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Human Rights in Conflict

The Role of Civil Society

The interest of the international research project SHUR “Human Rights in Conflict: The Role of Civil Society” is to analyse the impact of civil society on ethno-political conflicts through human rights, and to identify the means to strengthen the complementary actions of civil society and EU actors.

SHUR investigates the role of civil society actors in ethno-political conflicts. Focusing on human rights violation, it aims at formulating guidelines for straightening the complementary action of civil society and European Union actors. The European Union has identified peace-making, the respect for human rights and the development of civil society as key priorities in its external relations. Non-governmental actors have become key players in ethno-political conflicts, both as violators and as promoters of human rights. This has been facilitated by the transformation of these conflicts, increasingly characterised by high intensity in intra-border ethno-religious tensions and strong international appeal to human rights protection. Yet neither have the precise inter-relationships underpinning the human rights-civil society-conflict nexus been fully understood, nor has the potential complementarity between non-governmental and EU actors been sufficiently explored.

SHUR does so by analysing four case studies in the European neighbourhood: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Turkey-Kurds, and Israel-Palestine. Through the comparative examination of these cases, Shur will draw-up policy guidelines tailored to governmental and non-governmental civil society action.

Project period: 2007-2009

Funding: Europäische Union. 6. Rahmenprogramm

Principal investigator (among others): Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker