Reports we Support

 In November 2018, The Peace Research Partnership (PRP) discussed challenges related to gender mainstreaming in research within conflict settings.

 


 

PRP, comprised of Saferworld, International Alert, Conciliation Resources, and UK Aid,  is a programme aimed at conducting research on “inclusive economic development, peace processes and institutions, and on identifying how gender dynamics can drive conflict or peace” in conflict-affected regions. The coalition conducted six case studies and workshops in November 2018 in London.  In 2019, as a result of the case studies and in order to provide background to the issues discussed in the workshops, analyses on the primary challenges to gender mainstreaming, ethics, safeguarding, and recommendations, the final report was written.

 

The PRP’s report defines gender as the ways in which people are socially, culturally, and historically categorised as ‘female’ and ‘male’, including the effect this classification has on their everyday lives. Most often gender is aligned with biological sex assigned to the person at birth, varies across different cultures and may be subject to change over time. The concept of gender is also seen to examine the relations between male and female-identifying persons. The relations influence how the two are organised, as well as how power and resources are distributed. Notably, the meaning of gender can change before and after conflict. 

 

Gender mainstreaming is “a process to ensure that women’s and men’s (or boys’ and girls’) and those with other gender identities’ concerns and experiences are integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all legislation, policies, and programmes.” There are two gender mainstreaming approaches: the integrationist and the transformationalist. The former emphasizes the value of integrating gender into research whereas the transformationalist approach focuses on the transformational effect a gender mainstreaming approach may have on organisations, policies and practices. It also champions gender equality and aims to change power relations between genders. 

 

As a result of the two-day workshop, the organizations found that representation and gender balance in research teams, as well as gender expertise (gender advisers), are important to ensure intersectional gender mainstreaming in research. Additionally, the coalition recommended that researchers strive for equal and mutually beneficial partnerships whereas consultancies should put more emphasis on transformationalist gender mainstreaming. The research design must ensure the widest possible reach and variety of voices.

 

Additionally, the coalition examined their ethics of research, and developed “principles grounded in securing informed consent and the baseline principle of ‘do not harm.’” Ethics of research emphasizes the importance of providing training for staff and understanding the risks of research, as well as ensuring confidentiality and support for research participants. In contrast, the prevention of risks researchers pose to others in their practices, such as sexual exploitation and re-traumatisation, is covered by the concept of safeguarding and involves individual researchers and participants.

 

Another finding emerging from the report is “research fatigue”, a concept experienced by many research participants. More specifically, the participants may feel they are being over-researched and caught up in the constant flow of questions yet, they do not benefit from the research and no visible results are being achieved. In order to prevent this, it is crucial that research teams conduct background studies to determine whether they are likely to bring more benefit than harm. Additionally, researchers must receive extensive research training to prevent misconduct, learning to build ethical and safeguarding views into their research. Lastly, researchers and organizations must always reflect on the purposes of their research: determine who benefits from the knowledge created through research and if it is the people who are directly affected by the issues being studied.



To read the full report, please visit:

 

https://www.saferworld.org.uk/resources/publications/1209-doing-research-in-conflict-settings-gender-mainstreaming-and-ethics

 

Author: Giulia DeLuca; Editor: Aleksandra Król

A presentation of “Complicated Delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care” written by Medecins sans Frontières (MSF) offers an insight into healthcare inaccessibility in Yemen.

 


From November 2018 to February 2019, MSF collected data by using health indicators from 2016-2018 MSF medical reports. They also conducted ten semi-structured interviews with patients, caretakers, and medical facility staff in MSF’s Taiz Houban Mother and Child Hospital and MSF supported hospital in Abs Hajjah. Although the findings of the report are not representative of the entire country, but its recommendations are applicable nationwide.

The war in Yemen escalated in 2014 when the Houthis Shia rebel group took control of the capital, Sanaa, forcing President Hadi into exile. In order to restore public order and bring the power back to the government, in March 2015, the Saudi and Emirati Coalition (SELC), backed by the US, UK, and France, began aerial strikes on the Houthis. This intervention resulted in increased violence which has made the poorest country in the Middle East even more fragile.

“[B]etween 2016 and 2018, there were 860 deaths of reported in Taiz Houban – 17 mothers, 242 children and 601 newborns. Of these deaths, 227 were children and newborns who were dead on arrival,” with the number increasing every year. As of March 2019, no public hospital in the Taiz governorate has been fully functioning, however, with the support of MSF and other international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), three of the five hospitals in Taiz city centre remain partially open. In the Hajjah governorate, mothers have to travel long distances to receive care, which is worsened by the mountainous character of the terrain surrounding the district of Abs.  As MSF’s Taiz Houban hospital manager describes, sometimes patients cannot travel because of violence and “women are waiting until the last minute to make the dangerous journey to receive care,”. Medical complications during pregnancy become very deadly and infants need high-level newborn care. In Abs Hajjah, “the facility recorded the deaths of 705 people – 19 mothers, 269 children and 417 newborns. Among the 417 neonates, 106 died on the day of arrival between 2016 and 2018.”

