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Nonviolent Peaceforce Urges Budget Negotiators to Consider Civilian Peacekeepers As Cost-Effective Means of Solving Conflicts - 26 July 2011

Date: July 9, 2011

July 26, 2011 — Minneapolis, MN

In a letter to President Obama and federal officials involved in the current budget stalemate, Nonviolent Peaceforce urged our leaders to look at a new, highly effective means of responding to global violence and conflict that would entail great savings. According to Mel Duncan, co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce and the letter’s author, “In some conflict situations around the world, it makes sound strategic sense to use teams of unarmed international civilian peacekeepers to protect civilians and prevent violence.’’

“Because it focuses on and addresses root causes of violence, unarmed civilian peacekeeping carried out by trained professionals effectively resolves long-standing conflicts and makes durable peace possible,” added Duncan.

Unarmed civilian peacekeepers are cost-effective compared to armed peacekeepers. Unlike the latter, they live among the civilians they work to protect, not in separate military compounds. Armed troops engaged in military intervention require far more infrastructure and costly equipment than unarmed peacekeepers.


Unarmed, international, non-partisan peacekeepers protect and facilitate local efforts to find nonviolent solutions to conflict. In Sri Lanka, the Philippines and the Republic of South Sudan, such peacekeepers are proving their worth in lives saved, communities protected and civilians empowered to play a significant in their own safety.

It is time to take a good, hard look at the cost-effectiveness of our military spending and face the fact that our investment has not paid off as envisioned. Certainly, it has not paid off for the growing numbers of civilians devastated by conflict. As a world leader, it is time America sought new approaches toward making the world safer for civilians who bear the brunt of violence and all the hardship it entails.

Unarmed civilian peacekeeping truly fosters long-term stability, and present conditions offer the opportunity for true reform. According to the World Development Report of 2011, 1.5 billion people live in countries with recurring violence. None of those countries has achieved even one of the goals set forth under the Millennium Development initiative.

Even shifting a small fraction of the Pentagon budget to support international, unarmed, civilian peacekeeping could generate significant savings in military and international development costs. It is time for the world to shift to a violence-prevention paradigm focused on civilian protection, and our great nation can lead the way.


Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) deploys professionally trained, paid unarmed civilian peacekeepers to protect civilians under acute threat of violence. Countries with current deployments include Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Southern Sudan with explorations under way in South Caucasus and Kyrgyzstan.


Mel Duncan, Director of Advocacy and Outreach   
[email protected]

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