Ethnic conflict

An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic groups. While the source of the conflict may be political, social, economic or religious, the individuals in conflict must expressly fight for their ethnic group's position within society. This final criterion differentiates ethnic conflict from other forms of struggle.[1][2]

Academic explanations of ethnic conflict generally fall into one of three schools of thought: primordialist, instrumentalist or constructivist. Recently, several political scientists have argued for either top-down or bottom-up explanations for ethnic conflict. Intellectual debate has also focused on whether ethnic conflict has become more prevalent since the end of the Cold War, and on devising ways of managing conflicts, through instruments such as consociationalism and federalisation.

"Чеченская молитва" (Chechen's prayer) by Mikhail Evstafiev depicts a Chechen man praying during the battle of Grozny in 1995.
Rwandan refugee camp in east Zaire
A refugee camp for displaced Tutsi in Zaire following the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.

Theories of causes

The causes of ethnic conflict are debated by political scientists and sociologists. Explanations generally fall into one of three schools of thought: primordialist, instrumentalist, and constructivist. More recent scholarship draws on all three schools.

Primordialist accounts

Proponents of primordialist accounts argue that "[e]thnic groups and nationalities exist because there are traditions of belief and action towards primordial objects such as biological features and especially territorial location".[3] Primordialist accounts rely on strong ties of kinship among members of ethnic groups. Donald L. Horowitz argues that this kinship "makes it possible for ethnic groups to think in terms of family resemblances".[4]

Clifford Geertz, a founding scholar of primordialism, asserts that each person has a natural connection to perceived kinsmen. In time and through repeated conflict, essential ties to one's ethnicity will coalesce and will interfere with ties to civil society. Ethnic groups will consequently always threaten the survival of civil governments but not the existence of nations formed by one ethnic group.[5] Thus, when considered through a primordial lens, ethnic conflict in multi-ethnic society is inevitable.

A number of political scientists argue that the root causes of ethnic conflict do not involve ethnicity per se but rather institutional, political, and economic factors. These scholars argue that the concept of ethnic war is misleading because it leads to an essentialist conclusion that certain groups are doomed to fight each other when in fact the wars between them that occur are often the result of political decisions.[6][7]

Moreover, primordial accounts do not account for the spatial and temporal variations in ethnic violence. If these "ancient hatreds" are always simmering under the surface and are at the forefront of people's consciousness, then ethnic groups should constantly be ensnared in violence. However, ethnic violence occurs in sporadic outbursts. For example, Varshney points out that although Yugoslavia broke up due to ethnic violence in the 1990s, it had enjoyed a long peace of decades before the USSR collapsed. Therefore, some scholars claim that it is unlikely that primordial ethnic differences alone caused the outbreak of violence in the 1990s.[6]

Primordialists have reformulated the "ancient hatreds" hypothesis and have focused more on the role of human nature. Peterson argues that the existence of hatred and animosity does not have to be rooted in history for it to play a role in shaping human behavior and action: "If "ancient hatred" means a hatred consuming the daily thoughts of great masses of people, then the "ancient hatreds" argument deserves to be readily dismissed. However, if hatred is conceived as a historically formed "schema" that guides action in some situations, then the conception should be taken more seriously."[8]

Instrumentalist accounts

Anthony Smith notes that the instrumentalist account "came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, in the debate about (white) ethnic persistence in what was supposed to have been an effective melting pot".[9] This new theory sought explained persistence as the result of the actions of community leaders, "who used their cultural groups as sites of mass mobilization and as constituencies in their competition for power and resources, because they found them more effective than social classes".[9] In this account of ethnic identification, ethnicity and race are viewed as instrumental means to achieve particular ends.[10]

Whether ethnicity is a fixed perception or not is not crucial in the instrumentalist accounts. Moreover, the scholars of this school generally do not oppose the view that ethnic difference plays a part in many conflicts. They simply claim that ethnic difference is not sufficient to explain conflicts.[11][12]

Mass mobilization of ethnic groups can only be successful if there are latent ethnic differences to be exploited, otherwise politicians would not even attempt to make political appeals based on ethnicity and would focus instead on economic or ideological appeals. Hence, it is difficult to completely discount the role of inherent ethnic differences. Additionally, ethnic entrepreneurs, or elites, could be tempted to mobilize ethnic groups in order to gain their political support in democratizing states.[13] Instrumentalists theorists especially emphasize this interpretation in ethnic states in which one ethnic group is promoted at the expense of other ethnicities.[14][15]

Furthermore, ethnic mass mobilization is likely to be plagued by collective action problems, especially if ethnic protests are likely to lead to violence. Instrumentalist scholars have tried to respond to these shortcomings. For example, Hardin argues that ethnic mobilization faces problems of coordination and not collective action. He points out that a charismatic leader acts as a focal point around which members of an ethnic group coalesce. The existence of such an actor helps to clarify beliefs about the behavior of others within an ethnic group.[16]

Constructivist accounts

A third, constructivist, set of accounts stress the importance of the socially constructed nature of ethnic groups, drawing on Benedict Anderson's concept of the imagined community. Proponents of this account point to Rwanda as an example because the Tutsi/Hutu distinction was codified by the Belgian colonial power in the 1930s on the basis of cattle ownership, physical measurements and church records. Identity cards were issued on this basis, and these documents played a key role in the genocide of 1994.[17]

Some argue that constructivist narratives of historical master cleavages are unable to account for local and regional variations in ethnic violence. For example, Varshney highlights that in the 1960s "racial violence in the USA was heavily concentrated in northern cities; southern cities though intensely politically engaged, did not have riots".[8] A constructivist master narrative is often a country level variable whereas we often have to study incidences of ethnic violence at the regional and local level.

Scholars of ethnic conflict and civil wars have introduced theories that draw insights from all three traditional schools of thought. In The Geography of Ethnic Violence, for example, Monica Duffy Toft shows how ethnic group settlement patterns, socially constructed identities, charismatic leaders, issue indivisibility, and state concern with precedent setting can lead rational actors to escalate a dispute to violence, even when doing so is likely to leave contending groups much worse off.[18] Such research addresses empirical puzzles that are difficult to explain using primordialist, instrumentalist, or constructivist approaches alone. As Varshney notes, "pure essentialists and pure instrumentalists do not exist anymore".[8]

Study in the post-Cold War world

The end of the Cold War thus sparked interest in two important questions about ethnic conflict: whether ethnic conflict was on the rise and whether given that some ethnic conflicts had escalated into serious violence, what, if anything, could scholars of large-scale violence (security studies, strategic studies, interstate politics) offer by way of explanation.

One of the most debated issues relating to ethnic conflict is whether it has become more or less prevalent in the post–Cold War period. At the end of the Cold War, academics including Samuel P. Huntington and Robert D. Kaplan predicted a proliferation of conflicts fueled by civilisational clashes, Tribalism, resource scarcity and overpopulation.[19][20]

The post–Cold War period has witnessed a number of ethnically-informed secessionist movements, predominantly within the former communist states. Conflicts have involved secessionist movements in the former Yugoslavia, Transnistria in Moldova, Armenians in Azerbaijan, Abkhaz and Ossetians in Georgia. Outside the former communist bloc, ethno-separatist strife in the same period has occurred in areas such as Sri Lanka, West Papua, Chiapas, East Timor, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Southern Sudan and Hazaras in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

However, some theorists contend that this does not represent a rise in the incidence of ethnic conflict, because many of the proxy wars fought during the Cold War as ethnic conflicts were actually hot spots of the Cold War. Research shows that the fall of Communism and the increase in the number of capitalist states were accompanied by a decline in total warfare, interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, and the number of refugees and displaced persons.[21][22][23] Indeed, some scholars have questioned whether the concept of ethnic conflict is useful at all.[24] Others have attempted to test the "clash of civilisations" thesis, finding it to be difficult to operationalise and that civilisational conflicts have not risen in intensity in relation to other ethnic conflicts since the end of the Cold War.[25][26]

A key question facing scholars who attempt to adapt their theories of interstate violence to explain or predict large-scale ethnic violence is whether ethnic groups could be considered "rational" actors.[27] Prior to the end of the Cold War, the consensus among students of large-scale violence was that ethnic groups should be considered irrational actors, or semi-rational at best. If true, general explanations of ethnic violence would be impossible. In the years since, however, scholarly consensus has shifted to consider that ethnic groups may in fact be counted as rational actors, and the puzzle of their apparently irrational actions (for example, fighting over territory of little or no intrinsic worth) must therefore be explained in some other way.[18][27] As a result, the possibility of a general explanation of ethnic violence has grown, and collaboration between comparativist and international-relations sub-fields has resulted in increasingly useful theories of ethnic conflict.

Public goods provision

A major source of ethnic conflict in multi-ethnic democracies is over the access to state patronage. Conflicts over state resources between ethnic groups can increase the likelihood of ethnic violence. In ethnically divided societies, demand for public goods decreases as each ethnic group derives more utility from benefits targeted at their ethnic group in particular.[28] These benefits would be less valued if all other ethnic groups had access to them.Targeted benefits are more appealing because ethnic groups can solidify or heighten their social and economic status relative to other ethnic groups whereas broad programmatic policies will not improve their relative worth. Politicians and political parties in turn, have an incentive to favor co-ethnics in their distribution of material benefits. Over the long run, ethnic conflict over access to state benefits is likely to lead to the ethnification of political parties and the party system as a whole where the political salience of ethnic identity increase leading to a self-fulfilling equilibrium: If politicians only distribute benefits on an ethnic basis, voters will see themselves primarily belonging to an ethnic group and view politicians the same way. They will only vote for the politician belonging to the same ethnic group. In turn, politicians will refrain from providing public goods because it will not serve them well electorally to provide services to people not belonging to their ethnic group. In democratizing societies, this could lead to ethnic outbidding and lead to extreme politicians pushing out moderate co-ethnics.[13] Patronage politics and ethnic politics eventually reinforce each other, leading to what Chandra terms a "patronage democracy".[29]

The existence of patronage networks between local politicians and ethnic groups make it easier for politicians to mobilize ethnic groups and instigate ethnic violence for electoral gain since the neighborhood or city is already polarized along ethnic lines. The dependence of ethnic groups on their co-ethnic local politician for access to state resources is likely to make them more responsive to calls of violence against other ethnic groups.[30] Therefore, the existence of these local patronage channels generates incentives for ethnic groups to engage in politically motivated violence.[30]

While the link between ethnic heterogeneity and under provision of public goods is generally accepted, there is little consensus around the causal mechanism underlying this relationship. To identify possible causal stories, Humphreys and Habyarimana ran a serious of behavioral games in Kampala, Uganda that involved several local participants completing joint tasks and allocating money amongst them.[31] Contrary to the conventional wisdom, they find that participants did not favor the welfare of their co-ethnics disproportionately. It was only when anonymity was removed and everyone's ethnicity was known did co-ethnics decide to favor each other. Humphreys and Habyarimana argue that cooperation among co-ethnics is primarily driven by reciprocity norms that tend to be stronger among co-ethnics.[31] The possibility of social sanctions compelled those who would not otherwise cooperate with their co-ethnics to do so. The authors find no evidence to suggest that co-ethnics display a greater degree of altruism towards each other or have the same preferences. Ethnic cooperation takes place because co-ethnics have common social networks and therefore can monitor each other and can threaten to socially sanction any transgressors.[31]

Institutional ethnic conflict resolution

A number of scholars have attempted to synthesize the methods available for the resolution, management or transformation of their ethnic conflict. John Coakley, for example, has developed a typology of the methods of conflict resolution that have been employed by states, which he lists as: indigenization, accommodation, assimilation, acculturation, population transfer, boundary alteration, genocide and ethnic suicide.[32] John McGarry and Brendan O'Leary have developed a taxonomy of eight macro-political ethnic conflict regulation methods, which they note are often employed by states in combination with each other.[33] They include a number of methods that they note are clearly morally unacceptable.

With increasing interest in the field of ethnic conflict, many policy analysts and political scientists theorized potential resolutions and tracked the results of institutional policy implementation. As such, theories often focus on which Institutions are the most appropriate for addressing ethnic conflict.


Consociationalism is a power sharing agreement which coopts the leaders of ethnic groups into the central state's government. Each nation or ethnic group is represented in the government through a supposed spokesman for the group. In the power sharing agreement, each group has veto powers to varying degrees, dependent on the particular state. Moreover, the norm of proportional representation is dominant: each group is represented in the government in a percentage that reflects the ethnicity's demographic presence in the state.[34] Another requirement for Arend Lijphart is that the government must be composed of a "grand coalition" of the ethnic group leaders which supposes a top-down approach to conflict resolution.[35]

In theory, this leads to self governance and protection for the ethnic group. Many scholars[14][36] maintain that since ethnic tension erupts into ethnic violence when the ethnic group is threatened by a state, then veto powers should allow the ethnic group to avoid legislative threats. Switzerland is often characterized as a successful consociationalist state.[34]

A recent example of a consociational government is the post-conflict Bosnian government that was agreed upon in the Dayton Accords in 1995. A tripartite presidency was chosen and must have a Croat, a Serb, and a Bosniak. The presidents take turns acting as the forefront executive in terms of 8 months for 4 years.[35] Many have credited this compromise of a consociational government in Bosnia for the end of the violence and the following long-lasting peace.[35]

In contrast to Lijphart, several political scientists and policy analysts have condemned consociationalism.[37][38] One of the many critiques is that consociationalism locks in ethnic tensions and identities. This assumes a primordial stance that ethnic identities are permanent and not subject to change.[38] Furthermore, this does not allow for any "others" that might want to partake in the political process.[38] As of 2012 a Jewish Bosnian is suing the Bosnian government from precluding him from running for presidential office since only a Croat, Serb, or Bosniak can run under the consociational government.[39] Determining ethnic identities in advance and implementing a power sharing system on the basis of these fixed identities is inherently discriminatory against minority groups that might be not be recognized.[6] Moreover, it discriminates against those who do not choose to define their identity on an ethnic or communal basis. In power sharing-systems that are based on pre-determined identities, there is a tendency to rigidly fix shares of representation on a permanent basis which will not reflect changing demographics over time.[6] The categorization of individuals in particular ethnic groups might be controversial anyway and might in fact fuel ethnic tensions.

The inherent weaknesses in using pre-determined ethnic identities to form power sharing systems has led Ljiphart to argue that adopting a constructivist approach to consociationalism can increase its likelihood of success.[6] The self-determination of ethnic identities is more likely to be "non-discriminatory, neutral, flexible and self-adjusting".[6] For example, in South Africa, the toxic legacy of apartheid meant that successful consociation could only be built on the basis of the self-determination of groups. Ljiphart claims that because ethnic identities are often "unclear, fluid and flexible,"[6] self-determination is likely to be more successful than pre-determination of ethnic groups. A constructivist approach to consociational theory can therefore strengthen its value as a method to resolve ethnic conflict.

