Whether in the Balkans, Afghanistan or the Arab Spring, pro-government militias have an important impact on conflict, on civilian well being and on the prospects for peace. The pro-government militia (PGM) project is jointly led by Sabine Carey and Neil Mitchell (University College London). It aims to increase our understanding of these groups and make their relationship to government more transparent. An important part of the project is the Pro-Government Militias Database (PGMD), which was initially funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK, RES-062-23-0363. Additional support was received from the Working Group “Human Rights, Governance and Conflict” at the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW) at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). The project is now funded by the ERC Starting Grant No 336019.

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Access the online database here ›

The PGMD codes information on pro-government militas for all countries from 1981 to 2007. We expect our database to be most useful for examining patterns across countries – although with the amount of information gathered on the groups, we hope the database will provide a useful starting point for country-specific studies as well. Under the new project, we are currently updating the data to include more information on ethnicity and termination of PGMs and extend the coverage to 2014.

Dataset Highlights:

  • Locates pro-government militias
  • Spans across the globe from 1981 to 2007
  • Identifies links between groups and governments
  • Identifies various characteristics of PGMs

Advance notice of update PGMD version 2.0

We are currently working on updating the PGMD version 2.0. Version 2.0 will cover the years 1981 to 2014 and will include new variables on how PGMs were terminated, how they were created, as well as more specific information on ethnic membership and ethnic targets. The release of PGMD version 2.0 is planned for 2018.

Typology of pro-government militias

Sabine Carey & Neil Mitchell. 2015. "The Monopoly of Violence and the Puzzling Survival of Pro-Governmnent Militias." Submitted to Annual Review of Political Science.

In this paper we develop a typology based on the link of the pro-government militia to the state and to society as a device to capture variations among these groups. We use the typology to explore insights from this emerging literature on the causes, consequences, and puzzling survival of pro-government militias, their implications for security and human rights, and to generate open questions for further research.

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Papers & Publications