CONSEQUENCES OF CONFLICT PRESENTED BY: Anurug Chakma Graduate Student Department of Peace and Conflict Studies University of Dhaka
Human Rights Violation Direct Violence Displacement Sexual crueltiesIncreased exposure to HIV
Physical Destruction Psychological Impact Impact on Children Impact on WomenBreakdown of family and social Structure Culture of violence
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONToday, some of the most serious threats to international peace and security arearmed conflicts that arise, not among nations, but among warring factions within aState. Although situations of internal violence, they often spill over borders,endangering the security of other States and resulting in complex humanitarianemergencies. The human rights abuses prevalent in internal conflicts are now amongthe most atrocious in the world. In 1996, there were 19 ongoing situations of internalviolence around the world in which 1,000 people or more were killed. These so-called"high-intensity conflicts" cumulatively led to between 6.5 million and 8.5 milliondeaths. In the same year, there were also 40 "low-intensity conflicts", each causingbetween 100 and 1,000 deaths. Another 2 million deaths can be added to thesefigures if one includes situations of internal violence that had de-escalated in 1996(Source: http://www.un.org/rights/HRToday/hrconfl.htm).
DIRECT VIOLENCEThe 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 Kosovo war and the 2001 Afghanistan war lead to riseof the thousands and millions of casualties – innocent civilians, mostly women,children and elderly who have no say in these wars. The damage is irreparable andwhatever is left becomes unsustainable affecting even the future generations. In Iraqalone, 601,000 died since the US invasion. Five million Iraqi children or 35% of all Iraqichildren are orphans (Source: Evelyn Balais-Serrano, “Global Conflicts, Human RightsViolation and Social Work Action” Accessed on July 17, 2012,http://www.cfess.org.br/pdf/evelyn_serrano.pdf).According to the United Nations, some 20 million people have been killedin over 150 armed conflicts in developing countries since the Second WorldWar, the majority being women and children (Source: Source: Joy Boyden, Jode Berry & Thomas Feeny “Childern Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia:A Review of Trends and Issues” (University of Oxford: Januray 2002).
DISPLACEMENTIn 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated 2.2million Iraqis have fled to neighboring countries and 2 million were displacedinternally (Source: Evelyn Balais-Serrano, “Global Conflicts, Human RightsViolation and Social Work Action” Accessed on July 17, 2012,http://www.cfess.org.br/pdf/evelyn_serrano.pdf). Between 1991 and 2002,during civil war about 50, 000 people were killed with Sierra Leone with over2 million people displaced in neighboring countries, mainly to Guinea . CAREstarted its relief operation in November, 1998 and is feeding 250, 000refugees in 60 camps located in Guinea(http://www.care.org/newsroom/specialreports/sierra_leone/sl_relief.asp).In the year of 1988, more than 100,000 took refuge in Southern India due toconflict, especially in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu which is the safe place forTamil peoples. Terror and violence came to dominate the national life of SriLanka.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACTThe U.N. Childrens Fund says 840,000 children in Gaza are under extreme stress andare traumatized by the violent events of the past few weeks. UNICEF warns of long-lasting psychological consequences for thousands of children caught up in the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza. The UNICEF official says she fears the future generation ofchildren is at risk of becoming a lost generation. "We do not want to assume it willcreate a generation of hate," said Kaage. "But it definitely - the social trauma, theimpact, the loss children have suffered-be it of a sibling, be it of a parent, be it oftheir closest friend, be it their auntie - this is an immense, immense negative impacton anybodys life, even in the best of circumstances" (Source: http://www.voanews.com/content/a-13-2009-01-16-voa63-68626522/407444.html).
SEXUAL CRUALITIESWe also know that the first casualties in wartime are women. In conflict zones, theUnited Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) observed thatsexual violence usually spreads like epidemic. Whether it is civil war, pogroms, orother armed conflicts, all too often women’s bodies become part of the battlefield.The victims of large scale sexual atrocities range from baby girls to old women. •The European Union estimated 20,000 women in Bosnia alone were victims of rape in 1990s. •An estimated 2 million were victims of the Red Army’s sexual cruelties – not only German women, but also Jewish women in hiding, concentration camp survivors and resistance fighters in 1945. Source: Evelyn Balais-Serrano, “Global Conflicts, Human Rights Violation and Social Work Action” Accessed on July 17, 2012, http://www.cfess.org.br/pdf/evelyn_serrano.pdf.
INCREASED EXPOSURE TO HIVRape by an infected man directly exposes women to the virus, and the abrasions ortearing of vaginal tissue may increase the risk of infection dramatically. Sometraditional practices, such as female circumcision (more commonly referred to in theliterature as female genital mutilation - FGM), also contribute to HIV vulnerabilityamong women, especially when women are subject to violent sex. Therefore incountries experiencing conflict where the incidence of FGM is high, women are morevulnerable to HIV/AIDS as rape is even likelier to damage their genital tissue,increasing their risk of sexually-transmitted infection (See:www.unfpa.org/rh/armedforces/index.html).
SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCESexual and gender-based violence are rampant in all stages of conflict, including inrefugee settings where women are supposed to be protected. Rates of violencebetween intimate partners often increase dramatically in countries devastated by war.During the conflict itself, women’s bodies often become battlegrounds, as sexualviolence. Sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation are also common duringflight and in refugee settings. Many women are vulnerable because they are alonewith their children, and are raped or otherwise coerced to have sex by soldiers orother displaced men. In other cases, women are subjected to rape or violent sex bytheir own partners as the loss of status and idleness of refugee men, and theincreased drinking that often accompany it, sometimes lead to a rise in sexual violenceagainst and abuse of women and girls (See:www.unfpa.org/rh/armedforces/index.html).
PHYSICAL DESTRUCTIONArmed conflict results in the destruction of private and public property, ofcommunications systems, food stocks, natural resources, livestock, water supplies,sanitation systems and practically all manufactured and natural resources. For theperiod 1983-1998 the total cost of damages of the war in Sri Lanka was estimated at137.1 billion Rupees (c.$1.53 billion). Events since 1998, including the LTTE offensiveon Elephant Pass and the Jaffna Peninsula in 2000 and the attack on Colombo Airportin 2001, have surely added immensely to the damage and consequent costs. Source: Joy Boyden, Jo de Berry & Thomas Feeny “Childern Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia: A Review of Trends and Issues” (University of Oxford: Januray 2002).
IMPACT ON ECONOMYThe cost of one AK-47 rifle is enough to buy vitamin A capsules that can preventblindness of 3,000 one year olds; a 10 million worth of anti-personal landmine isenough to provide immunization to approximately 7.7 million children against 6deadly childhood diseases; the cost of 23 fighter planes can provide for iodized salt forten years to protect 1.6 billion people at risk of mental retardation due to iodinedeficiency and the cost of 11 radar evading bombers is enough to provide 4 years ofprimary education to 135 million children who are not in school (Source: Evelyn Balais-Serrano, “Global Conflicts, Human Rights Violation and Social Work Action” Accessedon July 17, 2012, http://www.cfess.org.br/pdf/evelyn_serrano.pdf).
IMPACT ON CHILDRENMore than half of the world’s 22.4 million displaced people are children andadolescents: one in every 230 persons in the world is a child or adolescent who hasbeen forced to flee his or her home. The impacts on children may be direct andapparent, as in the case of death, wounding, family separation, or dislocation (Source:Joy Boyden, Jo de Berry & Thomas Feeny “Children Affected by Armed Conflict in SouthAsia: A Review of Trends and Issues” (University of Oxford: January 2002).
IMPACT ON WOMENThe situation of female-headed households and their children in war-affectedpopulations of South Asia is of great concern, partly because of the sheer numbersinvolved, and partly because such families appear to face particular hardships. InAfghanistan the problem is on a massive scale, with an estimated 700,000 war-widows. Currently between 1% and 5% of households appear to have no adult maleabove the age of 15 years. Impoverishment has weakened the ability of the extendedfamily to cater for such women and their offspring (Source: Joy Boyden, Jo de Berry &Thomas Feeny “Children Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia: A Review of Trendsand Issues” (University of Oxford: January 2002). Furthermore, childbirth becomesmore dangerous during conflict. Women who hemorrhage during delivery are atparticular risk in situations where there is no blood banking system to test blood forHIV. The transfusion that saves a woman’s life - if available - could simultaneouslyinfect her with HIV (See: www.unfpa.org/rh/armedforces/index.html).
BREAK DOWN OF FAMILY AND SOCIAL STRUCTUREThe disintegration of communities and family life can lead to the breakup of stablerelationships as well as the disruption of social norms governing men’s and women’ssexual behavior. The economic destitution and psychological trauma of war-affectedpopulations also increase their risk behaviors (See:www.unfpa.org/rh/armedforces/index.html).
CULTURE OF VIOLENCEThe incidence of violence in Colombia as a case cannot be comprehended withoutunderstanding the existence of a culture of violence as expressed in high homiciderates, the existence of institutionalized violent actors, the prevalence of certainnorms such as those of the macho and of revenge, and the absence of other norms,taboos, and prohibitive rules. The ubiquity of violence is not plausible unless apropensity to violence is socio-culturally anchored. For culture itself is determinedby historical and contemporary factors: by the lack of a state monopoly of violence,by the dominance of horizontal axes of conflict, by the rules of the narcotics trade(which creates strong economic incentives for excessive use of violence), and by theclass structure of Colombian society, which is characterized by class tensionscombined with a weakly developed urban middle class (Source:www.ijcv.org/index.php/ijcv/article/download/21/21).