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  • Book Review: Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice

    18 February 2014

    During the last two decades, transitional justice has effected its own, very impressive transition; from the outer peripheries of academic analysis to the substantial occupation of undergraduate and postgraduate curricula worldwide. However, while yards of books address issues of central and tangential relevance to transitional justice, there has remained a noticeable gap in the market for a current political introduction. Transitional Justice in the Twenty-First Century nicely fits this space, showcasing a collection of contemporary case studies that reflect recent developments in the political and conceptual bases of transitional justice.

  • Book Review: Transnational & Comparative Criminology

    18 February 2014

    As is argued elsewhere in the reviews for this issue, criminology has been somewhat complacent in the acceptance of a framework for comparative analysis that is all too often restricted to the British Isles, European Union, or - for the adventurous - North America and Canada. In Transnational and Comparative Criminology, James Sheptycki and Ali Wardak present a convincing case for a less parochial perspective.

  • Truth Commissions and NGOs: The Essential Relationship

    18 February 2014

    This paper aims to address the question, "What advice would you give to colleague NGOs in countries where the momentum for the establishment of a truth commission is already strong?" It is intended to provide basic guidance to NGOs that are likely to engage with formal, official truth commissions established by the state during times of political transition. It is organized chronologically into three sections: before, during, and after the operation of a truth commission.

  • Book Review: New writing on Rwanda

    18 February 2014

    Will Jones reviews two books on Rwanda for St Antony's International Review: ''The Gacaca Courts, Post-Genocide Justice, and Reconciliation in Rwanda', by Phil Clark, and 'Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence', by Scott Strauss and Lars Waldorf (eds).

  • What I did on my holidays, or: the use of debating in Rwandan civic education

    18 February 2014

    In July 2009, 30 university students (15 from 5 Rwandan universities and 15 from the University of Melbourne, Australia) met for a human rights workshop in Kigali. None of the Rwandan participants were aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Rwanda is a signatory, and only a few had vague ideas about the existence and the provisions of Rwanda’s 2003 Constitution and the specific laws and policies that were enacted to address human rights in the country. Rwandan youth participants in similar workshops organized in 2006, 2007, and 2008 also lacked a basic understanding of human rights. It should be stressed that Rwandans of this age that are able to go to university and participate in English-speaking events will be some of the most privileged in this country, and as those attending such events will have self-selected, it is not unreasonable to assume that these were some of the most politicised (and, one would think, politically aware) young Rwandans in the country. If a democracy is only as robust as its citizens, Rwanda is in trouble. The purpose of this piece is to review the creation and promulgation of a debating programme which evolved in response to this sort of worrying finding. Debating is used in Rwanda as part of a broader programme of civic awareness and advocacy conducted by a Rwandan NGO, Never Again Rwanda (hereafter NAR) from March 2011. This work is based on fieldwork conducted by the author (shown in fig. 1) in Rwanda in spring of 2010 (when the programme was devised) and spring 2011 (when I was fortunate enough to be present for the inaugural Rwandan Schools’ Debating Championships).

  • The least provocative path: an ANT lens on development project formation and dissolution

    19 February 2014

    This paper uses Actor‐Network Theory to examine the success and failure of development projects. Rejecting the common view that projects succeed on the basis of their superior objectives, planning and implementation, the paper proposes an alternative perspective drawn from Actor‐Network Theory: that success or failure is a product of the alliances that are mobilised, rather than the inherent qualities that are possessed. This argument is illustrated with reference to a 1970s development project, which involved the extraction of protein from plant leaves in order to provide a nutritional supplement for diets in Nigeria. By drawing on archival sources, the paper reconstructs the main actors involved in the project, analyses what caused them to become involved, and then turns attention to how these alliances fell apart. This paper is the third in the Actor-Network Theory for Development working paper series, published by the Centre for Development Informatics at the University of Manchester.

  • Refugees’ Diasporic Memories and the Politics of Democratisation

    24 February 2014

    This report analyses the main themes arising from the presentations and discussions at the ‘Refugees’ Diasporic Memories and the Politics of Democratisation’ workshop organised by the International Migration Institute and Refugee Studies Centre on 18 February 2011.

  • Humanitarian Action in Somalia: Expanding Humanitarian Space

    24 February 2014

    In line with the overarching objectives of the Refugee Studies Centre, this workshop aimed to bring together representatives from the communities of ‘Research, Policy and Practice’ for a constructive dialogue on the subject of humanitarian space in Somalia. The participants at the workshop reflected this and included academics with a wide range of specialities, policy advisors and representatives of donor governments, as well as staff from several humanitarian agencies. The workshop also included a number of representatives from the Somali diaspora community, Somali money transfer organisations and Islamic NGO’s working in Somalia, thereby enabling an important exchange of ideas from a wide range of perspectives. The specific aim of the workshop was to map out the main challenges facing humanitarian actors in Somalia, to examine the methods that such actors are using to address humanitarian needs in the country, and to consider how the humanitarian community might better expand humanitarian space through innovative approaches to both policy and practice. This workshop report follows the format of the workshop, providing a brief overview of the main challenges faced by humanitarian agencies and of the innovative methods used by these agencies to provide humanitarian relief in Somalia. The report then provides an overview of the role played by Islamic charities and the Somali diaspora, as well as the media, before finally presenting the main outcomes of the workshop and proposing possible ways forward.

  • Protecting People in Conflict and Crisis: Responding to the Challenges of a Changing World

    24 February 2014

    Ten years ago the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) defined humanitarian protection as including “all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. human rights, humanitarian and refugee law).” Since then humanitarian protection has received growing attention within the humanitarian sector, becoming not one of the central aims of the international community but also one of its greatest challenges. This conference, which was hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) in collaboration with the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and with generous support from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, convened over 180 participants from more than 40 countries to discuss the current state of humanitarian protection research, policy and practice, with a view to developing new ideas for the protection of people in conflict and crisis in the 21st century. The conference revolved around six thematic tracks: concepts of protection; the politics of protection; populations at risk; protection, security and the military; national and regional responsibilities to protect; protection in practice. Eighty-four papers were presented and it is impossible to represent the depth, richness and complexity of the debates that took place. With that in mind however, a number of key themes emerged strongly, particularly around the challenges faced by humanitarian practitioners seeking to deliver ‘protection’ in a hostile world and the role which academics could play in addressing these challenges. The text below provides some reflections of those themes.