In many cases a country’s armed forces are aligned with the more conservative social and political actors, and often perceive themselves as the guardians of national stability. However, this will sometimes lead to resistance among members of the military to political and social changes, including peace and reconciliation with informal armed groups.
The change from armed conflict to peace will inevitably lead to some fundamental changes in the military. What will be the armed forces’ main assignment when internal counter-insurgency is no longer needed? How will transitional justice affect soldiers and officers, or indeed the armed forces’ own self-identity and esprit de corps?
NOREF’s military dialogue programme creates a safe space for high-ranking officers to discuss sensitive issues regarding the peace process. It also provides a meeting place with actors whom members of the military have often associated with their opponent, including human rights organisations, journalists and politicians. International experts are brought in to provide fresh perspectives and expertise on issues such as transitional justice, security sector reform, gender and inclusivity.
NOREF started working on military dialogue in Colombia in 2014. The programme, in partnership with the Colombian organisation that runs it – Social Development Group – will continue as the peace deal with the FARC is implemented and the peace negotiations with the ELN proceed. The experience of the Colombia project is being shared with other processes NOREF is engaged in.
Project Manager: Marco Mezzera