Reducing the Price of Peace: The Human Rights Responsibilities of Third-Party Facilitators

The following blog post summarizes Reducing the Price of Peace: The Human Rights Responsibilities of Third-Party Facilitators (48 Vand. J. Transnat’l L. 179 (2015)) by Michal Saliternik.

It’s hard to imagine that peace agreements could result in injustice, but such is the case with many contemporary post-conflict arrangements. Though these agreements no longer endorse devastating human rights injustices such as slavery, many continue to undermine universal justice principles and human rights norms through establishing exclusionary or oppressive regimes, providing for the transfer of populations, allocating natural resources inequitably, or failing to adequately address human rights violations that took place during the conflict. Peace agreement negotiations sometimes present additional justice issues such as bias and exclusion of affected stakeholders. Though the final decision regarding the procedures of negotiations and the terms of the peace agreement rests with the negotiating parties, third-party facilitators such as states and international organizations acting as mediators, donors, and peacekeepers often play integral roles in the peacemaking process.

Dr. Michal Saliternik’s article, Reducing the Price of Peace: The Human Rights Responsibilities of Third-Party Facilitators, argues that international law should recognize third-party facilitators’ responsibility to prevent human rights violations and other injustices in peace agreements. It notes that third-party facilitators are in a better position than the negotiating parties to ensure respect for human rights and justice norms. Through a critical analysis of past peace agreements in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan, Dr. Saliternik demonstrates the potential contribution of third-party obligations to promoting just and sustainable peace. She describes four potential areas where peacemaking norms can be established: treaty provisions, international organization resolutions, intra-organization codes of conduct, and national foreign assistance guidelines. While the primary responsibility to protect a state’s citizens remains with its government, establishing norms through these instruments would place a secondary responsibility with third-party facilitators to ensure that negotiating countries do not downplay human rights considerations during negotiations.

#peacenegotiations

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