For information contact:
Mel Duncan, U.S. Director of Outreach and Advocacy 651-245-8706
Nonviolent Peaceforce starts 2nd decade of work for human rights in war zones
Minneapolis, MN -- For more than 60 years, nations around the world have observed Human Rights Day on December 10. But the rights we seek to honor that day would be empty pronouncements without the women and men who defend them, even in the midst of violent conflicts.
Asserting that the safety of these human rights defenders is paramount, Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international nongovernmental organization, provides professional unarmed civilian peacekeepers to help human rights workers in the midst of war zones.
“In a war zone, local human rights defenders are critical architects of a just peace. That role makes them very vulnerable,”
Currently, South Sudan is at risk of slipping into protracted violent conflict, and Nonviolent Peaceforce is there, stationed along the border with The Sudan and in other vulnerable areas. These teams of international professionals are able to work effectively by maintaining strict neutrality in all conflicts. Free of the politics of any given region of the world, and unaligned with any community of faith, their international presence brings the spotlight of world attention where violence threatens. The likelihood of exposure inhibits violence, while the presence of international unarmed peacekeepers builds hope and confidence in the vulnerable.
Nonviolent Peaceforce has gained attention and respect, over the last decade, for its effective work in other war-torn areas. It has highlighted an effective and under-used approach to conflict management, attracting the interest of those feeling dissatisfied with conventional approaches. Unarmed civilian peacekeeping needs to be used more often, and deployed on a larger scale, to promote the human rights we seek to recognize on December 10.