New publication on ETA disarmament in the Basque Country


Our latest issue of the Berghof Transition Series is out! Entitled “ETA’s disarmament in the context of international DDR guidelines: Lessons learnt from an innovative Basque scenario”, this report presents a unique perspective on an innovative experience that can inspire peacebuilding practitioners in other parts of the world where armed conflicts are still raging or where peace processes are grappling with the intricacies of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) processes.

It is authored by the Permanent Social Forum, an inclusive collective of Basque civil society organisations and personalities that plays a central role in facilitating inter-party dialogue and advocating an inclusive and comprehensive settlement of the protracted Basque conflict. The report offers remarkable lessons on the processes enabling armed groups to develop the readiness to voluntarily remove their own capacity to engage in armed rebellion. It describes the inclusive disarmament process initiated with ETA’s unconditional and permanent ceasefire in 2011 that culminated in April 2017 with the decommissioning of 3.5 tons of arms, explosives and ammunitions to the French authorities by an unofficial international body, with the operational support of 172 civil society volunteers on the ground.

The report also demonstrates that the decommissioning of ETA was fully aligned with international DDR principles (such as the UN Integrated DDR Standards), even if it took place unilaterally by one party to the conflict, outside the framework of a peace process with the respective government(s), but with the active participation of local institutions and civil society. Although only the first ‘D’ of DDR has been achieved so far in the Basque Country, one can only hope that the resolution of the arms issue will unlock the keys to solve the other dimensions of the peace process – such as the dismantling of the (formerly armed) organisation, the reintegration of its militants, prisoners and deportees, the implementation of transitional justice measures for victims and other affected individuals and groups – and to finally address the political, cultural, historical and socio-economic root causes of the conflict.

The report was officially launched in San Sebastian’s Aiete Palace on 20 September 2017, in presence of its editor and Berghof Programme Director Véronique Dudouet. Local news reports are also available on French and Spanish.  The report is also available in Spanish, Basque and French (combined version).


Basque Permanent Social Forum 2017: ETA’s disarmament in the context of international DDR guidelines: Lessons learnt from an innovative Basque scenario. Transitions Series No. 12. download >