Excluding ethnic groups from power a recipe for civil war

April 19th, 2009 - 2:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 19 (ANI): A new study challenges the popular perception that ethnic diversity is to blame for sectarian conflicts in some countries, and determines that excluding ethnic groups from power is a recipe for civil war.

The study took into account the case of sectarian conflicts in countries like Iraq and Northern Ireland, recent tensions in Tibet, and ethnic violence in post-election Kenya.

“Countries that are ethnically diverse do not experience more conflict than their more homogenous counterparts,” said Andreas Wimmer, the study’s lead author and a UCLA professor of sociology.

“Rather, conflict breaks out when large segments of the population are excluded from access to government because of their ethnicity,” Wimmer added.

Wimmer and his team calculated that a country that excludes 80 percent or more of its population on the basis of ethnicity is more than three times as likely to have a civil war as a wholly inclusive country.

The effects of ethnic exclusion proved to be as important as substantial differences in a country’s per capita income, a well-recognized risk factor for civil war.

“If you want peace in countries with ethnic conflict, you have to rearrange government to include real power-sharing with all ethnic groups,” said Lars-Erik Cederman, study co-author and a former assistant professor of political science at UCLA.

“Eliminating barriers to political participation may sound like common sense, but this research for the first time pinpoints the dramatic risk of failing to do so,” he added. (ANI)

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