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PIA Press Release

Expert tackles principles of peace mediation

By Bong Pedalino

Southern Leyte (9 October) -- A United Nations mediation expert, who has a vast experience in handling peace processes in various countries that battled rebel groups, discussed at length the guiding principles for mediation efforts his agency used to resolved armed conflicts.

Kelvin Ong, a senior political officer, Mediation Support Unit, Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations, detailed the six guiding principles during a lecture on "Comparative Peace Processes and their Relevance to Philippine Setting."

The lecture was held under the auspices of the Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, Second Distinguished Lecture, Series of 2009 at the Ateneo Law School Auditorium in Makati City on Wednesday last week.

The activity was co-sponsored by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Supreme Court, the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJA), and the Ateneo Law School, according to an OPAPP report received by PIA-Catbalogan forwarded to PIA-Southern Leyte by email.

Ong, despite his solid background as UN's peace messenger, admitted that the principles of UN mediation "are straightforward in theory but complex in application."

He stressed as a first principle that "a mediator must understand the real causes of conflict with all its complexities."

"Premium must be accorded to culture, tradition and national pride in all phases of the process, becuase every country and region of the world is unique, but there are also many transferable lessons and practices that can and should be looked up at and adapted to your local context," said Ong.

The other principles involved the resolution of the conflict earlier than later, resistance to being egoistical on the part of mediators, wide support for the mediation process, causes of conflict must be addressed, and implementation of a mutually agreed peace agreement.

All the six principles, however, must proceed in an atmosphere of good faith among conflicting parties, foster participatory consultation with affected sectors or stakeholders, and work towards a unified resolve to untangle key issues, Ong further said. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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