4u2 - For you too - Roland Brunner

3rd meeting of the European Network for Civil Peace Services

EN.CPS Workshop

International Peace Teams:

Next Steps from Vision to Reality

26th to 28th of May, 2000

Minutes of discussion

Participants:

  1. Louis Bohte, BVTN

  2. Christoph Bongard

  3. Tilman Evers, forumZFD

  4. David Grant, IFOR

  5. Carsten Herzberg, forumZFD

  6. Gudrun Kramer, FD

  7. Ucha Nanuashvili, Society for Human Rights in Georgia

  8. Jochen Neumann, PBI

  9. Janne Poort van Eeden, BVTN

  10. Jochen Schmidt, Pax Christi

  11. Renate Schoch GsoA

  12. Helga Tempel, forumZFD

  13. Konrad Tempel, BSV

  14. Renate Wanie, HCA

  15. Oliver Wolleh, BSV / Berghof Center

  16. Guest: Giovanni Scotto, Berghof Center

Friday 26th of May, 2000

Part 1.

Welcome, Presentations

Janne Poort - van Eeden and Tilman Evers give a welcome to the participants. - Under the guidance of Renate Wanie, we gather in small groups to make new acquaintances. - Our first plenary session is a round of presentations from the organisations present, following a set of three questions: Since the last meeting in Salzburg (and complementing written reports),

bullet

what are the main activities?

bullet

what are the main problems?

bullet

what are the main needs?

Renate Schoch reports from Gruppe Schweiz ohne Armee (GSoA), Switzerland: The main effort is to influence legislation on peace an security matters. The GSoA entered a proposition in Parliament stating three minimal conditions for any participation of the Swiss army in conflict resolution:

bullet

Only with a mandate of the UN

bullet

armed only for self defence

bullet

and only in missions of peace keeping (not "robust" peace enforcement).

The discussion in Parliament will possibly be postponed until Autumn; the proposition will probably be watered down to an extend that GSoA will have to oppose it by means of a derogatory referendum. - All this demands an amount of activity that hinders CPS activities. There is one ongoing Kosovo project.

In principle, non-violent conflict resolution is en vogue. The Swiss Foreign Ministry is having contacts with foreign experts, f.e. Norbert Ropers from the Berghof Centre in Berlin. Of course, these official efforts are being fitted into the overall Swiss security policies. The GSoA is too small for launching an efficient opposition. A main problem are the contacts with the development and relief organisations: They are unwilling to cooperate with an antimilitaristic group like GSoA and claim they are doing already all work that is needed in conflict prevention.

Jochen Neumann reports from Peace Brigades International - German Section: The main activity is accompanying human rights activist as a measure of personal protection. There are ongoing projects in Colombia, Mexico, East Timor, Ex-Yugoslavia (together with Balkan Peace Team) and Indonesia. The Sri Lanka project has been ended. The problems vary a lot from country to country; in Mexico e.g. it is getting visa. In Colombia there are 40 PBI volunteers from different countries! among them one German trained in the context of the ZFD-model-training course. The bulk of the PBI volunteers receives a shorter training of one introductory weekend and then two weeks of training. The main needs are: Good curricula for these trainings, and an exchange of trainers.

Renate Wanie reports from Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - German Section: The HCA is not specialised on CPS activities. In 1995, it organised a workshop on the German-Polish border with 60 participants from different European countries on the perspectives of CPS; since then, no larger initiative has followed, mainly because of lack of money. Among the members are experts highly active in the turkish-kurdish (Andreas Buro) and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict (Bernhard Classen), even intervening practically to free hostages. In the last years and especially since the Kosovo War, Renate and others from HCA are permanently invited to conferences on alternatives to armed intervention.

Helga Tempel gives a short complementary report to the written quarterly report on the Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst: CPS work has started in serious in various countries; the Forum itself having several peace volunteers in the Southern Balkans. Training and projects are now financed to a great extent by the German development ministry, making the CPS a public-private-partnership. The German development organisation are actively participating in this programme. As yet, it remains a problem to find sufficient (good) candidates for the four month trainings, and adequate trainers. Hopefully, trainers can be employed on a regular instead of a honorarium basis in the future, giving more continuity to the job.

