Peaceful, prosperous societies need people and institutions to be subject to law that is fairly applied. The U.S. Institute of Peace helps states and members of society work together to strengthen the rule of law, often through justice and security sector reforms. USIP develops innovative models to foster and shepherd sustainable and locally supported reforms, trains rule-of-law practitioners, conducts research and holds forums to share knowledge. The institute also supports programs such as Justice and Security Dialogues, which seek to build trust between civil society and officials from the justice and security sectors.

Featured Publications

As Africa Battles Sexual Violence, a Nigerian City Shows How

As Africa Battles Sexual Violence, a Nigerian City Shows How

Thursday, August 8, 2019

By: Isioma Kemakolam

When civic leaders and officials in Jos, Nigeria, launched an initiative in 2017 to calm repeated bloodshed in the city, a series of dialogue forums with residents revealed a chilling pattern of hidden violence in their midst: sexual assault. Girls and women recounted rapes and attacks for which justice was impossible, often because authorities were unresponsive. The women faced a problem common to their sisters across Africa: national laws against sexual violence were having little effect on the ground. But the dialogues have wrought a change. In May, police in Jos opened the city’s first unit dedicated to investigating sexual and gender crimes.

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Afghanistan Still Has a Chance to Improve This Election

Afghanistan Still Has a Chance to Improve This Election

Monday, August 5, 2019

By: Chelsea Dreher; Ezatullah Waqar

As the United States, the Afghan government and the Taliban maneuver toward a peace process for the country, the strength of the current Afghan government and political system will be affected by the credibility, in Afghans’ eyes, of the presidential election set for September 28. Yet the credibility of Afghan elections is weakened by unresolved allegations of criminal fraud—especially against the nation’s former top election officials—in last year’s parliamentary balloting. With just 53 days remaining before the presidential vote, time is now short—but Afghan authorities still can take steps to improve the prospects for an election that citizens might see as credible and legitimate.

Democracy & Governance; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Systems Thinking for Peacebuilding and Rule of Law (French)

Systems Thinking for Peacebuilding and Rule of Law (French)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

By: Philippe Leroux-Martin; Vivienne O'Connor

Notre approche traditionnelle de la consolidation de la paix et de l’État de droit semble solide : des objectifs ambitieux, une injection de ressources, des équipes d’experts travaillant intensément. Pourtant nous semblons rarement aboutir à des réformes véritablement fructueuses et durables. Pourquoi nous enlisons-nous ? Une des réponses possibles réside dans notre façon de percevoir les systèmes avec lesquels nous travaillons. Nous avons tendance à traiter de nombreux systèmes de consolidation de la paix et de l’État de droit comme s’ils étaient des systèmes d’horloge, c’est-à-dire ordonnés, réguliers et prévisibles. En réalité, les environnements dans lesquels nous travaillons sont plutôt des systèmes de type nuage,en cela qu’ils sont désordonnés, irréguliers et imprévisibles.

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

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Current Projects

Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Conflict-related sexual violence is increasingly recognized as not only a weapon of war, but a threat to international peace and security. In 2012, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the Human Rights Center at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, and Women in International Security (WIIS), launched the Missing Peace Initiative to examine the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings...

Gender; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Human Rights

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