Women’s Role in DDR

By: Julia Rachiele

Women’s role in society is significantly overlooked in many aspects of life, and up until recently this included DDR processes.  DDR is a process that is to be integrated into society to be successful, specifically reintegration measures, to achieve this one can not undermine the power of women. Even if not playing an active role in combat, the capacity of women to influence conflict and post-conflict situations is an asset if utilized properly.  Women facilitate the functioning of roles and social systems in society, and it is only appropriate that this also applies to the success of DDR initiatives.

It is well known that women hold together the social structure of society including family bonds, social interaction, and community values.  This makes women an invaluable resource in upholding the goals of DDR.  Having acknowledged these two main points, they must be taken into consideration.  The need for DDR resources including psycho-social programs and economic programs specifically designed for women, and the ability to integrate women into overall DDR programming.  

Non combatant female roles and female dependents during conflict experience comparable trauma to men, however the manifestations and therefore the ways of coping differ greatly.  Female specific programs are a necessity in assisting women in overcoming the traumas of war even if they played passive roles.  Women who play passive support roles such as cooking, cleaning, and organizational roles are just as involved in conflict as men.  Similarly women and female child dependents of male combatants suffer hardships as well in living the life of being part of a combatant’s nuclear family.  As a result female specific mental health and medical attention need to be made gender specific through the utilization of specially trained counselors and doctors.

Women’s role in DDR goes farther than purely providing services to women.  DDR also includes integrating women in the DDR programs themselves, specifically, in community aspects.  As women are the protectors of social circles and have the responsibility of upholding families, they are valuable in upholding the goals of DDR as well.  Whether it is with women forming their own collectives in jumpstarting local economies, or being a fundamental stakeholder in protecting DDR successes, women are vital.  This is because women are able to enforce rules of DDR programs through mitigating the power that men hold.  They are able to structure society in such a way that women are able to stand in solidarity against what might be the desires of men to disrupt DDR successes.  While also ensuring that children and dependents are unable to sustain mentalities that may bring about new conflicts.

To underestimate the roles women play in society is not advisable in DDR planning.  Women are a vital and underacknowldged resource in post conflict society building.  Integrating women in DDR programs is a way to safeguard society in continuing successful reintegration processes and prevent a fall back into conflict.

A Gender Perspective in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

By: Lina Castellanos

Reintegration of ex-combatants is one of the main challenges in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration processes. Not only ex-combatants need to be given mechanisms for a sustainable reintegration, but they also need to have the determination to engage in what will be a complex long-term process. Still, one of the most relevant aspects in reintegration is the contribution and participation of society as a whole. Social Absorption –the ability of a community, economy and/or country to include ex-combatants as active full members of the society- is determinant when contemplating a sustainable reintegration. A national feeling of ownership of the process in which citizens are taken into account when planning and implementing DDR is crucial, but even more important is the ability of society to accept ex-combatants and participate in the absorption itself. The willingness to understand and accept that not all ex-combatants are the same, having in mind their live experiences, stories and roles in the past can contribute to planning and implementing accurate mechanisms for reintegration.  

The Second Generation of DDR caseloads were no longer exclusively military male (which was the case in the first generation). Women and children were now new actors within armed conflicts. However, their experiences, roles and needs are often under-represented. In the case of women, considering all as victims or simply supporters of male combatants is inaccurate. Women’s experiences and roles inside armed conflicts are numerous and diverse. It is clear that some women experienced sexual slavery, forced sterilization, abortion, the suppression of their femininity and other traumatizing consequences in the context of conflict. Yet, others committed crimes, had coordination responsibilities or for example, were given nursery roles. Not all women experienced the same, and not all fit in the stereotypical conception of women perceived as caring, protective and maternal; some of them actually don’t want to fit in those categories.

