The Carter Center sent missions to observe three elections in Tunisia, the only country where the 2011 Arab Spring protests led to a transition to a more democratic political system. The Center also sent small teams to observe the Muskogee (Creek) Nation’s elections for the tribe’s principal chief, second chief, and National Council. The Carter Center released a report analyzing Kenya’s electoral dispute resolution system, focusing on issues in Kenya’s 2017 polls. The 2017 presidential election was widely debated across the African continent, as the results were annulled and a fresh election held, even though it was not clear that the problems had impacted the election outcome. The program also completed a report analyzing Kenya’s law requiring a quota of female candidates for elective offices. In addition, the program continued its support to civil society partners working on elections and political participation in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tunisia, and Myanmar. Finally, the program launched an initiative on digital threats to democracy, including developing new open-source tools to assess social media around elections and organizing policy dialogue on human rights and social media.
Human Rights Program
Efforts by Carter Center-supported human rights networks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulted in the establishment of crucial laws to protect human rights defenders in two of the six provinces where the networks are active. The International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Board recognized the DRC’s “meaningful progress” in improving extractive sector transparency and acknowledged the Carter Center’s important role in supporting these efforts. The Center’s annual Human Rights Defenders Forum, held in Atlanta in October, followed the theme “Building Solidarity Toward Equality for All.” Forum participants called on local and national governments and international organizations to increase efforts to protect activists who are threatened or attacked and increase meaningful long-term support for their work. Protection includes offering activists political, moral, and physical support in times of crisis; creating robust programs to support women activists; and eliminating impunity for those who attack human rights and peace activists. Governments should also provide needed resources and other support, they said. The Center worked with nearly 200 religious, traditional, and community leaders in Nigeria and Ghana to inform and empower the women and girls in their communities.
Rule of Law Program
The Carter Center partners with governments, civil society, and international bodies to advance information, accountability, and justice and seeks to transform lives and support communities and nations with better governance. In Guatemala, Liberia, and Bangladesh, the Center and its partners assisted women who filed nearly 1,000 requests for information, empowering them to make positive changes related to education, land, business, and personal security. Through additional efforts in Liberia, the Center helped the Liberia National Police pass and begin implementing policies that permit citizens to hold police officers accountable and increase trust through the filing of complaints and commendations. The Center also provided legal support to approximately 1,500 individuals in marginalized communities, trained over 1,000 traditional and community leaders in alternative dispute resolution, and began efforts to raise the awareness of more than 40,000 citizens of their rights in the criminal justice sector and the obligations of the justice system to uphold the rule of law. In Bermuda, The Carter Center used its Implementation Assessment Tool to measure the extent and quality of implementation of access to information legislation, providing a road map for improvement.
Conflict Resolution Program
As the official Independent Observer of implementation of the peace agreement in Mali, The Carter Center issued three reports on the situation there in 2019. The Center also laid groundwork for hybrid peace-health initiatives in Mali and Sudan, where local peacebuilding in two states aims to improve access for health work. Continuing its close monitoring of the conflict in Syria, The Carter Center and its partners explored new options for conflict transformation that could arise from conditional sanctions relief and published a series of reports that identified areas with high levels of contamination by unexploded ordnance and mines, based on information the Center has collected and curated since 2013. Several workshops were aimed at helping religious and community leaders in Europe, North Africa, and the United States counter Islamophobia and prevent grassroots violent extremism.
Forty years after President Carter ended three decades of diplomatic estrangement between the United States and China, The Carter Center convened a three-day forum on Sino-American relations. The forum featured panel discussions with dozens of leading U.S. and Chinese scholars, policymakers, and veterans of statecraft, and the Center published 13 papers from participating scholars. The Center also hosted the sixth annual conference of the International Consortium for China Studies, titled “The Rise of China and Its Impact on Developing Countries.” For this conference, the Center commissioned white papers to analyze the impact of China’s increasing engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean from the Chinese, American, and Latin American perspective. The Center organized workshops in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which brought together government representatives, nongovernmental organizations, and private-sector actors to explore avenues for cooperation. As a result of the Center’s 2018 workshop in Djibouti, deconfliction efforts spearheaded by the Djiboutian government are underway.
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