The Ethics of Peacebuilding

The Ethics of Peacebuilding

The Ethics of Peacebuilding

The Ethics of Peacebuilding


In the aftermath of the Cold War the hope for a more stable and just international order rapidly dissolved underneath the pressure of internecine conflicts raging on all continents. The Rwanda and Srebrenica genocides especially proved that promoting peace is a particularly fraught challenge in the face of intra-state conflict and sub-national groups that boldy confront nation-states.

Tim Murithi investigates the role that ethics plays in promoting and consolidating peacebuilding, synthesizing the fields of moral philosophy and international relations through an analysis of the ethics of negotiation, mediation, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In its exploration of the extent to which ethical concerns influence and inform peacebuilding, this book contributes to a growing body of literature on ethics and international relations that enable students, scholars, and practitioners to contextualize their understanding of a principled peacebuilding.


The first decade of the twenty-first century has proven to be as violent as previous periods of human history. Conflict and political violence have afflicted all continents and fragmented or undermined the integrity of several nation-states, including Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, Colombia and the former Yugoslavia, to name but a few. Tremendous harm has been done to ordinary people and innocent communities. Somehow these innocent people will have to find a way to move beyond the atrocities that they have endured and rebuild their lives. This book will argue that in the years and decades to come there will be a need for effective, sustainable and ethical peacebuilding in order to heal and restore the conditions for coexistence in these fractured communities.

The process required to heal the hearts, minds and psyches of those harmed is challenging. This book proposes that the process of peacebuilding requires an open engagement with the values and virtues of victims, perpetrators and peacemakers. In other words, understanding the ethics of peacebuilding is necessary for the establishment and implementation of an effective process for building durable peace.

One might ask why peacebuilding is necessary. Is peacebuilding even possible? This book will critically review the definition of peacebuilding and describe it as a process that seeks to moves beyond the notion of negative peace — which is understood as the absence of violence. It will advance an understanding of peacebuilding as the quest for positive peace which is the presence of healing and reconciliation based on social and economic justice and equality. It will analyse the ethics of peacebuilding inherent in the actions and dispositions of peacemakers and peacemaking institutions like the League of Nations, the United Nations, the African Union, non-governmental organisations, ecumenical groups and civil society associations. These organisations have established mechanisms for promoting ethical political negotiation and for . . .

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