Civilians in Conflict

Coordinator: Ragnhild Nordås

​​Civilian populations are often the foremost victims of contemporary conflicts. Importantly, however, historical and recent examples show how civilians can also be change makers. Civilians can promote peaceful development through various civil society initiatives, but they can also exacerbate conflicts as instigators of violence. The Civilians in Conflict research group focuses on the role of civilians before, during, and after conflict, with the aim of contributing to policies that work to improve the situation for civilian populations.  

​Research themes

  • Consequences of conflict and peace processes for civilian populations and civil society
  • The agency and impact of civilian actors on conflict dynamics and peace processes
  • Policies of prevention of civilian victimization. 

More specifically, researchers in this group are interested in exploring inter alia:

  • The functioning of civil society and civilian group actors (including social movements, transnational networks, grassroots organizations, women's movements, entrepreneurs, and individuals) as conflict actors, peace builders, and/or veto players in transitions between violence and peace, including in popular protests and weak states
  • The impacts (positive and negative) of armed conflicts, interventions, sanctions, peace missions, transitional justice, and truth commissions on civilian populations and civil society, including population displacements, crime, and health consequences.

Research orientation

The Civilians in Conflict research group recognizes the need for a variety of research tools and approaches, ranging from formal models, via statistical empirical examinations, to ethnographic studies. To improve understanding of the role of civilians in conflict, we need rigorous data, comparative analyses, as well as in-depth understanding of contextual factors and specific local challenges. This reflects the research group's multidisciplinary approach. 


Current Projects

Past Projects

Research Group News

Past Events


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Binningsbø, Helga Malmin & Ragnhild Nordås (2022) Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and the Perils of Impunity, Journal of Conflict Resolution. DOI: 10.1177/00220027221078330.
Dyrstad, Karin; Kristin M. Bakke & Helga Malmin Binningsbø (2021) Perceptions of Peace Agreements and Political Trust in Post-War Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland, International Peacekeeping. DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2020.1869541.
Cao, Xun; Theodora-Ismene Gizelis; Anja Shortland & Henrik Urdal (2020) Drought, local public goods, and inter-communal conflicts: Testing the mediating effects of public service provisions, Defence and Peace Economics. DOI: 10.1080/10242694.2020.1855560.
Kruger, Jule & Ragnhild Nordås (2020) A latent variable approach to measuring wartime sexual violence, Journal of Peace Research 57(6): 728–739.
Juárez, Nicolás Corona; Henrik Urdal & Krishna Chaitanya Vadlamannati (2020) The significance of age structure, education, and youth unemployment for explaining subnational variation in violent youth crime in Mexico, Conflict Management and Peace Science. DOI: 10.1177/0738894220946324.
Quattrochi, John; Rosalie Biaba; Ragnhild Nordås; Gudrun Østby; Susanne Allden; Christine Amisi; Aline Cikara & Ester Namegabea (2019) Effects of an empowerment program for survivors of sexual violence on attitudes and beliefs: Evidence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, International Journal for Equity in Health 18(49).
Druce, Philippa; Ekaterina Bogatyreva; Frederik Francois Siem; Scott Gates; Hanna Kaade; Johanne Sundby; Morten Rostrup; Catherine Andersen; Siri Aas Rustad; Andrew Tchie; Robert Mood; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Henrik Urdal & Andrea Sylvia Winkler (2019) Approaches to protect and maintain health care services in armed conflict – meeting SDGs 3 and 16, Conflict and Health 13(2).
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2017) Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Security: Understanding Violent Attacks against Aid Workers, International Peacekeeping. DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2017.1321958: 1–28.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Does Artisanal Mining Increase the Risk of Sexual Violence? Micro-level evidence from Eastern Congo, Quality in Primary Care 24(2): 77–80.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Artisanal mining, conflict, and sexual violence in Eastern DRC, The Extractive Industries and Society 3(2): 475–484.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2015) Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts, Journal of Conflict Resolution 59(5): 877–898.
Motaze, Nkengafac V.; Primus Che Chi; Pierre Ongolo-Zogo; Jean Serge Ndongo & Charles Shey Wiysonge (2015) Government regulation of private health insurance, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015(4): 1–14.
Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage; Henrik Urdal & Johanne Sundby (2015) A qualitative study exploring the determinants of maternal health service uptake in post-conflict Burundi and Northern Uganda, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 15(18).
Chi, Primus Che; Henrik Urdal; Odidika U.J. Umeora; Johanne Sundby; Paul Spiegel & Declan Devane (2015) Improving maternal, newborn and women's reproductive health in crisis settings, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015(8): 1–26.
Chi, Primus Che; Patience Bulage; Henrik Urdal & Johanne Sundby (2015) Perceptions of the effects of armed conflict on maternal and reproductive health services and outcomes in Burundi and Northern Uganda: a qualitative study, BMC International Health and Human Rights 15(7): 1–15.
Linke, Andrew; Sebastian Schutte & Halvard Buhaug (2015) Population Attitudes and the Spread of Political Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, International Studies Review 17(1): 26–45.
Breidlid, Ingrid Marie & Michael J. Arensen (2014) Demystifying the White Army: Nuer Armed Civilians' Involvement in the South Sudanese Crisis, Conflict Trends(3): 32–39.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2014) Religious demography and conflict: Lessons from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, International Area Studies Review 17(2): 146–166.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2014) Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: Introducing the SVAC Dataset, 1989–2009, Journal of Peace Research 51(3): 418–428.
Hansen, Susanne & Nicholas Marsh (2014) Normative power and organized hypocrisy: European Union member states’ arms export to Libya, European Security 24(2): 264–286.
Chenoweth, Erica & Orion A. Lewis (2013) Unpacking nonviolent campaigns: Introducing the NAVCO 2.0 dataset, Journal of Peace Research 50(3): 415–423.
Nordås, Ragnhild & Siri Aas Rustad (2013) Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers: Understanding Variation, International Interactions 39(4): 511–534.
Nordås, Ragnhild & Christian Davenport (2013) Fight the Youth: Youth Bulges and State Repression, American Journal of Political Science 57(4): 926–940.
Cunningham, Kathleen Gallagher (2013) Actor Fragmentation and Civil War Bargaining: How Internal Divisions Generate Civil Conflict, American Journal of Political Science 57(3): 659–672.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2012) Development Consequences of Armed Conflict, World Development 40(9): 1713–1722.
Dugan, Laura & Erica Chenoweth (2012) Moving Beyond Deterrence: The Effectiveness of Raising the Expected Utility of Abstaining from Terrorism in Israel, American Sociological Review 77(4): 597–624.
Rolandsen, Øystein H. & Ingrid Marie Breidlid (2012) A Critical Analysis of Cultural Explanations for the Violence in Jonglei State, South Sudan, Conflict Trends(1): 49–56.
Marsh, Nicholas (2007) Taming the Tools of Violence, Journal of Public Health Policy 28(4): 401–409.


