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Civil society and conflict resolution

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					                         Civil society and conflict resolution
                         Contributions by the speakers of the conference on 20 September 2007 in the European Parliament, Brussels




Institute for International
Assistance and Solidarity




                                                                                                                     IFIAS
                                                                                                                     10 Years
                         Civil society and           tal interests through public actions. This is   massive rallies against the nuclear threat
                         conflict resolu-            not exactly the role of non-governmental        and the division of Europe in 1982 we have
                         tion                        organisations. Like the media this civil        said: “Europe does not need nuclear weap-
                         Jo Leinen                   society has to defend its own interests and     ons or missile defence to guarantee peace
                              This is the title of   views, defend those who have not other-         and security. We call again today to make
                          this conference. The       wise a voice in the society and to defend       Europe completely nuclear free as a signal
European Parliament is the right place for           values, which sometimes risk to be forgot-      and important contribution for a compre-
such an event for two reasons:                       ten. Governments cannot solve all problems      hensive elimination of all nuclear weapons
    1.We are fighting for a participatory            in the area of security or peace, or social     in the world and an end to further nuclear
democracy in Europe, not only to bring the           protection. They need non-governmental          proliferation.
European Union closer to its citizens but            expertise, enthusiasm and mobilisation. This         25 years ago we said: “We must learn
also to create democracy and lasting peace           is the primary objective of parliamentarian     to be loyal, not to ‘East’ and ‘West’, but
on the basis of active citizenship. If you           cooperation with the civil society.             to each other, and we must disregard the
want to secure democracy, rule of law, hu-                2.The European Union is a success story    prohibitions and limitations imposed by any
man rights and peace you cannot rely only            of internal conflict resolution. The second     notional state.”
on governmental institutions or political            half of the 20th century has seen the form-          The Movement for a nuclear free Eu-
parties. You need a citizen’s movement. You          ing of a zone of peace in Western Europe        rope must demand a common foreign and
need a strong debate between state institu-          and the end of European division, after cen-    security policy of the European Union based
tions and civil society. The European Parlia-        turies of violence and war and decades of       on conflict prevention and not on conflict
ment has developed a role of bringing for-           cold war with a continuous risk of nuclear      escalation. It can only succeed if it is free
ward the demands of the European public              annihilation. The European Union could          from nuclear weapons, nuclear carriers and
and the debate on a European constitution            be a model for conflict resolution in other     missile defence.”
has demonstrated how crucial such a pro-             parts of the world as well. Instead of ag-           With a similar approach we support the
cess is. Participatory democracy is the way          gression we organise cooperation. Instead       initiatives for a peaceful European neigh-
to bring Europe closer to citizens, through          of violence we seek peaceful competition.       bourhood Their engagement for peace
a bottom-up approach. This is the key and            Instead of threat we search consensus. In-      through democracy and human rights
this means a strong an independent civil so-         stead of superiority we develop equal rights    needs our cooperation and encouragement.
ciety. NGOs are often taken as instruments           between nations. In a recent appeal on
to promote political ideas and governmen-            the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the
Civil society – the 4 ½. power in the State                 an authoritarian regime feels they are disturbing or
Gerd Greune                                                 harming the public order and authority. Countless
     Media is said to be the 4th power after the state      numbers of activists and promoters of democracy,
institutions of executive, legislative and juridical        human rights, social justice etc. are in jail or have
system. And in fact public control is no longer held        been killed in the past and still today.
by parliaments alone. Another power has come up in               In our work supporting social movements IFIAS is
the mediatised world of the 2nd half of the 20th cen-       strict on the principle of non-violence trusting that
tury which plays a more important role on local, na-        in a log run achievements can only be reached if the
tional and international level: social movements and        protest and the request is peaceful and dialogue
civil society. They have no electoral mandate such          oriented. History shows that violence and violent         Gerd Greune
as parliamentarians. They are often seen as disturb-        oppression are not successful in the end, produce
ing and ideological, using street manifestations for        victims and pain and finally collapse.
protest and demands. They are sometimes invited                  The European Union strategy of building con-
to assist local or international administration on          sensus on all aspects of cross boarder interests, often
social and development projects since they are often        source for conflicts, can build a long lasting prosper-
cheaper and more enthusiastic, than well paid ad-           ous and peaceful development and develop mecha-
ministrators or business consultants. They have been        nisms to overcome crisis situations and tensions.
