mediation, in law, type of intervention in which the disputing parties accept the offer of a third party to recommend a solution for their controversy. Mediation has long been a part of international law, frequently involving the use of an international commission, in a process known as by conciliation. Mediation differs from arbitration in being a diplomatic rather than a judicial procedure; thus, the parties to the dispute are not bound to accept the mediator's recommendation. Resort to mediation has become increasingly frequent, both for internal and international disputes. The Declaration of Paris (1856) expressed the hope that the signatories would ask for mediation in their disputes. At the Second Hague Conference (1907), the right of friendly powers to offer mediation was recognized. The Covenant of the League of Nations provided that the whole League, acting through the League Council, should offer conciliation, and the Charter of the United Nations requires all members to submit disputes to mediation on recommendation of the Security Council. Mediation has been successful in many cases of international conflict. The United States served as mediator between Bolivia and Chile (1882) and between Russia and Japan (1905). The United Nations served as a mediator in the conflict in Israel in 1948. In 1966, the Soviet Union mediated the border clashes between India and China. The Secretary-General of the United Nations mediated successfully in several international disputes, particularly that over Netherlands New Guinea (see Papua). Mediation has become increasingly important for internal disagreements as well, particularly in labor disputes. In the United States, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service works toward a healthy relationship between labor and management, mediating disputes where necessary and promoting collective bargaining. Many state and local governments in the U.S. have similar organizations, each generally having the power to intervene when the public interest appears to be in jeopardy. National mediation services are also common in other nations, particularly among the Western democracies.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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