Chenoweth, Erica & Maria J. Stephan (2012) Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press. Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare.

Book Chapter

Urdal, Henrik & Primus Che Chi (2015) War and Gender Inequalities in Health, in Gizelis , Theodora-Ismene; & Louise Olsson, eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Abingdon: Routledge (116–137).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Siri Aas Rustad (2015) Assessing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers, in Olsson, Louise; & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis , eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UNSCR 1325. London: Taylor & Francis (138–162).
Østby, Gudrun & Henrik Urdal (2014) Demographic Factors and Civil War, in Newman, Edward; & Karl R. DeRouen, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars. Abingdon & New York: Routledge (131–144).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Lars Morten Bjørkholt (2014) Seksualisert vold i krig of konflikt [Sexualized violence in war and conflict], in Anita Schjølset, ed., Gender i Forsvaret. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag (243–272).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Lars Morten Bjørkholt (2014) Seksuell utnyttelse og overgrep i internasjonale operasjoner [Sexual exploitation and abuse in international operations], in Anita Schjølset, ed., Gender i Forsvaret. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag (273–300).
Checkel, Jeffrey T. (2014) Identity, Europe, and the world beyond public spheres, in Thomas Risse, ed., European Public Spheres: Politics is Back. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (227–246).
Kreutz, Joakim ; Manuela Torre & Nicholas Marsh (2011) Regaining State Control: Arms and Violence in Post-conflict Countries, in Greene , Owen ; & Nicholas Marsh, eds, Small Arms, Crime and Conflict Global Governance and the Threat of Armed Violence. London: Routledge (64–76).
Greene , Owen & Nicholas Marsh (2011) Armed Violence within Societies, in Greene , Owen ; & Nicholas Marsh, eds, Small Arms, Crime and Conflict Global Governance and the Threat of Armed Violence. London and New York : Routledge (79–104).
Jackson, Thomas & Nicholas Marsh (2011) Guns and Deaths: A Critical Review, in Nicholas Marsh, ed., Small Arms, Crime and Conflict Global Governance and the Threat of Armed Violence. London: Routledge (105–121).
Borchgrevink, Kaja & Kristian Berg Harpviken (2010) Afghanistan: Civil Society Between Modernity and Tradition, in Thania Paffenholz , ed., Civil Society and Peacebuilding: a Critical Assessment. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner (235–257).
Kjellman, Kjell Erling & Kristian Berg Harpviken (2010) Civil Society and the State, in Thania Paffenholz , ed., Civil Society and Peacebuilding: a Critical Assessment. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers (29–42).

