Decades of Political Instability, state fragility, mismanagement, and a series of armed conflicts have led the Central African Republic (CAR) to a state of widespread violence and poverty. This study provides a better understanding of the scope and magnitude of violence in CAR and its consequences, as well as a snapshot of what the citizens of CAR believe is the best way to restore peace. It also examines the issue of justice and accountability for the serious crimes that were committed. This report provides a detailed analysis of results on a wide range of topics related to the population’s priorities and needs, exposure to violence, security, community cohesion and engagement, access to information, conflict resolution, reintegration of former combatants, transitional justice, and reparations for victims.
This brief will explore the legal implications of Bassiouni v. Prime Minister. Arguments derived from occupation law are not within the scope of this brief because the brief assumes for the sake of argument that the decision was decidedly correctly in that regard. For more on the debate as to whether Gaza is occupied, please see HPCR’s September 2008 policy brief, “Occupation, armed conflict, and the legal aspects of the relationship between Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip: A resource for practitioners.” Similarly, the law pertaining to Israel’s actions taken during Operation Cast Lead will not be analyzed in this paper. This brief is designed to answer questions about the legal framework the Government of Israel(GoI) applies when assessing its humanitarian obligations to the Gaza Strip, and Operation Cast Lead has not generally altered that framework.
On 14 April 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented to President George W. Bush a Disengagement Plan designed, according to the Israeli prime minister, to improve the security of Israel and stabilize its political and economic situation. After the original disengagement plan was defeated in a Likud referendum in early May, the Israeli prime minister issued a revised version of his Disengagement Plan on 6 June 2004. The core component of this Plan is a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank, designed to allow a more effective deployment of Israeli military forces and reduce the friction with the Palestinian population. The proposed Plan is based on the assumptions that, in any future permanent status arrangement between Israel and its Palestinian counterpart, there are unlikely to be any Israeli towns and villages left in the Gaza Strip and that some areas of the West Bank are likely to be integrated with the state of Israel, including cities, towns, and villages inhabited by Israeli settlers as well as security areas, installations, and other places of special interest to Israel. The proposed disengagement raises a number of legal issues that will be reviewed in this policy brief.
"Rape in War: Motives of Militia in the DRC" is a special report commissioned by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on sexual and gender-based violence, which uniquely examines the experiences of armed combatants in this conflict. The report is a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with the Mai Mai militia in the DRC and looks at the experiences of armed combatants with the aim of revealing potential avenues for intervention.
A human security framework posits that individuals are the focus of strategies that protect the safety and integrity of people by proactively promoting children's well being, placing particular emphasis on prevention efforts and health promotion. This article applies this framework to a rights-based approach in order to examine the health and human rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS. The SAFE model describes sources of insecurity faced by children across four fundamental dimensions of child well-being and the survival strategies that children and families may employ in response. The SAFE model includes: Safety/protection; Access to health care and basic physiological needs; Family/connection to others; and Education/livelihoods. We argue that it is critical to examine the situation of children through an integrated lens that effectively looks at human security and children's rights through a holistic approach to treatment and care rather than artificially limiting our scope of work to survival-oriented interventions for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Interventions targeted narrowly at children, in isolation of their social and communal environment as outlined in the SAFE model, may in fact undermine protective resources in operation in families and communities and present additional threats to children's basic security. An integrated approach to the basic security and care of children has implications for the prospects of millions of children directly infected or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. The survival strategies that young people and their families engage in must be recognized as a roadmap for improving their protection and promoting healthy development. Although applied to children affected by HIV/AIDS in the present analysis, the SAFE model has implications for guiding the care and protection of children and families facing adversity due to an array of circumstances from armed conflict and displacement to situations of extreme poverty.
A prominent issue in contemporary international law and policy involves civilians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (“OPT”)1 who wish to seek reparation for damage allegedly sustained as a result of Israel’s activities vis-à-vis the OPT, whether in the course of belligerent occupation or armed conflict. This policy brief provides humanitarian practitioners with a basic understanding of the legal framework applicable to that issue. Given the sensitive nature of the topic it examines, this policy brief aims to equip readers with the conceptual tools necessary to understand the various arguments from different viewpoints. The main question to be addressed is whether in the above-outlined context a victim of a violation of international law has a right to compensation. This paper does not take any position as to whether Israel has, or has not, violated international law in any of the instances discussed. Nor does the paper address whether individual persons acting on behalf of the State of Israel may be held criminally liable for their acts. Also outside the scope of this paper is the situation of Israeli civilians having suffered damage as a result of the situation.
‘Now, The World Is Without Me', is an in-depth report commissioned by Oxfam America and carried out by HHI. The study analyzes data from female rape survivors who were treated in Panzi Hospital in South Kivu Province over a five-year period. The analysis revealed an alarming increase in civilian perpetrators of rape.
In this working paper, the authors seek to assess the "nature and scale of violence in Darfur in a way that is both directly useful in the design of peace support missions and policies, while also more broadly demonstrating the importance of rigorous data collection before and throughout these missions in order to arrive at evidence-based conclusions about the nature of violence and effectiveness of applied responses." The authors explore the challenges of constructing an evidence base for peace support operations and the limits to inferences that can be made about civilian protection in Darfur using existing data sources.
Published in the New England Journal of Medicine by the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights and the Harvard Medical School, this report co-authored by a number of HHI fellows covers the security situation of children in Haiti.
