Mabel González Bustelo https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/13382/all cached version 08/02/2019 18:44:35 en La educación será clave para acabar con la violencia en Colombia https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/mabel-gonz-lez-bustelo-christian-visnes/colombia-education-will-be-key-to-ending-v <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Romper el ciclo de violencia requerirá oportunidades educativas para los jóvenes, que son todavía especialmente susceptibles de ser reclutados por grupos armados. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/colombia-education-will-be-key-to-ending-violence">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-14468034.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-14468034.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="275" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Un estudiante agita una bandera durante una protesta en Cali, Colombia. Foto AP/Juan Bautista Díaz. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p> <p>En 2016, el presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, recibió el Premio Nobel de la Paz en Oslo. Este premio es un homenaje a los incesantes esfuerzos de su gobierno en los últimos años para alcanzar un acuerdo de paz con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), un acuerdo que pondrá fin a más de cinco décadas de conflicto armado. La implementación del acuerdo es una oportunidad histórica para los más de 8 millones de víctimas de este conflicto y traerá esperanza a la próxima generación de colombianos. En particular, los niños, los adolescentes y los jóvenes tendrán la oportunidad de escapar del sufrimiento y la violencia y regresar a la escuela.</p> <p>Dos de cada diez niños que viven en áreas rurales en Colombia nunca van a la escuela. La mitad de los que obtienen acceso a la educación no superan el nivel primario (cinco años de educación). Cuando llegan a la edad de 17 años, casi el 75% han abandonado el sistema educativo. Esto significa que los niños y jóvenes de 12, 13 y 14 años se enfrentan a un futuro incierto, con exigua educación y oportunidades de trabajo escasas o inexistentes, lo que los hace extremadamente vulnerables al reclutamiento por parte de grupos armados o la economía de drogas ilegales.</p> <p>La desigualdad en Colombia tiene un marcado carácter rural. Un informe conjunto del Centro Noruego para la Resolución de Conflictos (<a href="http://noref.no/">NOREF</a>) y el Consejo Noruego para los Refugiados (<a href="https://www.nrc.no/">NRC</a>), titulado <a href="https://www.nrc.no/resources/reports/el-verdadero-fin-del-conflicto-armado/"><em>El verdadero fin del conflicto armado</em></a>, muestra cómo cinco décadas de conflicto han reforzado las desigualdades económicas y han ampliado la división entre las zonas urbanas y rurales. Las tasas de pobreza y marginación, los servicios públicos ausentes o disfuncionales y la falta de acceso a una educación de calidad son excepcionales en estas últimas áreas. Según las últimas estadísticas nacionales, más del 45% de las personas en las zonas rurales viven en la pobreza, cifra que alcanza el 63,8% para los grupos indígenas y las personas desplazadas por la violencia. Estas cifras superan ampliamente los promedios nacionales.</p> <p>Dos elementos principales se combinan para explicar las terribles condiciones de vida y la falta de oportunidades para los niños y jóvenes en las zonas rurales. En primer lugar, ellos han sufrido desproporcionadamente los efectos del conflicto. En el Registro Oficial hay más de 8 millones de víctimas, de las cuales un tercio tiene menos de 18 años y la mitad están por debajo de los 28. Las violaciones de los derechos humanos y del derecho internacional humanitario que afectan a los niños y los jóvenes han sido generalizadas: desplazamiento forzado, reclutamiento por grupos armados, violencia sexual, secuestros, amenazas, desapariciones y asesinatos. Los actores, que incluyen la ONU y la Corte Constitucional del país, han definido el reclutamiento forzoso de niños en Colombia como una práctica extensa y sistemática.</p> <p>El segundo elemento que está detrás de la situación precaria de estos niños es la amplia gama de problemas que afectan a la educación rural. Las escuelas han sido objeto de ataques armados y de diversas manifestaciones del conflicto. Tanto las fuerzas armadas oficiales como los actores armados no estatales las utilizan a menudo como bases temporales para sus operaciones; los caminos que condicen a ellas se siembran con minas y artefactos explosivos; y las escuelas a menudo se convierten en lugares de propaganda y reclutamiento por parte de actores armados, en lugar de ser entornos protectores. Muchos maestros que tratan de detener esta situación se ven forzados a huir cuando están amenazados.</p> <p>En las zonas rurales, el sistema educativo no puede garantizar ni la calidad de la educación, ni el acceso y la asistencia regular a la escuela. Los hogares de los niños a menudo se encuentran a una gran distancia de las escuelas; hay pocos maestros; los uniformes y los materiales educativos resultan muy caros para las familias pobres; y las exigencias de la agricultura familiar obligan a muchos niños a dejar la escuela para ayudar con la cosecha. Muchos nunca vuelven. El estado físico de la infraestructura escolar es grave, y las inversiones han tendido a centrarse en las zonas más pobladas.</p> <p>Colombia ha hecho un importante esfuerzo para mejorar la educación, pero esto apenas ha llegado a las regiones rurales. En los últimos años, se ha invertido en educación el 4,6% del PIB anual, pero sólo el 0,5% se destina a las zonas rurales. Esto tiene consecuencias desastrosas. Hoy existe una diferencia de tres años en los niveles de aprendizaje entre los niños del mismo curso en las zonas urbanas y en las rurales.</p> <p><strong>Romper el ciclo de violencia</strong></p> <p>Históricamente, estas áreas son más afectadas por la ausencia o la fragilidad de las instituciones estatales y por la presencia de grupos armados y de la violencia. Alrededor del 57% de los niños y jóvenes reclutados por grupos armados proceden de familias pobres, que sufren de falta de acceso a los alimentos y que, en promedio, han sido desplazadas 4,5 veces por la violencia armada. Sus niveles de educación están incluso por debajo de la mediana de las zonas rurales. Ocho de cada diez niños y jóvenes que han abandonado grupos armados dicen que han recibido amenazas por parte de sus antiguos grupos armados, que les exigen que vuelvan con ellos sino quieren sufrir las consecuencias. Simultáneamente, los niños y jóvenes que carecen de educación se convierten en presa fácil para los grupos armados no estatales.</p> <p>La falta de educación y de oportunidades de trabajo, combinada con la pobreza, se ha convertido en la receta perfecta para la continuación del conflicto armado. Romper el ciclo de violencia requerirá oportunidades educativas para los jóvenes. Un profesional del sector educativo, entrevistado para el mencionado informe, lo decía con estas palabras: "si Colombia decide ahorrar en educación, tendrá que gastar en actividades anti-subversión".</p> <p>A pesar del acuerdo de paz, los riesgos asociados a la violencia continúan estando presentes en el país. Existen diversas amenazas, y otros grupos armados, aparte de las FARC, siguen activos, incluyendo el ELN y el EPL. La desmovilización de las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitares en 2005 abrió el camino para una nueva generación de grupos violentos, que heredaron parte de la ideología de las AUC, además de territorios, rutas y segmentos de negocios asociados con el narcotráfico. Persisten las estructuras socioeconómicas y políticas que apoyaban a los paramilitares, especialmente en las zonas rurales, y han surgido nuevos grupos armados locales. Todos ellos constituyen un peligro para los civiles, como lo demuestran las continuas amenazas y asesinatos que sufren los líderes sociales.</p> <p>En estas condiciones, para muchos niños y jóvenes, unirse a un grupo armado sigue siendo un riesgo real, y a menudo una de sus pocas opciones de supervivencia.</p> <p><span>La educación como clave de la paz</span></p> <p><span></span>En las últimas décadas, la educación ha sido incluida en acuerdos a nivel mundial diseñados para poner fin a conflictos armados. Un estudio muestra que entre 1989 y 2005 se alcanzaron 144 acuerdos de paz, totales o parciales, en el mundo. Alrededor del 70% de estos acuerdos contenían iniciativas relacionadas con la educación. Pero sin la voluntad política y el desarrollo de estrategias reales para utilizar la educación como motor de la paz, su inclusión en un acuerdo de paz no es suficiente. En muchos casos, el enfoque predominante para la consolidación de la paz ha sido el denominado enfoque de "seguridad primero", que asume una secuencia temporal que avanza desde el conflicto a la seguridad, y desde ésta, al desarrollo, y deja a la educación de lado, como si fuera una cuestión vinculada al desarrollo, que puede abordarse en una etapa posterior.</p> <p>Sin embargo, el acceso a una educación de calidad es una contribución fundamental a la estabilización y consolidación de la paz, ya que puede ofrecer dividendos de la paz rápidos y tangibles para las personas afectadas por la violencia. Demuestra que los servicios públicos mejoran después de los acuerdos de paz y, al hacerlo, este tipo de acuerdos aumentan la legitimidad de las instituciones y crean oportunidades para la transformación social.</p> <p>Colombia tiene una tarea inmensa por delante para implementar el acuerdo de paz y construir una paz sostenible, pero también tiene las herramientas necesarias y una enorme oportunidad para mejorar las vidas de sus jóvenes. La primera sección del <a href="https://www.mesadeconversaciones.com.co/sites/default/files/acuerdo-final-1473286288.pdf">Acuerdo General para la Resolución del Conflicto</a> (que trata de la reforma rural integral) incluye medidas y acciones encaminadas a fortalecer y mejorar la educación rural. También cuenta con disposiciones para garantizar las reparaciones y el restablecimiento de los derechos de los niños y jóvenes afectados por el conflicto (especialmente, pero no sólo, alentándolos a ingresar en el sistema escolar).</p> <p>Más allá del imperativo ético y de la justicia, y en términos muy pragmáticos, la expansión y mejora de los servicios educativos puede ser crítica para la estabilización a corto plazo de las áreas más afectadas por el conflicto. Al hacerlo, el Estado colombiano puede ofrecer un dividendo de paz rápido, con el potencial de promover un cambio real y ofrecer oportunidades reales. Un sistema de educación de calidad, que promueve oportunidades, aumenta los costos de la violencia en curso y reduce la motivación para involucrarse en tal violencia. Por lo tanto, la educación será clave para construir una paz sostenible.