Education and trust building. Remarks from a Sri Lankan experience

2015-09-28 - 1:18 pm

By Rüdiger Blumör
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Sri Lanka

„During the war“, I was told in the east of Sri Lanka, „we used to open our mouth only to eat”. In wartime trust becomes a question of life and death. Mistrust is a good advisor for survival, instead.

If we view the war in Sri Lanka as something that stretched from 1983 to 2009 we will face an account of insurgency and counterinsurgency, interrupted by successions of more or less unsuccessful attempts to broker a political solution. Education has a position of high esteem in Sri Lanka because it is seen as the instrument for social advancement per se. As part of insurgency and counterinsurgency strategies education played a crucial role to “win hearts and minds”. What was at stake in many areas was not so much an absence of state institutions, but an excess of such structures because the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was keen to exhibit its own state-like capacities to the people. In consequence the state and the LTTE competed in winning hearts and minds and building trust.

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Draconian laws within democratic states – what space remains for civic society and peacebuilding?

2015-09-25 - 4:13 pm

By Nobokishore Urikhimbam
United NGO Mission Manipur, India

Manipur, which was merged to the Indian Union in 1948, experiences multiple armed and political conflicts. Under the absence of inclusive politics, controversy about political identity and empowerment, territorial status, economic development, divide along ethnic lines and the rest of India have led to the fight between armed state actors and non-state actors against the Indian State on one hand and the infighting between the various non-state forces aligned along ethnic lines. Civil society’s engagement in the interests of human rights, peace and social transformation is controlled and regulated.

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Peacebuilding in conflict torn societies – a perspective from Afghanistan

2015-09-24 - 7:07 pm

By Masood Karokhail
The Liaison Office, Afghanistan

After over three decades of conflict and multiple regime changes, the post-Taliban period of 2001 provided a massive window of opportunity for peaceful transformation in Afghanistan.

Although much progress has been made over the past 14 years, the country is once again engulfed in violent conflict. With the withdrawal of international military, ground combat has grown, sadly with high civilian casualties.

The Afghan security forces are increasingly challenged in their fight against the insurgency with population protection being difficult to master. According to a July 2015 UN report, in the first six months of 2015 a 23 per cent and 13 per cent increase in women and child casualties respectively was documented.

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Trust building in a post-conflict society: the case of Somaliland

2015-09-23 - 8:28 pm

By Mohamed Farah Hersi
Academy for Peace and Development, Somaliland
 

Somaliland, which was under British colonial rule from 1884 to 1960, became an independent state on 26 June 1960. Four days after its new-found independence Somaliland unconditionally unified with the Italian colonised Somali territory of the South. The unification of these two Somali territories was due to a Pan-Somali nationalistic ideology aimed at bringing ethnic Somalis of all former colonised territories together under one Somali state.

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Violence, power and the outside peacebuilders: shrinking or enlarging the space for local Civil Society?

2015-09-22 - 11:42 am

By Thania Paffenholz
The Graduate Institute, Geneva

 

A set of factors either enables or constrains local civil society’s role as peacebuilder. These factors are both external and internal to civil society (CS), and can be local, regional and/or international. There are three main sets of factors known from research. The first set of factors consists of the national or local context conditions, such as the level of violence, the behaviour of the state and powerful elites in the country, as well as the features of national or local media. The next set of factors is internal to civil society itself. This set encompasses how different CS actors engage and cooperate as forces for peace, or to what extent CS is divided by politics, ethnicity, religion, etc. A third set of factors operates at the regional or international level, and encompasses whether external actors, including powerful regional actors, support peace in a given context, as well as whether donors and the international peacebuilding community give support that is relevant, timely and effective.

 

Frequently, international peacebuilders restrict the space for local CS by pursuing inappropriate or insufficient strategies. I want to briefly discuss only three factors here, namely power, violence, and the potential constraining role of external peacebuilders.

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Welcome to the FriEnt PBF Voices Blog

 

The PBF Voices Blog is not solely shaped by us, the FriEnt team, it shall rather provide a space for conference speakers, participants and other interested persons to share ideas and insights on the future of peacebuilding policy and practice.

All posts relate to the multifaceted theme of the conference in its widest sense. Every article reflects the author’s personal opinion and captures his or her unique style.

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