The Importance Of Ethnic Conflict

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Ethnic conflict is one of the major threats to international peace and security. It can be characterized as conflicts that have been going on for some time between ethnic groups within a multi-ethnic state. Usually, it is between two major groups who are fighting for the power or sovereignty of a country, state, or territory. In Tina Kempin Reuter’s (2010) article, she states that “[e]thnic conflicts are often accompanied by gross human rights violations, such as genocide and crimes against humanity, and by economic decline, state failure, environmental problems, and refugee flows” (p. 141). There are three general issues of ethnic conflicts: one, their desire for independence; two, their demand for greater power; and three, their demand for recognition and protection of minority interest within a society. In this proposal, I will be examining why some countries manage ethnic conflict better than others. The cases I will be focusing on are Nigeria and South Africa, and the focal point of this paper is that ethnic conflict is a product of a skewed economy and authoritarian governance. This paper proposes that ethnic conflicts are mainly due to colonialism and have been the heart of both countries’ development problems. South Africa and Nigeria are a good comparison because they are both motivated by similar political approaches to succeed in conflict through national reconciliation, consensus building and economic growth. Both were also shaped by the assumptions and
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