Popular Article

Nordås, Ragnhild (2022) Why Widespread Sexual Violence Is Likely In Ukraine,, 6 April.
Dyvesether, Natalie M. (2019) What Does Gender Equality Have to Do with Poverty and War? Everything., PRIO Blogs, 4 November.
Stanton, Jessica; Ragnhild Nordås & Dara Kay Cohen (2015) Governments don’t outsource atrocities to militias. Here’s what really happens., Washington Post - Monkey Cage, 22 December.
Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen (2014) Utdanning Skaper Fred [Education Creates Peace], Dagsavisen, 10 December.
Cohen, Dara Kay; Ragnhild Nordås & Elisabeth J. Wood (2014) Four things everyone should know about wartime sexual violence, Washington Post - Monkey Cage, 9 June.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2013) AJPS Blog: Guest Post by Ragnhild Nordås, 1, 24 September.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2012) Spekulasjoner om seksuell vold [Speculations on Sexual Violence], Dagsavisen, 16 November.

PRIO Report

Nordås, Ragnhild; & Dara Kay Cohen (2011) Wartime Sexual Violence: Challenges and Opportunities for Data Collection and Analysis, CSCW Report. Oslo: CSCW/PRIO.

Master Thesis

Cadorin, Nina Maureen (2018) A missing Piece in Peace-Building: Police Reforms as Tools to Overcome Commitment Problems in Peace Agreements. MA thesis, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Oslo, Oslo.

Conference Paper

Nordås, Ragnhild; Vegard Skirbekk & Marcin Stonawski (2016) Religious Contention Today and Scenarios for the Future, presented at Population Association of America , Washington DC, 31/03/2016.
Leiby, Michele ; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2015) The legacy of war: Intimate-partner violence in Peru, 1980-2009, presented at APSA, San Fransisco, 3–6 September.
Nordås, Ragnhild & Priyamvada Trivedi (2015) QUEST: Coding Rwandan Narratives Of Sexual Violence, presented at APSA, San Fransisco, 3–6 September.
Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal; Andreas Forø Tollefsen; Andreas Kotsadam; Ragnhild Belbo & Christin Marsh Ormhaug (2015) Armed conflict and maternal health care Micro-level evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa., presented at the Annual Convention of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA, 3–6 September.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2014) Artisanal Mining, Conflict and Sexual Violence: Micro-Level Evidence from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, presented at The 49th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Toronto, 26–29 March .
Østby, Gudrun (2014) Violence Begets Violence: Armed Conflict and Domestic Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, presented at SVAC (Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict) Workshop, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2–3 September.
Binningsbø, Helga Malmin & Cyanne Loyle (2014) Justice during armed conflict from 1949 through 2011: A new dataset, presented at International Studies Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada, 26–29 March 2014.
Dyrstad, Karin & Helga Malmin Binningsbø (2012) Power sharing and political confidence: Postconflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, presented at Domestic Elites and Opinion, Konstanz, 07 Sep 2012.
Nordås, Ragnhild & Dara Kay Cohen (2012) Why Do Militias Attack Civilians? Violence by African Militias in Recent Armed Conflicts, presented at Conference on Paramilitaries, Militias and Civil Defense Forces in Civil Wars, Yale University, October 19–20.

PRIO Policy Brief

Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Understanding Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2013) Preventing Conflict-related Sexual Violence, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2012) Sexual Violence on the Decline? Recent debates and evidence suggest ‘unlikely’, CSCW Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: CSCW.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2012) Sexual Violence by Militias in African Conflicts: Not a question of ‘delegation’ by states, CSCW Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: CSCW.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2012) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, 1989–2009: What the data show, CSCW Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: CSCW.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2011) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, CSCW Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Østby, Gudrun; & Henrik Urdal (2014) Conflict and Educational Inequality: Evidence from 30 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Commissioned report for USAID. USAID.

