Armed Conflicts In Africa


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Armed Conflicts In Africa

  1. 1. Armed Conflicts in Africa Alannah, Victoria & Amy
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>The aim of this introductory contribution is to try and make some sense of this seemingly anomalous security situation, for it is difficult to deliberate on modalities for conflict resolution without such an understanding. However, the intention is not to confuse the reader with a complicated discourse dealing with the ‘root causes’ of specific conflicts in Africa, for such exercises can be overwhelming in their complexity. The aim is rather to provide an overview of the different types of conflict that Africa has witnessed during this decade, according to their most salient causal origins. </li></ul>
  3. 3. A typology of Africa’s armed conflicts <ul><li>Broadly speaking, a typology of Africa’s armed conflicts since 1990 can be constructed under the following seven issues: </li></ul><ul><li>ethnic competition for control of the state; </li></ul><ul><li>regional or secessionist rebellions; </li></ul><ul><li>continuation of liberation conflicts; </li></ul><ul><li>fundamentalist religious opposition to secular authority; </li></ul><ul><li>warfare arising from state degeneration or state collapse; </li></ul><ul><li>border disputes; and </li></ul><ul><li>protracted conflict within politicised militaries. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Costs of Armed Conflicts (1) <ul><li>During the past 15 years, almost $300 billion has been squandered on armed conflict in Africa, capital that could have been used to lift the continent out of extreme poverty and to prevent continued disease epidemics, a new study revealed. </li></ul><ul><li>Produced by the International Action Network on Small Arms, Saferworld and Oxfam International, the report said that between 1990 and 2005, 23 African nations have been involved in armed conflict. The list includes Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Costs of Armed Conflicts (2) <ul><li>In effect, 38% of the world’s armed confrontations take place on African soil. </li></ul><ul><li>The price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for TB and malaria. Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built, positively affecting millions of people. Not only do the people of Africa suffer the physical horrors of violence, armed conflict undermines their efforts to escape poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>Since 1991, Liberia has been one of the African nations that has been the target of armed combat and widespread civil strife. Although conditions for peace in the country were established in 2003 , Liberia continues to experience political and economic perils, including the challenge of accommodating thousands of Liberian refugees who have returned to their homeland since the war ended. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Costs of Armed Conflicts (3) <ul><li>However, it is not only robbed human lives and financial resources stolen in conflict that continue to cause the most damage to the continent, but the intangible daily mental and physical effects felt by the people themselves—and in some cases, other nations around them not directly involved in the conflict itself. </li></ul><ul><li>According to the report, African countries involved in conflict have, on average, 50 per cent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people, life expectancy reduced by five years, 20 percent more adult illiteracy, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4 per cent less food per person. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Children in Armed Conflicts (1) <ul><li>Earlier this week the London daily newspaper, Al-Hayat , revealed that a number of factions in Lebanon are recruiting and training child soldiers. </li></ul><ul><li>While the factions and youth movements deny providing the children with military training, some children boast to their friends that they are well acquainted with the use of arms because they have received military training from certain factions. </li></ul><ul><li>The utilization of child warriors is not new; indeed, during the Lebanese Civil War fighting militias would enlist volunteers aged 14 and over to dispatch supplies to the front lines, and provide them with military training. </li></ul><ul><li>Since 2001, the participation of child soldiers has been reported in 21 on-going or recent armed conflicts in almost every region of the world. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Children in Armed Conflicts (2) <ul><li>The problem is most serious in Africa, where children as young as nine have been involved in armed conflicts, although children are also used as soldiers in various Asian countries and in parts of Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. </li></ul><ul><li>Robbed of their childhood and frequently subjected to extreme violence, child soldiers participate in all aspects of warfare: from manning look-out posts and spying, to wielding AK-47s and M-16s, and participating in suicide missions. </li></ul><ul><li>According to Human Rights Watch, children are most likely to become child soldiers if they are poor, separated from their families, displaced from their homes, living in a combat zone or have limited access to education. </li></ul><ul><li>That the children are sometimes forced to commit atrocities against their own family or neighbors in order to ensure that the child is “stigmatized” and unable to return to his or her home community, renders the process all the more abhorrent. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Children in Armed Conflicts (3) <ul><li>To counter the rising use of child soldiers, steps to curtail the practice of using child soldiers are being taken. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2000, the United Nations adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, which prohibits the forced recruitment of children under the age of 18 or their use in hostilities. To date, it has been ratified by more than 110 countries. </li></ul><ul><li>Equally, the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor prohibits the forced or compulsory recruitment of children under the age of 18 for use in armed conflict. It has been ratified by over 150 countries. </li></ul><ul><li>Another measure comprises demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) programs that specifically target child soldiers, which have been established in a number of countries, both during and after armed conflict and enable former child soldiers to acquire new skills and return to their communities. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Children in Armed Conflicts (4) <ul><li>However, the programs lack funds and adequate resources, and sustained long-term investment is needed if they are to be effective. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition, despite increasing recognition of girls’ involvement in armed conflict, girls are often deliberately or inadvertently excluded from DDR programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Girl soldiers are frequently subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as being involved in combat and other roles, and in some cases they are stigmatized by their home communities when they return. </li></ul><ul><li>On a positive note, over the past four years, the minimum age for voluntary recruitment into the armed forces has been raised to 18 in Chile, Italy, Jordan, the Maldives, Sierra Leone, Slovenia and South Korea. </li></ul>
  11. 11. THE END