Peace & security
Oxfam works to reduce the number of people who become ill, are displaced, or are killed in armed conflicts. We try to ensure that children – who are innocent victims of any conflict – are protected. Preventing conflict starts at the local level, where we help communities identify the root causes of conflict and find creative ways to build peace.
Oxfam's peace and security initiatives are built on a central tenet: conflict violates the inherent rights of all people. Our work is designed to build local capacity for peace, to confront those who profit from conflict, and to advocate for peace.
Building capacity for peace
People affected by conflict are not helpless victims; they – especially women – are the very people who can prevent violence and resolve the issues that promote conflict. We fund training for people engaged in preventing conflict and provide the resources they need to make a difference.
For instance, Oxfam-funded groups are cooling tensions between Somali and Boren ethnic groups fighting over water and grazing lands. They created negotiating groups and began a productive dialogue to address the violence.
Confronting those who profit from conflict
History is rife with stories of people profiting from "war economies." Such exploitation promotes conflict and fosters instability as groups vie to control natural resources or profit from the trade in arms. Oxfam promotes policies that eliminate these incentives for conflict.
For example, we helped governments and the diamond industry develop a system to track the origin of and trade in diamonds, thereby helping to exclude the sale of gems produced in areas where they can prolong conflict.
Advocating for peace
Oxfam strives to ensure that the systems and laws designed to protect people in times of conflict (such as the parts of the Geneva Convention which set out civilians' rights during wars) are upheld and functioning properly. Often this means putting pressure on governments to respect and act according to their obligations.
We also campaign to curb the supply of arms fueling violence. Along with allies like Amnesty International and IANSA, we call for strict controls on the global trade in small arms, through the Control Arms campaign.
This campaign realized a key goal in 2006, when world governments voted to develop an Arms Trade Treaty. Oxfam is now working to ensure the Treaty is an effective one.