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Colombia Civil society Democracy and government Ideas International politics latin america Christian Visnes Mabel González Bustelo Sat, 30 Dec 2017 12:00:00 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo and Christian Visnes 107854 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Colombia: education will be key to ending the violence https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/colombia-education-will-be-key-to-ending-violence <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align: left;">Breaking the cycle of violence will require educational opportunities for young people, who are still especially susceptible to being recruited by armed groups. <strong><em><a href="https://www.esglobal.org/colombia-no-habra-una-paz-sostenible-sin-educacion/">Español</a></em></strong><em></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-14468034_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-14468034_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="275" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A student waves a flag during a protest in Cali, Colombia, Wednesday. AP Photo/Juan Bautista Diaz. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>In 2016 Colombia’s President Juan Manual Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. This award is a tribute to his government’s relentless efforts of the last few years to reach a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an agreement that will put an end to more than five decades of armed conflict. The implementation of the agreement is a historic opportunity for the more than 8 million victims of this conflict and will bring hope to the next generation of Colombians. In particular, children, adolescents, and youth will have an opportunity to escape suffering and violence and return to school.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>Two out every ten children living in rural areas in Colombia never attend school. Half of those who gain access to education do not get beyond primary level (five years of education). By the time they reach the age of 17, almost 75% have left the education system. This means that children and youth aged 12, 13 and 14 face an uncertain future, with little education and scarce or non-existent job opportunities, which makes them extremely vulnerable to recruitment by armed groups or the illegal drug economy. </p> <p>Inequality in Colombia has a marked rural character. A joint report by NOREF Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) entitled <a href="http://noref.no/Regions/Latin-America-and-the-Caribbean/Colombia/Publications2/Building-the-Peace.-Rural-Education-and-conflict-in-Colombia">El verdadero fin del conflicto armado</a><em> </em>shows how five decades of conflict have reinforced economic inequalities and widened the divide between urban and rural areas. The rates of poverty and marginalisation, absent or dysfunctional public services, and lack of access to quality education are exceptional in the latter areas. According to the latest national statistics, more than 45% of people in rural areas live in poverty, a figure that reaches 63.8% for indigenous groups and people displaced by violence. These figures grossly surpass national averages.</p> <p>Two main elements combine to explain the dire living conditions and lack of opportunities for children and youth in rural areas. Firstly, they have disproportionally suffered the effects of the conflict. There are more than 8 million victims in the Official Registry, of which one-third are less than 18 years old and half are below 28. The violations of human rights and international humanitarian law affecting children and youth have been widespread: forced displacement, recruitment by armed groups, sexual violence, kidnappings, threats, disappearances and killings. Actors that include the UN and the country’s Constitutional Court have defined the forced recruitment of children in Colombia as an extensive and systematic practice. </p> <p>The second element behind these children’s precarious situation is the wide range of problems affecting rural education. Schools have been subject to attacks and to various manifestations of the conflict. Both official armed forces and non-state armed actors often use them as temporary bases; the roads to them are sown with mines and explosive devices; and schools often become sites for propaganda and recruitment by armed actors rather than protective environments. Many teachers who try to stop this are forced to flee when they are threatened. </p> <p>In rural areas the educational system is unable to guarantee both quality education and access to and regular attendance in school. Children’s homes are often long distances from schools; there are few teachers; uniforms and educational materials are very expensive for poor families; and family farming requirements force many children to leave school to help with the harvest. Many never return. The physical state of school infrastructure is dire and investments have tended to focus on the most populated areas. </p> <p>Colombia has made an important effort to improve education, but this has hardly reached rural regions. In recent years 4.6% of annual GDP has been invested in education, but of this, only 0.5% goes to rural areas. This has disastrous consequences. There is now a three-year difference in learning levels between children in the same grade in urban and rural areas. </p> <p><strong>Breaking the cycle of violence </strong></p> <p>These areas are historically more affected by the absence or fragility of state institutions and the presence of armed groups and violence. Around 57% of the children and youth recruited by armed groups come from poor families suffering from lack of sufficient access to food and who have on average been displaced 4.5 times by armed violence. Their levels of education are even below the median of rural areas. Eight out of ten children and youth who have left armed groups say that they have received threats from their former armed groups to rejoin them or suffer the consequences. Simultaneously, children and youth who lack education become easy prey for non-state armed groups. </p> <p>Lack of education and job opportunities, when combined with poverty, has become the perfect recipe for the continuation of the armed conflict. Breaking the cycle of violence will require educational opportunities to be made available to young people. In the words of an education sector professional interviewed for the abovementioned report, “if Colombia decides to save money on education, it will have to spend it on anti-subversion activities”. </p> <p>Despite the peace agreement, violence-associated risks continue to be present in the country. There are diverse threats, and other armed groups apart from the FARC remain active, including the ELN and EPL. The demobilisation of the paramilitary AUC in 2005 paved the way for a new generation of violent groups that inherited part of the AUC’s ideology and territories, routes, and business segments associated with narco-trafficking. Socioeconomic and political structures that supported the paramilitaries have persisted, especially in rural areas, and new local armed groups have emerged. All constitute a danger for civilians, as demonstrated by the continuous threats and killings that target social leaders. </p> <p>In these conditions, for many children and youth, joining an armed group is still a real risk – and sometimes one of their few survival options. </p> <p><strong>Education as a key to peace </strong></p> <p>In recent decades education has been included in worldwide agreements designed to put an end to armed conflict. A study shows that 144 total or partial peace agreements were reached in the world between 1989 and 2005. Around 70% of these agreements contained initiatives related to education. But inclusion in a peace agreement is not enough without the political will and the development of real strategies to use education as a driver of peace. In many cases the predominant approach to peacebuilding has been the so-called “security-first” approach that assumes a temporal sequence progressing from conflict to security to development, and leaves education aside as a development issue that can be dealt with at a later stage. </p> <p>However, access to quality education is a critical contribution to stabilisation and peacebuilding, because it can offer quick and tangible peace dividends to the people affected by violence. It demonstrates that public services improve after peace agreements and, by doing so, such agreements raise the legitimacy of institutions and create opportunities for social transformation. </p> <p>Colombia has an immense task ahead of it to implement the peace agreement and build a sustainable peace, but it also has the necessary tools and an enormous opportunity to improve the lives of its youth. The first section of the General Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict (which deals with integral rural reform) includes measures and actions aimed at strengthening and improving rural education. It also has provisions to guarantee reparations and the re-establishment of the rights of children and youth affected by conflict (especially, but not only, by encouraging them to enter the schooling system). </p> <p>Beyond the ethical and justice imperative and in very pragmatic terms, expanding and improving educational services can be critical for the short-term stabilisation of the areas most affected by conflict. By doing so, the Colombian state can offer a quick peace dividend, one with the potential to promote real change and offer real opportunities. A quality education system that promotes opportunities raises the costs of ongoing violence and reduces the motivation to become involved in such violence. Education will therefore be key to building sustainable peace.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Colombia Civil society Democracy and government Ideas International politics latin america World Forum for Democracy 2016 Christian Visnes Mabel González Bustelo Sat, 24 Dec 2016 12:00:00 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo and Christian Visnes 107851 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Mabel González Bustelo https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/mabel-gonz-lez-bustelo-0 <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mabel González Bustelo </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Mabel González Bustelo</strong> is a senior adviser at NOREF.</p><p><strong>Mabel Gonzáles Bustelo </strong>es asesora senior en NOREF.&nbsp;</p> Mabel González Bustelo Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:36:02 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 107853 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Mabel González Bustelo https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/mabel-gonz-lez-bustelo <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mabel González Bustelo </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Mabel González Bustelo</strong> is a senior adviser at NOREF.