Crisis Action update: March 2023
This month’s update features the latest news from our work with partners on our campaigns for Ethiopia, Syria and The Sahel, and at this month’s Munich Security Conference.
Sharing partner insight on an inclusive peace
On 16 February, Crisis Action and partners organised a webinar – ‘Ethiopia: Filling in the Gaps in the Peace Process’ – hosted by leading South African newspaper The Daily Maverick. Moderated by Editor Mark Heywood, the webinar featured Dismas Nkunda of Atrocities Watch Africa and Shuvai Busuman Nyoni of the African Leadership Centre, discussing limitations in the African Union-led peace process and outlining how African civil society can strengthen peacebuilding efforts.
We worked with partners and the Daily Maverick to ensure the webinar’s messages of solidarity and reconciliation were further amplified to a pan-African audience of over a million in the run-up to the event, and through a follow-up by op-ed (also shared widely on social media) in which Dismas Nkunda emphasised how “African voices and actors have a crucial role to play in supporting and helping Ethiopians find peace”.
Developing a new strategy to tackle disinformation and misinformation in the Sahel
Crisis Action is currently scoping a new strategy for tackling disinformation and misinformation, which consultation with partners has identified as a key factor exacerbating conflict leading to civilian deaths in the Sahel.
As part of this scoping, we have met with Sahelian and international experts, including the team leader for misinformation in the Sahel for Meta – whose platforms Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp dominate the social media landscape in the region.
We were able to alert Meta to the troubles facing partners and established lines of communication so that we might expedite action to counter future threats levelled at our partners on social media.
MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE
Building an International Coalition for Civilian Protection
Crisis Action worked with partners Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to convene a high-level roundtable discussion at the Munich Security Conference in February, headed by an all-female panel of experts from both the West and Global South, on the issue of ‘Building the international coalition against Putin’s violation of international law and civilian protection norms’.
The meeting engaged what an attending former UK Defence Secretary described as “an immensely impressive list of attendees” – including leaders from politics, NGOs and think tanks around the world – in a discussion on how to foster solidarity between Ukrainians, dissident Russians and the Global South to avoid deepening a global divide that threatens the collaborative effort to defend human security. Crisis Action has since followed up with new allies engaged through the event to continue the collaboration in protection of global norms.
Supporting partners in the wake of the Syria-Turkey earthquake
In light of the devastating recent earthquakes on the Syria-Turkey border, we have lent support to partners affected by the disaster, connecting Syrian civil society to key decision-makers and elevating their voices and concerns with humanitarian INGOs, UN agencies and donors. We have also supported partners such as the White Helmets to try and place stories from the earthquake with international media, and have introduced reporters engaged through this outreach to the WhatsApp media network Crisis Action created with the Syrian American Medical Society at the start of the Syria crisis, which is now enabling rescuers in northwest Syria to share timely updates with more than 200 journalists worldwide. The introductions provided journalists from outlets such as The New York Times and BBC with the connections to enhance their reporting. In consultation with Syrian partners, we are now continuing to support the campaign for an international missing-persons mechanism.