unarmed

  • 50 Women Trained On Peace Keeping Skills In Rumbek

    Press Clip Source: Gurtong.net 
    Date: November 1, 2015
    Written by: Mabor Riak Magok
    Read original article: Here

    The Nonviolent Peaceforce South Sudan a non-profit organisation last week trained 50 women on peace keeping in Rumbek Lakes State.

    RUMBEK, 30 October 2015 [Gurtong] - The organisation brought together participants from affected communities of Rumbek Centre and Rumbek East Counties.

    Addressing the participants during the workshop the Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agency, Samuel Will Machiek urged the women in Pandor to refrains from instigating and inciting violence in their respective communities, saying that the community is losing potential youth for no good reason.

    He urged the women to embrace and adopt a culture of peace dialogue or discussion starting from the family level between their husbands and children at home and extend this spirit up to the group level in the Payams and villages where revenge killings and cattle raiding is imminently experienced.

  • Ambassador for Organization of Islamic Cooperation Speaks out on Unarmed Civilian Protection

    Press Clip Source: Linkedin
    Written By:Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador to the United Nations for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation 
    Date: September 16, 2015
    Read Original Article: Here

    Ufuk GokcenUNARMED APPROCHES TO CIVILIAN PROTECTION

    It was a great honor for me to co-sponsor and support the Nonviolent Peaceforce and IPI event on unarmed civilian protection organized at the IPI in New York on 15 September 2015.

    Protection of civilians from violence in conflicts is a growing challenge for the international community. Inadequacy of existing mechanisms and approaches in dealing with peace and security challenges compel us consider utilization of all the tools available and create synergy among them.

    Unarmed protection of civilians by civilians is relatively a new concept and tool that has recently being recognized by the UN and the international system, though the UN peacekeeping operations had always had unarmed components. Following the acknowledgment by the HIPPO report, I believe events like the one hosted by IPI will help raise awareness on the importance of the concept and the existing efforts.

    Naturally the application of the concept requires the acceptance and the cooperation of the sovereign states and this concept may not be applicable in every conflict. However we should realize that there are many successful examples, from Philippines, Sri Lanka to Africa.

  • Congressman Rick Nolan of Minnesota supporting Unarmed Civilian Protection

    July 23, 2015

    congressman Rick NolanCongressman Rick Nolan of Minnesota yesterday called for the US government to provide more support for unarmed civilian protection (UCP) through initiatives at the State Department and USAID as well as in positions at the UN.

    "When confronted with such atrocities (as in Syria and South Sudan), our typical response is to send in the bombers and drones, ship military equipment, train ‘‘the good guys,’’ or even put our own troops on the ground. By doing these things, we create a state of on-going war. Is it any wonder the result is more violence, rather than less?”

    Read the full speech below or directly in the Congressional Record.

     

  • Duncan describes impact of Unarmed Civilian Protection

    Press Clip Source: Midland Daily News 
    Date: October 27,2015
    Written by: Ralph E. Wirtz
    Read original article: Here

    Suppose for a moment that your mere presence in a room or a field or at a campground could save a life, stop a rape or prevent an abduction.

    The globe-trotting Mel Duncan was at Delta College Monday night, telling those in attendance that this supposition is true, and that there are people in more than 50 organizations from 35 nations around the world doing those things, protecting civilians just by being in areas where violence is occurring. Unarmed Civilian Protection is a new phenomenom, a one-generation method of responding to violence, he said.

    Duncan is co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce, one of those 50 organizations, and he offered proof that the idea is working. He said the primary work of his organization is to “protect civilians from imminent violence.” Teams of unarmed, trained professionals respond in areas where they are wanted. They are nonpartisan and nonviolent and they “live and work in the communities where conflict is,” Duncan said.

    “While we are there, our specific and only job is the protection of civilians, to work with local civilian society to deter violence and to help strengthen the peace infrastructures,” he said.

    The need for finding ways to resolve conflicts peacefully is growing, Duncan said, citing a report from the United Nations Panel on Global Climate Change that stated “the worst is yet to come.” Duncan said climate disruption exacerbates violent conflict.