The idea of co-application of international humanitarian law and human rights law has drawn a tremendous amount of academic attention and a huge amount of innovation in international and domestic jurisprudence. Yet in the current headlong approach into convergence, rights and rights institutions may carry risks to the very goals many humanitarian-minded international lawyers seek to achieve. This article takes a bird’s-eye view of the debate and questions whether it is a good thing to insist on the extraterritorial applicability of human rights to armed conflict situations. In doing so, the article argues that parallel application is equally as bad for the Iraqi civilian as it is for the American soldier. As we pull back the layers of legalistic argumentation, the real role of rights discourse and the real function of human rights law on the battlefield seem much less thought-out than leading scholars suggest, and the implications for this new approach to international law seem much more problematic than the current debate on the issue presents.
On the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, HHI released this report, chronicling eleven months of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's disaster response and recovery efforts in Haiti. The report offers a brief overview of the establishment of the Disaster Recovery Center, the transition from complex disaster response to recovery phase operations, and the impact of HHI's medical and public health programming through outpatient medical clinic "Klinik Lespwa."
Public information and outreach have emerged as one of the fundamental activities of transitional justice mechanisms. Their objective is to raise public awareness, knowledge and participation among affected communities. Despite this increased focus, understanding of the role, impact and effectiveness of various outreach strategies remains limited, as is understanding of communities’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes about transitional justice mechanisms, including their expectations. The study discussed in this article was designed to evaluate International Criminal Court (ICC) outreach programs in the Central African Republic.
Circle of Health International (COHI) conducted this Women's Health Needs Assessment to identify the specific and immediate needs of women, and to provide evidence-based recommendations for short and long-term women's health programming in the Fond Parisien area. These recommendations are based on the results of surveys conducted with 64 women living in the American Refugee Committee (ARC) camp in Fond Parisien. This document highlights the present and future needs of the women living in this IDP camp, and provides specific recommendations to address the unique health needs of women within this population.
The purpose of this Working Paper Series on Crisis Mapping is to briefly analyze the current use, and changing role, of information communication technology (ICT) in conflict early warning, crisis mapping and humanitarian response. The authors demonstrate that ICTs have the potential to play an increasingly significant role in three critical ways by: facilitating the communication of information in conflict zones, improving the collection of salient quantitative and qualitative conflict data, and enhancing the visualization and analysis of patterns.
This report uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Results from this report show the sexual violence perpetrated by armed actors in the DRC has features that indicate rape is being used as a weapon of war. The violence in DRC embodies a new kind of war emerging in the 21st century - one that occurs in villages more than battlefields and affects more civilians than armed combatants.
This paper describes the current rates of urbanization and the developing health consequences framed as a humanitarian crisis. The authors go on to analyze the current state of knowledge and policy on urban health. They lay out the priorities for future research and work and the role for academics, governments and international agencies to prevent the impending deterioration in global health due to rapid urbanization.
In the context of increased scrutiny of humanitarian assistance over the past decade, issues around the accountability of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) - and the perceived lack thereof - have been discussed widely and frequently. This reflects the recognition of both the increased relevance of INGOs and of the underlying problems associated with their role. Donor agencies in particular have become increasingly concerned with the accountability of the operational agencies they fund, who in return have put in place elaborate evaluation processes and systems. What characterizes these approaches and how are they affecting the ways agencies operate and pursue their humanitarian missions? Were agencies successful in addressing accountability deficits and in correcting the respective incentives towards positive change in humanitarian action? When examining the prevailing practices of major humanitarian INGOs, this research identified not only a general absence of critical self-reflection and meaningful concern over achieved impact, but also a remarkable resistance of the same dilemmas that triggered the call for an ‘accountability revolution’ in the first place. Highlighting considerable weaknesses in the governance of these INGOs, this article confirms also a growing frustration among humanitarian professionals themselves that, while much is measured and evaluated, it is rarely the actual impact of their work. Instead it is apparent that evaluation as it mostly takes place today reflects primarily the needs of donors; is irrelevant for serious organizational learning and programming efforts; adds considerably to the burden of local staff and partners; and does little to shed light on the roles, influence and impact of INGOs as central actors in humanitarian action and protection.
The debates over the applicability and interpretation of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) are vital to unity of effort as well as clarity of rules in coalition operations. This paper has addressed the key sources of uncertainty underlying how LOAC is and should be applied in coalition operations, focusing first on understanding which legal frameworks apply in particular context of armed conflict. After addressing key current debates over the qualification of conflicts, the paper explores a number of contemporary contexts in which this question of applicability is most salient: intervention in failed state situations and transnational armed conflicts. The paper suggests that resolving this first uncertainty is critical to unity of effort in this increasingly common realm of operations. It then suggests that a number of ongoing questions in the arena of LOAC applicability and interpretation exist where conflicts may be bifurcated and in determining the end of armed conflict. The paper explores the common practice of imposing policy‐based LOAC requirements in coalition situations, and how such practices are relevant to detention policies, command responsibility in situations where multi‐national forces are acting in concert, debates over direct participation of civilians in armed conflict, and the involvement of civilian support personnel in contemporary conflicts.
Nowhere to Turn is a report documenting the scope and long-term impact of rape and other sexual violence experienced by women who fled attacks on their villages in Darfur and are now refugees in neighboring Chad. The report is based on a scientific study, conducted in partnership with Physicians for Human Rights, of women's accounts of rape and other crimes against humanity that they have experienced in Darfur, as well as rape and deprivations of basic needs in refugee camps in Chad.