From North America to South Asia the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated societal conflicts promoting a rise in militarised responses from governments. But behind the headlines and stark images, community leaders, including women peacebuilders are stepping in to mediate and deescalate tensions.
If we want to see societies win the peace we need a concept of victory that is about justice and reconciliation, inclusion and equality.
Across Nigeria, the Sahel and other parts of Africa, many communities seem locked in a worsening cycle of herder-farmer violence. The pain, suffering and loss from herder-farmer conflict is immeasurable and on a devastating scale.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly through the highly militarised region of Jammu and Kashmir, the need for sustained communication and collaboration across the Line of Control has become more important than ever. Rather than distracting from the divisions caused by conflict, the pandemic is deepening them. But can a collaborative response to COVID-19 become a tool for peacebuilding in this divided region?
2020 marks the 75th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day when the Allied nations celebrated victory over Nazi Germany and Japan. Today, as on-going conflicts descend into drawn out endgames, what does it really mean to ‘win’ a war and what challenges are faced when it comes to peacebuilding, and post-conflict healing? These are the questions central to Reimagining Victory, a new digital series that explores the state of war and peace in relation to twenty-first century conflict.
Yesterday the UK announced the merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This move presents real risks but also potential opportunities for the UK’s contribution to reducing conflict and supporting peace overseas.
In a letter released today, experts in conflict resolution and human rights, call on the French and Spanish governments to release Basque prisoners who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or are eligible for parole. The letter is signed by over 100 hundred people, including Conciliation Resources’ Executive Director Jonathan Cohen. Read the full statement below.
Working in three contexts - Central African Republic, Myanmar and Nigeria (the hubs) - Smart Peace is implemented by a specialist consortium led by Conciliation Resources, in partnership with International Crisis Group, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, The Asia Foundation, ETH Zurich, Behavioural Insights Team and Chatham House. Through combining expertise to ensure a comprehensive and adaptive approach to peacebuilding, Smart Peace aims to see key stakeholders involved in conflict resolution, including communities, better supported to manage change peacefully. This introductory film provides an overview of Smart Peace’s approach and what this means in each of the programme’s hubs.
Today, Chatham House is hosting the first expert roundtable event on Smart Peace online. With the number of violent conflicts increasing, there is a worldwide need to respond more effectively. Smart Peace is a global consortium created to improve peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states.
This roundtable, which was postponed due to COVID-19, is an opportunity for Smart Peace partners to share the Smart Peace concept, approach and objectives, and experiences of the first phases of programme implementation. Smart Peace partners will be joined remotely by UK government officials, representatives from embassies, and other international organisations working on peacebuilding.
Twenty-six years ago on 12 May, a ceasefire between Armenians and Azerbaijanis took hold in Nagorny Karabakh. The ceasefire brought six years of violence to a close. Since then, however, despite uninterrupted negotiations no peace agreement has been signed. Armenians and Azerbaijanis remain locked in a protracted conflict, with no end in sight.
Parts of a Circle: History of the Karabakh Conflict chronicles the disputed history of the decades-old conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Based on a series of three documentary films jointly produced over five years by Conciliation Resources and our partners the Media Initiatives Center, Internews Azerbaijan, and the Humanitarian Research Public Union, the film showcases journalistic cooperation in bridging societies in conflict.
Every year, the months of January-April are crowded with traumatic commemorations in both Armenian and Azerbaijani national calendars. Seeing the bitter online exchanges during this time, one could be forgiven for thinking that history should be left alone.
Yet societies affected by violence need an internal dialogue on the violent past. Many conflicts generate complex combinations of victims and perpetrators, necessitating difficult conversations for post-war societies on how they distinguish right and wrong – even under the most extraordinary circumstances imposed by war. This imperative is reflected in the fact that reconciliation is no longer seen in peacebuilding practice as a utopian aspiration or a ‘soft’ add-on. Questioning how its history is transmitted – what is foregrounded and whose voices are omitted – is healthy for any nation. This is all the more relevant in the South Caucasus today as a new generation with no memory of 1990s violence grows up.