    “Today, more people are affected by conflict and disaster more frequently and for longer periods than in previous decades and that number in need of humanitarian assistance and protection has nearly doubled in the past decade,” Duncan said. “We now have 60 million of us who are in direct need of shelter and refuge because of violent conflict and persecution.”

    One example he cited was NP’s work in South Sudan. There, in the midst of civil war, more than 4 million people are displaced and many live in “protection of civilian areas.”

  • Engaging a Community in Security Issues at Protection of Civilians Sites

    Location: Juba, South Sudan

    By Nonviolent Peaceforce Office in South Sudan

    Background/Context

    SS Security 2The establishment of Community Protection Teams (CPTs) in a Juba's Protection of Civilians sites stems from a "community engagement strategy." Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) began implementing this strategy last year in the Juba Protection of Civilians site. Our contacts with both women and youth leadership were established through different activities, following the framework of the community engagement strategy. This included activities such as recreational and sports activities, workshops, focus group discussions and so forth.

    We acknowledged that both youth, including children, and women were among the groups most affected by violence and insecurity (either as victims/survivors or perpetrators). We were also aware that these specific community members perceived that they were poorly represented in the community-led management of the camp affairs. Additionally, they felt they had minimal participation in the local structures of power and decision-making processes.

  • Focus Myanmar (2)

    CONTEXT and History of NP in Myanmar

    “This is not just the longest running civil conflict in the world but probably the most complex. The result is the most complicated peace process we’ve found anywhere. Trying to corral all these groups—18, 20 of them — with their different interests and identities into a single unified peace approach is extraordinarily difficult.”

    -Derek Mitchell, former US ambassador to Myanmar

    After more than 60 years of civil war, Myanmar has embarked on a path towards peace. In 2011 and 2012- the Myanmar government signed a series of bilateral ceasefire agreements with 14 out of the 17 largest ethnic armed groups.

    Though these agreements increased security in parts of the country, they were not followed by meaningful peace talks to address the root causes of conflict.

    In an attempt to negotiate a more meaningful multilateral ceasefire agreement various armed groups got together and formed the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) in November, 2013

    October, 2015- After two years of negotiations, eight armed groups signed the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the Myanmar government.

    One month later, the country welcomed its first democratically elected civilian-led government since 1962!

    November, 2015-In line with the agreements in the NCA, a process towards the establishment of a formal ceasefire monitoring body, Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committees, was initiated in five States and Regions where EAOs and Government signed the NCA.

    August, 2016- The newly elected government made the peace process a top priority and brought nearly all armed groups together at the first 21st century Panglong Peace Conference to initiate the long-awaited peace talks.

    Despite signs of progress, there are major challenges ahead. Many armed groups chose not to sign the multilateral ceasefire agreement in 2015, they didn't feel that the process was inclusive enough. Civil society groups, and women in particular, have felt largely underrepresented.

    Meanwhile, fighting in many parts of the country has picked up, making peace talks and additional ceasefire negotiations more difficult, eroding trust in the peace process, and impacting the lives and livelihoods of already vulnerable civilians.

    Since 2011, armed conflict and inter-communal violence in Myanmar have displaced more than 240,000 people. Myanmar is also one of the countries at highest risk of natural disasters in Southeast Asia, with approximately 460,000 flood-affected people in need of humanitarian aid as of November 2016.

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    Agreement on the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, 2015

    As Myanmar opened up and embarked on a peace process, state and civil society actors started to look for examples and models in neighboring countries. In 2010 and 2011 they visited the Philippines to learn more about the monitoring of the ceasefire agreement in Mindanao and had the opportunity to engage with Nonviolent Peaceforce.

    In August of 2012, Nonviolent Peaceforce was invited by the Government of Myanmar and civil society organizations to support the country's peace process.

    Since 2012 NP has supported local communities in establishing networks that monitor the impact of ceasefire violations and armed clashes on vulnerable civilians. By working with local partners, NP is able to provide training and technical assistance to civilian monitors in their own communities to:

    • Raise awareness among communities about ceasefire agreements.
    • Report the impact of ceasefire violations on communities to relevant actors and encourage ceasefire parties to find ways to minimize harm to civilians.
    • Facilitate humanitarian assistance to civilians that have been impacted by ceasefire violations or armed clashes.
    • Negotiate temporary ceasefires between conflicting parties to evacuate civilians caught in crossfires to safe(r) places.
    • Control rumors to de-escalate tensions and prevent (prolonged) displacement.
    • Engage in dialogue with conflict-affected communities and authorities about the peace process and the role civilians can play to support.