</p><p><strong>Mabel Gonzáles Bustelo </strong>es asesora senior en NOREF.&nbsp;</p> Mabel González Bustelo Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:36:01 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 107852 at https://www.opendemocracy.net El Salvador’s gang truce: a lost opportunity? https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/el-salvador%E2%80%99s-gang-truce-lost-opportunity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>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.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="image-caption"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/550590/demo_3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/550590/demo_3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Murderous month: a young woman, bearing a 'free hugs' placard, joins nearly half a million protesters against violence across the country in late March. Demotix / <a class="popup-processed" href="http://www.demotix.com/users/lopezluisalonso">Luis Alonso López Martínez</a>. All rights reserved.</p><p>Violence is escalating again in El Salvador. March 2015 was the most violent month in over a decade, and the government is preparing army and police battalions to fight the gangs. These trends mark the definitive end of a process which started in 2012 with a truce between the two main gangs—MS-13 and Barrio 18—and evolved into a more complex and multidimensional approach to reducing violence, with a degree of international support. </p> <p>The process was complicated, imperfect and subject to public controversy but it stands as one of the most significant examples worldwide of an effort to reduce violence through negotiation with criminal groups. With <a href="http://elpais.com/elpais/2015/04/21/inenglish/1429615829_467259.html">an annual homicide rate of 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants</a>, El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world. It is also a notable example of the trend towards <a href="http://www.peacebuilding.no/Themes/Global-trends/Publications/Non-conventional-armed-violence-and-non-state-actors-challenges-for-mediation-and-humanitarian-action">non-conventional, hybrid and criminal violence</a>. </p> <p>A peace agreement reached in 1992 put an end to civil war and initiated a peacebuilding process, which saw rebels of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) make a successful transition to civilian and political life. The FMLN finally won the presidency by a tiny margin in 2009, and by an even smaller sliver in 2014, overturning 20 years of rule by the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). </p> <p>Meanwhile, a complex set of factors triggered a transformation of violence, which became criminal and perpetrated by illegal armed groups, most notably the gangs (<em>maras</em>). A profound crisis of public security has since shaken the country, as well as neighbours Honduras and Guatemala. Successive <a href="https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34112.pdf">governments have responded with ‘iron-fist’ approaches focused on crime suppression</a> and militarisation of security. These policies, although of limited effectiveness, have helped to cement the electoral support of a population angered and traumatised by decades of violence. </p> <h2><strong>Surprise news</strong></h2> <p>In March 2012 the country was taken by surprise by news of a truce between Barrio 18 and MS-13, facilitated by two mediators (a former insurgent and government advisor, and a Catholic bishop) and tacitly supported by the government of the FMLN president, Mauricio Funes. Imprisoned gang leaders were transferred from a maximum-security prison to other jails in exchange for a reduction in violence. The gangs agreed to end forced recruitment of children and young people, respect schools and buses as zones of peace and reduce attacks on the security forces. </p> <p>In the succeeding months, the gangs surrendered limited amounts of weapons and the government acted to address shortcomings in the overcrowded prison system, such as softening visitor searches and removing the army from the task. For the first time since the war, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was invited to contribute and in October 2012 it established a special mission to monitor human rights in prison. The drop in homicides was immediate—from 14 per day to five. </p> <p>The gangs’ leaderships and the mediators were discussing a list of issues to be included in an enlarged process with a wider pacification agenda. Their <a href="http://www.scielo.cl/pdf/revcipol/v34n1/art08.pdf">Proposal for a Framework Agreement for the Recovery of Social Peace in El Salvador</a> included reform of the prison system, a public-private body with gang participation to oversee rehabilitation and reinsertion, derogation of the anti-gang law and removal of the army from public-security duties. Notably absent was any demand for amnesty or reduction of prison sentences. The proposals included suspension of all acts of violence, voluntary surrender to security forces, decommissioning of weapons and explosives, and an end to forced disappearances. </p> <p>As more details emerged, however, public opinion about the truce became increasingly polarised. The main opposition came from conservative sectors, parts of the legal establishment and law enforcement, and the media. Contributing to scepticism were unabated <a href="http://www.elsalvador.com/mwedh/nota/nota_completa.asp?idCat=47859&amp;idArt=7760948">extortion and other violent crimes</a>, such as ‘disappearances’—allied to concern about the potential empowerment and legitimisation of criminal structures and a widely-held perception that violence was being rewarded. </p> <p>But a <a href="http://www.insightcrime.org/news-analysis/2-divergent-views-on-el-salvador-gang-truce-1-sad-conclusion">second school of thought</a> saw the truce as a way to reduce violence and reintegrate gang members. This vision was shared by segments of civil society and the <a href="http://dialogo-americas.com/en_GB/articles/rmisa/features/regional_news/2013/05/06/salvador-gangs">Organization of American States</a>, which became an observer and guarantor of the process. A formal agreement with the government resulted in the creation of a Technical Committee for the Co-ordination of the Process of Violence Reduction in El Salvador. </p> <p>Nevertheless, the government remained equivocal. Funes and other members refused to admit any participation and delivered contradictory statements, which fed distrust and confusion. But the sustained impact on violence and better understanding of the process <a href="http://www.c-r.org/sites/default/files/Accord25_ElSalvador.pdf">gradually legitimised it</a> and allowed the government to acknowledge involvement. </p> <p>The government’s ambivalence can be contextualised. This was the first FMLN administration and conservatives controlled the National Assembly. The United States prohibits negotiations between a government and a criminal organisation and in November 2012 it so labelled the MS-13. The US is <a href="http://securityassistance.org/sites/default/files/RS21655.pdf">El Salvador’s main trading partner</a> and co-operation in trade and security has resulted in US support and military and police aid from programmes such as the Central America Regional Security Initiative. In what has been described as the performance of “<a href="http://rt.com/op-edge/salvador-another-venezuela-opposition-protests-345/">a trapeze artist</a>”, the FMLN has thus tried to develop progressive policies while not antagonising the US, foreign capital and the Salvadoran establishment (in control of the media).</p> <h2><strong>Transfer of gang leaders</strong></h2> <p>The truce was supported by the minister of justice and public security, David Munguía, a retired general and former minister of defence. Although his appointment in 2011 (and the removal of FMLN members from those positions) was largely interpreted as a move towards remilitarisation, he surprised his critics by encouraging the first steps of the truce—authorising the transfer of gang leaders to other jails. According to the analyst of Salvadoran politics <a href="http://columnatransversal.blogspot.com.es/2014/12/defensa-de-la-tregua.html">Paolo Lubers</a>, he and other generals took the initiative after improved intelligence co-ordination convinced them that most violence was gang-driven. </p> <p>Opposition came, however, from the Office of the Prosecutor and, later, sections of the police. They alleged that the truce was an opportunity for the gangs to reorganise, and that the drop in homicides was driving other crimes such as ‘disappearances’ and extortion. Some of this was a legacy of the peace accords, which disbanded the old security forces, established the National Civil Police (PNC) and reined in the armed forces. </p> <p>The PNC comprised civilians, demobilised guerrilla fighters and vetted members of the prior security forces—whose most authoritarian members, however, <a href="http://www.academia.edu/1286182/Wolf_Sonja._Policing_Crime_in_El_Salvador._">were able to secure the most prominent positions</a> in the new service, particularly during the two decades of ARENA governments. The police force is thus politicised and plagued by poor performance, corruption and authoritarian practices. Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney-General (as with Supreme Court judges) is marked by political appointments by the Legislative Assembly, which have benefited ARENA hitherto. </p> <h2><strong>More complex</strong></h2> <p>In 2013, the process entered a more complex second phase, centred on the creation of violence-free municipalities. These ‘peace zones’ were based on agreement among local authorities, gangs and facilitators, with groups committing to cease violence and crime in exchange for a reduction in police operations and raids and reinsertion programmes. The first four municipalities, presented in January 2013, were soon extended to 11, with a combined population of more than 1m (out of 6m in all in El Salvador) and support from the OAS and the European Commission. </p> <p><span class="pullquote-right">Notably absent was any demand for amnesty or reduction of prison sentences.</span></p><p><span></span>Mayors from both main parties, the FMLN and ARENA, participated in the initiative. Again, an ambivalent government promised, but then failed to deliver, grants and loans for prevention and rehabilitation. In Ilopango, the first peace zone, reduced violence presented an opportunity for the creation of a bakery and a chicken farm to generate employment, and the local government set up education centres and sports fields in marginalised neighbourhoods. But the mayor complained that the municipality had not received any of the $9 million promised by the government. Other cities were also left to their own devices. </p> <p>In May 2013, the process suffered a major blow: the Constitutional Court nullified the appointment of Munguía as minister of justice and public security and forced Funes to restructure the security cabinet. The new minister, Ricardo Perdomo, proved a sharp critic of the truce. Amidst a polarised debate leading up to the February 2014 presidential election, his hard-line discourse and the restrictions placed on the mediation mechanisms weakened the process. The downward trend in murder rates began to reverse, amid a turf war between two factions of Barrio 18. </p> <h2>Support discontinued</h2> <p>At the beginning of 2015, the new president, the former rebel Salvador Sánchez Ceren, said he would discontinue support for the truce. Leaders of the gangs were <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/20/us-el-salvador-violence-idUSKBN0LO04T20150220">returned to the maximum security prison</a> of Zacatecoluca. </p> <p>In March 2015 481 homicides were reported by the PNC (16 per day), a 52% increase on a year earlier. There were six massacres and on average 4.5 persons ‘disappeared’ each day. </p> <p>A <a href="http://www.insightcrime.com/news-analysis/how-el-salvadors-gang-truce-redefined-geography-violence">recent report</a> however suggests that the truce has had a lasting effect on the geographical distribution of violence. Murder figures remain lower than average in regions where the truce was strong and coalitions of local actors (such as mayors, churches and NGOs) took advantage of the opportunity to promote new policies. The trend is even more striking in the ‘peace zones’: in seven the drop in murders has been sustained in spite of the setbacks.</p> <p>But in other areas violence is soaring and tough positions are gaining a foothold. Sánchez Ceren has <a href="http://www.lapagina.com.sv/nacionales/105872/2015/04/18/Sanchez-Ceren-anuncia-creacion-de-3-batallones-especiales-para-combatir-delincuencia">announced</a> the creation of three battalions, with more than 1,200 troops, to fight crime in areas most affected by violence. And the rightist business association ANEP has <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21641289-end-armistice-between-gangs-has-led-soaring-murders-broken-truce-theory">hired the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani</a> as an adviser. </p> <h2>Particular problems</h2> <p>This truce can be counted among so-called <a href="http://sites.tufts.edu/jha/files/2009/02/coletta-muggah.pdf">second-generation security promotion</a> activities, which depart from conventional top-down approaches and are forged on “formal and informal cooperation with existing (including customary) sub-national institutions”. But making peace with criminal (as against political) actors poses particular problems. </p> <p>As <a href="http://www.hdcentre.org/uploads/tx_news/Strengthening-mediation-to-deal-with-criminal-agendas.pdf">James Cockayne put it</a>, these cases are fraught with moral and political hazards, and there are critical questions. What is the desired end-state of negotiation? Is it a reduction of violence, a reduction of all criminal activities or dissolution of the illegal actor? The response to these questions will largely determine the contours of any negotiation in El Salvador and elsewhere.</p> <p>Despite its flaws and shortcomings, the experience can however provide invaluable lessons. Apart from a drastic reduction in homicides, it contributed to a recognition of the social contours of the gang phenomenon and opened discussions at national and international levels about prevention, reintegration and rehabilitation. </p> <p>The truce also demonstrated that a vast proportion of the violence afflicting the country was due to inter-gang confrontation. It revealed gang leaderships with a capacity for command-and-control and a sophisticated understanding of their role in society. Their ability to articulate demands surprised many, and to some extent changed conventional thinking. </p> <p>But exploitation of public security in electoral politics tends to favour hard-line approaches. As criticism and polarisation grew to politically untenable levels, the government adopted contradictory statements and policies and later distanced itself from the process. An overall lack of planning and co-ordination hampered effectiveness—not least because the civil-society actors with more experience in working with gangs and communities were not involved. </p> <p>Fear that the gangs might use the truce to rearm and reorganise, and anger towards &nbsp;perceived preferential treatment, is common in countries in transition from war to peace and with schemes of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants. The accumulated experience of the global peacebuilding community can provide useful insights, including the adoption of community-based approaches to reintegration. Similarly, adaptation and use of mechanisms of transitional justice can help find a balance between security, justice and reconciliation.</p> <p>The truce in El Salvador has been a lost opportunity to take advantage of reduced violence to strengthen the institutional presence in communities affected by gangs and implement comprehensive approaches to prevention, reintegration and reconciliation. Any future attempt will need stronger political commitment, a long-term strategy and engagement with civil society and public opinion. Given the scope of the problem and an estimated gang membership in the tens of thousands, socio-economic programmes and opportunities are also imperative for sustainability. But, for the time being, the <a href="http://www.salanegra.elfaro.net/es/201504/bitacora/16828/%C2%BFVamos-a-la-guerra.htm">horses of war</a> are riding again.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Killings <a href="http://bit.ly/1Id1Cfo">hit new record</a> in May.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/carlos-rosales/el-salvador%27s-gang-problem-truth-behind-truce">El Salvador&#039;s gang problem: the truth behind the truce</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/ivan-briscoe/deals-with-devil">Deals with the devil</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> El Salvador </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> openSecurity openSecurity El Salvador Conflict The Americas rule of law institutions & government latin america Mabel González Bustelo Sustainable Security Non-state violence Organised crime Transitional Justice Mon, 18 May 2015 15:32:58 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 92866 at https://www.opendemocracy.net EE UU y Colombia: construyendo un modelo exportable de seguridad https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/ee-uu-y-colombia-construyendo-un-modelo-exportable-de-seguridad <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>El laboratorio del Plan Colombia ha ayudado a EE UU a desarrollar su modelo de "estabilización" para operaciones de contrainsurgencia. Con un potencial acuerdo de paz con las FARC en el horizonte, ¿cuál puede ser el futuro de las sobredimensionadas fuerzas armadas colombianas?<strong>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/us-and-colombia-building-exportable-model-of-security">English</a></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>El conflicto armado de Colombia podría estar llegando a su fin a medida que avanzan las conversaciones de paz entre el gobierno y las FARC. Son buenas noticias para un país que ha vivido décadas de guerra interna. Esto ocurre en un momento en que las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia han alcanzado un tamaño y capacidades sin precedentes, después de más de una década de fortalecimiento. Actualmente es el mayor ejército en América Latina; crece la demanda externa de sus conocimientos y experiencia, y son un socio privilegiado de EE UU en diversos tipos de misiones que van desde la intervención directa al entrenamiento y capacitación.</p> <p>El apoyo financiero y militar de EE UU ha sido clave para llegar a esta situación. Hasta cierto punto, ha promovido un modelo de fuerzas armadas y de políticas de seguridad muy similares a los suyos, incluyendo altos niveles de inmunidad y supervisión limitada. Pero ahora son inevitables las preguntas sobre el pasado y el futuro de esa relación, y qué puede significar de cara al papel de los militares en el escenario de posconflicto en Colombia.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>Alta autonomía con poder limitado</strong></h2> <p>La <a href="http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/12902/re-sheathing-the-sword-the-uncertain-future-of-colombias-civil-military-relations">pauta histórica de relaciones cívico-militare</a>s ha sido diferente en Colombia que en otros países del área. El único golpe de estado tuvo lugar en 1953, y los militares gobernaron hasta 1958. El ‘pacto’ no formal que se alcanzó entonces (y se respetó después) establecía que la institución militar no interferiría en asuntos civiles, mientras los gobiernos apoyarían la primacía militar y su independencia en la toma de decisiones sobre asuntos de defensa y seguridad.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Una consecuencia práctica del acuerdo fue la falta de supervisión y guía civil en asuntos de seguridad. Esto tiene gran importancia en un país caracterizado por la debilidad estatal. Durante la mayor parte de su historia, los gobiernos colombianos han sido incapaces de proyectar el poder del estado y establecer la autoridad política en el país. El estado ha estado ausente o ha sido muy débil en grandes territorios en las regiones, sobre todo en áreas rurales. Este fallo histórico les dio a los grupos insurgentes la oportunidad de consolidarse, y creó espacios ideales para que floreciera la economía ilegal de las drogas.</p> <p>Esos factores, y la pauta de relaciones con el poder civil, se combinaron para que las Fuerzas Armadas fueran de tamaño limitado, y débiles para los estándares latinoamericanos del siglo XX. El gasto militar y en defensa era muy bajo. Como resultado, hasta los años noventa, la aproximación militar a la contrainsurgencia era defensiva y basada en la contención. El ejército tenía brigadas y batallones defensivos, pero no capacidades operacionales y movilidad para afrontar en mínimas condiciones el reto de la contrainsurgencia.</p> <p>La situación permitió a los grupos rebeldes (especialmente las FARC) mantener durante décadas una guerra contra el gobierno, y creó las condiciones para que emergiera una variedad de grupos de autodefensa y paramilitares, así como otros relacionados con el tráfico de drogas. Todas estas fuerzas multiplicaron y complicaron la violencia.</p> <p>En los años noventa, las amenazas combinadas de debilidad estatal, producción y tráfico de drogas ilícitas, y grupos armados no estatales en crecimiento, afectaron de forma grave a las políticas de seguridad. Para el final de la década las FARC alcanzaron su máximo poder, se expandieron por el país y lanzaron importantes ofensivas contra las fuerzas gubernamentales. La alianza ‘de facto’ entre éstas y los grupos paramilitares para combatir a la guerrilla y lanzar campañas contrainsurgentes también alcanzó su cima, con la expansión a todo el país de grupos paramilitares agrupados en las Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC, hoy prácticamente desmovilizados).</p> <h2><strong>Intervención por invitación </strong></h2> <p>Para entonces, Colombia era un ejemplo destacado de la agenda ‘problemática’ de la comunidad internacional, con múltiples amenazas interrelacionadas: fragilidad estatal, insurgencia y comercio de drogas (y después del 11-S, terrorismo). Un fallido proceso de paz con las FARC, y una combinación de condiciones internas y externas, dieron lugar al Plan Colombia. Este país había sido clave en la Estrategia de Seguridad Nacional estadounidense durante la Guerra Fría, y objeto de forma constante de un intervencionismo encubierto mediante la inversión y el entrenamiento militar, pero este programa marcó la relación más estrecha entre ambos países.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>El <a href="http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/201986.pdf">Plan Colombia</a> fue un programa de ayuda de más de 7.000 millones de dólares (aportados en menos de una década) para combatir los narcóticos y la insurgencia. Tres cuartas partes de la ayuda eran para el ejército y la policía. En 2002, el Congreso de EE UU autorizó el uso de la ayuda para combatir el terrorismo, y en 2003, Álvaro Uribe lanzó el Plan Patriota. A partir de ahí, más que responder a las iniciativas de los grupos armados ilegales, comenzó a crecer el tamaño y la fuerza del ejército y la policía, lo que les permitió tomar la iniciativa con un enfoque más combativo.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>El apoyo estadounidense convirtió a Colombia en el mayor receptor de ayuda militar de este país fuera de Oriente Medio y el tercero en el mundo (tras Israel y Egipto). Esta ayuda fue clave en términos financieros, de entrenamiento, y para lograr incrementos sustantivos en las capacidades de movilidad aérea, inteligencia, comunicaciones, coordinación y capacidad organizativa. La movilidad aérea es fundamental dado el tamaño y la inaccesibilidad de partes del territorio colombiano. La disponibilidad de helicópteros creció notablemente y se crearon unidades profesionales y eficaces como la Brigada de Aviación y la Brigada Anti-Narcóticos del ejército, así como nuevas unidades móviles en el ejército y la policía.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Estas iniciativas marcaron el inicio de un apoyo incondicional al fortalecimiento de las fuerzas armadas, aunque el presidente Uribe también ejerció un fuerte control (sin precedentes) sobre las operaciones. El gasto en Defensa se triplicó de 4.000 a <a href="http://dialogo-americas.com/en_GB/articles/rmisa/features/regional_news/2013/08/19/colombia-training">12.000 millones</a> de dólares, en parte mediante un impuesto especial a los bienes de las elites). Las Fuerzas Armadas pasaron de 145.000 efectivos en 2000 a 236.000 en 2008.</p> <h2><strong>De la contrainsurgencia a la estabilización </strong></h2> <p>Para mediados de la década, EE UU había apoyado operaciones en numerosos departamentos, y se habían desplegado miles de soldados. Pero las operaciones, que podían expulsar a las FARC de un área determinada, no podían evitar su retorno una vez que la ofensiva llegaba a su fin. No había estrategia para mantener y consolidar los avances.</p> <p>La solución llegó con una variedad de políticas y programas financiados con fondos colombianos y estadounidenses. El ya mencionado Plan Patriota, la Política de Seguridad Democrática, y más tarde Acción Integrada, una estrategia elaborada por el Comando Sur (USSOUTHCOM) y el Ministerio colombiano de Defensa.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>La doctrina en que se basaron fue que las áreas rurales históricamente abandonadas sólo podrían recuperarse mediante la participación de todo el gobierno para recobrar y consolidar la presencia estatal. La doctrina se puso en marcha con una estrategia en varias fases basada en operaciones militares, proyectos socioeconómicos de impacto rápido (para ganar ‘los corazones y las mentes’) y el establecimiento de instituciones civiles de gobierno. En otras palabras, control territorial, estabilización y consolidación.</p> <p>Sin embargo, y más allá de la retórica, Acción Integrada fue sobre todo una misión militar. En 2009 se lanzó la Iniciativa Estratégica de Desarrollo para apoyar el esfuerzo y el modelo de consolidación, intentando proporcionar oportunidades económicas una vez que la seguridad y los servicios básicos se hubieran establecido. Se trata de un ejemplo de la doctrina estadounidense de “estabilización”, y atrajo fondos importantes de Washington, proporcionados en el marco de la Sección 1207 Asistencia a la Seguridad y Estabilización (con fondos transferidos del Departamento de Defensa al de Estado).</p> <p>La integración de operaciones de estabilización en la doctrina militar colombiana refleja y acompaña las <a href="http://www.cfr.org/defense-strategy/army-stability-operations-manual-field-manual-3-07-2008/p17470">mismas tendencias</a> en el ejército de EE UU. Washington ha buscado modelos para reducir la carga sobre sus fuerzas armadas en un marco de restricciones presupuestarias, al tiempo que ayuda a países socios a abordar retos de seguridad complejos que van más allá de las operaciones militares. Un ejemplo claro en América Latina es el <a href="http://latintrade.com/2010/12/u-s-military-mission-possible">Comando Sur</a>, cuyo papel no se limita al apoyo y asesoría militar, o los ejercicios conjuntos, sino que incluye misiones humanitarias (también en desastres naturales), y la lucha contra el tráfico de drogas. Actualmente es un Comando Conjunto de Seguridad Interagencias, integra organismos civiles y hace incursiones en temas como la pobreza, la exclusión o la corrupción, integrando asuntos civiles bajo un “paraguas” militar.</p> <p>En este modelo de estabilización, las agencias militares asumen el liderazgo en operaciones que pueden incluir aspectos militares, de desarrollo, humanitarios y de imperio de la ley. Con restricciones presupuestarias, EE UU ha encontrado en Colombia a un socio fiable. Por un lado, ha ayudado a crear su propio espejo en las Fuerzas Armadas y las políticas de seguridad colombianas. Por otro, cada vez delega más en este país, a la&nbsp; hora de manejar operaciones externas que se financian con fondos estadounidenses, pero con menos control y a menor coste.</p> <h2><strong>Las fuerzas armadas Colombianas: nuevas misiones, viejos problemas </strong></h2> <p>Los resultados de todo ese esfuerzo han sido evidentes, y mixtos. En el lado positivo, los grupos paramilitares entraron en un proceso de desmovilización, y una serie de operaciones militares exitosas consiguieron debilitar a las FARC. Las ofensivas militares y las tácticas contrainsurgentes les quitaron territorios, redujeron su capacidad de coordinación y de lanzar ofensivas importantes, y en definitiva movieron el conflicto hacia las fronteras y zonas rurales aisladas. Algunos indicadores de seguridad ciudadana mejoraron, particularmente los asesinatos y los secuestros.</p> <p>En el lado negativo está el coste en derechos humanos, insoportablemente alto en términos de asesinatos, desplazados forzosos y desaparecidos. La erradicación forzosa y las fumigaciones de cultivos ilícitos causaron más desplazamiento de poblaciones muy vulnerables, daños sociales y medioambientales, y trasladaron los cultivos a nuevos territorios y departamentos. La obsesión con los resultados provocó incentivos perversos (con los ‘<a href="http://www.hchr.org.co/documentoseinformes/informes/altocomisionado/informe2012en.pdf">falsos positivos</a>’ como escándalo más grave).</p> <p>El control y supervisión civil sigue siendo limitado. En 1997, la Corte Constitucional había decidido que las investigaciones de violaciones militares de los derechos humanos se produjeran en tribunales civiles. Sin embargo, el Congreso se pronunció en 2011 en sentido contrario. En 2013, de nuevo la Corte rechazó esa medida y, aunque no hay decisión final sobre la jurisdicción, existen presiones abrumadoras para que las fuerzas armadas no sean sometidas a las autoridades judiciales civiles.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>El presidente Juan Manuel Santos está conduciendo el diálogo de paz con las FARC con máximo respeto hacia los uniformados y tratando de asegurar su apoyo (o al menos, la no interferencia) en el proceso. La reforma del ejército, y la política de seguridad, no están incluidas en la agenda de las negociaciones.</p> <p>Esto concuerda con los importantes privilegios que ya tiene la institución: coordinación y control del sistema de defensa por los propios militares; autonomía en la gestión y administración de sus recursos e ingresos; alta inmunidad y ausencia de control por parte del Legislativo sobre asuntos militares, entre otros aspectos.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Pero Colombia ha logrado vender una historia de éxitos. Unas Fuerzas Armadas que (junto con las de México) fueron pioneras en la doctrina y estrategia de las operaciones contrainsurgentes en América Latina han encontrado nuevas misiones en la estabilización y construcción del estado. Ahora, el tamaño de estas fuerzas alcanza los 500.000 miembros (incluyendo a la policía) y en 2012 el presupuesto de Defensa rondó los 12.000 millones.</p> <p>El hecho de que se hayan convertido en una pieza clave de las políticas de seguridad de EE UU tiene implicaciones importantes. Después de Irak, Afganistán y la crisis financiera, EE UU prefiere operaciones especiales con limitada presencia directa. Su objetivo es enseñar a otros países a luchar contra las amenazas para su propia seguridad, con ejércitos que luchan con forma de redes y en conexión, contra las redes transnacionales (terrorismo, crimen organizado y otras amenazas).</p> <p>Colombia juega aquí un papel clave, en términos simbólicos y reales. En primer lugar, ha sido un caso emblemático de apoyo estadounidense por la duración de ese apoyo, el volumen de fondos y la diversidad de tareas de construcción estatal acometidas. En segundo, Colombia está asumiendo un papel importante a la hora de ejecutar programas de asistencia estadounidense en seguridad, tanto en Centroamérica y el Caribe como en África Occidental, entre otros lugares.