Understanding the complexity of individual experiences and expectations will enable a realistic absorption capacity. Considering women’s perspectives, opinions and needs in peace-building is fundamental for sustainable reintegration. Women have the ability of bringing communities together, rebuilding societies and fostering a culture of peace. In that sense, the inclusion of women in DDR is not only a duty but a benefit for society in general. Conditions that allow demobilized women to become productive members of their communities must be one of the main goals in reintegration processes because the failure to do so can jeopardize the whole DDR.

A gender perspective in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

Lina Castellanos

Reintegration of ex-combatants is one of the main challenges in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration processes. Not only ex-combatants need to be given mechanisms for a sustainable reintegration, but they also need to have the determination to engage in what will be a complex long-term process. Still, one of the most relevant aspects in reintegration is the contribution and participation of society as a whole. Social Absorption –the ability of a community, economy and/or country to include ex-combatants as active full members of the society- is determinant when contemplating a sustainable reintegration. A national feeling of ownership of the process in which citizens are taken into account when planning and implementing DDR is crucial, but even more important is the ability of society to accept ex-combatants and participate in the absorption itself. The willingness to understand and accept that not all ex-combatants are the same, having in mind their live experiences, stories and roles in the past can contribute to planning and implementing accurate mechanisms for reintegration.

The Second Generation of DDR caseloads were no longer exclusively military male (which was the case in the first generation). Women and children were now new actors within armed conflicts. However, their experiences, roles and needs are often under-represented. In the case of women, considering all as victims or simply supporters of male combatants is inaccurate. Women’s experiences and roles inside armed conflicts are numerous and diverse. It is clear that some women experienced sexual slavery, forced sterilization, abortion, the suppression of their femininity and other traumatizing consequences in the context of conflict. Yet, others committed crimes, had coordination responsibilities or for example, were given nursery roles. Not all women experienced the same, and not all fit in the stereotypical conception of women perceived as caring, protective and maternal; some of them actually don’t want to fit in those categories.

Understanding the complexity of individual experiences and expectations will enable a realistic absorption capacity. Considering women’s perspectives, opinions and needs in peace-building is fundamental for sustainable reintegration. Women have the ability of bringing communities together, rebuilding societies and fostering a culture of peace. In that sense, the inclusion of women in DDR is not only a duty but a benefit for society in general. Conditions that allow demobilized women to become productive members of their communities must be one of the main goals in reintegration processes because the failure to do so can

 

 

SSR, Statebuilding and Why the Two Go Together in Haiti

Statebuilding is an endogenous political process where a nation-state looks to strengthen its capacity to provide security and justice, to improve its management of political affairs, and to better promote social and economic development. To do this, a state needs to focus on developing the state institutions necessary for it to effectively govern and protect its territorial boundaries.

At its core, statebuilding is also about the relationship that a state has with its society. A state has to demonstrate its political and public authority, by way of its institutional and organizational capacity, in order to maintain its legitimacy within its own society as well as among international stakeholders. The state-societal relationship is characterized by:

  • How power is distributed between the rich and the poor as well as the political processes that connects society and state;
  • the ability and response rate of the state in being able to fulfill its main responsibilities and to deliver services to its people; and
  • overall societal expectations and perceptions of what the state should be doing, how it should engage with society and whether society can express its demands and actually be heard (OECD 2011).

The goal of statebuilding therefore is to translate these three components into policy action. Given that “statebuilding is not a linear process, [and] securing physical control over a territory [is] necessary to create the conditions for building state capacity to deliver public goods, and accountability and responsiveness to a broader range of citizens,” SSR is fundamentally a statebuilding process (OECD 2011). SSR, as it has been conducted to date, has overemphasized the technical aspect of developing or bolstering security sector organizations  “rather than on the politics of creating states” (Jackson 2001). The result that this has produced are entities resembling states but absent of the legitimacy and authority to function as a state or to even be respected as such by the majority of their populations.