    Nonviolent Peaceforce also:

    • Provides technical assistance and training on ceasefire monitoring to armed groups.
    • Creates linkages between civilian ceasefire monitoring networks across Myanmar to strengthen coordination and collaboration.
    • Facilitates dialogue between armed groups, state actors, humanitarian service providers and civilian monitors to increase communication and coordination to safeguard civilians.
    • NP facilitates dialogue between civilian monitors and representatives of armed groups about the nationwide ceasefire agreement, Hpa An, Kayin State, 2015.

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    NP facilitates dialogue between civilian monitors and representatives of armed groups about the nationwide ceasefire agreement, Hpa An, Kayin State, 2015

     

    STRATEGIES AND THEORIES OF CHANGE

    Nonviolent Peaceforce envisions its application of Unarmed Civilian Protection to contribute to Myanmar’s peace process through the reduction of violence, the building of healthy relationships, and the mobilisation of grassroots initiatives. Nonviolent Peaceforce believes in:

    Violence reduction: The participation of civilians in the ceasefire monitoring process encourages combatants to minimize violence against civilians. In the long run, we believe that the actual reduction of violence will increase confidence in the peace process and provide safer spaces for dialogue.

    Healthy relationships: NP builds healthy relationships with all parties and encourages conflicting parties to address their needs without harming civilian. This models and promote the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace and nonviolence in the early stages of a peace process. It allows for a smoother transition towards reconciliation.

    Grassroots mobilisation: Mobilising civilians to monitor ceasefire agreements and responding to civilian protection concerns builds confidence among civil society and increases local ownership. A bottom-up, community driven initiatives will not only compliment top-down peacemaking initiatives, but influence them in a meaningful way. Civilian-led grassroots initiatives can increase the attention to civilian protection concerns among decision makers and create opportunities for the voices of vulnerable communities to be heard.

     

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    The spectrum of civilian ceasefire monitoring as presented by NP Myanmar

     

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    OUR ACHIEVEMENTS

    “To reiterate, it is important to highlight that perhaps the greatest contribution of this work will be the many civilians who have changed their beliefs and behaviours. They are becoming less governed by a ‘culture of fear’ and less limited by traditional roles. They are more accepting and promoting women’s leadership, and actively engaged in civilian protection. These are easy words to write, and very hard shifts to accomplish.”

    Ellen Furnari, PhD, Transforming Matters, in her paper on the projects implemented by Nonviolent Peaceforce with the Karen Women Empowerment Group and the Gender and Development Institute Myanmar (Furnari, 2016, p.28).

    Nonviolent Peaceforce's in Myanmar has:

    • Introduced and promoted an application of civilian ceasefire monitoring that is modelled on the theory and practice of Unarmed Civilian Protection and is widely used by local monitoring networks;
    • Trained 500 civilian monitors, together with 6 local partners, that are actively participating in the peace process and protecting vulnerable civilians in conflict affected areas.
    • Supported the establishment of 12 locally driven civilian protection and ceasefire monitoring networks in 7 States across Myanmar and brought these networks together.
    • Trained more than 50 representatives of ethnic armed organizations in ceasefire monitoring, some of which are currently represented in Joint Monitoring Committees of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

    External project evaluators have judged the efforts of NP and its partners to be a ‘highly relevant contributor to the peace process in Myanmar’.

    "Before the training, we did not know how to engage actors, especially like Tatmadaw and KIO. But the training from NP helped us learn the ways to engage them and build our confidence. It is because of the skills and confidence we got from the trainings; we can now intervene and respond to cases of violence in our communities. I hope NP continues building our capacity and we in return continue protecting our communities"

    – Township Coordinator, Momauk Township, Kachin CCM.

    “In the past 3 days we learned a lot about the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. This is very important for peace. Before I attended this workshop, I felt like playing chess without knowing the rules of the game. But now I understand which way to go.”

    - Liaison Officer of Ethnic Armed Organisation

    OUR TEAM

    Nonviolent Peaceforce in Myanmar has currently 10 staff members, coming from the Netherlands, Kenya, the USA, Nepal, and Myanmar.

