» Archive for category: ‘Recommended reading

The United Nations and partners launched THE GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN APPEAL 2017, which is a consolidated petition to support people affected by disaster and conflict around the world. It is the largest appeal in the history of the UN to support vital humanitarian operations in some of the world’s worst crises. 

2f136901-bdd1-4979-a673-51f588a54be9In 2016, more people were reached and more money was committed than in any other year. Yet, a record US$22.2 billion is needed to help 92.8 million people in 33 countries.

Click here to find out more information. 


Cameroon’s army forces on patrol near Mabass (Getty)- independent.co.uk

Cameroon: Confronting Boko Haram is a new report by International Crisis Group that points out the pros and cons of the Cameroonian government’s military response to fight against Boko Haram. The  report states that while the military campain has been partialy successful in disrupting the  jihadist group, the structural problems that allowed this threat to arise have not been addressed. 

To consolidate gains and bring lasting peace to the Far North, the government must now shift to long-term socioeconomic development, countering religious radicalism and reinforcing public services.

The full report (in French) can be downloaded here

In Donal Trump as a Nixonian president,  an article originally posted at Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations,  on November 11, 2016, Willem Post asserts that while we should consider President Trump critically, depicting him in advance only as a “dangerous busines bully in the international arena is unnecessarily doom-ridden — for the moment.” The American people have spoken. As president, Trump will be judged according to his acts in office.   

UnknownAccording to Post, getting hard results seems to be what Trump cares about most. He foretel that we can expect Trump to pursue a foreign policy in the Nixonian tradition of power politics. Like President Nixon, the only president ever to resign from office, “Trump will be heavily dependent on his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. And on many others.”

Yet, writting for The Guardian,  , remind us that this situation is not normal and warn us about the  dangerous fantasy behind Trump’s normalisation.

Two good articles that are worth reading.  

In recent months, three African leaders have signalled their intention to leave the International Criminal Court as a way to express their dissatisfaction with the international judicial body, following complaints that ICC prosecutions focused excessively on the African continent. Early this week, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia is formally withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as well. 

Regarding the African countries departures, Dr. Aaron Matta, senior researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice  argues that “these countries are making noise” beacuse “the Court is doing its job”.  In his view,  “this wave of departures will certainly hurt the ICC”, but he dose not think that “all African countries will follow suit. Three or four countries leaving will not topple the Court.” Yet, with Russia joining South Africa, Burundi and Gambia in leaving the court this year, the Court may be facing a bigger problem. 


The International Criminal Court is Navigating Troubled Waters

Article by Dr. Aaron Matta, senior researcher at The Hague Institute fos Global Justice. Posted originally on 1 November 2016.  

Several days after South Africa notified the UN of its intentions to leave the International Criminal Court, Burundi has done the same, and the Gambia will soon follow. The three African countries are looking to withdraw from the Rome Statute out of protest against the ICC’s allegedly unfair focus on the African continent. In an interview with TV5 Monde, Dr. Aaron Matta stated this could be the start of more troubles for the ICC, if other countries such as Kenya might follow.

Dr. Matta posed that, in spite of the reasoning provided in public, South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia all have their own specific reasons for retreating from the ICC. South Africa has been criticized for failing to apprehend Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who is wanted for war crimes, while he was in the country. Burundi authorities might be investigated for serious violations of human rights. “By no longer being part of the ICC they can elude prosecution for genocide,” said Dr. Matta. “A smear campaign has started because these countries feel intimidated by the Court. Criticisms have intensified over the last three years. Persons who are subject to investigation, or those who could be, try to protect themselves.”

For more information on Russia leaving the ICC see Russia withdraws signature from international criminal court statute.


The Institute for Economics and Peace, a leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyze peace and to qualify its economic benefits, developed a conceptual framework, known as the Pillars of Peace, which are eight factors that provide a roadmap to overcome adversity and conflict, and to build lasting peace.

Graph 8The Positive Peace Report 2016 investigates these factors, why they are important, and how they work together to reduce levels of violence and improve resilience and peacefulness. The report asserts that peace is much more than the absence of violence:

It “introduces new thinking and evidence about Positive Peace. Positive Peace is defined as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. These same factors also lead to many other positive outcomes that support an optimum environment in which human potential can flourish. Without a better understanding of how societies operate, it will not be possible to solve humanity’s major challenges. Positive Peace combined with systems thinking provides a unique framework from which to better manage human affairs.”

The report offers a compilation of research on positive peace and resilience. You can download it here.


