Obstacles or Challenges Facing Post-Conflict Peace-Building – Essay Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper “ Obstacles or Challenges Facing Post-Conflict Peace-Building” is an  apposite example of a case study on politics. The end of overt violence through military victory or peace agreements never implies peace, but instead gives rise to a ‘ post-conflict’ setup where opportunities may either be seized to make the country better or squandered at the expense of future peace (Lambourne 2004, p. 2). However, this is often difficult, as there are emergent obstacles related to the effect of conflict on the community, the economy and governance structures (Filipov 2006, p. 21). The story of Rwanda is a tragic example of what conflict can do to a nation within a short time, and the difficulties arising after the near-collapse of a state (King 2016, p. 1).

Rwanda’ s recovery from the outcome of mass genocide in 1994 reveals several challenges which post-conflict peace-building encounters. This paper discusses various challenges that post-conflict peace-building and reconciliation usually encounter, with reference to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Historical Roots as an ObstacleDeep-rooted causes of conflict can significantly limit the extent to which peace-building and reconciliation can be achieved in a post-conflict situation because they tend to have lasting impacts on relationships between the rival groups (Lambourne 2004, p. 16).

For instance, the roots of the conflict in Rwanda are traceable back to the colonial times, making the country’ s deep-seated ethnic suspicion difficult to overcome. According to King (2016, p. 2), all three major ethnic groups, namely the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa spoke one language and healthily interacted and even intermarried prior to colonialism. However, According to Paluck (2009, p. 676), the colonial state later exploited their ethnic differences as a way of making their rule easier, with the highlight being in 1959 when it instigated a revolt by the Hutu, during and after which the Tutsi suffered, and lasting tensions, prejudice, and ethnic hatred flourished.

In 1990, the nation underwent an economic crisis and civil war, worsened by growing political factionalism and ethnicity. This provided a strong background for conflict. Later events in the 1990s ensured that the two groups could never be united. The main rebel Tutsi group, the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), consisted mainly of descendants of refugees and orphans of the 1959 Hutu insurrection.

King (2016, p. 2) explains that Hutu extremists within the political system meanwhile gradually incited others to exterminate the entire Tutsi population, and in 1994, within a hundred days of resultant genocide, over 800,000 Tutsi and many moderate Hutu were set upon and brutally murdered. It was only the intervention of the RPA that ended the conflict, and its political arm, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) took power. With such a history of bitterness against the Hutu majority and the fact that the Tutsi had been repressed and were a small minority, it would be expected that the Tutsi authorities remain suspicious of the rival Hutu even in times of peace, thereby posing an obstacle to peace-building. Difficulties in Ensuring Democratic IdealsDemocratization often proves difficult after the conflict, thereby limiting peace-building.

According to Samuels (2006, p. 679), the monitoring and implementation of governance structures within the post-conflict environment are not easy, because, just as was the case in Rwanda, there tends to be a dominance of executive power. If this is unregulated, there is the possibility of the legitimacy and stability of the emerging state being compromised.

After the extended conflict, there is usually the tendency of institutions to be too weak to check the government, hence jeopardizing stability in the long-term. Any drifts towards authoritarianism are likely to undermine democracy and therefore expose the society to a possible return to conflict.

Reference

List

Ali, T, and Matthews, R (2004) Durable Peace: Challenges for Peace-building in Africa. University of Toronto Press, Toronto

Anderson, D and Cheeseman, N (2013) Routledge Handbook of African Politics. Routledge, New York

Collier, P, Hoeffler, A and Soderbom, M (2008) Post-Conflict Risks. Journal of Peace Research Vol. 45 (4): 461-478

Filipov, F (2006) Post-conflict Peace-building: Strategies and Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador and Sierra Leone: Some thoughts From the Rights to Education and Health. Naciones Unidas, Santiago

King, R (2016) Trauma, Healing and Reconciliation in Rwanda. International Journal of Disability, Community & Rehabilitation Vol. 1 (3): 1-3

King, E (2010) Memory Controversies in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Implications for Peace-building. Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal Vol. 5 (3): 293–309

Lambourne, W (2004) Post-Conflict Peace-building: Meeting Human Needs for Justice and Reconciliation. Peace, Conflict and Development 4: 2-24

Mzvondiwa, C (2007). The Role of Women in the Reconstruction and Building of Peace in Rwanda: Peace Prospects for the Great Lakes Region. African Security Review Vol. 16 (1): 99-106

Paluck, E (2009) Reducing Intergroup Prejudice and Conflict Using the Media: A Field Experiment in Rwanda. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 96 (3): 574-587

Rosoux, V (2009) Reconciliation as a Peace-Building Process: Scope and Limit, in Bercovitch, J, Kremenyuk, V and Zartman, I (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Conflict Resolution. SAGE, London

Samuels, K (2006) Post-Conflict Peace-Building and Constitution-Making. Chicago Journal of International Law Vol. 6 (2): 663-682

Schwarz, R (2005) Post-Conflict Peace-building: The Challenges of Security, Welfare and Representation. Security Dialogue Vol. 36 (4): 429-446

Staub, E (2003) Preventing Violence and Generating Humane Values: Healing and Reconciliation in Rwanda. International Review of the Red Cross Vol. 85 (852): 791-805

Tschirgi, N (2004) Post-Conflict Peace-building Revisited: Achievements, Limitations, Challenges. International Peace Academy, New York

UNDP (2007). The Challenges of Restoring Governance in Crisis and Post-Conflict Countries. United Nations, New York

Unruh, J, and Williams, R (2013) Land and Post-Conflict Peace-building. Routledge, London

Zorbas, E (2004). Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda. African Journal of Legal Studies Vol. 1(1): 29-52

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us