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  • Author: Irene Dawa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Internet shutdowns – and especially social media disruptions – in Africa are becoming more frequent, mostly around election times and during national exams. A significant communications shutdown occurred in Cameroon in 2018 and lasted 249 days, costing the country US$38 853 122.1 In 2016, an internet shutdown in India cost US$968 080 702.2 Data shows that globally, India leads, with 70% of all known large-scale shutdowns.3 In Africa, Cameroon leads, with 249 days in 2018.4 Some of the reasons cited by governments for shutting down the internet and communications includes national security, political events and school exams. A communications shutdown entails cutting people off from the rest of the world, creating ambiguity and frustration and preventing access to information, which triggers strikes or protests that may become violent. This article examines two case studies – Kashmir and Cameroon – where recent communications shutdowns have led to violent conflict. The information for Kashmir was collected qualitatively – that is, observation and interviews were the key tools used, during a visit to Kashmir in 2019. Ten key informant interviews were conducted with different stakeholders who were affected by the crisis. The interviewees worked in local hospitals or small businesses. In the case of Cameroon, a desk review was undertaken to understand and analyse the conflict. Information was also gleaned from non-governmental organisations working in Kashmir and Cameroon. The communications shutdowns in Cameroon and Kashmir involved disrupting telephone, internet and mobile networks. These recent events in the two countries, which hampered people’s ability to communicate with each other and be informed, and which also included detention of people without trial, especially in Kashmir, violated Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reasons and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Also, Article 9 states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention,”5 and calls for the right of political prisoners to have access to justice and get fair trials, which was apparently not the case. There is a close link between conflict, human rights and the denial of rights, as they can lead to the frustration of needs related to identity, welfare, freedom and security, which are fundamental rights for survival. If rights are denied, needs are frustrated – which can lead to violent conflict as people seek ways to address their basic needs and violated rights.6 Everyone has the fundamental right to express their opinion, as indicated by the United Nations (UN): “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”7
  • Topic: Communications, Social Media, Conflict, Oppression, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Africa, India, Asia, Kashmir, Cameroon
  • Author: Jude Nsom Waindim
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Long before Africa was colonised, and way beyond the advent of slave trade, African societies had institutional mechanisms as well as cultural sources to uphold the values of peace, tolerance, solidarity and respect for, and of, one another. These structures were responsible for “peace education, confidence-building, peacemaking, peacebuilding, conflict monitoring, conflict prevention, conflict management, and conflict resolution”.1 If these mechanisms were effective in handling and managing conflicts among the people, it was largely because they reflected the sociopolitical orientation of the African people, addressing all the social, political and economic conflicts among a people who lived a communal way of life. Thus, it was customary as well as common currency to happen upon people sitting down informally to discuss and agree on important issues.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict, Peace, Tradition
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon