Reducing Conflict and Building Stability Overseas

The Conflict Pool

The Conflict Pool is a tri-departmental fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that supports the UK¶s efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and build stability. It brings together expertise and management from the three departments to ensure that the resources are managed as effectively as possible. The Pool comprise s five programmes, four of which are geographical in scope ± Africa, Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Afghanistan, and Wider Europe ± and one is focused on international organisations. In 2010 the Pool funded a wide range of projects that promote human rights.


In 2010, the Africa Programme disbursed £42.2 million on projects fo cused around three broad objectives: to support African conflict -prevention measures at the continental and regional level; to address the underlying causes of conflict in a number of priority sub -regions and countries; and to improve security sector reform. Examples of such activity in 2010 included:


funding the NGO Conciliation Resources to produce a film, ³Talking Borders´, which looks at how petty corruption and routine harassment and bureaucracy blight the daily lives of local people living in the border area of Sierra Leone , Liberia and Guinea and which will hopefully contribute to reducing border tensions;


supporting peace-building efforts which have consequently improved the supply of, and access to, water in Sudan, including in some of the most remote areas;


supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia , whose presence in south central Somaliais vital in ensuring the Transitional Federal Government¶s survival, and providing support to the Somaliland presidential elections;.


providing technical assistance to the police reform task force in
Kenya , which has resulted in draft legislation on an agreed process

of reform;

supporting the Liberian National Police in their efforts to reduce armed robberies and other crimes in Liberia;


providing funding to the EU advisory and assistance mission for security reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , which is supporting the reform of the army's procurement systems. These reforms will ensure the payment of regular salaries, and thereby help reduce the predatory and abusive behaviour of the soldiers against the local population; and


supporting a peaceful democratic transition in Zimbabwe through funding civil society groups to hold the government to account .

Middle East and North Africa

In 2010 the Middle East Programme continued to focus its resources on four priority countries in the region: Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Yemen. The programme provided £13.8 million to various projects. In Iraq the Pool supported the development of an effective, just and non discriminatory police and criminal justice system , by training the police, including more than 100 women officers, in the investigation of crimes and the gathering and analysis of forensic evidenc e and training judges in the use of scientific evidence. This led to an increase in the number of evidence -based criminal convictions and a decrease in the number of cases based on extracted confessions. In Israel and the Occupied Territories , the Pool funded an NGO, the International Peace and Cooperation Centre, to assist Palestinians legalise their rights to land and property in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to gain planning permission for new housing developments. This has resulted in those Palestinian houses with planning permission not being subject to

demolition and also more access for Palestinian farmers to their land. We also funded various Israeli and Palestinian legal support NGOs which has enhanced access to justice and fair trials for Palestinian juveniles detained by the Israeli Defence Forces; and improvements to the juvenile military courts. We fund the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights to monitor and investigate allegations of arbitr ary detention, violations of t he criminal code and torture by Palestinian security officials. Other initiatives funded by the Pool have focused on building greater trust between groups of Jewish and Arab Israelis and Palestinian citizens, and on improving the authorities¶ treatment of minority groups .

In Lebanon, the Poolprovided funding to train security personnel to develop and implement a human rights policy and code of conduct for police. It also provided funding to Palestinian NGOs to monitor, investigate and develop joint mechanisms for redress for alleged violations experienced by Pales tinian refugees, especially those in camps. Successes included a reduction in checkpoints country-wide and improved official behaviour at the checkpoints; psychosocial support and trauma counselling for refugees, especially children; and the building of a human rights community centre where Palestinians can air their grievances and discuss allegations of v ictimisation and other abuses with Lebanese officials. We also supported the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation to prepare a submission to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation of the Palestinian community for consideration at Lebanon¶s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. In Yemen, the Pool focused primarily on two issues: relations between and treatment of Somali refugees by settled Yemeni communities; and access to land and water resources. There has been a marked reduction in conflicts between camp-based refugees and local communities in 2010 through greater integration between incomers and the host population; improved awareness of and attitudes towards refugee issues and rights; and improved living conditions for local communities. We also supported a pilot study to provide water to one city, for the first time delivering water to urban slum areas, whilst

protecting water supplies in the rural hinterland. This pilot, which involv ed all interested parties, is intended to provide a model for the provision of water across the country.

South Asia and Afghanistan

In 2010, the South Asia and Afghanistan Programme disbursed £68.5 million to support civilian-led stabilisation efforts in Afghanistan and £16.3 million to:


increase the capacity of Pakistanand Afghanistan to govern in the border areas, reducing popular support for the insurgencies and encouraging better relations between the two countries;

y y

support confidence-building between Indiaand Pakistan; support peace in Nepal, including by promoting security sector reform, respect for human rights and an inclusive constitutional process; and


consolidate the peace in Sri Lanka by encouraging political dialogue, security sector reform and improved human security.

One of the key unresolved issues of the Nepal peace process is the fate of the former Maoist combatants who have been living in cantonments since 2006. At the request of all the major parties, the Pool funded a project to assist the multi-party Technical Committee to develop key documents outlining how demobilisation and integration of the combatants into the Nepalese security forces could be managed. This project should help pave the way for an agreement on this critical issue.

In Sri Lanka , the Pool has helped build the foundations for sustainable peace by encouraging public debate over constitutional reforms; supporting moderate, pragmatic voices within the Sri Lankan diaspora; and supporting the police to engage better with l ocal communities. The Pool also supported a UNICEF project to reintegrate suspected child soldiers from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam back into society.

Reports of human rights abuses on both sides of the Line of Control in
Kashmir continued in 2010. Some of the human rights concerns in Pakistan

also exist in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In Indian -administered Kashmir there were violent protests during the summer of 2010. More than 100 civilians were killed and a number of security forces perso nnel were injured during clashes from June to September. There were allegations of excessive use of force by security forces against protesters and that protesters themselves had used violence. In response, Indian Prime Minister Singh said that violations of human rights abuses by security forces in Kashmir would not be tolerated and he instructed security forces to respect human rights. The Indian government sent a cross-party delegation to Indian -administered Kashmir in September, and in October it app ointed three interlocutors to engage with a wide range of interested parties to help resolve the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir. These interlocutors have made a number of recommendations to the Indian government including releasing prisoners hel d without charge; allowing peaceful protest; and exercising proper crowd control.

Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with the Indian and Pakistani governments and with our contacts in Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir. We continue to encourage India and Pakistan to seek a lasting resolution which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We also call for an end to all external support for violence in Kashmir and for an improvement in the human rights situation. We continue to urge the government of Pakistan to take action against the presence and activities of militant groups in Pakistan administered Kashmir. Levels of reported militant violence in Indian administered Kashmir have been declining since 2008 but Indian authorities report continued infiltration across the Line of Control.

Pool funding supports human rights, conflict prevention and peace -building efforts on both sides of the Line of Control. This include s efforts by academics and opinion-formers to build trust and confidence between India and Pakistan; educational programmes in schools vulnerable to militant

influence and the strengthening of civil society networks in Pakistan administered Kashmir; media development programmes in Indian administered Kashmir; and civil society exchanges across the Line of Control .

In Afghanistan the Pool funded the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission¶s work on human rights education and advocacy as well as thei r monitoring and investigation of allegations of human rights abuses. In Helmand Province in south Afghanistan, the Pool funded initiatives by provincial and district government officials and community elders to promote non-Taliban informal justice system s in the province. One notable success is the Gereshk Justice Sub-Committee of the District Community Council, which has female members who deal with disputes affecting women, such as forced marriage. The Pool also supported the Independent Commission fo r Women and Children¶s Rights which is now equipped to support local communities and justice institutions and is Helmand¶s only paralegal institution run by women.

Wider Europe

In 2010, the Wider Europe Programme disbursed £30.6 million with £18.3 million of this supporting the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus. The remaining funds were split between the Western Balkans and the Caucasus and central Asia.

In the Western Balkans, the Pool focused on three countries which are key for ensuring enduring stability, cooperation and growth in the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina , the Conflict Pool funded a project to increase the democratic accountability of the Ministry of Justice and Security through the signing of an agreement between the ministry and civil society. In southwest Serbia , a severely underdeveloped region which has seen clashes with and between rival Islamic communities, the Pool funded activities to reduce community tensions by encouraging dialogue between Serbia¶s central

government and Albanian and Bosniak minorities, with the aim of improving ethnic minority representation in Serbia.

In the Caucasus and central Asia regio n, the Pool supported a variety of organisations and activities, including international and local NGOs working with civil society and government, and Ministry of Defence -led work on security sector reform. In Georgia we funded several crisis management an d security sector reform projects with local civil society and media groups, international peace missions, and the government. In the Nagorno Karabakh region, funding supported the capacity - building of civil society, young people, business and the media. In the Ferghana Valley, our projects focused on education, access to legal assistance and building awareness of human rights.
Strategic Support to International Organisations

Under this programme, £6.5 million was disbursed to support the international community's conflict prevention and responseefforts.This included training for military, police and civilian personnel, including through the work of the British Military Advisory and Training Team in the Czech Republic , which has trained around 350 instruct ors from 30 potential and current troop contributing countries for UN mandated missions, as well as through direct training assistance to some 1,400 personnel in formed units. We also provided support to the UN's Rule of Law Unit, the Office of the UN Spec ial Representative on the Prevention of Genocide and the UN'swork to developoperational guidance for peacekeeping mission personnel on theprotection of civilians.

