Analyzing specific countries, we want to figure out why violence did not escalate despite high potential to do so, focusing in particular on the role of the security apparatus. The first case study was used to develop and refine our expectations on why this might be the case. These expectations informed the three subsequent case studies.
Chile's transition from repressive military regime to secure democracy
In our first case study we focus on a country that experienced widespread repression, also perpetrated by irregular forces, but then managed to establish good human rights records and that did not suffer from an armed conflict for at least a decade. We use Chile as our case study since it suffered extensive repression under Pinochet, but then turned into a democracy with good human rights records and, particularly compared to its neighbours, low crime rates.
In the 1988 referendum, the Chilean electorate voted against extending Pinochet's role as president and in 1989 Patricio Aylwin of the Concertación was elected president. Why did the military not step in to turnover the outcome of the referendum or the elections? Why did the division among society between pro- and anti-military supporters not lead to violence between them? How did the shadow of the military shape the behaviour of the new government? What compromises were made, for example on how to treat previous human rights violations, to avoid a resurgence of violence?
We carried out interviews with many individuals from different positions that were involved in the transition in Chile in October 2015. A paper based on our findings will be posted shortly.
Perception of peace in post-war societies
Based on our quantitative research and our first case study, we designed three case studies to assess how the re-escalation of conflict could be prevented and how the nature and quality of post-conflict peace is perceived by society. Generating new survey data, supplemented with semi-structure interviews, we investigate how the media and armed forces shape these perceptions in Georgia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
In our surveys, we asked about 2,000 respondents in each country to assess the general political stability of the country and what they see as potential threats to this stability and to personal security and peace. We are particularly interested in how the respondents view the relationship between different groups in society, and how they judge the effectiveness of state security forces and the role of the media in maintaining peace and stability in the country.
The cases: Georgia, Nepal and Sri Lanka
The three cases, Georgia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, represent very different post-conflict situations, while sharing some key characteristics. All conflicts ended roughly a decade ago. All three countries experienced different degrees of respect for basic human rights and civil liberties since then. But the conflicts and their settlement differ widely.
Georgia experienced a short international war with Russia, which has still not yet led to a peace agreement. Sri Lanka and Nepal endured longer and more deadly civil wars. The conflict in Sri Lanka ended with a victory of the government over the Tamil Tigers. In Nepal a peace deal between several political parties and the Maoist guerrillas brought the war to an end.
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