From Burger Vredes Teams Nederland, there is also a written report, complemented by Janne Poort - van Eeden: BVTN works only in the field of training, not of sending volunteers. The information day (see report) was a success. The Council of Churches held a conference "Religion and violence" with the participation of BVTN. - The Netherlands are sending military personell with poor preparation in UN-missions.

For the first time, an EN.CPS participant from Georgia is participating: Ucha Nanuashvili, chairman of the Society for Human Rights in Georgia. He is a professor of international law and political science at Tiflis University. The society exists since four years, its members are lawyers, teachers, political scientists, social workers... It has 2 full time employees and 25 volunteers. It is financed by international foundations; the Georgian government has no money for NGOs. Its aim is the protection of Human Rights in Georgia and neighbouring countries. For example, it looks after refugees from the neighbouring states Ingushetia and Abkhasia and sees to it that prisoners are not tortured. It also offers education in Human Rights (HR) and conflict prevention (CP) for local moderators and for pupils at secondary schools. One severe problem is the lack of professional trainers and of training material. At present, the society is setting up a library on HR and CP.

The society has contacts with the Ministry of Education and with Parliament, participating in an advisory Council for Human Rights of The Parliament. Also, there exists an "ombudsman" for lawful administration in Georgia to whom complaints can be brought. Another contact exists with United Nations Volunteers UNV.

The Caucasian situation is very complicated. There has been much of an ethnical exchange (or "cleansing") of population between Georgia and Abkhasia. The society is about to form a Caucasian network of 6 NGOs from three countries Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in view of forming multinational Caucasian civil peace teams. For this, there will be an international conference at the end of August; a representative from EN.CPS would be welcome. The working language is Russian.

Gudrun Kramer is representing the Austrian Peace Service FD: The new right wing government in Austria is cutting budgets for NGO work by 50 %. The main task of FD is to train and send young men who offer a peace service instead of military conscription. At present, they have 15 to 20 persons on different posts in Ex-Yugoslavia. Until now, this work was subsidised with about $ 10 000,- per year and person by the Ministry of Interior; subsidies have now been cut to $ 7500,-, which makes work almost impossible. The next training will be of 5 weeks in August for some 20 - 25 participants. One problem is: Some years ago, service was allowed to take place after professional formation; this is no longer possible. Volunteers are now 17 to 19 years old, lacking a consolidated identity to work independently in a foreign surrounding. In March, Barbara Mller from the German BSV evaluated the programme. - Janne Poort - van Eeden suggests that EN.CPS writes a letter of protest to the Austrian government.

David Grant is Coordinator of the Nonviolence Training Center of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation IFOR in the Netherlands. One example of his work is the Religion and Peace conference at Jerusalem from which he just arrives. Participants were 8 Israelis, 8 Palestinians, and 16 from 4 other countries, among them India and Northern Ireland.

Of the groups and countries not represented, only the Swedish Peace Forum has sent greetings (but no report). There has been no reaction from France. In England, there are many groups and training resources, but no specific CPT work, and not too much interlinked with foreign groups. (The following day, Giovanni Scotto, Italian scholar on stage in Berlin, pays a visit to the workshop and explains the Italian situation: There are many interesting groups, but not much networking beyond the Italian borders.)

(Minutes of Part 1: Tilman Evers)

Part 2.

Report on EU developments

Initiated by the Quaker Council for European Affairs, Brussels, and supported by quite a number of influential European organisations involved in peace and conflict work, a new Brussels office is going to be installed starting already this year. It is called European Peace-building Liaison Office (EPLO) and is meant to serve as a sort of agency between needs and offers for civil conflict transformation, to build up political contacts to relevant EU institutions and the European Parliament and for lobbying on behalf of civilian ways of peace building. It will also form links with the wider spectrum of like-minded organisations. By all this it hopes to improve the effectiveness of the different organisations working in the field. Its work will be directed and funded by a group of European NGOs.

To set up the office with at least one full-time person would mean to collect up to 100 000 EURO per year. Also the smaller organisations are asked to contribute at least 3000 EURO the year. The EN.CPS being involved in the founding process from the very beginning was offered a special reduced contribution of 1000 EURO per year. (see later in the minutes). The office will be established as an independent sub-group of the European Platform on Conflict Prevention and Transformation. This European Platform with the office in Utrecht, NL, with its director Paul van Tongeren, is acting mainly as a sort of clearing house endorsing non-military conflict transformation on different levels including the media. It is not working on the practical field-work level itself but trying to build up general political understanding for civilian peace-building measures.

