Bercovitch Data Centre for Conflict Mediation and Peace-Building - College of Arts - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Bercovitch Data Centre for Conflict Mediation and Peace-Building

Welcome to the Bercovitch Data Centre, an attempt to bring together a range of research materials and analyses of contemporary conflict and conflict resolution.   

Contemporary Conflict Analysis

  1. Dissolving Colours? Reconciliation in Thailand. (pdf, 491KB)
    James S Ockey (received 15 August 2014)

On May 22, 2014, the Thai military carried out a coup to restore order and bring about reconciliation between Red Shirt and Yellow Shirt supporters, a divide that has brought cycles of protest and bouts of violence to Thai politics since 2005.  The military brought the violence to an end, suppressed all expressions of dissent, and established a Reconciliation Centre for Reform in order to "dissolve colours". The military approach, dubbed "Bringing Happiness to the People," has prioritised the grassroots, and has focused on the short-term, seeking to shift the mood and, through short-term measures, stimulate the economy.  When it comes to designing longer-term reforms, disputants have been excluded from participation, leaving bureaucrats and soldiers to draw up and impose reforms.  At best, this will create a very "thin" form of reconciliation, due to the short-term focus, and disputants, left out of the process, are unlikely to commit fully to it.  With disputants largely left out of the reconciliation and reform process, the opportunity to create trust and develop new norms of respect will not eventuate.  Consequently, the military will be in a position of needing to continue to intervene in politics to ensure this rather "thin" reconciliation survives.  There are some indications that the military has begun transforming itself for this purpose.

  1. An Analysis of the Negotiations between the Government of Myanmar and the Kachin Independence Organization. (pdf, 546 KB)
    Evan Hoffman (received 31 August 2014)

The ongoing conflict in Myanmar between the government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) is one of the longest-running in the world. Government negotiators have been able to reach ceasefire agreements with numerous other non-state actors operating in other parts of the country as part of their plan to eventually create a comprehensive, nation-wide peace agreement. However, the negotiations with the KIO have been long and tumultuous. Previous ceasefires have broken down, so a new round of talks are currently underway. This article systematically analyses the recent negotiations and offers new insights to help move the peace process forward.