Press Clip Source: Gurtong.net Date: November 1, 2015Written by: Mabor Riak MagokRead 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.
Press Clip Source: Burma News InternationalDate: August 6, 2016Reporting by:Saw Khar Suu Nyar for KIC NewsRead original article: Here.
Two civil society groups recently gave ceasefire monitoring training in Dawei in Tenasserim Region. Since last year, the Karen Development Network (KDN) and Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) have been cooperating in providing education campaigns on the peace process in southern Burma.
NP trainer Rosemary Kibaki told KIC News that the recent training in southern Burma focussed on ceasefire “monitoring and civilian protection”, including providing assistance to victims, collecting information and “connecting” with “authorities”.
Thirty-five people, hailing from fifteen villages in Yebyu, Palauk, and Thayetchaung townships, attended the latest training session that ran for three days ending on 3 August.
Naw Tha Lay Htoo from Yebyu Township said: “We talked about Nelson Mandela and his achievements and what the government and ethnic armed groups have been doing for the public regarding the NCA (nationwide ceasefire agreement).”
Similar training was provided in Dawei in March and in Thandaung Gyi, Karen State in February.
Press Clip Source: Sudan Tribune Date: January 4, 2016Written by: STRead original article: Here
January 4, 2016 (KAMPALA) - At least 13 children who had been separated by the violent conflict in South Sudan were reunited with parents at the end of December last year.
According to the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), over 3,300 children have since been reunited with their parents in the aftermath of the civil war in the different part of the country.
Among those who joined their parents, UNICEF said, were Khan, Delanga and Nyakuar. The trio from Akobo county of Jonglei state were reunited with their parents last week.
“As the UN helicopter takes off, Khan whispers to his sister that he’s scared. She replies that he’ll soon see his mother and father again, for the first time in years. Then a big smile comes across Khan’s face as he looks out the window and sees the ground moving beneath him,” the agency said in a report.
Press Clip Source: Metta Center for NonviolenceDate: May 3, 2016Written by: Soneile HymnRead original article: Here.
This week on Peace Paradigm Radio, we continue the conversation on the Just War Doctrine, and discuss how Nonviolent Peaceforce and activists in the Catholic Church are working (with success) to change the face of conflict as we know it. Eli McCarthy, Director of Justice and Peace for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and Mel Duncan, Founding Director of Nonviolent Peaceforce, join Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler to report on the recent Vatican conference, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence” where they presented a document rejecting the Church’s just war theory, and outlining a nonviolent alternative to dealing with intense conflict. Don’t miss this discussion of the philosophy of Just War, how nonviolent methods can replace this theory, highlights from the conference, and the process they used to come up with the document that they presented at the conference.
Read Michael’s article on the conference and it’s significance on Open Democracy!
Listen in here!
Press Clip Source: Pax Christi Peace StoriesDate: November 30, 2016Written by:Bishop Kevin Dowling, Co-President of Pax Christi InternationalRead original article: Here.
I begin with the well-known text from Micah (6:8): “... this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God...”
Who will ever forget the witness of over 1 million Filipinos, accompanied by priests and nuns kneeling on the ground in prayer (and soldiers who refused to intervene or act against them) – a peaceful protest leading to the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986? How did this happen? Firstly, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to nonviolent social change, led dozens of nonviolent action workshops across the Philippines. After attending a workshop, Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila joined with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in calling for a “nonviolent struggle for justice.” These training workshops, along with a sophisticated election-monitoring mission led by nuns and priests, paved the way for the mass “people power” movement that prevented Marcos from stealing the 1986 presidential elections. The people challenged violence with nonviolent resistance – and won, and Marcos and his wife left the country.
Fast forward to 2014. In mid-2014, women living in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians area in South Sudan alerted the Nonviolent Peaceforce team living there that women were being raped and sometimes gang-raped by soldiers when they went out to gather firewood and water. The women reported that sometimes the soldiers would describe the assaults as part of their job.
Often older women took on these jobs to protect the younger ones, and hopefully to decrease the likelihood of attack. So these women had to choose between their personal safety and providing for their families’ basic needs. Nonviolent Peaceforce began accompanying the women when they left the camp, sending 2 or more trained civilian protectors along with them. In the year after this accompaniment was offered to the people, no woman was attacked when accompanied. Instead, the soldiers looked the other way.
Press Clip Source: LinkedinWritten By:Ufuk Gokcen, Ambassador to the United Nations for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Date: September 16, 2015Read Original Article: Here
UNARMED 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.
