Americas Europe Middle East and Maghreb Sub-Saharan Africa Uncategorized 

Political Conflicts in 2019: Persistent continuation and surprising dynamics

by Mayely Müller and Michael Hebeisen

First published by Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz

Observing political conflicts and tracing their dynamics is a complex undertaking, which requires a multilayered approach and long-term engagement. The annually published Conflict Barometer is taking up this challenge. For 2019, 358 political conflicts were recorded. The following blog article presents these recent findings and discusses how the current COVID-19 pandemic could affect the global conflict landscape.

The annual Conflict Barometer, a report published by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK), is dedicated to the documentation of political conflicts worldwide. This entails the in-depth analysis of violent and non-violent conflicts in all world regions. By observing the dynamics of escalation, de-escalation, and resolution of conflicts on an annual basis, the Heidelberg approach makes conflict dynamics traceable and comparable in the long term. The continuous collection of data serves as a basis for the work and research of policymakers, NGOs, IOs, and scholars. HIIK focuses on the observation of conflicts rather than on root cause analyses. Moreover, it provides a global overview of certain dynamics, such as worldwide demonstrations in 2019.

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Sub-Saharan Africa 

The human story behind the “Virunga” movie

In April 2014, the Academy Award-nominated movie Virunga caused a worldwide outcry against the oil extraction in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s last mountain gorillas. Only several weeks later, oil multinational SOCO International agreed to withdraw from Virunga and eventually sold its production shares in Bloc V, an area covering over one third of the park. Apart from the Virunga fimmakers, NGO heavyweights Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, the WWF, and some brave park wardens mentioned in the movie, who…

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Sub-Saharan Africa 

Islamist terrorists in the Congolese jungle? Myth and reality of the ADF

In December 2014, the renowned Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an article entitled „The ADF militia in Congo Kinshasa – Islamism in the heart of Africa”. Like other pieces in international media, the article claimed that the group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a phenomenon of typical violent Islamism and that the group has links to known jihadist groups such as al-Shabaab or Boko Haram. In addition, ADF has also been officially identified by the Congolese government and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in…

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Sub-Saharan Africa 

The Rainbow Revolution: Why the South African students’ movement #FeesMustFall stands for much more than tuition fees

A “Rainbow Nation” was Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s idea of post-apartheid South Africa. It was 1994, apartheid had been abolished, Nelson Mandela got elected for President, the hopes of the mainly black South African population were high that their future would be a better one: A future in peace and social justice. Today, more than 20 years after Mandela’s release, universities all across the country are repeatedly being closed, destroyed and torched, foreigners are being chased away from their homes and businesses and miners’ strikes are being shot down by national…

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