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Modus Operandi

En librairie

Transformation de conflit, de Karine Gatelier, Claske Dijkema et Herrick Mouafo

Aux Éditions Charles Léopold Mayer (ECLM)


Fiche d’analyse Dossier : Nonviolent Peaceforce in action: an overview

Brussels, novembre 2007

The strategy of NP in Sri Lanka

Which priorities and target communities were chosen to work with in Sri Lanka.

As rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts by local groups and international agencies continue, it has become evident that they can only have a real and sustainable effect if such activities can be carried out in an environment that is stable and safe, now and in the future. NP’s main focus in Sri Lanka is to help create such an environment and to facilitate constructive engagements within the communities and between groups, thus paving the way for rehabilitation efforts to be more effective and to allow for local solutions to emerge and be sustained.

NPSL essentially serves to protect and offer guidance and support to those directly affected by conflict and in need of protection due to their vulnerability or peace building activism, so they can achieve social and political change in a more secure environment. As part of its approach, NPSL puts conflict at the heart of its work. By doing so, it works closely together with community based organizations, (I)NGOs and international agencies in Trincomalee, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Colombo. Nonviolent Peaceforce especially targets the communities in the East due to the ethnic composition in those areas and the close proximity between the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim people living there.

Beneficiaries of the work include mothers, children, families, religious communities, civil society groups, farmers, fishermen and small business owners, local NGOs and community activists and leaders. Because NP’s work is complementary to and coordinated with a number of NGOs, INGOs and community social workers working in the area, such as SLMM, UNICEF, UNHCR, ZOA, Sarvodaya, AHAM, ESCO, FCE, CHA, Center for Peace and Reconciliation, Carvitas/Hudic, local churches, mosque federations or temple committees, etc., the number of indirect beneficiaries is, therefore, increasingly substantial.

NP field team members live in the communities, among the local people, and have built relationships in order to gain their trust, to understand their need, and to support their initiatives and requests for NP’s assistance. While NP follows its own systematic processes of monitoring and analyzing, its response strategies generally involve local partners and groups. In other words, because NP’s mission is guided by the context of the situation and needs at the grassroots level, the local population is consulted as part of the immediate assistance as well as the long-term strategy of NP. One of NP’s central principles is that only local people who are part of the conflicts, can truly help solve them.

The overall aim of the NP project in Sri Lanka to reduce and prevent violence and to increase the safety of civilians in Sri Lanka, so that they can contribute to a more lasting peace with justice. This overall objective can be broken down into three goals:

  • 1. Reduce the level of, and potential for, violence.

  • 2. Improve the safety, confidence and ability of Sri Lankan peacemakers and other civilians to address conflict issues in non-violent ways

  • 3. Support Sri Lankans to deter resumption of the violent conflict through civilian participation

The NP methodology tries to improve the international community support to the Sri Lanka conflict-affected population working with the following principles:

  • Nonviolent Peaceforce representatives will only use nonviolent means and strategies in all circumstances.

  • Nonviolent Peaceforce will not take any side in the conflict nor make its services available exclusively to one community.

  • Nonviolent Peaceforce comes at the invitation of local civilians, and undertakes activities only under the guidance of local civilians. Nonviolent Peaceforce will not undertake to influence the outcomes of conflict resolution except to assure that they are not violent.

  • Nonviolent Peaceforce strives not to undermine the reputation of any person or group, rather to understand and report causes and needs while opposing violence itself.

  • Nonviolent Peaceforce seeks goodwill and acceptance from all parties.

These principles are implemented using the following policies:

  • Work plans are co-generated locally, by field offices and Colombo staff, therefore ensuring that the project is led by local needs, and supported locally.

  • The international staff live in the communities in which they work. Staff live simply and only receive a per diem in-country, their salaries are paid off-shore.

  • When tension erupts into violence, Nonviolent Peaceforce ‘leans into’ the situation, which means that staff are able to visibly patrol, make initial reports directly from the situation and remain as a confidence building measure to the community. Staff do not take unnecessary risks, but communicate with SLMM staff, international agencies nearby, and all local partners to make sure that voices are heard, rumours are controlled and an international presence, with a commitment to grassroots support, is maintained.

Some of the key assumptions associated with the rationale are:

  • (1) International presence increases safety;

  • (2) Safety and stability increases the chances for sustainable rehabilitation and recovery;

  • (3) NP continues to have access to vulnerable areas, thus being accepted by major actors.

  • (4) NP’s ability to stay non- partisan and to receive requests for assistance.

  • (5) Conflict prevention opens space for dialogue and reconciliation and paves the way for development and rehabilitation.

Continued fear and insecurity, due to intimidation, harassment, threats and violence, stand in the way as stubborn barriers for effective recovery and rehabilitation.