OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Human and Civil Rights Organizations

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Literally thousands of local, national, and international organizations have been formed to defend human and civil rights of people around the world.  These "NGOs"--nongovernmental organizations--primarily rely on the power of the integrative system and persuasion to try to prevent human rights abuses, and to try to do what they can to mitigate their effects after they have occurred.  For instance,   they try to publicize human rights abuses so that the international community will pressure the perpetrators to stop their behavior.  They encourage massive letter-writing campaigns, the imposition of boycotts and/or sanctions against perpetrators, and other forms of nonviolent action to try to discourage further abuse from occurring.  Other civil rights organizations engage in protective accompaniment--providing neutral observers to accompany people at risk of abuse during their high risk activities--or all the time--to protect them from killing, kidnapping, or other violence.

The broader worldwide movement to establish  universal principles of  human rights and fairness is part of a large scale collective security effort. While agreement on many of these principles remains extremely elusive, the progress that has been made has done much to advance the cause of justice and peace.

Other NGOs provide humanitarian assistance to people in need--for instance, they provide food, clothing, housing, and medical care for refugees who have fled war zones, or for people in countries plagued by famine or disaster.  Sometimes humanitarian NGOs get involved in peacebuilding efforts as well, although it is important that the goals and strategies of the organizations remain clear, and that relief workers know what they are doing and what the effects of their actions are likely to be.  When their goals are unclear, or they try to work in areas in which they do not have expertise, they can actually cause more harm than good, contributing to the continuation of human rights abuses or a war, for example, instead of helping to end it.

Links to Examples of the Work of Human and Civil Rights Organization

Rebuilding Communities Devastated by War
This article describes several NGO peacebuilding projects operating on the community level in Bosnia.
Bruce Hemmer -- Bottom-up Peace Building in Bosnia
This article describes several other NGO peacebuilding projects in Bosnia.
Bringing Croats and Muslims Together
This is a short article describing NGO peacebuilding activities in the Balkans.
Sustaining Peace in Angola
This article describes the NGO role in Angola and the limitations the political situation places on peacebuilding activities there.
Mohamed Sahnoun -- Managing Conflicts in the Post-Cold War Era
This article examines military and humanitarian interventions in communal conflicts. Sahnoun compares official peacebuilding with NGO efforts, observing that NGOs can often be more successful at peacebuilding because they are more flexible in the kinds of activities they can undertake.
Pamela Aall -- Nongovernmental Organizations and Peacemaking
This article discusses four roles that NGOS play in the peacemaking process: humanitarian relief, monitoring of human rights abuses, providing early warning of potentially violent conflicts, and conflict resolution. While NGOs can be effective in all four of these areas, Aall warns that each of the four activities must be kept separate to be effective.

Links to Outside Sources of Information

International Guide To NGO Activities in Conflict Prevention and Resolution - December 1996

US Institute of Peace Special Report-The U.S. Contribution to Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution in Africa

NGOs and the Peace Process in Angola--United States Institute of Peace - Special Report

Swazi Christians hold peace workshops for Hutu and Tutsi refugees

Alberto L'Abate--Non-Violent Interposition in Armed Conflicts


Links to Related Sections

Coalition Building

Truth Commissions

Flight (Refugees)

Collective Security

NGO Peacebuilding

NGO Humanitarian Aid

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu