Mediation in Africa
Just as I am beginning to settle back into my bourgeois American lifestyle, I wake up this morning to find this article in the Times on a Ghanaian chief who spends most of his year in New York overseeing a taxi operation with his wife.
Richard Salem shares his experience training local leaders in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide, as well as helping to draft a book of chilren's drawings from the genocide.
Chris Moore shares his opinion on how world conflict has gone down in some arenas, but in others it has not, as new issues for dispute resolution have arisen. Also, he describes how the field has been more effective at the grassroots level than at a global level.
Chris Moore's account of CDR's work in South Africa during the apartheid and anti-apartheid movement. Moore describes working with employers and conducting workshops for different South African groups.
The Chief Justice of the Ghana Supreme Court reported that mediation has developed rapidly and gained popularity and acceptance in recent years within Ghana. Court-connected mediation programs were begun in 2005 and currently operate in 41 district courts across the country, providing better outcomes with less time and money. In 2008, the Accra mediation program succeeded in about half the cases sent to mediation by the court. The Chief Justice’s remarks were delivered at the dedication of an ADR Centre at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, which is the first of its kind in the country. The new ADR Centre is to offer dispute resolution services for management and staff at the corporation using 75 trained mediators from within the company.
All Africa (February 20, 2009) (Subscription Required)
Two Pittsburgh attorneys use their skills as mediators to help Liberian refugees and former child soldiers.
Namibian society can be characterized as a patriarchy. Women are not treated equally and experience discrimination at all levels of society, especially in the family. Spousal abuse and domestic violence is openly acknowledged as “a widespread and serious problem.” Constitutionally there is gender equality and discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited. However existing laws, customs and practices operate to constrain the full realization of the constitution's noble aspirations. There is general acceptance that the substantive aspects of the law of marriage and divorce are in need of reform. But what about the procedural reform? Divorce mediation is one possibility. In 1999 the Legal Assistance Center (LAC) in Namibia, commissioned me to write a paper on the procedural aspects of the law of divorce and how it can be reformed. This extract, which reflects the legal landscape of that time, focuses on the scope of divorce mediation.
Botswana’s chief justice announced a new judicial case management system, which includes court-annexed mediation, in order to reduce attorney control over cases and shift the focus to the interests of parties and the delivery of justice. To reduce the huge backlog of cases, judges will intervene earlier to control civil cases, and direct cases to mediation when appropriate. The initiative, co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, the U.S. Embassy in Botswana and the Botswana government, is bringing experienced American judges to work with local judges.
AllAfrica (July 24, 2007)
Kristof in today's Times: '“We see war coming,” Mr. Nkunda said, and he pulled out his laptop to show a map indicating that various government-backed forces are being dispatched to attack him. He added: “The only reply to war and ammunition is war and ammunition.”
I told him — a bit nervously — that such tribalism and fighting has torn apart a country that should be one of Africa’s richest. But Mr. Nkunda, who quotes Gandhi, emphasized that what counts here is simply force. “You go by...
Mediation has led to resolution of many intractable armed conflicts in Africa during the past two decades, despite the regular news of ongoing violence. Most civil wars in Africa have ended with negotiated settlements achieved through mediation. Efforts to learn what has worked and improve future mediations are under way at a conference of over thirty senior individuals experienced in mediation in Africa. The “Mediators’ Retreat” is being held the week of April 23 in Zanzibar by the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation and Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, with support from the government of Norway. Seeking to strengthen Africa’s mediation capacity, the conference plans to examine and provide insight into current mediations, ongoing conflicts and post-conflict situations in Africa.
AllAfrica.com (April 26, 2007)(Subscription Required); Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation; Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue
The Mediation Training Institute of Nigeria completed a mediation training program in Johannesburg, South Africa, and plans to conduct additional programs this year in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Other MTI trainings are conducted around the world. MTI noted the serious need for mediation and press attention in Nigeria due to ongoing crises.
AllAfrica.com (February 14, 2007) (Subscription Required)
The New Zealand Human Rights Commission illustrated the success of its dispute resolution program – which since 2002 has focused on mediation – by detailing a number of cases, one of which resolved claims against an airline by a Muslim religious leader who was removed from a plane as a security risk for spending ten minutes in the toilet in ritual ablutions before take off. The airline ultimately gave the cleric a written apology and financial compensation for missing his presentation at an overseas conference, and instituted cultural awareness training and other changes to prevent recurrences. Overall, the Commission reported that discrimination complaints are up 11% over the previous year.
New Zealand Herald (December 9, 2006)
U.S. Ninth Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace stated recently in Pakistan that he believes use of mediation is consistent with the requirements of the Koran. Discussing difficulties facing judiciaries around the world, Judge Wallace emphasized mediation and its success in most of the 50-60 countries in which he has worked. Judge Wallace noted the potential for mediation in Pakistan and praised Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justice Jillani for his promotion of alternative dispute resolution.
Pakistan Link (August 14, 2006)
(1/03/05)Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
Both the direct and indirect human cost of violent conflict in Eastern and Central Africa have been tremendous: the failure of military interventions, the lasting negative impact on communities and the high cost of peace keeping operations and reconstruction indicate that a fundamental shift from reaction to conflict prevention is necessary for the promotion of peace and development.
In the recent letter, a citizen has raised several important points regarding the war in Iraq. Noting that the U.S. essentially is fighting the war alone, without allies, this person suggested that “mediation is the only channel which will allow the U.S. to gain support with former allies and end this daily slaughter of human life.” Let’s follow the order of the elements mentioned in turn: mediation, support of former allies, and ending the war.
The collapse of one sort of governmental infrastructure needs to be replaced with another, and the sooner, the better. Now is the time to introduce collaborative conflict resolution and arbitral conflict adjudication into the post-armed conflict re-construction cultures of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Review by Ampie Muller
(Durban: Accord, 1997)
The writing in this little book briefly covers the history of the Rwandan Genocide, profiles of some of the children and hopes for the future. But the real story is in the pictures Dr. Raundalen, another psychiatrist, reflects that a traumatized child will have difficulty contributing to building a peaceful society with democratic institutions.
(7/26/99)George E. Irani
In assessing the applicability of Western-based conflict resolution models in non-Western societies, theoreticians and practitioners alike have begun to realize the importance of being sensitive to indigenous ways of thinking and feeling, as well as to local rituals for managing and reducing conflicts.
(8/17/98) Western Justice Center
A team of mediation experts from
Western Justice Center is helping South Africa create a public
policy dispute resolution capability based on the Statewide
Office of Mediation (SOM) model that has been widely adopted in