Blog Posts

Don’t Forget the Children Born of War in Ukraine

Posted by Inger Skjelsbæk, Johanne Rokke Elvebakken, Lina Stotz & Ingvill C. Ødegaard on Thursday, 23 February 2023

Over nine months have passed since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Several of the first Ukrainian women who became pregnant as a result of wartime sexual violence have now given birth to children who were conceived as a result of this violence. More will be born in the coming months. And ... Read more »

Fewer Children Affected by Conflict, but Conflict Intensity Is on the Rise

Posted by Gudrun Østby, Siri Camilla Aas Rustad & Andrew Arasmith on Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Today Save the Children launches its new report Stop the War on Children: The Forgotten Ones. The report is based on PRIO’s sixth annual mapping of children in armed conflict covering the period 1990-2021. In 2021 our estimates suggest that 449 million children, or more than 1 out of 6 ... Read more »

Children Born of War Should be More Than an Afterthought

Posted by Lina Stotz, Johanne Rokke Elvebakken, Ingvill Constanze Mochmann, Inger Skjelsbæk, Sunniva Árja Tobiasen & Torunn L. Tryggestad on Sunday, 6 March 2022

A recent UN report published by the Secretary General in late January is one of the first to focus exclusively on women and girls who become pregnant as a result of sexual violence in conflict and on children born of war. The term ‘children born of war’ refers to children born ... Read more »

1 in 8 Children Are at Risk of Being Recruited by Armed Actors

Posted by Roos Haer, Gudrun Østby, Siri Camilla Aas Rustad & Andrew Arasmith on Tuesday, 30 November 2021

The recruitment and use of children as soldiers is one of the United Nations Security Council’s ‘six grave violations’ against children in times of war, as well as one of the most significant consequences of armed conflict in terms of children’s wellbeing. On 30 November, Save the Children launched its ... Read more »

Protection of Education in Conflict Zones – a Step in the Right Direction

Posted by Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås on Tuesday, 16 November 2021

On Friday October 30, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the protection of education in conflict zones. This is one of the most important matters on which Norway has facilitated negotiations in the Security Council and the resolution is a major step in the right direction for protecting ... Read more »

The Plight of Syrian Refugees

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken & Bjørn Schirmer-Nilsen on Friday, 6 August 2021

The plight of Syrian refugees is worsening day by day. They face increasing pressure in all of the primary host countries. The route to a safe haven in Europe is closed. Returning to a Syria in ruins, where the conflict remains unresolved, is seen by most refugees as far too ... Read more »

Hong Kong Two Years After the Mass Protests: What’s Next?

Posted by Amalie Nilsen on Wednesday, 4 August 2021

In 2019, millions of Hong Kong citizens took to the streets to protest a proposed bill that would allow Hong Kong authorities to extradite suspected criminals to mainland China. The protests soon developed into a movement, demanding full universal suffrage, amnesty of arrested protestors, and an independent inquiry to investigate police brutality. Known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) ... Read more »

A Forgotten Mission: Monitoring the Ceasefire in Hodeidah, Yemen

Posted by Júlia Palik on Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Yemen’s conflict has been described as a forgotten war. Peace, up until recently, has been even more forgotten. The new US administration has begun a new a military and diplomatic track to end the fighting. Biden has made Yemen one of his foreign policy priorities, selected veteran diplomat Timothy Lenderking ... Read more »

From Peaceful Protest to Civil Conflict in Myanmar

Posted by Andra MongMao on Thursday, 15 April 2021

Resistance to the 1 February, 2021 military coup in Myanmar is symbolised by a recent video: Images of young protesters killed by Myanmar’s Security Forces are accompanied by lyrics: “We are ghosts. We are already dead. If we die again today, in this life and the next, we will haunt ... Read more »

An Already Failing Peace Process Betrayed in Myanmar

Posted by Klo Kwe Moo Kham on Wednesday, 10 March 2021

The February 1st military coup in Myanmar and the massive demonstrations that followed have deservedly gained the world’s attention. The people of Myanmar have had their taste of democracy, however fragile it was, and now refuse to let go of it. But what about peace in Myanmar? Myanmar’s Peace Process ... Read more »