Another critique points to the privileging of ethnic identity over personal political choice.[37] Howard has deemed consociationalism as a form of ethnocracy and not a path to true pluralistic democracy.[37] Consociationalism assumes that a politician will best represent the will of his co-ethnics above other political parties. This might lead to the polarization of ethnic groups and the loss of non-ethnic ideological parties.[40]

Horowitz has argued that a single transferable vote system could prevent the ethnification of political parties because voters cast their ballots in order of preference.[41] This means that a voter could cast some of his votes to parties other than his co-ethnic party.[41] This in turn would compel political parties to broaden their manifestos to appeal to voters across the ethnic divide to hoover up second and third preference votes.


The theory of implementing federalism in order to curtail ethnic conflict assumes that self-governance reduces "demands for sovereignty".[34] Hechter argues that some goods such as language of education and bureaucracy must be provided as local goods, instead of statewide, in order to satisfy more people and ethnic groups.[34] Some political scientists such as Stroschein contend that ethnofederalism, or federalism determined along ethnic lines, is "asymmetric" as opposed to the equal devolution of power found in non-ethnic federal states, such as the United States. In this sense, special privileges are granted to specific minority groups as concessions and incentives to end violence or mute conflict.[40]

The Soviet Union divided its structure into ethno-federal sub-states termed Union Republics. The sub-state was named after a titular minority who inhabited the area as a way to Sovietize nationalist sentiments during the 1920s.[42] Brubaker asserts that these titular republics were formed in order to absorb any potential elite led nationalist movements against the Soviet center by incentivizing elite loyalty through advancement in the Soviet political structure.[14]

Thus, federalism provides some self-governance for local matters in order to satisfy some of the grievances which might cause ethnic conflict among the masses. Moreover, federalism brings in the elites and ethnic entrepreneurs into the central power structure; this prevents a resurgence of top-down ethnic conflict.

Nevertheless, after the fall of the USSR many critiques of federalism as an institution to resolve ethnic conflict emerged. The devolution of power away from the central state can weaken ties to the central state.[14] Moreover, the parallel institutions created to serve a particular nation or ethnic group might provide significant resources for Secession from the central state.[43][44] As most states are unwilling to give up an integral portion of their territory, secessionist movements may trigger violence.[45]

Furthermore, some competing elite political players may not be in power; they would remain unincorporated into the central system. These competing elites can gain access through federal structures and their resources to solidify their political power in the structure.[14] According to V.P. Gagnon this was the case in the former Yugoslavia and its violent disintegration into its ethno-federal sub-states. Ethnic entrepreneurs were able to take control of the institutionally allocated resources to wage war on other ethnic groups.[46]

Non-territorial autonomy

A recent theory of ethnic tension resolution is non-territorial autonomy or NTA. NTA has emerged in recent years as an alternative solution to ethnic tensions and grievances in places that are likely to breed conflict.[47] For this reason, NTA has been promoted as a more practical and state building solution than consociationalism.[47] NTA, alternatively known as non-cultural autonomy (NCA), is based on the difference of jus solis and jus sanguinis, the principles of territory versus that of personhood.[48] It gives rights to ethnic groups to self-rule and govern matters potentially concerning but limited to: education, language, culture, internal affairs, religion, and the internally established institutions needed to promote and reproduce these facets.[47][48][49] In contrast to federalism, the ethnic groups are not assigned a titular sub-state, but rather the ethnic groups are dispersed throughout the state unit. Their group rights and autonomy are not constrained to a particular territory within the state. This is done in order not to weaken the center state such as in the case of ethnofederalism.[14][34]

The origin of NTA can be traced back to the Marxists works of Otto Bauer and Karl Renner.[49][50] NTA was employed during the interwar period, and the League of Nations sought to add protection clauses for national minorities in new states.[48] In the 1920s, Estonia granted some cultural autonomy to the German and Jewish populations in order to ease conflicts between the groups and the newly independent state.[50]

In Europe, most notably in Belgium, NTA laws have been enacted and created parallel institutions and political parties in the same country.[51] In Belgium, NTA has been integrated within the federal consociational system.[49] Some scholars of ethnic conflict resolution claim that the practice of NTA will be employed dependent on the concentration and size of the ethnic group asking for group rights.[48][49]

Other scholars, such as Clarke, argue that the successful implementation of NTA rests on the acknowledgement in a state of "universal" principles: true Rule of Law, established human rights, stated guarantees to minorities and their members to use their own quotidien language, religion, and food practices, and a framework of anti-discrimination legislation in order to enforce these rights.[52] Moreover, no individual can be forced to adhere, identify, or emphasize a particular identity (such as race, gender, sexuality, etc.) without their consent in order for NTA to function for its purpose.[53]

Nonetheless, Clarke critiques the weaknesses of NTA in areas such as education, a balance between society wide norms and intracommunity values; policing, for criminal matters and public safety; and political representation, which limits the political choices of an individual if based solely on ethnicity.[52] Furthermore, the challenge in evaluating the efficacy of NTA lies in the relatively few legal implementations of NTA.

Cultural rights

Emphasizing the limits of approaches that focus mainly on institutional answers to ethnic conflicts—which are essentially driven by ethnocultural dynamics of which political and/or economic factors are but elements—Gregory Paul Meyjes urges the use of intercultural communication and cultural-rights based negotiations as tools with which to effectively and sustainably address inter-ethnic strife. Meyjes argues that to fully grasp, preempt, and/or resolve such conflicts—whether with or without the aid of territorial or non-territorial institutional mechanism(s) -- a cultural rights approach grounded in intercultural knowledge and skill is essential.[54][55]

Ethnic conflict resolution outside formal institutions

Informal inter-ethnic engagement

Institutionalist arguments for resolving ethnic conflict often focus on national-level institutions and do not account for regional and local variation in ethnic violence within a country. Despite similar levels of ethnic diversity in a country, some towns and cities have often found to be especially prone to ethnic violence. For example, Ashutosh Varshney, in his study of ethnic violence in India, argues that strong inter-ethnic engagement in villages often disincentivizes politicians from stoking ethnic violence for electoral gain.[56] Informal interactions include joint participation in festivals, families from different communities eating together or allowing their children to play with one another.[56] Every day engagement between ethnic groups at the village level can help to sustain the peace in the face of national level shocks like an ethnic riot in another part of the country.[56] In times of ethnic tension, these communities can quell rumors, police neighborhoods and come together to resist any attempts by politicians to polarize the community.[56] The stronger the inter-ethnic networks are, the harder it is for politicians to polarize the community even if it may be in their political interest to do so.

Formal inter-ethnic associations

However, in cities, where the population tends to be much higher, informal interactions between ethnic groups might not be sufficient to prevent violence. This is because many more links are needed to connect everyone, and therefore it is much more difficult to form and strengthen inter-ethnic ties.[56] In cities, formal inter-ethnic associations like trade unions, business associations and professional organizations are more effective in encouraging inter-ethnic interactions that could prevent ethnic violence in the future.[56] These organizations force ethnic groups to come together based on shared economic interests that overcomes any pre-existing ethnic differences. For example, inter-ethnic business organizations serve to connect the business interests of different ethnic groups which would increase their desire to maintain ethnic harmony. Any ethnic tension or outbreak of violence will go against their economic interests and therefore, over time, the salience of ethnic identity diminishes.

Interactions between ethnic groups in formal settings can also help countries torn apart by ethnic violence to recover and break down ethnic divisions. Paula Pickering, a political scientist, who studies peace-building efforts in Bosnia, finds that formal workplaces are often the site where inter-ethnic ties are formed.[57] She claims that mixed workplaces lead to repeated inter-ethnic interaction where norms of professionalism compel everyone to cooperate and to treat each other with respect, making it easier for individuals belonging to the minority group to reach out and form relationships with everyone else.[57] Nevertheless, Giuliano's research in Russia has shown that economic grievances, even in a mixed workplace, can be politicized on ethnic lines.[7]

See also


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External links

Autopista Toluca–Naucalpan

The Autopista Toluca–Naucalpan is a 39-kilometre (24 mi) toll road under construction in Greater Mexico City which will connect Toluca in the west with Naucalpan in the east, meeting the Autopista Chamapa–Lechería.April 24, 2007, Constructora Teya (part of Grupo Higa) won the concession for 30 years, and so far the tollway has been under construction for almost ten years.

Conflict management

Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of conflict. The aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in an organizational setting. Properly managed conflict can improve group outcomes.

Crime in Kosovo

Kosovo since the 1990s Kosovo War had become a significant center of organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking and organ theft besides ongoing ethnic conflict between Kosovar Albanians and Kosovan Serbs. The large Kosovar diaspora which had built up in Western Europe during the 1990s combined with the political instability created ideal conditions for Kosovo to become "Europe's crime hub"; well into the 2000s, Kosovo remained associated with both ethnic conflict and organized crime.

A Kosovo Police service has been built up under UN administration beginning in 1999, reaching its operational force of 7,000 officers in 2004, and further expanded to 9,000 by 2010.

The deplorable crime rate led to an additional deployment of civilian law enforcement resources of the European Union to Kosovo under the name of European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo in 2008.

Originally scheduled for two years, the duration of the deployment was extended twice, as of September 2012 scheduled to last until 2014.

According to the "Kosovo 2012 Crime and Safety Report" by the US Department of State (intended as an advisory to US nationals travellin abroad),

"High unemployment and other economic factors encourage criminal activity in Kosovo. Kosovo is rated as HIGH for residential and non-residential crime. Street crimes consisting of theft and purse snatchings are serious problems in Kosovo, especially in Pristina. Criminals often commit crimes while armed with handguns, as weapons are fairly easy to obtain."

