Introduction

It was indeed an honor to listen to
the enlightening session by Ms. Rumiko Seya on one of the most important issues
that the world is currently facing – building peace in conflict-affected
societies. The worthy guest speaker has a vast experience in her area of
expertise which is clearly manifested from her awards and honors and thus, had
a great command over her subject. She discussed in detail and shed
comprehensive light on the subject topic. The complete session inculcated the
deep understanding of the prevalent issue, its importance and its implication
in a holistic manner. In today’s world, there are armed conflicts raging all
over the globe which are fostering deadly conflicts every single day. Many
lives are destroyed on daily basis just because of these violent conflicts. The
damages are not mere restricted to this outcome, but also include torture,
displacement due to terrorism, government instability and human right
violations of the civilians. It is truly said that everyone in life has come
across a disagreement that eventually leads to some conflict. So it is very
important to smoothen this disagreement by bridging the differences and
resolving the issue. In today’s world the magnitude of the conflicts are
significantly large and thus need effective mechanism for its resolution.  Therefore amid all these conflicts, there is
dire need to take substantive measures not only on local level but also on
international community level; so that such conflicts may be prevented and
avoided by conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. In addition to
this, it is also important to understand the causes of these conflicts and make
a more effective, sustained contribution to create an environment for lasting
peace and harmony.

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Overview
of the Presentation

Since 1945, the period post Second
World War, there had been some 250 major armed conflicts1 in the world. It is
estimated that total number of victims due to these conflicts are around 10.1
Million where the number is still constantly rising. According to the
statistics, major conflicting have commonality of geography. This means that
most of major conflicts in the world (over few decades) are happening in the
same region. The magnitude of the situation can be well understand by only
considering the number of estimated deaths due to terrorism. It is estimated
that deaths only due to terrorism in 2015 exceeded thirty thousand. The problem
is not mere restricted to the developing regions but also have tentacles in the
developed regions. The similar trend is also observed in OECD2 member countries where the
countries have encountered with 650% increase in deaths due to terrorism. It is
pertinent to mention that twenty one out of thirty four OECD member countries
experienced at least one terrorist attacks in 2016.  

The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global
Trends study3
shows that approximately 65.5 million people were forcibly displaced by the
conflicts in 2016 only as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human
right violations. This means that the pace at which people are becoming
displaced is extremely high. It is estimated that on average twenty people4 are driven from their
homes every minute. According to the guest speaker5, among all above stated
challenges, most challenging of all is the crisis of IDPs (internally displaced
persons). This is because of less media attraction towards the problem of IDPs;
an intra country issue, hence generally deprived from global media attention as
compared to Refugee crisis on global level. In this regard the guest speaker
stressed at the importance of addressing these issues on priority vis-à-vis the
refugee crisis in the world. Owing to these problems and challenges, it is of
dire need to manage and prevent these conflicts on priority. Hence there is a
need for effective conflict management so that an enduring peace and stability
may achieved.

JCCP:
Building Peace and Preventing Conflicts

Japan Center for Conflict Prevention
(JCCP) is an international NGO vested with the responsibilities of community
security and safety, research and training in peace and security, protection of
war-affected population, prevention and response to gender based violence,
livelihood, peace building programs and capacity building. The three core
functions of JCCP include: conflict management mechanism, economic empowerment
of youth and women at risk and peaceful coexistence through livelihood.

