What we do

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s (HD) mission is

to prevent, mitigate and resolve armed conflicts,

through dialogue and mediation.

{:en}Mediation and dialogue are the most effective, and cheapest, tools for preventing and resolving armed conflicts. They are the core business of HD, a globally connected private diplomacy organisation that operates discreetly to help conflict parties settle their differences.{:}{:fr}La médiation et le dialogue constituent les outils les plus efficaces et les moins coûteux pour prévenir et résoudre les conflits armés. Ils sont au cœur de l’action de HD, organisation de diplomatie privée qui, grâce à des réseaux de contacts dans le monde entier, œuvre en toute discrétion pour aider les belligérants à régler leurs différends.{:}

{:en}Providing effective support to mediators can increase the chances of successfully preventing, mitigating and resolving conflicts and of sustaining peace after an agreement is signed. HD offers this support by giving mediators access to the latest conflict resolution expertise and experience.{:}{:fr}Appuyer efficacement le travail des médiateurs permet d’augmenter les chances de prévenir, atténuer et résoudre les conflits, mais aussi de maintenir la paix une fois qu’un accord a été signé. HD soutient les acteurs de la médiation en leur donnant accès à une expertise de pointe ainsi qu’aux expériences les plus récentes en matière de résolution des conflits.{:}

{:en}The Oslo Forum is the leading international network of conflict mediation practitioners. Co-hosted by the Norwegian Government and HD, the Oslo Forum convenes conflict mediators, peacemakers, high-level decision-makers and key peace process actors in a series of informal and discreet retreats.{:}{:fr}Le Forum d’Oslo est une série de rencontres informelles réunissant des médiateurs internationaux, hauts responsables politiques et autres acteurs des processus de paix. Le Forum leur offre un cadre discret et informel pour mener une réflexion sur les pratiques actuelles de la médiation, travailler ensemble au-delà des divergences institutionnelles et de points de vue, et faire progresser leurs négociations.{:}

{:en}As part of its conflict mediation and dialogue activities, and where political dialogue may be difficult or impossible, HD undertakes mediation on a humanitarian basis. Humanitarian mediation enables the parties in conflict to address key issues, such as safe access and protection of civilians, the special needs of women and children, displaced populations and any affected minority groups.{:}{:fr}Dans le cadre de ses activités de médiation, lorsque le dialogue politique se révèle difficile, voire impossible, HD entreprend des initiatives à vocation humanitaire. La médiation humanitaire permet aux belligérants d’aborder des problèmes majeurs tels que la protection des populations civiles et leur accès à l’assistance humanitaire, les besoins particuliers des femmes et des enfants, la question des personnes déplacées et celle des minorités affectées par le conflit.{:}

Where we work

For almost two decades, HD has supported peaceful settlements around the world. The organisation is currently involved in more than 40 dialogue and mediation initiatives in over 25 countries.

Who we are

HD is a Swiss-based private diplomacy organisation

founded on the principles of humanity, impartiality and independence.

About

{:en}The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) is a Swiss-based private diplomacy organisation founded on the principles of humanity, impartiality and independence. Our mission is to help prevent, mitigate, and resolve armed conflict through dialogue and mediation.{:}{:fr}Le Centre pour le dialogue humanitaire (HD) est une organisation de diplomatie privée basée en Suisse et fondée sur les principes d’humanité, d’impartialité et d’indépendance. Sa mission est d’aider à prévenir, atténuer et résoudre les conflits armés par le biais du dialogue et de la médiation.{:}

Foundation Board

{:en}As a Swiss non profit Foundation, HD is supervised by a Board, which serves on a voluntary basis. It sets the mission and the general policy of the Foundation and provides overall supervision of the development and implementation of the organisation’s programme and administration, as managed by the Senior Management Team and staff. {:}{:fr}HD est une fondation suisse à but non lucratif dont les activités sont supervisées par un Conseil de fondation qui définit la mission et la politique générale de l’organisation. Le Conseil supervise également le développement ainsi que l’administration et la mise en œuvre du programme d’activités de l’organisation, tel que conduits par les membres dirigeants et leur équipe.{:}

