Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:06

The Quality of Our Attention

"A mediator is a sensitive outsider. Their presence in a situation of conflict or disturbance can bring a quality of attention to people who might otherwise feel lost, hopeless or, even, anaesthetised from their own suffering."    A presentation given by mediatEUr Senior Associate Brendan McAllister at the conference ‘Conflict Resolution: Peace, Practice, Perspectives – Celebrating Women as ADR Leaders’ in Dublin for the International Women's Day, 8 March 2013.  
"Political negotiations need a societal climate that is conducive to peace. Society is like a greenhouse; a peace process is like a plant that grows in the greenhouse. The climatic conditions must become right and must be kept right"
This week, I had the opportunity to participate as a trainer and facilitator in a workshop on ‘Dealing with Election-Related Violence’ organized by the European Centre for Electoral Support and the Leadership Beyond Boundaries, supported by the Osservatoria di Pavia, and convened by the Barcelona Peace Centre. It all started with the film ‘An African Election’ directed by Jarreth Merz, a great inspiration for the attendees.  
Let the Nobel Peace Prize for the EU inspire us! Today is the 10th of December, the day on which the European Union receives the Peace Nobel Prize. It is a prize hard earned. As Europeans we can be proud of the fact that not only the creation of the European Union, but the work from its citizens made war unthinkable in Europe. 
‘Transitional justice’ has become an essential part of peacebuilding. As a tool for dealing with a violent past, it has taken centre stage. While there are multiple definitions, they often centre around the judicial and non-judicial approaches for dealing with the legacies of massive and systematic human rights violations, be that in the context of repressive regimes, or armed conflicts. More broadly, justice has a comprehensive role to play in all aspects of peacemaking, and not only as regards post-conflict peacebuilding and dealing with the past. Justice infuses all dimensions of a peace process.
Election violence has received much attention over recent years. It is seen universally as a vital problem to address within the democratisation process, but its complexities and sensitivities have as yet not been fully addressed: still the international community is faced with the challenge of identifying feasible and timely responses in the face of election-related tensions and violence. This is true for the EU, one of the largest donors and supporters worldwide of electoral assistance and observation in third countries.
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