     

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    NP staff members and local partner Karen Women Empowerment Group discuss the protection of women, Hpa An 2016

     

    OUR LOCAL PARTNERS

    NP has been working with the following local organizations:

    • Shalom (Nyein) Foundation in Chin, Mon, Kachin, and Shan State;
    • Gender and Development Institute Myanmar (GDI) in Chin, Kachin, and Kayin State;
    • Karen Women Empowerment Group (KWEG) in Kayin State;
    • Karen Development Network (KDN) in Kayin State and Thanintharyi Region;
    • Kayah State Peace Monitoring Network (KSPMN) in Kayah State;
    • New Generation Shan State (NGSS) in Shan State

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    Map of local partner organisations of Nonviolent Peaceforce that have established and are currently managing, overseeing, and/or supporting civilian monitoring networks in Myanmar (2016).

  • Here’s a novel idea: Peace without weapons

    Press Clip Source: The Star Online 
    Date: November 1, 2015
    Written by: Dariusz Dziewanski
    Read original article: Here

    thestaronlineA WIDE, infectious smile spreads across Rocky George Ambago’s face when he talks about his work. Through his role with the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) in South Sudan, Ambago helps to champion an innovative model of peacekeeping called unarmed civilian protection (UCP). The non-profit organisation trains civilians to play a role similar to that of peacekeepers.

    Ambago is committed to bringing peace to his native country. Before joining the NP, he spent almost 10 years fleeing conflict in his homeland. After long periods of exile in the Central African Republic, Democratic of Congo, and Uganda, he was offered resettlement in Canada but refused to leave.

    “What am I going to do outside, when my country needs me?” he explains. Instead, he returned to South Sudan.

    Ambago and his team work to save lives largely by monitoring warring groups and using their presence to exert social pressure so that would-be perpetrators of violence are more likely to act peacefully. NP-trained personnel also act as protective escorts for individuals – for instance, the displaced or those seeking medical attention – who might be threatened by violence.

  • Is the UN Working for Peace?

    Press Clip Source: IPA - Institute for Public Accuracy 
    Date: September 28,2015
    Read original article: Here

    President Obama and other heads of state address the United Nations General Assembly today as it begins its 70th session. Video feed: webtv.un.org

    DAVID SWANSON, david at davidswanson.org, @davidcnswanson
    Swanson is author of When the World Outlawed War, War Is A Lie and Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency. He just wrote the piece “The UN: Pretending to Oppose War for 70 Years.”

    MEL DUNCAN, mduncan at nonviolentpeaceforce.org, @Peaceforce
    Founding director and director of advocacy and outreach at Nonviolent Peaceforce, Duncan said today: “At a time when civilians are under increasing threat from war and violent conflict, today’s ‘Summit on Peacekeeping,’ co-hosted by President Obama, ignores an entire effective approach to protecting civilians while focusing on armed peacekeeping.

  • June 2015: UN Panel Recommends UCP

    Mel Duncan with Peace Operations Review Panel member, Dr. Rima Salah after the release of the report

     

    “Unarmed strategies must be at the forefront of UN efforts to protect civilians,” states the report of the UN High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.

    The panel, appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last October, was charged with reviewing all UN peace operations and to be bold and courageous in recommending how the UN could effectively respond to the changing nature of war and the increased number of civilians in need of protection. The fifteen-member panel spent the last seven months circling the globe reviewing present operations and seeking new approaches. It has been 15 years since the UN undertook such a comprehensive peace operations review.

    "The Panel reviewed the excellent input by Nonviolent Peaceforce which shared with us its positive experience in protecting civilians in war torn situations. In our Report we recommend that the UN engages more of those brave people working in the field, unarmed, in protection of civilians," said Panel chair José Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of Timor Leste.

    They include in their report:

    Many non-governmental organizations, national and international, also ensure protection by their civilian presence and commitment to non-violent strategies for protection. Missions should make every effort to harness or leverage the non-violent practices and capabilities of local communities and non-governmental organizations to support the creation of a protective environment.

    “The world is changing and U.N. peace operations must change if they are to remain an indispensable and effective tool in promoting international peace and security,” observed Mr. Ramos Horta.