Another major challenge of recent SSR mandates is that these endeavors have been externally led rather than championed an “innately political process that should be conceptualized as an outgrowth of the wider political transition” (Sedra 2010). This troublesome reality has thereby contributed to observed failures of SSR attempts in places like Somalia, Iraq, Timor-Leste and Sierre Leone among others (Jackson 2011). In order for a country like Haiti to uphold the rule of law, ensure a balance of power between various societal stakeholders (so as to curtain their ability to undermine the state), protect the rights of its citizens, to foster economic development and to raise revenue in order to better deliver public services, Haiti has to be at the forefront of its own SSR processes while maintaining short-term international support.

In order to reinforce Haiti’s statehood by way of an improved security sector, the Haitian National Police (HNP) should be decentralized into departmental units. There is no country that readily comes to mind where a police force is tasked with securing an entire nation as opposed to securing several distinct cities and/or states within that nation. Haiti also needs to utilize SSR as a tool by which to better engage civil society actors so that there is a framework for sustained public participation within the security sector. Opportunities for important representative groups and the public at large to dialogue regularly in a safe and open environment can facilitate the emergence of community-led solutions to violence prevention and reduction as opposed to the fear-based and heavy handed approach that the HNP often resorts to in complex situations.

Ultimately, the Haitian government has to look at SSR as one of many necessary policy tools that will enable it to take a comprehensive approach in tackling the socioeconomic and wellbeing concerns of its people. The perpetual and unacceptable abject poverty that Haiti continues to struggle with is by far the country’s biggest security threat. To move from persistent crisis to a stable path of sustained development, social and economic security has to be approach in tandem.

Bangsamoro and DDR: Is it really going through DDR?

Submitted by: Llaura Garcia

One of the agreements in recent years that came about was the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro, formerly known as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), was an insurgency group in Mindanao, Philippines (the southern part of the country). The engaged in terrorist activities with the goal of being independent from the Philippines. They wanted independence until 2011 when they decided to go for a substate status instead. While the idea of peace agreement is ideal, I do wonder if the entire process of DDR will be followed through or if it’s necessary. The agreement is essentially a ceasefire agreement but I don’t see them completely disarming, demobilizing, or reintegrating. The agreement does have elements of DDR but not to the same extent as other DDR operations.

The Bangsmoro agreement was about the Bangsmoro having a way to govern themselves. Essentially, the agreement has a similar relationship to the central government that the US states has with the federal government. What I find fascinating about this agreement is that it is about the expansion of the powers by Bangsamoro. For example, it is stated in section 3.6 that, “the customary rights and traditions of indigenous peoples shall be taken into consideration in the formation of the Bansmoro’s justice system.” The Bangsmoro, who were guilty of terrorist acts, will not only get to be a substate –but will have the opportunity to create their own laws, govern themselves, have the power to levy taxes, get grants from outside institutions or organizations, generating their own revenue, and could expand their territory should certain areas decide to be included in the agreement. While this agreement is certainly more preferable to war and other terrorist acts, (as an outside observer), it is difficult to see how the people would be willing to live with the result of the agreement and normalize the relationship with those involved.

According to the Bangsmoro agreement (Section 8), the parties involved will participate in normalizing the relationship of those involved to ensure human security, maintain human rights, the MILF themselves are in charge of their own “demobilization” while the functions of the AFP to police will be transferred to the Bangsmoro, disbandment of private armies, reduction and control of firearms, rehabilitate ex-combatants, considering the needs of the IDPs, and creating a transitional justice system to address grievances. While I find that peace will always be my choice to fighting, the peace agreement doesn’t seem to be the most peaceful agreement since the group are in charge of their own demobilization, they can generate their own revenue, and there’s very minimal talk about oversite to ensure that the process is moving forward. I like the idea of Filipinos not fighting against each other but it worries me that loopholes will be found and some of the generated revenue will go to the “demobilized” or disenfranchised men who sympathizes or has relations with terrorist organizations like Abu Sayyaf and Al Qaida.

VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND THE RE-SHAPING OF PEACE OPERATIONS: DDR, CVE AND THE NEED FOR NEW POLICY GUIDANCE.

