Conflict Management in Mindanao
46 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011 Last revised: 8 Jul 2011
Date Written: June 24, 2011
This paper focuses on third party roles, including governments, NGOs, and international institutions, in managing the conflict between the Moro (Muslim) regions of Mindanao and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines since 1968. The case illustrates third party roles played by neighboring, friendly states in Southeast Asia and local, regional and international NGOs in upholding a cease-fire agreement and allowing negotiations to proceed with Malaysian facilitation. After examining briefly the sources of conflict in history, identity conflicts, religious beliefs, and economic and political marginalization of the Muslim minority community, the paper summarizes the role of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) represented successively by Libya, Indonesia, and Malaysia in brokering cease-fires and subsequent agreements to try to resolve the underlying conflicts. Primary focus is on the current role of the International Monitoring Team led by Malaysia and its Civilian Protection Component, composed largely of international and local NGOs, in implementing a cease-fire agreement after the most recent outbreak of violent conflict in 2008 that resulted from a ruling by the Philippines Supreme Court that rejected a negotiated agreement on - ancestral domains reached between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The subsequent violence proved deadly and produced a huge number of IDPs in Mindanao. The paper argues that the extensive conflict management network that has been put in place on the ground in Mindanao since this outbreak of violence plays a major, reinforcing role in confidence-building and preserving the cease-fire, a necessary condition for the successful pursuit of negotiations between the GRP and MILF, mediated by Malaysia on behalf of the OIC, in the search for a solution to the fundamental, long festering conflict.
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