© U.S. Department of State
TRUST & INTEGRATING FORMERLY ARMED ACTORS IN FRAGILE CONTEXTS
20 April 2023
11:00-12:00 (EST) / 16:00-17:00 (GMT)
Speakers: Professor Alpaslan Özerdem, Dean of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution
Moderator: Dr Erin McFee, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, LSE LACC
Formerly Armed Actors (FAAs) are individuals who have been a part of armed groups, including militias, criminal organizations, state militaries, and others, who have been involved in acts of violence. The concept of FAAs recognizes that these individuals have lived experiences that are similar, despite being part of different groups.
Reintegration programs are designed to help FAAs transition back into society and become active contributors to their communities. These programs aim to promote peace and security, as well as rebuild trust between the state and its citizens. The word integration has replaced the traditional term "reintegration" to emphasize that the experiences of war and violence have left a lasting impact on both the FAAs and their social environment. Leaving an armed group is often not a simple process of return.
Building trust can be challenging, especially in contexts with a history of violence, mistrust, and trauma. In some cases, there may be long-standing ethnic, religious, or identity-based conflicts that reproduce these divisions. Community members may view FAAs as perpetrators of human rights abuses or violent acts, creating feelings of fear, anger, and resentment. Contextual factors such as poverty, unemployment, poor education, and marginalization can also contribute to mistrust and resentment among communities. Despite these challenges, trust remains essential for integrating FAAs and promoting less violent futures.