PAX discerns overarching themes that are relevant in more than one region and that are often linked to national, regional and international developments. Consistency required us to develop a thematic policy. Within each theme we distinguish various theories and we rely on our own research and practical experience when we participate in public political debates related to these themes. PAX is especially concerned with the following themes:
Violence can easily erupt again in (post-) conflict regions, especially when past wounds have never healed. PAX is investigating how a society can deal with a violent past. Perpetrators should not go unpunished. And victims are entitled to remedy: acknowledgement of what has been done to them and compensation for their losses. 'Dealing with the Past' (DWP) is a central theme of PAX's work.
It is crucial for us to figure out and deal with the underlying causes of the conflict in post-conflict regions. This does not just involve dealing with the past in a critical fashion. The structures that must provide peace and democracy and that must make reconstruction feasible must also be called into question.
Women, men, boys, and girls all experience and are impacted by violence and armed conflict in different ways. Gendered experiences of injustice, marginalisation and humiliation can be drivers of armed conflict, and armed conflict can have profound impacts on traditional gender roles, norms and attitudes. Power relations shift, from the household level right up to the sphere of national politics and policymaking. PAX acknowledges and responds to these differences and changes in all its programmatic work.
The protection of civilians is at the heart of PAX's work. On the ground in regions of conflict, PAX works with local activists and civilian organisations to examine how civilians can best be protected against the destructive effect of war.
All too often, natural resources such as oil and coal are a source of conflict. PAX strives for the fair and peaceful extraction and use of natural resources, and for compensation for victims whose human rights are violated during the process of extracting natural resources.
Some weapons make no distinction between civilians and military personnel, and continue to produce victims decades after the end of the conflict. PAX is campaigning for a ban on or better regulation of these weapons, an end to investments in banned or contentious weapons, and an end to an arms trade which increases the risk of human rights violations.
There is still a 'divide and conquer' culture in many conflict and post-conflict countries. Building bridges between groups which are ethnically and religiously different is almost an act of peace in itself. PAX believes that strengthening the sense of togetherness - social cohesion - contributes to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.