Latin America

Regional Summary: Latin America

Latin America RegionRead more about this region in Wikipedia.

Active Countries in the Region Include:

Brazil flag icon  Brazil

Summary of Activities

The National Plan for Human Rights Education – written in 2003, revised in 2006 and subscribed by the Special Secretariat for Human Rights, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Justice encourages conflict resolution education at the primary level and also prescribes this kind of education for professionals working in the areas of Justice and Security. However, conflict resolution training is couched in a broader package of Human Rights education and culture of peace curricula that seek to promote harmonious social relationships. In addition, the Special Secretariat for Human Rights has conducted a survey to determine the number and kinds of initiatives in conflict resolution that have been conducted throughout the country. The Secretariat identified over 200 projects of various types.

In Brazil, conflict resolution education is more advanced in non-formal education arenas that in educational setting. NGOs, private consultants and professional associations are the main providers of training for professionals and community mediators.

In scholastic setting such as schools, colleges and universities, effort to improve school environments have mostly centered on increasing youth participation in art, cultural and sports initiatives . However, new peer mediation programs are emerging throughout the country. UNESCO conducted a study of 14 public schools throughout Brazil that have implemented innovative programs to reduce levels of school violence. The study found that the presence of competencies in negotiation and a positive attitude toward change by administrators, teachers and students made an important differences in the level of school violence. The National Fund for Education Development has made a public call to support educational initiatives of this nature. The Higher Education Secretariat of the Ministry of Education has received and chosen extension projects to engage Law students in CR practices.

The Secretariat for Human Rights is sponsoring some small initiatives in conflict resolution education. For example, in the state of São Paulo, the NGO Pró-Mulher provides help to victims of domestic violence and is training these victims to help other families that face the same situation.

Legislative and Policy Initiatives:

Brazil summited this update in 2010 as part of UNESCO's end of decade report on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

CRE Resources:

In the last decade, many experiences on conflict resolution were started throughout Brazil. Both civil society and the Government have been stimulating, supporting and developing initiatives in this area. In the area of access to justice and community-based initiatives the Secretariat for Judiciary Reform, created in 2003 as a unit within the Ministry of Justice, has been conducting meetings with civil society groups to discuss issues related access to justice, alternative dispute resolution, community conflict mediation, restaurative justice, conciliation and others topics. In addition, the Special Secretariat for Human Rights has provided financial support for the establishment of 40 community mediation centers often called “Balcoes de Direito.” There is little uniformity in the manner that they have been established, but many use young law students provide legal information and accompaniment services as well as to divert cases to trained community mediators. To some extent the use of law students has help reshape legal education in many parts of Brazil and enhanced students legal education through practical experience. CONIMA, the largest association of mediators in Brazil has develop strong ethical standards for it members, but other than these examples few policies, legislation or mandates to govern alternative dispute resolution practices or educational initiatives on this or related topics exist. Specific programs may have developed documents to guide and govern implementation of services, but it is not possible to say that the country has a policy on the topic. What are the current Government-NGOs partnerships? The government, through the Secretariat for Human Rights has financially supported the establishment of 40 “Balcões de Direitos” throughout the country. These centers offer vulnerable populations judicial and human rights information and community conflicts resolution services. The Centers are operated by local NGOs with some state government oversight. The NGOs have trained community leaders to mediate conflicts in their own communities, following the principles of autonomy and empowerment. To date this is probably the most important initiative to promote peaceful conflict resolution in the country. Representatives of three of the Balcões have come together to evaluate the lessons learned from the various centers so far and develop some best practices based on the experiences. What are some policy supports? The Special Secretariat for Human Rights is currently organizing an event to bring together experts on the issues to talk about best practices and maybe start to build up specific policy to this issue. The Secretariat on Human Rights is not yet convinced that the adoption of a determined methodology would be a good idea, but structured reflection is needed not only in order to better understand the experiences that already take place and discuss how to leverage the expansion of CRE throughout the country. The Secretariat for Human Rights recognizes that better CRE policy will help to define roles and mandates, avoid waste to resources and the unnecessary duplication of efforts. Similarly, the Judiciary Reform Secretariat plans to hold discussion forums with NGO, experts, civil society groups and professional associations on CRE in order to make the Judiciary system work better. Perhaps the main question the Government is facing at the moment is to determine what role the government can constructively play to best leverage resources to expand the field of CR and CRE and bring the benefits of CR to most of the country.