  • Local tragedy leads Castlegar family to support peace studies

    Press Clip Source: The Rossland Telegraph
    Written By: Bob Hall
    Date: September 14, 2015
    Read Original Article: Here

    A freak accident involving a firearm took the life of a young Castlegar man almost 33 years ago, but the legacy of Philip Mark Malekow continues to this day.

    On Sept. 26, 1982, Malekow and a friend were out for a Sunday drive when they picked up a pair of female hitchhikers. After they dropped the passengers off at their destination, Malekow discovered that one of them left behind a purse. The two friends went back to look for the two hitchhikers and came upon a group of hunters in a truck.

    As they were talking to the hunters, one of their guns went off inside the truck and the bullet went through the vehicle’s door. Metal fragments from the shot went into Malekow’s heart and he died instantly at the age of 21.

    Malekow had graduated from Castlegar’s Mount Sentinel Secondary and had achieved his millwright foundation certificate from Selkirk College in 1981. He was a pacifist, brought up in a Doukhobor tradition opposed to violence.

    “To ensure that his death not be meaningless and for the cause of peace and love, our mother [Polly Malekow] raised money to establish an award fund in his memory,” said Phil’s older brother Steve Malekow. “The award’s intent was to provide financial assistance for students who are concerned about issues of peace and non-violence.”

  • Mahmoud: Unarmed Protection Addresses Civilian Vulnerability in Conflict

    Press Clip Source: International Peace Institute 
    Date: September 15,2015
    Read original article: Here
    Watch the webscast: Here

    IPI conferenceYoussef Mahmoud told an IPI audience September 15th that “unarmed protection is not about the presence or the absence of arms,” in UN peacekeeping activities, but rather, “this is about a culture, a way of going about addressing the vulnerabilities of civilians in armed conflict.”

    Mr. Mahmoud serves as a member of the High-Level Independent Panel that recommended UN Peace Operations “become more field-focused” and “people-centered.” These recommendations emerged in the report that gave prominence to unarmed protection of civilians, he said.

    This people-centered re-focus in the Secretariat will be necessary for the UN to adapt as civilians and UN personnel are increasingly targeted in the field. By developing a relationship of trust with the populations where the UN deploys, Mr. Mahmoud said, the UN will be enabled to design “more effective protection of civilians, but also a better protection of Peacekeepers themselves.”

  • Minnesota Members of Congress Urge President Obama to Include Unarmed Civilian Protection

    Four Congressional members of Congress have urged President Obama to prioritize unarmed civilian protection at the World Summit on Peacekeeping. Led by Representative Keith Ellison of Minneapolis, Representatives McCollum, Walz and Nolan signed the letter delivered to the White House on September 23rd.

    The signers cite the President’s success with the nuclear arms treaty with Iran as laying the groundwork for further nonviolent actions to make the world a safer place.

    Recognizing the growing problem of refugees, the members of Congress note that unarmed civilian protection (UCP) promotes peace and protects civilians.

    "Groups practicing UCP actively protect civilians and prevent violence in conflict areas including South Sudan, Myanmar, Honduras, the Philippines, and Columbia. Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP), a nongovernmental organization started in Minnesota, has pioneered effective UCP
 methods."

    President Obama will co-host the World Peacekeeping Summit on Monday, September 28th at the UN.

    Read the complete letter signed by four members of Congress: here!

  • Mission Preparedness Training - Western Equatoria, South Sudan, April 2015

    By Jan Passion

    Learning how to strategically crawl away when there is live gunfire

    Training, training, training.

    A key cornerstone for effective unarmed civilian protection (UCP) is our emphasis on training. Recruiting capable and talented staff and then providing them with the training and support needed to work in volatile, vulnerable and violent conflict regions.

    GUNFIRE! GUNFIRE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE!
    Midway through the training, sometime after the generator was shut down, the trainers woke the 23 participants to the sound of live gun fire, as well as the makeshift imitation cracking of a machine gun. The staff also started two large fires near the participant’s tents. We then shouted “GUNFIRE! GUNFIRE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE!!!” Some participants, dazed after being torn from sleep, knew exactly where to run and what to bring with them... and some did not. There were simulated injuries, and the slowest two participants were detained and ‘interrogated’ by a ‘local militia.’

