Human rights abuses can spur violent conflict, or vice-versa. Effective protection of human rights underpins the legitimate governance and rule of law that establish the conditions for a state to resolve conflicts and grievances without violence. The U.S. Institute of Peace provides grants, fellowships, education and publications to deepen understanding of the critical role of human rights protection in preventing and managing violence.
In late June and early July, two global convenings will highlight challenges to international religious freedom and the search for solutions: the IRF Summit for nongovernmental organizations and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These timely gatherings will bring together government representatives, activists and faith leaders from different religious, regional and political backgrounds to discuss a common goal of ending persecution. Two keys for their success will be creating diverse coalitions to advance international religious freedom (IRF) in a nonpartisan manner and linking the issue to broader concerns about peace and stability.
Following the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover, the risk of mass atrocities in Afghanistan has risen considerably, with multiple groups facing imminent threats of violence.
The humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine is rapidly turning into a human trafficking one in which women and children, who make up the majority of the refugees fleeing the war, are being exploited, according to the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten. She said there is an urgent need for a “coordinated regional approach” to what she described as “a crisis within a crisis.”
The field of peacebuilding is based upon principles of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (JDEI). However, peacebuilding organizations are often asked to operate in contexts rooted in systemic injustice and inequity. This can jeopardizing an organization’s ability to embody and implant JDEI values — as well as affect their impact and effectiveness, their stakeholder engagement and their understanding of how unconscious bias can permeate an organization’s programming. Launched in Spring 2021, USIP’s JDEI Initiative cooperates with civil society and U.S. government leaders to host workshops and public events, conduct research, and engage with partners around the world to further the embedment of JDEI in peacebuilding practices.
Initiated in 2012, the Missing Peace Initiative is a partnership bringing together policymakers, practitioners and junior and senior scholars who are working on the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. Together, these individuals identify gaps in knowledge and reporting and explore how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence. Since 2013, the Missing Peace Scholars Network has ensured that this research is communicated cogently to policymakers by producing annual special reports intended to produce meaningful change regarding acts of conflict-related sexual violence.
Government restrictions on religion have risen steadily in recent years, raising questions about both their causes and consequences. In partnership with USAID’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, USIP launched the Closing the Gap initiative earlier this year to more carefully examine these trends. The project, which will take place over the course of 2020, will explore the relationship between freedom of religion, peace, and development through statistical analysis and case studies. The findings will inform a more nuanced, strategic, and impactful policy and practice of advancing religious freedom.