Intractable conflicts in Africa: The international response to the Darfur and South Sudan crises

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Owiso, Roger
Boshoff, Elsabé
Mamhare, Tapiwa Matemai
Tsighe, Adiam Zemenfes
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Global Campus
This article considers the intractable conflicts and human rights situations in Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan, respectively, against the international responses they elicited. Intractable conflicts are conflicts that have lasted for a long time with resistance to settlement despite various attempts at intervention and conciliation. These conflicts from neighbouring nations have both elicited extensive engagement from the international and regional communities but, while some clarity regarding the direction to be taken has been achieved in the case of South Sudan, the situation in Darfur remains dire. The article analyses the difference in the peace-building approaches in the two conflicts and how these approaches have contributed to the different outcomes in Darfur and South Sudan. Following an exposition of intractability in the introduction, the second section applies the factors identified to the case of Darfur, confirming that this indeed is an intractable situation. It then considers the international response to the conflict in Darfur and the mechanisms employed by the global and the regional community in an attempt to address this conflict. The third section considers the situation in South Sudan and the international response, noting that efforts were led by the regional and subregional bodies, with the UN’s role being to complement these efforts. The methodology employed is a comparative analysis, in which the international and regional legal and institutional responses to the crisis in South Sudan are analysed with a view to identifying the lessons to be applied in addressing the situation in Darfur, utilising theoretical and functional approaches to legal and political interventions. The final section draws from the insights gained in comparing the international response in Darfur and South Sudan, and concludes by attempting to extract general principles about intractability and the effectiveness of international responses to situations considered to be intractable, noting in particular the importance of regional and sub-regional bodies taking the lead in efforts to resolve intractable conflicts. Key words: conflict; intractability; human rights; South Sudan; Darfur
conflict, human rights, Darfur, intractability, Sudan, South Sudan
R Owiso, E Boshoff, TM Mamhare & AZ Tsighe ‘Intractable conflicts in Africa: The international response to the Darfur and South Sudan crises’ (2017) 1 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 287

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