misused for political purposes and are sometimes                 In fact it was social movements and civil society
established by governments to outsource projects or         actors who brought the biggest changes in politics in
advertise political objectives of the respective donor      the centuries behind us. In the past many govern-
country. In these cases they receive core funding           ments tended to be change-resistant, authoritarian
from Foreign offices and serve their government.            and used state power and state violence to defend
     Being an independent and powerful civil society        their interests often against their own people who
actor is therefore a difficult issue, similarly difficult   requested development.
as being an independent journalist or editor.                    Mmany civil society actors have become mem-
     Interestingly enough there are no standards or         bers or leaders of the new governments after these
rules for civil society to build upon. Social move-         attitudes had changed.
ments need no permission or registration to exist                In modern democracies civil society and gov-
per se. They may be in trouble in countries where           ernments are no longer in confrontation but in
                                                                                                                                    1
                competition. But they can be complementary. And this             This is the crucial role they can play thus defending
                is what we have to achieve in countries which are still      best the values of the European Union and the United
                far behind modern democracies.                               Nations.
                    The achievements civil societies gained in the
                                                                             Iraq – Hope in a war-torn country
                developing world are no less important. Popular
                                                                             Bestoon Nameq
                resistance ended colonialism, apartheid, racism. Public
                protest ended violent conflicts and military dictator-            The history of NGOs in Iraq started more than 15
Bestoon Nameq
                ships.                                                       years ago, specifically in Kurdistan Region after the
                    We need also in the future a bottom up approach          rising up of Kurdish region against the former regime.
                and not a new hegemony of civil society actors from          At the beginning, the strategy of NGOs was the huma-
                the north of the world. Changing conflicts, overcom-         nitarian support and assistance only, but later on this
                ing authoritarian repression can only be achieved by         target was developed towards the idea of democrati-
                local civil society actors and not by international inter-   zation, election, human rights and similar issues after
                vention. Whatever we do to support our friends in the        1996.
                neighbourhood of the EU both in East and South must               After the collapse of the regime of Saddam Hus-
                reflect the self-interest in these countries, which had      sein, many organizations and associations were esta-
                their own history and want to maintain their tradition       blished also in the middle and south of Iraq. Concrete
                of democratic culture, which might be enthusiastic to        steps to achieve coherence of the NGOs in Iraq started
                join our EU success story but have to respect their own      seriously. There are networks and partnership among
                sovereignty, sometimes after centuries of occupation.        the organizations, such as participating in Seminars,
                    Civil society needs to be strengthened in the coun-      Workshops, training, partnership in project implemen-
                tries where governments are weak. They can assist to         tation….etc.
                bring their countries back on the road to the interna-            At the moment and due to the security deteriora-
                tional community.                                            tion in Iraq, the links between NGOs throughout the
                                                                             country have been weakened. Moving in Iraq is too


    2
difficult, meetings and seminars are held out of the     may be seen as threatening the National Security of
country, in Amman and other regions.                     US, will not be considered. So the Iraqi community
     People are thirsty and really in urgent need        (Civil Society associations) is in real need of European
of Civil Society support, most of the civilization       assistance for building a new Iraq, because they
campaigns and referenda were managed by local            came to the conclusion that the USA are in Iraq for
and international NGOs with the enthusiastic help        their interests only.
of the people. However, the security considerations           Support for civil society should continue to
have extreme impact on the growth of the link and        be coordinated. NCCI has started with series of
the trust between the people and NGOs. People            workshops for various layers of the Iraqi Civil Soci-
no longer feel they can volunteer for NGOs, as this      ety aiming at introducing Dialogue as a means to
means exposure to danger, when they move in the          resolve existing conflicts and divisions among Iraqi
country for the NGO for instance or when they ap-        communities and to prevent potential ones; the goal
pear publicly. They become more easily targeted and      is to ultimately achieve Reconciliation and Peace in
they can not do this for fear their families may loose   Iraq. The program entails also equipping the partici-
the breadwinner.                                         pants with the needed training and tools to enable
     The most important thing needed is the continu-     them to work with their local communities in that
ed international support, specifically from Non-         direction; UNDP is also looking into sponsoring and
American society. American support for civil society     supporting some initiatives arising for the program
is strongly rejected by the Iraqi community, except      as a second phase.
for international recipients of US funds. USAID is the        The results till now have been quite satisfactory
giant sponsor now in Iraq but many of local NGOs         and many success stories are results of the dedication
are refusing their support, why????                      and motivation of our Iraqi colleagues, the changes
     Obviously, rules and regulations have been im-      are small and at local community levels but they are
posed by USAID which serve the US military involve-      concrete and are strengthening those communities
ment in Iraq, in another way, any proposals contras-     against the violence and its humanitarian conse-
ting with the American Strategy in Iraq and which        quences.
                                                                                                                    3
                IFIAS is one of the members of NCCI and is            that dealt with all aspect of Palestinian life; from
            making a significant contribution to their efforts.       registering a new-born child to issuing a death
            As an international NGO, IFIAS was requested to           certificate; from the curriculum taught in schools to
            convey the image and promote true images of the           obtaining a license to open a medical practice; from
            actual life of Iraqis to Europe. As well as supporting    getting a permit to build a home to having your
            democratization and freedom IFIAS will make grea-         land and property confiscated for “security reasons.”
            test efforts to gain some supports and assistance for     The Israeli military occupation was not interested in
            building the civil society in Iraq.                       seeing the Palestinian community develop or even
                                                                      sustain a basic living and the legitimate leadership of
            Palestine – in a deadlock
Sami Awad                                                             the Palestinian Authority (presented in the Palestini-
            Sami Awad
                                                                      an Liberation Organization (PLO)) was at that time
                 The role of civil society in Palestine can be        exiled in Tunisia and did not have any direct access
            basically divided into three distinct periods: Pre-Oslo   to the community.
            (referring to the Oslo Peace Process), the Oslo years,         This period witnessed the most active role for
            and Post-Oslo. I take Oslo as an important mile-stone     Palestinian civil society. Palestinian organizations
            in transferring the characteristics of the Palestinian    were the backbone of Palestinian society, not only
            struggle for liberation as well as the internal politi-   providing the basic needs for the people (health,
            cal, social and economic roles played by the Palestini-   education, shelter, and food), but also providing
            an leadership as well as civil society.                   social, legal, and political havens for a society that
                 The pre-Oslo period was a period where Pales-        could have easily fallen into a spiral of chaos and
            tinians living in the occupied West Bank and the          self-destruction.
            Gaza Strip experienced direct military occupation.             On the issue of Resolving and dealing with con-
            The Israeli Military and Israeli “Civil Administration”   flicts, civil society, for example, through the traditio-
            had direct and complete control over all aspects of       nal Muslim / Arab ways of conflict resolution, known
            Palestinian life. It was a time of military rule and      as the Sulha, engaged at all levels in preventing
            military orders; thousand upon thousand of orders         conflicts from either happening or from escalating if
     4
they started. Conflict between individuals, families,       was in Tunisia. With the establishment
clans, groups, and even political factions were resol-      of the Authority many of the tasks
ved with the direct involvement of civil society. The       that had been part of the role of Civil
Palestinian community chose civil society in dealing        Society became now the responsibility
with internal conflicts than in going to the Israeli        of the newly established government.
operated and controlled police force or the Israeli         In dealing with internal conflicts for
occupation forces.                                          example, the Authority established a police force, a
     In regards to the conflict with Israel and in          security apparatus, legal structures, and a legislative
resisting the occupation, again it was Palestinian civil    council to establish and maintain law and order.
society that led the community in maintaining the           Civil society became marginalized by an Authori-
Palestinian identity in the face of an occupation that      ty that was seeking to establish itself as the only
was keen on erasing the words “Palestine and Pa-            power house in Palestine. Civil society was now seen
lestinians” from the consciousness of all those who         as an opponent to the Authority and an obstacle,
lived in the occupied territories. Civil society also led   especially when it became critical of human rights
the resistance movement through the work of the             violations and issues of corruption.
labor unions, educational institutes, agricultural and           This marginalization also included the services
medical committees, and other organizations that            that civil society was providing and during the Oslo
promoted nonviolence and civil disobedience. Even           years the Authority and political factions now took
the political leadership of the PLO and the different       charge of providing basic services but with the intent
political factions understood that only through             to control and gain on the political level. During
civil society can they maintain their legitimacy and        Oslo, civil society became weak and marginalized.
political agenda.                                                The failure of the Oslo peace process led to a re-
     The years of the Oslo peace process brought            volution by the Palestinian community. The Uprising
about a dramatic change in the role of civil. Oslo          Intifadah in the year 2000 led to the weakening of
created the Palestinian Authority and brought back          the Palestinian Authority to an almost non-existing
into the West Bank and Gaza the leadership that             level. The Israeli army engaged in mass attacks on
                                                                                                                      5
                  the structure of the Palestinian Authority and its             Civil society and NGOs are a very important part
                  security apparatus. The situation resulted in having       in any democratic country. In my opinion they should
                  a weak authority and a weak civil society. The major       be the real protector of democracy and they should
                  role of civil society during the years of the Intifadah    express the real and fundamental interests of free
                  became focused on providing relief for the masses          people far a way of any political, election, and ideo-
                  instead of being a leading pillar in the struggle for      logical considerations.
                  ending the occupation and building democratic                 Further more, Civil society can play a vital role in
                  society.                                                   terms of conflict resolution:
                       Civil society was a traditional cornerstone for Pa-       •	 It can be effective in dealing with the deep
Mutasem al Sufi   lestinian society. The establishment of the Palestinian             reasons that cause conflicts. Many conflicts
                  Authority under Oslo should have been an opportu-                   today are taking place because of ideologi-
                  nity to create a partnership between this civil society             cal, racial, political, and economical reasons.
                  and the Palestinian Authority instead of the margi-                 Civil society should work on bridging the
                  nalization and attacking that took place. This failure              gap between people, dealing with stereoty-
                  has led us into a situation where both the political                pes, prejudice, and hostility, telling people
                  and civil aspects of Palestine are now weak in facing               that whatever is the problem we can find a
                  the growing demands of the Palestinian community.                   common base for all the parties and solve
                                                                                      the problem through constructive and trans-
                  Syria – Peaceful transformations needed
                                                                                      parent dialogue.
                  Mutasem al Sufi
                                                                                 •	 Civil society can also be very effective
                      Talking about civil society can not be separated                dealing with conflict consequences as well.
                  of talking about democracy, human rights, modern                    It can help people to start again, reconstruct
                  state, rule of law, freely elected institutions, … etc              their countries and societies, and have a
                  where the basic element of this structure is the hu-                new life.
                  man being himself the „Free Citizen“.                          In the case of countries consisting of many races,
                                                                             religious groups, and many sects, we have a problem
   6
in keeping their unity in a sustainable, safe democra-    and this absolute absence of the civil society we
tic system. Civil society can help in this because when   can’t be sure that we can transfer to democracy that
it’s a real one that means it can be a space where        easy or without problems. Some people use this
everyone can express their concerns, hopes, and           point and argue that stable dictatorship is better
interests. It can promote the concept of citizenship      than mess and civil war. In fact such a lazy approach
where every one is equal and has the same rights no       to this problem does not do anything rather than
matter what is his/her religion, sect, race, ideology,…   giving the problem time to get bigger and postpone
etc. It can do it through cultural and educational        it until the great explosion takes place where no one
activities and through media as well. In his book         can prevent it - even a military dictatorship.
„in the center of the storm“ George Tenet – the last           For all of this I really believe that the best way to
head of CIA- mentioned that one of the greatest           deal with the Syrian
obstacle against having democracy and peace in Iraq       case is to start a gra-
is the absence of strong civil society who can build      duate process of revi-
and be effective in protecting this new born demo-        ving the civil society
cracy and make it sustainable one.                        together with serious,
     Syria –my country- has many common things            honest, quick political
with Iraq – but not the brutal conflict luckily. Syria    and democratic
also has many sects, religions, and ethnic groups.        reforms. This path
So we can easily notice that most of the Syrians are      will make the people
afraid of facing a similar destiny to the Iraqis. That    to be again „free
might be one of the factors that motivates people         citizens“ and only by
to find a safe way to build the democratic political      then they can build a
system in Syria.                                          sustainable, demo-
     In the past Syria had a growing civil society and    cratic, and peaceful
a democratic –or close to be democratic- political        political system.
system, but after these long decades of dictatorship
                                                                                                                       7
               Morocco – Slowly but surely                             modernisation inside the Moroccan society linked
               Farid Ghrich                                            to human rights, women issues, amazigh*2 expres-
                                                                       sion, education and illiteracy, preservation of the
                   In Morocco associations and non profit organi-      environment.
               zations which have traditional roots in the Makhzen         Moreover, at that time, the NGO’s became more
               and Siba society*1, grew up with French and Spanish     and more directly associated to the public policies’
               colonization until 1956 and evolved in the margins      monitoring and evaluation either in a participative
Farid Ghrich
               of three decades of a developemental State. The         democracy approach, in countries where represen-
               associations were encouraged when they presented        tative democracy is an option; or for a democratic
               complementary functions to the administrations,         opening of authoritarian regimes. All these internal
               (thanks namely to “la Charte des libertes publiques”    and external processes lead to the governmental
               promulgated in 1958), and they were tolerated if        change-over with the socialist Youssoufi appointed
               their goals were not contradictory with those of the    as prime Minister in 1998, followed one year later, by
               public authorities.                                     the king Mohamed VI ascending to the throne.
                   With the eighties began to appear a civil society
               in favour of the rule of law and democracy in autho-
                                                                       *1 Arabic term for the governing elite in Morocco, centered
               ritarian regimes of Latin America and in communist      around the king and consisting of royal notables, businessmen,
               regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. Due to also      wealthy landowners, tribal leaders, top-ranking military person-
                                                                       nel, security service bosses, and other well-connected members
               the socio-economical crisis and the accumulation of     of the establishment. Today, this term carries a heavy negative
               the debt, the World Bank and IMF accelerate their       charge which means the absence of democracy and freedom and
                                                                       the absolute rule of dictatorship, the state or even corruption. The
               intervention in the Moroccan economy to implement       dichotomy between land of government and land of dissidence
               the structural adjustment and the disengagement of      (bilad al-makhzan/bilad al-siba) applied most directly to Morocco,
                                                                       characterized during centuries until the forties by an ongoing
               the State from economy and society.                     opposition between central power and autonomous tribes.
                   At the same time, we witness of course also
                                                                       *2 They are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the
               political and religious radicalisation in the Maghreb   Nile Valley. Many Berbers call themselves some variant of the
               and the Middle East …and the internal dynamic of        word Imazighen (singular Amazigh), meaning „free men“.

     8
     Definitely, the vitality of the NGO’s movement      South East Anatolia – Civil society and
is obvious since this last decade in Morocco. The        public administration
emergence of an individual-citizen and his direct        Nevroz Günes
participation in several sectors compensating the
State inaction or lack of financial and human resour-        The South East Anatolia region has spent the last
ces increased quickly. Probably, we are witnessing       twenty years within violence which was an impor-
a double trend: the proliferating development of         tant part of every human life. To live within violence
associations movement from below and artificial im-      created a nervous atmosphere for everybody.
pulsions to encourage civil society by the State, from   Everything was linked to politics. Associations of civil   Nevroz Günes
above - without ignoring the enormous pressure in        society where of course also influenced by it. The
the same direction made by powerful international        damages created in the environment for exemple
NGO’s, international institutions and companies.         are psychologically as much linked to the Kurdish
     IFIAS, as member of the European civil society,     problems as the lacking employment, the failure
can learn a lot from this Moroccan transition expe-      to stop violence against women or the educational
rience understanding its complexity, pointing out        problems. If you wanted to address any of these
its difficulties, disseminating its gains throughout     problems, you found that they are turned around to
the international civil society, namely the Arab and     become part of the general trauma in the populati-
African one. In the mean time, IFIAS could support       on. “There is a social problem? That must be because
Moroccan NGO’s “from below” in terms of training         Kurds are not recognized in the country.” Through
in management, internal democracy, communica-            the many displaced Kurdish people, this trauma also
tion, local governance, relations with national and      reached out to other regions in Turkey.
international funders; with the objective to help            The difficulty to address the Kurdish problem
them to consolidate and deepen their relationship        politically was another obstacle for an active civil
with the State and the market, the nowadays neces-       society. The 10% barrier for political parties in elec-
sary triangular relation allowing real autonomy in       tions stopped regional parties from being able to
the society.                                             represent the interests of their voters democratically.
                                                                                                                                   9
                       People in the region got desinte-       direction but it is not enough. Showing more public
                       rested in party politics other than     visibility and explaining their activities will give more
                       linked to the main question, that       meaning to their work and impress the local popu-
                       is, full cultural rights and recogni-   lation about the need of being together and form
                       tion. The only parties regionally       associations.
                       active were therefore parties which          There is strong disaprovement between the pu-
                       advocated these rights particularly     blic administrations and NGOs in the region. The re-
                       energetically and which did not find    ason, again, is that NGOs are seen as trouble makers,
     much support in other parts of Turkey or allies in        not as organisations working for the public good
     other political parties. For the local NGOs, this also    in activities where the State either doesn’t want or
     meant that they had nobody to lobby in Ankara and         can’t intervene. There can be hard discussions and
     that they were feeling very far from the State power.     many times misunderstandings. We need to call for
     For the local population, except for some huma-           joint meetings to overcome this. Public administra-
     nitarian organisations, such as organisations which       tions and NGOs can work hand in hand.
     support women against their abusive husbands or                One of the most importand matters is that the
     organisations which support children, involvement         role and work of active civil society in the region
     with NGOs was not popular in the last decades. As         is not known enough yet in the population, which
     an NGO activist, you ran risk to be sen as a potential    therefore does not support it through donations or
     separatist, a threat, without much chance to change       voluntary work. Most of the NGOs expect to find
     anything anyway. So why bother?                           help outside the country. Some of the NGOs seem
         The other matter has been the weakness of con-        near the state, so they expect the state to help them
     sultancy and communication among the civil society        financially. Some of them expect the support of the
     associations which are currently active in the region,    local powers because they are in disagreement to
     as well as the contacts to successful networks in         the state.
     other European countries. Some platforms working               Many of the NGO’s in the region work without
     together now are an important step in the right           plans and programs. They don’t know how to make
10
projects. They don’t have any information about the      discussion platforms about important matters which
strength or weakness of the associations. They do        have to be respected by the administration.
not have democratic structures or realistic evaluation       Civil society associations have ideologies and it is
in their associations. That’s why they are not able      natural to have them. And naturally they can com-
to develop the communication. They can’t make a          ment and fight or defend national programmes.
relationship with national or international NGO’s by         However, NGO’s must be real civil society associ-
themselves, becaus they can not explain exactly what     ations. Which get their power from their supporters,
they are doing and why, and how.          Many of the    are interested in their supporters’ matters; give con-
                                                                                                                    Nenad Canak
NGO’s haven’t been able to reach the target yet and      fidence to their supporters, do not to get directions
work untidily.                                           from any other places and other interests. NGOs
    The place most crowded with NGO associations         must be serious in their task to inform about and ad-
in the region is in Diyarbakır. There are 1042 NGOs      vocate for their supporters’ issues and to work with
in Diyarbakır that have been opened and now there        the political level in this sense.
are still 402 NGOs contiuning but those are not              As a result, our problems which we haven’t been
really active just 5 or 6 of them are active.            able to solve so far, which have cost us so much in
    The idea that NGO work is mainly about making        terms of life-chances and happiness, which have cost
politics in Ankara must be given up urgently. People     much to the Turkish State, which have also troubled
must understand that they can contribute to politics     the international community, can be solved finally.
on every level and in every civil activity.
                                                         Serbia – A long way to go
    Especially because of the violence which is lived
                                                         Nenad Canak
in the country between NGOs and public administra-
tion there must be a serious rehabilitation pro-             The changes in Serbia that we hoped for after
gramme for positive and strong relationships. The        the elections of September 24th 2000, and the
expression of the civil society has to be civil in the   events in their aftermath, the massive resistance
real sense of the term and stay in a separate place.     against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic on the
Public administrators and NGOs must be united in         October 5th 2000, have simply not happened. The
                                                                                                                                  11
                     main reason for this is that the clear    ideology of post-communist demagogy towards real
                     cut, both with Slobodan Milosevic in      democracy.
                     a personal sense, but also with the            All in all, until Serbia accepts the cooperation
                     value system that he has created and      with the Hague tribunal, as a consequence of the
                     with all the consequences of this value   crime that was committed in the name of the Serbs
                     system in the last 15 years, has never    and greater Serbia, and does not understand it as
                     happened.                                 part of the world conspiracy against Serbia; un-
         Mainly for this reason, today’s Civil society in      til Serbia accepts the fact that those people who
     Serbia, weakened by the illusion that Serbia has          worked in the security forces, which were operatio-
     realized real democratic changes, can not do more         nal bodies of Milosevic ideology in the ‘nineties, can
     then to point to all mishaps that now exist in Serbia,    not stay in the police or military forces of the newly
     mishaps that are hindering us to become part of the       formed country, which is now called Serbia; until the
     developed societies of Europe.                            Prime Minister of the Serbian government, due to
         Above all there are the remains of the ideo-          his unwillingness to forbid political parties that have
     logical bases that have led us to the wars on the         executed and killed people during Milosevic time
     ex Yugoslav territories, in which Serbia, under the       creates equidistance towards Milosevic time and the
     directing role of Slobodan Milosevic, has played the      European set of values – Serbia will not succeed to
     most important part.                                      get out of the mud where the nationalistic demon
         Secondly, we failed in changing the role of the       has pushed her
     executive power. Parliament has strived to change
                                                               Belarus – do not stop solidarity
     the ideology but never succeeded to change rules in
                                                               Andrei Sannikov
     the society – namely, to be the sovereign of the rule
     of law and to guarantee that judges and administ-             I. The regime in Belarus has managed to esta-
     rators switch from the cold-war type of communist-        blish a real totalitarian system in the country and
     socialist ideology doubled with the nationalistic         is persistent in its efforts to strengthen this system.
                                                               One of its features aimed at stifling any protest ac-
12
tivities are diversified methods of repression against       •	 Revival of the Soviet system of ideological
politically active citizens and those who disagree               control
with the regime. The methods include:                          New restrictive provisions are introduced in the
   •	 Abduction of political opponents                    election legislation, in particular aimed at preventi-
   •	 Use of brutal methods during their arrest,          on of public mass gathering.
       detentions and imprisonment                             Censorship in culture deprives well-known artis-
   •	 Brutal dispersal of peaceful mass demonstra-        tic figures in Belarus of their audiences.
       tions                                                   Belarus is arguably the most striking case of
   •	 Criminal persecution of businessmen and             failed democracy in Europe and successful restorati-
       managers                                           on of the Soviet past.
                                                                                                                   Andrei Sannikov
   •	 Increased fines and administrative arrests for           The independent press virtually ceased to exist
       political activism                                 with over fifty independent papers closed and few
   •	 Long prison terms for civic and political leaders   remaining having to deal with constant pressure
       (from 3 months to 5 years)                         from the authorities
   •	 Stronger repression against the youth (expel-            II. For the eventual success of democracy it
       ling from universities, recruitment attempts by    requires a strong emphasis on democratic principles
       the secret police, arrests, pressure on parents)   and values.
   •	 Complete monopoly and censorship regarding               For the international community it is important
       mass media with the goal of eliminating inde-      to maintain the level of attention that was achieved
       pendent media                                      during the election, since the absence of attention
   •	 Strengthened control over political parties and     will be used by the regime for even more repression.
       NGOs through introduction of tougher laws on            The civil society in Belarus managed to establish
       their activities                                   very important ties with international civil society
   •	 Application of Criminal code for political per-     primarily through the Belarus Solidarity campaign.
       secution                                           It was launched in 2006 when on the 16th of every
                                                          month there were protest demonstrations in support
                                                                                                                                     13
                                                             not only attacks all sources of independent informa-
                                                             tion but also prevents the outside assistance in this
                                                             area. However the recent efforts to launch a media
                                                             project outside Belarus didn’t prove to be effective.
                                                                 For the international community it is important
     of freedom in Belarus. It was widely supported by       to maintain the level of attention that was achieved
     the countries in EU and others, such as US, Nor-        during the election, since the absence of attention
     way and Ukraine, and today it has become a truly        will be used by the regime for more repression.
     international Belarus Solidarity Day. Through this          At the same time the democratic legitimacy of
     campaign the civil society in Belarus managed to        the opposition should be upheld.
     keep the attention to the situation in the country on
                                                             The Third sector in Ukraine
     a high level and to expand the advocates of changes
                                                             Kostya Kvurt
     in Belarus both in the country and outside.
         Today it is important to be as strong on prin-           Ukraine’s path towards democracy will be of
     ciples of democracy as regards the relations with       declarative character with no practical results if the
     Belarus as was the case with Poland and other East      role of the third sector in the society stays neglected.
     European countries in Soviet times.                     Intentions to develop civil society will be unachie-
     Priorities                                              vable if only the first sector – the state itself and all
         The main priority for the democratic forces insi-   its institutions and the second or commercial sector
     de the country and for the international democratic     will be a focal point of the on-going transformatio-
     community should be the release of all political        nal process.
     prisoners and stopping of repression in general. It           The third sector does not play as significant a
     could be achieved only through a mass campaign          role in Ukraine as it should due to its being not de-
     both inside the country and outside.                    veloped enough. The reasons for that are diversified.
         The absence of objective information still re-      The most meaningful of them are: deep confronta-
     mains the major problem in Belarus and the regime       tion with state authorities, lack of state funding, no
14
strong cooperation among entities representing the      es, take the commercial sector under the loop and
third sector, lack of public attention and coverage     identify its needs. This is what the administrative
in the media. Mainly decisions are imperatively         management is lacking.
imposed from the top. No understanding of the                NGOs always illustrate the level of democratiza-
importance of the third sector still makes the poli-    tion of a country. The third sector is not represented
tical decision process non-effective. Moreover the      exceptionally by NGOs. Activities of other organiza-
state authorities seem to keep and strengthen their     tions such as political parties, religious organizations,
exclusive and dominant position in political decisi-    trade unions are regulated by certain laws and re-
on making. The third sector is not considered as an     gulatory legal acts of Ukraine. Ukrainian legislation
adequate partner in the political decision making       foresees the simplified registration process of NGOs.       Kostya Kvurt

process but like an instrument for cultivation of       Governing bodies of NGOs, their responsibilities and
pluralism in the society that has nothing to do with    reporting procedure are distinguished in detail. Also
creating a positive legal environment.                  they are granted with some tax privileges. Notwi-
    Recently Ukraine is experiencing the lack of        thstanding, legislative basis needs improvement.
qualitatively new administrative management. And        In particular, under the law NGOs are not allowed
even all rotations since 2004 didn’t live up to the     to accomplish commercial activities. It makes NGOs
expectations of management quality improvement.         often attract additional financial sources to survive
Administrative management stays not innovations-        rather than to direct their efforts on projects that
oriented and non-flexible. That is why cooperation      may be more relevant for the society.
