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Open Access Highly Accessed Debate

Community based rehabilitation: a strategy for peace-building

William Boyce1*, Michael Koros2 and Jennifer Hodgson3

Author affiliations

1 Community Health and Epidemiology and Education, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario Canada, K7L 3N6

2 Canadian International Development Agency, Central & Eastern European Branch, Hull Ouebec, Canada, K1A 0G4

3 International Programs, Faculty of Arts & Science, Queen's University, Kingston Ontario Canada, K7L 3N6

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Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2002, 2:6  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-2-6

Published: 4 November 2002



Certain features of peace-building distinguish it from peacekeeping, and make it an appropriate strategy in dealing with vertical conflict and low intensity conflict. However, some theorists suggest that attempts, through peace-building, to impose liberal values upon non-democratic cultures are misguided and lack an ethical basis.


We have been investigating the peace-building properties of community based approaches to disability in a number of countries. This paper describes the practice and impact of peace-building through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) strategies in the context of armed conflict. The ethical basis for peace-building through practical community initiatives is explored. A number of benefits and challenges to using CBR strategies for peace-building purposes are identified.


During post-conflict reconstruction, disability is a powerful emotive lever that can be used to mobilize cooperation between factions. We suggest that civil society, in contrast to state-level intervention, has a valuable role in reducing the risks of conflict through community initiatives.