- Peace Audit
- Sharing researches & discussions
Support for this workshop has been provided by a grant from the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and the East-West Center. Workshop organizers are Dr. Itty Abraham, of EWCW and Dr. Joseph Liow, of the Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies (IDSS), Singapore, which is collaborating with EWCW on this project.
The political situation in southern Thailand has been particularly tense and violent since early 2004. With violence showing no signs of diminishing and levels of popular insecurity rising, the government appointed a Royal Commission to look into the causes of the violence and to propose measures to help ameliorate the situation. Given the release of the commission?s report, the locus of action and attention now shifts back again to the south. As has been observed in so many cases around the world, high level reports and recommendations have a way of getting diluted and fragmented in their journey from state capitals to the localities where the violence is uppermost. Recognizing this problem, this workshop seeks to promote the larger purpose of bringing a sustainable peace to this region and its people by setting into motion a process that some have called a ?peace audit.?
The idea of a peace audit was initially developed by the South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Kathmandu, and first applied in conflict settings in South Asia. Intended to begin in the aftermath of a successfully negotiated agreement for cessation of violence, the peace audit is a process and means for affected communities and individuals ? local stakeholders ? to ensure, at a minimum, the following: (a) parties to the high-level negotiations maintain their agreed positions [Monitoring]; (b) local stakeholders are given the political space to offer their perspectives directly and indirectly to the negotiating parties [Voice]; (c) that the meanings of a sustainable peace -- peace with justice ? is articulated in the idioms and terms of local stakeholders [Translation].
The purpose of this workshop is not to define the terms and instruments of the peace audit: that is the work of local communities, activists, political leaders, civil society and other involved groups. Rather, it is to help set the stage for the audit by offering expert analysis to mediate the knowledge gaps between the causes, outcomes and meanings of violence, and between official understandings and popular grievances, and thereby to assist the process of political empowerment among the communities most affected by the violence.
With this in mind, the workshop will begin with a discussion of the origins of the conflict, as currently understood, to highlight the agreements and gaps in our analysis of the nature of the problem. This will be followed by a discussion of the NRC report, followed by discussion of the nature of political violence in the south, in order to take seriously and appreciate the meanings and effects of acts of violence by all involved parties. The next day?s sessions will focus on the views and perspectives of communities and groups affected by the violence, in order to understand the range of concerns of different social and political entities. The final session will seek to synthesize some of the collective findings of the workshop, and thereby to set the stage for the transmission of these findings to various stakeholders.