According to a 2001 report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), the vast majority of today’s armed conflicts are internal, rather than interstate. I recall my military instruction days, when we affectionately referred to these as “NIAC” and “IAC” in our administration and delivery of lectures (Non-international Armed Conflict and International Armed Conflicts, respectively). Rather than focusing entirely on the measures that the state can employ to achieve state security, this piece emphasises the duties and responsibilities of individual citizens.

As per the analysis of the ICISS report, the proportion of civilians murdered in NIAC climbed from roughly 1 in 10 at the beginning of the twentieth century to around 9 in 10 by the end of the century. Any citizen would be reckless to believe that violence and conflicts will ever be a thing of the past. After all, war has been a feature of human history for as long as people have existed. There is extensive archaeological evidence of prehistoric organised wars. In hunter-gatherer and farming societies, fighting between groups of people was common. There is also evidence of genocidal warfare, which was used to eliminate other people in order to gain control of land and resources. It has always been common to resort to armed confrontation when people disagreed on matters of private or public importance. As societies became larger and more complex, warfare similarly increased in sophistication and they continue to be (Penguin Random House, 2020). When discussing violence from a historico-philosophical perspective with specific reference to Africa, Serequeberhan T. (1994), suggests that because colonialism was based on the norms of oppression and dominance, violence as a form of resistance is inevitable.

To put it bluntly, assuming that differences across communities can be avoided is a mistake.  The riots and looting that occurred in South Africa in July of this year are likely to happen again in the future.  The state and citizens must be prepared to detect and suppress any sign or purpose of undermining law and order, which is the foundation of statehood.  As a research-based security firm, this is the sole basis for the existence of GI ADVISORY.  The organisation shall provide strategic support services on these and other fascinating aspects of conflict, peace, and security, on the basis that all legislative requirements are met.

So, citizens should never operate under the assumption that they are being protected by someone or some agency somewhere. This indicates that, while the government has a responsibility under the R2P principle to protect citizens, each individual also has a responsibility to remain vigilant, respect the law, and report any questionable behaviour.

The Development Team

Principal Investigator: Lunga Dweba

Content Writer: Lunga Dweba

Content Editor: Maria van der Merwe 

Coordinator: Darrell Fraser

The GI ADVISORY is a research-based security firm, whose primary purpose is to contribute to safer communities and world order.  For more information about international security analysis and services, please subscribe to our website.

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