This article was originally published by the International Crisis Group on 29 May 2017.
50 years after Nigeria’s then Eastern Region declared itself the Republic of Biafra, sparking a brutal and costly three-year civil war, the country again faces a separatist challenge. Across the Igbo south east, there is resurgent agitation for an independent Biafra state.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s forceful response to the agitation has been counter-productive, inflaming passions and boosting separatist sentiments. The government needs to change course and prioritise dialogue over coercion.
The starting point of any response is to understand the agitation’s roots. They include political and economic grievances, a deep sense of collective victimisation among the Igbo, and the failure of south east politicians to provide good governance and development.
Generals of South Sudan’s Army. Photo: Steve Evans/Wikimedia Commons.
Editor’s note: This article is included in our ‘Conflict Hotspots 2014’ dossier which can be accessed here.
NAIROBI, 16 January 2014 (IRIN) – Since violence first broke out on 15 December, the conflict in South Sudan has left thousands dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more. Representatives of President Salva Kiir and his rival, former vice president Riek Machar, are meeting in Addis Ababa to attempt to negotiate a settlement and a cease-fire. Meanwhile, think tanks, academics and experts have been scrambling to explain the causes of the bitter acrimony and bloodshed that has engulfed the country.
What is the role of the armed forces?
“The current conflict has three main dimensions – a political dispute within the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM); a regional and ethnic war; and a crisis within the army itself,” Alex de Waal and Abdul Mohammed wrote in Foreign Affairs. » More
Europe. Photo: Caitlinator/flickr.
Political heavyweights such as David Cameron and Angela Merkel have recently proclaimed that multiculturalism has failed, underlining the tension between the securitisation of migration and the on-going need for integration, or the incorporation of minorities into society. European Multiculturalisms: Cultural, Religious and Ethnic Challenges offers an assessment of the different ways in which European countries have dealt with diversity. Multiculturalism is one such ‘mode of integration’ that recognises that ‘social existence consists of individuals and groups, and that both need to be provided for in the formal and informal distribution of powers’ (p. 4). While the presumed crisis of multiculturalism has given it an air of obsoleteness, the authors argue that in fact, multiculturalism remains the best way to conceptualise citizenship in the globalised and diverse societies of Europe.
The book presents findings from a large international research project (EMILIE) and consists of two parts that reflect the twofold aims of this interdisciplinary study: the first part contains theoretical and conceptual reflections and refinements; and the second part focuses on the empirical and comparative exploration of the political responses developed during the alleged crisis of multiculturalism in seven case studies: five in Northern Europe, where immigration has been on the political agenda for some time now (Belgium, the UK, Denmark, France and Germany); and two in Southern Europe, where immigration has become an issue only relatively recently (Spain and Greece). Two countries in Central Eastern Europe, which face emigration rather than immigration, are also sometimes referred to (Poland and Latvia). Together, they help to both grasp and evaluate recent developments in the accommodation of minorities, and particularly Muslims, and contribute to our understanding of the ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ as well as the variety of multiculturalisms present in Europe. » More
Roma in central Bulgaria / photo: Rivard, flickr
Sharia in the UK, the growing Turkish population in Germany, Albanians in Kosovo, the integration of Roma; these issues and others have been at the forefront of Europe’s relationship with multiculturalism. We’re taking a close look at that relationship this week.
- Shana Goldberg comments on the EU’s efforts to protect minority rights, highlighting the situation with the Roma in Europe’s Unwanted for ISN Security Watch.
- But Dr Michael Stewart says in the latest edition of ISN Podcasts that unless the EU revamps how it views and researches Roma in general, its efforts to integrate the group will be unsuccessful.
- Another cultural struggle for Europe is the inclusion of Muslims, as Jocelyne Cesari says in Securitisation of Islam in Europe, a featured publication in the ISN Digital Library.
- And we’re also highlighting What’s Culture Got to Do with It, a conference held by the Nordic-Africa Institute, in the ISN Events Calendar.