The Right to Decide: Exit and Basque Self-Determination

Five years ago, the Basque militant group ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom) announced a unilateral and permanent cessation of operations. Since then, the disappearance of political violence has given rise to a new debate on Basque nationhood: more inclusive, more open, more civic, and at the same time stronger in its affirmation of the legitimacy… Read more »

It’s Time to Open our Eyes to Women’s Involvement in Peace Processes

Women are central contributors to peace processes. But the crucial roles that women play in transitions from war to peace are rarely acknowledged. The focus on the negotiating table and formal politics – the diplomatic aspects of conflict resolution – is a too narrow understanding of peace processes. Recent case studies on Somalia and Bosnia… Read more »

Political Defeat – Military Inadequacy! The Swaddling Blanket of Intervention

The military interventions by the West in the Middle East, Afghanistan and North Africa in recent years are examples of bold and efficient use of force resulting in immediate achievement of goals. Saddam Hussein’s military forces were defeated, the Taliban were deprived of their havens and possible massacres in Libya were prevented. The attempts however… Read more »

The Gender Asset in Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Processes (DDR)

The Potentials of Changing Gender Patterns. Both genders – female and male – can be actors as well as victims in armed conflict, depending on the context. Changed gender roles among ex-combatants of armed groups constitute a potential source of change towards more balanced gender relations in the larger post-conflict society. It is necessary to… Read more »

Bosnia 20 Years On

The Dayton agreement ended the war. But with children from different ethnic groups unable to attend school together in many places, its intentions concerning reconciliation have unfortunately not been realized. “Of course I don’t need good grades in Bosnian when I’ve got good grades in English,” says a 13-year-old to his father in Sarajevo. The… Read more »

An Academic New Year’s Resolution for Colombia: Understanding Continued Gendered Violence as a Threat to Positive Peace

Over the last decade, Colombia has been host to the world’s largest population of internally displaced people (IDP). In 2016, it is expected that the Colombian government and FARC will reach a peace agreement, marking the formal end of more than 50 years of civil war. It is widely recognized that this peace agreement will… Read more »

A Peace Prize Against Terror

European news headlines in 2015 have been all about the refugee crisis and religion-based terrorism. Is there still room for discussing “peace”? Should we not concentrate on bombing ISIS and protect national security? Yesterday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. This quartet consists of four organizations… Read more »

Dialogue is Not Enough

Why did Tunisia succeed in reaching a compromise that led to democratic development, while other countries in the region have failed? The answer does not lie in the large numbers of activists and demonstrators. There were also massive crowds protesting against the regimes in countries such as Egypt and Yemen. Nor is the answer an… Read more »

National Dialogues as Self-Mediation Mechanisms

In the last century, peace was far more likely the product of victory on the battlefield than a negotiated settlement. From 1940 until 2002, the world witnessed more than 370 state-based conflicts. At any point in time over the last decade, the world hosted nearly 30 armed conflicts simultaneously — many of them “check book… Read more »

Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers: Five New Findings

More aid workers are being targeted in violent attacks than ever before, but the roots of humanitarian insecurity have nuanced and surprising causes. Syria. Afghanistan. Mali. Central African Republic. Today’s complex conflicts seem to be defined by insurgents, terrorist groups and other violent actors with ideologies that increasingly disregard the rules of war. Over 150,000 people died… Read more »