Authors: Janakan Muthukumar & Ibrahim Bahati*
The purpose of this policy brief is to provide insight into the role of men in contemporary peacemaking and in post-conflict rebuilding and empowerment programs. In doing so, the first part of this brief provides the changing role of the men, and how it influences the peacemaking and post-conflict and empowering process. The second part will address how revisiting the roles of men would make a positive impact in peacemaking and in post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs.
Changing the role of men in the post-conflict context
The battle for equality and recognition of women’s rights during and after conflict and displacement have been an unfinished business. It is because the war is often a gendered practice, a political act dominated mostly by men. Reports indicate that almost in all cases, men are the primary perpetrators of violence in an act of war. Gender experts argue that such role men play is a socially constructed one, a result of dominant masculinities. In many societies, such dominant masculinism was hailed of heroism. However, today’s nature of conflicts has been changed and has influenced in redefining the ideology of masculinity in new ways.
The nature of conflict has been changed as no longer a battlefield against another group or only against a state but against non-state actors such as terrorist groups, and pirates. In such content, not only the means and methods of warfare but also the involvement of women changed the discourse of war. Women in every capacity in the military, but also in joining in terrorist groups as militants have changed the gender discourse in war zone rapidly as the war on terror has become no longer solely a male preserve. Such involvement of women in the war zone has alarmed the states and international bodies to change the discourse of war, as to accommodate ‘gender-related persecution’ not only at the battlefield but also in providing security and humanitarian assistance in refugee camps. This notion of gender persecution particularly under scrutiny in cases of detainees, spies and prisoner of war as it has no legal meaning, rather is used to encompass the range of different claims in which gender is the relevant consideration in the determination of their status.
On the other hand, the nuance of gender-related persecution reaffirms the historical aspect of war, that women are the immediate victims of the war, however, the men are also being targeted in the same manner. In such instances, there have been no policies and specific legal aspects those protect the rights of men. Further, the ideology that men are supposed to be strong, acting as protectors have never been a rightful claim and weakened by the external factors, such as poverty, diseases and being the target of racial and other discrimination. Further, the crimes against men particularly in the conflict zone, such as male rape and male mutilation are being today’s weaponry of war significantly moved the paradigm that the role of men as a victim is required to be acknowledged, and such acknowledgement must be taken into account in peacemaking and post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs.
Evidence also indicates that in instances where men have been left out in social rebuilding causes severe backlashes in the peacemaking process. Although few researchers indicate the action of left out men in turning to other institution of control such as militarism as the absolution of their emasculation and a gateway to reassert their ‘control’ such as in the case of Somalia, where men joined al-Shabab to regain the social status and power, which in their view provides ‘alternative pathway to manhood’ or in Kaduna, Nigeria, where men resorted to use of religion as their safe space of control and assert their influence caused the peacemaking process unsuccessful. Therefore, revisiting the role of men as a primary victim, but also as a stakeholder in peacemaking and post-conflict rebuilding and empowering programs is unavoidable.
Revisiting the role of men, accommodating them as the primary victim and stakeholder in the peacemaking process
There have been unspecific reasons for the reluctance in involving men in post-conflict rebuilding, particularly in women empowerment and development projects. Apart from the assumption that conflict is usually a male preserve, the other reasons emanate from the social structure of patriarchal and of the fact that male figures are already being favoured over the female. It is like asking, why we give rights to someone who already has them? Second, the ideology of masculinity ignores that war has an effect on boys and men, and itself create gender silence when men are instrumentalized as evil in nature and want to control women, and patriarchal. Third, gender experts indicate that ‘men appear to be missing from much of gender and development policy’ or practice is due to the fact that there has been lack of studies on men and masculinities when analyzing the socioeconomic and political structure, particularly at conflict situation. Cleaver indicates that programs like Women in Development which were only pro-women failed to achieve their overall objectives because men were delineated in the process as agents of women’s empowerment projects.
Ignoring men as development partners in post-conflict arrangements is more likely to trench them in gendered vulnerabilities causes collapsing masculinities, results for violence for absolution. The fact that there remains a gendered theorization of development and peacemaking processes without or with less imploring of a gender lens has resulted into similar processes where ‘the impact of the development of men remains relatively less well understood.’ In fact, the talk of ‘masculinities’ inclusion in the post-conflict development practice has political dimensions and that this invisibility reproduces ‘gender inequality, both materially and ideologically.’
On the other hand, it is also to be noted that the assumption to look at all women as naturally feminists, supporting the women’s rights to gender equality is not accurate. Women as individual agents also have the interests and motivations of which might be distanced from creating safe spaces that are free from violence. There are many cases where women militants have profiteered from female genital mutilation in societies. Such evidence indicates that making a case that caregiving is largely feminized is not absolute.
In this context, following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) there have been two explicit ways provided to include men in the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. One is by ‘the enlistment of men and boys in the effort to combat all forms of violence against women’, and by engage ‘men and boys as partners in promoting women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, peacebuilding and post-conflict situations.’ Although the national action plans (NAP) of the states’ attempt their own way in accommodating these recommendations of inclusion, in the context of conflicts and post-conflict such arrangements have been usually forgotten. Thus, in those situations, men are more likely to oppose reconstruction goals that are assembly seen as likely to cause a power shift in their power balance. Duriesmith argues in warfare, dominant masculinity dupes’ men’s awareness that their ‘own expendability in military service creates contempt for women as objects that men are supposed to protect.’ Thus, post-conflict community reconstruction programs need to harness the prowess of participatory action process where inclusion, power and ideological difference are central to the policy debate. For example, there should also be healing centres that serve post-traumatic men as it serves women. Such initiatives are important in barring cyclical forms of violence against women when men with post-traumatic disorders return to the society where the same perpetrating laws, culture and agents remain without any reform in terms of education or seeking justice. Beyond reasons that are both political and cultural, the space for creating the dialogue of the vulnerabilities of the male gender on issues of victimhood such as male rape should be created against it has been reflected as a taboo. Further, recognizing that male rape has been used a ‘weapon of war’ is essential in understanding and designing the post-conflict restricting programs address such violence, thus men can also involve from being the victim, and as partners in the peacemaking process.
The notion of incorporating men in the peacemaking, post-conflict reconstruction and empowering process comes in two faces. One envisioning them as agents of change while the other to counter the negativities of collapsing masculinities which manifest in all forms of violence (physical, sexual and psychological) which may end up as systematic or structural combat. Thus, peacebuilding missions and campaigns must harness the power of ‘willing men’ as both champions and change agents for their targets and cause. Although men have been identified as the primary perpetrators of crime in the war zone, the fact that similarly men on the forefront leading the way to stop also cannot be ignored. This in its own brings to another reality that plagues women’s rights in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Revisiting the role of men does not mean revisiting their gender roles per say but as well the situations which they find themselves in. It means the need to continuously ask the questions that consider what dimensions men and women could be found in common in restructuring and what type of agency does that fuel in post-conflict situations. The language and practical tendency to over-focus on women as the victimized group at the hands of men, the ‘dominant’ in itself has allowed the continuous perpetration where women have been treated and turned into victims in need of saving from traditional men in need of fighting against. This creates the ‘logic of masculinist protection’ from the roots of the society up to the state. It also roots for ‘behavioural propensities of men link[ed] to violence’ while circumventing women to be more of peacemakers thus amounting to ‘these differences that help to account for the structure of states and international relations.’ The discussion about ‘what about men?’ in conflict to peacemaking and development situations is complex but is inescapable of the time. Complexities continue to emerge due to lack of understanding that not all men are obstacles to women’s development and equal rights, nor all men have benefited from patriarchy positively and its hegemonic masculine dominance. Men are also being victimized of conflict equally. It requires more policy guidance and practices in the post-conflict situations that could emphasize the role of men in this transition. Such policies must acknowledge that the popular understanding of masculinities has been overweighed to lean into the fitting of ‘hegemonic masculinities’ which needs to be deconstructed.
*Ibrahim Bahati is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) studying an MSc. in Rural Community Development and MA in Gender Studies at Makerere University, Uganda. He is currently The Global Summit People’s Fellow (2018) a recent Women in International Security Next Generation Fellow (2017) and holds a BA in Development Economics.
