In January 2013 it took just three days for the Seleka Coalition and the Government of the Central African Republic to reach a peace agreement. Kennedy Tumutegyereize and Nicolas Tillon of Conciliation Resources' East and Central Africa programme analyse what the prospects are for sustainable peace without wide public participation.
While the media spotlight occasionally shone brightly on the LRA conflict during 2012, throughout the year the four countries affected by the ongoing violence continued to feel its impact to varying degrees. Reviewing trends, we suggest that peace can be found where top-down and bottom-up approaches meet.
Starting a war is easy. It is much harder to end it. Kristian Herbolzheimer assesses that the Colombia–FARC peace process has arrived at one of its most critical points. Not everyone understands and shares the decision to break from the narrative of the past and to proceed to develop a new story, one that is free of resentment.
Lack of basic services and disruption at border areas is fostering disharmony in West Africa. Following a fact-finding visit to communities in Côte d’Ivoire, Janet Adama Mohammed reflects on the issues they face as they attempt to rebuild after conflict. Working together, and with imagination and cooperation, local people can focus their energies collectively on alternatives to violence.
It’s 10 years since the last negotiations between the Government of Colombia and FARC. Following the recent announcement of upcoming talks between the two, Kristian Herbolzheimer reflects on this lost decade and some of the challenges that must be confronted now in order for all Colombians to have a stake in future peace.
Societies faced with intractable conflict have to seek ways of breaking out of cycles of violence. For as long as war has existed, amnesties have been used for encouraging armed groups to abandon their fight. Barney Afako examines amnesty in relation to the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict. Where to now that the Amnesty Act has lapsed?
There are significant challenges to peace prospects In East and Central Africa. With the African Union and United Nations’ recent joint declaration to launch a regional military strategy against the Lord’s Resistance Army, added to public attention focusing on calls for an escalation of force, we share our local partners' concerns that the response must centre on the protection of civilians. Lessons must be learnt from the past.
Can the London conference on Somalia succeed this time where others have failed? After a year in which large swathes of Somalia have been hit by famine and continued war, and international militarisation has markedly increased, the UK government’s initiative to host an international conference on Somalia on 23 February is welcome. But lessons must be learnt from past mistakes. Ahead of the conference, Mark Bradbury makes the case that support should be given to local Somali-led solutions that promote legitimacy and participation.
In early November the Colombian army killed Alfonso Cano, the head of Farc (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). While many argue this is another significant step towards ending the bloodshed and instability caused by almost five decades of armed conflict, in reality nobody knows for sure what will follow. Responding to recent developments, Kristian Herbolzheimer of Conciliation Resources makes the case – originally published in a Guardian article – that Colombia needs to fundamentally rethink its approach and design a participatory peace process. While, “there are no ready recipes for building peace,” he writes, there is a need, “to keep trying innovative and inclusive approaches.”