    A trained nurse (who happens to work for NP in our field staff) was compelled to provide simulated emergency medical care – first to one of the ‘soldiers’ and then to a participant who had a simulated injury, while the rest of the participants were sheltering in Safe Zone 1 and trying to sort out what to do regarding the situation, and regarding their missing (detained) colleagues.

  • Nonviolent Peace Force brings movement to campus

    Press Clip Source: Delta Collegiate 
    Date: October 22,2015
    Written by: Marisa Loranger
    Read original article: Here

    Entering war torn countries and trying to bring peace is a difficult task that not many are up to. Mel Duncan, the co-founder of the Nonviolent Peace Force, is one person who is willing to do the difficult.

    Duncan will speak at Delta Oct. 26 in S-105 at 6 p.m. He will discuss how he has helped countries keep their communities safe in the middle of dangerous situations.

    Jeffery Dykhuizen, Delta College Global Peace Studies chair, hopes that this event will show Delta students that they can change the world in small ways, every day.

    “Anytime we pick up a piece of trash that is left there and put it in the garbage can, you’ve made the world cleaner right? That’s what we’re getting into here. You open the door for someone and they say thank you. It doesn’t have to be I saved the polar bears and the polar ice caps. But every time we use those little water dispensers we have at Delta now instead of buying a new bottle of water, I’m not adding to the problem. That’s what we in our global peace studies program are going for. Every time we’re doing something positive, we are changing the world,” says Dykhuizen.

  • Profile of the Conflict in Myanmar

    1948 Myanmar (also known as Burma) gains independence from Britain. Civil wars break out almost immediately as ethnic people demand greater autonomy.

    1962 Army general Ne Win stages a coup against the elected government and creates a one-party state. Civil wars continue. In subsequent years, some ceasefire pacts are signed, but conflict also continues in many areas.

    1995 The military leaders had by then signed several ceasefire agreements with ethnic-armed organizations.

    2008 A new constitution is introduced.

    2009 The military leaders demand that all "ceasefire groups" transform into "Border Guard Forces" and accept the command of the Myanmar army. Many armed organizations refuse.

    2009 Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi begins talks with Myanmar’s military leaders and is allowed to meet Western diplomats.

    2010 Federal elections are held, which introduce the first civilian government. Twenty-five percent of the Parliament seats are allocated to the military.

    2011 The Myanmar government starts a 3-phased peace initiative with ethnic groups (ceasefire, confidence-building and political dialogue, and agreement for eternal peace).

    2012 By mid-2012, 13 groups across the country have signed bilateral ceasefire agreements with the government.

    2013 Leaders of 17 ethnic armed groups establish a Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), which will represent them in negotiations with a government peace negotiation team, the Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC).

    2015 16 ethnic-armed organizations and the government sign a draft ceasefire agreement. Negotiations continue.

  • The unarmed civilians bringing peace to South Sudan

    Press Clip Source: The Guardian 
    Date: October 30, 2015
    Written by: Dariusz Dziewanski
    Read original article: Here

     

    An innovative model of peacekeeping called unarmed civilian protection is transforming communities blighted by war.

    A wide, infectious smile spreads across Rocky George Ambago’s face when he talks about his work. Through his role with the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) in South Sudan Rocky helps to champion an innovative model of peacekeeping called unarmed civilian protection (UCP). The non-profit organisation trains civilians to play a role similar to that of peacekeepers.

    Rocky is committed to bringing peace to his native country. Before joining the NP he spent almost 10 years fleeing conflict in his homeland. After long periods of exile in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, he was offered resettlement in Canada but refused to leave. “What am I going to do outside, when my country needs me?” he explains. Instead, he returned to South Sudan.

    Rocky and his team work to save lives largely by monitoring warring groups and using their presence to exert social pressure so that would-be perpetrators of violence are more likely to act peacefully. NP-trained personnel also act as protective escorts for individuals – for instance, the displaced or those seeking medical attention – who might be threatened by violence.

    Rocky in a training session
    Rocky trains cattle herders to increase their understanding and awareness of protection in their community. Photograph: Nonviolent Peaceforce South Sudan
    Following decades of civil war with its northern neighbour, South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is awash with guns. The fledgling nation has been plagued by internal conflict since its birth and has a history of internal ethnic tensions. Although no official death toll has been kept, it is estimated that tens of thousands have died and 2.2 million have been displaced.

