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Swiss-based NGO suggests solution for Mindanao conflicts

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An independent mediation organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland has suggested possible solutions to address conflicts in the troubled region in Southern Philippines.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) has suggested that consequences of violent conflict and security should be reduced and improved, respectively.

"All the stakeholders should also contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflict," David Gorman, Humanitarian Dialogue Mediation Advisor, said in an interview.

"We need to recognize the real situation on the ground. It is wise to resolve conflict through dialogue, not through weapon," Gorman added.

According to him, political agreement between the government and the MILF, better governance, economic growth, support to local communities and empowerment of people to resolve their conflicts are ingredients to resolving peace and order problem in Mindanao.

The HD Centre, which is active in a number of conflict resolution projects around the world, including the Darfur conflict, in Aceh between the Free Aceh Movement and the Government of Indonesia, the Geneva accord, Myanmar, the MNLF and MILF in the Philippines, and in Afghanistan, Burundi and Uganda among others,  held a two-day "Mediators' Retreat" at Azenith Royale Hotel, Zamboanga City from Sept. 22-24, 2011.

Its aim is to promote and facilitate dialogue among the leadership of the main belligerents. It also conducts research and analysis on mediation and peacemaking in support of the operational projects to improve international efforts to secure and sustain peace.

The HD Centre was setup and registered in 1999 as a Swiss Foundation. Its initial intention was to push the boundaries of humanitarian innovation by serving as a venue for dialogue on humanitarian issues - where discreet discussions could take place among those who could have a practical impact on humanitarian policy and practice.

Participants of the event including officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), local government units (LGU) spoke on success and failure stories on mediation. Mr. Gorman talked on the principles of dialogue in the international context: Worldwide experiences on the importance of dialogue.

An informal discussions with women mediators: Strenghts and weaknesses of women in mediation, lectures on Islamic perspective on mediation by a religious scholar, Tausug traditional conflict resolution practices, consolidation and compilation of good practices on identified clan conflict interventions/mediation, possible innovation: Good practices and trends in mediation of clan conflicts on their areas, as well as an informal discussions among men about women's role: Pros and Cons of women's involvement in mediation, and presentation of HD interventions in clan conlficts in Sulu: HD undertakings on ongoing and endorsed clan conflicts in 19 municipalities of Sulu were also conducted.

By Hader Glang



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