Conflict Transformation

Through the years Religions for Peace has amassed a record of successful engagement in a number of conflict areas, including: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the Mano River and Great Lakes African sub-regions, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, and Syria.

Religions for Peace’s network leaders and representatives are well connected through their widely-spread constituencies and have firsthand knowledge of local conflicts. As such, Religions for Peace’s conflict transformation strategy focuses on equipping religious leaders to mobilize people in their own communities to participate in peace building activities, demonstrate that religions can be positive forces for peace and reconciliation and implement concrete programs that create a new atmosphere for peaceful coexistence.

Sierra Leone

From the beginning of the crisis in Sierra Leone, the Religions for Peace Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) successfully facilitated communication among various rebel factions, contributing to the rebel’s ability to be a viable party to the peace process. The IRCSL’s ability to represent a unified voice of collaboration among the nations’ religious communities led directly to the conflict’s resolution and helped keep society from fracturing. Religions for Peace’s vital role during the peace negotiation prepared the IRCSL delegation to be a powerful force for post-conflict peacebuilding, which resulted in a long-term commitment to building civil society in the nation.

Bosnia

Following the Dayton Accords, the RfP Inter-religious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina (IRC-BiH) worked with the conflicting parties, civil society, and the government to begin the reconciliation process and build an inclusive and pluralist state. IRC-BiH facilitated communications across religious communities, served as a liaison between the religious communities and the many international NGOs working in the post-conflict environment and provided a venue for regular engagements with the government. Over time, the IRC’s working committees also addressed issues of security and economic development. Among other outcomes, the IRC-BiH advocated for religious freedom and helped to draft the national law on civil society organizations, which eventually passed in 2004, as part of the country’s reconstruction.

Syria

As violence escalated in Syria, Religions for Peace convened a wide range of Syrian religious leaders on several occasions. The convergences presented a unified resolve from the religious leaders to prevent sectarian violence, advance reconciliation and provide strategic humanitarian assistance. Through the years, in addition to providing a safe meeting space to the Syrian leaders from diverse religious traditions, Religions for Peace has been supporting their efforts to provide assistance to the Syrian people, including providing much-needed food and supplies to internally displaced populations, establishing safe havens for children, and building trust between diverse populations.