CONSTRUCTIVELY ENGAGING NON-STATE ARMED GROUPS
IN ASIA: MINDING THE GAPS, HARNESSING SOUTHERN PERSPECTIVES
By SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR.
extended essay synthesizes my own private studying and reflections on
the work of constructively engaging non-state armed groups (NSAGs), and
the relevant insights and fresh perspectives from research, including
from exchanging notes with other scholars, practitioners and policy
researchers who are in related fields. This essay calls attention to
and shares this relatively new or novel area of needed work;
consolidates the case or arguments for it; places it in the bigger
historical and global picture, especially in Asia; reviews the
relatively well-developed work in three main fields; points out the
gaps in terms of underdeveloped fields and of perspectives; presents
the motive forces and key arenas for promoting and further developing
this work; and proposes what is to be done to move forward with this
work in Asia.
Harnessing Southern Perspectives for Peace and Human Development
Network (SSN) for Non-State Armed Group Engagement is a newArmed Groups
and Human Security Efforts in the Philippines region-anchored
initiative from the global South (Asia, Africa and Latin America) which
seeks to develop more effective approaches, instruments and
intellectual resources for the constructive engagement of non-state
armed groups (NSAGs).
SSN adopts a Southern perspective in its approach to NSAG
engagement as well as in its organizational configuration
and organizational culture as a loose but dynamic inter-regional
and intra-regional network of mainly people’s and non-governmental
organizations and field practitioners as well as academic,
research and policy institutions and workers.
NON-STATE ARMED GROUPS (NSAGs) IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION: CASE STUDY OF
THE LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA) IN NORTHERN UGANDA
By LARE OKUNGU
can flex their muscles publicly regarding international conventions and
agreements that have been adopted by the states, but these gestures may
not necessarily touch the conscience of NSAGs, who might go about their
daily operations totally inured to the threats. Hence, a more
innovative approach may be needed to engage the NSAGs to induce them
into accepting the international norms and agreements. Universalization
must mean exactly what the word denotes, which implies an all-inclusive
engagement process involving NSAGs.
recent communiqué from Northern Uganda Advocacy Partnership for Peace
(NUAPP) - this comprises Conciliation Resources, Christian Aid, and
World Vision- made interesting reading. The opening paragraph went thus:
'Operation Lighting thunder' was yet to yield evidence that the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) has been disrupted or destroyed as a movement. On
the contrary the situation has moved from a stalled peace process to a
very hot war, and as in most conflicts, it is civilians who have paid
(and are continuing to pay) the price for the calculated risks taken by
leaders in the region..."
Four things emerge from a close look at this excerpt:
it is discerned that a hitherto purely Acholi/Langi dominated ragtag
Ugandan rebel group has transformed itself into a runaway movement
straddling international borders (of Uganda, Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and Sudan). NUAPP claims that the LRA's face is now a
composite of ' abducted, either from past campaigns in Northern Uganda
or from recent activity in Sudan and DRC.' - i.e. the LRA's combatants
are made up of Ugandan, Sudanese and Congolese nationals. There
is hence likelihood that purely Ugandan interests do not motivate LRA.
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