Civil Society Voices Key to Yemenis’ Push for Peace, Open Society Report Shows

New York, Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Yemeni civil society organizations believe justice and accountability can play a decisive role in establishing a lasting peace in Yemen, according to a new Open Society Foundations report.

A Passage to Justice: Selected Yemeni Civil Society Views of Transitional Justice and Long–Term Accountability in Yemen highlights the leading role of Yemeni civil society in articulating the interplay between peace and justice, as well as the role that justice matters play in the peace process. It focuses on Yemenis' views about accountability for violations committed in the war–torn country since conflict broke out there in 2014.

"Transitional justice is a transit from something to something. I believe transitional justice can help with transiting from wartime to peacetime, from destruction to construction," the report quotes one civil society advocate from Mareb as saying. (Individuals quoted in the report are not identified by name to protect their safety.)

The Biden administration announced last week that it would end support to the Saudi–led war in Yemen. The announcement comes on the heels of other administration action aimed at bringing peace to Yemen, including an announcement to stop sales of precision–guided bombs to the Saudis, and U.S. designation of a special envoy to help negotiate a peace settlement in the war–torn country. But while these measures are welcome, the United States and the international community must also help ensure accountability and back Yemeni civil society's efforts to disrupt the cycle of impunity that threatens to undercut any peace agreement.

"As part of its new push to the end the war, the U.S. must also back Yemeni civil society's efforts to ensure real accountability for the crimes committed, and for the lives destroyed," said Chris Rogers, a senior program officer at the Open Society Human Rights Initiative and an editor of the report. "Because for many Yemenis, it is not U.S. bombs that are the real enemy to lasting peace""it's impunity."

Many civil society leaders interviewed for the report noted that the peace process must be attuned to the concerns and needs of victims of the conflict, now entering its seventh year. "Listening to victims makes us think about peace," one civil society leader from Aden told the report writers.

A peace plan that is sensitive to addressing the needs of victims and their families must consider the social and economic costs of the conflict, in addition to gross human rights abuses and violations. Victims' organizations, family associations, and other civil society organizations must have a way to have their voices included in peace negotiations.

The report also shows that language on accountability and on transitional justice has progressively been de–emphasized in Security Council resolutions and other key instruments since the conflict started in 2014. The report argues for a return of stronger language to Council resolutions. It highlights the important role such language can play in building political support and, at a later stage, the endorsement of an accountability and transitional justice agenda for Yemen.

A Passage to Justice is available for download in English and in Arabic.

The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, are the world's largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. We provide thousands of grants every year through a network of national and regional foundations and offices, funding a vast array of projects""many of them now shaped by the challenges of the COVID–19 pandemic.


Madison Realty Capital Completes More Than $1.5 Billion in Transactions in 2020

New York, Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Madison Realty Capital, a fully integrated real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies, today announced it originated more than $1.5 billion in financing, originations and performing and non–performing note purchases in 2020, ranging from $4.9 million to $173 million. The firm closed a total of 23 transactions in major U.S. metropolitan and suburban markets across a variety of real estate asset classes including, multifamily, mixed–use, medical office, office, industrial, condo, hotel, and retail. More than 70% of the total dollar volume was executed with repeat borrowers, reflecting the firm's strong relationships and flexible, customer–centric investment approach. With $5.6 billion of gross assets under management, Madison Realty Capital also continued to expand its platform by launching a new income–oriented $1 billion debt investment vehicle, targeting lighter value–add and core–plus real estate transactions with rates of 4% to 7%.

"Madison Realty Capital delivered a very active 2020, executing over $1.5 billion worth of transactions for our institutional clientele, maintaining low levels of leverage, and expanding our world–class lending platform amid a highly challenging operating environment due to COVID–19," said Josh Zegen, Managing Principal and Co–Founder of Madison Realty Capital. "For more than 16 years, Madison Realty Capital has distinguished itself by providing certainty of execution, strong underwriting capabilities, as well as flexible, efficient and creative financing solutions across market cycles. In 2020, we continued to advance our position as the partner of choice for leading institutional sponsors and top–tier independent developers and I am excited to build on our strong momentum in 2021."

The firm pursues debt investments by originating senior secured loans and mezzanine loans ranging from $5–$500 million and preferred equity investments for the construction, acquisition and refinancing of commercial real estate.

Madison Realty Capital remained an active lender throughout 2020, amidst the COVID–19 pandemic. Notable transactions for the firm include: a $173 million construction loan to MAG Partners for a 479–unit residential rental building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, a $170 million acquisition of a portfolio of performing and non–performing loans backed by multifamily properties in New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, a $165 million loan to Scape North America for the development of a 451–unit multifamily project in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, a $150 million renovation loan to WS Communities for six multifamily redevelopments and a bridge loan for a mixed–use development site in Santa Monica and San Fernando Valley, a $102 million construction loan to Invesca Development Group to finish a 98% complete multifamily project in Pompano Beach, Florida and begin construction for a mixed–use property in Plantation, Florida, a $50 million bridge loan to refinance the Pompano Beach 214–unit luxury rental apartment, retiring its initial construction loan in November, and an $18 million loan to Houston–based medical office development firms for a six–story Class A medical office building located in The Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas.

Madison Realty Capital brings its comprehensive experience as an owner and developer to its lending business and uses its expertise as a lender to enhance its ownership and development strategies, creating a symbiotic relationship across the business. The firm is a valued partner to both institutional sponsors and leading independent developers, known for speed, flexibility, and certainty of execution in complex situations.

About Madison Realty Capital

Madison Realty Capital is a New York City based real estate private equity firm focused on debt and equity investment strategies with regional offices in key markets including Los Angeles and Dallas. Founded in 2004, MRC has closed on approximately $13 billion of transactions in the multifamily, retail, office, industrial and hotel sectors nationwide. The firm manages investments in the United States on behalf of a global investor base. MRC is a fully integrated firm with over 60 employees across all real estate investment, development, and property management disciplines. Among other industry recognitions, MRC has been named to the Commercial Observer's prestigious "Power 100" list of New York City real estate players and is consistently cited as one of the industry's top construction lenders. To learn more, follow us on LinkedIn and visit www.madisonrealtycapital.com.