Myanmar – from one dictatorship to another

Posted by Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 3 March 2021

The coup d’état in Myanmar marks a defeat for the military’s attempt to create a “discipline-flourishing” democracy. The coup occurred on 1 February, just before the newly elected parliament was set to convene. This timing made it easy to arrest the country’s leading politicians. The military used allegations of electoral ... Read more »

72 Million Children Are at Risk for Sexual Violence in Conflict. What Can Be Done?

Posted by Robert U. Nagel, Ragnhild Nordås, Gudrun Østby, Siri Camilla Aas Rustad & Andreas Forø Tollefsen on Friday, 19 February 2021

A staggering 72 million children—17% of the 426 million children living in conflict areas globally, or 1 in 6—are living near armed groups that have been reported to perpetrate sexual violence against children. That means 3% of all children in the world are living at risk for sexual violence in ... Read more »

Police Brutality and Nonviolent Protest: The Case of Nigeria

Posted by Bintu Zahara Sakor & Vamo Soko on Tuesday, 24 November 2020

In the past weeks, the Nigerian city of Lagos had been rocked by numerous youth-led protests against police brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, also known as SARS. These protests which started peacefully turned deadly with numerous reports accusing the Nigerian police officers of shooting the demonstrators, resulting in at ... Read more »

Using a Comic to Tell the True Story of the Uffo Struggle for Justice in Somaliland

Posted by Ebba Tellander on Monday, 23 November 2020

We can all learn and draw inspiration from stories of ordinary people who care for others and resist oppression while risking their own lives. Such stories are often overlooked in both the media and in much research on conflict zones. In Somaliland in the early 1980s, doctors and teachers and ... Read more »

Myanmar: weak leadership is prompting grassroots activists to make a difference

Posted by Marte Nilsen & Benjamin Dix on Monday, 16 November 2020

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy secured yet another large majority in the Myanmar parliament in the national election. But, despite the Nobel peace laureate’s party being in power since 2015, progress in the war-torn and troubled country remains hampered by both structural restraints and the absence of political ... Read more »

The World Food Program Won the Nobel Peace Prize. Does Food Aid Boost Peace?

Posted by Ida Rudolfsen & Halvard Buhaug on Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The Norwegian Nobel Committee named this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, recognizing the World Food Program (WFP) for “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and ... Read more »

Collection of PRIO Research on Racism, Inequality and Discrimination

Posted by PRIO on Monday, 12 October 2020

Introduction For over six decades, our mission here at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has been to produce research for a more peaceful world. We analyze the conditions, causes, and dynamics of the political and social processes that create conflict or peace, and communicate this knowledge to policymakers, stakeholders, ... Read more »

Is there a hope for peace in the new/old war in the Caucasus?

Posted by Pavel Baev on Thursday, 1 October 2020

A full-blown war erupted in the South Caucasus last Sunday, September 27, and the two belligerents – Armenia and Azerbaijan – are proceeding with mobilizations under martial law, but no international authority tries in earnest to stop the hostilities. The conflict over Nagorno Karabakh ignited 30 years ago as the ... Read more »

Personal Stories of Home, Belonging, and Refuge at the War Childhood Museum

Posted by Aida Ibričević on Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Entirely unprepared for what I was about to experience, I walked through the thick, dark curtain leading up to the main hallway of the War Childhood Museum. I had stepped into a different realm, one of physical objects telling stories of growing up in wartime. Each had a voice, some whispering and ... Read more »

The Legacy of White Violence in the US

Posted by Adrian Arellano on Monday, 13 July 2020

On September 29, 1919, in Phillips County, Arkansas, a deputy died while trying to break up a labor meeting of black farmers. The next day rumors swirled about an impending black insurrection. In response, a white mob of up to 1,000 strong formed and indiscriminately attacked blacks across the county ... Read more »

Is 2020 = 1968?

