July 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
Earlier this month, a report from the Global Policy Forum, a UN watchdog, released a report that stated the UN has increased their dependance on private security contractors (PSCs) by 73% between 2009 and 2010. The numbers are dramatic, if true: $44 million in 2009 to $76 million in 2010.
The Global Policy Forum‘s report, Dangerous Partnerships, states that this is a worrying trend due to the lack of impunity enjoyed by PSCs, as well as their repeated involvement in international scandals involving rendition, torture, and sex trafficking. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2012 § 5 Comments
The debate rages on. Drones – Immoral? Amoral? Moral?
Over the past month, numerous articles have come to light attempting to make sense of this new technology and what the ramifications are strategically, politically and morally. This round up looks at those articles in the mainstream media since July 1, that discuss the morality of drones.
But first – allow me to weigh in.
For me, I think this debate boils down to this central question:
Are lethal drone strikes a last resort, that is to say, have all feasible alternatives really been exhausted? « Read the rest of this entry »
July 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Crispin J. Burke and Peter J. Munson discussed an article today on how warfare and the private sector were not alike – it’s a discussion worth looking at more closely due to the growing entanglement of these two spheres. Burke pointed out a few articles, as well as writing one of his own, on the issue. The point that all three authors quoted below are making is that although the military can take cues from the private sector, there are key differences between the two – because they are not the same. Not to rag on the military, as the authors point out (and in my experience) a number of companies have gone overboard in an attempt to emulate the military. If this is forgotten, it’s likely to damage the company or institution in question. That, of course, can have some pretty dire consequences – especially when discussing the military.
So without further ado, I’ll leave it to these three, who have covered the ground very well. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 18, 2012 § Leave a Comment
July 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I think its safe to say that SMS has become a very viable source of information, particularly in countries that may not have a lot of internet access, but do have mobile penetration. News, banking, helpful information and religious messages are transmitted via SMS. However, this is can be an extremely high-cost method for receiving information, quickly depleting consumers’ pay as you go credit or unknowingly racking up charges. This shouldn’t deter the use of SMS and mobile interactions or be seen as a cause to curtail it necessarily. For a look at how mobiles are improving lives all over the place, have a look at this post - SMS for Violence Prevention: PeaceTXT International Launches in Kenya: « Read the rest of this entry »
July 12, 2012 § 2 Comments
Do not underestimate the power of community radio. In many places, it the only access to information people have.
In South Sudan, Internews has established several community radio stations. They, like many other media development organizations (for example Journalists for Human Rights) understand that a free, independent and strong media sector is a necessary factor to building a strong and stable state.
Internews’ report Light in the Darkness from May 2011 is an incredibly fascinating look at the power of community radio in Southern Sudan. The report may be over a year old, but it definitely provides a strong case for media development in the region, as well as the potential impact when there is investment in community radio. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
Human Rights Watch’s description of the Events of 2011 in the Democratic Republic of Congo: “The human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remained grave. All sides in the country’s ongoing armed conflicts continued to attack civilians and commit other serious human rights abuses.”
Now, half way through 2012, similar situations persist, particularly in the east of the country.
However, for the first time, a Congolese warlord was sentenced. Thomas Lubanga, found guilty in March of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them into combat during 2002-2003, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by the International Criminal Court today. It seems a little slack for someone found guilty of taking children as young as 11 into military training camps where they were subject to beatings, drugs and sexual slavery, but it is a step in trying place accountability with an individual. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Canada-based think tank, has released a paper cautioning that Haiti needs to reform their security sector and set strict guidelines for private security firms operating in the country, as the private security industry in Haiti is about to experience growth as security sector reform (SSR) takes place.
A few points from the article:
- “To ensure that the largest possible benefit accrues to Haitian society, active partnership through dialogue between the Haitian government, the private security industry and civil society is required (This type of dialogue was the original impetus for starting Attempting Denouement).
- Even as the HNP and MINUSTAH are finalizing a development plan that includes key provisions on private security, none of the PSC directors or APAS staff reported being consulted about the plan. « Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Water wars are occasionally an issue in mainstream media – and poised to become more of one. Mostly now, you hear about in the context of Yemen or over the Nile. Few people stop to think about or realize that water wars are fought between local communities in many areas, because clean fresh water is hard to come by in so many place. But the Guardian brings attention (they are nailing things the past few days, I can’t read enough of them) to the severe inequality of water usage in tourist-centric countries:
“While hotels may have the money and resources to ensure their guests enjoy several showers a day, swimming pools, a round of golf, and lush landscaped gardens, neighbouring households, small businesses and agricultural producers can regularly endure severe water scarcity,” says the report (by Tourism Concern, available here). « Read the rest of this entry »
July 8, 2012 § 3 Comments
The Guardian ran an article about a private company in the UK which is setting up 10 million GBP to support affordable low cost, private education for poor children in Africa and Asia, based on a successful low-cost private education school system in Ghana. I support private sector involvement in development, so was initially excited when I read this article – until I got to the string attached:
“Low-cost private education is an important, complementary element of education in developing countries and should be seen as an active partner, with governments looking to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education.”
To start asking for tuition fees in countries with little to no institutionalized public education – or a nacscent public education system that primarily serves a poor or newly middle class population – seems pretty counterintuitive. (Update: This is not to say that public schools who charge are in the right, this is merely to point to the fact that a large part of income being devoted to education restricts how many children can actually attend school – and private education will cost more) In fact, I could see it worsening things as the middle class slowly builds in these countries, and public education (vs the private schools) becomes something frequented only by the poorest of the poor, meaning low attendance, little funds and less chances of success. NGOs seems to agree: