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An incomplete arc: Analyzing the potential for violent conflict in the republic of Vanuatu




McLeod, Abby
Morgan, Michael

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UBC Press


This paper seeks to analyze the potential for violent conflict in the Republic of Vanuatu, a small island state in the South West Pacific. It examines the likelihood of state level conflict and investigates local factors which might contribute to state destabilization. It seeks to redress the relative absence of Pacific conflicts from the international discourse on conflict and conflict prevention. We argue that while Vanuatu possesses indicators of potential conflict, when violent conflicts have arisen in Vanuatu they have remained small scale and rapidly contained. In exploring this phenomenon, the paper charts factors such as formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms, ethnic diversity, the availability of small arms and the incidence of violent crime. However, we note that strategies aimed at preventing the outbreak of violence may potentially create policy conflicts with other areas. In particular, we look at the effects of indigenous dispute resolution strategies on gender empowerment, one of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals and a central premise of Australian Official Development Assistance to Vanuatu.



Keywords: crime; dispute resolution; ethnic conflict; indigenous population; Millenium Development Goal; policy making; political conflict; state role; violence; Melanesia; Pacific islands; Pacific Ocean; Vanuatu



Pacific Affairs


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