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.
Over the past decade, the United States, France, and the European Union (EU) have drastically increased security assistance to countries in the Sahel region. They have done so to address two perceived transnational threats—violent extremism and mass migration to Europe—but have often neglected Sahel countries’ own interests and long-term stability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Niger, the world’s poorest country. Although in 2018 the country received $1.2 billion in external aid—representing 13 percent of its GDP—it has not made the country safer for Nigeriens. If long-term peace and stability is the end goal of foreign security assistance, donor countries need to center Nigeriens’ priorities in their aid.
As Afghan peace talks in Doha move forward, a vital component to the success of any peace deal will be how Afghanistan’s security sector can reform to sustain peace after more than 40 years of violence, and how the international community can best assist. This effort would benefit from recalling the lessons of another time when there was need for a comprehensive reconsideration of Afghanistan’s security sector: the two years immediately following the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban regime. Despite the many important changes, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have undergone and a dramatically different context, key lessons from 2002-03 remain relevant to guide thinking ahead of and after a peace agreement.
Since a 2012 coup, Mali has received significant security assistance from United States, France, the European Union and other foreign donors to address violent extremism and insurgency and help stabilize the country. In the wake of the August military coup, it is clear that strategy has backfired—and that, in fact, the failure of international security sector assistance to prioritize governance likely contributed to the conditions that led to the coup.
The Informing Criminal Justice Reform in Libya project was launched in July 2020 to fill existing knowledge gaps on correctional facilities in Libya and the criminal justice system in the Fezzan region. In partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), this project aims to strengthen the rule of law in Libya by providing the international community and Libyan officials with a more complete picture of the region’s institutions, as well as actionable recommendations to inform the development and implementation of future policy and programming.
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...
In countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, USIP has pioneered a method to bring state officials, community leaders and citizens together to work out the roots of their problems and cooperatively rebuild security.