HOMETeaching Peace from Tales of the City: Peace Education through the Memoryscapes of Nagasaki Patporn Phoothong
Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Zambia Mariateresa Garrido
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
The political Crisis of the 2017 Honduran Election Daniel Bagheri S.
Notes On A Controversy Amardo Rodriguez
RECENT ARTICLES The Unraveled and Disquieting Human Rights Violation of Afghanistan Priya Pandey
Nepal's recovery process since the 2015 earthquake Jini Agrawal
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
The Right to Food Shant Melkonian
Land of the Golden Pagodas: Checking in on Myanmar’s Peace Process Monica Paniagua
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
Periodismo Ciudadano e Internet Gina Paola Parra
Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney
Special Report II
Last Updated: 01/16/2009Northern Ireland Peace encouragement to Philippines
Jonathan Powell and Gerry Kelly, former negotiators in the Northern Ireland peace process, met with Philippine Government officials and representatives of the Mindanao based Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) this week as part of an effort to help restart the dormant peace talks in the region.
The visit was led and organized by the Geneva based mediation organisation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) whose Mediation Advisor, David Gorman, is based in Manila.
Mr Powell, also the former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair and a consultant to the HD Centre, and Mr Kelly, a current member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, shared their experiences of their own challenging yet ultimately successful peace process.
"We were trying to find ways of helping the two parties create their own successful route to peace." said Gorman
"In Northern Ireland, the two sides were engaged in centuries of bloody conflict making it one of the most violent places in the modern world per capita. Despite turbulent negotiations and on again off again talks, the parties signed a peace accord finally bringing the conflict to an end. There may be a way to do that in Mindanao too." he said.
Powell, Kelly and Gorman met with key Philippine Government cabinet officials and their negotiating team in Manlia on Wednesday 14 January 2009 and with representatives of the MILF’s Central Committee and negotiating panel on Thursday at their headquarters in Camp Darapanan in Mindanao.
Representatives from both parties welcomed the suggestions and conveyed their willingness to restart talks soon. However, the recent kidnapping of three Red Cross workers by armed militants linked to Al Qaeda in Jolo, Sulu, demonstrate the challenges in forging peace in the region.
"Both Kelly and Powell emphasized that the two parties should try to avoid preconditions that cannot be met by the other side. Instead they should help keep each other united otherwise they could end up trying to make peace with multiple groups. Unless they can both and always keep the process alive at all costs it will be very difficult to restart." explained Gorman.
"It was a powerful presentation. The visitors were well received and the response was that they both communicated a desire to resume talks imminently." he said
The Government officials
made it clear they wanted the MILF to remain united despite the operations
against the three dissident MILF commanders, and the MILF recognized the need
to open discussion on the conditions it set for resumption of talks. They were
also willing to consider joint and comprehensive demilitarization
options at the end of a peace process.
The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is an independent and impartial organization that aims to improve the global response to armed conflict by helping to resolve them. It also convenes eminent mediators from around the world to share their experience and conducts research and analysis to advance practical policy recommendations in pursuit of its objectives. The HD Centre is active in a number of conflicts around the world, some of which are necessarily confidential, where it mediates and facilitates dialogue among belligerents thereby reducing human suffering in war.