Sustaining Peace in Angola
By Peace Watch
This Article Summary written by: Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: "Sustaining Peace in Angola," in PeaceWatch, vol. II, no. 3 (April 1996) p. 5.
PeaceWatch reports on David Smock and John Prendergast's visit to Angola. These scholars examined possible roles for NGOs in that country's ongoing peace process, and the difficulties that NGOs face in Angola. Smock notes that "typically, practitioners, scholars, and parties to a conflict give little attention to mending broken relationships and rebuilding societies."[p. 5] However, this sort of reconciliation is crucial to the successful implementation of high-level peace agreements. NGOs can play a valuable role in the reconciliation process by supporting training and development programs, by offering training and education in mediation, by training journalists and by providing policy analysis to insure that new governmental policies continue to promote reconciliation. NGOs should attempt local, joint programs which bring together individuals form the opposing sides. They could also use the media to promote peace. These sorts of NGO activities are hindered in Angola. The Angolan economy and civil society have been largely destroyed, and the nation is divided into opposing territories. Free movement between the territories is prohibited. Freedom of expression and assembly are also restricted. For these reasons, international NGOs operating in Angola have confined their activities to one side's territory. Smock and Prendergast point out that freedom of movement, assembly and expression must be re-established in order for NGO's to more effectively promote reconciliation and rebuild Angolan civil society.