Endless media reports have been a witness to how years of conflict in Sudan have torn the country apart. What media too often ignores is that peaceful uprising has played an essential part of Sudan’s history, and that they continue to contribute making lasting peace in the country. One of the organisations fed up with the conflict is called Girifna.
The road to peace in Mindanao in the Philippines, has been a long and complicated struggle. The signing of the
Bangsamoro framework agreement on the 15th of October 2012 between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a historic step towards a sustainable peace.
Japan takes a constitutional stand against militarism. According to the peace clause in the Japanese constitution, Article 9, “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes”.
Last year, the former dictator Efraín Rios Montt was finally brought to trial under the accusation of genocide and crimes against humanity, making Guatemala the first Latin American country to charge a former head of state with genocide.
Isak Svensson is Associate Professor at the Department for Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University.
He was formerly the Director of Research at the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand.
His latest book is Ending Holy Wars: Religion and Conflict Resolution, University of Queensland Press, 2012
The Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”. This alternative award has during many years focused on the role of civil society and social movements, compared to the Nobel Peace Prize that has often been criticized for focusing on world leaders with a questionable “peace record”.
Peace can be planned. In most cases escalation of violent conflicts can be prevented. Countries at risk of instability and civil war need mechanisms and structures for cooperation amongst all relevant stakeholders in peacebuilding. Institutional structures for peace create a forum for all peace actors for dialogue and cooperation. Peace Infrastructures at all levels have the preference, but if governments are weak or fragile or not interested in such structures, Local Peace Committees may have an impact as well.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, there has been a drastic decrease in the number of armed conflicts in the world. This is a positive development that should be recognised. In 2010 the number of deadly conflicts reached its lowest level since 1957. However, there are some con- cerns about the increase of foreign military involvement in intrastate conflicts and the unusually low number of high-level peace agreements in 2010.
“I have heard that before – I think that you should solve the problem in this manner” is a com- mon comment from a partner, student or friend when someone has started to explain a prob- lem. Sometimes the listener understands the situation and is correct in his/her analysis of it. At other times, however, the problem is not at all what the listener thought it was. This often leaves the person telling the story in frustration, and the suggested solution is often mismatched be- cause the real problem has not been understood. The same goes for conflicts – if you do not understand you cannot fix it – but a good understanding enables a good solution.
In the Northwest of Colombia, near the gulf of Uraba, lays a small town called San Jose de Apartadó, established in the 1960s. In response to the internal conflict in the country and escalating violence directed towards the community, they decided to declare themselves the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in March 1997. The members of the community ad- opted a seven article long statute that, among other things, declare that they are not to carry arms, ammunitions or explosives and not to take part in the internal conflict in the country. In return, they demand that the parties of the conflict respect their decision and stay away from their community.
In the shadow of large-scale conflicts such as those in Somalia, Darfur and eastern DRC, and the international peace processes that have attempted to resolve these conflicts, Africa has a rich experience of local, indigenous peacemaking that is seldom reported in Western media.
News about Afghanistan seldom contains many positive stories. Most of the media reporting from the country is about the war, conflicts, poverty and negative developments. But there are positive stories to be told about successful projects, especially at local grass-root levels. The work of CPAU provides one example.
For over half a century, the Manipuri people have lived a life marked by lawlessness and violence. People are yearning for change, and there are several examples of peace initiatives carried out in the region. There is a need to highlight these peace initia- tives as they are rarely presented in the national media. Not all peace initiatives have led to concrete solutions in Manipur. Nevertheless, peace initiatives made by courageous people inspire others to hope and also indicate alternative methods to the use of violence.
The conflicts in the Middle East, particularly the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, are regarded by many as the most difficult international conflict to be resolved. Many Israeli/Palestinian peace initiatives at the highest political levels have been undertaken throughout the past 20 years, including signed peace accords, without leading to any major achieve- ment towards peace. failed political processes for years have led many people to believe that peace is either not possible or presently achievable.
The symbolism of boxing is apparent, but it is not about violence or fighting, it is about building self-confidence and competing for achieving goals, challenging stereotypes in the society, dreaming and believing in a different future.
On 2 February 2010 the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon, appointed Margot Wallström as the first-ever Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Her mission is to prevent sexual violence used as a weapon of war and to strengthen women’s participation in peace processes.
Peace Monitor has interviewed Peter Wallensteen, Dag Hammarskjöld Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University; Richard G. Starmann Sr. Research Professor of Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA