Peacebuilding Overview

January 26, 2012

Peacebuilding is the set of initiatives by diverse actors, including civil society, to address the root causes of violence and protect civilians before, during, and after violent conflict.

For many years, U.S. nonprofit organizations have helped pave the way for peace by bringing fighting factions together and providing alternatives to violence as a means of redressing grievances. Unfortunately, the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP) upheld the law defining prohibited “material support” of terrorism to include conflict prevention and resolution activities aimed at getting terrorist groups to lay down their arms.

Featured Resources:

Global Fragility Act Passes House

Date: 
May 28, 2019

The Global Fragility Act of 2019 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 20, 2019 on a voice vote. In debate leading up to the vote, House sponsors Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) spoke in favor of the bill.  “This legislation gets at the heart of what we want to see from our diplomatic and development efforts around the world, helping places already torn apart by violence to recover and preventing the start of violence in other places where factors are ripe for its outbreak,” Engel said.

Abstract: Violence Reduction Subsector Review & Evidence Evaluation

Date: 
April 30, 2019

In Violence Reduction Subsector Review & Evidence Evaluation, authors Jessica Baumgardner-Zuzik and Emily Myers, through the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium, seek to identify where peacebuilding programs have “directly correlated to reduced levels of violence” in order to design more targeted programs that directly impact violence and its causes. This is especially relevant because as of the report’s publication, levels of global violent conflict are at a 25-year high, with 402 current violent conflicts and warfare “bleeding more and more from the battlefield into the domestic space.” Traditional peacebuilding methods are not adequate to address national, subnational, or ethnic conflicts, which are far more common than international conflicts.

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In Women’s History Month, Recognize and Promote Women’s Role in Peace Processes

Date: 
March 27, 2019
Author: 
Raquel Dominguez

In 2019, gender inequality is still one of the world’s most pressing issues, including the emergence of protracted armed conflict. These can last up to decades at a time, so that we can no longer rely on the same old methods to end them and establish lasting peace. In particular, that means including more women in the peacebuilding process so as to properly address the concerns of the entire society.

Read more. 

Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Law Enacted

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (S.1158) was signed into law by President Trump on January 14 after passing both the full Senate (on December 12, 2018) and the House of Representatives (December 21, 2018). The bipartisan bill, named after Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, requires a government-wide atrocity prevention strategy, affirms the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board and other practical steps aimed at identifying countries at risk and implementing prevention programs. 

Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act Signed into Law

Date: 
January 17, 2019

The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act (S.1158) was signed into law by President Trump on January 14 after passing both the full Senate (on December 12, 2018) and the House of Representatives (December 21, 2018). The bipartisan bill, named after Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, requires a government-wide atrocity prevention strategy, affirms the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board and other practical steps aimed at identifying countries at risk and implementing prevention programs. The Friends Committee for National Legislation (FCNL), which coordinated a broad coalition of the bill’s supporters, praised the bill's passage. The Charity & Security network is one of more than 70 organizations that signed on to a statement in support of a the bill

Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act Passes House

Date: 
November 28, 2018

Legislation endorsed by the Charity & Security Network passed the U.S. House of Representatives November 27, 2018. 

The Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018 (HR 5273), introduced March 14, 2018, and passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee September 27, would require the U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Defense, and other federal agencies - in collaboration with global civil society - to develop a 10-year strategy to bring down current levels of global violence and better address the root causes of violence, violent conflict, and fragility that drive recurrent global crises. Read more

Analysis: Permissible Activities for Peacebuilders - Based on Statements by U.S. Officials

Date: 
April 14, 2017

Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), peacebuilding organizations have faced significant uncertainty as to what communications with Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) remain permissible under the prohibition on material support of terrorism in 18 USC 2339B.  Although there have been no prosecutions for peacebuilding activities since the decision, the lack of clarity about how it should be interpreted and applied has created a chilling impact on peacebuilding activities, inhibited constitutionally permitted speech and association, and reduced the kinds of contacts that might help prevent/counter violent extremism and terrorism. This fact sheet is intended to provide a measure of clarity by drawing on representations made by the government to the Supreme Court during oral argument and in its brief in the Holder litigation about what it considers to be permissible communications with listed groups.[1] A chart summarizing these statements is included. A PDF of this analysis is available here.

Solutions to Roadblocks to Peacebuilding – Fact Sheet

Efforts related to prevent outbreaks of violence, transform armed conflicts, find peaceful ways to manage conflict, and create the socioeconomic and political conditions for sustainable development and peace continue to be stymied by overbroad U.S. counterterrorism laws and policies. But in 2015 and 2016 there are opportunities for positive change as the Obama administration seeks more creative ways to address the problem of violent extremism.

Save the Date: Webinar - Are My Peacebuilding Activities Permissible?

The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project had a chilling effect on peacebuilders working abroad and left practitioners worrying that their work might run afoul of US counterterrorism law. Seven years later, many of those same questions persist, but there are guideposts. 
 
Mark your calendars for an informative webinar:
 
Tuesday, October 17
 
 
George Foote, a lawyer with Dorsey, serves as outside general counsel to the U.S. Institute of Peace and to PeaceTech Lab, Inc. He will share his insight on how to navigate these uncertain waters. 
 
Kimberly Brody Hart, senior manager of global affairs and partnerships at Search for Common Ground, will discuss the practical implications from the perspective of a peacebuilder. 
 

View the recording

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