The Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform has issued a report on UCP that finds that UCP is one of the most effective responses to civilian protection. They drew heavily although not exclusively from our experience in South Sudan. This report clearly recognizes the contribution that our teams make on the ground each and every day. I include some highlights below. Please distribute.
With hope and resolve,
Executive Summary – Unarmed Civilian Protection:
Unarmed civilian protection (UCP) is one of the most effective responses there is to one of the greatest, consistent challenges of our time: The killing of civilians in warfare. As opposed to other approaches to reconciliation and peaceful resolution to conflict which indirectly target violence, UCP is directly aimed at stopping violence. Simply through being present, and through using their presence strategically, international civilians deter violence, protect local civilians and support the efforts of the locals to protect themselves and plan for a peaceful future. p. 6
“Unarmed civilian protection is underestimated.”
Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council (former UN Under-Secretary General)p.3
Recommendations to governments in general and the Norwegian government in particular:
- Start budgeting specifically for civil society actors’ accompaniment and unarmed civilian protection.
- Systematize the documentation and strengthen the sharing of best practices of such protection among the actors that have received and currently receive funding.
- Support processes in the UN system that paves the way for increased global investment in accompaniment and unarmed civilian protection. p. 7
UCP and accompaniment save lives every day. We have seen how the protection officers in South Sudan have prevented rapes of women fetching firewood. We have seen that many people have been rescued because of an early warning, early response mechanism put in place by Nonviolent Peaceforce, also in South Sudan. In the West Bank, according to a Palestinian who spoke with an accompanier, the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints are “nice” when the Ecumenical Accompaniers are there to watch, whereas they are “not nice” when the EAs are not there. p.70
Surely, rational budgeting based on such a cost-benefit analysis would increase the Norwegian government’s spending on nonviolent approaches to violence reduction. p. 71
> See full report at http://www.norgeskristnerad.no/doc//Fredsplattformen/Unarmed%20Civilian%20Protection.pdf For only the executive summary, scroll down to the bottom of this page: http://www.norkr.no/index.cfm?id=433009