International Accompaniment for the Protection of Human Rights: Scenarios, Objectives and Strategies




Mahoney, Liam
Eguren, Luis Enrique

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School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution


“The processes of nonviolent conflict management, resolution, and transformation work best where state systems are democratic and/or have high levels of political, economic, and social legitimacy. Where regimes are controlled by military and paramilitary groups, they tend to believe that it is more efficient to rule by terror rather than persuasion. In these circumstances the opportunities for ‘normal’ adversarial politics, played according to widely accepted rules of the game, are minimal. State-sponsored terror and political repression force individuals, interest groups, and political parties to either withdraw from the political system or to engage in violent or nonviolent resistance. As General Iberico Saint-Jean stated during the first Argentinean military junta: First we will kill all the subvenives, then we will kill their collaborators, then their sympathies, then those who remain indifferent, and finally we will kill the timid. In fact, the politics of terror works normally not by mass killing (although it has a sobering effect on political expression!) but through a process of killing and torturing a few, raising the political stakes to unacceptably high levels and thereby intimidating the majority. The problem facing those seeking alternatives to the politics of terror is how to generate safe political action spaces while minimizing the risk of arbitrary arrest, torture, disappearance, or death. The construction of such action spaces is a prerequisite to nonviolent problem solving.”