CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

Global Overview

Outlook for This Month August 2020

Resolution Opportunities

Trends for Last Month July 2020

Improved Situations

Conflict in Focus

The latest edition of Crisis Group’s monthly conflict tracker highlights deteriorations in July in 11 countries and conflict situations, the overwhelming majority of them in Africa.

In Ethiopia, the killing of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa sparked a wave of protests, which left over 200 dead. In Sudan, the government struggled to advance the transitional agenda amid continuing delays in finalising a peace accord with rebel groups and escalating deadly violence in Darfur. In South Sudan, intercommunal violence surged in the east, while the partnership between President Salva Kiir and VP Riek Machar suffered setbacks. In Mali, clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in the capital Bamako killed at least 14 people.

Looking ahead to August, CrisisWatch warns of three conflict risks. In Libya, Egypt took preparatory steps toward a direct military intervention, which could escalate the war dramatically, while heavy clashes in Yemen’s north between the government and the Huthis could intensify. In Nagorno-Karabakh, deadly border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in July – the severest escalation since 2016 – could spark another flare-up absent strong communication between Yerevan and Baku.

We also flag a resolution opportunity in the coming month in Afghanistan. After the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire and the government made progress toward releasing the final batch of prisoners, prospects rose again of long-awaited intra-Afghan talks starting in August.

Bolivia

Amid public discontent, presidential election delay sparked renewed mobilisation against govt. Thousands 14 July protested interim govt in capital La Paz, defying COVID-19 restrictions; demonstrators voiced grievances over mass layoffs and govt health and education policies. Supreme Electoral Tribunal 23 July postponed presidential election from 6 Sept to 18 Oct, citing virus-related health crisis; exiled opposition leader and former President Evo Morales same day accused govt of unconstitutional move to “gain more time”. Influential union Bolivian Workers’ Centre (COB) 28 July marched in second-largest city El Alto against election delay, accusing govt of using pandemic to extend its powers; COB next day declared indefinite general strike and countrywide mobilisation; COB 30 July met with electoral authorities.

Colombia

Armed groups continued to take advantage of COVID-19 pandemic to expand territorial control, while National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas reiterated willingness to negotiate ceasefire with govt. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, armed group violence remained high. Notably, criminal group Rastrojos 18 June reportedly killed eight farmers and coca growers in Tibú municipality, Norte de Santander department (north east), forcing more than 400 people to flee. Attorney general’s office first week of July said 37 social leaders were killed in first six months of 2020 with a further 49 cases under verification; civil society group Indepaz counted 166 such assassinations in same period. NGO Global Witness 29 July said 64 environmental activists were killed in 2019, highest total globally and increase from 25 in 2018. ELN 7 July urged govt to negotiate bilateral 90-day humanitarian ceasefire amid coronavirus; next day, President Duque excluded possibility of bilateral talks until several preconditions are met. ELN chief negotiator Pablo Beltrán 9 July said group would not consider unilateral truce, claiming govt used guerrillas’ April ceasefire to reposition forces and launch offensive in May. Govt 8 July launched individual demobilisation program allowing armed group combatants to disarm in exchange for reduced judicial sentences and economic reintegration packages; El Espectador newspaper 10 July reported Dairo Antonio Úsuga David alias Otoniel, leader of Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (one of country’s main drug trafficking groups), was exploring options to lay down arms through program. Govt 15 July relocated dozens of former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) combatants from collective demobilisation zone in Ituango, Antioquia department (north west) following threats from dissident factions. Govt continued to insist on 31 July deadline for FARC political party to hand over economic proceeds from conflict, though party reiterated it had already returned profits in cash and commodities. Amid dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases, govt 29 July extended nationwide quarantine until 30 Aug, with different sets of local restrictions depending on number of cases.

Venezuela