Ethnic conflict in Nagaland

The ethnic conflict in Nagaland, in northeastern India, is an ongoing conflict fought between the ethnic Nagas and the governments of India and Myanmar. Nagaland inhabited by the Nagas is located at the tri-junction border of India on the West and South, north and Myanmar on the East.

"National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)", which wants an independent "greater Nagaland" to include territory now in Myanmar, based on ethnicity; and the "Naga National Council (Adino)".The question of "Naga Sovereignty" was put to plebiscite on 16 May 1951. In order to defend themselves, the Naga after much deliberation formed the armed wing of NNC, came to be known as NSG (Naga Safe Guards) under Kaito Sukhai.

Ethnic conflicts in the Soviet Union

There are many different ethnic groups present in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union today. This diversity has been the source or instigator of conflict for centuries, and remains a major part of Russian political life today. While the Russian Empire, the USSR, and the Russian Federation were each made up of a majority of ethnic Russians, the minority groups have always been present to fight for their own languages, cultures, and religions. There are many different types of ethnic conflict, and the vast majority can only be understood with the help of a historical context.

Ethnic hatred

Ethnic hatred, inter-ethnic hatred, racial hatred, or ethnic tension refers to feelings and acts of prejudice and hostility towards an ethnic group in various degrees. See list of anti-ethnic and anti-national terms for specific cases.

There are multiple origins for ethnic hatred and the resulting ethnic conflicts. In some societies it is rooted in tribalism, while in others it originates from a history of non-peaceful co-existence and the resulting actual disputed issues.

Often ethnic conflict is enhanced by nationalism and feeling of national superiority. For which reason inter-ethnic hatred borders with racism, and often the two terms are conflated.

Ethnic hatred has often been exploited and even fueled by some political leaders to serve their agenda of seeking to consolidate the nation or gain electorate by calling for a united struggle against a common enemy (real or imaginary).In many countries incitement to ethnic or racial hatred is a criminal offense.

Ethnic nationalism

Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethno-nationalism, is a form of nationalism wherein the nation is defined in terms of ethnicity.The central theme of ethnic nationalists is that "nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and a common ethnic ancestry". It also includes ideas of a culture shared between members of the group, and with their ancestors.

While some types of ethnic nationalism are firmly rooted in the idea of ethnicity (or race) as an immutable inherited characteristic (for example white nationalism), often ethnic nationalism also manifests in the assimilation of minority ethnic groups into the dominant group (for example as with Italianisation). This assimilation may or may not be predicated on a belief in some common ancestry with assimilated groups (for example with Germanisation in the Second World war).

While in some cases the division between ethnic and civic nationalism is clear (France being the archetypal example of a national identity rooted in civic and linguistic nationalism), in other cases the division is less clear, for example with Turkish nationalism.

Ethnic nepotism

In sociology, the term ethnic nepotism describes a human tendency for in-group bias or in-group favouritism applied by nepotism for people with the same ethnicity within a multi-ethnic society.

The term was coined in the 1960s in the context of the ethnic (tribal) tensions and rivalry in the then-recently independent states in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Nigeria.

Ethnic violence

Ethnic violence refers to violence expressly motivated by ethnic hatred and ethnic conflict. It is commonly related to political violence, and often the terms are interchangeable, or one is used as a pretext for the other when politically expedient.

Forms of ethnic violence which can be argued to have the character of terrorism may be known as ethnic terrorism or ethnically-motivated terrorism.

"Racist terrorism" is a form of ethnic violence dominated by overt racism and xenophobic reactionism.Ethnic violence in an organized, sustained form is known as ethnic conflict or warfare (race war), in contrast to class conflict, where the dividing line is social class rather than ethnic background.

Care must be taken to distinguish ethnic violence, which is violence motivated by an ethnic division, from violence that just happens to break out between groups of different ethnicity motivated by other factors (political or ideological).Violent ethnic rivalry is the subject matter of Jewish sociologist Ludwig Gumplowicz's Der Rassenkampf ("Struggle of the Races", 1909); and more recently of Amy Chua's notable study, World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.

Some academics would place all "nationalist-based violence" under ethnic violence, which would include the World Wars and all major conflicts between industrialised nations during the 19th century.

Ethnic violence in Afghanistan

Ethnic violence in Afghanistan has played a role in the wars in Afghanistan.


Ethnocide refers to extermination of national culture as a genocide component.Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.


An ethnocracy is a type of political structure in which the state apparatus is controlled by a dominant ethnic group (or groups) to further its interests, power and resources. Ethnocratic regimes typically display a combination of 'thin' democratic facade covering a more profound ethnic structure, in which ethnicity (or race, or religion) – and not citizenship – is the key to securing power and resources. An ethnocratic society facilitates the ethnicization of the state by the dominant group, through the expansion of control, often through conflict with minorities and neighboring states.

