This book examines the interplay of human rights and conflict resolution in the practice of civil society organisations and independent state institutions, using four detailed case studies.
It has long been recognised that human rights, justice, conflict and peace are closely linked. Yet the domains of human rights and conflict resolution have remained surprisingly separate in conceptual, institutional and practical terms for many years. Organisations and people working on these issues seldom consider whether and how their respective efforts interact, or the implications of operating in the same contexts. As a result, they may be oblivious of one another’s initiatives – or perceive them as hampering their own. Human rights activists and conflict resolution practitioners have also been known to strongly disagree about the most suitable response or the ends to be pursued in a given context. Tensions especially arise when human rights abuses are widespread and pressure to act is high.
This book counteracts this ongoing disconnect by examining how the human rights/conflict resolution relationship plays out in the practice of civil society organisations and independent state institutions in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Nepal and Zimbabwe. Based on 18 years of professional practical experience, a review of literature and key informant interviews, the book shows that the boundaries between the fields of human rights and conflict resolution are less distinct in practice than has been appreciated thus far. Its careful analysis of concrete experiences of specific organisations yields much insight into the ways in which human rights and conflict resolution perspectives and approaches can complement one another but also raise tough challenges that actors working in and across these domains must navigate. Examining how organisations and practitioners address such dilemmas, this study calls attention to the highly dynamic and contingent nature of the relationship between human rights and conflict resolution and holds considerable relevance for both scholars and practitioners.
This book will be of much interest to students of peace and conflict studies, human rights, security studies and IR.
About the Author
Michelle Parlevliet is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC), University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and has a PhD from the University of Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
2: The Human Rights Field
3: The Conflict Resolution Field
4: Comparing the Fields
5: Two Field-Specific Organisations
6: Actors on the Interface of Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
7: Handling Dilemmas
8: Factors Affecting Convergence
9: Conclusion and Implications