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Description Table of Contents. Summary This new volume traces the normative, legal, institutional, and political responses to the challenges of assisting and protecting internally displaced persons IDPs.

Internally Displaced Persons: UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

Request an e-inspection copy. Share this Title. Recommend to Librarian. Shopping Cart Summary. Items Subtotal. Dominant understandings of these conflicts that underpin policy are of two kinds. This term refers to a stylised form of war rather than to all earlier wars. In such wars, the solution is either negotiation or victory by one side and outside intervention takes the form of either traditional peace-keeping — in which the peace-keepers are supposed to guarantee a negotiated agreement and the ruling principles are consent, neutrality and impartiality — or traditional war-fighting on one side or the other, as in Korea or the Gulf War.

On the other hand, where policy-makers recognise the shortcomings of the stereotypical understanding, there is a tendency to treat these wars as anarchy, barbarism, ancient rivalries, where the best policy response is containment, i. As Jacob Mundy puts it, in one of the more thoughtful contributions to the debate:.

Even so, it can be argued that there are some genuinely new elements of contemporary conflicts. Indeed, it would be odd if there were not. The main new elements have to do with globalisation and technology. First of all, the increase in the destructiveness and accuracy of all forms of military technology has made symmetrical war — war between similarly armed opponents — increasingly destructive and therefore difficult to win. The first Gulf war between Iraq and Iran was perhaps the most recent example of symmetrical war — a war, much like the First World War, that lasted for years and killed millions of young men, for almost no political result.

Hence, tactics in the new wars necessarily have to deal with this reality. Secondly, new forms of communications information technology, television and radio, cheap air travel have had a range of implications. Even though most contemporary conflicts are very local, global connections are much more extensive, including criminal networks, Diaspora links, as well as the presence of international agencies, NGOs, and journalists.

The ability to mobilise around both exclusivist causes and human rights causes has been speeded up by new communications. Communications are also increasingly a tool of war, making it easier, for example, to spread fear and panic than in earlier periods — hence, spectacular acts of terrorism. This does not mean, as Berdal suggests, that the argument implies that all contemporary wars involve global connections or that those connections are necessarily regressive.

Rather, it is an element in theorising the logic of new wars. Thirdly, even though it may be the case that, as globalisation theorists argue, globalisation has not led to the demise of the state but rather its transformation, it is important to delineate the different ways in which states are changing. Perhaps the most important aspect of state transformation is the changing role of the state in relation to organised violence. On the one hand, the monopoly of violence is eroded from above, as some states are increasingly embedded in a set of international rules and institutions.

On the other hand, the monopoly of violence is eroded from below as other states become weaker under the impact of globalisation. It is a model that entails a specific political, economic and military logic.

Many of the critics miss the point about the logic of new wars. For example, both Berdal and Malesovic make the point that identity politics are also about ideas — the idea of Greater Croatia, for example, says Berdal. In a trivial sense, that is true just as ideological conflicts can also be reduced to identity — a communist or a fascist identity as opposed to an ethnic or tribal identity, for example.

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But the point of making this distinction is to illuminate different political logics, the way in which identity politics is associated with different practices, different methods of warfare and different ways of relating to authority. Identity politics is about the right to power in the name of a specific group; ideological politics is about winning power in order to carry out a particular ideological programme.

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Typically, in new war contexts, for example, access to the state is about access to resources rather than about changing state behaviour; in such situations, competition for power tends to be based on identity rather than on programmatic debate, even if the latter is more of an ideal than a reality.

This helps to explain military tactics — population displacement as a method of exerting political control — or the persistence of new wars, as fear is a necessary long-term ingredient of identity politics. The point is that the distinction that I make between identity politics and ideology democracy or socialism and geo-political interest implies a different set of political practices and a different methodology of war.

Indeed, similar terms — like hybrid warfare, multivariant warfare, or complex warfighting — are explicitly about being a mixture.

Internal Displacement: Conceptualization and its Consequences

The problem with existing categorisations of conflict, however, is that they do not easily fit contemporary reality, a point that will be elaborated in the data section, and consequently the policy prescriptions that emerge out of them are confused and distorted. A typical example of this type of criticism is the article by Sven Chojnacki.

Chojnacki then goes on to establish his own categories based on actors — inter-state, extra-state, intra-state, and sub-state — which entirely misses the point of new wars, in which the actors are both state and non-state, internal and external. Some critics concede that something like new wars exists. Particularly after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some scholars and policy makers warn of assuming that future wars will look like Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is to be hoped that future wars will not be like Iraq and Afghanistan because these wars have been exacerbated by outside military interventions. But nor are future wars likely to look like the wars of the twentieth century. Of course, a return to old wars cannot be ruled out. It is possible to imagine continued competitive arming by states, growing interstate tensions, and a tendency to forget the suffering of previous generations.

The reconstruction of militarised states through external wars might come to be viewed as a way of re-establishing the monopoly of violence at national levels. There is a lot of sense in this line of argument. New wars can be described as mixtures of war organised violence for political ends , crime organised violence for private ends and human rights violations violence against civilians. Moreover, much contemporary violence — like the drugs wars in Mexico or gang warfare in major cities — appears to have a similar logic to new wars, but has to be classified as criminal. The same sort of argument has been used in relation to terrorism.

On the other hand, the political element does have to be taken seriously; it is part of the solution. Articulating a cosmopolitan politics as an alternative to exclusivist identity is the only way to establish legitimate institutions that can provide the kind of effective governance and security that Mueller is proposing as a solution.

get link War does imply organised violence in the service of political ends. This is the way it legitimises criminal activity.

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Suicide bombers in their farewell videos describe themselves as soldiers not as murderers. Even if it is the case, and it often is, that those who frame the violence in ethnic, religious or ideological terms are purely instrumental, these political narratives are internalised through the process of engaging in or suffering from violence. Indeed, this is the point of the violence; it is only possible to win elections or to mobilise political support through the politics of fear.


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Overcoming fear and hostility does not necessarily come about through compromise, even if that is possible, because compromise can entrench exclusivist positions; rather it requires a different kind of politics, the construction of a shared discourse that has to underpin any legal response. Most data sets assume a threshold below which violence cannot be counted as war — say a thousand battle deaths per year, as in the Correlates of War database Correlates of War Project.

Actually, conflict is endemic in all societies and necessary for change and adaptation. Democracy is a peaceful mechanism for managing conflict. This knowledge has since been augmented by research on Iraq and Afghanistan, but there were two quantitative claims that I used to back up the arguments that battles are becoming rare and most violence is directed against civilians. One concerned the dramatic increase in the ratio of civilian to military casualties and the other concerned the rise in the numbers of displaced people per conflict.