Violent Conflict And Human Rights Violations As Causes Of Conflict

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The top of the iceberg, pointing above the waterline, represents human rights violations as symptoms of violent conflict. Like the top, these violations tend to be highly visible, and may include excessive use of force by the police, intimidation of political opponents, rape, summary executions, disappearances, torture and censorship. Yet manifestations of violent conflict are seldom confined to violations of civil and political rights; the destruction of infrastructure such as schools and health clinics affects social and economic rights, as does the displacement of civilian populations. The bottom of the iceberg below the waterline symbolizes violations of human rights as causes of conflict. It represents situations where denial of human rights is embedded in the structures of society and governance, in terms of how the state is organized, how institutions operate and how society functions. For example, a state may be characterized by a consistent lack of development in those regions where the majority of citizens are members of a social group other than the politically dominant group. Alternatively, a country’s legislative and policy framework may be biased against certain identity groups resulting in their exclusion and marginalization from political, economic and social spheres of life. Such conditions create structural fault lines in society that may be less visible at first sight, but provide fertile ground for the outbreak of violence. The two levels of the violent

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