Community based rehabilitation: a strategy for peace-building

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<ul><li><p>ral</p><p>BMC International Health </p><p>ssBioMed Centand Human Rights</p><p>Open AcceBMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2 xDebateCommunity based rehabilitation: a strategy for peace-buildingWilliam Boyce*1, Michael Koros2 and Jennifer Hodgson3</p><p>Address: 1Community Health and Epidemiology and Education, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario Canada, K7L 3N6, 2Canadian International Development Agency, Central &amp; Eastern European Branch, Hull Ouebec, Canada, K1A 0G4 and 3International Programs, Faculty of Arts &amp; Science, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario Canada, K7L 3N6</p><p>E-mail: William Boyce* -; Michael Koros -; Jennifer Hodgson -</p><p>*Corresponding author</p><p>AbstractBackground: Certain features of peace-building distinguish it from peacekeeping, and make it anappropriate strategy in dealing with vertical conflict and low intensity conflict. However, sometheorists suggest that attempts, through peace-building, to impose liberal values upon non-democratic cultures are misguided and lack an ethical basis.</p><p>Discussion: We have been investigating the peace-building properties of community basedapproaches to disability in a number of countries. This paper describes the practice and impact ofpeace-building through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) strategies in the context of armedconflict. The ethical basis for peace-building through practical community initiatives is explored. Anumber of benefits and challenges to using CBR strategies for peace-building purposes areidentified.</p><p>Summary: During post-conflict reconstruction, disability is a powerful emotive lever that can beused to mobilize cooperation between factions. We suggest that civil society, in contrast to state-level intervention, has a valuable role in reducing the risks of conflict through community initiatives.</p><p>BackgroundRole of Civil Society in Peace-buildingIn the 1992 report Agenda For Peace, the Secretary Gener-al of the United Nations defines peace-building as "actionto identify and support structures which will tend tostrengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapseinto conflict" [1]. Because this definition is extremely gen-eral, it has provoked tremendous interest and considera-ble discussion. For example, the Canadian Department ofForeign Affairs now defines peace-building as "a set ofmeasures that create a sustainable infrastructure for hu-man security". Furthermore, Foreign Affairs notes that</p><p>governance, sustainable development, and social equity"are important elements of sustaining global peace [2].</p><p>However, these general definitions of peace-building re-quire refinement, especially in relation to various forms ofconflict that are endemic in the early twenty-first century.In the search for a term describing conflict which encom-passes such diverse conditions as full-scale armed conflict,military occupation, and popular rebellion, it is helpful touse 'political violence', as described in the epidemiologi-cal work of Zwi and Ugalde [3][4]. These authors identifyfour major forms of political violence: structural, repres-</p><p>Published: 4 November 2002</p><p>BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2:6</p><p>Received: 19 April 2002Accepted: 4 November 2002</p><p>This article is available from:</p><p> 2002 Boyce et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL.Page 1 of 10(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>"the concept of human security recognizes that humanrights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good</p><p>sive, reactive, and combative. These forms of conflict de-scribe situations of political violence varying from</p></li><li><p>BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2</p><p>imposed societal inequities in resources and power (struc-tural political violence), to the processes of militarizationand war (combative political violence). The frameworkalso includes informal forms of political violence by thestate such as political assassinations, torture, disappear-ances, detention, and harassment (repressive political vi-olence), as well as violence against the state in the form ofcoups d'etat, guerrilla warfare, and revolutionary force (re-active political violence).</p><p>With respect to these various forms of conflict, R. J. Fisherdistinguishes peace-keeping from peace-building but doesso in relation to another typology of conflict, either hori-zontal or vertical [5]. Fisher defines peace-keeping as "adissociative approach in which a third party intervenessimply to keep the warring parties apart and maintain theabsence of direct violence. This approach is appropriate ina horizontal conflict such as combative or reactive politi-cal violence, between equals who are relatively weak (be-cause strong parties can be their own peace-keepers), butis not appropriate to vertical conflicts between un-equalsbecause it freezes the status quo in a biased manner [6].