Civil Paths to Peace
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Civil Paths to Peace

Report of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding

Civil Paths to Peace contains the analyses and findings of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, established in response to the 2005 request of Commonwealth Heads of Government for the Commonwealth Secretary-General to ‘explore initiatives to promote mutual understanding and respect among all faiths and communities in the Commonwealth.’

This report focuses particularly on the issues of terrorism, extremism, conflict and violence, which are much in ascendancy and afflict Commonwealth countries as well as the rest of the world.

It argues that cultivating respect and understanding is both important in itself and consequential in reducing violence and terrorism. It further argues that cultivated violence is generated through fomenting disrespect and fostering confrontational misunderstandings.

The report looks at the mechanisms through which violence is cultivated through advocacy and recruitment, and the pre-existing inequalities, deprivations and humiliations on which those advocacies draw. These diagnoses also clear the way for methods of countering disaffection and violence. In various chapters the different connections are explored and examined to yield general policy recommendations.

Accepting diversity, respecting all human beings, and understanding the richness of perspectives that people have are of great relevance for all Commonwealth countries, and for its 1.8 billion people. They are also importance for the rest of the world. The civil paths to peace are presented here for use both inside the Commonwealth and beyond its boundaries. The Commonwealth has survived and flourished, despite the hostilities associated with past colonial history, through the use of a number of far-sighted guiding principles. The Commission argues that those principles have continuing relevance today for the future of the Commonwealth – and also for the world at large.
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Executive Summary You do not have access to this content

English
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Author(s):
Commonwealth Secretariat

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This report, which contains the analyses and findings of the Commonwealth Commission on Respect and Understanding, has been guided by the need to develop policy recommendations for Commonwealth Heads of Government, informed by a clear appreciation of the importance and reach of the underlying concepts that give the Commission its name. This report is, thus, both about recommendations of policies to be pursued and about the ways in which policy thinking has to adapt to the realities of the world in which we live. If the cultivation of respect and understanding is both important in itself and consequential in reducing violence and terrorism in the world, the link between the two lies in the understanding that cultivated violence is generated through fomenting disrespect and fostering confrontational misunderstandings. While the report discusses various policy directions as well as particular policy measures, the Commission has requested the Secretary-General to follow up with further specifications for an action programme in consultation with the respective governments.