Monday, December 07, 2009 12/7/09 - disarmament, demobilization and reintegration

In today's excerpt - in civil wars and other
widespread conflicts within a country, Dr.
Graciana del Castillo, in her landmark work
Rebuilding War-Torn States (which
includes case studies of El Salvador, Kosovo,
Afghanistan and Iraq), asserts that no peace
process has ever succeeded without the
reintegration of former combatants:

"One of the conditions for successful
reconstruction of a country is the
disarmament, demobilization, and
reintegration (DDR) of former combatants,
including all militia groups. ...

"No peace process has ever succeeded without
the reintegration of former
combatants, as well as other groups affected
by the conflict, taking place in an
effective manner. This is because effective
reintegration promotes security by
limiting the incentives to these groups to
act as spoilers. Reintegration (such as El
Salvador's land-for-arms program), however,
is the longest and one of the most expensive
reconstruction activities. [Yet],
reintegration is typically neglected, as
major donors shy
away from open-ended commitments to the
costly social and economic programs that are
often essential for sustainable peace. Donors
should consider
that, without effective reintegration, their
military and security expenditure to
keep the peace may be significantly

"This process is critical in supporting
national reconciliation and the promotion of
peace. In December 2006,
the UN launched new Integrated Disarmament,
Demobilization, and Reintegration Standards,
acknowledging the difficulty of transforming
scarred by conflict into productive members
of their societies. In order to facilitate
the transition, the Standards call for
measures to provide psychosocial
counseling, job training, educational
opportunities, and mechanisms to promote
reconciliation in the communities to which
those individuals return. ...

"Lessons from Mozambique, El Salvador,
Guatemala, and many other countries are
conclusive in this respect: short-term
reintegration programs served
an important purpose in providing
demobilizing soldiers with a means of
survival and an alternative to banditry that
indeed helped maintain the cease-fire.

"It is important that the strategy have
enough financial and technical support at
each stage, to make reintegration sustainable
over time, since it has proved a sine qua
non for peace consolidation. ... There
can be different avenues for reintegration.
Reintegration often takes
place through the agricultural sector,
micro-enterprises, fellowships for technical
and university training, and even through the
incorporation of former
combatants into new police forces, the
national army, or political parties."

Graciana del Castillo, Rebuilding War-Torn
States, Oxford, Copyright 2008 by
Graciana del Castillo, pp. 256-259.


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