I’ve just had a paper accepted to European Peace Research Association Conference in Tromso in September.
Challenging peacekeeping: how the incorporation of nonviolence reaches out to the ‘local’.
Peacekeeping is the prevention and reduction of violence but it has remained dominated by the ‘Westphalian’ and ‘liberal’ peace concepts and relies on military approaches and government led interventions to implement. This dominance has limited challenges to the assumptions underlying this approach, and has reduced the space available to debate effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of traditional peacekeeping. EU member states are among the main contributors to global peacekeeping, but the EU Parliament has explored civilian responses to violent conflict and it is timely for us to understand how these seemingly opposing views can be brought together. Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping (UCP) is a way we can explore this connection. Using nonviolence and rooted in the needs and capacities of local communities, UCP has been successfully used by civilians around the world for over 30 years to prevent and reduce violence. This approach challenges current thinking in peacekeeping and provides an alternative method to fill the gap in demonstrating how peacekeeping is relevant and achievable at the local level. In this paper, peacekeeping will be set within a context of peacemaking and peacebuilding to explore how a range of approaches are used in the creation of sustainable peace. It will show how some of the assumptions behind current peacekeeping (including the need for force to protect people and reduce violence) and its theoretical basis leave it unable to connect to the ‘local’ – something which is an important component of peacebuilding. This paper argues that UCP should be developed and incorporated as a recognized component of peacekeeping, but independent of military and government structures in order to maintain the strengths and complementarity. This paper uses case studies and examples to explore and comment on the UCP relationship to other peacekeeping theory.