Protecting Civilians in Situations of Violent Conflict


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In New York in June 2011, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) conducted five trainings, consultations and presentations to United Nations and UN-related organizations, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). Marking NP and unarmed civilian peacekeeping's (UCP) biggest exposure ever at the UN, the presentations create further opportunities to advance policy and funding for UCP.

The UN’s invitation and sponsorship of the trainings attest to the international recognition unarmed civilian peacekeeping is gaining through NP’s civilian protection efforts in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Sudan.

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  • Provide some context and relevant features of violent conflict…We are dealing with a huge problem here, and massive transformative changes
  • Stiglitz and Bilmes Three Trillion Dollar War for USA in Iraq alone!
  • Although there are some positive indications that # of wars and # of casualties/war are reducing… beware: definitions may exclude
  • Unanimity!
  • HS is inclusive concept, HD + HR + Hsaf. Continue with Guehenno?
  • Growing consensus
  • We are aware that in the field of protection of civilians… NP is much like ICRC – 12,000 staff in 80 countries, US$1 billion; or UNV… only MUCH smaller
  • What, who, how, when, how
  • [Add: Proactive Presence aka Civilian Unarmed Peacekeeping or Nonviolent Peacekeeping]
  • [Add… Source: Liam Mahony, Proactive Presence]
  • [Add… Source: Liam Mahony, Proactive Presence]
  • PBI began its work in 1981 and since that time many small-scale initiatives by international civil society have been launched. For more information, refer to the NP Feasibility Study (2002, available on line). Most of these efforts have remained small and localized. Even the largest organization, PBI, has fielded no more than 1500 people in twenty-five year of its existence, and most for a period of only a few months. Compare this with the 120,000+ UN peacekeepers!
  • Compare this US$5 billion to the proposal to ‘bail out’ the USA Wall Street investment bankers at US$700 billion….
  • Protecting Civilians in Situations of Violent Conflict

    1. 1. Protecting Threatened Civilians  In Situations of Violent Conflict: The Role of Unarmed Glocal Civilians A Briefing and Discussion at the United Nations by Mel Duncan and Rolf Carriere Nonviolent Peaceforce New York, 10 June 2011  
    2. 2. Focus of this Presentation <ul><li>Keeping people physically safe </li></ul><ul><li>By organized, professional multinational, gender-balanced, impartial teams of civilians </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated to protection only </li></ul><ul><li>Working by invitation of, and with, local civil society organizations </li></ul>
    3. 3. Focus of this Presentation <ul><li>Practicing ‘proactive presence’ 24/7 </li></ul><ul><li>Without use of armed force </li></ul><ul><li>Complying to strict security protocols </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by great variety of donors </li></ul>
    4. 4. Outline <ul><li>Context of Violent Conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Response to Violent Conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Human Security & Protection of Civilians </li></ul><ul><li>Role of Global Civil Society </li></ul><ul><li>Unarmed Civilian Protection </li></ul><ul><li>Nonviolent Peaceforce </li></ul><ul><li>Relating to IASC </li></ul>
    5. 5. Context of Violent Conflict <ul><li>World Bank: 1.5 billions people currently live in countries with repeated violence (WDR 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>Not one of these countries has achieved a single MDG (WDR 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>It is no longer acceptable to allow belligerents to fight till exhaustion-- if only for the sake of civilians… (and the economy…) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Context of Violent Conflict <ul><li>US$2.4 trillion (or 4.4% of global economy ) “is dependent on violence” (referring to “industries that create or manage violence”) (Global Peace Index 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>On average, the total national and regional cost of a single war is more than US$64 billion… then add to this global impacts of international terrorism, drugs production and spread of HIV </li></ul><ul><li>(Paul Collier, World Bank/Oxford) </li></ul>
    7. 7. Context of Violent Conflict <ul><li>Future violence potential remains high , due to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing ethnic tension </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With more self-determination, 193->2000 nations? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitive race for scarce resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Depleting energy sources, water, precious minerals ) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trade in/ubiquitous presence of small arms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing population pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People voting with their feet </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic collapse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viral, daily in your face </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Widening income disparities </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Context of Violent Conflict <ul><li>Changed nature of war & violence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More intra-state, civil wars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Last longer (10x than international) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less noticed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Civilian/military casualties in wars went from 10/90 to at least 75/25 over the past century </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Therefore, new challenge of physical safety demands new response in protection of civilians </li></ul>