Press Clip Source: takepart.com Date: December 9, 2015Written by: Fellipe AbreuRead original article: Here
As herds of cattle come and go on a narrow trail across a row of huts made from straw, mud, and wood, they pass a boy of about 15 sleeping in a chair near the main entrance. He is wearing black pants, rubber sandals, and an Ethiopian soccer team shirt. In his lap: an AK-47 rifle folding stock.
We are in Ulang—capital of Upper Nile state, in northern South Sudan—a region dominated by the Nuer ethnic group, which is opposed to the government, the Dinkas. Such masonry construction is where the opposition is headquartered, and the boy is one of the bodyguards. The region, historically a stronghold of the Nuer, lived in relative tranquillity until May 2014, when it was attacked by Dinka troops, resulting in dozens of deaths. Soon after, Ulang militarized.
Civil war has raged since December 2013, and approximately 16,000 children have been forcibly recruited by government forces and the opposition, according to the United Nations. Although the country's government and opposition signed a peace treaty in August of this year—and both sides have committed to not recruiting children and young people as soldiers—the cease-fire has been neglected, and thousands of children continue to face the battlefield.
Press Clip Source: Common WondersDate: April 19, 2017Written by:Robert C. KoehlerRead original article: Here.
Sometimes our tame and compliant media upchucks a piece of truth. For instance:
“American officials had predicted that the missile strike would result in a major shift in Assad’s calculus, but the U.S. attack appeared to be symbolic in reality. Within 24 hours of the strike, monitoring groups reported that warplanes were again taking off from the bombed Shayrat air base, this time to attack Islamic State positions.”
This paragraph in a Washington Post story refers, of course, to the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles Donald Trump earned such plaudits for launching against Syria on April 7. Suddenly he was our commander in chief, waging war — or, well . . . waging “symbolic reality,” whatever that means, at a cost (for the missiles) of maybe $83 million and change.
Press Clip Source: Humanitarian Practice NetworkDate: January 2017Written by:Tiffany EasthomRead original article: Here.
As violence continues in South Sudan, the protection of civilians has become the central issue. With millions of people displaced from their homes, sheltering in Protection of Civilians (POC) sites on UN bases and in remote villages and swamps across the country, providing effective protection programming is the ultimate Sisyphean challenge. Despite a billion-dollar UN mission with 13,000 armed peacekeepers, ordinary South Sudanese continue to lose their lives at an alarming rate. It is essential to recognise the need to continue to evolve the practice of direct protection, recognising the limitations of what can be done in complex conflict, while assertively looking to scale up what is working and adapt established approaches to address the changing realities of contemporary conflict. This article provides a brief look at one emerging approach to direct protection work, unarmed civilian protection (UCP).
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed on 27th March 2014 between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a stepping stone towards the creation of a peaceful government in Mindanao. Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) in the Philippines was also present at the signing of the CAB. The theme for this year’s commemoration of the signing of the significant step was: "Stand up for Peace! Long live the CAB!"
Press Clip Source: Conscious MagazineDate: July 6, 2016Written by: Kathryn Lundstrom, summer intern at NP USARead original article: Here.
I walked into Nonviolent Peaceforce at the end of May hoping for a break from the anger that I kept feeling in policy school. My first year at the LBJ School of Public Affairs had been spent in various states of frustration – some minor when I realized that I didn’t leave all the academic bureaucracy in undergrad, but some other, bigger frustrations with some of the underlying assumptions that my class discussions seemed to be built upon. Contrary to my expectations, it often felt as though most the other students and professors weren’t really there to think through what I saw as the policy issues of life and death – to consider the costs of our country’s actions and investments overseas, to really dig into whether the US has lived up to its goals of democracy and freedom (and to discuss what these words mean), and then to talk about how this could be improved and lives saved. Instead, the classroom discussions often felt like the place where professors expected me to get used to the reality of a “best bad option,” move on, and learn how to navigate strategically through the devastating truths that, well, policymakers’ hands are just tied most of the time and there just aren’t good options. We have to focus on what is best for Americans. Sometimes, bombs have to be dropped. Sometimes, drones are the only option. But, based on my news app alerts, it sure seemed to me like those “sometimes” were far too frequent.
July 23, 2015
Congressman 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.
Press Clip Source: ReliefWebDate: April 19, 2017Written by:Us Agency for International DevelopmentRead original article: Here.
Insecurity and displacement increase needs for all conflict-affected populations; however, children are uniquely impacted by violence and protection concerns.
In January 2017, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) partner Nonviolent Peaceforce began efforts to support vulnerable conflict-displaced populations sheltering in Unity State’s Leer town. With few secure spaces in the temporary displacement sites, significant child protection concerns arose, including movement restrictions, insufficient food, lack of a safe space to play, and a lack of post-trauma support.