United Nations (UN) peace efforts, and particularly peace operations, are often reviewed according their ability to adapt to ever changing contexts. The latter is reflected in two particular aspects: how should the UN engage in a particular peace mission or operations; how should the UN guide its transition processes during peace operations and missions. Both these questions are linked to the aspects of planning and the tools and frameworks the UN’s Security Council is taking into account when developing peace missions mandates.
Considering the above mentioned, currently Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programming is facing the challenge of adapting to the context of combating and/or countering violent extremism. This is particularly challenging as DDR as a political strategy for post-conflict management is now being planned to start operating in contexts in which military operations are ongoing and the prospects for achieving peace remain unclear, signifying a complete change from traditional and second generation DDR approaches. In these sense, DDR is challenged by the question of whether it can help demobilize and disengage combatants. How DDR ought to be planned in such context, and how will this political strategy adapt for it to be able to still deliver to its objectives? Do DDR benchmarks also need to change?
I argue that DDR must consider the following in order to quickly adapt is role in peace operations and keep its effectiveness for contributing to conflict management: a) It needs to be both flexible in terms of adapting to local contexts but should not lack the consideration of reformed and updated peace frameworks; b) planning for DDR mandates by the Security Council must be done taking into account the current fragmented programming issues that the United Nations is facing; c) to ensure that the DDR strategy responds to local needs, as well as to reduce coordination and collaboration issues among implementing actors (UN actors, local governments, non-government organizations and communities) DDR planning should fundamentally be on-field focused and people-oriented.
Regarding how DDR will or should adapt to new contexts of violent extremism, I believe one key aspect is benchmarking. Benchmarking implies that DDR will be clearly planned, thus avoiding undertaking mandates that are loose in frameworks and policy guidance; benchmarking DDR would then respond to the particularities of the context and would help guide DDR when lacking a peace framework and pre-conditions.
Additionally, aspects related to sequencing and expansions of caseloads are two key elements to consider when trying to keep DDR as a strategy in contexts facing violent extremism. On the first hand, if DD is less possible, then focusing on reintegration of victims or vulnerable populations is one step to prevent mobilization or engagement as well as to advance on efforts regarding helping communities to develop absorption capabilities. This is just one particular example.
DDR is a relevant tool for peace, thus starting to think how to reach a third generation DDR and combine it with all the UN peace transformations to make it context-responsive is an urgent and current step.

Exploring the DDR and SSR Nexus in State Building

In order to promote post-conflict peace through disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) in war afflicted countries, there has to be security. Primarily, affected countries have to guarantee minimum assurances of security in order for a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the very premise of which DDR efforts are built off of, to be upheld – let alone enforced. Understanding the role of Security Sector Reform (SSR) in post-conflict settings therefore becomes just as important as the implementation of DDR itself, especially given the role of divergent political interests, institutional deficiencies and the resulting lawlessness that provokes insecurity in the first place. DDR and SSR are inherently political activities that greatly impact a nation’s sovereignty as well as its capacity not only in executing these approaches but to ultimately lead its people through improved governance. For this reason, a substantive understanding and evaluation of what is often termed ‘the DDR and SSR nexus’ is critical to not only guiding a country’s post-conflict recovery process but to also promoting its long-term national development.

To be clear, both DDR and SSR are necessary to obtaining lasting peace as a country looks to overcome its war induced atrocities and move towards its long-term national development. At the same time, the conceptual linkage between DDR and SSR has been more readily observed than the implementation of an actual coordinated approach to the two processes have been in practice DDR is committed to advancing peace and security in post-conflict environments through recovery initiatives such as addressing the individual wellbeing of ex-combatants and affected communities in a manner that arguably fosters a sense of nation building among a war-affected populace. SSR on the other hand is more so concerned with peace building by strengthening state institutions themselves as a way of further protecting said populations.

Notwithstanding this reality, the conceptual linkage between the two processes has been more apparent than an actual achievement of a coordinated approach to implementing the two in practice. This largely has to do with the fact that DDR has had a more substantive history with UN engagement while SSR is a more recent endeavor as a complementary component to, as well as extension of, DDR efforts that seeks to maintain lasting peace beyond the conflict incident itself. The UN has recently posited however that a failure to approach DDR and SSR in concert with one another can unintentionally serve to completely undermine overall security efforts.