    9. 9. Increasingly, threatening and targeting of vulnerable Civilian Populations children women ethnic/religious minorities ‘ first peoples’ dispossessed suppressed and Individuals journalists humanitarian aid workers (100+ death/yr) human rights workers
    10. 10. Whatever the current level of action for protection of civilians, and whoever provides it, the world needs far more Protection of Civilians
    11. 11. Since End of Cold War <ul><li>Some historic shifts in perceptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Security (basic rights + freedom from fear + freedom from want) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R2P (sovereignty as responsibility) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of Civilians (as ‘humanitarian imperative’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resurgence of Nonviolence (Middle East, Yellow, Orange, Velvet etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peoples Right to Peace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role of Third UN (civilian capacities) </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Responding to Violent Conflict <ul><li>In order to protect threatened civilians: </li></ul><ul><li>for world community as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>(and UN in particular) </li></ul><ul><li>what is the proper balance between </li></ul><ul><li>(and among) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Humanitarian </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Developmental </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Political/Diplomatic </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Military </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>engagements/interventions in complex security situations? </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Responding to Violent Conflict <ul><li>What are most appropriate types of engagements/interventions to protect threatened civilians? </li></ul><ul><li>Which actors are best placed to play what roles? </li></ul><ul><li>Where to focus and when? </li></ul><ul><li>Growing consensus: No one can do it alone! A necessary complementarity </li></ul>
    14. 14. Protection of Civilians: Many Forms <ul><li>Humanitarian assistance aimed at saving lives, providing basic services, and keeping people safe ; </li></ul><ul><li>Diplomatic initiatives to prevent or resolve conflicts; </li></ul><ul><li>Military action when peaceful means fail; </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging violations of human rights and ending poverty, disease, and environmental degradation; </li></ul><ul><li>Control of the arms trade and reducing the danger posed by guns and explosive weapons. </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of Civilians in 2010 Facts, figures and the UN Security Council response (Oxfam, May 2011, p.9) </li></ul>
    15. 15. Responding to Violent Conflict <ul><li>These many options pose some fundamental issues, strategic choices, questions of operational sequencing, funding priorities, other dilemmas… </li></ul><ul><li>Most basic + urgent needs first (in rights-based context…) </li></ul>
    16. 16. Much is already being done… <ul><li>By main actors of IASC Protection Cluster </li></ul><ul><li>All have comparative strengths & limitations </li></ul><ul><li>Not all focus exclusively on physical PoC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DPKO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ICRC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UNHCR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UNICEF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WFP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UNHCHR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UNDP & UNV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PROCAP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OCHA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>INGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IOM, MSF, Oxfam </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Much is already being done <ul><li>But also by private military & security companies (PMSCs) (‘occupying’ humanitarian space, competing for resources) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub/contractors (120 companies in 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Privatisation of Security in Failing States– A Quantitative Assessment, Z. Branovic, DECAF, May 2011 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>190,000 personnel in Iraq alone (USCBO 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For profit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Future role? in humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping missions, state-building projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Civilian Capacities or Mercenaries? </li></ul>
    18. 18. Responding to Violent Conflict <ul><li>Even so, other global civilian capacities for PoC exist (or are potentially available) , but remain unused (Guehenno report) </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps often only on small scale, but scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Unarmed Civilian Protection (UPC) has its own comparative advantages & fills important niche </li></ul>
    19. 19. Military peacekeeping’s cost, effectiveness, timeliness and efficiency for PoC is being questioned (UN, NATO, AU)
    20. 20. <ul><li>Many civilians and organizations, all over the world, are convinced they, too, can contribute to peacekeeping + PoC </li></ul><ul><li>Theirs is the power of nonviolent presence-- a role that cannot be played by the military or police </li></ul>Taking Risks For Peace Only Men and Women in Military Uniform ?
    21. 21. Greater Role for Civil Society <ul><li>As a result, </li></ul><ul><li>civil society is organizing itself in many ways </li></ul><ul><li>to help prevent, stop or transform violent conflict. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Sovereignty-free Actors’ (Rosenau) </li></ul>
    22. 22. Redressing the Balance <ul><li>From </li></ul><ul><li>National security </li></ul><ul><li>Hard power </li></ul><ul><li>State & military </li></ul><ul><li>Reactive & late </li></ul><ul><li>General humanitarian relief </li></ul><ul><li>Ad hoc protection (or as by-product of ‘international presence’) </li></ul><ul><li>Towards </li></ul><ul><li>Human security </li></ul><ul><li>Soft power </li></ul><ul><li>Civilian & unarmed, nonviolent </li></ul><ul><li>Preventive & early </li></ul><ul><li>Effective physical protection (as top need) </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional proactive presence (dedicated, professional on call) </li></ul>
    23. 23. Towards A New Security… (Can You See It That Way?) <ul><li>National > Human Security </li></ul><ul><li>Hard > Soft Power </li></ul><ul><li>Military > Civilian </li></ul><ul><li>Armed > Unarmed </li></ul><ul><li>Reactive > Preventive </li></ul><ul><li>Late > Early </li></ul><ul><li>General > Proactive Presence </li></ul>Some special interests may not see it that way…
    24. 24. Focus of this Presentation <ul><li>Keeping people physically safe </li></ul><ul><li>By organized, professional multinational, gender-balanced, impartial teams of civilians </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated to protection only </li></ul><ul><li>Working by invitation of, and with, local civil society organizations </li></ul>
    25. 25. Focus of this Presentation <ul><li>Practicing ‘proactive presence’ 24/7 </li></ul><ul><li>Without use of armed force </li></ul><ul><li>Complying to strict security protocols </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by great variety of donors </li></ul>
    26. 26. Why, how and when does proactive presence work? [based on Liam Mahony’s slide series]
    27. 28. Growing the Sheltering Tree <ul><li>“ Conscious presence is required: presence that has the specific aim of preventing or reducing violations… </li></ul><ul><li>People in danger confirm that presence is an essential protection tool.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(IASC 2002) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 29. Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping Encouragement Deterrence Influence Nonviolence Independence Primacy of Internal Conflict Actors Nonpartisanship UDHR & IHL Confidence Building Conscious Visibility Protection Capacity Building Multi-Level Diplomacy PROACTIVE PRESENCE
    29. 30. MPT What is Proactive Presence? Proactive Presence = Trained field staff combining multiple strategies to positively influence the dynamics of violence against civilians on the ground. (Means PROACTIVE ) “ What is needed…is not passive presence for its own sake, but well informed and carefully analysed strategies and tactics that use the presence of each [UCP] to influence all the actors around them.” -Liam Mahoney
    30. 31. MPT How Does Proactive Presence Work? DETERRENCE Decision Makers (Worried about Int’l Image) Perpetrators of Violence (Worried about witnesses) Targeted Civilians Chain of Command International Pressure X
    31. 32. MPT How Does Proactive Presence Work? DETERRENCE Decision Makers (Worried about Int’l Image) Perpetrators of Violence (Worried about witnesses) Targeted Civilians Chain of Command International Pressure “ It’s not really me.”
    32. 33. MPT How Does Proactive Presence Work? DETERRENCE Decision Makers (Worried about Int’l Image) Perpetrators of Violence (Worried about witnesses) Targeted Civilians Chain of Command International Pressure X X
    33. 34. Why Does It Work? <ul><li>All parties have multiple sensitivities, vulnerabilities and points of leverage. </li></ul><ul><li>International presence’ impact is implicitly linked to these vulnerabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage is global, national and local </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage is political. Leverage is personal. </li></ul><ul><li>Enhances local reconciliation and human rights work </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing nonviolent can change atmostpheres </li></ul>
    34. 35. Why Abusers Pay Attention <ul><li>Personal or political reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Access to political and economic benefits– goods, money, political support, weapons… </li></ul><ul><li>International prosecution; avoiding blame; sustaining options for a political career. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Comparative image’ relative to opponents </li></ul><ul><li>Ideological alliances </li></ul><ul><li>Orders from superior officers </li></ul><ul><li>Individual moral concerns </li></ul>
    35. 36. Past & Present Peace Team Efforts <ul><li>Peace Brigades International </li></ul><ul><li>Christian Peacemaker Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Witness for Peace </li></ul><ul><li>International Fellowship of Reconciliation </li></ul><ul><li>Sipaz (Mexico) </li></ul><ul><li>SERPAJ (Latin America) </li></ul><ul><li>United Civilians for Peace </li></ul><ul><li>Peaceworkers </li></ul><ul><li>Balkan Peace Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Bantay Ceasefire (Mindanao) </li></ul><ul><li>Shanti Sena (Gujarat) </li></ul><ul><li>Gulf Peace Team </li></ul><ul><li>Cry for Justice (Haiti) </li></ul><ul><li>EMPSA (Ecumenical Monitoring Project South Africa) </li></ul><ul><li>ISM (International Solidarity Movement) </li></ul><ul><li>GIPP (Grassroots Initiative to Protect Palestinians) </li></ul><ul><li>EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine/Israel) </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s International Peace Service (Palestine) </li></ul>