History of Sri Lanka

The history of Sri Lanka is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions, comprising the areas of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean. The earliest human remains found on the island of Sri Lanka date to about 35,000 years ago (Balangoda Man). The proto-historical period begins roughly in the 3rd century, based on chronicles like the Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa, and the Culavamsa. The earliest documents of settlement in the Island are found in these chronicles. These chronicles cover the period since the establishment of the Kingdom of Tambapanni in the 6th century BCE. The first Sri Lankan ruler of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Pandukabhaya, is recorded for the 4th century BCE. Buddhism was introduced in the 3rd century BCE by Arhath Mahinda (son of the Indian emperor Ashoka). The first Tamil ruler of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Ellalan, an invader, is recorded for the 2nd century BCE.The island was divided into numerous kingdoms over the following centuries, intermittently (between CE 993–1077) united under Chola rule. Sri Lanka was ruled by 181 monarchs from the Anuradhapura to Kandy periods.

From the 16th century, some coastal areas of the country were also controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Between 1597 and 1658, a substantial part of the island was under Portuguese rule. The Portuguese lost their possessions in Ceylon due to Dutch intervention in the Eighty Years' War. Following the Kandyan Wars, the island was united under British rule in 1815.

Armed uprisings against the British took place in the 1818 Uva Rebellion and the 1848 Matale Rebellion. Independence was finally granted in 1948 but the country remained a Dominion of the British Empire until 1972.

In 1972 Sri Lanka assumed the status of a Republic. A constitution was introduced in 1978 which made the Executive President the head of state. The Sri Lankan Civil War began in 1983, including an armed youth uprising in 1971 and 1987–1989, with the 25-year-long civil war ending in 2009.

Internal conflict in Myanmar

The internal conflict in Myanmar is a series of primarily ethnic conflicts within Myanmar that began shortly after the country, then known as Burma, became independent from the United Kingdom in 1948. The conflict is the world's longest ongoing civil war.

Poverty in Nigeria

Nigeria has one of the world's highest economic growth rates, averaging 7.4% according to the Nigeria economic report released in July 2014 by the World Bank. Poverty still remains significant at 33.1% in Africa's biggest economy. For a country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources such as oil, the level of poverty remains unacceptable. However, poverty may have been overestimated due to the lack of information on the extremely huge informal sector of the economy, estimated at around 60% more, of the current GDP figures.Poverty in Nigeria can also be caused by the political instability of the country.

However, these programs have largely failed to overcome the three reasons for this persistent poverty: income inequality, ethnic conflict, and political instability.

Territorial nationalism

Territorial nationalism describes a form of nationalism based on the belief that all inhabitants of a particular territory should share a common national identity, regardless of their ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural and other differences. Depending on the political or administrative status of a particular territory, territorial nationalism can be manifested on two basic levels, as territorial nationalism of distinctive sovereign states, or territorial nationalism of distinctive sub-sovereign regions (regional nationalism).Within sovereign nation states, territorial nationalism is manifested as a belief that all inhabitants of that nation owe allegiance to their country of birth or adoption. According to territorial nationalism every individual must belong to a nation, but can choose which one to join. A sacred quality is sought in this nation and in the popular memories it evokes. Citizenship is idealized by a territorial nationalist. A criterion of a territorial nationalism is the establishment of a mass, public culture based on common values and traditions of the population. Legal equality is essential for territorial nationalism.Because citizenship rather than ethnicity is idealized by territorial nationalism, it is argued by Athena S. Leoussi and Anthony D. Smith (in 2001) that the French Revolution was a territorial nationalistic uprising.Territorial nationalism is also connected to the concepts of Lebensraum, forced expulsion, ethnic cleansing and sometimes even genocide when one nation claims a certain imaginary territory and wants to get rid of other nations living on it. These territorial aspirations are part of the goal of an ethnically pure nation-state. This also sometimes leads to irredentism, since some nationalists demand that the state and nation are incomplete if an entire nation is not included into one single state, and thus aims to include members of its nations from a neighboring country. This thus often leads to ethnic conflict. Thomas Ambrosio argues: "If the leader of state A sends material support and/or actual troops into state B in the hopes of detaching state A's diaspora from state B, this would clearly be an indication of ethno-territorial nationalism".

Terrorism in Italy since 1945

Terrorism in Italy from 1945 To Date is a book written by Giovanni Pellegrino, an Italian lawyer and politician. It discusses the political situation in Italy from the revival of democracy in 1945 until the present day.

Giovanni Pellegrino, who for many years was President of the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism and an expert on terrorism in Italy, opined that in Italy there was a low-intensity civil war, beginning from 1945 to date between the West and Eastern Europe (between democracy and communism). This 'war' reached its peaked between 1945–1949 - right after World War II.

With the writer Giovanni Fasanella he coauthored a book, "La Guerra Civile" (the Civil War) wherein he expressed his opinion on the seeming 60 years long low intensity civil war in Italy.This book x-rays the specific Italian situation in contra distinction to other European countries, especially Spain and Ireland. According to the authors, while these two European countries have similar terror situations, they however differ in their political engagements and precise causes of terrorism different from Italy:

Spain with the Basque ethnic conflict and

Ireland with a long ethnic conflict and religion-political conflict.The time frame between 1943 till date is spaced over 11 chapters, and is divided into 4 groups, corresponding to 4 time periods.

