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Modus Operandi


A Relational Approach to Peace Initiatives in Conflict situations

This tool has been used by CINEP to monitor and analyze peace initiatives in Colombia from a historical perspective (1978-2011)and in relation with the dynamics of armed conflict. .

The relevance of this exercise in the Colombian context is evident in that, unlike the multiple studies on violence, experience with peace initiatives in the country have been rarely studied. However, CINEP and other actors have identified three time periods in the study of peace in Colombia which correspond to the evolution of peace initiatives in the country:

  • A concentration of the negotiation process between the national government and the guerrilla at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s;
  • An increase in social mobilization in favor of peace during the 90s, expressed in efforts of peace education, proposals for regional peace and development programs, initiatives of civil resistance and local constituent assemblies, among others; and a massive national mobilization in support of a negotiated solution to the armed conflict between guerrillas and government in the second half of the decade;
  • A strong rejection, by the public, to the negotiation between the guerrilla and the Colombian government in the last decade; and an interest in humanitarian agreements amongst the country’s political minority, the alleged demobilization of paramilitary groups in Colombia, and the emergence of a movement in defense of the of the victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation in the last five years.
    It is clear that different phases of peace initiatives in Colombia are related to the evolution of the armed conflict.

The proposed tool has allowed us to observe the behavior of the peace movement and peace experiences in Colombia at the local, regional and national level, as a response both to the effects of direct violence (through actions of rejection and denunciation of violence and a demand for human rights) or constructive actions (alternative proposals for negotiation, creation of a culture of peace and promotion for more inclusive models of society.)

The tool has been used to understand the type and recurrence of the initiatives (both specific actions and sustained experiences over time) displayed by different actors who, from different and often contradictory visions of conflict, peace, and change, have responded to the armed conflict in different moments and contexts: non-organized citizens, population group and territorial organizations, unions, churches, NGOs, international actors, state actors that call upon civil society, etc. A broad and nominal conception of “peace initiatives” in Colombia has allowed CINEP to have an idea of the discourses and strategies used by different actors who respond to the armed conflict and the tensions that exist between these various initiatives, including the self-declared "peace initiatives" which in posterior analysis demonstrate to be part of war logics.

CINEP has identified that the most common strategies of action in the Colombian peace movement over the past 20 years have been protest, civil resistance, education, organization and coordination efforts, and political participation.