The concept of “peace” does not only refer to an end of fighting and the absence of direct violence. Instead, establishing a sustainable “positive peace” involves a long process of dealing with the past and eradicating all conditions that could lead to a rebirth of conflict. Identifying the reasons and possible ways to end structural violence, addressing all conditions that gave birth to the violence and conflict, and taking measures to prevent a repetition of the human rights violations of the past are among the main characteristics of a successful peace process. For this reason, coming to terms with the past through revealing the truth and fulfilling demands for justice of the victims plays a crucial role in building a durable peace. However, as previous peace processes reveal, each conflict is traced by the specific social, economic and political dynamics of the particular region. This is why periods of peace-building need to be re-assessed on the base of these conditions.
In this regard, DEMOS aims at contributing to popularizing a more complex understanding of peace by researching the ways to establish necessary mechanisms for a durable peace. In doing so, it engages with the theoretical debates in peace studies and explores the practical experiences of peace processes from different parts of the world. In addition, its projects aim at promoting reconciliation on the principle of remembering instead of forgetting the past, and therefore strive to contribute to a social memory which sheds light on the human rights violations of the past.
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