    36. 37. Civil society-to-civil society, not an extension of any national foreign policy 65 Member Organizations Worldwide
    37. 38. <ul><li>Niche for Nonviolent Peaceforce </li></ul><ul><li>2. Strategies, Tactics and Activities in Intervention </li></ul><ul><li>3. Best Practices in Field Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>4. Nonviolent Peaceforce Personnel </li></ul><ul><li>5. Training and Preparation </li></ul>Feasibility Study
    38. 39. UCP is… Not disorganised individuals showing up without a plan, thinking only their presence is enough. Organised teams strategically implementing proven tactics for protecting civilians and reducing violence. Not well-intentioned volunteers working against “oppressors” and naively sticking flowers in gun barrel Well-trained professionals working proactively with key stakeholders on all levels to increase security of all people Not white people from the global North holding threatened peoples’ hands so they do not get shot. Security-conscious international/multi-cultural teams working and living within communities affected by violence and supporting them to increase their own security. Not an add-on to an already over-burdened work day or something done indirectly while passing out food. A specific, focused activity, based on lessons learned and compelling practices
    39. 40. Key UCP Activities Conscious Visibility Multi-Level Diplomacy Protection Confidence Building Capacity Building Facilitation of Safe Access to Government Mechanisms Forums/Meetings for State Duty-Bearers and Vulnerable Communities Safe Travel Routes for Civilians Accompaniment/ Protective Presence for Vulnerable Individuals / HRDs / Community Workers Establishment and monitoring of protocols with government and military actors Coordination of security services for vulnerable civilians Community Conflict Early Warning Early Response Systems Collaborative security assessments, consultations, and trainings Support for Community Security Teams Community Conflict Resolution Facilitation Intentional presence during critical times Ceasefire Monitoring
    40. 45. Verification Mission on Landmine Use in Mindanao Unarmed, Civilian Peacekeepers enable humanitarian & development entities to be successful in their work ‘ As far as I am aware, this is the first time in the history of international relations that such a fact-finding mission has been carried out with the agreement of, and facilitation by, both parties to an armed conflict, in casu, a State and a non-State actor.’ Unarmed civilian Peacekeepers – emphasizing neutrality and impartiality – provide logistical support for Geneva Call as it conducts an historic Verification Mission on landmine use in Mindanao Eric David, Professor of Law at Brussels University, mission participant
    41. 46. Professionally trained
    42. 47. Teams come from all over the world
    43. 48. Sri Lanka
    44. 49. <ul><li>Mindanao </li></ul>GRP and MILF invite NP to join Civilian Protection Component of the International Monitoring Team
    45. 50. Southern Sudan
    46. 51. Kyrgyzstan & South Caucasus
    47. 52. Not about NP, but the concept & practice
    48. 53. How does NP relate to IASC Members/Principles & Standards? <ul><li>@ HQs level </li></ul><ul><li>Consultations with 20+ UN entities in GVA & NY </li></ul><ul><li>Framework Agreement with UNHCR </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership Agreements with UNICEF </li></ul><ul><li>Also occasional dealings with Global Policy Forum, ICVA, ALNAP, CONGO etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Offered to participate through ICVA in civilian protection sub-cluster </li></ul>
    49. 54. NP Relating to IASC <ul><li>@ Country/Sub-National/Field level </li></ul><ul><li>Fully integrated in cluster approach (Protection cluster + GBV, CP, RNA sub-clusters) </li></ul><ul><li>Applying SPHERE standards </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing information, access and introductions in areas where NP has longer or more community-based presence, or has better local acceptance than UN </li></ul><ul><li>Ad hoc info (e.g., on new displacements, individual cases NP comes across, and security flashes) </li></ul>
    50. 55. NP Relating to IASC <ul><li>@ Country/Field level </li></ul><ul><li>Formal & informal coordination, capacity building, mutual training </li></ul><ul><li>NP not bound by UN security protocol and phases </li></ul><ul><li>Hence able to stay and live with threatened communities, continuing to protect </li></ul><ul><li>Based on NP’s own security protocol </li></ul>
    51. 56. NP Relating to IASC <ul><li>@ Country/Field level </li></ul><ul><li>At times, requested to take local lead </li></ul><ul><li>Provides accompaniment to IASC partners </li></ul><ul><li>Takes part in inter-agency security coordination </li></ul><ul><li>Creates link and referral between local needs and UN system higher up </li></ul>
    52. 57. Nonviolent Peaceforce International Headquarters: Rue Belliard 205 1040 – Bruxelles, Belgium Phone: 32 -2-648-0076 [email_address] [email_address] Thank you
    53. 58. Responding to Violent Conflict <ul><li>Where to focus? </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of high risk (40+%) of relapse into war within the decade after ceasefire/peace agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Typically, only about 12 countries are in the post-conflict category at any one time </li></ul><ul><li>90% of civil wars in the 2000s occurred in countries that had already experienced civil war in previous 30 years (WDR2011) </li></ul><ul><li>A US$5 billion investment in international peacekeeping and well-targeted aid would deliver a return of US$397 billion in post-conflict countries </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, high predictability + very high returns ! </li></ul>Source: Paul Collier, World Bank/Oxford