In context with the new Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU there are quite a lot of resolutions dealing with civil conflict work. There are several special civilian instruments under development (as f.i a Rapid Reaction Unit) and new endeavours are made to set up the European Civil Peace Corps (ECPC) that has been discussed since years. Parliamentary "Intergroups" are installed, and especially the Green Party tries hard to ensure the influence of NGOs in the field. All this needs our awareness and our support. Without letting the politicians know about our work and our ideas these so-called civilian measures for the prevention of violence will be handled without influence and participation of NGOs. In this respect it seems as if the EPLO office in Brussels is a "must" for all NGOs including our Network.

(Minutes of Part 2.: Helga Tempel)

Part 3.

Simulation Game: Crisis in the land of Erehwyna

David Grant from the International Fellowship of Reconciliation took us into a simulation game. On Friday night he introduced the game to the participants: everyone received a paper with a description of her/his role. The function was to be announced, the instructions for the role had to be a secret. The roles were: two negotiating teams from the parties, Bow Wow and YipYip (each consisting of 3 persons), two IFOR-linked mediators from within the country, two mediators from a international organisation (like the UN), one independent mediator and two journalis

With the roles in mind, participants read out the introduction paper, while David made a map of the country on the white board. The conflict situation in the country of Erehwyna, between the YipYip population and the Bow Wow people was escalating unto the brim of violence. After a bit more of introduction and instruction, the session for the day was closed. 

horizontal rule

Saturday 27th of May, 2000

Saturday morning the game developed in three rounds. First the negotiating teams discussed their strategy in separate rooms. The mediators discussed between themselves, before having access to the negotiating teams, and the journalists tried to make a newspaper article and a television news program. After a joint press conference, the news was read and watched. This gave new points of view and made another round of negotiations necessary, in which the mediators shuttled from one party to the other, while also more news about developments in the outside events were given. Finally there was a joint session of both parties with the mediators. The conflict was not resolved, but a first step into mutual understanding was made.

Evaluation

At the evaluation, all participants came out with the secret information about their roles, and it turned out that many of them had hidden agendas for themselves and/or their organisations.

For all participants the game was a good learning experience. Although it did not take place at the level of acting peace teams, the game gave much insight in

bullet

 the complexity of conflicts,

bullet

the patience that is needed for a conflict resolution process,

bullet

 the different levels on which all participants in a conflict operate,

bullet

the suspicion which makes diplomatic language often so vague, and

bullet

the important influence of the mass media.

Once the game started, all players felt they had to fill in much more background than was given in the basic information. This brought an extra dimension and dynamic into the play, and made the players live inside their roles. Most participants felt they could use a similar game in their training curricula.

Evaluation forms have been filled out; they will be summarised and distributed later.

It was also agreed that in future meetings of EN.CPS an element of training should be planned.

Part 4.

Discussion on a Code of Conduct

The Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst initiated the discussion on a code of conduct for civil peace services. They took as an example International Alert's code of conduct, and also translated this into German.

Konrad Tempel gave a short explanation of International Alert's Code of Conduct for Conflict Transformation Work.

It has four chapters

bullet

Guiding principles for conflict transformation work

bullet

Human Rights & Conflict Transformation

bullet

 Impartiality in Conflict Transformation Work

bullet

Working in partnership

and an appendix.

Principles are:

bulletPrimacy of People in Transforming Conflicts
bulletHumanitarian Concern
bulletHuman Rights, Humanitarian Law & Principles
bulletRespect for Gender and Cultural Diversity
bulletImpartiality
bulletIndependence
bulletAccountability
bulletConfidentiality
bulletPartnerships
bulletInstitutional learning

Renate Schoch opened the discussion by stating that she found a tension between conflict resolution in public and confidentiality, as well as between neutrality and impartiality.

Participants mentioned aspects they missed in this code of conduct, if it should be applied for civil peace services. Missing aspects included:

bullet

People who do civil service should be qualified.

bullet

 It does not say anything about the type of managing conflicts CPS wants to do, which are on one hand the technical ways of handling the conflict, and on the other hand the empowerment of the people involved; CPS should always have an emancipatory aspect: people are changing themselves while working on the resolution of their conflicts. This has to do with image building, enemy projection, overcoming fear and building up trust.

bullet

 Independence should be: independent from official government policy.

