Yemen (2016) – Emergency Response
“Crisis Action plays the invaluable role of connecting the grim realities for civilians in Yemen with the corridors of power. Even while millions of people need humanitarian aid and thousands have been killed, Yemen is a largely ignored conflict. Crisis Action’s savvy lies in finding and working with unexpected and influential voices to confront politicians […]
“Crisis Action plays the invaluable role of connecting the grim realities for civilians in Yemen with the corridors of power. Even while millions of people need humanitarian aid and thousands have been killed, Yemen is a largely ignored conflict. Crisis Action’s savvy lies in finding and working with unexpected and influential voices to confront politicians powerfully with the consequences of their decisions. Modestly staying out of the public limelight, Crisis Action’s vital work with its partners and allies can and does have real influence where it matters.” Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, former UK International Development Secretary
In March 2015 Saudi Arabia led a coalition of countries in a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade of Yemen. They were intervening on the side of forces loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in a conflict that had erupted a week earlier with the Houthis and former President Ali Abdallah Saleh. Within months, thousands of people were killed, the country was on the brink of famine, and four in every five Yemenis needed humanitarian assistance. Both sides were committing widespread violations of international humanitarian law.
In response to the deteriorating situation for Yemeni civilians, Crisis Action began an emergency response in August 2015. The objective was a ceasefire, and the focus would be a push in the UK and US: although the Houthis were also responsible for breaching international humanitarian law and the human rights of other Yemenis, the British and American alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and KSA’s sensitivity to criticism in Western media presented a real prospect for impact.
Alongside partners’ effort, we worked with:
- Humanitarian partners in briefings with US and UK legislators, which led to Senators and Members of Parliament challenging their governments’ policy on Yemen
- Former UK International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell MP, whose piece in the Guardian, arguing that the UK had outsourced foreign policy to Gulf allies, led to reports of growing disquiet in the UK Foreign Office
- A joint letter from 13 partners to the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, which was used by members of the Council to ensure that the UK and others agreed to a call for a ceasefire
- Major General Tim Cross (retired), who argued in the Telegraph that the UK had a responsibility as an ally of Saudi Arabia to highlight that KSA was not acting in British, Saudi, or Yemeni interests and should shift from a failing military strategy to a political strategy and securing a ceasefire
- Yemeni intellectuals, Farea Al-Muslimi and Rafat Al-Akhali, who wrote in the New York Times that the leaders of the warring parties should stop the fighting and lift their blockade;
- Former UK Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who argued in The Times “the UK must reflect on how it can best support a durable peace process and stability in the region” by reviewing its arms sales to Saudi Arabia and working urgently to restore a ceasefire. This followed the release of a legal opinion by Philippe Sands, which was commissioned by Amnesty, Saferworld, and others, and which featured on the BBC’s Newsnight programme. Sands argued that the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia were in breach of domestic and international laws, given violations of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
Political talks began in Kuwait in April along with a partial cessation of hostilities. This led to a dramatic reduction in airstrikes and fighting on the ground, and for the first time there was expectation among analysts that the political talks would produce a deal that would sustain these gains for the protection of civilians. On 25 April 2016 the UN Security Council also called for a roadmap for ending the conflict and establishing security and governance, asked the Secretary General to report back within 30 days, and urged all parties to adhere to the cessation of hostilities.
Information from contacts at the UN, Arab League and the Security Council, as well as Yemen analysts, suggested that part of the reason Saudi Arabia in particular was keen to secure a deal was due to the criticism in the West of how the conflict in Yemen was being conducted, much of which was coordinated and catalysed by Crisis Action with our allies and partners.
On the basis that our collective efforts contributed to the momentum towards a ceasefire, Crisis Action decided at the end of April 2016 to exit from the Yemen emergency response.
Burundi (2015-2016) – Emergency Response
“Crisis Action gave us Burundian activists a rare platform to speak truth to power at a critical moment.” Dr. Marie Louise Baricako, Chairperson, Burundi Women and Girls’ Movement for Peace and Security Co-Lead of the Burundi Civil Society Leaders’ Delegation to the UN Security Council, April 2016 Burundi was thrown into a state of turmoil […]
“Crisis Action gave us Burundian activists a rare platform to speak truth to power at a critical moment.” Dr. Marie Louise Baricako, Chairperson, Burundi Women and Girls’ Movement for Peace and Security Co-Lead of the Burundi Civil Society Leaders’ Delegation to the UN Security Council, April 2016
Burundi was thrown into a state of turmoil in April 2015 when the country’s President of 10 years, Pierre Nkurunziza, decided to stand for a third term in office. Many Burundians saw his re-election bid as unconstitutional and a violation of the 2000 Arusha Accords that brought peace to the country after a 12 year civil war (1993-2005). Thousands of people took to the streets to protest, only to be met with a heavy-handed response from government security forces and its armed youth militia. Intimidation, arbitrary arrests and targeted killings of civil society, journalists and the opposition followed. Tens of thousands fled the country to avoid the violence.
Crisis Action launched an emergency response to prevent the country from spiraling back into armed conflict. Ahead of the elections, Crisis Action:
- Worked with Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former prime minister of Tanzania and former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, to produce a powerful opinion piece calling for concrete steps to de-escalate the situation and mobilise concerted regional and international action to bring Burundi back from the brink.
- Forged a coalition of international, regional and Burundian groups to advocate for peaceful, credible, transparent and inclusive elections. Additionally, Crisis Action partnered with African NGOs to target regional powers with influence over Burundi. A joint letter to the African Union, East African Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region encouraged them to push for dialogue and de-escalation.
Soon afterwards, in an echo of the NGOs’ language, the East African Community called for the “urgent disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties”. The Presidential election went ahead on 21 July 2015 and the Electoral Commission announced President Nkurunziza had won with 70% of the vote. The situation remained tense, leaving people still fearful of a return to conflict, and the crackdown on human rights became more entrenched. Given the continuing demand for international action to prevent further conflict, Crisis Action remained engaged in the effort to protect civilians at risk by:
- Bringing a delegation of Burundian civil society leaders to Brussels, where they urged representatives from the European Union and its member states to use its political and financial leverage over the Burundian government to bring about a reduction in human rights violations. By invoking so called “Article 96 consultations” the EU was able to threaten a suspension of direct budgetary assistance to the Burundian government.
