We are currently experiencing a time in which superpower rivalries and egoistic nationalism are on the rise again, a time in which long-lasting domestic conflicts are on the increase and in which transnational organized crime and terrorism are spreading. Insecurity, war and violence not only cause human suffering and human rights violations. They also prevent economic progress and development and destroy trust in society. Human security and peace must therefore be built upon justice and law, if they are to be lasting.
Against this background, we argue for the establishment of regulations for foreign and security policy acts in compliance with international law. Additionally, we advocate for the formation of and compliance with mandatory multilateral regimes of arms control and collective security. In this, we regard the United Nations – despite its need for reform – as the indispensable anchor point in regard to international law for a global peace order. In New York, we and our partners have been campaigning for the compliance with the 2005 Responsibility to Protect report. According to this, all member states have committed themselves to protecting their citizens from mass crime.
In accordance with a preventative peace- and security policy we support national and international dialogue between political decision-makers, security policy actors and civil society. Current conflicts and civic transformation processes are on the agenda just as much as questions on crisis prevention, regulation of civil conflicts, arms control and disarmament.
The fact that military means alone are not enough to prevent or end violence, conflict, and war is acknowledged around the globe by now. Even so, the international community is seemingly helpless in the face of conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. For this reason, we are trying to raise awareness in Germany for civil conflict resolution over various channels. As a member of the civil society advisory board to the interministerial “civil crisis prevention” council of the Federal Foreign Office, we offer impulses for new directives for crisis prevention. As a long-term member of the Working Group on Peace and Development (FriEnt), which is a coalition of ten governmental and non-governmental organizations, we want to raise the profile of civil conflict resolution in German developmental and foreign policy, as well as support its conflict-sensitive focus. Our working group on civil crisis prevention and conflict regulation offers starting points for debates, develops political options for action, and enables networking opportunities between political decision-makers and experts in the area of crisis prevention and peace promotion.
Security sector actors and institutions must have democratic legitimacy and independent supervision in order to be accepted as guarantors of peace and security by society. Because the FES is seen as standing for more democracy, human security, and prevention, instead of repression, we are perceived as a neutral actor in many countries. This enables us to facilitate the often tense process of establishing democratic control of the security sector by accompanying this process with opportunities for political dialogue. We provide a safe space in which members of the civil society, political decision-makers, and security sector representatives can build mutual trust. Further, we support international as well as national discussions surrounding a political direction of security sector reforms.
Our work with and about the security sector was evaluated in 2016.
Arms control and nonproliferation are in a crisis. Disarmament and conversion are stagnating, rearmament is on the rise again. The escalation of armed conflicts is a painful reminder that the international community needs to, once again, focus more on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation. This is true in regards to weapons of mass destruction as well as conventional weapons. The recent ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), however, offers a glimmer of hope. We support governmental and civil society actors in their efforts to take the next steps of the implementation process. Further, the debate around nuclear disarmament has gained momentum through the humanitarian initiative, a debate that must now be continued constructively and include all relevant actors.