Posted by Adrian Arellano, Christian Davenport & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Monday, 15 June 2020

People around the world are grappling to understand events in the United States at the moment regarding the current wave of protest and protest policing.  A few events readily come to mind in this comparison but the one that probably carries the greatest resonance would be the uprisings/disturbances/riots that followed ... Read more »

Silence, Complicity, and Violence in the American Political System

Posted by Kiela Crabtree on Friday, 12 June 2020

Protests in the United States, and around the world, have drawn attention to state-sponsored violence against black people in particular and people of color in general. As Black Lives Matter protests continue, the names of the many people, whose deaths sparked this collective outrage, ring out. Social media posts tag ... Read more »

PRIO Has the Leading Experts on Protests

Posted by Tora Sagård on Monday, 9 March 2020

How does a country’s security apparatus react to a protest movement? And what happens in the aftermath of successful protests? PRIO is conducting three major research projects about protest movements, securing its position as an international leader in this field. In 2019, the world experienced a surge of non-violent protest ... Read more »

This Is How Countries End up in the “Inequality Trap”

Posted by Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Sirianne Dahlum, Siri Camilla Aas Rustad & Gudrun Østby on Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Inequality fosters violent conflict, which again causes inequality, triggering a vicious cycle. In December the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released its annual ‘Human Development Report’. For 2019 the report focused on inequality. The report is being launched as nightly news is dominated by pictures of protests in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, Chile and Hong Kong. These ... Read more »

The Rise and Fall of the Twitter Revolution

Posted by Bintu Zahara Sakor, Marianne Dahl, Haakon Gjerløw & Tora Sagård on Tuesday, 7 January 2020

The year 2019 ended with a new wave of non-violent protests. In every corner of the world there have been huge movements gathering. This marks the end of a decade that opened with the Arab Spring; a decade that might go down in history as the decade of mass protests. ... Read more »

This may be the largest wave of nonviolent mass movements in world history. What comes next?

Posted by Erica Chenoweth, Sirianne Dahlum, Sooyeon Kang, Zoe Marks, Christopher Wiley Shay & Tore Wig on Monday, 25 November 2019

Around the globe, mass nonviolent protests are demanding that national leaders step down. Evo Morales, Bolivia’s three-term leftist president, is the latest casualty of mass demonstrations, after being abandoned by the military. Beyond Bolivia, people are rising up against their governments in places as varied as Chile, Lebanon, Ecuador, Argentina, Hong Kong, Iraq and Britain. This ... Read more »

What Does Gender Equality Have to Do with Poverty and War? Everything.

Posted by Natalie M. Dyvesether on Monday, 4 November 2019

This year’s telethon in Norway, an annual event, raised over 225 million Norwegian kroner for CARE’s work in strengthening women’s rights. Gender equality and women’s empowerment aren’t just goals in themselves: achieving those goals will reduce poverty and lower the risk of armed conflict. Every day 830 women die due ... Read more »

We checked 100 years of protests in 150 countries. Here’s what we learned about the working class and democracy.

Posted by Sirianne Dahlum, Carl Henrik Knutsen & Tore Wig on Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The success of mass protests depends on who is doing the protesting. Many observers fear that democracy is currently at risk — including in the United States and some European countries. Some commentators blame less-educated members of the working classes for the democratic backlash. According to the stereotype, these voters tend ... Read more »

Resisting Civil Society Repression in Zambia and Bangladesh

Posted by Kendra Dupuy on Monday, 9 September 2019

In recent years, dozens of countries around the world have been closing civil society space, clamping down on the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to operate freely. Alarmingly, this trend is taking place not only in countries with autocratic governments, but also in democratic countries. How are CSOs being ... Read more »

Racially-Motivated Violence in the United States: What We Call It and Why It Matters

Posted by Kiela Crabtree on Tuesday, 13 August 2019

An August 3, 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas highlights the continuing presence of racially-motivated violence in the United States. The shooter expressed white nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiments in a manifesto written prior to the attack, and the American news media has begun to frame the attack as one ... Read more »

Safeguarding women after disasters: some progress, but not enough

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik on Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Hundreds of Mozambicans were killed and thousands made homeless recently by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. Almost immediately, there were reports of a sadly familiar story: women being forced to trade sex for food by local community leaders distributing aid. Globally, international organisations appear to be grappling with the issue more seriously than before. Yet reports about ... Read more »

Why Did ISIS Attack Sri Lanka?

Posted by Indra de Soysa on Thursday, 25 April 2019

The terrorist attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have spawned many questions about the return of violence to Sri Lanka after a 10-year hiatus following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) terrorists in May 2009. The first thing to understand is that the terror ... Read more »

ISIS Women Hoping to Return Home Are Met with a Cold Shoulder from State Officials

Posted by Julie Ræstad Owe on Monday, 25 February 2019

The media has yet again turned its attention toward the women of ISIS. Currently ISIS only occupies one square kilometre of the so-called caliphate they once had, and as the final battles to regain former ISIS-controlled territory are unfolding, more and more ISIS fighters’ wives or widows have ended up ... Read more »

Can President Trump Bring Peace to Afghanistan?

