Fund for Peace Commentary

 

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Human Rights Training for Security Forces in the Extractive Industry

Published October 18, 2013 | By J. J. Messner
 
A comic book may not seem like an obvious method of training military forces on human rights, but that is exactly what the Fund for Peace (FFP) has used for training in Cameroon. FFP has developed a human rights training program, in partnership with oil and gas exploration and production company Kosmos Energy and Cameroon’s Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide (BIR). This training seeks to provide soldiers, or “combatants” as they are known in the Cameroonian elite forces, with a practical understanding of how to ensure that the safety, security, and human rights of the people they come into contact with is safeguarded. The participatory nature of the training – where the combatants took a significant role in crafting the program – and its focus on the practicalities of human security will help to ensure the program’s acceptance and long-term effectiveness.

Greater Site and Community Security through Partnerships

Published September 1, 2013 | By Krista Hendry
 
This paper examines issues related to ensuring greater site and community security through collaborative efforts, focusing on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). It provides background on the VPs for those less aware of the initiative. It then discusses company and non-governmental organizations developing partnerships, followed by a discussion on the need to include governments in the collaboration for long-term success. It closes with a discussion of how the VPs, as both a framework and an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration, can be a key risk management tool for mining companies.

Security Sector Reform and the Private Sector: Bringing New Voices and Skills into the VPs

Published August 23, 2013 | By Krista Hendry

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs) were developed to address the issue of oil, gas and mining companies’ association with human rights abuses in relation to the provision of security. This was – and continues to be – particularly true when these companies are operating in remote, less governed spaces or areas prone to conflict and human rights abuses. With the rise of “corporate social responsibility” (or simply, “CSR”) in the past decade since their creation, the VPs were easily picked up by CSR departments and have increasingly therefore been viewed by many as a CSR issue. This has led to the almost singular focus on the activities of the companies to reduce the likelihood of human rights abuses on or around their facilities.

Nervousness Surrounds Kenyan Elections

Published February 12, 2013 | By Nóra Loncsár *

On March 4, Kenyans will once again vote for their local and national leaders. The increase in violence in the last year has raised fears among some national and international observers of the potential for another bloody ballot. In early 2007, the world watched in horror at the events unfolding in Kenya following the presidential elections. More than 1,100 people were killed and 350,000 displaced as violence engulfed the country that many had viewed as an oasis of stability in a turbulent region.

Why Indonesia is Not a Failed State

Published August 3, 2012 | By Krista Hendry
 
We at The Fund for Peace have been very excited about the way the Failed States Index (FSI) is being publicly debated in Indonesia. Our main goal in creating the Index is to call attention to issues and challenges many countries are facing. It is not meant as a shaming tool against any government. Rather, it is a tool we hope government and civil society will use to perform more in-depth analyses of the issues we measure based on local knowledge. They can then better map priorities, measure progress on issues, and hopefully identify gaps where they can work in collaboration to strengthen the various social, economic, and political indicators we assess.

The Benefits of Doing Business with Burma

Published July 31, 2012 | By Krista Hendry

The recent move by the Obama Administration to suspend unilateral sanctions on Burma (Myanmar) led to a flurry of opinions. Many who oppose the move highlighted the specific request of Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for Western governments to not remove sanctions that prevented their companies from working with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). At the center of this argument is the notion that Western governments and private enterprise should hold back from diving in to the Burmese extractive sector until the country has adopted internationally accepted measures of transparency and accountability.

Now that We Have Your Attention

Published June 29, 2012 | By Krista Hendry and Nate Haken

The publication of the Failed States Index (FSI) each year leads to a flurry of discussion and debate in national media outlets and blogs all over the world. This year, its reception in Indonesia has caught our attention. At first, as frequently happens, the politicians disagreed with our findings and even publicly questioned our intentions and qualifications. But then they started actually debating the scores as did journalists and average citizens. The politicians spoke about the strong economy (which doesn't get as much weighting on our Index as many would like). Some in the public expressed frustration with corruption and with the distribution of public services. Others pointed out that over the years, there has been progress made on many of the indicators and called on the government to continue to make improvements.

How Myanmar Can Join the Ranks of Successful Nations

Published May 1, 2012 | By Raphaël Jaeger

The National League for Democracy’s landslide victory in the latest by-elections is a strong sign that Myanmar’s long-standing junta has finally outlived even its own perceptions of state health and functionality. Nevertheless, after decades of ruling the country with an iron fist and allowing state institutions to become barely functional rubble, it is hard not to question the future viability of the country and its institutions. Can Myanmar escape the trappings of a failed state and withstand the social, economic and political pressures it faces to avoid implosion?

Is Libya Dissolving?

Published March 30, 2012 | By Felipe Umaña

The Congress for the People of Cyrenaica, which was held in eastern Libya’s largest city, Benghazi, attracted international attention after the group demanded greater autonomy from the central government in Tripoli and a reversion to the federal Libya that existed in the 1950s. Cyrenaica — or Barqa, as it is referred to locally — stretches from the littoral town of Sirte (known famously as the birthplace of Muammar Gaddafi) to the eastern border with Egypt. The globally recognized representative of the Libyan people, the Tripoli-headquartered National Transitional Council (NTC), immediately rejected demands for greater self-government. Believing that more self-government may lead to the division of the Libyan state, the leader of the NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, promised to defend the unity of Libya by force, if necessary.

A Personal Perspective of Hopes for the Future Dashed in Afghanistan

Published August 4, 2011 | By Mustafa Babak

The recent move by the Obama Administration to suspend unilateral sanctions on Burma (Myanmar) led to a flurry of opinions. Many who oppose the move highlighted the specific request of Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for Western governments to not remove sanctions that prevented their companies from working with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). At the center of this argument is the notion that Western governments and private enterprise should hold back from diving in to the Burmese extractive sector until the country has adopted internationally accepted measures of transparency and accountability.

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