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The Peacemakers’ Dilemma: The Role of NGOs in Processes of Peace-Building in Decentralised Conflicts

Neubert, Dieter
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In Foblets, Marie-Claire, and Trutz von Trotha, eds., Healing the Wounds: Essays on the Reconstruction of Societies after War. Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing. Pp. 47-82.

Emergency aid, observes Dieter Neubert, is one of the core activities of development agencies. In Africa, emergency situations are often linked with violent conflicts and wars. Whereas development agencies had long concentrated on aid and avoided political activities concerned with conflict regulation, that has changed. Since the 1990s development agencies and NGOs have taken on peace-building as a new sphere of activity. The basic idea is that development policy must also be peace policy. In this regard, peace-building is seen as a long-term process that includes reconciliation and healing as parts of promoting post-conflict stabilization and order. This notion of peace-building is also deeply connected with conceptions of human rights and political participation xe2x80x93 with justice, forgiving, and foundations for new social and political structures. Yet, the reality is that peace-building must often begin by collaborating with existing power structures responsible for violence and rights violations in the conflict situation. Thus NGOs face a dilemma between the desire for peace on the one hand and the commitment to human rights and justice on the other. Against this background, Neubert analyzes the role of development agencies and especially NGOs in peace-building.


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