leaders, have condemned the attack. Comment: Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims journey to the caves every year, and this pilgrimage has been targeted in the past. The tourist bus had not registered with the shrine board and was traveling after the hours when security was present to protect it. (Dawn, Times of India, Al Jazeera)


PAKISTAN: Prime Minister refuses to step down despite opposition pressure

  Pakistan - PM

On Thursday, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dismissed the demands to step down from office after the release of the report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on Tuesday, which reported that his family wealth and assets are beyond his income, suggesting his misuse of public funds. The federal cabinet supported his decision to remain in office; pressure increased after the PM’s daughter submitted certified papers using Microsoft’s Calibri font for a 2006 document when the font was released to the public in 2007 – implying the report was more recently written. Comment: This brings a year-long Supreme Court corruption case of Nawaz Sharif to a peak. The Sharif family consistently denounced the JIT report as “trash.” The court will make a decision next week on how to move forward after the new developments. (Express Tribune 1, 2, Dawn, Al Jazeera)


REGIONAL: #PropertyforHer Campaign launched


On Friday, the #PropertyforHer Campaign launched to encourage both men and women to stand up for equal property inheritance laws. The campaign aims to spark a change in attitude toward economic independence. It uses slogans such as “Beti dil mein, beti will mein” (The daughter is in the heart and the will). The legislation exists in the region but has not been properly implemented due to customary tradition for women to give up her claim to their familial male counterparts. Several cases of violence against women have been related to property. Comment: Throughout India, women only own 13 percent of farmland, despite Muslim law entitling women to half of men’s share of property. This campaign intends to promote equality and mutual respect to both men and women in a family. (The News Minute, Thomas Reuters Foundation, Voice of America)

Researched/Written by Rabia Uddin