One by one, the former South African president on Tuesday listed African countries where failure to deal with diversity was the root cause of conflict, from the Biafran war in Nigeria in the late 1960s to the current conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigre region. .
Thabo Mbeki also cited the “centrality of the failure to properly manage diversity” in conflicts in Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast and Sudan.
He pointed to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2004 report “which tells the naked truth, that failure to manage diversity resulted in the country experiencing a very costly 11-year war that began in 1991.” ” – – and there is a similar failure to manage diversity “in the violent conflict in Cameroon that is still ongoing and continues.”
France’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nicolas de Rivire, was a few additions.
In the Sahel region stretching across North Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea, “terrorist groups use differences to spread hatred between communities,” he said. And ethnic and religious violence is also prevalent in the Middle East, including Iraq, Yemen and Syria.
He spoke at a UN Security Council meeting on “diversity, state-building and the pursuit of peace”, organized by Kenya, which presides over the council this month, and chaired by its president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The important message I want to convey today is that the poor management of diversity poses a serious threat to international peace and security,” Kenyatta said.
He noted that inequality within and between countries “often results in exclusion on the basis of identity” that becomes institutionalized in governments and economic relations. “And this manifests in stereotypes and bigotry,” he said, “as well as other consequences of a lack of work for billions of people based on who they are.”
“The result is a deep sense of grudge and bitterness that populists and democrats can easily take advantage of,” Kenyatta said. “It is fodder for terrorism, extremism, the rise of xenophobia, hate speech, divisive tribalism as well as racism.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited a UN-World Bank study that found “many conflicts are deeply rooted in long-standing inequalities between groups,” which leave people feeling excluded and marginalized because they Opportunities are denied on the basis of their culture, race, skin colour. Ethnicity or income.
He pointed to a sharp increase in armed groups at the center of conflicts – “insurgents, insurgents, militias, criminal gangs and armed trafficking, terrorist and extremist groups” – as well as an increase in military coups.
While fighters may agree to end hostilities, Guterres warned, “any peace will be short-lived without involving a wide range of diverse voices at every stage of the process – without bringing all people together.”
She added that women and youth should be “meaningful partners” and “when we open the doors to inclusion and participation, we take a major step forward in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.”
Fauzia Kufi, the first woman to become deputy speaker of Afghanistan’s parliament after the Taliban takeover on August 15, said her country is the latest test of whether the global community can come together to uphold the principles of the UN Charter. including promoting the rule of law, justice and equality for men and women.
“There are serious reports that fundamental freedoms are being violated,” she said. “Women and girls are once again treated as second-class citizens. They are making us invisible again… (and) thousands of people from religious minorities and other minority groups are forced to flee their villages.”
Kufi said the Afghan situation shows how imbalances in power are “at the root of so much conflict and inequality.”
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, whose country was the scene of the genocide in 1994, said that lasting peace can only be achieved when the root causes of conflict are understood by the wider population, and this requires dialogue and the search for solutions.
“It may not be possible to completely stop all conflicts,” he said. “Indeed, there will always be some form of dissent and grievance. But the intensity and impact of conflicts can be reduced by being attentive to local needs and “delivering the outcomes that citizens expect and deserve.”
South Africa’s Mbeki recalled that the Nigerian government had emerged victorious 50 years ago against separatist-seeking Biafra, but its leaders declared that “they would follow a policy of no winners, no losers.”
Noting the “painful example” of the ongoing conflict between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Tigrians, Mbeki said, “this is what Ethiopia needs.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Thabo Mbeki