- Working with leading Burundian human rights activists to help them publish media articles calling for the EU to start these consultations, which did commence in October 2015.
In February 2016 the EU announced it would suspend development aid paid directly to the Burundian government, while still funding humanitarian programmes and non-government development projects. The consultations remain open, and EU development aid to the government remains under review, creating an incentive for the government to change course.
When armed violence escalated to a new level on 11 December 2015, the African Union Peace and Security Council took the unprecedented step of deciding to send an African peacekeeping mission to Burundi to stabilize the situation and avert mass atrocity crimes. The Government of Burundi was quick to condemn the decision, warning that armed troops would be treated as an invasion force. To put pressure on the AU to press ahead with its decision to send peacekeepers, Crisis Action:
- Brought together a powerful coalition of eminent African business and civic leaders, including former UN human rights Chief Navi Pillay, Africa’s youngest billionaire, Ashish Thakkar, mobile communications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, and others. In an open letter delivered to key African Heads of State ahead of the AU Summit in January 2016, the coalition called upon the Africa’s leaders to implement their decision and stabilize the situation. The open letter was covered widely by a variety of leading African media outlets, and on social media.
Unfortunately, the decision was over-ruled by African Heads of State, who were unwilling to send a peacekeeping mission without the consent of the host government. In the aftermath of the AU’s inaction, Crisis Action and our partners shifted focus to the UN Security Council, where the idea of a UN police force to protect civilians was gaining ground. In order to bring about this outcome, Crisis Action:
- Brought a high-profile delegation of Burundian civil society leaders to New York in April 2016 to speak directly to the Security Council, just as it was considering whether UN police should be sent to Burundi, and what role they should play.
The delegation’s key message to the Security Council was that it should unite to urgently send an independent UN police force to Burundi to protect the population and create an enabling environment to de-escalate political tensions.
Three months later, at the end of July 2016, the UN Security Council approved a resolution authorising the deployment of UN police to Burundi, as the delegation had urged. This was a positive step to deter human rights abuses.
Having achieved the campaign objective of the UN agreeing to a police force and amid warnings of election-related violence in Burundi’s neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, Crisis Action took the difficult decision to scale down our efforts on Burundi and kick off an emergency response on the DRC.
We supported international, regional and Burundian partners to stay connected in their efforts to demand political talks include civil society and sustain the pressure on the government and opposition not to resort to widespread violence.
Nigeria (2015) – Emergency Response
“The work I did with Crisis Action highlighted an invaluable feature of their model: starting from an assumption that nothing can be achieved working alone, they put the strategic impact above any consideration for their own profile. This approach – and the energy they assign to this application – could be a lesson across many […]
“The work I did with Crisis Action highlighted an invaluable feature of their model: starting from an assumption that nothing can be achieved working alone, they put the strategic impact above any consideration for their own profile. This approach – and the energy they assign to this application – could be a lesson across many other sectors.” General Sir Nick Parker, KCB CBE ADC, Deputy Commander for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan between Nov. 2009 and Sept. 2010.
With widespread warnings of violence around the delayed Presidential elections in Nigeria on 28th March 2015 and increasing attacks on civilians from Boko Haram, Crisis Action launched an Emergency Response to support partners’ advocacy for the protection of civilians.
Crisis Action worked with partners to develop a two-pronged strategy focused on reducing the risk of election-related violence and protecting civilians in Boko Haram-affected areas.
To prevent election-related violence, Crisis Action worked with:
- The Chair of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, on an opinion piece calling for the international community to support efforts to maintain calm around the elections, published in the Huffington Post and Zeit Online.
- Actors and celebrities with Nigerian roots including Hotel Rwanda star Nakeem Kae-Kazim and Stephen K Amos to put out messages through social media supporting a peaceful and credible election.
Thankfully, and contrary to even optimistic projections, the Presidential elections passed largely peacefully with only pockets of violence. This was a momentous achievement for the country, marking the first time in Nigeria’s history that there has been a peaceful change in President through free, fair, democratic elections.
To support partners’ efforts to improve the protection of civilians in Boko Haram-affected areas, Crisis Action helped:
- Seven human rights and civilian protection organisations successfully influence UN Security Council deliberations on Boko Haram. A joint briefing highlighting the key components needed in a UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) to tackle Boko Haram comprehensively and ensure civilians are not put at greater risk was coordinated. Using this joint briefing, Crisis Action facilitated partners’ advocacy towards policymakers in London, New York, Brussels, The Hague and Paris. The key messaging featured in the latest drafts of the UNSCR before negotiations stalled, including calls for a civilian casualty tracking unit.
- Eleven Nigerian and West African civil society leaders publicly appeal to the Nigerian leadership to put their weight behind the draft UNSCR to ensure that civilians are not put at greater risk. The public appeal was published on ReliefWeb and in The Telegraph, and circulated widely among policymakers.
- Humanitarian partners with operations in Nigeria communicated the realities in the field to discussions in the UN. The Nigerian Mission to the UN subsequently quoted these findings, word for word, at the Security Council to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.
- Coordinate national-level advocacy in Nigeria by a coalition of leading Nigerian civil society leaders with strong links to the new government. By helping them speak with one voice, we helped ensure core messaging was quoted verbatim in a submission to the Transitional Committee that has shaped the new government’s approach to Boko Haram.
- British General, Sir Nick Parker, with an op-ed on Boko Haram published in the UK and Nigeria, published by The Times, The Guardian Nigeria and The Huffington Post, highlighting President Buhari’s commitments to hold human rights abusers in the Nigerian military are held to account. General Parker urged the international community to support the Nigerian military in an approach that addresses the underdevelopment and grievances that drive the insurgency.
The Boko Haram insurgency over 6 years has claimed around 15,000 lives. However, from controlling approximately 20,000 square miles of territory, the size of Boko Haram’s territories had significantly diminished in 2016. The Nigerian Army’s regional offensive has recaptured key territories and recovered arms as well as launched a rehabilitation programme for defecting Boko Haram members. Although progress had been made, attacks blamed on Boko Haram still persisted and in early 2016 evidence suggested that the group still held territory and operated bases in some remote rural northern areas of Nigeria. Whilst attacks persist our Nigerian and international partners will continue to work to ensure that efforts to fully defeat the insurgency make civilians safer.
Sudan and South Sudan (2005-2013)
“I have been delighted to contribute to Crisis Action’s well-timed efforts to reduce conflict in Sudan and increase awareness of its consequences. Their brand of organised parliamentary and media events has struck me as very professional – and the collaborative model much more effective than voices in isolation.” Sir John Holmes, former UN Under-Secretary General […]
“I have been delighted to contribute to Crisis Action’s well-timed efforts to reduce conflict in Sudan and increase awareness of its consequences. Their brand of organised parliamentary and media events has struck me as very professional – and the collaborative model much more effective than voices in isolation.” Sir John Holmes, former UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs
Crisis Action works with civil society in Africa and around the world to seek lasting peace in Sudan and South Sudan. Much of the current advocacy we facilitate for partners targets the United Nations, African Union and League of Arab States to ensure the two Sudans peacefully and comprehensively resolve all outstanding post-secession issues.
Crisis Action began work on Sudan in 2005, responding to the mass atrocities and gross human rights abuses committed against hundreds and thousands of civilians in Darfur. Crisis Action played a key role in coordinating part of the global Darfur campaign that brought the conflict in Darfur to the very top of the global political agenda and prompted concerted action by the UN Security Council, including authorization of a major peacekeeping force to protect civilians.
In 2010, we expanded our focus as it became clear that there was an urgent need to prevent widespread conflict between North and South Sudan in the run-up to, and following, the referendum on South Sudan’s independence. We built a global coalition covering 20 countries to undertake joint advocacy and campaigns towards those governments that had acted as ‘Guarantors’ of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. High-level policy makers have confirmed these coordinated efforts helped them to intensify their efforts to ensure the referendum went ahead on time and without violence.
Since the outbreak of renewed violence in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan in mid 2011, Crisis Action has supported partners to engage with governments to bring an end to the resulting humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile that has affected over one million people and on preventing a return to all-out war between the two Sudans. We organised delegations of Sudanese civil society leaders to address members of the UN Security Council, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, members of the African Union Peace and Security Council and the League of Arab States. We have also worked with prominent figures, humanitarian and human rights NGOs, Sudanese activists and faith leaders to speak out about the humanitarian emergency and bring the need for a resolution higher up the political agenda.
“Crisis Action punches well above its weight because it is so smart in leveraging the diverse capacities of its partners. I saw this in practice when it worked with us so effectively in drawing world attention to the desperate but forgotten situation in the Nuba Mountains.” Dr Mukesh Kapila, Special Representative Aegis Trust and former United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan
Central African Republic (2013) – Emergency Response
“Crisis Action helped me to gain privileged access to high-level French officials at the Foreign Ministry and Presidency. Thanks to their nimble coordination behind the scenes, I had the opportunity to directly influence the French government on the devastating security and humanitarian crises in the Central African Republic (CAR). Crisis Action also helped organize several […]
“Crisis Action helped me to gain privileged access to high-level French officials at the Foreign Ministry and Presidency. Thanks to their nimble coordination behind the scenes, I had the opportunity to directly influence the French government on the devastating security and humanitarian crises in the Central African Republic (CAR). Crisis Action also helped organize several live television interviews, providing me with a public platform to sound the alarm on the crisis that was unfolding in my country.” – Archbishop of Bangui
In March 2013, after months of fighting, the Seleka rebel coalition overthrew the government and Seleka leader Michel Djotodia proclaimed himself President, leading the Central African Republic (CAR) into a massive humanitarian and security crisis. Responding to partners, Crisis Action helped:
- Set up a call with key UN agencies in CAR and international human rights and humanitarian NGOs to develop a quick strategy on how best to respond;
- Build a coalition of 9 leading aid agencies and the Archbishop of Bangui to highlight the scale of the humanitarian crisis and call for more aid. The joint call, developed with the UN humanitarian office (OCHA), preceded a trip to CAR by OCHA head, Valerie Amos;
- Coordinate press work that shone global media attention on CAR’s entire affected 4.6 million population, the displacement of over 200,000 people, the risk of the crisis destabilising the whole of Central Africa. Media highlights included a front page feature in the New York Times (referencing the humanitarian disaster from the joint presser Crisis Action facilitated and quoting partners Amnesty International and FIDH), live news interviews at France 24 and TV5Monde (in which the Archbishop highlighted the “disastrous consequences of the rebellion on human lives”) and wire coverage in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Africa Review and more;
- Work with leading human rights and conflict prevention groups to call on the UN, AU and France to protect human rights and restore security and appeal to the international community for more human rights monitors and donor funding. Officials from the UN Departments for Political and Peacekeeping Affairs and the High Commissioner for Human Rights responded favourably;
- Organise meetings to call upon key policymakers to implement the above recommendations. In Paris, this included a high-level meeting for the Archbishop and Crisis Action partners at the Elysée Palace with President Hollande’s Office as well as meetings with the Foreign and Defence Ministries in order to bring humanitarian and security recommendations to the direct attention of French policymakers. Meanwhile, in New York we organised meetings with key UN Security Council members ahead of a July Security Council briefing on CAR.
In July 2013, the AU agreed to create an African led force in CAR to better protect civilians, as the joint call had urged. The collective advocacy set the benchmark for public discourse and its key points were subsequently echoed by Amos, EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and others. The CAR coup leader’s direct response to the joint NGO press release – that security has improved and denying accusations of “aid groups” also underscored that the Crisis Action-facilitated advocacy cut through to the highest levels in CAR. Also in July 2013, the UK and EU pledged a further $8 million each in aid and in August, France announced that it has made available a further 2 million euros in aid – one of the key objectives of the joint ask. At the request of President Hollande, Crisis Action also went on to facilitate a meeting with him for partners.
“Look at the Christian and Muslim leaders who came together in the Central African Republic to reject violence – listen to the Imam who said, “Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn’t be a cause of hate, war, or strife.”” Barak Obama, President of the United States in his speech at the UN General Assembly – Sept 2014
Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory (2007-2013)
“Crisis Action has assembled a highly effective civil society coalition to keep the plight of the people of Gaza living under the blockade before the eyes of the public and decision-makers in Europe. The organisation has played a vital role in helping to mobilise the clearer, more consistent international position needed to finally end the […]
“Crisis Action has assembled a highly effective civil society coalition to keep the plight of the people of Gaza living under the blockade before the eyes of the public and decision-makers in Europe. The organisation has played a vital role in helping to mobilise the clearer, more consistent international position needed to finally end the blockade” John Ging, Former director of UNRWA, Operations in Gaza
Since 2007, Crisis Action has supported its partners to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on civilians. Crisis Action first worked with partners to focus on the situation in the Gaza Strip and urge governments to take action to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza population. This campaign included a series of major joint NGO reports that raised media attention to Gaza and contributed to a strengthened European stance against the blockade and to a partial easing of some restrictions since 2010. Regrettably, the blockade remains in place despite the partial softening and risks being perpetuated further.
Besides the blockade, Crisis Action has also supported partners in calling for accountability for violations by all parties during the 2009 war as well as for clear European support for Palestinian reconciliation. In 2009, Crisis Action engaged with partners to highlight key inconsistencies in the EU’s position on the Middle East Peace Process, which contributed to a much bolder EU position adopted in December 2009.
Since the end of 2011, Crisis Action has worked with partners to address the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as one of the key obstacles to peace and a source of large-scale violations of international law and human rights. Crisis Action forged a coalition to urge the EU to move from rhetorical condemnation of the settlements to taking practical action.
Among many other activities, Crisis Action facilitated the publication of the report ‘Trading Away Peace’ by a large coalition of European civil society organisations. The report outlined a clear set of measures to close key loopholes in EU policies that have allowed the settlements to benefit from EU funding and trade.
In July 2013, the EU released guidelines firmly excluding the settlements from EU funding programmes. The EU has also committed to adopt guidelines on accurate labelling of products made in the settlements on occupied land to enable the consumers to distinguish them from products made within Israel.
“The report ‘Trading Away Peace’ is an important and powerful synopsis of issues surrounding the illegal settlements, which are an increasingly destructive element both in the lives of Palestinians and in relation to the very concept of a peace agreement in the Middle East.” Eamon Gilmore, Irish Foreign Minister
Democratic Republic of Congo (2012) – Emergency Response
When M23 rebels mounted a surprise takeover of Goma, in November 2012, violence forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Crisis Action quickly mobilised an emergency response to put the protection of civilians at the top of the international community’s efforts to address the crisis. A year of intensive campaigning by Crisis Action’s […]
When M23 rebels mounted a surprise takeover of Goma, in November 2012, violence forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Crisis Action quickly mobilised an emergency response to put the protection of civilians at the top of the international community’s efforts to address the crisis.
A year of intensive campaigning by Crisis Action’s partners on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2011-12 had yielded significant results. In June 2012, the United Nations passed a resolution with a new mandate for MONUSCO, its peacekeeping mission in DRC, incorporating key recommendations from the joint NGO report facilitated by Crisis Action, ‘Taking a Stand on Security Sector Reform’.
With this new mandate in place, Crisis Action concluded work on DRC as a long-term priority campaign, but continued to monitor the situation. When violence erupted in Goma in November, Crisis Action swiftly responded, facilitating a round of high-level briefings with key UN officials and Security Council members. These meetings gave partners the opportunity to articulate the scale of the humanitarian need arising from the conflict and raise concerns about civilian protection.
Crisis Action also supported 15 leading international advocacy organisations to highlight Rwanda’s support for the M23 insurgency and call on President Barack Obama to support a range of initiatives to strengthen the international response to the crisis. These included:
- Appointing a presidential envoy to lead a coordinated US response to the crisis.
- Supporting the appointment of a high-level UN envoy to the Great Lakes region to work with the African Union (AU) to broker durable political agreements between regional governments with the aim of stemming recurrent attacks across DRC’s borders.
- Supporting the imposition of robust sanctions against violators of the UN arms embargo on DRC, as recommended by the UN Panel of Experts on DRC.
- Cutting all military assistance and suspending other non-humanitarian aid to Rwanda while publicly condemning the Rwandan government for its support of the M23 insurgency.
Proposals for a UN-appointed Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region were supported by the US Government and others, and Mary Robinson took up the post in late March 2013. It is hoped that through her role she will help the AU and other key players to address the causes of the cycle of violence in the region and find a route towards lasting peace.
Mali (2012) – Emergency Response
“Time and again, Crisis Action spots the opportunities to boost our advocacy impact by drawing us into timely, effective collective efforts to influence key decision-makers and achieve positive changes in how refugees and internally displaced people are protected.” Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International After months of bitter fighting between the government of Mali and rival […]
“Time and again, Crisis Action spots the opportunities to boost our advocacy impact by drawing us into timely, effective collective efforts to influence key decision-makers and achieve positive changes in how refugees and internally displaced people are protected.” Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International
After months of bitter fighting between the government of Mali and rival rebel groups, armed Islamic insurgents gained control of the north of the country. With the United Nations Security Council considering military intervention, Crisis Action worked with partners to influence the force’s mandate to ensure that any deployment made a positive contribution to the protection of civilians on the ground.
In October 2012, when the United Nations (UN) began to consider options for military intervention in northern Mali to wrest control from armed Islamic groups, partners sought Crisis Action’s support to ensure that the already dire situation for civilians in this vast area was not exacerbated by UN action.
Crisis Action responded by helping to devise an emergency strategy for collective advocacy to secure agreements over the remit of any UN-authorised force sent to Mali. The campaign aimed to ensure that any military deployment was directed to prioritise civilian protection and that the troops deployed did not include soldiers guilty of grave human rights violations.
Influencing the UN Secretary-General
In November, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon due to make a report on Mali to the Security Council, Crisis Action and partners sought to influence his position. The coalition’s aim was to ensure the Secretary-General stressed to member states that any international military response must protect Mali’s people, while minimising the risk of human rights abuses or breaches of international humanitarian law during its deployment.
Crisis Action coordinated two private complementary briefs to the Secretary-General setting out partners’ concerns about the adverse impact a military operation in Mali could have on civilians. Recognising that the Security Council was under significant political pressure to take action to end the insurgency, the briefs also called on the Secretary-General to ensure that any UN-sanctioned military deployment to Mali would:
- Receive training on international human rights and humanitarian law ahead of their deployment and adhere to these standards.
- Provide the Council with regular, public reports of steps taken to minimise harm to civilians and their property, paying particular attention to protection measures for women and children.
- Strictly apply the procedures outlined in the UN’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy to vet all peacekeepers and reject anyone with a track record of grave human rights abuses.
- Be accompanied by a strong and well-resourced team of UN human rights monitors, who would regularly and publicly report back on findings from the ground.
- Co-operate fully with any investigation launched in relation to Mali by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The coalition also urged Ban Ki-moon to warn member states that neither the suffering of Mali’s people nor the country’s political crisis would be resolved solely through a military response. It stressed the need to prioritise support for a peaceful political process alongside any UN deployment.
To reinforce these messages, Crisis Action facilitated follow-up advocacy meetings for partners with the UN Secretary-General, as well as other senior UN figures. As a result, Ban Ki-Moon’s report to the Security Council incorporated all of the coalition’s points, with the exception of the reference to the ICC.
Influencing Security Council members
Buoyed by the strong support of Ban Ki-moon, Crisis Action helped partners turn their focus towards the decisions of Council members in response to the Secretary General’s recommendations. This involved facilitating joint lobbying of key Security Council ambassadors to secure commitments on specific language around mitigating harm to civilians in the operational outline for an African-led international force.
Then, in December, just before the Council was due to adopt a resolution on Mali, Crisis Action worked with ten humanitarian partners operating in Mali to produce a joint media release designed to keep the pressure up.
The result of these collective efforts was Resolution 2085, which reflected almost all of the campaign’s recommendations. In particular, it stated that:
- Any military operation would be linked to a series of benchmarks, including progress on a political solution, and training for international and Malian troops in their obligations under international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.
- The Secretary-General would be required to report to the Council every 90 days about the mission’s activities, focusing on: the situation for the Malian people; any violations of international law; and mitigating any adverse impact of military operations on civilians.
- The mission would include civilian-led delivery of humanitarian assistance in accordance with international humanitarian law.
- The mission should support the ICC in its investigations of human rights violations.
Partners subsequently built on the campaign’s success to ensure that the Security Council upheld these commitments when, in April 2013, they eventually mandated a UN stabilisation force for Mali, following in the wake of an unexpected French-led military intervention that was launched in January 2013.
“At a crucial moment for Afghanistan, Christian Aid joined forces with Crisis Action to convene organizations from Europe, Afghanistan and the US and together send a powerful message to world leaders that their policies must first and foremost serve the Afghan people.” Loretta Minghella, Director, Christian Aid The latest round of conflict in Afghanistan began on […]
“At a crucial moment for Afghanistan, Christian Aid joined forces with Crisis Action to convene organizations from Europe, Afghanistan and the US and together send a powerful message to world leaders that their policies must first and foremost serve the Afghan people.” Loretta Minghella, Director, Christian Aid
The latest round of conflict in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, with the launching of the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom. Over ten years later public confidence in a positive outcome from the conflict had sunk to a new low.
Against this complex and politically-charged backdrop, Crisis Action brought together humanitarian, human rights and peace-building organisations to call for international backing for a new strategic approach, including: a just and inclusive peace process; measures to protect civilians from casualties; and action to ensure aid is steered towards long-term, civilian-led development.
In November 2010, in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Crisis Action launched a joint paper ‘Piecemeal or Peace Deal: NATO, Peace Talks and a Political Settlement in Afghanistan’, by Christian Aid, the Open Society Foundations and the Oxford Research Group. In March 2011 the umbrella campaign, ‘Together Afghanistan’, brought together the largest international coalition on Afghanistan to influence governments meeting in Bonn to forge the next phase of policy on Afghanistan. The campaign included the release of polling of Afghan public opinion on the impact of conflict, peaceful demonstrations across key European capitals and media work with former political leaders and Afghan experts backing the new approach. Crisis Action also organised for a delegation of Afghan civil society leaders to meet with high-level officials and media across Europe to underline the importance of putting the civilian population at the heart of international policy.
“We salute Crisis Action’s ability to drive effective lobbying and lead on joint campaigns on armed conflict. Our collaboration with them on Afghanistan is highly valued – we benefit a lot from their important information, key contacts and efficiently led coalitions.” – Jessica Mosbahi, Advocacy and Human Rights Officer, Medica Mondiale
“As the world grappled with how to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, Crisis Action was able to effectively channel civil society’s efforts to bring about change. It played a unique role” Irene Khan, then Secretary General of Amnesty International Following the Burmese regime’s brutal suppression of peaceful mass protests in September 2007, Crisis Action supported […]
“As the world grappled with how to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, Crisis Action was able to effectively channel civil society’s efforts to bring about change. It played a unique role” Irene Khan, then Secretary General of Amnesty International
Following the Burmese regime’s brutal suppression of peaceful mass protests in September 2007, Crisis Action supported Burmese campaign groups to call on the international community to put greater pressure on the Burmese regime to end the military crackdown.
Crisis Action co-ordinated a global day of action across five continents, including the largest ever UK demonstration on Burma involving NGOs, representatives from all major faiths, women’s groups, trade unions and student bodies. As public pressure built around the world, Crisis Action worked with partners to push EU member states to endorse the imposition of additional targeted EU sanctions against the Burmese regime and to urge the UN Security Council to speak out. China responded to pressure by allowing the first ever UN Security Council Presidential Statement on Burma to be issued and the EU increased punitive measures against the regime.
In June 2009, following the Burmese regime’s decision to put Aung San Suu Kyi on trial for breach of her house arrest and their failure to release political prisoners, Crisis Action helped partners launch the ’64 for Suu’ campaign around her 64th birthday. Celebrities and prominent politicians, including Bono, Paul McCartney, Julia Roberts, Gordon Brown, Mary Robinson, 41 German MPs and a wide range of Asian politicians backed the campaign. It resulted in an EU commitment to take further targeted measures against the Burmese regime if the opposition leader was not released and a decision by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to visit Burma to press for her release and that of other political prisoners.
Aung San Suu Kyi was released in November 2010.
“In a matter of hours Crisis Action pulled together the biggest grouping of UK NGOs that have ever worked on Burma. They took the lead in organising the largest demonstration on Burma that there has ever been in the UK, and they did so in just one week. Crucially, it gave new political momentum to demands for the international community to take action. None of this would have happened without Crisis Action.” Mark Farmaner, Director, Burma Campaign UK
“Crisis Action helped us to give a voice to messages from Chadian civil society in Brussels and to promote a greater EU involvement in the crisis in Chad. Its flexible model allowed it to adjust to our needs and to bring real added value to our work in France by echoing it in Brussels, where […]
“Crisis Action helped us to give a voice to messages from Chadian civil society in Brussels and to promote a greater EU involvement in the crisis in Chad. Its flexible model allowed it to adjust to our needs and to bring real added value to our work in France by echoing it in Brussels, where our capacity was limited.” Bruno Angsthelm, Head of Africa Programme, Comité Catholique Contre la Faim et pour le Développement
The terrible conflict in Darfur led hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee across the border into Chad. In 2007 Crisis Action sought to help partners address the plight of women in refugee camps and highlight the violence and sexual abuse they were suffering. Crisis Action organised for a group of high profile international women who had recently travelled to refugee camps in Chad to meet top politicians and heads of state across the EU and relay what they had seen. The delegation included Mary Robinson, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Finance Minister of Nigeria and Angelique Kidjo.
In summer 2007, France led negotiations in the EU to send a force to Eastern Chad to provide protection to refugees from Darfur. Crisis Action helped partners engage with the French government and military planners to emphasise the need for neutrality of this force and for a clear distinction between humanitarian work and military activities. We also helped Chadian civil society representatives contribute to the EU’s discussions. The EU eventually deployed an EU Force to Eastern Chad and the North of the Central African Republic in early 2008.
“Crisis Action came into its own during the Lebanon war. Its light touch, yet reliable, creative and professional coordination allowed Save the Children to amplify our advocacy through coalition when it was appropriate whilst at the same time not constraining us when we needed to tread our own path. In such a highly political environment, […]
“Crisis Action came into its own during the Lebanon war. Its light touch, yet reliable, creative and professional coordination allowed Save the Children to amplify our advocacy through coalition when it was appropriate whilst at the same time not constraining us when we needed to tread our own path. In such a highly political environment, it provided a perfect vehicle for bringing disparate voices together and resonate the public mood.” Martin Kirk, Public Affairs Advisor, Save the Children
July 2006 saw the explosion of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. The conflict would eventually kill an estimated 1,300 Lebanese and 165 Israelis. It also displaced approximately one million Lebanese and 300,000–500,000 Israelis.
Crisis Action became the hub for NGOs working on the crisis. We coordinated a group of aid agencies, faith groups, trade unions and human rights organisations to pressure Tony Blair to publicly back an immediate ceasefire. The campaign included humanitarian press conferences, public petitions to the Prime Minister and coordinated outreach to British MPs to establish and publicise their position on the conflict.
The collective advocacy demonstrated an overwhelming parliamentary majority in favour of a ceasefire and resulted in the recall of a UK Parliamentary Committee from recess to debate UK policy on Lebanon and demand that a ceasefire be endorsed.
“Aid agencies, which often remain silent on contentious political issues, have been some of the most vocal critics of Mr Blair’s Middle East policy since the start of the war in Lebanon.” David Fickling, The Guardian
Lord’s Resistance Army (2010 – 2013)
“Since Crisis Action arrived on the scene it’s been night and day in terms of coordinated advocacy, at the UN and globally, to combat the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Crisis Action has anticipated and created unique advocacy moments on the LRA at the AU, UN, EU and key capitals.” Paul Ronan, Director of […]
“Since Crisis Action arrived on the scene it’s been night and day in terms of coordinated advocacy, at the UN and globally, to combat the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Crisis Action has anticipated and created unique advocacy moments on the LRA at the AU, UN, EU and key capitals.” Paul Ronan, Director of Advocacy, Resolve
Since 2008, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has killed at least 2,300 people, abducted more than 3,000 and displaced more than 440,000 civilians from South Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic.
Since late 2010, Crisis Action has been instrumental in catalysing an international response to the LRA crisis. Crisis Action coordinated joint advocacy towards the UN Security Council that led the UN to launch an urgent regional response to the LRA and establish a more responsive UN presence in LRA-affected areas. This successfully prevented a repeat of the LRA’s “Christmas massacres” of 2008 and 2009 in which hundreds of civilians had been killed.
Crisis Action’s Nairobi office organised briefings with leading AU officials participating in talks on how to address the LRA threat. The AU subsequently adopted its strongest recommendations on the LRA, including the establishment of a Regional Task Force and a joint operations centre.
In 2012, Crisis Action brought local activists from areas currently subject to LRA atrocities to brief the UN Security Council, the US Congress, and EU policy makers. Following the activists’ briefing, the UN Security Council was presented with and endorsed the first ever UN Strategy on the LRA – realising a long-standing campaign objective of Crisis Action’s partners. Crisis Action continues to mobilise partners to ensure that hard-won international initiatives on the LRA are fully implemented and civilians protected from LRA attacks.
“Crisis Action’s work on Iran has been professional, responsible and politically astute. By illustrating that military action would be disastrous, and that there was scope for negotiation, Crisis Action helped change the public debate. Crisis Action is a rare beast; able to harness the expertise and influence of practitioners, analysts and civil society groups to […]
“Crisis Action’s work on Iran has been professional, responsible and politically astute. By illustrating that military action would be disastrous, and that there was scope for negotiation, Crisis Action helped change the public debate. Crisis Action is a rare beast; able to harness the expertise and influence of practitioners, analysts and civil society groups to engage both in writing and face-to-face with the realities of politics and to make an impact.” Sir Richard Dalton, former UK Ambassador to Iran
In 2007, fears of a US or Israeli-led military attack against Iran intensified. Crisis Action launched a collective campaign to close off the political space needed for the UK government to support military strikes.
Crisis Action built a diverse campaign coalition– including NGOs, Unions, faith and student groups – to build up public pressure against military action. This centred on a series of joint NGO reports, including ‘Time to Talk’, a report that provided a systematic analysis of the possible consequences of military action and pushed for direct diplomatic engagement between US and Iran. The report was translated into Hebrew, Farsi and Arabic and was used as the focus of a global media campaign, fronted by Sir Richard Dalton, former UK Ambassador to Iran. Former UN Weapons Inspectors, senior faith leaders and retired US generals also backed the campaign. The UK Prime Minster Tony Blair responded to public pressure by stating that, “I can’t think it would be right to take military action against Iran.”
“By fusing authoritative analysis with joint advocacy, Crisis Action’s work on Iran has gone far beyond the usual boundaries of NGO campaigns. Crisis Action has succeeded in bringing together a diverse group of organisations – from campaign groups to foreign policy analysts – to work strategically on one of the most challenging international issues of the day.” Robert Lowe, Middle East Programme Manager, Chatham House
Crisis Action’s first campaign was launched in 2005 to convince the British government to launch a comprehensive, independent inquiry into Iraqi civilian casualties since the 2003 invasion. Crisis Action secured the support of celebrities, army generals, leading health experts and senior politicians to back the campaign and demonstrated through public opinion polls that 59% of […]
Crisis Action’s first campaign was launched in 2005 to convince the British government to launch a comprehensive, independent inquiry into Iraqi civilian casualties since the 2003 invasion. Crisis Action secured the support of celebrities, army generals, leading health experts and senior politicians to back the campaign and demonstrated through public opinion polls that 59% of the public were in favour of an inquiry.
Ivory Coast (2010-2011) – Emergency Response
“As the international community focused on events in the Arab world, Crisis Action played a vital role in driving policymakers’ attention to the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ivory Coast and helped us to ensure that measures were taken to protect vulnerable civilians. Crisis Action’s support was crucial to enable us to deliver targeted, […]
“As the international community focused on events in the Arab world, Crisis Action played a vital role in driving policymakers’ attention to the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Ivory Coast and helped us to ensure that measures were taken to protect vulnerable civilians. Crisis Action’s support was crucial to enable us to deliver targeted, high-quality lobbying and media work in such a short and troubled period of time.” François Danel, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger
In the wake of the contested Presidential election in Ivory Coast in November 2010, the stand-off between President Alassane Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo and their respective forces intensified, eventually exploding into fierce clashes, summary executions and deliberate attacks against civilians. More than one million people were displaced from their homes and around 135,000 were forced to flee, seeking refuge in Liberia.
Crisis Action formed a coalition of international and West African civil society organisations to urge local leaders and the international community to call for calm. We facilitated a briefing for international media with NGOs on the ground. At a time when travel inside Ivory Coast was prohibited, this provided journalists with vital insights into the evolving situation, generating important international media coverage of the situation. Crisis Action also organised meetings for partners with members of the UN Security Council to feed into their deliberations on a possible resolution.
In January 2011, the Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the violence and allowing a 2,000-strong troop reinforcement of the UN peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI). This was followed by the authorisation of measures to increase civilian protection and enforced targeted sanctions against Gbagbo and his close associates, as Crisis Action’s partners had urged.
Pakistan (2009-2010) – Emergency Response
“Being a Crisis Action partner directly boosts the scope and effectiveness of our advocacy to protect civilians caught in conflicts where we work. When a crisis threatens or strikes they are always on the front foot: bringing partners and experts together to discuss a joint strategy and coordinating engagement with high-level policymakers to ensure a […]
“Being a Crisis Action partner directly boosts the scope and effectiveness of our advocacy to protect civilians caught in conflicts where we work. When a crisis threatens or strikes they are always on the front foot: bringing partners and experts together to discuss a joint strategy and coordinating engagement with high-level policymakers to ensure a rapid but effective response.” Mervyn Lee, Executive Director, Mercy Corps
In June 2009 the Pakistani government launched a military offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley. Around two million civilians were displaced as the UN warned that the human exodus was the world’s worst displacement crisis since the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Crisis Action worked to ensure that the humanitarian impact and long-term consequences of these military operations were fully considered in international political decision-making. This included coordinated lobby meetings with the UK government that resulted in the UK making representations to the Pakistani government and military on the humanitarian impact of the operations.
This included coordinated lobby meetings with the UK government that resulted in UK representations to the Pakistani government and military on the humanitarian impact of the operations.
Ahead of the first EU-Pakistan summit in Brussels in 2009, Crisis Action organised joint advocacy meetings, including one with the Pakistani Interior Minister. At the summit the EU offered an extra aid package of €124 million to support displaced Pakistani civilians and fund post-conflict rehabilitation.
Kyrgyzstan (2010) – Emergency Response
Violent clashes broke out on 11 June 2010 between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 400,000 people were displaced by the violence, with around 100,000 of those fleeing across the border to Uzbekistan. Crisis Action worked with partners to produce […]
Violent clashes broke out on 11 June 2010 between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that 400,000 people were displaced by the violence, with around 100,000 of those fleeing across the border to Uzbekistan.
Crisis Action worked with partners to produce a humanitarian briefing paper that outlined the dynamics of the conflict and its impact on the civilian population to help officials assess and improve their response. We also worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to place an op-ed article providing recommendations on how the international community could help stem the violence.
Sri Lanka (2009) – Emergency Response
Between February and May 2009, the final months of the Sri Lankan government’s military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Crisis Action worked with partners to address the humanitarian tragedy in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka. Thousands of civilians were hemmed into this thin strip of land and over 6500 killed […]
Between February and May 2009, the final months of the Sri Lankan government’s military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Crisis Action worked with partners to address the humanitarian tragedy in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka. Thousands of civilians were hemmed into this thin strip of land and over 6500 killed as the government battled Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland.
Our New York office organised meetings for partners with officials for them to put forward specific steps for a fair and sustainable resolution of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. This was followed by a press conference at UN headquarters, where NGOs presented rare, fresh information from the conflict zone in Sri Lanka. Crisis Action also coordinated a series of meetings for the NGO delegation with EU institutions and member state representatives. Following these meetings, the EU suspended part of its trade preferences for Sri Lanka under the framework of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP +).
Georgia (2008) – Emergency Response
In August 2008, Russia launched a large-scale military operation across the Georgian border, occupying South Ossetia and resulting in a conflict that led to the death of hundreds of civilians and grave human rights abuses by both sides. Crisis Action helped partners to exchange information and put forward joint policy recommendations on this rapidly changing […]
In August 2008, Russia launched a large-scale military operation across the Georgian border, occupying South Ossetia and resulting in a conflict that led to the death of hundreds of civilians and grave human rights abuses by both sides.
Crisis Action helped partners to exchange information and put forward joint policy recommendations on this rapidly changing situation where lack of access to the Russian-controlled territory was a serious concern for humanitarian agencies. Crisis Action also liaised between partners and relevant officials at the European Commission and the UN representatives in Georgia to ensure a clear channel of communication with key humanitarian donors.
Zimbabwe (2007) – Emergency Response
Throughout 2007, the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe became increasingly grave following poor rainfall and drought. Meanwhile the human rights situation deteriorated as public protest against President Mugabe and the ruling party ZANU-PF increased. In 2007, Crisis Action worked to promote awareness of this crisis, organising a partnership of writers from Africa and Europe – including […]
Throughout 2007, the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe became increasingly grave following poor rainfall and drought. Meanwhile the human rights situation deteriorated as public protest against President Mugabe and the ruling party ZANU-PF increased. In 2007, Crisis Action worked to promote awareness of this crisis, organising a partnership of writers from Africa and Europe – including Václav Havel, Wole Soyinka and Günter Grass – to write to world leaders expressing anger at their ‘political cowardice’ towards the country.
Following the contested 2008 parliamentary and presidential elections, in which Mugabe and the ZANU-PF failed to win for the first time since independence in 1980, a campaign of violence was orchestrated against the opposition and independent public.
Crisis Action helped co-ordinate a global civil society response in solidarity with Zimbabwean NGOs, speaking out against the escalation of violence. The campaign supported trade union efforts to stop a delivery of 77 tons of weapons to Zimbabwe by the Chinese vessel An Yue Jiang. It also included a joint public campaign against the German company, Giesecke & Devrient, responsible for supplying the Zimbabwean central bank with banknote paper. Giesecke & Devrient bowed to the pressure and announced that it was immediately stopping delivery of banknote paper to Zimbabwe. Crisis Action was informed that, as a direct result, the Zimbabwean Government had to stop paying some of its security forces leading to the closure of several security camps where torture of civilians was reportedly occurring.
Somalia (2007) – Emergency Response
“Crisis Action really adds value to Muslim Aid work by enabling us to understand the views of other agencies working in areas of conflict such as Somalia and Darfur. Our approach to conflicts may not always be the same but we can certainly be a stronger voice for peace if better informed.” Saif Ahmad, Chief […]
“Crisis Action really adds value to Muslim Aid work by enabling us to understand the views of other agencies working in areas of conflict such as Somalia and Darfur. Our approach to conflicts may not always be the same but we can certainly be a stronger voice for peace if better informed.” Saif Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer, Muslim Aid
Following a serious escalation in violence in Somalia in 2007, Crisis Action responded to partners’ concerns by coordinating intensive high-level advocacy for a limited period of time. In March 2007 African Union peacekeepers landed at Mogadishu amid pitched battles between insurgents and government forces backed by Ethiopian troops. The Red Cross described it as the worst fighting in 15 years. In one month, the humanitarian crisis had grown with the UN reporting that more than 320,000 Somalis have fled fighting in Mogadishu.
Crisis Action brought together a broad coalition of UK NGOs to share information and develop recommendations for policymakers. This period of concerted effort behind the scenes led to a series of important commitments by the British Government with regard to both key humanitarian and human rights concerns and contributed to securing greater consideration of Somalia at the UN Security Council.
Democratic Republic of Congo (2008-2012)
“Crisis Action proved to be a formidable force in responding to the upsurge in violence in Eastern Congo. Their ability to bring together powerful individuals and organisations within civil society to lobby and campaign internationally cuts straight through to decision-makers. Crisis Action helped ensure that the protection of civilians in DRC was central to the […]
“Crisis Action proved to be a formidable force in responding to the upsurge in violence in Eastern Congo. Their ability to bring together powerful individuals and organisations within civil society to lobby and campaign internationally cuts straight through to decision-makers. Crisis Action helped ensure that the protection of civilians in DRC was central to the political agenda. And the efforts of their team, supporting their many partners, directly contributed to mobilising international efforts to contain the crisis”. – Alan Doss, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Crisis Action worked on the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2008 to 2012. Throughout those years Crisis Action built strong coalitions of Congolese and international organisations to push the Security Council to give its peacekeeping forces (MONUC/MONUSCO) strong mandates to protect civilians. This succeeded in obtaining a strong role for MONUSCO in monitoring election-related abuses and a bolstered their responsibility to protect civilians from the LRA.
Crisis Action also supported partners to successfully demand accountability for sexual violence. In August 2010, in response to the mass rape of more than 300 women and children in Walikale, Crisis Action drew together high-profile NGOs to urge the UN Security Council to authorise an urgent public investigation into the incident. Within three weeks the Security Council authorised an investigation and made the findings public. As a result a key commander was prosecuted for ordering the rape, while others had sanctions imposed on them.
In 2011, work focused on minimising election-related violence from Congo’s national elections and putting reform of Congo’s military at the top of the political agenda after elections. We worked with human rights groups to successfully urge the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue a public statement warning that perpetrators of electoral violence would be held to account. Collective advocacy and media work facilitated by Crisis Action played a key role in spurring Congolese and international parties to take urgent action to avert electoral violence. Although fraud and irregularities were widespread, many of the preventative measures called for by the Crisis Action-led coalition were implemented, limiting violent repercussions.
“From DRC to Israel/Palestine, Crisis Action’s coordination, intelligence sharing and engagement have visibly raised the game for civil society’s work on armed conflicts”. Pol Degreve, Director, Broederlijk Delen, Belgium