The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies is hosting its fourth annual forum on the security challenges in Latin America. This year?s forum aims to address the thematic question, "Security, Defense, and Gender: What are the Impacts?"
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This monograph is a serious and well-researched investigation into crucial factors of contemporary warfare. Readers will learn lessons on the distinctions between the Law of Armed Conflict and criminal law, particularly on important issues like lethal force, escalation of force tactics, and security detention. Professor Paterson makes a strong argument that the stated policy of respect and promotion of human rights (HR) - that has long been a guiding principle of the US military - does not translate into specific and mandatory directives at the tactical and operational levels. Indeed, he asserts that at those levels there is no formal attention to HR, only ad hoc efforts by operational units that don’t receive guiding policy. This monograph will be essential reading for policymakers and those whose task is the development of granular precepts to guide implementation and execution of policy on the ground.
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Latin American governments have had to turn to their military forces to combat organized crime. The military, highly respected in most Latin American nations, has the discipline and the power of arms to counter these groups. However, the use of the military in police operations is a dangerous solution. Soldiers without adequate training or education could commit human rights violations and jeopardize the legitimacy of the military institution in the eyes of civil society. The US experience in Iraq demonstrates the risks of deploying armed forces that lack proper training. Used incorrectly, this force can be counterproductive and can jeopardize the most important strategic objective: the support of the population. Respect for human rights generates legitimacy that leads to collaboration and citizen support and intelligence opportunities for military forces.
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