“We have a choice: do we want to be a repressive or supportive service? We recognize all people are equal before the law & must be treated as such & those most affected must lead solutions.” - Asst Commissioner of Amsterdam @Politie addressing police from around world #AIDS2018 On the last day of the 2018 International AIDS Conference held in Amsterdam, I was lucky to join 25 police and civil society leaders from several countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia on a visit and meeting with the Amsterdam police branch of the Dutch National Police. The meeting was held at the Amsterdam police headquarters. The focus was on what it means to embrace a public health approach to policing. Is this possible? What does it mean for police and society?
Marielle Franco Has Not Been Silenced
*Originally published by OSF Voices on March 20, 2018. On March 14, 2018, in the center of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, two gunmen in a car murdered Municipal Chamber Councilor Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Unlike most of the city’s political leaders, Marielle came from Rio’s favelas. And many of the favelas’ millions of marginalized …
Moving toward a closed society, not a safer society: our unspoken response to mass shootings in America
The claim that "nothing happens" after mass shootings in America is false. What happens, time and time again, is more securitization, militarization, and surveillance of the sites where the shootings took place: clubs, universities, elementary schools, and now hotels. Meanwhile, we fail to address the one common feature among all these incidents: access to and …
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Why Declaring ‘War’ on Mexican Drug Cartels Is a Bad Idea
A recent proposal for US Congress to “declare war” on Mexican cartels in order to curb the growing number of fatal opiate overdoses of Americans is incendiary and dangerous. Not only would it be ineffective in countering cartels or reducing fatal overdoses in the U.S.; it would lead to lead to the murders of thousands more Mexican civilians, not to mention endanger the lives of American soldiers.
US declaring “war” on Mexican cartels will increase violence & harm on both sides
U.S. Congress declaring war on Mexican drug cartels will only increase violence & harm to Mexican civilians & will not reduce overdoses in the U.S. Real, evidence-based solutions exist, this is not it. A response to Matt Mayer's dangerous proposal.
Livelihoods, human development and human security: Exploring conceptual differences, similarities and complementarities
This paper, originally published as a chapter in an edited volume, explores the meanings, similarities and divergences of the “human security” concept with other leading conceptual security frameworks for development practitioners, namely “livelihoods” and “human development”. Each serves as the guiding policy and analytical framework for a variety of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies. While they hold significant currency within debates, policies and practices of international development, they are less prominent within the peace and security fields, where the concept of human security is better known. Moreover, the meanings of the three concepts – and more precisely their relationships with one another – often remain poorly understood.
Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces: Lessons for Building Partner Capacity
Governments and societies have been contemplating the appropriateness of newly defined or previously secondary purposes for their armed forces, which extend beyond their core role of national defense. These include the assignment of a variety of external and internal military and civilian roles and tasks. Some of these are performed as a subsidiary activity in support of operations under civilian command. An examination of the internal roles of the armed forces in 15 Western democracies shows that armed forces assist in internal security provision mainly as a resource of last resort when efforts are required to respond to exceptional situations. This is the case primarily during and after natural and humanitarian catastrophes as well as other emergencies that exceed the response capacities of civilian and hybrid security institutions. Under the command and control of civilian agencies, the usually subsidiary operations of the armed forces are designed to enhance the capacity of civilian security providers in such situations. What does this mean for armed forces in the developing countries in their indigenous state-building processes? What are the implications for donor nations from the North in their efforts towards “building partner capacity?”
It Takes Two to Tango: Towards Integrated Development and Security Sector Reform (SSR) Assistance
*NOTE: This is an excerpt of Chapter 12 in the edited volume "Back to the Roots: Security Sector Reform and Development", edited by Albrecht Schnabel and Vanessa Farr and published by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) as their 2012 Yearly Book. This work was written with Albrecht Schnabel and …
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Mapping Evolving Internal Roles of the Armed Forces
It is widely assumed, at least from a Western perspective, that the armed forces provide national defence against external threats. In reality, within many consolidated Western democracies the armed forces are assuming an increasingly wide range of internal roles and tasks. These can include domestic security roles and the provision of humanitarian assistance in situations of natural or humanitarian catastrophe, often under the command and control of different civilian agencies. This SSR Paper seeks to make sense of this complex reality. Different internal roles of armed forces are analysed, drawing on the cases of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Through carefully examining evolving internal roles and identifying patterns and lessons from these experiences, this SSR Paper provides an important contribution to understanding the evolving nature of contemporary armed forces.
The Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform: Conceptualising a Complex Relationship
There is a clear need to better understand the relationship between two concepts at the heart of peacebuilding: the Rule of Law (RoL), and Security Sector Reform (SSR). If it is acknowledged in principle that they are interdependent, in practice enduring conceptual ambiguities and contradictions undermine latent synergies. As a consequence, international donor agencies are …
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