</p><p>Thus, peace-keeping is not an appropriate strategy in ver-tical conflicts, structural or repressive political violencewhich "are highly resistant to de-escalation, in part be-cause of a host of social-psychological processes, includ-ing cognitive rigidities and distortions, self-fulfillingprophecies, and irrational commitment mecha-nisms....Due to the complexities of such conflicts ... [thereis] a set of interlocking ethnic, political, and economic fac-tors in which no one issue can be resolved by itself" [7].By far, the most common type of conflict in the world to-day is vertical in nature, involving 'low intensity conflict',which is "based in deep-seated racial, ethnic, and religioushatreds combined with structural cleavages and politicaloppression that result in the victimization of one or moregroups through a denial of their fundamental needs" [8].</p><p>Fisher describes features of peace-building which distin-guish it from peace-keeping, and suggests the appropriate-ness of peace-building strategies in dealing with verticalconflict and with the very nature of low intensity conflict.He states that peace-building is "an associative approachthat attempts to create a structure of peace both withinand among nations a structure that removes the causesof war and provides alternatives to war. This structure in-volves relations among a large domain of several partiesthat are equitable, interdependent, include a variety ofpeople and types of exchange, and have a supportive su-perstructure.... Peace-building thus requires a process ofnonviolent social change toward equality" [9]. Therefore,in Fisher's view, peace-keeping keeps relatively balanced</p><p>Multi-track diplomacy is a practice that includes peace-building and implies that, in addition to formal diplo-matic efforts to resolve conflict, other methods are of val-ue. The relevant external actors in peacekeeping activitiesare usually other national governments and multilateralagencies. External actors in peace-building efforts, on theother hand, may be from a broader base. The phrase'Track Two diplomacy' was coined in 1982 by Montville[10] to describe activities occurring outside formal state-to-state, or Track One relations. The main objectives ofTrack Two diplomacy efforts are:</p><p>X to reduce or resolve conflict between groups or nationsby improving communication, understanding, and rela-tionships;</p><p>X to decrease tension, anger, fear, or misunderstanding byhumanizing the 'face of the enemy' and giving people di-rect personal experience of one another; and</p><p>X to affect the thinking and action of Track One diploma-cy by addressing root causes, feelings, and needs and byexploring diplomatic options without prejudice, therebylaying the groundwork for more formal negotiations, orfor re-framing policies.</p><p>Indeed, the basic premise of Track Two diplomacy "is thatthe expertise for dealing successfully with conflict doesnot reside solely within government personnel or proce-dures" [11].</p><p>The importance of multi-track efforts to the success of for-mal peace agreements has been recognized by scholarssuch as Crocker &amp; Hampson [12] whose study of fivepeace settlements (Cyprus, Namibia, Angola, El Salvador,and Cambodia), led to the distillation of several opera-tional and strategic rules of the road, one of which is ofparticular relevance here. They assert that civil society is akey player in peace-building:</p><p>"Economic and social reconstruction is crucial to the suc-cess of the peace process. In addition to advancing humanrights, third parties have a crucial role to play in rebuild-ing and reconstructing civil society for long-term peaceand stability. There is a vital link between sturdy civic in-stitutions, including the norms and networks of civic en-gagement, and the performance of representativegovernment. Not only is civil society important to democ-racy, but it also has a significant role to play in consolidat-ing the peace process in countries making the transitionfrom war to peace. Because third parties often provide thenecessary foundations for democratic institutions, inter-national development agencies and non-governmentalPage 2 of 10(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>parties apart, while peace-building brings unbalancedparties together.</p><p>organizations have a pivotal contribution to make to thetask of post-conflict rebuilding" [13].</p></li><li><p>BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2</p><p>Ball and Halevy [14] have suggested several peace-build-ing activities that can be undertaken in support of a peaceagreement:</p><p>X provide a sufficient level of internal security to enableeconomic activity to recover, to encourage refugees andinternally displaced persons to re-establish themselves,and to persuade the business community to invest;</p><p>X strengthen the government's capacity to carry out key ac-tivities;</p><p>X assist the return of refugees and internally displaced per-sons;</p><p>X support the rejuvenation of household economies, es-pecially by strengthening the smallholder agricultural sec-tor;</p><p>X assist the recovery of communities, in part throughprojects that address social and economic infrastructure;</p><p>X rehabilitate physical infrastructure of crucial importancefor economic revival, such as roads, and communicationsystems;</p><p>X remove land mines from major transport arteries, fieldsand other critical sites;</p><p>X stabilize the national currency and rehabilitate financialinstitutions; and</p><p>X promote national reconciliation.