</p> <p>EE UU delega en Colombia un amplio y creciente rango de operaciones, que incluyen asistencia directa a países africanos y el apoyo a AFRICOM en tareas de mantenimiento de la paz y otras. Ambos países participan conjuntamente en misiones de apoyo operacional directo y de formación. El <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/04/187928.htm">Plan de Acción en Cooperación para la Seguridad Regional</a>, recientemente firmado, pretende coordinar la ayuda a terceros países y profundizar en su asociación para operaciones antinarcóticos. El uso de terceras partes le permite a EE UU evitar los riesgos políticos y financieros asociados con la participación directa, mediante una estrategia barata y que permite a las misiones continuar.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>De esta forma, el modelo de operaciones de estabilización planeadas y ejecutadas en Colombia está siendo ahora promovido en otras partes del continente y en África. Las Fuerzas Armadas colombianas usan su conocimiento y experiencia en misiones de combate a las guerrillas, paramilitares, bandas urbanas y traficantes para entrenar y asesorar a otras fuerzas de seguridad. Colombia se ha convertido en algo similar a una <a href="http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116966">base de entrenamiento</a> en tareas antinarcóticos. Entre 2010 y 2012, sus militares y policías entrenaron a <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/31/3076606/colombias-military-needs-to-prepare.html">9.200 efectivos de 45 países</a>.</p> <p>El tamaño y capacidades actuales de las Fuerzas Armadas colombianas, su experiencia en varios tipos de misiones incluyendo la construcción del estado, y esta nueva demanda de sus conocimientos y experiencia añade una nueva dimensión a los retos del posconflicto. En cualquier escenario de transición hacia la paz se abordarían dos elementos importantes: la responsabilidad por violaciones pasadas de los derechos humanos, y el ajuste de doctrinas, tamaño y presupuesto a la nueva realidad (probablemente, bajo un programa de reforma del sector de seguridad).<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Pero la relación estrecha con el Pentágono y ese nuevo activismo internacional pueden proporcionar el argumento perfecto para justificar que los presupuestos militares sigan siendo altos, con el fin de responder a amenazas internas y externas. Su papel como socio privilegiado de EE UU tiene capacidad para minar cualquier intento de fortalecer el control civil, y contribuir a mantener su distancia hacia la sociedad civil y las denuncias de grupos de derechos humanos nacionales e internacionales.</p> <p>Una <a href="http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/alguien-espio-los-negociadores-de-la-habana/376076-3">noticia muy reciente</a>, de principios de febrero, confirma que hay oposición a los diálogos de paz al menos entre sectores de este poderoso ejército. Una unidad secreta de las instituciones de inteligencia de las Fuerzas Armadas ha monitoreado en secreto las comunicaciones entre los negociadores en La Habana, incluyendo al jefe del equipo negociador gubernamental y al Alto Comisionado para la Paz, entre otros. El presidente Santos reaccionó con dureza y destituyó a dos generales. La investigación aún está comenzando y hay preguntas importantes. ¿Quién dio la orden de vigilar las comunicaciones? ¿Quién recibía esa información y con qué propósitos? Hay dos “sospechosos” principales: sectores del ejército y/o sectores del “establecimiento” colombiano. La gran cuestión es si se trata de un intento de boicotear los diálogos o es sólo un ejemplo más de la problemática relación cívico-militar.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/washington-office-on-latin-america/hacia-una-paz-duradera-reformando-las-pol%C3%ADticas-de-d">Hacia una paz duradera: Reformando las políticas de drogas en Colombia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/daniel-kovalik/los-mortales-costos-del-%E2%80%9Clibre-comercio%E2%80%9D">Los mortales costos del “libre comercio”</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openSecurity Mabel González Bustelo Conflict in Context: Colombia Security in Latin America and Caribbean Tue, 18 Feb 2014 17:20:24 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 79454 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The US and Colombia: building an exportable model of security https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/us-and-colombia-building-exportable-model-of-security <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Through the laboratory of Plan Colombia, the US has developed its 'stabalization' model for counter insurgency operations. With a peace agreement with the FARC on the horizon, what is the future for Colombia's overinflated military? <strong><em><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/ee-uu-y-colombia-construyendo-un-modelo-exportable-de-seguridad">Español</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/546772/colombia us training.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/546772/colombia us training.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="295" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><span class="image-caption">A US marine coaches his Colombian counterpart during a joint training exercise. Flickr/Naval Surface Warriors. Some rights reserved.</span></p><p>The Colombian war may soon reach an end as the peace talks between the government and the FARC advance at a slow but continuous pace. This can only be good news for a country involved in a decades-old internal conflict. It happens at a time when the Colombian military has reached unprecedented size and capability after more than a decade build-up. Currently they are the largest army in Latin America; external demand for their know-how is on the rise, and they are a privileged US partner in a range of external missions from direct intervention to advising and capacity building.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>US financial and military support has been critical to achieve this. To some extent, it has replicated its own model of security policies and armed forces, including high levels of immunity and limited oversight. But now, inevitably, questions arise about the past and future of that relationship, and what it means in terms of the&nbsp;<span>role of the&nbsp;</span><span>military in the Colombian post-conflict scenario.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2>High autonomy with limited power</h2> <p>The Colombian <a href="http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/12902/re-sheathing-the-sword-the-uncertain-future-of-colombias-civil-military-relations">historical pattern of civil-military relations</a> has been different than in other Latin American countries. The only coup took place in 1953 and the military remained in power until 1958. The civil-military non-formal ‘pact’ achieved then (and respected thereafter) included armed forces refraining from interference in civilian affairs, while governments would support military primacy and decision-making related to defence and security matters.</p> <p>One practical consequence of the agreement was a lack of civilian oversight and guidance. This is of huge importance in a country characterized by state weakness. For most of Colombian history, central governments have shown a profound inability to project state power and establish political authority throughout the country. The state has been absent or extremely weak in huge portions of regions, particularly in rural areas. This historical failure provided insurgent groups with an opportunity for consolidation, and ideal environments for the illegal drug economy to flourish.</p> <p>These factors, added to the pattern of civil-military relations, combined to keep the military small and weak for Latin American standards in the 20th century. Defence and military spending was very low. As a result, until the ‘90s, the military approach to counter insurgency was defensive and based in containment. The army had defensive brigades and battalions but lacked the mobility and operational capabilities to effectively deal with counter insurgency.</p> <p>The situation allowed rebel forces (particularly the FARC) to wage a decades-long struggle against the government, and set the stages for the emergence of a variety of self-defence and paramilitary groups and others related with the illegal drug trade, all forces multiplying and complicating violence.</p> <p>In the '90s the combined threats of state weakness, illicit drug production and trafficking and growing non-state armed groups had heavily affected security policy. By the end of the decade the FARC reached the height of their power, expanding across the country and launching major offensives against government forces. The de facto state reliance on paramilitary groups to deal with guerrilla groups and launch counter insurgency campaigns also reached its peak with the nation-wide expansion of the mostly demobilized paramilitary group, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (<em>Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia</em>,<em> </em>AUC).<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><strong>Inviting intervention</strong></h2> <p>By then Colombia had become a prominent example of a problematic international agenda with multiple intertwined threats: state fragility, insurgency and drug trade (and, after 9/11, terrorism). A failed peace process with the FARC and a combination of internal and external conditions gave rise to Plan Colombia. While Colombia had been critical in the US National Security Strategy during the Cold War and subject to a degree of covert interventionism through investment and training, this program marked the closest relationship between both countries.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a href="http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/201986.pdf">Plan Colombia</a> was a $7 billion package of financial aid towards Colombia over less than a decade to mount a counter narcotics and counter insurgency campaign. Three-quarters were assistance for the military and the police. In 2002 the US Congress authorized the use of counter narcotic funds to fight terrorism and in 2003, President Alvaro Uribe launched Plan Patriota: Rather than responding to illegal armed group’s initiatives, this ambitious plan expanded the size and strength of the army and police to adopt a harder and proactive approach.</p> <p>US support has made Colombia the largest non-Middle Eastern recipient of military aid and the third in the world (after Israel and Egypt). US support made key differences in funding, training, maintaining and managing substantial increases in capabilities for air mobility, intelligence, communications, coordination and organizational capacity. Air mobility is crucial given the size and inaccessibility of much of the Colombian territory. The helicopter force available soared, an effort supplemented by the creation of effective (vetted and trained) units such as the Army Aviation Brigade, the Army Counter Narcotics Brigade and new mobile units in both the army and police.