As a result, I am interested in conducting a case study analysis of Liberia and Haiti in terms of their utility of both DDR and SSR. Liberia employed DDR and SSR under a democratically elected president who maintained popular support in Liberia’s post-war setting. This context is an interesting one within which to explore United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) endeavor to achieve stability and lasting peace.

Haiti is also of interest because the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, was initiated in 2004 without the necessary pre-DDR conditions that would typically be required for this approach. Additionally, MINUSTAH attempted to employ DDR alongside ongoing SSR efforts while Haiti was under a transitional government. The reality that the UN did not pursue Haiti in DDR after the first coup d’etat towards Aristide in 1991, most likely because the situation did not meet typical DDR requirements, provides an interesting backdrop for why DDR was the method of choice after his second coup d’etat. Evaluating the implications that this had on state building, given Haiti’s turbulent post-dictatorship political history, may speak to the political context necessary for an integrated DDR/SSR approach to be effective.

The Evaluation of DDR and CIP in Afghanistan

DDR in Afghanistan is one of the main pillars for their SSR(Security Sector Reform). According to the document, DDR was the most successful pillar out of the five pillars. The key part of the DDR process was the success at the political level. It helped the restructuring and reorganization of the Afghan National Army and the National Police. The document claims that the ANBP was a success due to its’ management, results, and impacts. However, we have to ask the question, did it meet the strategic objective of breaking command and control?

Overall, I would have to say that this was overall not successful. Of course, it brought a mixed bag of results The CIP did bring the commanders back in to civilian life. The first part of the DDR program, disarmament was a success. However, when we are talking about the success of a DDR program, we need all three departments to click which did not happen here. Demobilization and reinsertion were not achieved and therefore, reintegration was not a success.”We find that the R of commanders should have been better planned, and earlier: it should have been well on the way to being put in place before the disarmament and demobilization started. Disarmament should have been quickly followed by the delivery of promised reinsertion activities and reintegration incentives (pg. 23).” Also trust seemed to be a key reason, things did not go to plan.

The targeting structure of the commanders was initially a good idea considering the power they had and also the instability that is in the region. Therefore, this plan was understandable. However, there were problems that came up. The commanders remained close to the soldiers and knew their movements. There has to be more innovative ways in order to take this route of having the commanders in the program.

I believe without question this was a “buy out package.” The document even admitted this by stating that it was a “buy them off program.”  In the long run, it did not really help much and therefore, it just seemed like a temporary solution which was just papering the cracks over the real problem.

Overall, as we can see, it is very difficult to come up with proper solutions and to make the DDR program a real success. As we saw in this instance, the disarmament part of the program ended up working out but the other two parts ended up basically falling apart. This goes to show precise the planning and management has to be in order for a program to succeed.

By: Ahnaf Ahmed

Haiti and Changing DDR Dynamics

By Timothy Koch, graduate student of International Affairs at The New School.

The DDR operation that occurred in Haiti is a prime example of the ever changing dynamic of DDR and the need for DDR operators to be able to adapt to any situation that they are faced with.  Even though Haiti is seen as a failure in some eyes we must remember that through failure we can learn from our mistakes and become closer to success.

Haiti showed us the need for DDR operators to be able to work with all different types of conflict offenders.  The gangs in Haiti were one of the primary causes of conflict, and unlike DDR operations before in Haiti there were no uniforms and rigid power structures.  Operators were no longer dealing with seasoned veteran military commanders potentially from prior liberation struggles, but were now dealing with gun and drug running hoods that in many cases lacked the respect for DDR and its goals.  These gangsters saw no reason to discontinue their operations as they were making too much money and did not think their lifestyle was flawed.  There weren’t many incentives that DDR operators could offer them in an attempt to persuade them to give up their ways.  They were living the highlife compared to many others in Haiti and the operators had to meet this challenge.  It was no longer a military member making a basic wage, in this situation it was now gangsters potentially making hundreds of thousands of dollars by being a drug transport hub to the city of Miami and Dade County.

