The rapid arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants into the European Union (EU) from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa beginning in 2015 coincided with an increase in support for anti-immigrant rhetoric and the far-right in many European countries. A substantial number of these migrants came to the EU through what became known as the “Balkan Route” a major transit land route cutting through the Western Balkans. In 2016, however, the Route officially “closed,” leaving many of those people attempting to reach Europe effectively stranded within the Balkans. In 2020, for example, approximately 7,000 migrants and refugees were present within the borders of Serbia at any given time. This presence of migrants within the Balkans did not go unnoticed and, in some cases, even spurred increased activity within and mobilization among far-right actors opposed to their presence in the region. Exploring this phenomenon, this report focuses on dynamics surrounding migration and responses to it from the far-right in Serbia, one of the countries on the Balkan Route.
Lažetić, Marina. Migration, Extremism, & Dangerous Blame Games: Developments & Dynamics in Serbia. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2021. https://doi.org/10.37805/wb2021.1.
Updated November 3, 2021
Towards Local Approaches and Inclusive Peacebuilding in South Sudan
The post-liberation peacebuilding in South Sudan, which largely drew from liberal peace theory, was employed between 2005 (after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and before the referendum, secession, and independence in 2011) and December 2013 (when it imploded into a civil conflict) and proved insufficient to sustain the fragile peace that briefly existed after the country’s secession from Sudan. After a protracted conflict lasting almost half a decade and the presence of multiple peace actors, the lack of a comprehensive and coordinated peacebuilding strategy proved detrimental. This failure is partly due to poor coordination between stakeholders and lack of local/domestic legitimacy, leading to insufficient peacebuilding and an aggravation of the 2013 conflict.
Over the years, liberal peacebuilding strategies, which emphasize formal institution-building and statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected environments, continue to produce mixed to poor results and fragile peace. This decline has resulted in the shifting of discourses and operations within peacebuilding, a paradigm shift that pays greater attention to localization and the local context in the conceptualization of peacebuilding objectives and strategies. This transformation promotes local ownership and inclusivity in peace processes and their dividends. The dialogue on inclusive peace has thus gained momentum, bearing a need to fully engage both states and societies in this process. The “local” in peacebuilding forms an important resource when solving root causes of conflicts, as in South Sudan, by improving awareness of the cultural and historical diversity in a given context.
Liaga, Emmaculate Asige. Towards Local Approaches and Inclusive Peacebuilding in South Sudan. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2021. https://doi.org/10.37805/pn2021.23.lpbi.
Repatriating FTFs from Syria: Learning from the Western Balkans
Four countries in the Western Balkan region (Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Montenegro) are in the top ten countries with the most foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) per capita. The political will to repatriate FTFs remains strong, at least in the Western Balkans, despite delays in 2020 due to COVID-19. In other parts of the world, especially high-income countries, political will to repatriate is considerably lower. COVID-19 has further constrained nations in their efforts to repatriate law-abiding citizens, which is less controversial than FTF families.
Based on discussions with government officials and security officers in the Western Balkans, as well as international experts and donors, this policy note provides operational recommendations to move forward with repatriation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of returnees building on lessons from repatriations in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. It urges governments globally to double down on repatriation efforts and to call on experience from governments in the Balkans to bring back their FTFs now. The recommendations in this policy note are relevant to any country where political will to repatriate FTFs can be generated.
Dedeken, Chiara, and Kevin Osborne. Repatriating FTFs from Syria: Learning from the Western Balkans. Washington, D.C.: RESOLVE Network, 2021. https://doi.org/10.37805/pn2021.23.wb.