Sad reality of today's world

Conflicts and hotspots

Domestic conflicts and civil wars have dominated the world since the end of the Cold War. In addition, since the early 1990s, the number of clashes that are located below the threshold of war and are characterized by recurring violence has increased. They too are characterized by massive human rights violations and violence, including massacres and genocide. In poor countries in particular, many people die as a result of violence that often lasts for years, e.g. due to a lack of food or inadequate health care. Civil wars and conflicts fuel poverty, prevent development and trigger refugee movements.

Failing or failed states are considered to be an important cause of violence. Where the state is unable to guarantee the security of its people and institutions are unstable, new threats to peace can arise. Local rulers willing to use violence such as warlords or militia leaders can thus set up their own zones of influence and control parts of the country. Failed states are considered safe haven for transnational terrorism and the illegal trade in weapons, drugs, raw materials or people.

Today, wars and armed conflicts are often characterized by a large number of conflict parties involved, which makes it difficult to clearly separate the various armed groups. Private violent actors such as militias are increasingly involved, who often pursue economic motives and finance their armed struggle through illegal trade, e.g. in oil, drugs, art or precious stones ("blood diamonds"). Another feature of current clashes is the involvement of civilians in conflict. Violence is primarily used against civilians who are victims of massacres, so-called ethnic cleansing or terrorist attacks, or who are abused as a protective shield.

The United Nations has a wide range of instruments at its disposal to prevent the outbreak of conflicts, to intervene in existing conflicts, to end them and to secure a sustainable peace. In the following we present three examples of conflicts and the role of the United Nations in conflict management.