Reconciliation & Dialogue
QUNO believes that restoring relationships at the local and national level is key to a sustainable approach to peacebuilding. While funding and attention often goes to rebuilding a state’s institutions, peacebuilding is also about rebuilding the local links that have become strained or broken during violent conflict. Groups of particular concern who can also act as change agents for peace include youth, refugees and internally displaced people, and women.
In 2009, the Secretary General’s Report on Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict recognized the need for “effective communication and inclusive dialogue between national authorities and the population.” In addition, “support to political processes, including electoral processes, promoting inclusive dialogue and reconciliation, and developing conflict-management capacity at national and sub-national levels” was considered a priority area for the international community’s response.
Although reconciliation and dialogue, including processes such as national consultations and truth and reconciliation commissions, are often encouraged, they are rarely given adequate funding or political support from national governments or the UN. In addition, transformative approaches such as restorative justice are often not included in discussions around core peacebuilding activities. Despite this, reconciliation has been recognized by the PBC as a key element to a holistic response to peacebuilding in post-conflict countries.
In its peacebuilding work at the UN, QUNO upholds the work of Friends organizations around the world who are dedicated to healing communities at the local level through support to reconciliation and dialogue.
QUNO’s parent organization, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), is involved in reconciliation and peacebuilding work in Burundi, in addition to other Quaker organizations such as Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC), Friends Women’s Association (FWA), and MIPAREC.
- In 2010, QUNO conducted quiet diplomacy with the UN in NY and in Burundi in order to support civil society participation in peacebuilding processes.
In the DRC, local Quakers are working with communities of women survivors of sexual violence, in order to encourage healing and reconciliation.
- In 2010, QUNO facilitated a meeting for a Congolese Quaker civil society representative with member states, UN staff, and NGOs to share the work she did at the local level with support from the Africa Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI).
Through quiet diplomacy and the facilitation of discussions for the UN and member states on the peacebuilding situations in countries like Burundi and the DRC, and on reconciliation and restorative processes in general, QUNO seeks to further the work of Quakers around the world and encourage the UN to support restorative peacebuilding in all aspects of its work.