Essays on Theory of Conflict Resolution - Boundary Dispute in Sudan's Abyei Region Case Study

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The paper "Theory of Conflict Resolution - Boundary Dispute in Sudan's Abyei Region" is a good example of a management case study. Conflict resolution is the process that is initiated to bring about peace between two conflicting parties. Theorist considers some conflicts to be good than peace; an example of such conflict is the conflict that arises for the struggle for justice. Conflict resolution does not make any meaning if at the end of the disputes it brings about undesirable peace; for instance, at the end of dispute injustice continues to prevail (Ramsbotham, Miall & Woodhouse, 2011).

The process of conflict resolution starts from disengaging from the conflict which is bad though sometimes justified and moving towards peace which may as well be undesirable. Moral philosophers argue that conflict is not always undesirable while peace is not always desirable; to decide on the best course of actions, ethical principles of life must be considered. The truly desirable cause of action is a major subject of moral philosophy, psychology, ethics, politics and social philosophy (Condliffe, 2008). Most of the common conflicts facing nations, groups and individuals come as a result of ‘ needs’ or human desire (Ramsbotham, Miall & Woodhouse, 2011).

The main theme of this paper is to determine why it is important for human beings to sacrifice their desires for long-term happiness by reducing or eliminating their desires in the interest of human well-being. The paper will use the example of the boundary dispute in Sudan's Abyei region to justify how human desires can lead to conflict and why sacrificing human desire is important for the true well-being of the people. I Thesis: The focus of this paper is to determine why it is important for human beings to sacrifice their desires for long-term happiness by reducing or eliminating their desires in the interest of human well-being using Sudan’ s Abyei region bounder dispute. Case description Two competing ethnic groups in Sudan namely: the Arab Misseriya and the Ngok Dink have for a long time been engaged in competing claims of the ownership of the cattle grazing pasture in Abyei region of Sudan which is also rich in oil.

The Misseriya ethnic group is lives to the north while Ngok Dink lives south of Abyei.

In 2005, the Sudanese government and the Southern Sudan representatives agreed to have negotiations on reaching a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) to end the long term battle (Johnson, 2008). However, the negotiating parties failed to resolve the conflict and instead agreed to establish a boundary commission, the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC). The commission’ s mandate was to evaluate the historical and conflicting claims arising from the dispute and finally demarcate a border between the disputing groups. According to the CPA, ABC was supposed to publicly release its final report and the findings.

The report was completed in July the same year but the Sudanese Government has never released the document neither accepting the findings of the commission. On the other hand, the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) that represented Southern Sudan supported the release of ABC’ s final report. It is worth to note that the release of the ABC report by the Government of Sudan would not end the conflict but it would have been a major step to implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Johnson, 2008).

In addition, releasing the report would be an indicator of the Sudanese Government commitment in resolving the conflict. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) got interested in the Abyei conflict and on August 30, 2005, it convened Sudan Peace Forum. The institute is a nonpartisan and independent body established by the congress to help in resolving violent international conflicts through its various peace programs. The purpose of the forum was to discuss the future of the CPA, implications of the ABC reports and Sudan peace process in general.

Ambassador Donald Petterson, the chairman of ABC provided the forum with details of its mandate, evaluation process and the decisions reached; and Dr. David Smock, a director of the USIP gave an insight of the changing political environment in Sudan. The Sudan Peace Forum summarized the presentations made by the two speakers and the discussion of the forum and made its own observations (Johnson, 2008). The forum found that the Abyei area is a bridge between the north and south. The two ethnic groups have shared the cattle pastures and other resources since the eighteenth century when they occupied Kordofan province.

During the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium in 1905, the British decided to transfer nine Ngok chiefdoms to Kordofan province from Bahr el-Ghazal (Johnson, 2008). During the first civil war, the Government of Sudan armed the Misseriya while the Ngok Dinka aligned itself with the SPLM. This was the start point of the current dispute since it gave rise to the issue of ownership of Abyei resulting in fighting. At the end of the second civil war, Ngok Dinka had been displaced from the area and Misseriya claimed Abyei to be theirs (Johnson, 2008). From these findings, it was thus impossible to resolve the issue in CPA.

The Abyei Protocol, a proposal by America in 2004 would later be adopted by the Government of Sudan and the SPLM (Donaldson & Pratt, 2006). The protocol required that ABC demarcate and define the area dominated by the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms (Johnson, 2008). Further according to the report, ABC was supposed to submit its report to the president of Sudan who was required to put the special administrative status of Abyei immediately.

In addition, the protocol also stated how the oil revenues should be distributed among the involved parties. It was for this reason that the Government of Sudan and SPLM reached a consensus in December 2004 to adopt the Abyei Protocol. They also agreed on the composition of the commission, five to come from both sides and another team of five impartial experts. The experts were to listen from representatives from Misseriya and Ngok Dinka and determine whether the ABC report was based on scientific research (Johnson, 2008).

The experts visited the Abyei region to collect local views. It learnt from the Misseriya and the Government of Sudan that the Ngok Chiefdom in 1905 settled south of Bahr El-Arab River and that the Misseriya settled permanently in Abyei before the Ngok arrived. They further stated that they even invited the Ngok Dinka to the region. On the other hand, the Ngok Dinka and the SPLM insisted that they had settled both north and south of the river Bahr El-Arab (Donaldson & Pratt, 2006).

To that point, the experts realized that the locals had been coached and instead opted to refer to the historical records to determine the boundary (Johnson, 2008). The peace experts opted to examine documents in the Records office, maps of Sudan National Survey and other Documents in the University of Khartoum. They did not find any map indicating the boundaries of the Ngok Dink chiefdom neither document indicating that a certain group possessed the land. Before coming up with the decision, the commission met the Government of Sudan and another one with SPLM.

After the Southern Sudan interim government was sworn in, the commission submitted its findings to the president of Sudan, Omar Bashir. The commission concluded that the Misseriya and the Ngok had equal rights to use the land north and south of disputed boundary since no group had adequate evidence to prove the ownership of land (Johnson, 2008). The Misseriya did not accept the commission’ s report as well as President Omar Bashir. They maintained the position that the commission surpassed its mandate and that the report could only be considered as a recommendation to the president who had the authority to make such decisions.

The then vice president of Southern Sudan supported the commission’ s decision and was contended with its report admitting that the commission was effective in fulfilling its mandate by the Protocol signed between SPLM and the Government of Sudan (Donaldson & Pratt, 2006).


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