Departmental Seminar: Postwar Refugee Management: Ethnic reintegration and the role of third party intervention
In this talk Natalia discusses post war ethnic reintegration as one of the tools used by international community to tackle conflict-induced massive displacement of civilians. She argues that ethnic reintegration does not stand a chance if left only to local elites. For ethnic reintegration to succeed it needs the active and timely engagement of third parties.
During a war that faces ethnic cleansing and massive displacement of civilians, two types of scenarios can be formed: either a homogenized or an enclavized. In post-war situations local elites estimate their chances to consolidate power and to politically survive. Given their capacities, local elites will reinforce such scenario if capacities are high, disregard the scenario if capacities are insufficient, or divert efforts towards areas where its kin has more chances to consolidate power. In order to achieve this elites turn (1) to patronage networks – to circulate spoils of war and peace, (2) to obstructionism of return and participation – to exclude out-groups from accessing resources and (3) to manipulation of refugees and IPDs – to shore up their power base through demographics.
Thus, timely engagement of third parties is necessary to disrupt the post-conflict pattern of majorization established by local elites and to facilitate alternative dynamics. For third parties to succeed it is necessary to challenge all of the following: (1) the exclusive control that elites have over resources – by engaging alternative leadership (tide riders); (2) the legitimacy elites have to execute obstructionist practices – by establishing standards and sanctioning/removing obstructionist elites from office; (3) the support base of those elites – by addressing kinship networks and negotiating guarantees for ethnic reintegration with all the relevant actors.