MINELRES: Final synthesis: Seminar on Peace building and conflict prevention in the Caucasus, October 24-28, Tbilisi

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Nov 2 18:05:34 2006

Original sender: Nadir Kamaladdinov <nadir_kamaladdinov@hotmail.com>

Final synthesis

Seminar on Peace building and conflict prevention in the Caucasus

35 participants from 5 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Georgia
and Russia) were gathered from October 24th to 28th in Tbilisi (Georgia)
for an international conference on peace building and conflict
prevention in the Caucasus region.

The participants were coming from all the regions of the Caucasus:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and
the Federation of Russia (Dagestan, Chechnya…). They are members of
various NGOs active in fields as diverse as education, women’s issues,
conflict resolution, Human Rights, assistance to IDPs or refugees and
people in need, etc.

The participants achieved to arrive to Tbilisi, despite the fact of the
closing of boarders between Russia and Georgia. We believe strongly that
members of civil societies should not be prevented to communicate,
including in situations where politicians are not willing to solve
tensions between countries.

Participants are members of civil societies, because we believe strongly
that peace has to be built up from below, that everywhere one could meet
local peace actors, that all these individual persons should be
integrated in peace building and that a comprehensive peace should be
promoted with them and through them. We believe strongly that peace
issues in the region are global, so the solutions for implementing and
building peace should also be global, tackling issues of the north as
well as the south Caucasus. We believe that a comprehensive peace
requires also respect for Human Rights, freedom of expression, freedom
and protection for journalists, etc…

The methodologies used during the conference were the following: visit
of projects implemented in Georgia, exchange of good practices, getting
acquainted with resources and tool books, and common reflection.

The conference was inaugurated by the president of Caritas Georgia,
Bishop Pasetto, and M. JP Richer, president of Caritas France, the two
NGOs conveners of the conference.

This conference on peace was the second of a series. The first one was
held in November 2004 in Kislovodsk (Russia). The participants are
hoping to strengthen their mutual links, to help each other in
advocating for conflict resolution and peace building. They have
stressed the importance of having the freedom in each country to
establish NGOs and to implement their actions.

The participants stressed the importance of being sensitive to
conflicts, it means the capacity of our organisations to understand the
context in which they operate, to understand and foresee the interaction
between the intervention of our NGOs and this context, and to act upon
this understanding in order to avoid negative impact and maximise
positive impact of the actions on the context.

In whatever activities our NGOs are implementing, we should introduce a
dimension of peace, according to this conflict sensitivity we have to
increase, besides the fact that some NGOs are developing specific peace
building projects and/or conflict prevention actions.

The participants stressed the importance for NGOs to work together in
networks because they are experimenting that networking and working in
coalition bring an added value: knowledge and expertise can be
transferred, resources can be put together, creativity can be fostered,
mutual support can be given… It is also time to reactivate the already
existing pan Caucasus networks. In current situation of many of the
involved countries, these mutual support and regional cooperation are
heavily required.

The participants stressed the importance of advocating and lobbying for
their concerns and field of activities. Advocating means speaking to
defend those who deserved to be, those who, whatever the reason, have
difficulties to raise their own voice, in particular women, IDPs,
refugees, children, trafficked human beings, families of victims and
missing persons, ex combatants, etc. The efficiency of advocating and
lobbying is reinforced by implementing these activities through
coalition of NGOs, and much more through international coalitions.
Advocacy should be developed at the same time at all levels, local,
national, regional and international. In particular, when it comes to
try to advocate and lobby national governments and international
institutions like Council of Europe, OSCE, UN Council of Human Rights,
etc, it is extremely important to coordinate the actions of local NGOs,
rooted in small local communities, with international NGOs which have an
easier access to international bodies.

The participants agreed to reinforce their mutual links, through
communication, sharing information and resources, and cooperation. Some
common projects could be developed in future, for instance:

- in the field of NGOs dealing with missing persons …preparing a report
on the situation of missing persons, with the results of previous
actions, monitoring the current status of affairs, stressing the role of
NGOs… envisaging cooperation with others bodies, others NGOs, specially
ICRC and special reporter of the UN Council of Human Rights… organising
public actions in all parts of the region to let know the situation of
missing persons, so to collect histories of concerned persons, engaging
well know people and medias for public relations…
- in the field of IDPs, with a focus on women: establish a center around
the issue of psychological rehabilitation of women, with branches in all
sub regions; joining an already existing network of anti trafficking
NGOs; stressing the specific situation of elderly women…
- in the field of bettering the neighbourhood relationships in the
region… a first series of actions could be developed in the field of
culture (a meeting of teachers to envisage how they teach national
history); joint production by journalists from various countries, joint
media production shown in various countries ; mutual visit to see how to
better relationship between neighbours; rehabilitation at the
psychological level after wars, exploring the history of war crimes,
collecting testimonies of suffering of people; etc.

The participants decided to keep contact, reinforce common cooperation,
and meet again in a foreseeable future in a relevant venue in the
region. Virtual communication is an asset of current times, but physical
meeting and personal mutual knowledge and sharing are necessary to give
a human face to our virtual globalised world.

Nadir Kamaladdinov,

Director of International Caucasus Foundation on Minority Issues (ICFMI)
Address: 121-82, Mir-Jalal St, Baku City, 370147, Azerbaijan Republic
Phone: +99450 3288326
Phone/Fax: +99412 4683839

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/