Cyber-attacks-Frequency a sign of Red Alert for India
The biggest target is in terms of transportations, nuclear power plants, Power system Operation Corporation Limited, V.O. Chidambaram Port Trust, Telangana State Load Dispatch Centre, logistic industries and research organisations which eventually can lead to destruction of the whole ecosystem. The confidentiality breach in the case of medical data leak as reported by a German cyber security firm –Greenbone Sustainable Resilience wherein Picture Archiving and Communication Servers were linked to public internet without any requisite protection is a point of concern. Then, there are certain individualistic attacks such as hacking email and financial crimes (banking), etc. In the last two years the attacks radar of focus has been defence, government accounts and the vaccine manufacturing companies.
Cyber Security – Individualistic awareness need of the hour
The target of the individual in a peculiar case which led to heinous crimes casted was due to opening of a document which was a bait to install Netwire- a malware. The bait was eventually delivered through a file and what prompted a person to open that link was a Drop box sent to him on his email was actually opening a Pandora Box of malicious command and control server. An emphasis to understand the technicality that Netwire stands for a malware which gives control of the infected system to an attacker. This in turn paves way for data stealing, logging keystrokes and compromise passwords. In the similar vein the Pegasus used the tactic to infiltrate the user’s phones in 2019.
Cyber Security – Attacking Power Distribution Systems
The intrusions by Chinese hacker groups in October, 2020 as brought out by Recorded Future was done through Shadow Pad which opens a secret path from target system to command and control servers. And, the main target is sectors such as transportation, telecommunication and energy .And , there are different tags that are being used by the Chinese Espionage Industry such as APT41, Wicked Spider and Wicked Panda , etc.
The institutions backing legitimisation
The Institutions which are at working under the cyber security surveillance are the National Security Council and National Information Board headed by National Security Adviser helping in framing India’s cyber security policy .Then, in 2014 there is the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre under the National Technical Research Organisation mandating the protection of critical information infrastructure. And, in 2015 the National Cyber Security Coordinator advises the Prime Minister on strategic cyber security issues. In the case of nodal entity , India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) is playing a crucial role under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY).But, there is a requirement of clarity in National Cyber Security Policy of 2013 and the needed updates desired in it respectively.
A cohesive approach – Data Protection and Privacy Importance
The Data privacy i.e. the personal data protection bill is an important imperative in which services of private actors can be bridged through a concerned law which is missing link in that sense. The point of Data localisation falls squarely within this dimension of Section 40 and 41 of the draft bill where in the Indian stakeholders have the capacity to build their own data centres .In this contextualisation there also a need to understand certain technicalities involved in terms of edge computing which in a way is enabling the data to be analysed, processed, and transferred at the edge of a network. An elaboration to this is the data is analysed locally, closer to where it is stored, in real-time without delay. The Edge computing distributes processing, storage, and applications across a wide range of devices and data centres which make it difficult for any single disruption to take down the network. Since more data is being processed on local devices rather than transmitting it back to a central data centre, edge computing also reduces the amount of data actually at risk at any one time. Whereas on the other hand, there is insistence on data localisation has paved the way for companies such as Google Pay to adhere to the policy and synchronise their working with the United Payments Interface (UPI).
What do you understand by Data Share?
In the recent case of WhatsApp privacy issue and drawing in parallel other organisation a similar platform such as Facebook and Google shared the data to the third party with a lopsided agreement and with continuance of the data trade business industry. In 1996 the internet was free so was perceived as carte blanche , a safe harbour falling under the Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act in the United States but with the evolution of the circumstances the laws in that specifications are also required to change in that respect. In relations to the Indian law under the Information Technology Act, 2000 under the Section 69 the Indian government has the powers to monitor and decrypt any information that’s store in any computer resource but on certain conditions such as in regards to the sovereignty, defence and security of the country.
Cyber-attacks understanding on the International Forums
In terms of Lieber Code of Conduct of 1863 or be it Hague Convention of 1899 there is a need of updating the definitions and where in the cyber army falling under the categorisation of civilians , not possessing any of the warfare weapons cause the main weapon that they possess is a malware which is invisible but can have deep repercussions leading to destruction of that particular economy altogether .So, in recent evolving circumstances there is an undue importance to for the target country to respond with equal force and having a right to self-defence in this manner regardless of the attack being from a non-state actor from a third country and masquerading under the civilian garb .Henceforth , there a thorough understanding of the complex environment that one is dealing with , there is undue emphasis to change and respectively update with the current world.
