Recommendations for Confidence Building Measures in the Region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

After a joint discussion held on June 15-18 in Tbilisi within the framework of the “Breaking the Impasse” series, a group of Azerbaijani and Armenian experts from the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict produced a document that includes recommendations for international organizations and institutions, local governments, donors, and civil society. The group believes that to restore trust between the sides at this point, the following measures are necessary:

- To begin a regular monitoring and establish a database of all incidents in the zone of armed confrontation that harm civilians; to support the inclusion of civil society in the process of monitoring;

- To begin a regular monitoring of speeches and statements by officials and mass media of the conflicting sides in order to detect manifestations of xenophobia, hate speech and the language of violence; to support the development and implementation of international mechanisms to minimize these manifestations;

- To proceed with the development of specific measures to prevent casualties among civilians and military personnel along the entire contact line of the armed forces; to carry out a regular monitoring and analysis of such incidents;

- To start the development of measures to strengthen public control over compliance with the ceasefire regime;

- To create a set of legal norms and ethical principles preventing violence and excluding any threat of the use of force from rhetoric;

- To develop mechanisms of revision and reconstruction of the system of teaching social science and humanities courses to eliminate the practice of the formation and spread of the enemy image in the field of education; to monitor textbooks in the context of this problem;

- To activate existing dialogue platforms and to create new ones to strengthen contacts between different social groups involved in the conflict (youth, athletes, students, etc.);

- To activate existing dialogue spaces and to create new ones to strengthen contacts between leaders who influence public opinion (analysts, artists, journalists, politicians, etc.);

- To strengthen contacts between environmental organizations to address the existing problems in the region of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; to develop and implement mechanisms of effective control by, and involvement of, environmental NGO’s in the process of minimizing ecological risks;

- To intensify contacts and meetings between people directly affected by the conflict (families of victims, missing persons, etc.)

At a time in which the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is in need of stimulation, and in particular in need of a greater role of civil society in confidence building between the parties, this group of experts from the region suggests actively promoting the above-mentioned ways and methods to foster trust and cooperation between the parties.

This document was produced within the framework of the project implemented with the organizational support of the Center for Peacemaking Practice of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of George Mason University and the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation. The project is supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Tbilisi

June 17, 2013