THE CULTURE OF PEACE DIALOGUES
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Movement for mediation and conflict resolution

Main Topic: Coordinator Comments

Increasingly the functions of prisons and penal systems that have been an essential element of the culture of war are being replaced by mediation and conflict resolution, in schools, in communities and within the family. These initiatives are alternative approaches to the work traditionally done by police, courts of justice, lawyers and prisons. They are beginning to be seen as part of a broad movement for restorative justice as described by Bishop Desmond Tutu in his book No Future Without Forgiveness, based on his experience as head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

Inspired by the South African experience, we proposed the following paragraph from UNESCO as part of the United Nations Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace. Perhaps it was not by accident that it was one of the first proposals to be rejected by the European Union:

"A systematic programme of research needs to be undertaken on the experiences of national truth and reconciliation commissions which have been established following armed conflicts, often in the context of national peace accords. Drawing lessons from these and other institutional initiatives which treat social justice as a means to reconciliation, new initiatives and institutions may be developed."
Although the topic may be taboo at the level of the United Nations, the rapid growth of mediation and alternative means of conflict resolution is unmistakable. For example, the following website lists 13 international organizations of mediation and 38 organizations at national, state and local levels, and it is concerned mostly with the United States. I expect that a multi-national, multi-lingual survey would find many times that number.

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game administrator Jun. 24 2008,04:36
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