Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Search for jobs fuels armed fights in Africa

IPS 13.02.2023 Corrispondente IPS Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

The failed hope of finding employment is the main cause of people joining fast-growing violent extremist groups in sub-Saharan Africa, a report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has found.

Lack of income, job opportunities and lack of livelihoods "leads to a desperation that essentially pushes people to seize opportunities, with whomever offers them," said Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator, at the launch of the report.

Sub-Saharan Africa "has become the new global epicenter of violent extremism, accounting for 48% of global terrorism deaths in 2021," Steiner added.

A quarter of the nearly 2,200 people surveyed, including more than 1,000 former members of violent extremist groups, both voluntary and forced recruits, cited the lack of employment opportunities as the main reason they voluntarily joined these groups. That is an increase of 92% over the findings presented in the revealing study prepared by UNDP in 2017.

The second reason for joining violent groups is families and friends, for example, when women join their spouses.

Religion was the third most noted option, with 17% of mentions, a decrease of 57% compared to 2017, and most admitted to having very little knowledge of religious texts.

Of those who were recruited, 40% stated that they were "in dire need of livelihood at the time of recruitment."

Nearly half of those surveyed cited a specific triggering event that prompted them to join violent extremist groups, and an alarming 71% referred to a case of human rights abuse, often at the hands of state security forces, as the straw that broke the camel's back.

The UNDP publication, "Journey to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement" was based on the survey of people in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

These are countries crossed by the Sahel, the semi-arid strip that separates the Sahara Desert from the forest zone in the center of the continent and where violent militias, some of which identify with radical Islamism, are active.

"Such worsening violence not only affects people's lives, security and peace, but also jeopardizes the development gains that were so hard won for the next generations," Steiner observed.

He lamented that "security-led responses to counter-terrorism are often costly and ineffective, but investments in preventive approaches to counter violent extremism are woefully inadequate."

In his opinion, "it is imperative to renew the social contract between states and citizens in order to address the root causes of violent extremism."

For Steiner, moreover, "the geopolitical dimension should surprise no one. When states are no longer able to provide rule of law or meaningful national security, then the opportunity for other actors to become part of this drama grows exponentially."

"We've seen it in Mali, we've seen it in Libya, we've seen it in the Horn of Africa," he exemplified.

The report explores the pathways to leaving these groups and identifies some factors that motivate such a decision. Generally, respondents interviewed cited unmet expectations, especially financial, and lack of confidence in the group's leadership as the main causes.

"Research shows that those who decide to leave violent extremism groups are less likely to re-join and recruit others. This is why it is very important to invest in incentives that encourage this disengagement," said Nirina Kiplagat, UNDP's technical lead for preventing violent extremism in Africa.

She stressed that "local communities play a pivotal role in fostering sustainable pathways to disengage from violent extremism alongside national government amnesty programs."

To combat and prevent violent extremism, the report recommends investing more in basic services, including child welfare, quality education and livelihoods, above all for young men and women.

It also calls for expanded opportunities for people to leave these groups, and for investments in community-based rehabilitation and reintegration services.

Ver, La búsqueda de empleo nutre las luchas armadas en África

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dario 30.03.2023 A forgetful world..conveniently remembers some wars and others are not to be mentioned..