Basque Country: Looking into the future with the “rights” perspective

111017_declaracion_aieteFrancisco Franco, who ruled Spain with an iron fist for nearly forty years until his death in November 1975, enjoyed visiting the Basque city of San Sebastian every summer. He used to choose the Aiete Palace for his stay, where he met with ambassadors, chaired governmental meetings and did the sort of things dictators normally do in the performance of their functions.

About three decades after his death, the local council took the ironic yet wise decision of setting up an institute for peace and human rights in the very same venue where Franco spent so many nights. On 17 October 2011, Kofi Annan, Bertie Ahern, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Pierre Joxe, Gerry Adams and Jonathan Powell met there with key political, economic and social stakeholders. After the meeting, they issued a declaration calling upon the pro-independence armed group ETA to cease definitively all armed action and requesting both ETA and the Spanish and French Governments to agree to talk about the “consequences of the conflict”. Three days later, ETA called a “definitive cessation” to its 40-year campaign of shootings, bombings and personal threats. Continue reading “Basque Country: Looking into the future with the “rights” perspective”


The Nobel Peace Prize to the EU: An assessment

I was driving when I first heard about the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union. It was Friday morning and I was listening to the radio in the car. They interviewed Javier Solana, formerly known as “Mr PESC”, the person in charge of common EU foreign and security policy between 1999 and 2009. He could barely hide his excitement. His assessment was that the award was entirely deserved: The EU and its predecessors (the European Communities) are the reason why Europe has left the continuum of bloodshed behind. In Solana’s view, in this time of Euro-crisis (both financial and institutional), the Nobel Prize will strengthen the European identity, and this recognition will remind European leaders that their power increases when the ties among them get tighter. Continue reading “The Nobel Peace Prize to the EU: An assessment”

“Reintegration – Evolution or Revolution?”, by Salma Yusuf and Dominique Mystris


A focus on reintegration requires consideration of the economic, political and social aspects of the process. In addition to the broader definition of reintegration, it is proposed that any definition of ex-combatant should be broad enough to cover as many individuals involved and directly linked, as in the families of the combatants, to bring them back into the community.

In this paper, some of the challenges and obstacles to reintegration are considered, culminating in an analysis of best practices and recommendations to inform the work of practitioners, thereby complementing the ongoing discourse on reintegration of excombatants in post-war contexts. The obstacles and challenges to the reintegration process have been explored from four perspectives, namely, third party, ex-combatant, community and general. Continue reading ““Reintegration – Evolution or Revolution?”, by Salma Yusuf and Dominique Mystris”

“The role of human rights in peace-building”, by Salma Yusuf and Jennifer Woodham


The aim of this paper is to examine the contribution that human rights can make in terms of securing lasting peace in post-conflict societies. In particular, it aims to assess how human rights can deter civil unrest through the creation of a wide range of socio-economic opportunities, as well as a sense of belonging to the nation itself. Continue reading ““The role of human rights in peace-building”, by Salma Yusuf and Jennifer Woodham”