The Responsibility to Protect

At the UN 2005 World Summit, governments recognised that each state has a³Responsibility to Protect´ their own population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and that the international community has a responsibility to help implement this agenda .

Implementing the Responsibility to Protect remains a challenge, but we are committed to encouraging and assisting states to meet their responsibilities. For example, our support for police reform initiatives in Kenya in 2010 helped strengthen the government of Kenya¶s capacity to prevent violence around the constitutional referendum in August.

In 2010 the EU reiterated its commitment to promoting the Responsibility to Protect at regional levels by providing financial and political support to the African Union¶s Continental Early Warning S ystem and the African-led peace support operations such as that in the Central African Republic . A UKhosted Wilton Park conference of UN, AU and EU participants in June considered how the EU could better implement theprinciples of the Responsibility to Protect into its broader work on crisis management and conflict prevention.

Early warning is a crucial element in the international community¶s ability to prevent the conditions in which the worst atrocities can take place. At the UN we participated in the General Assembly dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect and early warning, at which we joined the majority of member states in reaffirming our support for the Secretary -General¶s proposal for a joint office to improve collaboration between the UN Secre tary-General¶s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and the Secretary -General¶s Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. We also provided funding from the Conflict Pool to the Office of the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide to help enhance their early warning tracking system . In November, during our presidency of the UN Security Council , we organised a briefing for the Security Council by the Department of Political Affairs on emerging or growing conflicts. We are encouragin g future Security Council presidents to make these briefings a regular monthly event to ensure that the Council is able to focus on preventing as well as resolving conflict .

Women, peace and security

The year 2010 marked the 10 -year anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. In October, we led negotiations at the Security Council to agree a set of indicators that will, for the first time, monitor the status of women in conflict -affected states and measure the progress by the UN and member states to improve women¶s protection and participation. In December we worked closely with our partners in the Security Council to agree a strengthened accountability mechanism to combat sexual violence in armed conflict. This will inform the Security Council of those parties to con flict responsible for committing sexual violence and allow the Council to take further action .

As part of our domestic commitment to protecting women during conflict and promoting their participation in conflict resolution, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Henry Bellingham, along with colleagues from DFID and MOD, launched the new UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security in November. This plan sets out how the Government will adapt its policies and programmes to empower and protect w omen in all of our conflict related work and is available on the FCO website. The plan, developed in consultation with civil society and international partners, includes measureable commitments to ensure gender considerations are incorporated into our work, including conflict training delivered by the Stabilisation Unit of the FCO, DFID and MOD and the deployment of female engagement officers to Afghanistan, so that the needs of Afghan women are better reflected in our operations. The plan also includes th ree country strategies for Nepal, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo .
Protection of Civilians Strategy

International efforts to protect civilians in conflict are often insufficient, inconsistent or ineffective. In response, we launched a new national strategy in March on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The strategy, which was developed in collaboration with DFID and MOD, sets out how the Government will keep the protection of civilians at the forefront of our political, security and humanitarian work. For the first time the strategy draws together all our work to help protect civilians caught up in conflict, and includes

commitments to strengthen the protection mandates of peacekeeping operations; to provide support to tr ansitional and international justice mechanisms; and to improve humanitarian access to populations. The strategy covers the period 2010±2013. We will review our progress annually, with the first review in 2011.

The UK takes the lead in coordinating Secu rity Council activity on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. In November, as president of the UN Security Council,weraised our concerns about the plight of civilians in Sudan , Burma and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We also continued to chair an expert group, comprised of other Security Council members and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which looks at how best to deliver the protection of civilians in specific UN peacekeeping operations. We also supported the continued inclusion of the protection of civilians and relevant human rights issues in the mandates of the UN peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Liberia, Kosovo, Cote d¶Ivoire and East Timor.

Children and armed conflict

Children are often among the most vulnerable to conflict. Children living in war-torn countries are frequently denied even their most basic human rights, are more likely to die as a result of disease and malnutrition, and stand much less chance of becoming productive adult members of their communities. We are committed to ending violations of children¶s rights in conflict -affected countries and, in particular, to stopping the recruitment and use of child soldiers. In 2010 we worked towards this goal by applying diplomatic pressure on offending governments and armed groups, and by funding projects to help protect and rehabilitate vulnerable children. We targeted our financial support to those areas where we feel most progress is most likely . In Nepal we provided £2 million to help discharge and rehabilitate members of the Maoist Army; approximately 3,000 of those released had been recruited as children. Following the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka , we provided £1.5

million to UNICEF which enabled the release and reintegration of former child soldiers.

