Disarmament, Demobilization, Reinsertion, & Reintegration: Case Studies
In the aftermath of civil unrest in Albania in 1997, the government requested that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) implement a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program. The project took place in the district of Gramsh, where there were an estimated 10,000 illegal weapons among a population of 50,000. With no readily identifiable military actors, the weapons collection program focused on collective incentives for individual weapon return. In a region of high unemployment levels, the program rewarded voluntary surrender of weapons with participation in community development projects. The largely labor-intensive infrastructure projects helped generate employment. The weapons for development approach was supported by local NGOs who advocated for the voluntary handover of arms through media campaigns. In sum, the programs success came from the linkage of DDR aims with means of assisting communities to meet their specific development needs.
Faltas, Sami and Wolf-Christian Paes, Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). ‘You Have Removed the Devil From Our Door’: An Assessment of the UNDP Small Arms and Light Weapons Control (SALWC) project in Albania, 30 October 2003.
During the program, each combatant received USD700 either in cash, training, or in form of reinsertion kit (cement, iron sheets, fishing kits, livestock, building tools, school fees, etc).7 The attraction of these financial benefits led to numerous cases of double-dipping where ex-combatants were registered in several centers under different names.8 It was also reported that individuals related to DDR officials, but who didnt meet the criteria of ex-combatant were enrolled in the DDR program. Monetarization of the process therefore led to predatory behavior.9 Furthermore, at the closure of the program in February 2007, when an assessment of the 7,553 beneficiaries was conducted, it was revealed that over 95% of the 3,577 individuals (representing 48% of the 7,553) who had chosen retail trade (petit commerce) and had been given cash, had failed in their businesses. This high failure rate was in strong contrast to the outcome for those who had chosen small-scale farming and who had been issued with livestock and not cash.10 The conflict affected areas in Central African Republic lack basic facilities such as clean water, infrastructure, medical facilities, and schools.11 Many observers noticed that the country and the individuals themselves would have benefited more from allocating some of DDR or other post-conflict reconstruction programs funds into improving programs that benefited the whole community such as education and training.12
For more information:
Alusala, Nelson. Rethinking DDR in Africa. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies, 7 September 2007.
Successes and Lessons Learned: The Ex-Combatant Reintegration and Community Support Project in the Central African Republic Draws to a Close. News & Noteworthy No. 4. Washington, DC: Multi-Country Program for Demobilization and Reintegration (MDRP), 19 February 2007.
Making a New Civilian Life: Interview with a Demobilized Combatant in the Central African Republic. News & Noteworthy No. 1. Washington, DC: Multi-Country Program for Demobilization and Reintegration (MDRP), 3 January 2007.
Human Rights Watch: Central African Republic
Multi-Country Program for Demobilization and Reintegration (MDRP): Central African Republic
Refugees International: Central African Republic
UNDP Centrafrique, Projet de Réinsertion des ex-combattants et dAppui aux Communautés (PRAC)
[Back to Top] 13 A comprehensive DDR program has yet to be implemented despite the significant distributions of weapons, and the presence of urban armed gangs and criminal groups and the urgency of the situation.14 The Security Council Resolution 1702 (2006) article 11 requested the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and donors to: reorient its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration efforts, to further that goal, towards a comprehensive community violence reduction program adapted to local conditions, including assistance for initiatives to strengthen local governance and the rule of law and to provide employment opportunities to former gang members, and at-risk youth, in close coordination with the Government of Haiti and other relevant actors, including the donor community.15 In response, the Government of Haiti, MINUSTAH and UNDP developed a new community security program.16
The new DDR approach takes into consideration that conditions for a traditional DDR program are not in place in Haiti. The new model focuses on human, economic and socio-cultural security under the responsibility of not only the State but different social actors. Locally, the community is a key partner in conflict management.17 Communities are supported to become able to identify and avoid threats to its members or offset the consequence of the occurrence of such threats.18 At the grassroots level, Committees for the Prevention of Violence and for Development (CPVD) were established to organize community members to actively participate and become partners to the National Police and local authorities. Committee members are selected in a democratic manner, and organized into smaller administrative areas known in urban areas as localities and as communes in the provinces.19 Under this program, the government negotiated with armed groups to disarm and end kidnappings, and in return pledged commitments and incentives in terms of reinsertion benefits. Although this was not considered formal DDR, it proved successful in reducing armed crimes, kidnapping and attacks on police and UN forces by more than 70%.20 MINUSTAH and the National Commission for Disarmament, Dismantlement and Reintegration organized reinsertion and community-based projects to facilitate the return of former gang members to their communities, reinforce local communities capacity to resolve conflicts peacefully, promote a culture of peace, assist victims of violence and support the creation of temporary employment. Several of the projects specifically target women, both as victims and as perpetrators of armed violence.21 The approach aimed to demilitarize communities as well as individuals. It is important to note that this was also made possible by a radical change of approach of UN peacekeepers, in net contrast with the successive military interventions since the early 1990s. MINUSTAH peacekeepers and CIVPOL (police) led regular forced operations in some neighborhood of the capital city to disarm the more violent gangs and arrest their leaders. This new strategy did not solve the insecurity problem overnight. Violence and prevalence of small arms among civilians continue to be serious concerns in Haiti.22 But this approach has encouraged voluntary surrender of weapons through a combination of deterrents, the provision of incentives, the creation of safe spaces, and meaningful local level dialogue.
