Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Global civil society initiative to create a large-scale, unarmed peaceforce

Rolf Carriere


The notion of peacekeeping usually conjures up images of UN- sponsored Blue Helmets or other armed military or police forces deployed in areas of violent conflict in poor countries. But unarmed peacekeeping, by civilian members of global non-governmental organizations who employ proven strategies, is a valuable, cost-effective complement (or an alternative) to the currently dominant approach of armed peacekeeping. Unarmed civilian peacekeepers offer services of protective accompaniment and ‘proactive presence’, monitoring, creating neutral safe spaces, and inter-positioning—close to where threatened, vulnerable people live. As such, they provide a much-needed, low-cost, disciplined, benign, professional force for peace, steeped in the best tradition of theory and praxis of non-violent conflict transformation. The 21st century is likely to face more, not less, violent conflict, and the need for preventive international third-party nonviolent presence is greater than ever. As long as the world community (and the UN) has not tried large-scale civilian unarmed peacekeeping, this remains a huge missed chance for peace.

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