Peacebuilding: Reconciliation and Reconstruction

Eyewitnesses of the Rwandan genocide dance and sing at an event for trauma and conflict prevention

To secure a last­ing peace, it is not enough to end overt vio­lence. If the under­lying causes of the con­flict are not re­moved, vio­lence can flare up again at any time. Re­con­struc­tion must there­fore start in people's minds. Ger­many sup­ports the res­to­ra­tion of de­vasta­ted infra­struc­ture and the de­ve­lop­ment of state struc­tures. The aim is to build the state’s capa­ci­ties to re­sume its proper func­tions vis-à-vis its citizens.

It is rarely appropriate when doing so to re-establish the old structures unchanged. In most cases, a new start is essential, for the old institutions and infrastructure often reflect the inequitable distribution of resources and power which must be overcome. Germany therefore also works within the political framework, e.g. by advising governments on long-term reforms of the state and the justice system.

At the same time, the BMZ supports the work of truth and human rights commissions, judicial processes to deal with war crimes, reconciliation projects, and programmes which provide psycho­lo­gical support and counselling for victims of war or facilitate the reintegration of ex-combatants. A particular challenge is the reintegration into society of female ex-combatants and women and children who have been forcibly recruited into the armed forces or militia. The participation of all conflict parties is crucial here, in order to create stable peace constituencies.

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