Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration identifying lessons for Colombia

Salazar, Sergio
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DDR involves three main elements: Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration. It supports the transition from war to a peaceful scenario by ensuring a safe environment, supporting the transition of ex-combatants back into civilian life, and enabling people to earn livelihoods through peaceful means instead of war (Fusato, 2003:1). Disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration of ex-combatants are some of the first steps taken during the transition from war to peace. Demilitarization and civilianization reveal not just the type of citizen which is expected in a democratic society, but also reveal how the process of becoming a citizen entails both satisfactory and traumatic experiences for excombatants and communities. Colombia's DDR process shows how local programmes can be well conceived. But those “well conceived” programmes face difficulties because of the particular conditions of the country. Moreover, challenges such as the presence of bandas and combos and an ongoing war seem to be unique to the Colombian situation. Nevertheless, some lessons can be learned from international cases. The Mozambican and South African processes are also useful because of their differences and similarities. Their post-conflict processes occurred under different political circumstances and with different practices for reintegrating ex-combatants. The usefulness of the comparison of South Africa and Mozambique will receive due attention. In most cases application of lessons depends on the political will of governments, institutions, excombatants and civil society. All those actors must be involved and have important roles to play. The context can also determine strategies and the way the policies are implemented. The strategic and general approaches outlined in the research report require a practical “operationalization” which will ensure the success of DDR in countries like Colombia.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Political Studies, November 2017
Salazar, Sergio (2017) Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration identifying lessons for Colombia, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://hdl.handle.net/10539/26326>