The example of Haiti also showed us how DDR operators must prepare for non-conventional power structures within a country.  Prior operators would be dealing with major political factions and rebel groups along with semi established governmental entities and in Haiti this was not the case.  The gangs replaced the rebel groups and political factions; however in Haiti the ruling elite held a massive control on power relations within the country.  Just like the gangs these selfish power elite profited from the lack of governmental control within the country and were extremely resistant to DDR operations.  Incentives could not be offered to these people as they had everything they wanted.  They were living at the expense of normal Haitian citizens and wanted to continue to do so.  This power dynamic made it very difficult for DDR operators to do their job.

These changing dynamics that characterize the Haiti DDR project perfectly exemplify the need for DDR operators to be able to keep an open mindset and not be rigid in their ways of thinking.  Also it shows the need for them to be able to adapt to different power relations and conflict structures.  DDR operators cannot be traditional people who are stuck in their ways of thinking and this is becoming ever more relevant in the world of today.    DDR operators must constantly be innovating their prior failures because as we know failure can breed success.

Women and War – Julia Rachiele

The role of women in war has existed long before discourse on the topic came into being.  This blog post will focus on the similarities of female combatants reintegrating during the  DDR process, and female United States veterans reintegrating back into civilian life after discharge. Having spent four years researching the topic of female veterans and how the lack of gender specific services causes higher homelessness rates, it was interesting to learn about the struggles of reintegrating female combatants.  There are many issues that arise in providing services to women who are actively and formerly involved in combat.  Consideration needs to be taken, not only in the immediate needs of female fighters, but also the psychological.

Women’s wartime experiences differ from that of men.  While women might be actively involved in combat, more goes into the female fighter narrative.  Women tend to also play major supportive roles to male fighters.  This hold true for US female military as they were not officially able to participate in combat until recently.  However, unofficial combat roles did exist.  Support roles during war have shown, in some instances, to be more psychologically damaging than combat experiences.  Support roles can range from cooking, organization, and administrative work to clean up after combat (removing bodies).  These roles are overlooked and underestimated in their importance and psychological tole.  Women also have to deal with the added burden of sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment includes verbal comments, gestures, unwanted physical contact, and rape.  Even if avenues existed to report sexual harassment, it has been shown that the stigma behind wartime sexual harassment prevents women from doing so.  All of these additional challenges during wartime cause women to have a more difficult time reintegrating back into society afterwards.

The difference in psychological needs of women coupled with the unique experiences of war, make it more difficult for women to reintegrate successfully.  Women generally have significantly different psychological requirements than men, meaning that female centered services need to be provided if one wants to see successful reintegration.  More female centered and female run psychological services need to be employed to address this need.  This becomes even more important when women are facing PTSD and sexual assault trauma.  Men and women cope differently, so the male centered services offered through DDR and Veterans Affairs are not adequate.  Another important aspect not widely considered for female fighters is their responsibility as a parental caregiver, and experiences of their home lives.  It has been noted that women go into conflict as a way of escaping non-ideal home lives, so when the women return there is a lack of stability leading to more issues.  This is exacerbated when the women are the primary caregiver to children.  Women are then not only responsible for themselves but also their children’s lives.  The additional pressure of children makes it more difficult psychologically and puts women under more stress.  Women fighters need to be consulted when crafting reintegration services to ensure they are what is needed.

Designing services for female fighters is something that has not been perfected even in developed countries such as the United States.  Female veterans are 3 times more likely to be homeless than their female civilian counterparts.  This mean that DDR programs for female combatants needs to be done in a way that truly meets the needs of the population.  Using techniques available to men or even models that have worked for women in other countries will not suffice.  Female fighter reintegration is a context driven initiative and needs to be treated as so.