Staff

{:en}HD’s team has grown from a small group of 6 people in 1999 to more than 140 from over 40 different nationalities today, supervised by a 10 member Senior Management Team. The organisation is made up of individuals driven by meaningful objectives who find creative approaches to “getting things done” and are dedicated to making a difference in peace and mediation efforts. {:}{:fr}Composée d’un petit groupe de six personnes en 1999, l’équipe de HD compte aujourd’hui plus de 140 collaborateurs issus de 40 nationalités différentes, qui travaillent sous la supervision de 10 cadres dirigeants. L’organisation regroupe des individus animés par le sens de leur mission, qui recherchent des méthodes créatives pour “faire avancer les choses” et tiennent à contribuer aux efforts de paix et de médiation. {:}

Latest updates

HD announces ETA’s official final declaration that it has disbanded forever

During an official ceremony held today at 14h00 at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue’s (HD) in Geneva, Switzerland, HD’s Executive Director, Dr David Harland, confirmed that the organisation had received ETA’s official final declaration that the group had disbanded forever.

This final declaration – which HD is certain is official and authentic – was sent to HD in four languages  (Basque, Spanish, French and English), signed and stamped by ETA, and dated 3 May 2018. It was accompanied by a letter to HD from the group explaining its decision.

In its letter, ETA stated that it had “decided to end its 60 years of existence” and that this decision “had been taken by the entire membership of the organization”. In its final official statement, the group also indicated that as a result of this decision, it had “completely dismantled all of its structures”, “put an end to all its political activity, and would “no longer express political positions, promote initiatives or interact with other actors”.

ETA’s official announcement made public today by HD puts an end to almost 60 years of violent confrontation which has caused the death of hundreds of people, wounded thousands of others, deeply polarizing Spain, parts of southern France and the Basque regions, tearing communities apart, disrupting people’s lives, and leaving society deeply hurt.

ETA’s announcement also puts an end to 15 years of efforts by HD to end the group’s violence. HD has been very discreetly involved in helping to bring a final end to ETA and its armed campaign since 2004 when it was first requested by the then Spanish government and ETA to initiate talks between them to seek lasting peace. Following the breakdown of the talks in 2007, discreet initiatives were undertaken to renew efforts towards peace. In 2011, ETA declared a permanent end to armed violence, and in 2017, it unilaterally disarmed, handing over more than 3.5 tons of weapons and explosives. On 20 April 2018, the group issued a declaration recognizing the harm it had caused through its armed actions, and pledging to support reconciliation efforts.  Today, in what is its final step, ETA announced its complete disbandment and permanent disappearance.

HD anouncement of ETA final declaration of disbandment

ETA’s announcement is unprecedented. It is the first time in history that a major armed movement has unilaterally and unconditionally stopped armed violence, fully disarmed, and then disbanded itself and disappeared forever.

HD hopes that, through the discreet role it played over the last 15 years, it has been able to contribute to today’s announcement. As the world’s largest private diplomacy organisation, HD exists to reduce human suffering and end conflicts wherever that is possible. It is currently involved in about 40 peace or dialogue initiatives around the world. 

As a Swiss foundation, HD also feels that its mission and its work represent the best of what Switzerland symbolizes and supports – the quest for peace wherever that is possible. HD is thus pleased that ETA’s final declaration today was made in Geneva.

HD also commends the courage and the strength of all of those – governments, organisations and individuals – who have led the way towards peace over the years. ETA’s announcement demonstrates that finding a peaceful resolution to conflict is possible, however long this may take.

While a long road lies ahead towards reconciliation and the healing of wounds caused by years of violence, HD hopes that ETA’s announcement represents yet another step towards long-lasting peace for the Basque people.

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The ETA official declaration is available in four languages here:  Basque, Spanish, English, French.

To access Dr David Harland’s full statement, please follow this link. You may also access HD Board Member, Ambassador Raymond Loretan’s statement here.

For more information, please write to pr@hdcentre.org