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The Youth, Identity and Security cluster brings together activities by FRIDE, Interpeace, NEP and SFCG.

Research, including within the Initiative for Peacebuilding, shows that gender, age, ethnic and religious and identity groups have different experiences of and responses to the (non)-provision of security by the state. This is a warning sign of and/or testament to the fact that the state is losing, or has lost, its ability to assure the exercise of legitimate violence in support of the rule of law. The threat to peace and stability in such situations is not limited to countries labeled as being ‘fragile’. There is much to be learnt in explicitly ‘conflict-affected’ situations from the dynamics of, and responses to, gang crime and the interrelationships between organized crime and ‘structural’ violence in other contexts.

This cluster will examine how communities respond to the (non-) provision of security and justice as well as how government and donor policies impact on those dynamics, perhaps themselves catalyzing or reducing violence.

The cluster will include research and policy dialogue, to present and share experiences and analyses among practitioners and policy makers. Research and workshops will include analysis of the role of youth in violence ‘dissemination’ and ‘containment’ in urban territories of Bissau in Guinea-Bissau and Praia in Cape Verde (NEP), and in the unstable contexts of Nepal and Sierra Leone (SFCG), and Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador (Interpeace). In addition, this cluster will include research in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), San Salvador (El Salvador) and Maputo (Mozambique) on the role of women and girls in armed violence as well as the differentiated impacts of armed violence in women’s lives (NEP).

Cluster coordinator :Philippe Bartholme

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Youth, Identity and Security
Synthesis Report

Author(s): Susanne Gratius (FRIDE); Rita Santos and Sílvia Roque (Peace Studies Group (NEP/CES))

The Youth, Identity and Security cluster has dealt with diverse approaches towards youth and urban violence, particularly the roles of women and girls. Focus was also paid to the inter-generational and gender dynamics of urban violence. With regard to local responses, the security sector has been at the heart of the debate, while structural reforms of the justice and prison systems and socio-economic measures have been scarce. This report combines the results of empirical research was based on case studies in eight countries: Brazil, Cape Verde, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Mozambique, and Venezuela and provides recommendations to the EU on the political and programmatic level.

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Violent Women and Violence Against Women
Gender Relations in the Maras and Other Street Gangs of Central America’s Northern Triangle Region

Author(s): Isabel Aguilar Umaña and Jeanne Rikkers (Interpeace)

The youth gangs of Central America’s Northern Triangle are mainly comprised of men; nevertheless, women are present in multiple ways in the lives of gang members, either as mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends or fellow gang members. This publication is based on the findings of an exploratory study of the role of women and gender-based relations in the inner circles of these gangs, examining the motivations of girls and teenagers to join street gangs, their experiences as women in these groups and why some of them decide to leave. The publication concludes with a series of policy and funding recommendations to international policy makers to ensure that that vulnerable young girls and teenage women who are victims of gender violence receive appropriate and timely interventions.

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Nine Strategies to Prevent Youth Violence in Central America
Policy Recommendations for the European Union

Author(s): Isabel Aguilar Umaña and Jeanne Rikkers (Interpeace)

Violence in Central America is widespread and is a major concern. Youth are particularly targeted and vulnerable, both as victims and perpetrators of violence. There is a number of risk factors for youth to become victims of violence. The recommendations set out in this report call for the adoption of a holistic approach to prevent youth violence and emphasise that the actions taken be effective and grounded in sound principles of youth and adolescent policy, such as respect for human rights; promotion of a culture of peace; inclusion and respect for pluralism; diversity; gender equality; youth leadership and participation.

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