Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa

Synopsis

Sovereignty, according to the authors, can no longer be seen as a protection against interference, but as a charge of responsibility where the state is accountable to both domestic and external constituencies. In internal conflicts in Africa, sovereign states have often failed to take responsibility for their own citizens' welfare and for the humanitarian consequences of conflict, leaving the victims with no protection or assistance. This book shows how that responsibility can be exercised by states over their own populations and by other states in assistance to their fellow sovereigns. The authors present a framework that should guide both national governments and the international community in discharging their respective responsibilities. They develop broad principles by examining identity as a potential source of conflict, governance as a matter of managing conflict, and economics as a policy field for conflict prevention. Considering conflict management, political stability, economic development, and social welfare as functions of governance, they also develop strategies, guidelines, and roles for its responsible exercise. Approaching conflict management from the perspective of the responsibilities of sovereignty provides a framework for evaluating government accountability. It proposes standards that guide performance and sharpen tools of conflict prevention rather than simply making post hoc judgments on success or failure. The authors demonstrate that sovereignty as responsibility is both a national obligation and a global imperative.

Excerpt

Africa has been the site of some of the most brutal and difficult-to-manage conflicts in the 1990s. the human costs and challenge to the international community in general and the United States in particular of genocide in Rwanda, state collapse in Somalia and Liberia, decades of internecine civil war in Sudan and Angola, and the worrisome potential for chaos in Zaire and Nigeria compel attention both on humanitarian grounds and because pervasive and persistent civil unrest undermines the regional legal order. These tragic cases are balanced, happily, by others. Several African states have initiated far-reaching reforms that offer hope of breaking the vicious cycle of conflict, authoritarianism, and economic decline. the end of thirty years of conflict in Ethiopia/Eritrea, efforts to rebuild the state in Uganda, termination of decades of internal fighting in Mozambique, economic reform in Ghana, the emerging democracy in Benin, and, most encouraging of all, the transition to multiracial democracy in South Africa suggest that Africa provides models of relatively successful governance and conflict management along with the more dramatic cases of chaos and collapse.

According to Francis M. Deng, Sadikiel Kimaro, Terrence Lyons, Donald Rothchild, and I. William Zartman, sovereignty should no longer be seen as protection against external interference in a state's internal affairs. Rather the state must be held accountable to domestic and external constituencies. in Sovereignty as Responsibility the authors develop a framework to guide national governments and the international community in discharging their respective responsibilities. They examine identity as a potential source of conflict, governance as a matter of managing conflict, and economic tools as a possible means of deterring conflict. They analyze the opportunities that exist for making sovereignty more responsible . . .

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