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Monday, 4 February 2019

The negotiations between the United States and the Taliban may represent the most important turning point in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led intervention. But the path to an internal Afghan peace process is difficult, and only history will tell whether these negotiations marked the onset of a sustainable Afghan peace ... Read more »

Norway Has Chauvinistic Tunnel Vision When It Comes to Congo. The Country Has Great Possibilities.

Posted by Helge Hveem on Monday, 14 January 2019

On 10 December, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Nadia Murad and to Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist. For 10 years though, the Norwegian media and politicians, including the prime minister, have viewed the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Joshua French’s prison.* This view derives from a chauvinistic ... Read more »

The Clash of Guns and Swords: Game of Thrones and Reality

Posted by Siri Camilla Aas Rustad on Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Are there any similarities between the bloody war in Game of Thrones (GoT) and modern conflicts? The battle fields are certainly quite different, and dragons have very little to do with today’s conflicts (although they may allude to weapons of mass destruction). However, if we look beyond the fighting and ... Read more »

Children Born of War Are Not the Enemy. How Can They Be Integrated into Society?

Posted by Inger Skjelsbæk, Torunn L. Tryggestad & Ingvill C. Mochmann on Monday, 17 December 2018

This year, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and the Iraqi human rights activist, and witness and survivor of human-trafficking, Nadia Murad. These two voices are an extremely important contribution to ongoing efforts to combat war-related sexual violence. We are among the ... Read more »

The Unintended Consequences of Killing Jamal Khashoggi: A Backgrounder on the Yemeni Peace Talks

Posted by Júlia Palik on Friday, 7 December 2018

This week the spotlight is on Sweden and UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths: On Wednesday representatives of the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels arrived in Stockholm to find solutions to what the UN described as the ‘worst [humanitarian] crisis in the world’. The Saudi Arabia-led nine-member coalition has been at ... Read more »

#HearMeToo: Analyzing Reports to Prevent Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Posted by Jacqui True & Sara Davies on Wednesday, 5 December 2018

#HearMeToo is the theme of this year’s 16 days of activism to end violence against women. Responding to this catch-cry, as researchers, there is much we can do to link analysis to a theory of change. Reports of sexual and gender-based violence can deliver protection to victims. But there is ... Read more »

The Other Side of Facebook in Myanmar

Posted by Julie Marie Hansen on Monday, 12 November 2018

Facebook has been making headlines this year with what seems like scandal after scandal, from the Cambridge Analytica data breach to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of the United States Congress as a result. But perhaps one of the most serious scandals has been the social media platform’s ... Read more »

The Needs, Challenges and Power Dynamics of Refugee Resettlement

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik, Liliana Lyra Jubilut & Adèle Garnier on Monday, 29 October 2018

This fall, the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) was held in New York. The 193 UN member states gather annually to discuss, and sometimes act upon, global issues. Refugees were on the agenda in 2018, not only because numbers are historically high (25.4 million at the end ... Read more »

Why the Nobel Peace Prize Went to Two People Fighting Sexual Violence in War

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås & Elisabeth Jean Wood on Monday, 15 October 2018

As Islamic State forces swept through northern Iraq in 2014, they captured the city of Mosul and then attacked the nearby Yazidi people. Thousands of Yazidis were executed — and some 3,000 girls and women were kidnapped. Most were sexually enslaved. One of the two recipients of this year’s Nobel ... Read more »

The mass killing of women activists in Latin America: making political violence visible

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik on Friday, 28 September 2018

In 2017, Latin America was described by the UN as the world’s most violent continent for women. The assassinations of women activists and community leaders have continued across the region in 2018. While the killing of Marielle Franco, a favela community leader, and the unraveling of government-private enterprise collusion in ... Read more »

The Norwegian Libya Commission: An Important Report, But We’re Still Missing Answers

Posted by Kristian Berg Harpviken on Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Norwegian government must have known that the 2011 bombing campaign in Libya could lead to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, argues PRIO researcher Kristian Berg Harpviken. In light of the recent release of the commission’s official report on Norway’s participation in the military operation in Libya, Harpviken was asked ... Read more »

An Impossible Peace

Posted by Kalle Moene on Wednesday, 12 October 2016

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 ... Read more »

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

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik on Friday, 7 October 2016

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 ... Read more »