The Troubles

The Troubles (Irish: Na Trioblóidí) was an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles primarily took place in Northern Ireland, at times the violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.

The conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. It also had an ethnic or sectarian dimension, although it was not a religious conflict. A key issue was the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Unionists/loyalists, who were mostly Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists/republicans, who were mostly Catholics, wanted Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.

The conflict began during a campaign to end discrimination against the Catholic/nationalist minority by the Protestant/unionist government and police force. The authorities attempted to suppress this protest campaign and were accused of police brutality; it was also met with violence from loyalists, who alleged it was a republican front. Increasing inter-communal violence, and conflict between nationalist youths and police, eventually led to riots in August 1969 and the deployment of British troops, who constructed 'peace walls' to keep the opposing communities apart. Some Catholics initially welcomed the army as a more neutral force, but it soon came to be seen as hostile and biased. The emergence of armed paramilitary organisations led to the subsequent warfare over the next three decades.

The main participants in the Troubles were republican paramilitaries such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA); loyalist paramilitaries such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA); British state security forces—the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC); and political activists and politicians. The security forces of the Republic played a smaller role. Republican paramilitaries carried out a guerrilla campaign against the British security forces, as well as a bombing campaign against infrastructure, commercial and political targets. Loyalists targeted republicans/nationalists, and attacked the wider Catholic community in what they claimed was retaliation. At times there were bouts of sectarian tit-for-tat violence. The British security forces undertook both a policing and a counter-insurgency role, primarily against republicans. There were some incidents of collusion between British security forces and loyalists. The Troubles also involved numerous riots, mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and led to segregation and the creation of no-go areas.

More than 3,500 people were killed in the conflict, of whom 52% were civilians, 32% were members of the British security forces, and 16% were members of paramilitary groups. There has been sporadic violence since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, including a campaign by anti-ceasefire republicans.

Udaya Gammanpila

Udaya Prabhath Gammanpila (born 6 February 1970) (known as Udaya Gammanpila) is a Sri Lankan politician. He was former Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Minor Irrigation, Industries, Environment, Culture and Art Affairs in Western Provincial Council and a former member of the nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (National Heritage Party) leaving his party to side with the United People's Freedom Alliance by voicing his support for Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election. During the presidential election 2015 Gammanpila formed his new party ‘Pivithuru Hela Urumaya’ ‘Pivithuru Hela Urumaya’ is not a registered political party in Sri Lanka. It has estimated number of 50 members.

Gammanpila was active in politics since his schooling days at D. S. Senanayake College where it is alleged that he participated in the 1987–89 Insurrection by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. He has neither admitted nor denied this fact, however his principal of the school at the time, R I T Alles, has mentioned in his autobiography “My Life” that Udaya participated in the JVP organized student protests. he has claimed that he was a student leader of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka.Gammanpila entered politics in 2000 as a founding member of Sinhala ultra-nationalist political party and was appointed as the Propaganda Secretary and spokesperson for Sihala Urumaya in December 2000 soon after the internal rift which caused 7 out of 15 Central Committee members to leave the party including the much respected party chairman S L Gunasekera and two deputy chairmen. He joined the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) political party along with members of the Sihala Urumaya as the Propaganda Secretary, when it was formed in 2004 to wheeled candidates who were all Buddhist monks, for Parliament in the 2004 general election. Gammanpila was later appointed as the Administrative Secretary of the party and he presently functions as the Party’s Legal Advisor. He played a major role on behalf of his party supporting Mahinda Rajapakse's presidential election campaign in 2005. In 2017, Australian businessman Brian Shaddick, a key witness in the alleged financial fraud case filed against Udaya Gammanpila. Udaya Gammanpila has cheated Rs. 20 million and misappropriated another Rs. 21 million along with Sydney Jayasinghe, the second accused when selling shares of Digital Nominees to a businessman called Dhammika Perera.

Udaya represented the JHU at All Party Representative Committee (APRC) which was appointed by All Party Conference to formulate a political solution for the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Although Udaya participated in the APRC, he always stated that there was no ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.After fellow party member Champika Ranawaka was appointed as minister of environment and natural resources by Mahinda Rajapaksa, he was made the Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority. Controversial legislative act “Environmental Conservation Levy Act” was a brainchild of Udaya which attempted to introduce Polluter Pays Principle (Principle 16 of Rio Declaration) in Sri Lanka. He was able to get the Act passed by the parliament despite the resistance from both government and opposition members. However, regulations published under this Act were suspended by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.

Udaya Gammanpila now is the leader of 'Pivithuru Hela Urumaya' and supports for the comeback of former President, parliament member, Mahinda Rajapakse for the prime minister post joining forces with the 'ekabadda vipakshaya' (joint opposition). Udaya Prabath Gammanpila was first elected as a parliament member in the 2015 elections.

Related concepts
Groups by region
Multiethnic society
Ideology and
ethnic conflict

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