An ongoing effort by the Central African Republic to disarm rebel groups highlights the prominent role that disarming former combatants plays in peace agreements. In an email interview, Robert Muggah, research director of the Small Arms Survey and a research fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, discussed the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
WPR: How significant are disarmament initiatives in post-conflict scenarios, and are there any scenarios in which they are counterproductive?
Robert Muggah: Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) is currently a fixture of the stabilization and peacebuilding landscape. The vast majority of the roughly 800 peace agreements signed since 1989 have included voluntary provisions including amnesties and buy-back or nonmonetary exchange schemes. And virtually all U.N.-led and regional peacekeeping missions routinely undertake forced weapons-seizure activities and support some form of DDR. While the U.N. remains the chief protagonist of post-conflict DDR, many other agencies, ranging from the World Bank to bilateral development agencies, are involved.