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.
On Monday the Biden administration announced it would not send an official United States delegation to the Beijing Winter Olympic Games as a statement against China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang," as well as other human rights abuses such as in Hong Kong. U.S. athletes will still be allowed to compete in the Games, which start in February. USIP’s Lauren Baillie, Mirna Galic and Rachel Vandenbrink discuss the rationale behind the decision, how the boycott fits into the U.S. strategy surrounding the Uyghur crisis and how China and U.S. allies are responding.
When the United Nations began its annual campaign to end violence against women 30 years ago, no one had Myanmar on their radar. But in recent years, Myanmar’s military has escalated its use of sexual and gender-based violence to terrorize women and girls — most infamously against ethnic minorities, notably the Rohingya. Confronted by these atrocities, the international community has issued widespread demands for accountability and justice that have yet to come to fruition.
It’s been 40 years since the U.N. adopted a resolution to end persecution based on faith and defend religious minorities. USIP’s Knox Thames says decades later, “It’s a work in progress … While the situation is bleak, there is a global movement that is starting to build and trying to meet this challenge.”
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.