F U Professor consults on Darfur unity talks in Chad Page 7 Professor Rebecca DeWinter-Schmitt In December 2009 Professor Anthony Wanis-St. John was invited by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to travel to N’Djamena, Chad to consult on unity talks being held between military commanders of several Darfur rebel groups. After a year of teaching at SIS as a post-doctoral fellow, Rebecca DeWinter- Schmitt joined the IPCR community in the fall as a term faculty member. “Our time in N’Djamena was four days of intensive exploration of the obstacles to and possibilities of unification for political negotiations with the government of Sudan,” said Wanis-St. John. “We talked to them about other peace processes that either suffered from, or overcame, fragmentation problems, and we also let them explore their issues and concerns with each other.” DeWinter-Schmitt earned her PhD from SIS in 2007. “My dissertation basically looked at the mobilization of anti-sweatshop activists,” she said. “It asked the question of how that mobilization impacted the way we conceptualize not only what kind of rights, but also, what kind of responsibilities corporate actors should have.” He emphasized that the meeting, facilitated by USIP in coordination with the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy for Darfur, was just a start and that USIP and others, including Swisspeace, have been investing in rebel unity for some time. e groups have been seriously fragmented for several years, and the fragmentation worsened after one group (the SLM/A) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement in 2006. Another major group, JEM refused to sign it. at agreement failed and fighting continued, but the Government of Sudan signed a new ceasefire and framework agreement only with JEM, on February 23, 2010, further complicating unity talks. Focusing on the apparel industry, she looked at the industry heavyweights Nike and Gap who were central targets of the anti-sweat shop movement. Her dissertation was matched by her advocacy work on campus. DeWinter-Schmitt was an active member of the AU Solidarity Committee, an organization that sought to ensure that apparel sold on campus bearing the AU logo was made by companies with fair labor practices. As a result, AU is now a member of two labor standards monitoring organizations, the Fair Labor Association and the Workers Rights Consortium. AU Solidarity also conducted a living wage campaign for contracted workers on campus which led to the passage of a wage policy. “ey are still a long way from unity, but they are at least working toward it,” Wanis-St. John said. e fieldwork ties in to his ongoing research project on the fragmentation dynamics of parties in violent conflicts and peace processes. (left) Outside N’Djamena, Chad, where Professor Anthony Now a professor within the IPCR program, DeWinter- Schmitt has focused on the issues of human rights and corporate social responsibility while continuing her advocacy work. anis-St. John (above) was invited to consult last December by USIP (photo courtesy of Prof. anis-St. She is a member of Amnesty International USA’s Business and Economic Relations Group, experts that consult with the organization on means to ensure that businesses and other economic actors uphold human rights standards in their operations and proactively try to prevent violations. ohn).
As a part of this group, DeWinter-Schmitt has been working with Amnesty International’s “Counter Terror with Justice” campaign which, in part, focuses on the increasing role of private military and security firms in the detention and interrogation of suspects in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It raises all of these issues about humanitarian law. How do you ensure that detainees in a war are treated in a way that respects their rights under the Geneva Conventions? And what are the implications of using private companies
SCHMITT...continued page 10
Announcing the release of: US Peacefare: Organizing US Peacebuilding Operations
by Ambassador Dane Smith
published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies Watch for upcoming reception announcement