There are many methods of settling and managing conflicts. Some of the non-violent means of managing conflicts include negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. In adopting the use of the aforementioned methods of dispute resolutions, the main facilitating tool is a sufficient communication mechanism. Negotiation is aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement without using violent means. The form of conflict settlement method used is dictated by the nature of the conflict. A common understanding is the main goal that non-violent dispute resolutions methods aspire to achieve. Without mutual understanding and flow of communication, the said means are rendered inapplicable (Dukes, 62). The non-violent methods of settling conflicts are discussed in this paper.
Negotiation is one of the common ways of non-violent dispute resolving mechanisms. It entails following certain steps in a sketch plan by applying widely accepted norms among the parties in conflict. Negotiation is based on the notion that both parties are in conflict since they have common interests that are shared or conflicting. In other situations, the interests overlap and hence negotiation is required to achieve an amicable solution. The key point that makes both parties agree on ending the conflict through peaceful means is rooted in the understanding that they have shared interests (Dukes, 62).
The rule of law in any country advocates for peace not violence. It is true to assert that peaceful means of settling conflicts facilitates the rule of law in a country. Face to face discussions are core in negotiation since a common understanding is reached. It is extremely hard to achieve mediation without effective communication. The two parties involved in the conflict cannot be said to understand each other if they do not communicate. It is very true that lack of opportunity to the other party builds tension hence causing misunderstanding between the main parties in the dispute (Bercovitch, Jacob & Jackson, 11).
The second means of dispute resolution through peaceful means is mediation. This involves a third party to the conflict coming to facilitate the settlement. It is important to note that the third party is only needed once the parties involved in the dispute have agreed to settle their differences. The third party’s duty in the conflict is to ensure that mediations are achieved through amicable means. It can be noted that the third party must exercise a neutral stand in the conflict. The engaging of an intermediary is very essential since it ensures that both sides are listened to and communication becomes evident hence ruling out any forms of tensions. In the international politics, such means have been adopted as prescribed by the United Nations Charter. Therefore, mediation is a popular way of dispute settling that has been highly applied in many parts of the world. However, the process of mediation must be voluntarily, and parties to the conflict must agree to the choice of mediator (Dukes, 60).
Dialogue is the third method used in peaceful resolutions. It has been said to be relevant in transforming conflicts that are deeply rooted. Unlike debate whereby one group or party seeks to score a point or persuade; in dialogue, mutual understanding is the main equating ground. In many instances, the groups in conflict should be heard. The conflict may not be settled at the end of the day, but the way the two parties pursue the conflict is materially changed. Dialogue is very vital since the parties involved may not come to a settlement, but they shift their approach on the matter. The transformation may change from a divisive method to a constructive approach. Thus, the two parties in the conflict may find it easy to end the conflict (Bercovitch, Jacob & Jackson, 14).
Dialogue alters the status quo and mutual respect replaces the divisive approach whereby new relationships that were not there before are created. In many instances, the parties who require dialogue are those in a conflict that has the effect of affecting the public policies in place (Dukes, 65).
In recent years, the effectiveness of the said means of settling disputes has been questionable. It is said that mediation, negotiation, and dialogue are all one-sided since some parties may have an upper hand in the conflict. They have further been held to compromise interests instead of finding a fair way of settling the dispute. In comparison with other means of settling disputes, fairness is ignored so as to achieve a peaceful end. The methods are to succeed at the detriment of the party who has been unfairly treated (Dukes, 63).
On the other hand, arbitration and litigation seeks to achieve fairness by issuing fair judgments with a clear explanation of the entitlements of each party to the judgment. The management of a relationship seems to be the main concern of peaceful dispute settlement means. On the other hand, arbitration and litigation seeks to handle substantive issues affecting the litigants (Bercovitch, Jacob & Jackson, 12).
Arbitration is also a non-violent, peaceful resolution of disputes whereby the arbiter chairs the entire process. It involves the arbiter taking evidence from the parties and listening to witnesses too. The other step may include interviewing representatives of the parties. In order to sum up the evidence, the arbiter may be required to visit the area of conflict such as land and evaluate the documents available. The collection of evidence is ended by a discussion, dialogue, listening and hearing meetings (Dukes, 62).
The incorporation of negotiation, dialogue, and mediation in arbitration is to help in reaching a critical decision on the right party. The step that follows involves the arbiter facilitating fair play by delivering justice so as to restore peace. An award is issued, which has a binding effect to both parties in the conflict. Just like in mediation, the parties in the conflict have a right to decide on whom to arbitrate their dispute. In choosing the arbitrator, the parties are supposed to look for a person who has a high standing character in the society. Arbitration is effective than other means of settling a dispute since it does not compromise rights for restoration of peace (Bercovitch, Jacob & Jackson, 13).
There are situations where parties in a conflict may decide to settle their conflict through adjudication. In adjudication, the party is ready to take the verdict whether in favor or against him or her. Rights, through a fair and just process, are exercised. However, a winner loser situation is created, and this may not be peace oriented (Bercovitch, Jacob & Jackson, 12).
Negotiation, arbitration, and mediation are peaceful ways of settling conflict, and they have been widely applied to resolve conflicts. The aforementioned ways highly depend on the use of a balanced settlement whereby peace is the paramount desired result. There is a substantial criticism against the use of the said ways in conflict settlement. Since the rights of one party are compromised so as to achieve peace, this has been a major weakness of negotiation, dialogue, and mediation.
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