</p> <p>Those initiatives marked a shift to an unconditional support for the military force build-up, although President Uribe also put in place unprecedented levels of control over operations. Defence spending (funded, in part, through a special tax over elite assets) tripled from $4 to <a href="http://dialogo-americas.com/en_GB/articles/rmisa/features/regional_news/2013/08/19/colombia-training">$12 billion</a>. In 2000 the armed forces had 145,000 members while in 2008 they were 236,000.</p> <h2><strong>From counter insurgency to stabilization </strong></h2> <p>By the middle of the decade the US had supported operations in several departments and thousands of Colombian soldiers had been deployed. But while the operations could chase the FARC out of an area, they could not prevent them from returning once the offensive ended. There was no strategy in place to hold and consolidate gains.</p> <p>The solution came in the form of a number of policies and programs, financed with national and US funds: The aforementioned Plan Patriota, the Democratic Security Policy and later Integrated Action, a strategy elaborated by US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) and the Colombian Ministry of Defence.</p> <p>The underlying doctrine was that historically neglected rural areas could only be taken back through a whole government approach to recover and consolidate state presence. The result was a sequenced and phased strategy based in military operations, quick social and economic efforts (designed to win ‘hearts and minds’), and the establishment of a functioning civilian government. In other words, territorial control, stabilization and consolidation.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>But despite the rhetoric, Integrated Action was a mostly military mission and in 2009 Colombia launched the Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI) to support this effort and the Consolidation Model by providing economic opportunities once security and basic public services had been established. An example of the US doctrine of ‘stabilization’, it managed to attract important funding from Washington, with resources provided under Section 1207 Security and Stabilization Assistance (funds transferred from Defence to the Department of State).</p> <p>The Colombian integration of stability operations into military doctrine reflects and accompanies the <a href="http://www.cfr.org/defense-strategy/army-stability-operations-manual-field-manual-3-07-2008/p17470">same trends</a> in the US military. Washington has been seeking models to reduce the burden on US forces amid budgetary restraints, while helping foreign partners to address complex security challenges that go well beyond the military operations. A prominent example in the western hemisphere is <a href="http://latintrade.com/2010/12/u-s-military-mission-possible">SOUTHCOMM</a>, whose role is not limited to military advice or joint exercises but includes humanitarian missions (including natural disasters) and fight against drug trafficking. Currently a Joint Interagency Security Command, it integrates civilian agencies and makes inroads in poverty, exclusion and corruption, increasingly placing civilian issues under a military umbrella. </p> <p><span>In this stabilization model, military agencies take a leading role in operations that may include military, development, humanitarian, governance and rule of law components. Under budgetary restraints, the US has found in Colombia a reliable partner. On one hand, it has helped to create a mirror both in Colombian armed forces and security policies. On the other, it is increasingly relying on Colombia for external operations to be conducted with US funds but under less control and at lower cost.</span></p> <h2><strong>Colombian armed forces: new missions, old problems </strong></h2> <p>The results of those efforts for Colombia have been evident, and mixed. On the positive side, the paramilitaries entered a demobilization process while a number of successful operations managed to weaken the FARC. Military offensives and successful counter insurgency tactics set back their territorial presence, coordination capacities and ability to mount major attacks, moving the conflict to borders and stateless rural areas. Some indicators of citizen security (including killings and kidnappings) improved. &nbsp;</p> <p>The negative side is the human rights cost, which is unbearably high in terms of people killed, forcibly displaced and disappeared. Forced drug eradication and aerial spraying caused further displacement of vulnerable populations, environmental and social damage, and the dispersion of crops to new territories and departments. Obsession with ‘results’ provided segments of the military with perverse incentives (being the ‘<a href="http://www.hchr.org.co/documentoseinformes/informes/altocomisionado/informe2012en.pdf">false positives</a>’ scandal the gravest among them).<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Civilian oversight remains extremely limited. A 1997 Constitutional Court decision placing the investigation of human rights violations by the military under civilian courts was reversed by Congress in 2011. In 2013 the Constitutional Court again rejected that agreement and though final status of the issue is not yet solved, there is a mounting pressure to avoid civilian jurisdiction.</p> <p>President Juan Manuel Santos is conducting the peace dialogue with the FARC with maximum respect to the military and trying to secure their support (or at a minimum, non-interference) in the process. Military reform and the security policy are not included in the agenda of negotiations.</p> <p>All of this is within the bounds of the high level of privileges they enjoy as an institution: coordination and control of the defence system by the military themselves; high levels of autonomy in the administration of resources and income; high immunity and absence of legislative oversight over military matters, among others.</p> <p>But Colombia has managed to sell a history of successes. A military that pioneered the doctrinal and technical development of counter insurgency operations in Latin America (alongside with Mexico) has found new roles in stabilization and state building. Now the combined size of armed forces is 500,000 (including the police). In 2012 the defence budget stood at $12 billion.</p> <p>The fact that Colombia has been maintained as a key hub for US security policies has strong implications. After Iraq, Afghanistan and the financial crisis, the US prefers special operations that leave a “light footprint”. It aims to teach other countries to fight threats for their security and work in networks with other special forces to fight transnational networks (organize crime, terrorism and beyond).</p> <p>Colombia plays a key role both in symbolic and real terms. First, it has been an emblematic case of US involvement in terms of the duration of support, amount of funds and diversity of state building tasks carried out. Second, Colombia is already playing an important role in executing US security assistance programs in Central America, the Caribbean and West Africa.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The US is relying on Colombia for a growing range of operations, including direct assistance to African countries and help AFRICOM with peacekeeping and other efforts, and they jointly engage in direct operational support and indirect capacity building efforts. Both countries recently signed an <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/04/187928.htm">Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation</a> that seeks to coordinate aid to third countries while deepening partnership in continued counter narcotics operations. The use of third parties allows the US to avoid the financial and political risks associated with direct involvement, through a cost effective strategy that allows for training missions to continue.</p> <p>Likewise, the model of stabilization operations developed and executed in Colombia are now promoted throughout the continent and in Africa. The Colombian military is using its knowledge and experience in battle missions for the combat of guerrillas, paramilitaries, urban gangs and traffickers to train security personnel throughout Latin America and beyond. It is a <a href="http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=116966">regional training base</a> for counter narcotics efforts. Between 2010 and 2012, military and police trained <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/31/3076606/colombias-military-needs-to-prepare.html">9,200 personnel from 45 countries</a>.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The size and capabilities of the Colombian military; their experience with a variety of missions including state building, and this new demand for their skills and knowledge add a new dimension to the challenges of a post conflict scenario. In any transition scenario, two issues would be important: accountability for past human rights abuses, and the adjustment of doctrines, size and budget (most likely under a ‘security sector reform’ program).</p> <p>But the close relationship between US and Colombian militaries and new international engagement may provide a perfect argument to justify increased military budgets to respond to internal and external threats. Colombia’s role as a key US partner may further undermine any attempt of civilian control and strengthen their disdain for civil society and allegations of human rights groups and international organizations.</p> <p>Recent <a href="http://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/alguien-espio-los-negociadores-de-la-habana/376076-3">news</a> at the beginning of February 2014 confirmed opposition to the peace talks is backed by the powerful military. A secret unit within the intelligence branch of the Armed Forces has been secretly monitoring communications of the main partners in the Havana talks, notably including the chief government negotiator and the High Commissioner for Peace. President Santos reacted harshly and two generals were dismissed. An investigation is starting. Under what orders were they operating? Who received the information and with what purposes? There are two main ‘suspects’: sectors of the Armed Forces and/or sectors of the Colombian establishment. It remains to be seen whether this is an attempt to boycott the dialogues or just another example of problematic civil-military relations.