Press Clip Source: ReliefWebDate: March 31, 2017Written by:US Agency for International DevelopmentRead original article: Here.
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of conflict-affected communities, it often takes that same village to ensure that children are protected and provided access to critical services. In South Sudan, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) partner Nonviolent Peaceforce is building local child protection capacity in northern Jonglei State.
In Jonglei’s Waat and surrounding villages, Nonviolent Peaceforce has facilitated trainings on child protection in emergencies for Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Women’s Peacekeeping Teams (WPTs). Through these workshops, Nonviolent Peaceforce teaches community members about child rights and the impact of child labor, conflict, and child soldier recruitment on children’s development.
Press Clip Source: Midland Daily News Date: October 27,2015Written by: Ralph E. WirtzRead 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.”
Location: Juba, South Sudan
By Nonviolent Peaceforce Office in South Sudan
The 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.
Over the past few months, the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) Bor team in South Sudan has been working with a group of adolescent girls in Bor Town. The NP Bor team efforts focus on supporting them in addressing protection challenges they face in their community.
A couple of protection issues the girls face relate to gathering water from the borehole in the community. At times, the girls need to gather water from the borehole at night and they are at risk of being abused by men drinking in the area. Secondly, a very large community is sharing just one borehole, giving rise to conflicts. For instance, one girl was slapped when she politely told another woman not to jump the queue. The girls recently requested an opportunity to present their protection concerns in the bi-monthly chiefs meeting. The bi-monthly chiefs' meeting is an NP-sponsored forum that hosts many of the leaders in Bor Town. For the past year, the NP team has been convening local government officials, humanitarian partners, and the block leaders/chiefs of Bor Town for bi-monthly meetings to create a regular forum for dialogue.
Press Clip Source: Inquirer Date: March 15, 2016Written by: Nestor CorralesRead original article: Here
A delegation of ambassadors from the European Union (EU) has visited Mindanao to renew their commitment to support the peace process and development in the region.“Our visit to Cotabato City highlights the EU and its member states’ continuing support for the Mindanao peace process and development in the region,” EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said in statement on Tuesday.“Our hopes remain high that the positive gains achieved in the peace process will be sustained despite some challenges, especially as the parties remained engaged and committed to continue their journey to peace,” he added.
Aside from Jessen, other members of the EU who visited Mindanao on March 14 to 15 were Ambassadors Marion Derckx (Netherlands), Thomas Ossowski (Germany), Chargés d’Affaires Mihai Sion (Romania), Nigel Boud (United Kingdom), Deputy Ambassadors Fabio Schina (Italy), Xavier Leblanc (Belgium), Gabrielle Zobl-Kratschmann (Austria), Maria del Carmen Barcia-Bustelo (Spain), Laurent Legodec (France), Attachés Riccardo Dell’Aquila (Italy), Diego Sanchez (EU Delegation), Program Manager Edoardo Manfredini (EU Delegation).Jessen said the EU would continue to support the efforts of the parties that recently met again in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the peace process in Mindanao.“We are looking forward to supporting the agenda for peace of the next [administration] as we carry on our collaborative efforts with all the concerned stakeholders for peace,” he said.
The group met with Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Representatives, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad and MILF Central Committee, the Mindanao Humanitarian Team, non-government and civil society organizations involved in peace and development initiatives in Mindanao and the business community.The EU said it has adapted its funding programs to the changing needs of the peace process.“Last December 2015, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines has launched a new program in support of the peace process and is providing P275 million to allow for a smooth transition and to create conditions for the establishment of the autonomous region of the Bangsamoro and the election of its government,” the EU said.EU said the “program contributes to peace building and conflict mitigation, support the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and strengthen local institutions and political processes.”“The grants are being channelled through Conciliation Resources; non-government organizations (NGOs) such as the Non Violent Peace Forces, Fondation Suisse de Deminage, Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung; United Nations Development Programme and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue,” it said. RAM
On September 21, International Day of Peace, a group of peacebuilding organizations from around the world issued the shared statement “Facing the Challenge of Peace”. As the world’s leaders will sign on to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we – peacebuilding organizations - consider that many of the issues addressed in the Agenda are heartening but more needs to be done. We must address the roots of violent conflict and instability, we must consider changing an international system that does too little to raise up the voices, needs and aspirations of the many rather than the interest of the few.
Click hereand learn what changes need to take place and what we need to do differently.
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.
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:
Nonviolent Peaceforce also:
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.
The spectrum of civilian ceasefire monitoring as presented by NP Myanmar
“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:
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
Nonviolent Peaceforce in Myanmar has currently 10 staff members, coming from the Netherlands, Kenya, the USA, Nepal, and Myanmar.
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:
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).
Page 1 of 4