Conflict Trends Issue 1 2016

In ‘Conflict in the Great Lakes Region: Root Causes, Dynamics and Effects’ the Great Lakes Region constitutes a complex network of political and economic interactions with significant implications for peace, security and governance. It is also a region with interlinked conflicts and common fundamental problems that emanate from postcolonial challenges to state-building and nation-building. This article analyses the main conflict dynamics in the Great Lakes Region. In ‘Building Regional Capacity for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region’ issues of exclusive negative sectarian cleavages; poor and unconstitutional management of political governance and transitions; and irresponsible and unstructured development, management and distribution of resources are key to the sustained violent conflicts in the region. In ‘Refugees in the Great Lakes Region: Challenges to Peacebuilding’ in 2014, the Republic of Tanzania granted citizenship to more than 160 000 Burundian refugees. Most of them had fled the country during the 1972 massacres and the 1993–2005 civil war. Tanzania’s decision to grant naturalisation certificates to Burundian refugees was commended by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other international organisations. It was hoped that the decision would encourage other countries in the Great Lakes Region to grant citizenship to refugees born in their territories, including those who had held refugee status for several years. In ‘Civil Society–Government Cooperation: Consolidating the Peace and Reconciliation Agenda in the Great Lakes Region’ since they obtained their independence from their colonial masters, the countries that now make up what is commonly referred to as the Great Lakes Region have experienced conflicts and internal wars, leading to loss of life and property. However, through the determination of the people of the region, the struggle for democracy and good governance persevered. In ‘Regional Conflict Management Responses in Burundi and Ukraine,’ regional approaches to conflict prevention, mediation and crisis management have received increased attention over the past decade. This article examines the responses to these crises by these two regional organisations, and provides initial considerations on factors that can strengthen the potential for meaningful regional responses. ‘Prevention of and Response to Conflict-related Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers in the Great Lakes Region of Africa: Lessons from Central African Republic.’ draws from the experiences of CAR and discusses the lessons learned regarding sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) as a result of conflict in the country.