Many of the projects we finance on security sector reform or disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration contain child protection elements, as it is important that the specific needs of children are re cognised and understood. In Uganda, for example, we are providing £100 million over five years to the government¶s Peace, Recovery and Development Plan, more than £16 million of which will be directed towards helping vulnerable individuals and improving young people¶s prospects.

We have also spoken out publicly against those governments and groups that abuse children¶s rights. We worked closely with the International Labour Organization to raise greater awareness of abuses in Burma, including forced labour and military recruitment. In Nepal, our staff in Kathmandu participated in a UN field visit, which resulted in commitments from the Nepalese army to increase their child protection training, and from Nepalese political youth wings to end the use of children under 18 in potentially violent political activities.

We also worked multilaterally, including at the UN where we encouraged the development of action plans to halt abuses against children. These plans will be drawn up and implemented jointly by the UN and by the parties to conflict identified by the UN as responsible for recruiting children or engaging in patterns of killing, maiming or sexual violence against them .

UK stabilisation capacity

When fighting ceases and negotiations for political settle ments or peace agreements start, it does not necessarily mean the end of a conflict. Security needs to be established and the underlying causes of the conflict need to be addressed to create lasting stability and peace. Restoring respect for human rights in post-conflict situations is vital in re-establishing a well functioning society.

The UK¶s Stabilisation Unit is specifically tasked to help rebuild fragile states . Its main roles are to source, manage and deploy civilian experts to conflict affected countries to help re-establish peace and security; to support cross government planning for stabilisation; and to draw lessons from our involvement in conflict affected countries. At the end of 2010, the unit had more than160 people deployed ove rseas, in places such as Kosovo and Pakistan.

During 2010 we worked to improve our approach to stabilisation. The unit now has an expanded remit to support conflict prevention, as well as to respond to post-conflict scenarios. We have also strengthened the coopera tion between our civilian and military efforts in order to improve the cohesiveness of our stabilisation response. In 2011 we will launch new stabilisation response teams, which will aim to integrate defence, development and diplomacy still further in stabilisation missions.

When providing security and justice advice and expertise, the unit attempts to ensure that a country¶s police and security forces are accountable and encourage human rights compliance. For example, in Liberia the unit funded a police leadership programme, which briefs police trainees on the human rights implications of their actions. The unit has also assisted countries such as Brazil in developing their own civilian response to conflict and has worked to build the capacity of international organisations, including the UN, EU, AU and NATO, to deploy civilian expertise for stabilisation missions.

A key focus for our work has been the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Secretary -General¶s 2009 report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, particularly by encouraging greater coordination between the UN secretariat, UN agencies, donors and bilateral actors. We have also supported the UN -led review of international civilian capacity, which is due to report in March 2011, in order to

improve the availability of civilian experts to deliver peacebuilding in post conflict states.

We support the work of the UN¶s Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the P eacebuilding Fund to promote stability in countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi, the Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau. The Peacebuilding Commission has a key role in encouraging these countries to address issues including the rule of law; impunity; access to justice; the provision of basic services; and respect for human rights. The Peacebuilding Commission has made a good start since its foundation in 2005, but we would like to see it demonstrate greater impact at the country level. The Peacebuilding Fund has contributed to a wide range of national peacebuilding and human rights activity in -country, for example by supporting diplomatic activities in Burundi which enabled the start of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process of former soldiers; and in the
Central African Republic , where nearly 96,000 children have improved

access to formal and informal education, training, support and health care .

Private military and security companies

The private military and security company industry provides essential security services for governments, private companies and humanitarian actors in difficult and dangerous environments. Their services, in particular armed services, also carry serious human rights risks. On 16 Septem ber, the Government announced it would promote high standards of private security worldwide to minimise these risks. It also committed to introducing robust regulation in the UK through a trade association based on a voluntary industry code of conduct agreed with and monitored by the Government; using our position as a key buyer of private military and security companies¶ services to promote compliance with the code; and supporting the agreement of international standards, consistent with the UK code, that would cover all aspects of private security company organisation and operation worldwide.

In November, 60 private military and security companies from across the globe signed a code of conduct. By signing this code, the private military and security companies will signal to potential clients, host governments and civil society that their companies intend to operate to the highest standards. We are now incorporating this code into our contracts and will only award contracts to those companies that can show they are meeting the code¶s standards. In 2011 we will work with the industry, civil society and other states to establish an international and independent governance and compliance mechanism to enforce the code.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful