Sango, Tonson J.
Amnesty: A Yard-stick Towards the Resolution of Internal Conflict.
In: 1st Women for Peace International Conference, 27 September 2009.
The deepest level of Conflict Resolution is considered to have been attained when positive peace and development are restored to communities experiencing violent social conflicts. However the complexity of the nature of internal conflicts in contemporary times has generated confusion about both the factors that cause such conflicts; and about the best approaches to resolving and transforming such conflicts into a positive change for the society. The first section explains the difference between three levels of Conflict Resolution namely; conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation. The second part explores the legal and political dimensions of the concept of amnesty and how it has been a crucial tool for reconciliation, restoration of trust and confidence-building amongst disputing parties in civil conflicts. Examples are drawn from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa as well as the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme in Nigeria. The last part argues that amnesty plays a vital role in providing a way out of deadlocked relationships between conflicting parties, where communication has broken down, trust has been eroded, polarised positions have been solidified and violence has become a viable option. However achieving the deepest level of conflict resolution still requires a step further from amnesty, into constructive dialogue and collaborative problem solving until the root causes of violent protracted social conflicts are resolved.
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