Conflict transformation and human rights


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Conflict transformation and human rights

Sustainable and just development requires the implementation of human rights as much as the promotion of peace—both areas of work complement each other. Thanks to the work of peace researcher Johan Galtung (born 1930), academic research, politics and development practice have recognized this connection. According to Galtung “positive peace” comprises not only the absence of personal violence, but also the absence of structural violence. This includes respect for, and protection and fulfilment of human rights. In short, conflict does not only exist where individuals shoot one another, but also where people are systematically restrained in the exercise of fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion or limited in their access to basic social services like education or health. Thus, in addition to physical security, fundamental social, political and economic change is required in order to eliminate causes of conflict and enable positive peace. 

Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: A tool for development practitioners

The tool "Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: Guidance for Development Practitioners" explains how human rights and conflict transformation can be intertwined in practice. The tool is meant to assist development practitioners who work in one or both of those fields. The main section of the tool explores the interconnectedness of both thematic areas and provides illustrative examples of national and international development cooperation. The annex includes additional information and practical exercises. Different modules of "Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Transformations" can be used in combination or individually.

Several actors have cooperated in the production of this tool next to the German Institute for Human Rights:  the cross-sectoral project "Realizing Human Rights in Development Cooperation" , the sector programme "Peace and Security" and the German Civil Peace Service (all three implemented by the Gesellschaft für international Zusammenarbeit and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development). Michelle Parlevliet, author of the tool, has extensively worked and published on the synergies and interrelation of both areas.

Women as actors in peace processes

The 2011 study “Women as actors in peace processes” was elaborated for an international conference in Berlin on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 of 2000 on women and peace and security. The study draws on development and content of resolution 1325, evaluates strategies of implementation and issues recommendations for German foreign and development cooperation policy.
The study is available in German:

Jana Arloth, Frauke Lisa Seidensticker (2011): Frauen als Akteurinnen in  Friedensprozessen. Begleitstudie zum Werkstattgespräch „Frauen und bewaffnete Konflikte“ anlässlich des 10. Jahrestages der UN-Resolution 1325 (PDF, 539 KB, nicht barrierefrei)

Conflict transformation and security policy

Peace operations are also a major concern in the institute’s work on security policy: see topic Security policies (in German only)