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The Latest Research Produced by the Human Security Centre

Bringing Local Back In: a reassessment of peacebuilding strategies in the DRC

There has been an emerging tension between liberal top-down peacebuilding and the growing belief that grassroots bottom up solutions are required alongside wider national level approaches. Intervention and peacebuilding in Africa have largely been shaped by militaristic, externally led, top-down approaches. These approaches have had varying degrees of success, with local populations often feeling alienated from peacebuilders and their externally imposed, ill-fitting intervention strategies. These interventions have historically shown a disregard for cultural context and local processes that are key to building sustainable peace during and after conflict.

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Responding to terror-related kidnapping: a torn Western reaction

In the past month, two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and one British aid worker, David Haines, were beheaded by the Islamic State (IS), bringing to the public fore the question of kidnapping for ransom (KFR). Terror-related KFR is a worrying, growing and increasingly violent trend that raises a difficult dilemma to governments: should states, businesses and families comply with terrorist groups in order to save the lives of the kidnapped, or should these men be left behind in order to fight against terrorism? What remains certain is that the payment of ransom will continue to help financially and ideologically sustain terror groups.

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Mobilisation for elections in Ukraine: Risk-assessment in frames of the military conflict

On July 24th two parliamentary factions left the “European choice” coalition in the Ukrainian parliament.[1] This coalition was formed in February as a result of the Maidan protests. On August 25th, after a month of the coalition breakup, president Poroshenko exercised his constitutional right to dissolve parliament and call for elections, which are likely to be held on October 26th.

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Israel-Turkey relations: Another casualty of the Gaza war?

Turkey was once one of Israel’s strongest allies in the region, though that, of course, does not necessarily mean much. Since 2010, however, and the much discussed, usually misunderstood and widely condemned Israeli action on the Mavi Marmara which saw 9 Turkish citizens killed, Turkey and Israel have not had diplomatic relations, despite a well-publicised apology and other efforts made.[1] With the latest escalation in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, diplomatic relations seem as far away as they ever have been.

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United Wa State Army: Trouble in South Asia

It is disturbing to hear of news that the United Wa State Army, an ethnic militia and former separatist group operating in Myanmar, may have acquired some fairly sophisticated ballistic missile technology, like those used to shoot down flight MH-17. According to Burmese intelligence officials late last year, there was evidence of the UWSA constructing a “radar and missile base” in the region around Tanyang, in the Shan state, supported by a Chinese company. It is not clear what kind of missiles the base is meant to be housing, though they have been described as “long-distance”, a conclusion which is supported by the kind of infrastructure being constructed.

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Guest Article: The Changing Landscape of Civilian and Military Collaboration in Conflict Prevention

Civilian and military actors have operated together in hostile environments for many years, delivering crucial work to save the lives of those caught in crises. Historically, militaries, NGOs and political actors have most frequently worked closely together in the field of humanitarian crises, with activities usually coordinated to deliver aid and assistance by over-arching national or international organisations taking the lead in planning.

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