Statesmen and in some cases inter-governmental organizations have been involved a lot in peacebuidling process and conflict resolution. While statesmen can engage in direct talks and negotiations, it is also important to note that engaging other players who are directly involved in a particular conflict, such as the local populations is crucial.

The signing of a cease-fire or peace agreement is a good thing to do. However, the piece of paper handed over to both parties who sign the agreement for a later implementation is not a guarantee to a lasting or durable peace. More is to be done to rich out to the ordinary citizen, civilians who are directly affected by the conflict. Most importantly, if the conflict is of religious or ethnic character, it becomes a fundamental issue that needs to be properly addressed. This is where conflict mainstreaming is put into play. Note that it is not enough to assume that once an agreement is signed, it will have an impact on the secession of hostility characterized by hatred or hanger that drives the violence.

What is also important to do is to go beyond the signed agreement, and create an understanding of coexistence, and dialogue between the populations who feel the pain of the conflict and who endure the suffering. For instance, just because Hamas and the Israeli government sign a cease-fire, does not mean to say that Arabs populations living in the Gaza strip will automatically accept the coexistence and frank collaboration with the Jewish populations living across the border in Sderot . It is not because Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan reached a deal to end the war over Nagorno-Karabakh that conflict between the predominantly ethnic Armenians and the small portion of Azerbaijani populations in the small southwestern ethnic enclave Azerbaijan will coexist.

More is needed to create dialogue through a more people oriented conflict resolution supported by an already existing peace agreement. Take for instance the Eastern DRC conflict; the CNDP rebel movement leader General Kunda has repeatedly claimed he is protecting the Tutsi community living in the Eastern DRC. If these claims are true, history tells us that the Eastern DRC populations do not recongnize the Eastern DRC Tutsi Community as Congolese citizens; therefore, according to these populations, the Tutsi community should be treated as foreigners though they have been living in that area of the country for decades. Given this reality, a simple signing of a peace agreement between the CNDP leader and the DRC government will not translate into a durable peace until the populations in the Eastern who are in conflict with the Tutsi community are involved in the process.

Also, like DR. Zelizer pointed out in his recommendations under guide conflict mainstreaming, “in order to generate long-term sustainable positive change, incorporating conflict resolution skills and processes into other sectors such as health, governance, education, gender, youth programming and more is critical”
Failure to involve and engage the people, who are the direct cause of a conflict, will continue to hinder significant progress that can be made in resolving world’s conflicts.

Bernard Londoni

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