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Effective Participation of National Minorities as a Tool for Conflict Prevention

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This article examines the relationship of the public participation of minorities in post Cold War Europe to conflict and conflict prevention through the lens of developing more effective approaches to participation. lt posits that public participation can be a means of preventing conflicts from becoming violent. Stares and inter-stare bodies have used a variety of incentives to address the insecurities of minorities and a range of factors influencing the degree to which minorities are able to participate in the political life of a stare are considered. Despite advances in adherence to standards, often as a result of incentives provided to stares, there remain severe challenges to effective participation for minorities. However, the article comments that the lack of participation per se and not just for minorities can exacerbate problems. This is particularly acute in peace processes, which present particular opportunities to adress public participation in a manner that can contribute to the sustainability of transitions to peace and development. While there are dilemmas in promoting public participation, a failure to be generous to minorities can undermine efforts to prevent conflicts.

Affiliations: 1: Director of Programmes, Conciliation Resources


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