Three questions are raised:

1)       Whom is the code of conduct we are developing meant for?

2)       How do we handle impartiality and/or partisanship

3)       What should be included in the new code?

1) We will develop guidelines for our work, which means workers, funders, governments, and clients. They all have to know what we stand for and what our guiding principles are. The work we do is lobby work, awareness and fund raising, training, mediation work, community building. Its a mixture of solidarity and mediation work. Justice is an important issue.

2) The question how to be impartial, or only support one side might be answered with the statement that 'we support every party which commits itself to deal nonviolently with the conflict, with respect for the other side and the will to dialogue.' This does not exclude peace teams from having contacts with oppressive or violent parties, but these parties will not have our support.

3) We decided that we will not develop a new code of conduct, but only guiding principles for our work. We also will not hurry to have these guiding principles finished soon. It has to be a developing process, in which also our colleagues at home, and the groups who are not present now, will participate. We make an appointment for the procedure:

bullet

Janne will write the minutes of this discussion on 'Guiding principles'.

bullet

On basis of the minutes we will all send in points of discussion for our next meeting.

bullet

At the next meeting there will be a draft paper on 'Guiding Principles for Civil Peace Services' which can be discussed. It was not explicitly said who will make the draft paper, but I have the impression that Helga and Conrad are the persons who are most likely apt to do so. Of course on the basis of the points we all will be sending to them.

Part 5.

Cyprus

Oliver Wolleh gave a very inspiring introduction on the history of the divided island of Cyprus. Once more it showed how complicated a process peace building is.

To know more about this matter: read Oliver's thesis (buy the book; see the movie)!!

We ended the day in a Berlin pub.

horizontal rule

Sunday, 28th of May, 2000

Part 6.

Practical matters

1. Coordination of the network and representation

After the Salzburg meeting Janne did the network coordination and she also was representing the network in external meetings, especially EPLO. She promised to do so until the Berlin meeting. Now she is willing to continue with the internal coordination - mostly by email -, but she does not feel comfortable with the representation at EPLO. (too much time consuming, and she does not feel like the right person in that setting). The participants are happy that she will continue with the internal coordination; for the EPLO meetings Oliver Wolleh wants to consider finding himself or someone else to do it.

2. Next meeting

Most participants would like to meet in Switzerland next year; Renate thinks this might be a good support for the Swiss GSoA work; she will discuss the matter with her colleagues (P.S.: Confirmed!). Another idea is to have the meeting in France, since we would like to strengthen the connections with our French network participants. As an in between step, Switzerland might be a good option for them too, we hope. Jochen suggests another place: Kreisau in Poland. The Kreisau Foundation for Mutual Understanding might be hosting us. We will find out if they are a possible participant for EN.CPS.

We decide to have our meeting in the weekend of

4th, 5th and 6th May, 2001.

Like in this meeting, we want to have again a mixture of practical exchange, discussion and training. Conrad suggests to ask some people of the Austrian FD who worked in the field, to tell about their work, and to do some training with us.

3. Further cooperation within EN.CPS

bullet

Mutual support
This year we had three examples of questions to the Network: France asked examples of the forumZFD's connections with the government, in order for them to have arguments in their discussion with the French government. They let us know that the information had been helpful.
The Dutch BVTN asked for the forumZFD's four-monthly training, as a help in their own curriculum development
And the forumZFD had a request from Letland, which Helga could answer.
No questions are raised now.

bullet

Renate knows a woman who might be willing to do translation work for us. She will ask her and send us her address.

bullet

GSoA will make the website more accessible for all participants.

bullet

The new version of the EN.CPS folder.
It needs the GSoA website address. David writes down some language corrections. Renate will have a look at a more professional lay-out. Now it looks a bit old-fashioned. She will also try to make a nice EN.CPS logo too. After all this will have been finished, Janne will send every organisation an original by regular mail, to be photocopied.

