‘Engaging with radical groups in conflicts: What can we accomplish through dialogue?”

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

Pages from HD-Oslo-Forum-2014The Report of the Oslo Form 2014 has just been published on the theme of ‘engaging with radical groups’. The Oslo Forum is a high-level international network of conflict mediation practitioners which is co-hosted by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It features an annual event in Oslo which convenes conflict mediators, peacemakers, high level decision makers and key peace process actors to discuss a single overarching theme.

This year the participants discussed the question of whether talking to extremists advances or hampers the quest for peace. In doing so, they focused on several country case studies that included Colombia, Syria, CAR, Iran, Nigeria and the Philippines. There were also several roundtable discussions on subjects such as the state of democracy in the Arab world, preventing violence in popular uprisings, whether ‘national dialogues’ are a reliable tool for building sustainable peace and the role of third party mediators in dealing with the deepening sectarian rifts in the Arab world. The report contains a detailed record of these discussions and a list of participants.

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