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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
R Rice

Ethnic Conflict Defined as a conflict between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. The definition of ethnicity is then a social construction involving a distinctive and enduring collective identity based on a belief in a common descent and on shared experiences & cultural traits. Ethnic conflicts have become much more prevalent since the Cold War and can result in war crimes or genocide. These conflicts can come about due to colonial legacies, manipulation of stereotypes, competition of scarce resources, economic modernization, weak political institutions or the proliferation of weapons. Often the resolution for eliminating the differences between ethnicities involves genocide, mass-population transfers, secession or integration. They differences can also be managed by hegemonic control, arbitration, federalism or consociationalism (strategic division of powers to protect rights of all participantscitizens). Ethnicity can occur due to tribes, religion, culture or race. There are 4 levels of ethnic conflict: relative harmony, uneasy balance, enforced hierarchy & systematic violence. Rwandan Genocide Occurred during 1994 throughout Rwanda, this was an ethnic conflict between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority ethnic groups. It resulted in the mass genocide of 18% of the countrys total population (about 800,000 people). It was the culmination of a longstanding ethnic competition and tension between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutus. The Hutus come to power during the rebellion of 1959-1962 and overthrown the Tutsi monarchy. The Tutsis were often mistreated and thus a group called the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) composed mostly of Tutsi refugees invaded northern-Rwanda and attempted to defeat the Hutu government. Ultimately, the death of Rwandas Hutu President in 1994 set off the chain of events which led to the Hutus conducting mass genocide against the Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus. This is a significant event as it outlined the extreme effects of ethnic conflict, economic and social suppression as well as a lack of intervention from the international community (due to the Somalia Effect). Darfur, Sudan An ongoing ethnic conflict centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. The conflict began in 2003 by the Sudan Liberation MovementArmy (SLMA) and the Justice Equality Movement (JEM) vs. Government MilitaryPolice (Janjaweed). The prior groups accused the government of oppressing non- Arab Sudanese in favour of Sudanese Arabs, This is a conflict involve social and economic inequality between the two groups directly caused by government involvement. It has been argued that this has formed a type of Arab apartheid in the country much like the White Apartheid in South Africa. Since the beginning of the conflict there have been claims of about 450,000 people who have been killed. Yet, the international community has not intervened because of a UN report that stated while there have been gross violations, genocidal intent appears to be missing. Progress has been made recently with peace talks and negotiations but there still continues to be violence in the region. This is an example where secession is a much more suitable solution rather than consociationalism or federalism. Conflict Resolution Methods and policies aimed at resolving multiple levels of conflict whether at an inter-personal, between groups or between states. It can involve negotiation, mediation, diplomacy and creative peacebuilding. Types of conflict resolution are by means of Constitution design where power is divided between groups by law. This can include federalism which is division of power between the central government and provinces (works before or after conflict; not during) or consociationalism which is a division of political power between formerly antagonistic groups. Other methods include secession (creating a new country), peacekeeping and outside intervention by either the UN or other nations and reconciliation. The latter deals with establishing accountability and rebuilding trust which includes holding war crime tribunals.
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