</p><p>Of course, these activities are part of traditional recon-struction efforts in many post-conflict countries. Howev-er, to achieve peace-building dividends, certain dynamicsmust be understood which can be illustrated by examin-ing this strategy through an ethical perspective.</p><p>DiscussionThe Ethics of Peace-buildingThere are a number of social relationships involved in theprocess of peace-building. The obvious relationship,which is the primary focus of peace-building, is the onebetween the opposing groups during periods of conflict.However, the peace-building process introduces a new setof relationships between the specific groups recoveringfrom conflict situations, and the external observers of theconflict who participate in the peace-building process. It iscommonly assumed that peace-building reflects humani-tarian, honourable intentions in seeking to stop the vio-lence and human rights abuses that occur during conflicts.</p><p>unforeseen, negative consequences. Two types of negativeconsequences from the efforts of peacemakers, -keepers,and -builders, as well as international development assist-ance agencies and their staff, have been identified in re-cent years through the development of peace and conflictimpact assessment (PCIA) approaches. One set of nega-tive consequences arises from the actions and approachesof individuals and organizations. The other set arises fromthe political instrumentalization of external resources andinterventions by domestic political actors intent on re-solving conflict through violence. The work of Mary An-derson and the Collaborative for Development ActionInc., has examined the former in considerable detail andat a micro-level in the "Local Capacities for Peace" project.Donor approaches to assessing the latter have been sum-marized in "Conflict Impact Assessment of EU Develop-ment Cooperation with ACP Countries: A Review ofLiterature and Practice", by Manuela Leonhardt. [15].These potentially negative consequences provide the ra-tionale for examining the ethics of peace-building inter-ventions.</p><p>Canada's foreign policy objectives include the projectionof Canadian values and culture. These values, which canbe generally characterized as liberalistic, have also led Ca-nadians to embrace multicultural ideals. The 1996 recom-mendations on Canadian Foreign Policy andInternational Peace-Building include a directive that:</p><p>The Canadian government should ensure that any peacekeep-ing/peace building interventions are based on promoting, pro-tecting and reflecting Canadian values, including humanrights, rule of law, and multicultural tolerance [16]. (em-phasis ours)</p><p>Although this directive is intended to stress the impor-tance of promoting respect for human rights and toler-ance of multiculturalism in other societies, it also impliesthat Canadians highly value cultural integrity when en-gaging in international relationships.</p><p>Canada is not alone in this view. Liberal values that un-derpin human rights are reflected in international law,and have been espoused by a large number of countries,representing a large sector of the human population. Al-though liberal values may be largely Western in origin,they are assumed to rest on a fundamental respect for in-dividual persons, a respect which is not only prevalentwithin a diversity of cultures, but also requires attention tomulticultural rights. Thus, widespread acceptance of hu-man rights policies should serve to discourage violentconflict and should provide a stable foundation for lastingpeace. From an ethical perspective, it therefore becomesPage 3 of 10(page number not for citation purposes)</p><p>But given the compromised state of post-conflict groups,there is significant risk that external intervention can have</p><p>acceptable and beneficial to introduce and promote liber-al values within post-conflict societies. Indeed, the 1996</p></li><li><p>BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2</p><p>'Policy Options for Post-Conflict Reconstruction' suggestthat:</p><p>the democratic ideals of respect for human rights and free elec-tions should be conceived of as a core component of Canadianreconstruction efforts and promoted regardless of a lack of localdemocratic traditions [17].</p><p>However, some liberal theorists suggest that attempts toimpose liberal values upon non-democratic cultures aremisguided. In cases where such cultures oppress theirmembers,</p><p>the initial moral judgment is...</p></li></ul>


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