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  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Myanmar is one of the ethnically most diverse countries in the world and throughout its existence as an independent state has experienced a complex set of conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups seeking autonomy. While the world's attention for the past decade has focused on the struggle between the military government and the political opposition over national power, these underlying conflicts perhaps represent a more fundamental and intractable obstacle to peace, development and democracy.
  • Topic: Development, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) commencing on 3 May 2003 is an opportunity to assess frankly and honestly the records of the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. If the chance is grasped to push for reform in a more coordinated and concerted way, the controversial decision to hold this meeting in Tashkent will prove well justified. If it is not, and any impression is left that the location of the meeting is a mark of approval for Uzbekistan's current policies, there is a major risk of further deterioration in both the economic and security climate in Central Asia.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Tajikistan's experience in ending a brutal civil war and integrating opposition factions into government has won deserved praise. Major advances have been made in security around the country, and stability has improved significantly over the past two years. Yet the economic situation remains dire; Tajikistan is one of the twenty poorest countries in the world. Widespread poverty continues to fuel a major drugtrafficking business and provides potential breeding grounds for Islamist militant or other extremist groups. There is a serious need to use development assistance to build a viable state in this geopolitically vital part of Central Asia.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Tajikistan
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Driven by growing pressure on the battlefield, increasing international isolation and a sense that the time is ripe for political gains, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has engaged in a ceasefire with government forces since 29 January 2003. A 22- point “code of conduct” has been reached that will serve essentially as the military ground rules while peace negotiations proceed, although unfortunately each side has already accused the other of persistent violations and no strong, independent verification process is in place.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Nepal
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A presidential instruction (Inpres) issued in January 2003 to divide Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province, into three parts has done more to create tension and turmoil there than any government action in years. The instruction undercuts a special autonomy law passed by the parliament in November 2001 that assumed the province to be a single territorial unit, and it has thrown Papua's administrative status into legal limbo. It undermines moderate intellectuals who saw special autonomy as a way of strengthening Papuan institutions and encouraging independence supporters to work within the Indonesian state. It has infuriated many Papuans, pro-independence and pro-autonomy alike, who have a deep attachment to Papua as a single political unit with a distinct history and who see the decree as a divide-and-rule tactic by Jakarta. All major religious leaders in the province have come out against it.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The resurgence of the religious parties in the October 2002 elections portends ill for Pakistan's political, cultural and social stability. For the first time in the country's history, an alliance of six major religious parties – the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) – has won power in two provinces, vowing to Islamise state and society through Taliban-like policies. The MMA based its electoral campaign on Islam and anti-U.S. slogans, targeting President Pervez Musharraf's pro-U.S. policies and pledging the enforcement of Sharia law. It now runs the government in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), bordering on Afghanistan, and shares power in Baluchistan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, South Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The establishment of an Interim Administration for Afghanistan during the Bonn talks in December 2001 was heralded as offering Afghan women a chance to claim their place in public life and participate in the country's development after systemic exclusion under the Taliban. Creation of a Ministry of Women's Affairs, the commitment of substantial donor assistance to programs targeting women, and, most critically, the return of women to universities, schools, and government offices all portended a new day.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Taliban
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 9 December 2002, an agreement on cessation of hostilities in Aceh was concluded in Geneva, bringing hope that an end to the 26-year-old conflict between Indonesian government forces and guerrillas of the pro-independence Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or GAM) was in sight. Since then there have been many positive developments, most strikingly, a dramatic drop in the level of violence.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Geneva, United States, Central Asia, Indonesia
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since October 2001, Uzbekistan has been a key ally of the U.S. in the military campaign in Afghanistan. A U.S. base has been established and a far-reaching Agreement on Strategic Partnership was signed in March 2002. Uzbekistan, however, sits uncomfortably in a campaign known as “Enduring Freedom.” It is one of the most authoritarian of the post-Soviet states, with a poor record on human rights and an economy that still owes much more to Soviet central planning than the market.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Central Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Afghanistan's legal system has collapsed. Never strong to begin with, it has been nearly destroyed by 23 years of conflict and misrule. There are few trained lawyers, little physical infrastructure and no complete record of the country's laws. Under successive regimes, laws have been administered for mostly political ends with few protections of the rights of individuals to a fair trial. Although the country has signed up to most international agreements on human rights, abuses have been widespread, and military commanders have enjoyed impunity.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia