Category: Civilians in Conflict

An Impossible Peace

The FARC and the Colombian government deserved to share this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Unfortunately, however, the prize was awarded to only one party. In general we are idiots if we let political correctness govern our views about how the world works. We confuse facts with latent sympathies – a widespread form of intellectual dishonesty,… Read more »

Most Importantly a Nobel for the Colombian People and the Victims of the Civil War

The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasizes that the award of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos is not only a prize given in recognition of his own personal efforts to end the more than 50 year old civil war in the country, but that this award is also given to… Read more »

A Nobel for Colombian Peace Makers? Yes! (But to whom?)

In its current state, the Colombian peace process not only deserves but could in fact highly benefit from the symbolic effects that go hand in hand with being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Recently, in a tight vote, Colombians said ‘No’ to supporting the peace agreement between the government and the FARC-EP. While we, the… Read more »

White Helmets in the Dark Night

In the long dark night that is the Syrian nightmare, the White Helmets have become the only ray of light. “In an earlier PRIO blog post, Erica Chenoweth observed that “there are really two types of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates – elites (or elite-led institutions) and ordinary people.” This year, for example, the Colombian nominees… Read more »

Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor

  Is it just religious fanatics who blow themselves up as suicide bombers? Bernt Hagtvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, has been active in the Norwegian media lately, stating that only religion (he focuses mostly on Islam) brings the fervor to commit suicide attacks as part of a political struggle –… Read more »

Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers: Five New Findings

More aid workers are being targeted in violent attacks than ever before, but the roots of humanitarian insecurity have nuanced and surprising causes. Syria. Afghanistan. Mali. Central African Republic. Today’s complex conflicts seem to be defined by insurgents, terrorist groups and other violent actors with ideologies that increasingly disregard the rules of war. Over 150,000 people died… Read more »

The Time Has Come for Dr. Denis Mukwege to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Last year the Congolese gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several years in a row, frequently hailed among the favorites. Tomorrow the winner of the prize for 2015 will be announced. We think it is high time that… Read more »

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Killing the ‘Robots-don’t-Rape’ Argument

Earlier this spring, we debated a law professor who insisted that lethal autonomous weapons (LAWS) could clean up war. The professor posited that a war fought with autonomous weapons would be a war without rape. Taking humans out of the loop would, the argument goes, lead to more humane war. We find this narrative, where… Read more »

The “Resister’s Toolkit”

In his article in the May 2015 issue of APSR, Evgeny Finkel makes a splash by arguing that exposure to “selective repression” (such as surveillance, beatings, arrests, and torture) helps dissidents to develop a robust skill set with which to maintain enduring resistance later on. He supports this argument with data from an unlikely case—Nazi… Read more »