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Effects of Armed Conflicts

Armed violence can be described as: “the intentional use of illegitimate force (actual or threatened) with arms or explosives, against a person, group, community or state, which undermines people centred security and/or sustainable development.”

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) proposed a general definition of international armed conflict. In the Tadic case, the Tribunal stated that "an armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed force between States".

Terms such as ‘civil wars’ and ‘ethnic conflict’ quickly came into use in the 1990s as shorthand descriptors for the armed conflicts in Africa, Asia and Europe. Such terms reinforced the common view that these were mainly intra-state affairs that were triggered and fuelled by virulent ethno-nationalism. However, in most cases, these conflicts involved regional actors and trans-border activities, and were driven by a mix of factors and not simply ethnic difference.

Examples of effects of Armed Conflict:
Psychological effects
·         Psychological trauma
·         Separation of families
·         Disintegration of communities
·         Living in fear

Physical effects
·         Destroyed infrastructure
·         Lack of government services
·         Lack of social services (e.g. health care and education)
·         War remnants (e.g. landmines)

Economic effects
·         Decline in government revenue
·         Decline in exports/imports
·         Reduced employment opportunities
·         Loss of available labour pool

Social Risk Factors for Non-Conflict Armed Violence
·         Proximity to drug trade
·         Availability of weapons
·         History of violence and/or crime
·         Cultural norms enabling violence
·         Poor rule of law
·         Strong cultural or ethnic identities
·         Social, political and economic inequality
·         Heterogeneity (large minority/majority groups)
·         Ineffective social institutions
·         Discriminatory policies and practices
·         Low economic development

Community Risk Factors for Non-Conflict Armed Violence
·         Groups engaged in drug trade
·         Weapons in circulation
·         Existence of gangs
·         High homicide/crime rates
·         Limited police presence
·         Social isolation
·         Lack of economic opportunities
·         High population density
·         Lack of access to social services
·         High residential mobility

·         High unemployment

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