Do Human Rights Violations Cause Internal Conflict

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Much has been written about how post-civil war societies must confront the human rights violations committed during the conflict; however, very little scholarship has examined how human rights violations can lead to civil wars. In their article, “Do Human Rights Violations Cause Internal Conflict?” , Thoms and Ron provide an original and comprehensive analysis of the macro-level trends linking human rights violations in a country with the emergence and escalation of conflict. They use cross-national studies of conflict and individual case studies as part of their “human rights framework” to demonstrate this link. Through this, they argue that violations of civil and political rights are civil war triggers, while discrimination and violations of social and economic rights are underlying risk factors. However, they are unable to provide precise causal links, casting doubt on their argument. While the use of the human rights framework to analyze conflict risk is a unique and relevant way to study civil war onset, the lack of conclusive data to back up their argument makes it much harder to take their analysis seriously.
Barbara F. Walter presents a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the ‘conflict trap’ theory in her article “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War”. She defines the conflict trap theory as the argument that “Societies that have experienced one civil war are significantly more likely to experience a second or third war than are

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