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State policies and electoral campaigning politicise group identities and shape the incentives for violence.

OHCHR | The crisis in the Horn of Africa: a human rights perspective

In addition, ethnic ties between executive politicians and groups in conflict affect how the central government responds when a conflict erupts. So do state interests in natural resources or other assets. My research suggests that governments need to support legitimate local peace initiatives.

African Perspective: Western Sahara conflict Part 1

They also need to ensure equal provision of security and other services to citizens to mitigate communal violence. Recent research has shed new light on how bad governance and political manoeuvring increases the risk of communal violence. For instance, politicians may exploit and provoke animosities along ethnic or other identity lines to mobilise political support.

State and Societal Challenges in the Horn of Africa

Or intergroup hatred is fuelled because certain groups gain preferential access to state resources and economic opportunities. In other situations the failure to provide services, including security, to certain regions increases the risk that local communities take up arms to fight over control of scarce resources. A common characteristic of communal conflicts is that ethnic or tribal identity is closely intertwined with land control as well as political power and access to rights and opportunities. A case in point is the Nubian community in Kibera , Nairobi. But this has put them in conflict with other communities living in Kibera.

During political campaigns, politicians have exacerbated these conflicts by appealing to one or the other side in order to gain votes. My research has focused on the effects of bias. These are cases where one of the groups in a conflict has close ties with those in power at the national level, or where the government for other strategic reasons favours one side in the conflict. Such bias can, for instance, affect whether or not the government chooses to intervene. In a study covering sub-Saharan Africa from to , I found that governments were more likely to deploy security forces to conflicts involving their ethnopolitical support base, and conflicts in areas of high economic importance.

A potential explanation is that intervention can be used to contain violence as well as to affect the power dynamics between the groups and to influence the outcome of the conflict. In another study, focusing on four cases in Kenya , I found that bias makes it more difficult for the conflict parties to reach an agreement on how to resolve their conflict. That study suggests that the parties will find it difficult to trust each other if they believe that those in power have vested interests in the conflict. However, new opportunities for peacemaking can be opened up by political transitions that involve new national and local political leaders who are not perceived as biased.

Overall, my research suggests that governments can rarely function as a neutral arbiter in cases of communal conflict. When conflict erupts, political leaders can usually be implicated as part of the cause. This can be either directly through active bias or incitement or indirectly through bad policies and a failure to provide services equally to citizens. This implies that, if possible, policymakers should try and identify and support conflict resolution mechanisms that have local legitimacy. It is also in work that we cooperate with one another in the overall creation of our world, as co-creators with our God.

But finally and perhaps most importantly, human work not only has those objective values, but it has subjective value as well. Thus work is more than simply a way to earn income, it is a deeply human activity by which we exercise our humanity. In a situation in which we cannot exercise that activity in a productive way in society, a dignified life is not possible Unfortunately this is not the only kind of violence associated with unemployment, especially unemployed youth.

As we have seen played out in many places, unemployed youth at times express their resentment and frustration marginalization in violent ways, as well as simply providing for themselves in illegitimate and criminal ways when legitimate avenues are closed to them. In addition, they are vulnerable to manipulation by political powers who draw them into destructive protests.

Thus, as noted above, unemployment as a threat to human security fits under its narrow interpretation as well at the broader understanding of the concept. A large number of studies have addressed this complicated relationship.

Governments and communal conflicts

A whole juridical structure has been developed to prosecute human rights abuses. In particular at the international level, huge amounts of resources have gone into the development of human rights law and its enforcement realizing the hope for a new kind of global security based on human needs such as employment. Interestingly, the World Development Report for partially fulfills that hope. Incidentally, once again, we see a parallel and mutual reinforcement with Catholic Social Thought. Washington: World Bank, Afrobarometer reported that employment was the most often mentioned social need, higher than education or health, in their recent survey New York: Gallup, Available at www.

First, the issue of Underemployment noted above is particularly acute in African countries.

agprakmaggamb.tk By Africa will have the largest labor force in the world, but in order to take advantage of it, the current state of African youth employment noted above must change. Unemployment and Violence in Kenya The second security threat related to unemployment, that of youth violence, unfortunately applies to Kenya as well, in particular to the PEV.


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They also note in many of the cases that economic marginalization is one of the key factors in that violence. FES Occasional Papers 1. Removing this factor is in fact a goal suggested by policy makers in both the international community and the Kenya government itself. As in most countries, those responsibilities are articulated in terms of human rights. The report mentioned earlier on Human Security lays out 5 challenges for countries like Kenya in that task, 2 of which are particularly apt: first, need for efficient, rational legal as opposed to personal patrimonial, administrative bureaucracy; and second, transformation of subjects into citizens44 Fulfilling its responsibility regarding human security is still a major task for most African countries, including Kenya.

Nairobi: National Council of Law Reporting, While appreciating those policies, there are underlying concerns that should inform future policy making. Some principles of Catholic Social Thought combined with the Human Security issues discussed here can guide the choice of those policies. However, as Pope Francis predicts, that growth path has not allowed the kind of structural transformation of the economy that would bring improvement of employment and labor productivity Therefore overall labor productivity is falling, not rising, even as African economies grow.

In a study of four African countries Pedro Martins finds the Ethiopia and Ghana have significantly greater employment results from their growth policies than do others — shifting to innovative agriculture, light manufacturing and modern services, for example. He argues that the commitment to employment generation must play out across all the economic policy sectors: Public expenditures should be targeted to sectors with strong employment generation potential e.

Financial policies should favour the allocation of credit towards employment-intensive sectors of the economy….. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, One simple step towards making people more the center of policy would be to know more about them and their experience. We need to know as much about the workers of Kenya as we do about its financial flows. Catholic Social Thought and Human Security thinking come together on several other priorities for policy makers in Kenya and worldwide. In the Kenyan context, it underlines the fact that employment is not enough. And many Kenyans especially in the informal economy do not make that much.

Another principle is the special concern for the poor. CST tells us that a particular focus needs be on the most vulnerable, in part because it is by their lives that the moral status of a society is judged However, the current employment policies focus on the better off unemployed, rather than addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.

For example, current policies focus on providing funding for young entrepreneurs, that is, those who are already capable to starting their own businesses. This implies a certain amount of education and connection with the business world, which may not be the situation of the youth who are in most need.

Another example is that only those who already have businesses can take advantage of the promised government contracts.


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  • The National Youth Service is aimed at high school graduates, not the one half of the youth population who do not attend secondary school, and the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program is quite competitive. While these programs are worthwhile, they may not reach those most in need. Human Security analysis tells us that those who are most in need are the most likely to be drawn into violence, to threaten the security of others as a way to gain more security for themselves. Thus, both on moral grounds and on human security grounds, more attention should be paid to the most vulnerable youth.

    A third principle of CST noted above is that employment is the way that many people are able to contribute to their society.

    People have a right to participate meaningfully in their society. Transparency in the labor market is crucial to avoid the kind of systematic marginalization that not only makes it impossible to fulfill oneself humanly, but also leads to collective economic insecurity that easily spills over into violence.

    No one and no social group have a right to monopolize goods when others are in dire need. This means that societies have a responsibility of providing the minimum necessities of live, even regardless of employment, etc. This is the basis for the social safety net provided in most countries and beginning to be provided in Kenya.