Incidents of Uranium Theft in India: Depleting Nuclear Safety and International Silence
In yet another incident of the capture of nuclear-related materials from unauthorized persons in India has made headlines in the Indian media but largely ignored in the international media. On 4th June 2021, as reported in the Indian media, the authorities arrested seven people possessing approximately 6.4 kilograms of Uranium in the Eastern State of Jharkhand. This is the second time in less than a month where Indian authorities have captured such a gang in an attempt to sell uranium illegally. An incident of the same nature was reported just a few days ago in May 2021 where authorities apprehended unauthorized persons, who were trying to sell nearly 7 kilograms of natural uranium on the black market. Notably, Indian authorities themselves believe that these events might be linked to a “national gang involved in illegal uranium trade”. This is a very serious issue because it means two things; first, that Indian local uranium reserves, radioactive nuclear materials, and facilities are not protected and are prone to black marketing. Secondly, this scenario has emerged because India is not adhering to international bindings of nuclear safety and security such as UN resolution 1540 and (Convention on Physical Protection on Nuclear Material) CPPNM under IAEA to secure its materials, reserves, and facilities. But, the most damaging aspect in this scenario is the discriminatory behavior of the international community, which is criminally silent on the violations of norms, practices, and regulations necessary for nuclear safety and security.
Though in both incidents, Uranium was in natural condition, which cannot be used for making bombs; however; it should be of great concern, as even in its natural state the Uranium can spread considerable radioactivity if used with conventional explosives. Moreover, Indian authorities themselves are considering that these activities could be linked with national gangs involved in the illegal supply of uranium. This raises the point that actually how much natural uranium is illegally sold in the black market by India. Since these are only incidents that are being reported in the Indian media, there might be many incidents that have never been reported. Also, this gang was captured from near the area where Indian Uranium mines of Jharkhand are allocated, the likelihood of access of non-state actors to these mines cannot be denied. These incidents are critical for international security and stability because such radioactive material when sold in black markets could be brought by the non-state and states aspiring for nuclearization. Unfortunately, in such a scenario all the efforts currently going on to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be hampered. The recurring of these incidents reflect that India, despite being a member of CPPNM is not ensuring the protection of its nuclear materials from theft and sabotage by proper regulations, stringent mechanisms, and control. Other than CPPNM, India has also signed UN resolution 1540, which makes it mandatory for the states to ensure security regulations, mechanisms, equipment required for the security of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) from the non-state actors. But, surprisingly, so far the UN or any other international organization has not taken notice of these recurring events. Rather, these mishaps by Indian authorities are shoved under the carpet. These incidents have been reportedly re-occurring in India, media reported these events in 2003, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2019, and now again in 2021.
Nuclear safety and security is a national matter of any state; however, against the backdrop of the potential damage, which these weapons can bring, they have become an international concern. Specifically, to an extent, where states are sometimes criticized, lauded, and sometimes rewarded for their behavior in this realm. In this regard, India appears as an exceptional case, where the formation of Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG to stop such events in the future has its roots in the Indian so-called peace nuclear explosion (PNE) in 1974. Ironically, a few years down the road, the same NSG gave a waiver to India for conducting nuclear export. Moreover, India was made part of many other regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement. Although, these decisions were carried out in lieu of geo-political realities, where the West regards India as a balancer against China but it gave a free hand to India. Even the US-based NTI Report on Nuclear Security Index gives India less score in nuclear safety and security regulations. At a time when many nuclear theft-related incidents have occurred in India in recent years, disgracefully, India still desires to become a member of NSG based on its so-called nuclear record.
To sum up the situation, the occurrence of back-to-back nuclear theft-related incidents has further exposed India’s nuclear credentials and its non-adherence to international practices of nuclear safety and security. If legal bindings such as CPPNM and 1540 would not be implemented in the future by India, the South Asian stability, as well as the international security, would be undermined. Moreover, if the international non-proliferation continues to remain lenient towards states like India, the rest would likely regard the international non-proliferation mechanism not just as discriminatory but even as hoaxing. Many states might prefer to proliferate for their own interests, which would not serve the non-proliferation mechanism and regime. A very candid example is that today even after two years of the last NPT review conference, the next has not been conducted and chances are that it might not be conducted this year.
Uranium is being traded freely in the open market in India
The Times of India has reported that a special police team arrested seven persons and recovered 6 Kgs of Uranium from them following raids at different parts of the city on Thursday. Bokaro SP Chandan Kumar Jha said, “We have seized the yellow substance and will send it to experts for tests. Uranium is a highly radioactive substance used at nuclear facilities.”
