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Opinions of Saturday, 27 June 2020

Columnist: Ohene Amoh, Contributor

The impact of cornavirus on peace works

Ohene Amoh Ohene Amoh

It is well documented that disasters such as COVID-19 can create opportunities for peace in conflict countries. Covid-19 has undermined the ability of conflict entrepreneurs to access conflict areas.

For instance, festivals in Ghana that usually turn violent during its celebrations were suspended; curbing such incidents of violence to reoccur. This therefore, has reduced incidents of violence that could have happened in 2020.

However, covid-19 could also seriously hamper the conditions necessary for advancing peacebuilding processes in local communities.

The response to COVID-19 in parts of Ghana affected by conflict is hampering the work of peacebuilders, especially The National Peace Council. These professionals have been unable to travel to conflict area where mediation works have already begun and where new cases were reported.

The government placed movement restrictions and this affected peacebuilders in their efforts to resolve existing conflicts.

Peace practitioners have suspended critical meetings aimed at bringing Peace in certain areas in the country.
It must be noted that peacebuilding requires sustained efforts towards reconciliation and reintegration.

This process often requires physical meetings and events that are designed to bring conflict actors together towards sustainable peace. These processes were curtailed by the restrictions imposed because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Retreating peacebuilding activities such as Peace education and insider mediation, during this period poses a great danger for societies affected by violent conflicts. One likely consequence is that a faction in a conflict could use the opportunity to expand their frontiers, thus undermining ongoing peace processes. Most of the mediation processes started that needed consistent engagement will have to be started afresh when the pandemic is over.

Covid-19 has also opened up the possibility of increased mortality in the context of violent conflicts after all restrictions are removed. Hence, it is needful that stakeholders in Peacebuilding adopt mechanisms that will sustain peacebuilding efforts in communities affected by violent conflicts during this pandemic era, which could be implemented immediately the pandemic subsides.