between the state authorities and NGOs would be              Outside funding of Ukrainian NGOs prevails in
very appreciated from the point of view of informa-     big cities. But Ukrainian financial resources for NGOs
tion and knowledge exchange. NGOs experts may           are more significant in the regions of the country.
serve as a link between the state and the society.      Very often foreign donors assist mere replication of
They are professionals producing new ideas, theories    American or European experience without taking
and concepts. They observe the development of           into consideration Ukrainian reality. In particular, it
the society integratively, recognize social tendenci-   relates to anticorruption programs carried out by
                                                                                                                                   15
     donor organizations, which do not consider achieve-         es, health, problems of women and children. Besides
     ments of Ukrainian experts in this field. In this relati-   they are not free from political influences. According
     on, the experience of the Central European countries        to their political priorities NGOs may be divided into
     in developing the third sector is more valuable for         the following groups: EU-oriented, Asia-oriented
     Ukraine. Especially of those countries which may            (mainly pro-Russian orientation), NGOs with pure
     share experience in transition from a non-democratic        communistic orientation, NGOs with no clear foreign
     society to liberal and market-oriented democracy.           orientation, but with strong preference in values of
     PAUCI [The Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundati-           market democracy, NGOs concentrated on lobbying
     on] may serve as a vivid and successful example. This       national interests.
     organization seeks to enhance cross-border disse-                By now more than 30000 of NGOs exist in Ukra-
     mination of knowledge and help to develop civil             ine according to data of the Centre for innovations
     society in Ukraine.                                         and development; in 2000 approximately 27000
          The majority of NGOs are not presented homo-           NGOs existed in Ukraine or 25000 according to other
     geneously all over Ukraine and located mainly in the        sources. This number is up considerably from the ap-
     capital city and cultural-historical and industrial cen-    proximately 12000 NGOs registered in 1996 and the
     ters as Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, etc. This is the reason     nearly 300 in 1991. The greatest number of NGOs
     for irregular development of civil society in Ukraine.      is registered during election campaigns. Approxi-
     Supported by Lviv municipal state administration so-        mately 14% of all NGOs are located in Kyiv. Such
     cial-humanitarian consortium “Geneza” is planning           concentration of NGOs in one city does not obviously
     to start the project aimed at defining NGOs influ-          add to the development of civil society in regions of
     ence index in Lviv region. Such local initiatives are of    the country. According to the data of the network
     great importance for NGOs-related data gathering.           of analytical centres of Ukraine as of February 2005
     One more peculiarity is the diversity of spheres they       there are about 60 (155) think tanks in Ukraine.
     are represented in. There are less NGOs specialized              In addition to what has been noted before, it
     in scientific-technical sphere compared to other. The       should be mentioned that people of Ukraine are not
     majority of NGOs focus on education, economic issu-         politically indifferent, but so far not very actively
16
involved in the third sector. The Ukrainians do not         Ukraine, may play another very important role. Un-
realize all options proposed to them by the third sec-      der circumstances of non-sufficient development of
tor to influence personally decision making on both         the third sector, media may not only encourage the
national and local levels. The only period of visible       development of the third sector and evoke public
intensive cooperation between government and so-            discussions therefore, but also keep people informed
ciety are elections. The matter is that it is an illusion   regarding decisions vital for the society and taken
of cooperation. Just an attempt to address the needs        without involvement of the third sector.
of the society in the last moment in exchange for                  The third sector of Ukraine is being developed.
political loyalty. Such extraordinary attention during      The number of NGOs is numerous and their potenti-
pre-election period is artificial. It serves as a cover     al is great. To have their potential implemented, first
for constant ignorance and lack of general profound         and foremost the gap between the state authorities
attention to social needs.                                  and NGOs should be finally bridged.
     Importance of media in this connection is obvi-
ous. Currently publications about activities of NGOs
in general but rather about their non-effectiveness
appear in mass media rarely. More often this topic is
simply ignored. On the other hand, NGOs still have
no tradition to inform media about their activities
regularly. So far their cooperation with media is still
fragmentary. In self-promoting NGOs go different
ways either organizing PR-campaigns, publishing
press-releases or holding press-conferences, estab-
lishing periodicals. Closer cooperation with media
may break social isolation of NGOs; promote the
practice of social hearings that are in the process of
being established. Media, that is censorship-free in
                                                                                                                      17
  VISDP: Susanne Drake
81a Avenue Jan Stobbaerts
      1030 Brussels
         Belgium


  Tel.: + 32 2 215 79 08
  Fax: + 32 2 245 62 97
 e-mail: drake@ifias.net


      www.ifias.net

				
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