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/washington-office-on-latin-america/towards-lasting-peace-reforming-drug-policy-in-colom">Towards a lasting peace: reforming drug policy in Colombia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/pablo-navarrete/understanding-colombia-connection">Understanding the Colombia connection</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/daniel-kovalik/deadly-wages-of-%E2%80%9Cfree-trade%E2%80%9D">The deadly wages of “free trade”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/darynell-rodriguez-torres/colombias-peace-process-three-challenges">Colombia&#039;s peace process: three challenges</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> openSecurity openSecurity United States Colombia Mabel González Bustelo Conflict in Context: Colombia Security in Latin America and Caribbean Militarisation Tue, 18 Feb 2014 16:04:48 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 79448 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Drone technology: the humanitarian potential https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo/drone-technology-humanitarian-potential-0 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Will drones be added to the arsenal of tools available in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The use drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), to carry out targeted killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen has been one of the most controversial aspects of the ‘global war on terror’. Al Qaeda commanders and operatives have been ‘eliminated’ in remote drone operations that have also caused numerous civilian casualties. Doubts about the supposed efficiency of this technology must be added to others regarding the legality of their use according to international law. Nevertheless, drones seem to be here to stay.</p> <p>The use of drones is widening in scope alongside technological developments, but their purposes are multiple. They are not always weapons systems; currently drones are a tool to monitor and track illegal drug routes in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and their use is rising in other areas. Two of them are especially relevant in conflict and post-conflict settings: the possible use of drones as a tool in peacebuilding missions and in humanitarian action.</p> <p>The special envoy to the Ivory Coast, Youssoufou Bamba, asked the UN to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22181553">deploy unarmed drones</a> as a tool for the international peacekeeping operation. The mission is being gradually reduced, with around 8,000 soldiers remaining, and further reductions before 2015. Although post-conflict rehabilitation continues, challenges remain, among them: the instability in the west part of the country, the disarmament and reintegration of former combatants and the lack of surveillance on the Liberian border. There is concern that this forest area could easily become a safe haven for militia or other armed groups. Drones are expected to improve surveillance and information gathering capacities.</p> <p>It may be strange to think of drones as a peacebuilding tool given their mainstream identification as an attack weapon, but the Ivory Coast example is not the first in this regard. In January 2013, the UN Security Council <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/24/us-congo-democratic-un-idUSBRE90N0X720130124">authorized the deployment</a> of drones in the framework of the peace-building mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Even before that, international troops used them limitedly in Chad, the Central African Republic and Haiti after the earthquake. The main use of drones will be for the gathering of information about movements of troops or militia groups, and about refugee and displaced populations. They will also monitor the potential smuggling of guns and other resources. This information is expected to improve the safety of convoys and routes, and to strengthen the mission mandate in terms of protection of civilians by providing real-time information about possible threats.</p> <p>The use of drones in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions may deliver fruitful outcomes, and their potential is high. Drones do not need human pilots and operate in autonomous ways. They can fly over and gather information about isolated areas or places with high degrees of insecurity, without personal risk. The information about potential threats and risks is then accessible in real time.</p> <p>But some important aspects are far from resolved. First, non-processed information must be subject to analysis, processing and storing - all of them tasks that require specialized capacities and skills. The UN is considering the possibility of contracting private firms to provide this expertise. Another issue to be addressed is the management of information in the mid and long term, and how this will be reconciled with issues of sovereignty and privacy. Guarantees should be provided to the host states that information will be used for its stated purpose and not for others (like intelligence).</p> <p>In operational terms, strongly related to mission success, one issue is critical. Updated and detailed information about potential threats to populations in danger and is important for addressing the protection of civilians. But in the end, this is a matter of political will. If the UN missions deploy drones and raise expectations among the population, what will the price be if there is no response in the face of violence? In the past, UN missions have been strongly criticized because they did not have an adequate mandate to protect civilians; will the use of drones lead to improvements or to further reputational damage?</p> <p>The DRC case may prove to be a breaking point in the potential use of drones for peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The MONUSCO mandate is strong in terms of protection of civilians, and the UNSC <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1925%282010%29">Resolution 1925</a> authorizes the use of “all necessary means” to carry out the mandate. The language is similar to that of Resolutions for the authorisation of the use of force in the past. Could this eventually open the door to the use of <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2012/11/24/united-nations-wants-to-use-drones-in-africa/">armed drones</a> in the DRC? Diplomatic sources from Rwanda, the country accused of being behind the main DRC militia (M23) have expressed deep concern over current developments. If considered at any time, that option may open a Pandora’s box in this type of operations.</p> <p>The positive or negative evaluation of drone technology should depend on their objectives and actual use. This is a critical point when the debate is so contaminated. The potential is immense in peacebuilding missions, but also brings risks and challenges. If an attack over civilians is imminent, information is available in real time and protection is within the scope of the mandate (as in the DRC): who will be accountable in case of inaction?&nbsp;Who will assume responsibility?&nbsp;</p> <p>The humanitarian ‘community’ is also involved in a growing debate about drones and their potential uses and implications. On one hand, humanitarian organizations working in countries and areas affected by US drone attacks have seen how the perception of neutrality weakens in the face of the local suspicions and concerns grow about their potential intelligence role (this is especially true for western NGOs). The situation undermines their security and safety, as well as access to vulnerable people.</p> <p>Another debate relates to the operational use of drones and its possibilities. The former US ambassador for HIV/AIDS and global health, <a href="http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/27/predators_for_peace">Jack C. Chow</a>, has defended the idea that drones will prove to be huge operational assets as soon as the technology improves and cost drops. He is an example of voices claiming to leave aside the ‘drone stigma’ and explore possibilities to use them to deliver emergency aid to isolated or threatened populations, as well as to connect dispersed nodes (like medical teams working in isolated and remote areas). According to this perspective, drones will expand the range of operations and their efficiency without putting staff safety at risk. &nbsp;</p> <p>Drones are subject to the same rules as any other transportation means. Its access to a country to deliver aid and protection must respect obligations under international law and international humanitarian law: consent remains the main principle here. If the state refuses access, drones will not provide an advantage. In operational terms, the aerial delivery of aid (airdrops) is an option of last resort for humanitarian actors, to be used only in extreme circumstances. Even in those cases, the advantages of drones are not clear with regard to present means that offer more cargo capacity and autonomy. </p> <p>Drones and their technological development will remain hotly contested within international affairs. Will they finally be incorporated as part of the range of humanitarian tools? At the moment, there are more questions than answers. Will the information gathered by drones be used to support accusations of war crimes or crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court? And what implications will this option have for future peacebuilding or humanitarian operations? </p> <p>In the final analysis, if the information and the mandate so allow, the question becomes one of accountability for failures in civilian protection. Can technology be a substitute for political will?</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/carly-nyst/data-new-conflict-resource">Data, the new conflict resource</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opensecurity/jillian-c-york/surveillance-marketplace">The surveillance marketplace</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/matthew-harwood-christopher-calabrese/nsa-isn%E2%80%99t-only-us-government-agency-making-privacy-obsolete">The NSA isn’t the only US government agency making privacy obsolete </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> openSecurity openSecurity Civil society Conflict Ideas Mabel González Bustelo Future under surveillance Thu, 03 Oct 2013 16:04:16 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 75824 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Mabel González Bustelo https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/mabel-gonz%C3%A1lez-bustelo <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mabel González Bustelo </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Mabel González Bustelo</strong> is a senior adviser at NOREF.</p><p><strong>Mabel González Bustelo</strong> is a asesora senior en NOREF.</p><div class="field field-au-shortbio"> <div class="field-label">One-Line Biography:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mabel González Bustelo is a journalist, researcher and international consultant specialising in international peace and security. </div> </div> </div> Mabel González Bustelo Tue, 20 Aug 2013 11:01:04 +0000 Mabel González Bustelo 74849 at https://www.opendemocracy.net