Lokal konflikthantering i Afrika

Authors:

  • Daniel Torbjörnsson

Publish date: 2016-02-11

Report number: FOI-R--4226--SE

Pages: 38

Written in: Swedish

Keywords:

  • Africa
  • African security
  • conflict analysis
  • conflict resolution
  • peacekeeping
  • peace support operations
  • Sudan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Abstract

A large proportion of armed conflicts do not involve a state, but are rather fought between communities. Communal conflicts are a widespread problem on the African continent, where they have devastating effects on human security through loss of life, loss of livelihood and large-scale displacement. Furthermore, violence between communities has the potential to fuel conflicts on a national level, and thereby contributing to the destabilization of entire countries, or even regions. At the same time, national conflicts have the potential to give rise to autonomous conflicts on the local level, so that violence persists even after the war is officially over. This tendency for communal violence and national conflict to coexist means that there is high probability that communal conflicts are prevalent in the contexts to which UN peacekeeping missions are sent. Since the end of the Cold War, United Nations peacekeeping operations have been sent to increasingly complex situations. An increased focus on civil war, mainly in Africa, has meant new challenges which demand new approaches to peacekeeping. Major reforms have been implemented, making UN peacekeeping operations broader and larger than ever before as missions now include political, humanitarian and police components as a complement to military personnel. Despite these reforms, UN peacekeeping missions have proved to be poorly equipped for handling conflicts on a local level. This report aims to explore trends in and the causes of communal conflicts, as well as to illustrate how UN peacekeeping operations have approached them. Lastly, the report presents a number of policy recommendations that may, if implemented, increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions in terms of communal conflict management. The recommendations include: increasing the mobility of armed personnel; further prioritizing intelligence gathering and analysis; further prioritizing local conflict resolution initiatives; and investigating the possibility of imposing sanctions on reluctant regimes and elites acting as spoilers.