Human Rights And Violent Conflict

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The relationship between human rights and violent conflict is something like the chicken-and-egg riddle (the chicken or the egg, which came first). Are human rights violations caused by violent conflict, or are they the drivers of violent conflict? According to Parlevliet (2002:8) "violent and destructive conflict can lead to gross human rights violations, but can also result from a sustained denial of rights over a period of time". There is a general consensus that human rights violations are both symptoms and causes of violent conflict. Human rights violation can be viewed as both symptoms and causes of violent conflict because a sustained denial of human rights over a period of time can lead to violent conflict while a destructive conflict can lead to gross human rights violations. In other words, human rights abuses can be a cause as well as a consequence of violent conflict. The symptomatic nature of human rights violations is well known, as news agencies continually report on armed conflict around the world and recount its consequences in terms of loss of life and the mass movements of people trying to escape from violence and destruction. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which some 800 000 people died in just 100 days, stands as one of the most chilling illustrations of the scope of atrocities that conflict can generate. The protracted conflicts in Angola and Sudan demonstrate that this kind of abuse does not only flare up in the short-term: in both countries, the
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