Peace Work by Civil Actors in Post Communist Societies

Francis, Diana ; Ropers, Norbert

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URL http://edoc.vifapol.de/opus/volltexte/2011/2529/
Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: Berghof Forschungszentrum für Konstruktive Konfliktbearbeitung
Schriftenreihe: Berghof occasional paper
Bandnummer: 10
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 1997
Publikationsdatum: 13.01.2011
Originalveröffentlichung: http://www.berghof-center.org/uploads/download/boc10e.pdf (1997)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 15.71 (Osteuropa), 89.63 (Pressure-groups), 89.72 (Internationale Organisationen), 89.35 (Demokratie), 89.76 (Friedensforschung, Konfliktforschung)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

Since the momentous events of 1989/90, the pattern of conflict in Europe has changed for good. Inevitably, the forms, institutions, and mechanisms for dealing with conflicts have also changed, although constructive intervention is still far outpaced by the dynamics of conflict. The concepts of peace policy and peace work have had new life breathed into them. One feature that has assumed especial importance is the debate about the actors involved in these domains: How can the role of multilateral actors in preventive diplomacy, in intervention in acute conflicts, and in the consolidation of peace be strengthened? Does the ethnopolitical character of the conflicts between majorities and minorities in the crisis regions of Europe not necessitate the creation of a new type of multi-ethnic state — one that radically calls into question the nation-state concept that has prevailed up to now? Should not actors at the social level be involved in putting peace policy into practice, as well as those at the state governmental level? In what capacities can internal and external actors aid the process of constructive conflict management? How important are human-rights groups, ‘fact-finding’ and crisis-intervention missions, humanitarian organizations, non-violent campaigns, and intervenors from outside? The following paper addresses the whole gamut of peace tasks and roles confronting civil actors in the post-communist societies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. We work on the assumption that the current ethnopolitical movements and conflicts are an expression of a massive change in the pace of development and of a drastic redistribution of opportunities and chances to participate. For this process of ‘civilization’ to take place, many different actors and forces—political and social, party and non-party, domestic and external — must be involved. Given the meagre resources usually available, ‘the more the better’ is not good counsel here. A preferable course is to identify strategic priorities and alliances for peace work in societies undergoing transformation. The civil actors highlighted here are all those persons and groups of persons working from outside the governmental sphere for the nonviolent conduct and resolution of ethnopolitical conflicts. In contrast to what is implied in the usual distinction between state and societal areas of operation, the civil area in this sense can also include the staff of state or semi-state institutions — for example, members of parliament or those working in research and educational establishments, in state enterprises, and in regional and local authorities. Because of the political wrangling over privatization and the market economy, the continuing influence of the nomenclatura networks, and the infiltration of a number of administrative spheres and economic sectors by mafia-like groups, the distinction between state and societal structures will continue to be a blurred one for a long time to come in many post-communist societies. Precisely because of this, those individuals working for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and non-military conflict resolution from within state structures merit special attention. In 1996, in the light of experience with the implementation of the Dayton Accord in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the significance of civil actors began to be discussed more widely. The attempt by governments and multilateral institutions to impose the precarious combination of a Serb-Croat-Muslim condominium with mono- and bi-ethnic governmental structures can only succeed if civil groups lend it legitimacy. But what about the relationship between those who, because of the violence and injustice they have suffered, see the best solution as lying in autonomy, selfdetermination, and separation, and those who back the idea of reconciliation and the creation of multi-ethnic policies? Often it is precisely these two camps that are ranged in sceptical, if not hostile, opposition to one another. Peace work is often automatically equated with the bridging of differences, with rapprochement and mutual understanding. In the context of ethnopolitical crises, the notion is also widespread that the prime concern of civil actors should be impartiality, in order to prevent such conflicts from escalating. But are there not, precisely in these kinds of disputes, situations in which what is required is support for the weaker side — if ist cause seems just, in other words: partiality? The tension between ‘associative’ and dissociative’ peace-strategies which was described by Johan Galtung as far back as the 1970s has up to now been interpreted primarily as something relating only to state-based peace-policy. But it is also relevant to civil actors. The theoretical observations and practical examples that follow here are based on reports from training-sessions and workshops conducted with actors from post-communist countries, notably within the framework of a ‘support project’ for indigenous peace-workers financed in 1995/6 as part of the European Union’s ‘PHARE/TACIS Democracy Programme’.


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