4. Participation in the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Janne suggests we will give them the benefit of the doubt for one year. This implies that we will have to raise 1000 Euro between ourselves. Tilman states that we will never have a less expensive entrance to Brussels. The forumZFD is willing to contribute E 250,- the BVTN E 125. Other participants will discuss the matter in their own organisations. Together with the original of the folder, Janne will send all EN.CPS participants a request to donate a helpful amount.

5. Brussels Event 27th of November 2000

The EN.CPS will present itself there to members of the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The Brussels Representative of the German Protestant Church and the Heinrich Bll Stiftung are hosting the event. The EN.CPS external representative is the first likely person to participate in this meeting. If he/she will not be able to come, Janne will represent the Network.

6. International, Multicultural Large Scale Peace Force

At their request, Janne sent the promotors of the Peace Force a letter of support, under the impression that in Salzburg there was a basic support for the idea, although not fully for all the details. The letter of support was a bit too much for some of the participants. Conrad emphasises that 'large scale' does not have to mean an invasion of a nonviolent army. There are many ways in which such a peace force might operate, like for instance Doctors without Borders, or the Red Cross. We have to continue the discussion, and help the idea developing. In any case, the way David Hartsough and his group are working is a great help to raise awareness about the ideas of nonviolent conflict resolution.

Even if the Network cannot have a policy of its own (as we decided in Salzburg), we will have to be able to react as an organisation, according to what we agreed in the meetings. In between meetings the coordinator and the external representative have to be trusted about how to bring about the developed network policy.

7. Conference in Bolzano

The Alexander Langer Stiftung organises a conference from 25th of June till 1st of July. Helga has more information for those who want to participate.

8. Support for Austrian FD.

The new Austrian government showed its face already by cutting the funding for the Austrian Peace Services. We as European Network want to express our concern about the developments. The FD already started protesting, and we want to joint their protests, inside and outside Austria. Gudrun will send Janne the letter the FD already made, and she can make it into a letter of protest of EN.CPS and distribute it.

9. Further contacts

In Europe more civil peace services organisations are active. We should try to make them participants of our network. Gudrun has a list of contacts FD already has; she will send it to Janne, who will send them an invitation to participate in EN.CPS. Helga will contact the Belgians, who wrote to her before, and from whom we did not hear any more.

10. Needs of participants

The question is raised, if a EN.CPS Newsletter might fill a need. We don't think so for the moment. The necessary information is already forwarded in between meetings, like interesting papers, or the quarterly reports. The response is very low. Janne strongly requests to make at least the quarterly reports, because they are a means to keep each other informed. As long as it takes so much trouble to get reactions from participants, a Newsletter will not be needed.

Part 7.

Evaluation of the meeting

First we do a game: Welcome Diversity. Renate Wanie makes us applaud to the many different and - even after a long weekend of getting to know each other - unexpected qualities participants have.

Afterwards we discuss how we have experienced the meeting.

bullet

We all enjoyed the informal meeting of each other. It gives the rather abstract idea of a European Network a face, and made us know persons who were only names before.

bullet

The simulation game was very useful for all participants. Some learned a lot from the training, others saw it also as useful in their own group. It is also important to have the outcomes of its evaluation papers; we can learn from it what more training we might need. David promises to work on it, and send it. He is interested in developing a game specifically for peace teams. Where is Erehwyna?

bullet

The Cyprus presentation was very much appreciated.

bullet

The diversity in information in this meeting was a strong point. It made the meeting interesting on different levels.

bullet

The information on EPLO was important because of the connection with Brussels decision making bodies.

bullet

The Code of Conduct discussion worked like a mirror, it gave more insight in the basic principles of our work. It shows how all our diverse activities are connected. Some would have liked to form a working group, to speed up the discussion. We decide not to do so, because it would load more work on a few shoulders, and once at home, other priorities will come up.

bullet

 For next meetings it will be important to have some preparatory papers. This will make the discussion easier. The problem is, that even the papers which were distributed in advance, did not even reach everyone. We hope to tackle this problem by giving Janne our correct e‑mail adresses. Another problem is, that as long as we don't have an office, preparing a similar meeting cannot be done as thorough as we would like.

bullet

We agree that this 3rd EN.CPS meeting was indeed a step further in our cooperation. It was not only networking, but also had a professionalising level.

 

(Minutes Part 3 7: Janne Poort van Eeden)

 

 

4your questions and contacts: rbr(at)4u2.ch