Unarmed civilian peacekeeping (UCP) is a tool to handle crises.
Operational since the 80s the concept of UCP strongly developed in the 90’s. UCP consists in sending trained civilians to conflict zones, to participate hand in hand with local organizations, to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts.
An UCP mission can be organized by an international organization (OSCE- European Organization for Security and Cooperation- UN), a government, a local institution (decentralized cooperation project) or a non governmental organization (NGO). The volunteers have to be qualified, trained to nonviolent techniques or conflict regulation as well as trained for the specific missions they will be engaged in.
Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping takes its roots in the philosophy of nonviolence and uses strategic approaches to regulate conflicts.
Nonviolence is not the denial of violence; it is on the contrary a way of thinking about a conflict and setting in motion actions to achieve its resolution. It isn’t a passive and submissive attitude but rather a proactive stance oriented towards the search and proposition of alternative solutions to violence.
Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping offers a range of strategies to reduce the levels of tension or violence in conflict zones. This work allows local actors to reconnect and peace actors to work in safer environments.UCP is therefore an approach where the means and the ends coincide.
A UCP mission can consist in:
Bringing a dissuasive presence: often enough, the accompaniment of local peace actors by international teams of volunteers reduces considerable the levels physical and political threats they are subjected to. It has been put into practice over the last twenty years in Latin America and Asia. Thanks to this presence human rights defenders have been able to work and participate in the democratization processes and the development of the rule of law in their countries.
Observing and testifying about the situation in the field: human right violations, violation of an agreement between the conflict factions, elections in some regions where the situation is very tense, these events must be observed and documented with rigor and independence in order to bring forth a thorough and long lasting democratization process.
Facilitating dialog and reconciliation: Third party intervention can help to reconnect conflict factions. Third party actors can create a “neutral“ space where peace workers, youth organizations, women and authorities can meet, exchange and work together. This is a stepping stone to re-create links and launch dialog procedures and reconciliation between local conflict parties
Strengthening the skills of local civil society: peace workers can share nonviolent conflict resolution methods so as to insure that local civil society organizations can act and participate in the conflict transformation.
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