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Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment

Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing peace in Bougainville

John Braithwaite
Hilary Charlesworth
Peter Reddy
Leah Dunn
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment
    Book Description:

    Following a bloody civil war, peace consolidated slowly and sequentially in Bougainville. That sequence was of both a top-down architecture of credible commitment in a formal peace process and layer upon layer of bottom-up reconciliation. Reconciliation was based on indigenous traditions of peacemaking. It also drew on Christian traditions of reconciliation, on training in restorative justice principles and on innovation in womens' peacebuilding. Peacekeepers opened safe spaces for reconciliation, but it was locals who shaped and owned the peace. There is much to learn from this distinctively indigenous peace architecture. It is a far cry from the norms of a 'liberal peace' or a 'realist peace'. The authors describe it as a hybrid 'restorative peace' in which 'mothers of the land' and then male combatants linked arms in creative ways. A danger to Bougainville's peace is weakness of international commitment to honour the result of a forthcoming independence referendum that is one central plank of the peace deal.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-69-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John Braithwaite and Hilary Charlesworth
  4. Advisory Panel for the Bougainville case of Peacebuilding Compared
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Glossary
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Map of Bougainville
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. 1. Peacebuilding Compared and the Bougainville conflict
    (pp. 1-8)

    Bougainville suffered a terrible civil war for a decade from 1988 that pitted separatist forces of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) against the national military and police of Papua New Guinea. The fighting evolved to set Bougainville factions against one another in the worst killing. This book argues that peacebuilding in Bougainville was shaped by bottom-up traditional and Christian reconciliation practices and a carefully crafted top-down political settlement. These two processes operated in symbiotic fashion, each making space for, and reinforcing, the other. There are important lessons in how each was designed and how one was connected to the other....

  8. 2. Historical background to the conflict
    (pp. 9-22)

    Papua New Guinea is a nation of six million people that has regional geopolitical significance, sharing a long border with Indonesia. Bougainville is a large island (surrounded by smaller islands, the largest of which is Buka separated by a narrow strait from Bougainville Island) north-east of the island of New Guinea and north-west of the Solomon Islands. Ferocious fighting between Japanese and Australian and US forces took place in Bougainville during World War II. This resulted in a decline of the indigenous population of perhaps 25 per cent, the flight of Europeans and Chinese from Bougainville and cost the lives...

  9. 3. Descent into civil war
    (pp. 23-34)

    In 1987 and 1988, the New Panguna Landowners’ Association organised public demonstrations, some of which culminated in attacks on BCL property. The landowners were joined in their attacks on mine property by some young mine workers who felt discriminated against as Bougainvilleans by BCL. November 1988 saw a decisive escalation from minor looting and arson to the use of explosives to blow up BCL electrical pylons along the Panguna Highway and destroy property at the mine site. We might call the demolition of the pylons and the vigorous reaction of the PNG security forces to it as the triggers for...

  10. 4. Peacemaking on, off and finally back on track
    (pp. 35-50)

    Sir Julius Chan became PNG Prime Minister in September 1994. Worried that the defence forces might sabotage his peace initiatives, Chan immediately took ministerial control of both the military and the police. Within days of taking over, Chan was in Honiara, Solomon Islands, for talks with BRA military commander Sam Kauona chaired by Solomons Prime Minister Billy Hilly. They signed the Honiara Commitments on a cease-fire and peace conference in Arawa with security provided for people from all over Bougainville to attend by a South Pacific Peacekeeping Force. Australia funded this mostly non-Australian force named Operation Lagoon with leadership provided...

  11. 5. The architecture of the peace
    (pp. 51-66)

    For a number of years, the BRA had been working towards internationalising the conflict through various UN agencies. So when an international monitoring force was agreed to in 1997, the BRA/BIG preference was for a UN force. Having always resisted the BRA’s internationalising strategy, the PNG Government also resisted UN peacekeeping. A Truce Monitoring Group (TMG) was established in November 1997, led by Brigadier Roger Mortlock of New Zealand. Half the 250 monitors were New Zealand military, with most of the rest being Australians (civil servants for the front-line roles, where there was distrust of Australian military involvement, though Australian...

  12. 6. Reconciliation and reintegration
    (pp. 67-82)

    Local reconciliation efforts began ‘almost as soon as the conflict began’ (Regan 2005a:15), gathered momentum throughout the 1990s and continued at the time of writing. There has long been recognition in Bougainville that reconciliation takes decades rather than years. In some areas, reconciliation processes following intertribal fighting occasioned by World War II continued into the 1980s (Londey 2004:224; Nelson 2005:196).

    Every village-level story of reconciliation was unique. The village where John Braithwaite lived in 1969 had beenthe base of C Company of the BRA. In 1991, they had been involved in assaults on the PNGDF at Buka after swimming across...

  13. 7. The cost of the conflict
    (pp. 83-92)

    Thus far in Peacebuilding Compared we have encountered conflicts in which the most widely quoted estimates of lives lost from the conflict are considerable underestimates as a result of the state concerned keeping out the international media and non-compliant national journalists or issuing official counts that are underestimates intended to downplay the crisis. These are accepted by lazy journalists as good enough and become the dominant estimates. West Kalimantan (Braithwaite et al. 2010) is an example of such a case. In other cases, international advocates with an interest in exposing such cover-ups of killings counter the cover-ups by producing exaggerated...

  14. 8. Layers of identity involved in the conflict
    (pp. 93-102)

    The identities invoked in conflicts are consistently coded for the Peacebuilding Compared project. In this chapter, we consider the role of the following layers of identity in this war and this peace: gendered and family identities, bigman and chiefly identities, clan, Bougainville and PNG identities. Of course, there were international identities as well—of the United Nations, Australians, New Zealanders and ni-Vanuatu, who could position themselves as Melanesian wantoks of Bougainvilleans because they spoke a similar lingua franca. Both the top-down and bottom-up peacebuilding we have described in the previous chapters can be comprehended as a process of identity work,...

  15. 9. Interpreting the conflict in summary
    (pp. 103-132)

    Ron May (1990:57) suggested that the civil war was ‘to some extent a ripple effect from the more general breakdown of law and order and challenge to the authority of the state which has characterised the recent political history of so many other parts of Papua New Guinea’ (see also Filer 1992:118). This has some similarity to the analysis of the first volume of Peacebuilding Compared on Indonesian conflicts. After the fall of President Suharto, there was a ripple effect in a breakdown of law and order that spread from one to another place in Indonesia. And this...

  16. 10. Deep and shallow restorative peace
    (pp. 133-140)

    Table 10.1 tentatively characterises Bougainville as a ‘restorative peace’ rather than the much more common phenomena of a ‘realist’ or ‘liberal peace’. A table like this might help us better see a conflict through a comparative lens, at the same time as it simplifies too much. Hence, in the conclusion to this chapter, we will reach the view that while Bougainville had a comparatively deep restorative peace locally, across the region that restorative peace was shallow. In particular, there remains a shallow regional reconciliation and a shallow integrity of regional truth on the question of honouring the outcome of the...

  17. Appendix
    (pp. 141-142)
  18. References
    (pp. 143-152)
  19. Index
    (pp. 153-162)