  • Training peacekeepers in the Kootenays

    Press Clip Source: Castlegar News 
    Date: September 25,2015
    Written by: Chelsea Novak
    Read original article: Here

    Selkirk College is launching a new program this January that will train students from all over the world to keep the peace.

    The Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping Program will launch on January 16, 2016, and is a fourth-month online course ending with a bootcamp at the Selkirk campus from April 18 to 29.

    Randy Janzen, instructor of peace studies at Selkirk and chair of the Mir Centre for Peace, will be one of the program's instructors.

    “The program is to train people who have an interest working anywhere in the world... to become skilled to reduce violence in volatile situations,” explains Janzen. “We usually think of peacekeepers as a military operation, and many of those have been very successful, but this is a civilian or non-military intervention, and... some researchers show that in fact this is just as effective, and it's way cheaper, and it's actually safer than military peacekeeping.”

  • U.N.’s 8.3 Billion Dollar Peacekeeping Operations Under Scrutiny

    Press Clip Source: IPS - Inter Press Service
    Written By: Thalif Deen
    Date: September 18, 2015
    Read Original Article: Here

    logo IPSUNITED NATIONS, Sep 17 2015 (IPS) - As the United Nations commemorates its 70th anniversary, the world body is re-assessing and re-evaluating its 16 peacekeeping missions costing a staggering 8.3 billion dollars in 2015-2016 – even as military conflicts and domestic insurgencies continue to spread, mostly in Africa, including the Central African Republic, Mali, South Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    But with peacekeepers increasingly caught in crossfires, is the United Nations planning to gradually abandon its objective of keeping the peace and instead transform its peacekeepers into a fighting force?

    The United Nations says it’s not true — but civil society organisations are sceptical.

    Mel Duncan, founding Director of Advocacy & Outreach Nonviolent Peaceforce, told IPS the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) headed by Jose Ramos Horta, a former president of Timor Leste, strongly recommended in June the need for unarmed strategies to civilian protection in conflict zones.

    But Duncan pointed out that when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon forwarded his report to the General Assembly and Security Council, the recommendations for unarmed approaches were deleted.

  • Updates from Myanmar

    In July and August, negotiators of a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Myanmar intensified their efforts to conclude a deal before the campaign season for the upcoming elections kicks off. During this same time, heavy monsoon rains poured down, causing widespread flooding around the country. Nonviolent Peaceforce is working in several states to support civilian ceasefire and protection monitoring mechanisms. Among these states, Chin has been the most severely affected by the floods and subsequent landslides. Some of the monitors and Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) partners halted their usual activities in order to respond to the situation and support relief efforts. Others were simply unable to continue or communicate their activities as landslides blocked the roads and internet connections were interrupted. Citizens in Yangon and other cities flocked the streets to collect donations in a display of solidarity with flood-affected communities.

    While monsoon rains created havoc around the country, negotiators of the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed group’s Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) continued to address outstanding issues. They were able to reach an agreement on most of the provisions in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement text and excerpts of the text were released to the public in August. A Senior Delegation of ethnic leaders is expected to meet with the president and the commander in chief in September. During that time, they will work to finalize the National Ceasefire Agreement and discuss any outstanding issues.

  • Write your message to the White House

    Mel Duncan with Dr. Rima Salah, member of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations Mel Duncan with Dr. Rima Salah, member of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Last October, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon selected a High-Level Independent Panel to review United Nations (UN) peace operations. The panel examined how the full range of UN peace operations can be harnessed to address the spread and intensity of conflict today.

    Chaired by José Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace Laureate and Former President of Timor Leste, the panel strongly recommended unarmed approaches to protecting civilians-specifically recognizing unarmed civilian protection as practiced by Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP).

    We need you to build the momentum.

    On September 28th, U.S. President Obama will convene a Peacekeeping Summit with other world leaders at the United Nations.

    You can get help get the message for unarmed strategies across. Tell President Obama that you want the Peacekeeping Summit to seriously consider the recommendations by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Advocate for unarmed civilian protection to be a prominent aspect of UN Peace Operations.