A member of IC-FOR travels to Sri Lanka to visit the field sites of the Nonviolent Peaceforce pilot project.
In October, 2005, Linda Dunn, one of the founding members of the Inland Communities chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, traveled with other Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) Advocates to Sri Lanka to meet with NP staff in the capitol of Colombo and to stay for a brief time at a field station on the East Coast in the area of conflict. She can provide a 30 to 60 minute program which includes a 13 minute professionally produced DVD that gives an overview of NP and a 15 minute power point presentation about the Advocate trip to Sri Lanka with 50 photos of the people and places most affected by the ongoing civil war. She has materials on NP for distribution. The presentation can be tailored to meet the interests and time limitations of the sponsoring group. Donations to NP are accepted but not required. Linda can be reached at 951/682-5364 or on line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overview of the Nonviolent Peaceforce:
The Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) is an unarmed peacekeeping force composed of trained, paid civilians from around the world. In partnership with local groups, Nonviolent Peaceforce members apply proven nonviolent strategies to protect human rights, deter violence, and help create space for local peacemakers to carry out their work.
Conceived in 1999 at the Hague Appeal for Peace and born at the convening event in Delhi in 2002, NP is a federation of 93 Member Organizations* from around the world that is endorsed by 8 Nobel Peace Laureates. Member Organizations elect the 15-member International Governance Counsel, who represent 12 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East. The staff of 50 professionals hails from 19 countries.
NP launched a project in Sri Lanka in 2003 at the invitation of, and in partnership with, local groups. As of the end of 2005, thirty paid field team members from 16 countries were working at four sites in the North and East of this island nation, in the primary areas of conflict. The fact that NP pays field team members enables the recruitment of qualified, dedicated people from both the global South as well as the global North, an important advancement that ensures the involvement of people with a broad base of experience and representation from all parts of the world.
More than 64,000 people have been killed and 1.6 million displaced in the civil war that has ravaged Sri Lanka since 1983. It was hoped that the December 2004 tsunami might result in the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the Government putting aside their differences but the temporary lull in fighting has recently (December 2005) been broken.
Field team members accompany civil society activists, provide a protective presence in villages and at public events, monitor demonstrations and other volatile situations, connect people to resources, link local leaders with authorities and community based organizations, help ensure equitable distribution of tsunami relief, and facilitate the release, protection, and reintegration of child soldiers.
NP plans to deploy newly hired and trained field team workers in Mindanao ( Philippines), the Sudan and Columbia in 2006.
People seeking additional information may find it at www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org.
*NOTE: Both the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation are member organizations of the Nonviolent Peaceforce. In October, 2005 IC-FOR sponsored a number of presentations by Hindolo Pokawa, a member of the NP Governance Council from Sierra Leone, Africa.