Civil Peace Service: Dealing with the past and managing the peaceful transformation of natural resources conflicts

Project description

Title: Consolidating the process of dealing with the past and supporting peaceful transformation of natural resources conflicts
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Peru
Overall term: 2005 to 2016

Context
From 1980, Peru was engulfed in a wave of violence, in particular in the wake of the terrorist activities of the Shining Path organisation (Sendero Luminoso). Over 70,000 people were killed as a result of the hostilities. Twenty years of armed domestic conflict have embedded a culture of deep mistrust in Peru’s social fabric. Massive human rights abuses have severely shaken citizens’ confidence in the state. Progress has been slow on implementing key recommendations of the truth commission, the objectives of which are to initiate an intra-societal reconciliation process.

Despite the country’s positive economic development, broad sectors of the population are still affected by social exclusion. Compounded by the faltering progress of the intra-societal reconciliation process, this generates potential for frustration, often spilling over into violent clashes over the use of natural resources. Social tensions have mounted dramatically in recent years, especially over mining issues, as well as in conflicts over dwindling water resources.

Objective
The process of society’s dealing with the past domestic armed conflict based on recommendations of the Peruvian truth commission is strengthened. Past violence and human rights abuses are dealt with in a dialogue between the state and civil society. Institutions geared to the peaceful transformation of conflicts over the environment and natural resources are strengthened. Conflicts over the use of natural resources are increasingly resolved by state and civil society actors in the context of institutionally created dialogue opportunities.

Approach
The Civil Peace Service (CPS) promotes the organisational and methodological capacities for conflict transformation of state and civil society partners. It offers training and advice in civil conflict transformation, promotes the development of dialogue opportunities between the state and civil society, advises on the development of strategies geared to violence prevention and promotes network building between peace actors.

Specifically, this is achieved by:

  • strengthening the conflict transformation skills of the human rights ombuds office (Defensoría del Pueblo)
  • strengthening the interventional skills of the Ayacucho regional government in conflicts over the environment and natural resources
  • strengthening the National Coordinator for Human Rights institution in its capacity to deal with conflicts relating to the environment and natural resources with a view to protecting human rights
  • strengthening Ayacucho’s peace actors in their commitment to social reconciliation and establishment of a sustainable peace culture (Apoyo para la Paz project).

CPS therefore contributes to de-escalation of violence in the long term and to strengthening intra-societal reconciliation, while promoting sustainable development in the country.

Results

  • The intervention of the human rights ombuds office at an early stage has a de-escalating impact in social conflicts relating to all aspects of the use of natural resources and supports their peaceful transformation.
  • The regional government in Ayacucho has set up an office for the prevention and transformation of conflicts; its staff contribute to the de-escalation and non-violent transformation of conflicts.
  • The National Coordinator for Human Rights institution intervenes specifically to protect human rights in conflict scenarios relating to the environment and natural resources; in so doing it strengthens the constructive, non-violent transformation of these conflicts. Through its lobbying, it influences policymaking and is perceived by the general public as an honest mediator in its work to protect human rights.
  • Organisations affected and other peace actors in the Ayacucho region take joint and coordinated action to assert their rights and to advance the intra-societal reconciliation process. They influence local and regional decision-makers and policymaking. As a result, dealing with the violent past is increasingly seen as the responsibility of society as a whole.
CPS Peru. Art as a way of coming to terms with a violent past. Exhibition of artwork outside the Museo de la Memoria in Ayacucho. © GIZ
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