 

Conflict
Management

The objective of conflict management6 is to restrict the
violence and combat within certain geographic and intensity limits so as to prevent
the conflict expanding and becoming even more violent and deadly. It is
important to support those whose livelihoods, life choices and freedom are
threatened by these conflicts. The purpose is not only to support but also help
preventing the further outbreaks of violence by building long term solutions in
conflict affecting societies. According to the guest speaker, for effective
conflict management it is necessary to educate all stakeholders and affected
regarding the conflict resolution. Some of the most important conflict
preventing mechanisms are summarized as follows:

1.     
Preventing
Conflict by Early Warning and Early Response (EWER)

The best way to counter any conflict
is the proactive approach. This means to stop the violence or conflict before it starts. In
conflict zones this is the difference between life and death. This conflict
prevention is managed by monitoring hotspots of violence on ground and by the
usage of early warning alarms before the violence or any conflict breaks out.
The system is integrated with communication technology that gather the data on
emerging crisis to analyze the situation. The idea is to prevent conflicts
before it erupts, analyze and share the reports spearheaded with first hand
evidence to the important decision makers around the world. The system is
devised and designed to provide information to the local people who are exposed
to such possible violence so that they may have up to date information on the
flash points of violence. This information is important which means that they
will have some time to run, hide or move to some other safer areas. This is also
important for the provision of firsthand information to the outsiders and
watchdogs who have limited medium of knowing the true real time happenings in
these remote areas. These systems are called Early Warning and Early Response
(EWER) networks, and are critical for long term peacebuilding. It is pertinent
to mention that this is an effective system; hence many localized violence or
threat of violence have been neutralized and stopped before escalation. 

2.      Building
Livelihoods and Supporting Ex- Combatants

It
is truly said that once the war breaks out then it tears apart the lives,
communities, jobs and livelihoods of the people. In order to rebuild the lives
and support communities to have financial stability, it is extremely important
to the rebuild their livelihood by providing jobs and small businesses. In war
effected areas, generally returning fighters are feared and often excluded from
jobs. This also includes the child soldiers who have missed out education and
other skills that are required for any profession. Building livelihoods is not
only important for long term peace through economic and social development, but
also for the reintegration of these outlaws into their communities. The prime
reason of all is to bar these people from drawing into violence in the future. Disarming
these fighters is crucial for enduring lasting peace by ending ongoing armed
violence. That’s why provision of skills or a livelihood will keep them out of
the militia for the longer term. According to one of the surveys7, in many
conflict zones, many combatants want to leave their life of violence. But the
actual problem is, that they cannot see a way out. But rescuing them is just the first
step. This step should be followed by the provision of alternatives to a life
of violence and helping them to resettle into civilian life.

 

3.      Tackling
Violent Extremism

The
worst kind of challenge that world is currently facing since last decade is the
exponential growth of extremism. In places where bombs shatter lives and
militants rule the streets, joining an extremist group can seem like the only
option for survival. Alarmingly this trend can easily be seen in children where
the militant organization are recruiting children as new weapon of war. In
recent years, terrorist groups such as ISIL, Al-Qaida and Boko Haram have
shaped our image of violent extremism8. Indeed
it’s a high time to combat extremist and stop radicalization by early
intervention and education. Best way to tackle this potent threat and menace is
through local peer to peer approaches involving the community. Thus how they
will be able to tackle some of the root causes of extremism and violence and
support young people
at risk of recruitment to turn away from violence.   

 

4.      Women
and Conflict

When
it comes to the conflict, women are the major sufferers. It is estimated that
women make up eighty percent of the total who would flee their homes because of
these conflicts. The sufferings are not mere limited to desertion of their
homes; they are often become
targets of sexual violence, their husbands and children may be killed – leaving
them without support. As a matter of fact they are the majority of casualties
of war in almost all conflicts in the world. Here it is pertinent to mention
that though they are the highest sufferers, but still they are pivotal and
important in the fight for peace. Therefore it is crucial to pay attention to
women’s roles and viewpoints in order to build safer communities, more
resilient societies and shape local solutions for peace. It is truly said that
they are not only victims of conflict only, but also they are the drivers of
peace, hence their voices must be heard if peace is to last.