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

Posted by Catalina Vallejo & Diego Marín on Thursday, 6 October 2016

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 ... Read more »

White Helmets in the Dark Night

Posted by Marte Heian-Engdal & Martin Tegnander on Tuesday, 4 October 2016

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, ... Read more »

Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås on Friday, 8 April 2016

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 ... Read more »

Research Training in Eastern Congo

Posted by Gudrun Østby on Thursday, 3 December 2015

I have just returned from two weeks in Congo. PRIO colleagues Ragnhild Nordås, Siri Aas Rustad and I held project meetings with our local partner. Most of our time in Congo, however, was spent teaching how to conduct research. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is often described as one ... Read more »

Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers: Five New Findings

Posted by Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Tuesday, 1 December 2015

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 ... Read more »

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

Posted by Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås on Thursday, 8 October 2015

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 ... Read more »

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

Posted by Kristin B. Sandvik & Kjersti Lohne on Thursday, 13 August 2015

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. ... Read more »

The "Resister’s Toolkit"

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Monday, 29 June 2015

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 ... Read more »

Surprising Trends Uncovered in New Homicide Visualization

Posted by Nic Marsh on Thursday, 21 May 2015

PRIO is a partner in a new global homicide monitor that has just been published. Hosted by the  Igarapé Institute in Brazil, the monitor presents counts and estimates of global homicide over the period 2000-2014 and is intended to provoke reflection and stimulate debate. The Monitor reports 437,000 homicides in 2012, the ... Read more »

The Victory of Mustafa Akıncı in Northern Cyprus gives Hope to Turkish Cypriots of a Better Future

Posted by Rebecca Bryant on Monday, 18 May 2015

Northern Cyprus held the second round of its presidential election on 26 April, with Mustafa Akıncı defeating the incumbent President, Derviş Eroğlu. Rebecca Bryant writes on what the result of the election might mean for the people of northern Cyprus and future negotiations with the Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus. She notes ... Read more »

Who’s Afraid of “Waging Nonviolence”?

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Since at least 2011, the Chinese government has censored numerous websites on the topic of nonviolent resistance, including websites for the Albert Einstein Institution, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, an online bibliography of scholarship of nonviolent action, and the website for the NAVCO data project, among others. A month ... Read more »

Seeing Contention in Black and White: Protest and Protest Policing

Posted by Christian Davenport on Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How does the police react to situations when protestors are of one ethnicity as opposed to another? In a Washington Post/Monkey Cage blog entitled “Who Protests Determines How Police Respond,” this question is discussed referencing an earlier article of mine with Sarah Soule and David Armstrong entitled “Protesting While Black?” ... Read more »

Four Things Everyone should know about Wartime Sexual Violence

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås on Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Later this week, ministers from more than 140 countries, along with an estimated 1,500 invited delegates, are gathering in London for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The summit — the largest gathering of its type — is co-chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and the ... Read more »

Activists, Authorities and the Problem of Telling the Difference

Posted by Christian Davenport on Thursday, 8 May 2014

Discussion about who killed Anna Mae Aquash of the American Indian Movement in the 1960s raises some interesting thoughts regarding what takes place when governments and challengers square off against one another. Underlying most research on the topic and popular understanding is the idea that governments and challengers represent different ... Read more »

Rwanda, Remembrance and Research: Or, How Rwandan Violence Taught Me to Embrace Subnational/Disaggregated Conflict Studies and Integral Conflict Research

Posted by Christian Davenport on Thursday, 17 April 2014

Fourteen years ago I began a journey to understand the political violence that took place in Rwanda during the year of 1994. Toward this end, I brought with me the skills that I had at that time: 1) an interest in media as well as government-generated data and content analysis, ... Read more »

Female Empowerment in DR Congo

Posted by Maral Mirshahi on Tuesday, 1 April 2014

In January 2014 PRIO researchers Gudrun Østby and Ragnhild Nordås went on a two-week fieldtrip to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, DRC. The main purpose of the visit was to launch the new collaborative project, “Female Empowerment in Eastern DRC”, funded by the Research Council of Norway. This project ... Read more »

The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Conflict Spillover

Posted by Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Idean Salehyan on Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Syrian refugee crisis has been heartbreaking to watch. According to the United Nations, over 2.4 million people have fled the country, and many more have been displaced internally. This human tragedy has shocked the world’s conscience and has led for appeals for humanitarian relief. However, does the influx of ... Read more »