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close this bookDisplaced Persons in Civil Conflict - 1st edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1991, 52 p.)
close this folderPart 3: Operational considerations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPolitical constraints
View the documentLogistical difficulties
View the document''Structural'' problems
View the documentReaching people in conflict zones
View the documentAvoiding pacification
View the documentSetting priorities
View the documentStrengthening counterpart organizations

Avoiding pacification

A number of programs styled as assistance to displaced persons are actually pacification programs. These include relocation projects designed to resettle the rebels' popular support base and programs designed to force neutral peasants to choose sides (usually the government's side), or to establish effective control over populations for military or security purposes.

Pacification programs are especially prevalent in Central America. Many relief organizations participate in these projects without understanding the broader issues and implications. Providing development assistance in a way that encourages new settlement patterns or resettlement has many political connotations and must be approached carefully.

Providing development assistance in a way that encourages new settlement patterns or resettlement has many political connotations and must be approached carefully.

The nature of assistance determines if the program is promoting pacification. Relief aid designed to create dependencies and hold people in camps may have different implications in different situations. Relief officials must be very careful in formulating projects and try to understand all me issues that are involved. This is not to say that long- term assistance of a developmental nature should not be provided. However, when governments begin planning alternative housing, new urban development, or so-called "peace villages," UN staff should be alert to the implications and recognize that they are getting into very sensitive areas.