Additionally, economic vulnerability leads to high mortality rates and limits the freedom to choose medical facilities. In Yemen, purchasing power is 148 percent lower than in pre-crisis period and although private healthcare was not free and sometimes unavailable in rural areas , it was affordable for many people with regards to transport and financial means. Separately, while public workers have received partial or no salaries since August 2016, payments resumed in 2018 if workers were employed under an internationally recognized government.Currently, because most medical facilities remain private, with high costs of treatment,  most patients choose free MSF facilities which are not always accessible to civilians living in rural areas or on the frontlines.  

Traveling to medical facilities is dangerous, especially for those crossing the frontlines. There is often a lot of violence and tension at the checkpoints controlled by different warring parties. Eftekar, a patient from Ibb governorate recalls: “The road from home to the hospital is not safe. In the past, we can take pregnant women to the hospitals at night but now we cannot... there is a risk we will be shot. Movements are allowed only from 6 am to 6 pm.”

MSF arrived at five recommendations that all actors should follow in order to save lives and so that International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is not violated:

  1. All parties in conflict must cease attacks on medical facilities and respect the protected status of civilians, and medical and humanitarian staff.
  2. There must be a clearer and faster way for humanitarian staff to enter Yemen.
  3. Humanitarian organizations should increase efforts to ensure that staff is specialized and experienced in order to provide quality and timely care.
  4. The bureaucracy should not impede upon the transport of lifesaving drugs and devices. 
  5. Access to humanitarian services in rural and district-level areas.

To learn more, visit:

https://www.msf.org/complicated-delivery-yemeni-mothers-and-children-dying-without-medical-care

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44466574

 

Author: Giulia DeLuca; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

 

Geneva Call is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization aiming at promoting respect, by Armed Non-State Actors (ANSAs), for international humanitarian norms, thereby enhancing their compliance with their obligations under international law.  

In September 2018, Geneva Call issued a Report based upon the second edition of the Garance Talks. The meeting was held in 2017 and brought together ANSAs and experts from academia and various NGOs, to discuss the current challenges faced by ANSAs in the administration of justice. The core sessions of the 2017 Garance Talks addressed three related issues: i) the legal basis for the establishment of courts and judicial processes by ANSAs and in territories controlled by them; ii) deprivation of liberty by ANSAs, including the treatment of detainees; and iii) the procedural safeguards, rights and protection of detainees.

The administration of justice by armed groups is a frequent feature in armed conflicts. Practice shows that ANSAs often try their own forces, enemies and civilians. Obviously, the condition is that, when exercising this prerogative, they respect certain judicial guarantees. Notwithstanding this practice, however,  the legal basis for the establishment of such judicial mechanisms still remains unclear.

Common Article 3 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949 (CA3), which applies to non-international armed conflicts (NIACs), affirms that the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgements pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people is prohibited with respect to persons taking no active part in hostilities. Additional Protocol II of 1977 (APII) then develops and supplements CA3, by establishing certain fundamental fair trial guarantees, such as the obligation to inform without delay, the principle of the individual criminal responsibility, the principle of legality, the presumption of innocence and privilege against self-incrimination.

Within this legal framework, some have interpreted the concept of “regularly constituted court” as only referring to a judicial mechanism established in accordance with the constitutional laws of the State. Accepting this interpretation would, however, mean recognizing that IHL does not allow armed groups to set up a parallel judicial system, completely separate from that of the State, with all the limitations that this view would bring (for instance, conflicts only fought between NSAGs would not be covered).

In this respect, the present Report proposes an alternative reading, based on the principle of equality of belligerents. According to this view, while the administration of justice is a governmental function par excellence, it is contended that, in the context of NIAC, international humanitarian law (IHL) creates equal obligations upon States and ANSAs. It follows that armed groups, like State actors, are granted the possibility to install judicial mechanisms based on their own regulations.

Unfortunately, the position just advanced raises some problematic scenarios. Many of these ANSAs, in particular those with a lower level of organization, have less potential to guarantee an administration of justice in accordance with international standards. Some authors have explained that this is due to the fact that they devote a large amount of their resources to their military, but it could also come as a consequence of their lack of knowledge of these safeguards. Moreover, according to their level of organization, ANSAs might not have a proper civil authority to ensure due processes or specific agencies prepared to carry out law enforcement operations.

Some conclusions can be drawn from the 2017 Garance Talks: first, when an ANSA does not have the capacity to respect the above mentioned safeguards, it shall not carry out judicial processes and alternative mechanisms should be sought; second, when the structure of the group varies and it is not stable, it will only carry out judicial processes as long as it has the capacity to do so; third, when the group has the capacity to carry out judicial processes in accordance with those fair trial guarantees recognized by international law, then everything feasible shall be done to respect them in full.

 

 

 

Report available at:

https://genevacall.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2018/09/GaranceTalks_Issue02_Report_2018_web.pdf

To read more:

https://medium.com/law-and-policy/can-armed-groups-legally-establish-their-own-courts-c0842c4b9740

http://blogs.icrc.org/law-and-policy/2018/11/22/administration-of-justice-armed-groups-some-legal-practical-concerns/

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