Press Clip Source: Humanitaria Practice Network
Date: January 2017
Written by: Tiffany Easthom
Read original article: Here.

 

Easthom 900x500As violence continues in South Sudan, the protection of civilians has become the central issue. With millions of people displaced from their homes, sheltering in Protection of Civilians (POC) sites on UN bases and in remote villages and swamps across the country, providing effective protection programming is the ultimate Sisyphean challenge. Despite a billion-dollar UN mission with 13,000 armed peacekeepers, ordinary South Sudanese continue to lose their lives at an alarming rate. It is essential to recognise the need to continue to evolve the practice of direct protection, recognising the limitations of what can be done in complex conflict, while assertively looking to scale up what is working and adapt established approaches to address the changing realities of contemporary conflict. This article provides a brief look at one emerging approach to direct protection work, unarmed civilian protection (UCP).

Read more: Broadening the practice of civilian protection

Press Clip Source: The Guardian
Date: January 16, 2017
Written by: Ben Quinn 
Read original article: Here.

 

For women who routinely run the gauntlet of harassment and sexual violence, Malakal protection of civilians camp has roundly failed to live up to its name.

It is late afternoon when the white Jeep pulls up outside a compound attached to one of the largest camps for families fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. Accompanied by two UN police officers, a woman steps out and walks briskly past a rusty shipping container holding the man who allegedly raped her less than 24 hours earlier.

In a country where UN investigators say sexual violence remains ignored despite having reached “epic proportions” – one survey found 70% of women in such camps said they had been raped since conflict erupted in December 2013 – this is a rare example of action being taken.

The alleged incident illustrates not just the bleak reality facing women at the sprawling Malakal protection of civilians (PoC) camp, but also the shortcomings of international peacekeepers and the makeshift nature of justice at what is supposedly a place of safety for 33,000 people.

Read more: Makeshift justice the only recourse for ill-protected women at South Sudan camp

Press Clip Source: Healing Minnesota Stories
Date: December 14, 2016
Written by: Scott Russell
Read original article: Here.

 

Between court challenges and cold weather, the conflicts around the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are in a temporary lull. Still, the Water Protectors’ civil disobedience has stirred increased hostility toward Native Americans in the region. They are experiencing harassment and threats in the Mandan/Bismarck area, according to the group Nonviolent Peaceforce.

Nonviolent Peaceforce is responding with plans to send unarmed, nonviolent civilian protectors to try to open constructive dialogue. The group’s mission is to “protect civilians in violent conflicts through unarmed strategies,” and “build peace side by side with local communities,” according to its website. It has headquarters in Brussels and the Twin Cities.

Until now, Nonviolent Peaceforce only has worked in foreign countries. It currently has teams in the Philippines, South Sudan, Myanmar and the Middle East. Its work in North Dakota will be the first time it has a presence on U.S. soil.

Read more: Nonviolent Peaceforce Sends Team to North Dakota, Will Train More Volunteers

Press Clip Source: Pax Christi Peace Stories
Date: November 30, 2016
Written by: Bishop Kevin Dowling, Co-President of Pax Christi International
Read original article: Here.

 

I begin with the well-known text from Micah (6:8): “... this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God...”

Who will ever forget the witness of over 1 million Filipinos, accompanied by priests and nuns kneeling on the ground in prayer (and soldiers who refused to intervene or act against them) – a peaceful protest leading to the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986? How did this happen? Firstly, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to nonviolent social change, led dozens of nonviolent action workshops across the Philippines. After attending a workshop, Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila joined with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in calling for a “nonviolent struggle for justice.” These training workshops, along with a sophisticated election-monitoring mission led by nuns and priests, paved the way for the mass “people power” movement that prevented Marcos from stealing the 1986 presidential elections. The people challenged violence with nonviolent resistance – and won, and Marcos and his wife left the country.

Fast forward to 2014. In mid-2014, women living in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians area in South Sudan alerted the Nonviolent Peaceforce team living there that women were being raped and sometimes gang-raped by soldiers when they went out to gather firewood and water. The women reported that sometimes the soldiers would describe the assaults as part of their job.

Often older women took on these jobs to protect the younger ones, and hopefully to decrease the likelihood of attack. So these women had to choose between their personal safety and providing for their families’ basic needs. Nonviolent Peaceforce began accompanying the women when they left the camp, sending 2 or more trained civilian protectors along with them. In the year after this accompaniment was offered to the people, no woman was attacked when accompanied. Instead, the soldiers looked the other way.

Read more: Adopting active nonviolence and inclusive love in our commitment to a just peace

Press Clip Source: The Philippine Star
Date: March 10, 2016
Written by: Jose Rodel Clapano and Ghio Ong
Read original article: Here.

 

MANILA, Philippines – Peace advocates and civil society groups have acknowledged the key role that women play in preserving the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process and in ensuring that these are continued by the next administration.

“Women have proven themselves to be good at conducting listening workshops for Bangsamoro communities... It provided peaceful platforms for reflective expressions of their anger and frustrations due to the non-passage of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law),” said Xarifa Lao-Sanguila of the National Civilian Protection Monitor of Nonviolent Peaceforce during a forum held at Miriam College on Monday.

Sanguila urged women leaders to lobby with provincial peace and order councils to pass resolutions to compel the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to respect the ceasefire mechanisms.

“We need to institutionalize and strengthen women-led local early warning systems for war rumor management and information validation,” she said.

Karen Tañada, executive director of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, said women should actively participate in the peace process.

Read more: Women play key role in peace process

Press Clip Source: Philippine Information Agency
Date: October 24, 2016
Read original article: Here.

 

NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 24 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) presented the country’s experience on protecting the unarmed civilians caught in armed conflict in the Southern Philippines during a high-level briefing at the United Nations headquarters here in the city.

OPAPP, through its Undersecretary for Peace Accords Nabil Tan, tackled the present unarmed civilian protection component of the peace process between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), sharing that this component has allowed multi-sectoral and proactive responses to the security issues, increased involvement of the civil society in a security infrastructure under the peace process, and provided specific interventions to women, children, and other vulnerable sectors.

Read more: PH peace official briefs int’l community on civilian protection mechanism

Press Clip Source: Post Bulletin
Date: September 24, 2016
Written by: Emily Carson
Read original article: Here.

 

To every problem, there are a variety of possible solutions. The people willing to imagine those solutions are possibilitarians.

The word possibilitarian was first coined by author and minister Norman Vincent Peale. It describes someone who recognizes and creates new possibilities. Peale thoughtfully advised, "Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them for they're always there."

I recently encountered two possibilitarians. First, Perry. Justin and I met Perry while checking out the downtown Rochester PlaceMakers Prototyping Festival. Perry and his PlaceMakers team identified several creative solutions to deal with the city's excess rainwater.

Perry, an engineer, showed Justin and I how small, inexpensive parts can lead to cost-effective solutions for existing water-related concerns. His enthusiasm for solution-finding was contagious. It was as if he saw the whole world through a lens of limitless possibilities. As he spoke, I began to imagine myself as an idea engineer, too.

The next possibilitarian I encountered was Mel Duncan. Mel gave a 1-hour presentation on the Nonviolent Peaceforce at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in town. The evening event was co-sponsored by Assisi Heights Spirituality Center, the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Pax Christi Peace Group, and Southeastern Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

Read more: Holy Everything: Don't fight reality, make a change for the better possible