Police said the accused, suspected of being part of a national gang involved in the illegal uranium trade, searched for customers and fixed its price at Rs 50 lakhs per kg. Notably, a kilogram of Uranium sells for around Rs 18 crores in the global market, sources said. For the first time, Uranium has been seized in this industrial town, but in other parts of India, similar cases were reported several times recently.
Those arrested have been identified as Bapi Da alias Bapi Da alias Bapi Chandra, Anil Singh, Deepak Kumar, Krishna Kant, Hare Ram Sharma, Mahavir Mahto, and Pankaj Mahto. They are residents of different parts of the district. Deepak and Bapi have a criminal history. It is illegal to possess Uranium without a license in India, and violation of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, can attract stringent punishment.
Jha said police received information that some criminals are preparing to sell Uranium. A nine-member team headed by Chas DSP Mukesh Kumar and City DSP Kuldeep Kumar were involved in the raids. “It is still unclear how they got their hands on the radioactive metal. During interrogation, they mentioned West Bengal, Giridih, and a few other places. Seven mobile phones and a motorcycle were also seized from them,” he said.
Notably, Jharkhand is among a few states in the country that has uranium mines. Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) also has a uranium processing plant at Jaduguda, about 150km from Bokaro city.
Sources said police are also investigating to ascertain whether the arrested accused have any links with a similar racket busted by Maharashtra Anti- Terror Squad (ATS) on May 5 after it nabbed two persons. A total of 7.1 kg of natural Uranium worth Rs 21.3 crore was seized from the duo identified as Jigar Jayesh Pandya (27) and Choudhary (31).
It is a severe failure of the Government that hazardous materials are accessible by common people. It is the state’s responsibility, and the state must ensure the safety of the ordinary people. However, PM Modi has different priorities and over-engaged in non-issues. His focus to undermine minorities and the illegal occupation of Kashmir has made him over busy and left no time to safeguard the public interest. His extremist policies and brutalities against minorities are strongly condemned.
It is not the first time that Uranium has been traded like a regular commodity in the open market. It can be dangerous for India as well as the whole world. The law and order situation in India has deteriorated adversely, and criminals may avail this opportunity. The worst scenario will be if the RSS Hindu extremists got access to Uranium, then, definitely, the subcontinent is a one case. The fanatic RSS members are so vulnerable that they can go to any extent without considering the consequences.
Therefore it is appealed to the International community, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the UN to take serious notice and place preventive measures on the ground.
Being the next-door neighbor, Pakistan is under threat and has a responsibility to highlight such severe violations and may involve the international community to avoid similar cases in the future.
Pakistan on Friday, describing the reports of yet another incident of attempted illegal sale of Uranium in India as a “matter of deep concern,” reiterated its call for the thorough investigation of such incidents and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials to prevent their diversion.
In a statement, FO Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said the similar incident in Maharashtra last month and other such reports in the past “are a matter of deep concern as they point to lax controls, poor regulatory and enforcement mechanisms, as well as the possible existence of a black market for nuclear materials inside India.”
The UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and the IAEA Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) make it binding on states to ensure stringent measures to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands, the statement noted.
“Pakistan reiterates its call for [a] thorough investigation of such incidents and measures for strengthening the security of nuclear materials to prevent their diversion,” it added.
The press release said it was “equally important to ascertain the intent and ultimate use of the attempted uranium sale given its relevance to international peace and security as well as the sanctity of global non-proliferation regime.”
Uranium is used in several areas, including nuclear explosives and medical techniques. The very fact that some people stole or illegally mined Uranium raises concerns about nuclear safety and security in India. It also indicates the possibility of a nuclear market existing in India that could be connected to international players.
Pakistan had voiced serious concern last month, too, after reports of the Maharashtra seizure emerged, pointing to gaps in state control mechanisms there.
“We have noted with serious concern the reports about the seizure of more than 7kg natural uranium from unauthorized persons in India,” Chaudhri had said at the time.“Security of nuclear materials should be the top priority for all countries,” he added.
“There is a need for a thorough investigation of the matter as to how such sizeable quantity of uranium could become available outside any state control and identify the gaps which made this possible.”
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