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El Salvador’s gang truce: a lost opportunity?

The truce declared in 2012 may have been imperfect and controversial but positive lessons must be learned amid the country’s current crisis of violence.

Universal rights, double standards

What is the difference between the human-rights shortfalls of Venezuela and Mexico? Objectively, not much, but Washington has a different perspective.

Mexico: active civil society key to ending culture of impunity

A renewal of democracy should be the means to cleanse Latin America of its history of corruption and abuses of power. But as the Mexican case shows, unless democracy is extended by enhancing civil society, its promise will not be realised.

Settling accounts: what happens after SwissLeaks?

The SwissLeaks scandal around the HSBC bank subsidiary there has highlighted how globalisation can facilitate tax-dodgers. Only a bright spotlight of information can deter them.

Why the murder rate in Honduras is twice as high as anywhere else

Honduras' perfect storm of machismo, repression, corruption and impunity make it the murder capital of the world. 

Business as usual in Mexico despite 43 murdered students

The Mexican government has shown remarkable inertia since the apparent police abduction and subsequent gang murder of students in Guerrero. Now it hopes capital will not prove a coward as it denationalises oil reserves.

Behind the surge of unaccompanied child migrants to the US

Politicians fighting over immigration still don't understand how violence continues to drive people out of Central America. 

Mexico: student disappearances focus anger at abuse and impunity

Students shot dead by police, others “disappeared”, mass graves located … the absence of the rule of law and trampling on human rights in Mexico is sparking widespread protest.

The body of Colombian women is a battleground

A catalogue of sexual violence has accompanied the armed conflict in Colombia. The peace talks must not brush it under the carpet.

Organized crime, Colombia's peace spoiler?

Now that the main potential impediment to a peace deal–a change in government–is out of the picture, it is time to start tackling other threats, not just to securing the agreement, but also to its implementation.

The US' troubling turn as global anti-trafficking sheriff

 The much-lauded US Tier ranking system monitors foreign governments' efforts to combat trafficking. But this obscures the US' role in actually creating conditions which contribute to labor exploitation and trafficking.

El Salvador's gang problem: the truth behind the truce

Will El Salvador's new president deploy state or civil society to address the recent spikes in violence, as politics threaten to unravel the wary truce between the country's gangs?

Mali: a colonel in his labyrinth

Western states have reflexively diagnosed the continuing violence and lawlessness in Mali's fragmented north to the ills of global jihad, willfully ignoring the region's deep links to the transnational criminal racket that sustains both the criminalized state and its criminals. 

The national security blindspot in Colombia's FOI law

A new transparancy law guarantees Colombian citizens greater access to information on public spending, but corruption in the defence sector and links to organised crime still remain obscured, and matters of 'national security' are exempt altogether.  

Autodefensas: the solution to Mexico's drug problem?

Illegal drug trafficking is deeply embedded in Mexico. Collusion between the state and ‘self-defence’ groups is not, however, the answer to it.

India’s policing disorder

In the 1990s Mumbai's 'crime-busting' policing strategy included routine extra-judicial executions, known as 'encounter killings'. Here this state violence is examined as communalisation of the police, enforcing insecurity for the minority over security for all.

Back to basics for Colombia's rebels

As on-going peace talks in Havana address narco-trafficking amidst Colombia's continued economic growth, remnants of the FARC are more likely to turn to what were once the very seeds of the rebel movements: social banditry. 

Cybercriminals find wonderland in developing countries

With increased Internet access and smartphone use across Latin America, Asia and Africa, organized crime networks are exploiting vulnerabilities to extend their reach - sometimes with violent results. What's the impact inside and outside cyberspace? 

A death in the Congo

On 18 August, Tjostolv Moland, a 32-year-old former officer of the Norwegian army, was found dead in his prison cell in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His strange case highlights the need to develop the DRC's justice system to end a cycle of impunity and violence.

Guns, drugs and dollars: getting global drivers of local violence on the post-2015 agenda

Leaving violence and conflict off the post-2015 agenda is a clear signal that countries want to keep the door towards increasing international accountability for the use of violence as closed as possible.

Europe's Middle East policies: a southern European twist

More coordination and strategy are needed in Europe's response to the sinister signs of stolen revolution. The political-strategic impulse has come from the south in the past. In the current economic crisis this should be more the case, not less.

Conflict at the EU's southern borders: the Sahel crisis

Gradually, EU systems of governance have extended into the southern Mediterranean, linking dynamics in the Sahel with European interests through its borderlands. This could be a test of the EU's foreign policy ambitions. But is the Union ready and capable to act, and if so, what is at stake?

In militias we trust: Libya's conundrum

The rapid disintegration of Muammar al Gaddafi’s armed forces and police meant that the militias born out of the revolution were the only ones equipped to fill the security vacuum left behind. Libya functions, but can civilians wrest control?

The Cairo Gang, the Force Research Unit and ... Rupert Murdoch

The story of the FRU must be one of the most sordid in British Intelligence. It reveals a deep gulf in Northern Ireland's peace process: Britain's willingness to be held accountable.

Honduras, the politics of violence

The incidence of targeted social violence in the central American country is a growing political concern as presidential elections approach, finds Matt Kennard in Tegucigalpa.

The geopolitics of drug trafficking in Afghanistan

%22Bordering"In Afghanistan, opium is not clandestinely traded on some back alley black market. Opium is the market.

Violent power, civilian exclusion and the M23

Violence in eastern DRC is portrayed by western countries in terms of abject failure: people or events in the Congo (or Rwanda) have caused peacebuilding and development processes to fail. But the M23 is a direct result of processes that legitimate violent power. Français.

République Démocratique du Congo: dépasser le cycle de la crise

L'éruption de violence dans l'est de la République Démocratique du Congo reflète l'échec des organisations nationales et internationales sur le long terme, affectant les citoyens de la région ainsi que les communautés de la diaspora européenne. Pour sortir de ce cycle, il faudra s'en prendre aux racines de la violence. Read this in English.

On ne peut pas ignorer le lien entre le Rwanda et les rebelles du M23

Beaucoup des facteurs de conflit dans l'est de la République Démocratique du Congo se trouvent à l'intérieur de ses frontières mais une analyse qui ignorerait le rôle du Rwanda ces dernières années ne permettrait pas de démonter le mécanisme des cycles d'insurrection violente. Read this in English.

Rwanda's connection to the M23 rebels must not be ignored

Many of the drivers of conflict in eastern DR Congo lie within its borders, but an analysis that ignores the role of Rwanda in recent years is inadequate to the task of disassembling the cycles of violent insurrection. Français.

Colombia's peace process: three challenges

As peace talks begin between the FARC and the Colombian government, military victory is still espoused as a final solution by some, while other recall when past negotiations have failed. But there is historical success to learn from too.

Syria, Mali, Nigeria: war's paralysis

The conflict in Syria leaves western powers with no good choices, and their agony is intensified by Islamist advances in west Africa. The search for intelligent security responses goes on.

Are conflict minerals making war less profitable?

What's up with conflict minerals? Is the global economy ready for regulation that targets the economies of warlords and insurgents?

M23 in the Kivus: regional war and then a repeat of the 2009 accord?

M23's military campaign in North Kivu has profound consequences for Kinshasa and regionally. A regional military force to end the rebellion is hotly disputed: Rwanda and Uganda have interests in the instability, while placing any more foreign troops into this volatile region holds great uncertainty.

Bordering on Peace?

%22Bordering"As we move towards the draw-down of foreign forces in Afghanistan, openSecurity asks Afghan, Pakistani and international experts what needs to happen in the region to establish peace.

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