Haiti’s conflict is not a civil war in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, extreme poverty, socio-economic inequalities, insecurity due to gang activity and a general state of turbulence and instability has characterised the situation in the country since the fall of the Duvaliers in 1986.
The aim of this thesis is to assess the prospects for successful peace-building in Haiti. ‘Peace-building’ is understood as a process that puts an end to the violent conflict and political collapse in the country. The analysis focuses on the strategies and efforts of three central actors from three important arenas between February 2004, when former President Aristide left the country, and October 2007. Those actors are the United Nations from the international community, President Préval representing the political arena and the Group of 184 from civil society. The methodology is based on qualitative analysis of secondary literature, supplied by qualitative interviews by e-mail, and a conversation, with key-informants. The analytical framework is constructed around three different, yet complementary, theoretical approaches, which shed light on different aspects of conflicts and conflict-resolution: The first approach concerns the president’s legitimacy and the impact it has on the conflict. The second one addresses the quality of civil society and social capital, and civil society’s role as a conflict-dampener. Finally, the third approach combines dialogue, compromise and effective institutions as presumed ingredients in a peace-building process.
Based on the premises of the study, the findings indicate that there still is a way to go before lasting peace is achieved in Haiti. In particular the civil society and the institutional framework suffer from deficiencies that assumedly contribute to keeping the conflict alive. However, since Aristide’s departure there seemingly have been important improvements, in particular when it comes to the question of legitimacy and efforts in terms of dialogue and compromise.