As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., Peace Direct and the Alliance for Peacebuilding are launching a new effort to lift up and support local peacebuilding in the United States. Our new U.S. section of Peace Direct’s global online website, Peace Insight, is an interactive map that includes information about groups working for peace across the U.S.
The crises that are on the horizon for the Zimbabwean people seem much more urgent than any planned electoral process, and it is hard to see how the country can keep functioning until 2018 when the next election is scheduled. The death of Mugabe or a popular uprising seem more likely catalysts for a change in government – we can only hope that either of those pass with minimal violence and usher in a more democratic and responsible successor.
As a child Benjamin lost his family in the Burundian civil war. He grew up with anger and hatred, and at 12 years old joined a rebellion as a child soldier. At the beginning of this year, Benjamin attended a local campaign promoting tolerance and reconciliation. He sat in a room with those he called enemies, something he never thought possible. Now Benjamin wants to work to make Burundi a peaceful country, with opportunities for young people to thrive.
A crisis lasting more than one year in Burundi has seen violence and alarming human right violations across the country. Some estimate that over 800 people have been killed, and more than a quarter of a million have fled the country. In a conflict that has torn communities apart and destroyed social relations, building trust among young people is crucial for Burundi’s future.
Burundi’s people have shown before their resilience and ability to recover after the most tragic periods of violence, and the country can still pull back from the current crisis. If it does, it will be down to the work of brave Burundians who find ways to continue to work for peace in the most difficult of circumstances.
For many living in war-torn DR Congo, access to fast and effective justice is rare. Local disputes over land, farming or marriage can quickly escalate to wider violence that feeds into complex local conflicts. This leaves people without ways of resolving their conflicts peacefully and can entrench dangerous cycles of violence. Here, FOCHI’s Peace Courts are having a big impact for people on the ground.