14344876_1204216509620704_6979543680110075351_nAfter more than 52 years of war, the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace agreement on September 26. This Sunday, 2 October, the people of Colombia must decide if they support it.

Facing a unique opportunity, Colombian youth is playing a very important role, Colombian youth is playing a very important role. This article by Lina María Jaramillo, originally posted by Transconflict on September 30, 2016, is an interesting reading about youth Colombians ‘Yes’ movement. 

The author notes that in Colombia “civil society groups, many of them led by young people, are keeping their distance from political parties and political leaders, activating their own movements and campaigns to promote peace and reconciliation. The young people involved in these movements realise that peacebuilding is their generation’s challenge. They accept that there is uncertainty and risk involved in accepting the peace agreements. But for them any peace is better than no peace, any uncertainty better than a future with guns, guerillas and war”.


Sí me la juego: I am in, Peace my Friend, Peace Youth, The Youth for Yes movement  “are a sample of the vibrant civil society that is growing around the plebiscite vote. Youth are celebrating the opportunity for peace, convincing others of how positively peace could transform Colombia and rallying people to go out and vote.”

 To learn more about these movements read the complete article please click here.

Italy’s Jihadists in Syria: The Case of Maria Giulia Sergio (“Lady Jihad”)
Article by Dr. Francesco Marone, posted originally at International Center for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) on 28 September 2016. 
“As is well-known, today the danger of so-called “foreign fighters” in Syria and Iraq has ranked high on the agenda. In this regard, Italy represents an interesting national case (…) There is relatively little public information on Italy’s jihadists in Syria and Iraq. However, the case of Maria Giulia Sergio, nicknamed “Lady Jihad” by Italian media, is well-known and deserves attention.”
By examining the case of Sergio, the author sheds light on some of the particularities concerning Italy’s jihadists, including the role of foreign recruitment networks and the prevalence of individual pathways of radicalisation.


“Territorial Peace and Land Grabbing in Colombia”

Article by Lyda Fernanda Forero and Danilo Urrea originally posted at The Transnational Institute (TNI) website on 30 September 2016.

According to the authors, the end of Colombia’s armed conflict will not mean real peace if the neoliberal status quo persists. The peoples of Colombia have real solutions to the country’s environmental and social problems. In their opinion, there are two antagonistic views of peace, justice and the future Colombia in the country: “pax neoliberal” led by the government, and Colombian people’s narrative of peace. Interesting article that should be read with caution. To read the complete article please click here


“The Santos administration has manufactured and popularized the idea that peace is equivalent to the subjugation of insurgent groups. It has tried to define peace as the result of the negotiations with the FARC guerrilla (…) Diametrically opposed to the government’s idea of peace, organised peoples are building a narrative of peace as equivalent to social and environmental justice. In this narrative, the abandonment of arms by the agents of the conflict is but one step in the process to build a country with dignity, and not the end point nor an indication that the process has been consolidated.”

This report by PAX provides a unique overview of the manner in which armed conflict and the arms trade reinforce each other in the Horn of Africa. It deals with the security situation and the arms trade between 2010 and 2015 in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.pax-report-horn-of-africa-armed-and-insecure-cover135

A large number of people in the Horn of Africa have grown up in the midst of armed conflict. The abundance of weapons in the region and the constant influx of new arms play a large role in these conflicts. 

The report suggests that in order to significantly reduce levels of armed violence, governments in the Horn of Africa must shift from a focus on ‘national security’ to prioritizing ‘human security’.

This is to “improve the wider security perception by ensuring basic socio-economic preconditions such as personal and food security, an accessible labour market, as well as education and health systems (…) With so many people in the region used to armed conflict and major violence, it is imperative that efforts be made to better control the trade of arms, thereby preventing lethal instruments from ending up in the hands of those violating human rights or involved in war crimes.”

summary of the report is available. See also the complete report Armed and insecure

“Mistakes, means and opportunities: How donors understand and influence legitimate and inclusive politics in Afghanistan” is a new publication by Clingendael Institute that contributes a case study of Afghanistan to the debate in development and aid delivery. 


Over the last years, the ‘politics’ of development have gained prominence in the development discourse.  This makes donors understanding of the domestic politics of the conflict-affected environments where they operate of paramount importance for the appropriateness and effectiveness of their development initiatives. Examining the case of Afghanistan, author Erwin van Veen concludes in his report that donors are a long way off from having the kind of political understanding of the country that is required for providing effective support.

The full text of the report can be downloaded here.

International Institute of Social Studies

Conflict and Peace Studies is a specialization within the Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Conflict and Peace Studies teaching team.

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