 

5.      DDR:
Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

DDR
stands for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. It is a process which
is responsible to contribute to security and stability in post-conflict
environments. As mentioned by the guest speaker, toughest part in implementing
DDR is to deal with the ex-combatants. It is a complex process, with political,
military, security, humanitarian and socio-economic dimensions where the major
demands by these ex-combatants are the provision of amnesty. DDR seeks to
support male and female ex-combatants and men, boys, women and girls associated
with armed forces and groups9, so that
they can become active participants in the peace process. The whole process is
quite exhaustive, where it takes a great amount of time to achieve the desired
objectives. The toughest of all is the disarm mentation of these personnel and
reintegration. Generally it’s quite difficult for everyone to accept this
coexistence keeping in view their earlier relation during the era of conflict.
Integrating them in the society is the major impediment that restrict the
complete process. Therefore for peaceful coexistence and long lasting peace, it
is of dire significance to integrate all into the social fabric so that a
homogeneous pluralistic formation in the society may be achieved where all the
stakeholders may work in an integrated manner. It is pertinent to mention that
DDR alone cannot settle the conflict or prevent violence. Rather, it’s a step
towards establishing a secure environment towards peacebuilding strategy and
conflict averse society.

 

Way Forward

For
achieving enduring peace by in conflict affected societies it is important to
acknowledge that outside actors can rarely create peace. It is fundamentally
the role of the local inhabitants within the conflicted societies who can bring
the real change and enduring peace. As it is truly said that you cannot import
peace as it can only be created within the society. Within the developed
countries major reasons of the conflicts are attributed to the socio-economic
factors. This include: youth unemployment, levels of criminality, access to
weapons and distrust in the electoral process. 
Having said that, these are also the most statistically significant
factors correlating with terrorism. However in developing countries, a history
of conflict, levels of corruption and group-based inequalities are most
significant factors that are responsible for such conflicts. There are certain
number of key issues that are required for the sustainable peace process. Most
important of all is the physical security where life and property of the
individuals are safe. In other terms it is basically creation of cordial space
for societal developments and processes to take place. The other important
aspects include: creation of rule of law, good governance, pluralism and
efficient democratic political system. The main ingredient for peace to prevail
is the environment where every individual has fair and equal access to justice
and an atmosphere to live in security. It is a state of order, of freedom from
fear and want, of being secure. Finally for building peace, it is highly
important to promote peace education in the conflict affected societies. so
that the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help people either to
prevent the occurrence of conflict, resolve conflicts peacefully, or create
social conditions conducive to peace.

 

References

Ramsbotham
Olivier, Tom Woodhouse, Miall Hugh, 2005: Contemporary Conflict Resolution: The
Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts, 2nd Edition
(Cambridge, Polity Press), September 2005.

Preventing conflict

15 Wars Happening Right Now That No One Talks About

http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2017.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/20/armed-conflict-deaths-increase-syria-iraq-afghanistan-yemen

15 Wars Happening Right Now That No One Talks About

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2017

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

https://www.cfr.org/interactives/global-conflict-tracker#!/global-conflict-tracker

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-security-casualties/global-terrorism-deaths-fall-but-rise-650-percent-in-oecd-countries-report-idUSKBN13B0C4

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2017-global-terrorism-index-de-iep-las-muertes-por-terrorismo-bajan-un-22-657619713.html

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/07/egypt-hundreds-disappeared-and-tortured-amid-wave-of-brutal-repression/

https://www.peaceinsight.org/conflicts/

 

 

1 http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/st_war_peace.html

2 https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2016-global-terrorism-index-650-increase-in-deaths-from-terrorism-amongst-oecd-member-countries-601410195.html

3 http://www.unhcr.org/afr/news/stories/2017/6/5941561f4/forced-displacement-worldwide-its-highest-decades.html

4 http://www.unhcr.org/afr/figures-at-a-glance.html

5
Presentation and discussion of professor at GRIPS forum

6 http://www.ilo.org/global/lang–en/index.htm

7 https://www.peacedirect.org/what-we-do/supporting-ex-combatants/

8 https://www.un.org/counterterrorism/ctitf/en/plan-action-prevent-violent-extremism

9 http://www.unddr.org/what-is-ddr/introduction_1.aspx