Civil Society, Conflicts and the Politicization of Human Rights

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This publicaton explores violence, conflict and peace. It focuses on the non-governmental component in ethno-political conflicts. Civil society actors, or conflict society organizations (CoSOs), are increasingly central in view of the complexity of contemporary ethno-political conflicts CoSOs are key players in ethno-political conflicts. Nevertheless, the precise relationships underpinning the human rights-civil society-conflict nexus have not been fully examined. This volume analyzes the impact of civil society on ethno-political conflicts through their human rights-related activities, and identifies the means to strengthen the complementarity between civil society and international governmental actors in promoting peace. These aims are addressed in case studies on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Turkey's Kurdish question, and Israel-Palestine.



Human rights, civil society and conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The specificity of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) civil society is determined by the country’s multiethnicity (with three dominant nationalities), by the important role played by religions (each identifying with one ethnic group: Orthodox Christianity with Serbs, Islam with Muslims and Catholicism with Croats) and by the hegemony of nationalist ideologies dominating BiH’s politics, society and cultures. This is the context within which this chapter aims at shedding light on BiH civil society, including its ambiguities and peculiarities. What emerges is the diversity of answers by civil society actors, confronted by not only the local political and military contexts, but also strong initiatives by the international community and European institutions. In this sense this chapter also provides input to the discussion on the European Union (EU) and civil society in the conflicthuman rights nexus, explored in depth in Chapter 9.


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