According to Sustainable Security : “Unarmed civilian peacekeeping, also referred to as unarmed civilian protection (UCP), fields trained civilians using unarmed and other nonviolent methods to; protect other civilians from violence, deter armed actors, support local efforts to build peace, and maintain human rights. It challenges the assumption that peacekeeping and civilian protection requires the military and the use of weapons. Over the past 35 years, across the world, unarmed civilian peacekeepers have saved lives and enabled communities to stay at home rather than be displaced, made peace and human rights work more possible, involved more people and taken place in a wider area. UCP includes living with, and in, communities affected by violence, which supports the re-establishment of relationships and communication across divided communities. UCP is a visible, well known and often international presence which deters threats of violence and engages with armed actors about the protection of civilians.
The term UCP describes a set of activities that civilians undertake including (but not limited to) accompaniment, presence, rumor control, community security meetings, securing safe passage and monitoring.”
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The Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping/Protection Research Network – UCPRN
UCPRN is a network of people who do research on Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping/Protection (UCP) interventions or projects. The network deepens the understanding of UCP and provides support to those who advocate for its wider use. The network exists to:
- Further UCP research
- Increase knowledge about UCP theory, practice and application
- Dissemination of knowledge on UCP to organizations using UCP methods and to other external audiences
- Support colleagues
- Encourage collaboration within the network
- Provide a forum for dialogue, debate and constructive critique
- Support funding applications
- Collaborate on research projects
- Develop relationships / interface with practitioners
- Be focal point for people interested in researching UCP from any discipline
The network recognizes that there is no single accepted definition of UCP, but understands the core to be unarmed civilians using nonviolent methods to directly protect other civilians from violence. Different organizations and researchers define the ‘p’ as peacekeeping or protection. The network embraces both uses, as well as other related phrases such as protective accompaniment, as areas of study.
The network has identified two broad research agendas as follows:
1. UCPRN Practice Research Agenda
The UCPRN encourages research on the practice of UCP. Areas of particular interest include understanding effective or good practices; the impact (if any) of effective interventions on larger conflict trajectories; the links between specific practices and impact; and the criteria – both internal/organizational and external/environmental that contribute to being effective. The network also encourages research/theorizing which addresses appropriate methodologies for UCP research.
2. UCP Policy Research Agenda
The UCPRN encourages research on policies related to the use of UCP and the de-militarization of peacekeeping and civilian protection. The network is interested in the impact of UCP on existing policy, and research which engages with traditional or military peacekeeping research. Our policy research agenda includes asking how UCP impacts on the relationship between peacekeeping and the military implementation; understanding what and why peacekeeping is effective; comparing military and UCP interventions; and challenging the assumption of the use of force in peacekeeping.
We want to understand how Governments and Institutions relate to UCP, asking about the funding of UCP and the barriers that may exist to incorporating UCP into policies.
UCPRN encourages all researchers to engage with ethical concerns. In particular UCPRN encourages researchers to consider the following: obtaining informed consent of those who participate in the research; do no harm to research participants; find ways to acknowledge and relate to power differentials between researchers and those who participate in research; include the perspectives and voices of diverse groups in the research when possible and relevant; maintain honesty and transparency in reporting research findings, including about our own background and biases as researchers, as well as any conflict of interest; and consider the ethics of the funding source. The network also encourage research processes that provide opportunities for those who participate in research – ‘the researched’ to give feedback on initial findings. We recognize that each research project may raise specific ethical questions that will need to be addressed, and encourage discussion and reflection on these issues.
The network encourages the use of research methods that are compatible with the ethics statement above and are appropriate to the research question. In particular the network recognizes the validity of both qualitative and quantitative methods, including action-oriented research, that are appropriate to the research question, and encourages the inclusion of perspectives and voices of those who are served by UCP, and those who serve as staff and volunteers for UCP implementing organizations. We recognize that conflict affected contexts are complex and encourage research methods that encompass complexity and which do not exaggerate causation.
Membership and ways of working
Both individuals and corporate bodies (for example research institutes) can become members of the UCPRN.
There is no membership fee.
The working language of the Network is English.
The Networks maintains a depository of documents (Peacekeepingvision.info), a website/blog (www.ucpresearch.org.uk) and cooperates with the Selkirk College on its database on UCP ( http://www.selkirk.ca/unarmed-civilian-peacekeeping)
The mailing list is maintained on mail jump and the network is hosted by Peace Studies at Leeds Beckett University. You can contact Rachel Julian with questions and enquiries. R.firstname.lastname@example.org
The network is an initiative of researchers in the field of UCP who want to build opportunities for collaboration and new research.
Peace Brigades International (PBI)
Founded in 1981, PBI has 35 years of experience working alongside human rights defenders, opening and protecting space for peace, conflict transformation and the defence of human rights in 14 countries. PBI is a life-saving international presence in areas of conflict and repression, and a powerful global advocacy network protecting those on the ground. PBI has worked in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, North America, Haiti, Nepal and the Balkans as well as their current field projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal.
PBI is a grassroots, non-hierarchical organisation and operates by delegated consensus. PBI’s work is based on the principles of non-partisanship and non-interference in the internal affairs of the organisations they accompany. PBI believes that lasting transformation of conflicts cannot be imposed from the outside, but must be based upon the capacity and desires of local people and their role is to open political space and provide moral support for local activists to carry out their work without fear of repression.
PBI Field Projects: http://www.peacebrigades.org/en/field-projects
PBI Country Groups: http://www.peacebrigades.org/en/country-groups
International structure of PBI:http://www.peacebrigades.org/en/about-pbi/organisation
Nonviolent Peaceforce (NVP)
As an unarmed, paid civilian protection force, Nonviolent Peaceforce fosters dialogue among parties in conflict and provides a protective presence for threatened civilians. With the headquarters in Ferney Voltaire (France) and an office in Minneapolis, NP field teams are presently deployed in the Philippines, in South Sudan, Myanmar and the Middle East. Our field staff include veterans of conflict zones, experienced peacekeepers, and those new to the field with the right combination of experience, skills, aptitude and attitude. Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) is registered in the US as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and in France.
Within every combat zone they enter, and throughout their work worldwide, they want to achieve four overarching goals: 1) To create a space for fostering lasting peace. 2) To protect civilians, especially those made vulnerable because of the conflict. 3) To develop and promote the theory and practice of unarmed civilian peacekeeping so that it may be adopted as a policy option by decision makers and public institutions. 3) To build the pool of professionals able to join peace teams through regional activities, training, and maintaining a roster of trained, available people.
NVP Programmes and Field Projects: http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/what-we-do/2014-09-19-15-18-31
NVP Offices: http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/background/2014-09-10-18-34-19
The Network maintains
- a document depository: Peacekeepingvision.info
- a website/blog: www.ucpresearch.org.uk
- and cooperates with the Selkirk College on its UCP database: www.selkirk.ca/mir-centre-for-peace/unarmed-civilian-peacekeeing-database
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