12/7/09 - disarmament

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 higher.

"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 individuals 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: The Challenge of Post-Conflict Economic Reconstruction


Oxford University Press


Graciana del Castillo 2008


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