For more information:
Muggah, Robert. Managing Post-Conflict Zones: DDR and Weapons Reduction. In Small Arms Survey Yearbook 2005: Weapons at War. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2005.
Muggah, Robert. Securing Haitis Transition: Reviewing Human Insecurity and the Prospects for Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, October 2005.
Spoiling Security in Haiti, Latin America/Caribbean Report No. 13. International Crisis Group, 31 May 2005.
United Nations. Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. S/2008/586 (27 August 2008).
United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1702, S/RES/1702 (2006).
UNDP. DDR Quarterly Report The Integrated DDR Section: UNDP - MINUSTAH 3rd Quarterly Report. (July-August-September, 2006).
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
UNDDR: Haiti Country Programme
[Back to Top] 23 The DDR program was carried out in three phases between September 1998 and January 2002.24 It initially faced serious setbacks, but the third phase of DDR was successful mainly because both the government and the RUF had realized that military victory was not possible.25
Nonetheless, local social reintegration was not easy. Ex-combatants fear[ed] they [would] be targeted and ostracized, while civilians fear[ed] a return of violence, or resent[ed] the crimes the ex-combatants [were] frequently alleged to have committed.26 To reduce tension and facilitate the reintegration of ex-combatants into communities, the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (NCDDR) set up social reconciliation programs in areas of critical tension in the south, east and northern parts of Sierra Leone. NCDDR provided pre-discharge counseling to ex-combatants. In communities, pre-demobilization activities included community sensitization exercises and media and radio campaigns. Traditional reconciliation mechanisms were also utilized. In potentially serious cases, where war crimes were alleged, NCDDR acted as a facilitator with traditional leaders to facilitate the return of ex-combatants. In a further bid to strengthen reconciliation, NCDDR has encouraged ex-combatants to undertake tasks that may be beneficial to communities, such as civil works, street cleaning, and helping to rehabilitate shelter. It has also supported adult education programs, civic and peace education, music, sports groups, and other projects that help to rebuild social capital.27 In addition, a Community Arms Collection and Destruction (CACD) program was established in 2001 to address the large numbers of unaccounted for weapons circulating among civilians and alleviate the fear of increased insecurity and criminality in communities. The public destruction of weapons severed as confidence building mechanism among the community in disarmament. The symbolic burning of about 3,000 weapons in Lungi Town, on January 18, 2002 marked the completion of the program.28
For more information:
Agbu, Osita. West Africas Trouble Spots and the Imperative for Peace-Building. Dakar, Senegal: The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), 2006.
Ginifer, Jeremy. Reintegration of Ex-combatants. In Sierra Leone: Building the Road to Recovery. Pretoria: Institute of Security Studies, March, 2003.
Pouligny, Béatrice. 2004. The politics and anti-politics of Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs. Centre dEtudes et de Recherches Internationales Sciences Po/CNRS, Secrétariat Général de la Défense Nationale (France) and Program for strategic international security studies (Geneva), September 2004.
Sierra Leone: Managing Uncertainty. Africa Report No 35. International Crisis Group, 24 October 2001.
Toki, Hinako. Peace building and the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration: the experiences of Mozambique and Sierra Leone. Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency, March 2004.
United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa and Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration (DDR) and Stability in Africa. Conference Report, Freetown, 21-23 June 2005, pp. 22-24.
World Bank. Sierra Leone: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Good Practice Infobrief, No. 81. Washington, DC: World Bank, October 2002.
Peacebuilding Initiative. Sierra Leone Portal
United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Resource Centre: Sierra Leone country page
United Nation Development Programme Sierra Leone
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The Ugandan government and the rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) signed an agreement on February 19, 2008 to establish a war crimes court in Uganda29 that focuses on alternative justice mechanisms to promote reconciliation.30 The new agreement is annexed to the June 29, 2007 accord, which included trials for the most serious crimes and a truth commission, reparations, and traditional justice practices.31 Traditional justice mechanisms, such as Culo Kwor, Mato Oput, Kayo Cuk, Ailuc and Tonu ci Koka and others as practiced in the communities affected by the conflict shall be promoted, with necessary modifications, as a central part of the framework for accountability and reconciliation.32