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Identity and Peace: Reconfiguring Conflict Resolution in Africa

G Hagg
P Kagwanja


The emergence of intra-state wars based on identity requires a reconfiguring
of existing conflict resolution mechanisms. The article recognises the limitations of liberal peace models originally configured to deal with inter-state conflicts, but increasingly applied to inter-ethnic conflicts with limited success and often disastrous effects. The article argues for the reconceptualisation of identities as building blocks of sustainable peace, justice and reconciliation. The article also calls for the recognition of the role of regional peace and security mechanisms in conflict resolution, as far as possible the use of traditional justice mechanisms, especially in the context of increasing state failure on the continent. The article cautions against enthusiastic embrace of international justice mechanisms that may sometimes create stumbling blocks to peace and reconciliation. Rather the article suggests nuanced interventions in identity-based conflicts that reconcile democracy and justice, guaranteeing the rights of both majority and minority groups.

African Journal on Conflict Resolution Vol. 7 (2) 2007: pp. 9-36

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eISSN: 1562-6997