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Colombia flag icon  Colombia

Summary of Activities



Colombia has always lived in a culture of violence, from the discovery of America until the current moment. The violence was manifested by the Spaniards against our natives with deaths, tortures and violation of human rights. Then there was a period of independence from the Spaniards. Colombia has had many wars and problems among its residents: Bolívar was attacked by Santander, and we were creating the country that we have at this moment. Then it was organized the Republic and in the 20th century,and a new democratic life began with many problems. The principal thing is the stratified society, rich families and in the other side a lot of poor families. This favored the beginning of the drug traffic and the guerrilla. The people took to the jungle to fight against the government, and other people were and are working on the production of cocaine. The guerrilla wants the power, but it lost the direction when the guerrilla united with the drug trafficers and they began to offend, to kidnap and to kill the peasants. Currently, the guerrilla has lost prestige for the quantity of people they have kidnapped and tortured violently.

All these problems have caused a new culture of violence to begin to invade the whole country. The most affected are the children and youth because they are called by the guerrilla and they offer them good money. With no-studying and no- work, the children and youth form the guerrilla battalion. The good people unite their efforts to promote peace, construct a social order and reconciliation between all.

This problem is noticed in the schools because a lot of aggression or bullying is presented in the schools and it is a serious problem for the teachers and families. Our region Valle del Cauca is involved in teaching students about resolution of conflicts and human rights in all degrees, since five years ago, until they are seventeen years old. All the schools (382) have programs in these topics and the office of education has control, along with my team of culture of peace. We give them materials like books, computers, bikes, calculators, notebooks, pens, pencils, breakfasts and lunches every day.

We are working on the prevention of consumption of drugs, sexual education, resolution of conflicts and culture of peace. The principal conflict is armed confrontation because it has generated a militarization of this conflict and the problem is in the civilian life. For that, the construction of a peace agreement and the promotion of mechanisms to resolve these conflicts is necessary; this is the objective of our program.

Another problem is the child soldiers in the querrilla. At this moment, there are 15.000 children in the guerrilla. Also, the delinquency of the youths is increased, because there are many youths that are stealing from people and killing in the streets.

There are national and regional policies for the protection and prevention in these topics for the schools. Our region has developed a program in resolution of conflicts in the classroom, based on a culture of peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts. This program is implemented for six years. We work in schools in guerrilla, paramilitary and drug traffic areas. As of this moment, we have not had problems, and in occasions we have spoken with drug dealers and guerillas fighters so that they don’t attack the schools and don’t violate the girls.

Legislative and Policy Initiatives:

A Community-based Institute on Peace Education (CIPE) was held in Bogotá in August of 2007. Reports and a participant guide from this session can be found on the International Institute for Peace Education website. Here is a direct link to the final report from the session.

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Peru flag icon  Peru

Summary of Activities

See this report from the 2007 seminar Education for Peace and Development held in Lima for a review of what is happening across Peru. Experiences from the following regions were presented: Cajamarca (1), Lambayeque (2), Huancavelica (8), Lima (6), Piura (3), Huanuco (6), Colombia (2), Ayacucho (2), Puno (1) and San Martin (1).

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St. Lucia flag icon  St. Lucia

Summary of Activities

Curriculum Exists within the formal education sector across Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to deal with conflict resolution

Thus far, the conflict resolution programme within the formal education sector that adopts a Life-Skills Approach is the most promising in addressing conflict issues.

The above quoted legislation in the Civil Procedure Rules 2000, which entails mediation practices for private citizens before the court system, is yet another practice originating from the Legislator.

Although there is no existing policy, current legislation can be used to influence development and implementation both within the formal and non-formal sector.

Teachers’ Colleges and departments of education in CARICOM Member Countries have developed a harmonized Curriculum Framework that includes conflict resolution education for use.
There are no organized after school or community programmes coordinated with schools either with the police or other groups.

A three-year longitudinal research inclusive of conflict resolution is presently being conducted in four CARICOM Member States. Preliminary findings suggest positive response from students. Behaviour change will be measured in the third year of the project.

CRE Resources:

Two pieces of legislation guide the extent to which conflict resolution exists in St. Lucia. The Civil Procedure Rules 2000 Rule 25.1 states The court must further the overriding objective by actively managing cases. This may include: Encouraging parties to use any appropriate form of dispute resolution including in particular, mediation, if the court considers it appropriate and facilitating the use of such procedures The other piece of legislation is cited in the Education Act 2000 Chapter 18.01 Section 165 Mediation prior to the consideration of an appeal by the Education Appeal Tribunal, the Chairperson may appoint a mediator to attempt to settle the matter under the appeal.

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