Angela Muvumba-Sellstrom | How diplomatic interventions shape rebel behavior
Violence and Exiting Violence Seminar | Thursday, April 11th
In order to protect the civilian population, the international community is often compelled to intervene in internal conflict. However, do external actors have the power to shape rebel behavior? Can non-coercive, non-violent efforts make a difference?
This presentation features work undertaken on persuasion as a mechanism by which diplomacy could influence rebel groups to limit their use of violence against civilians.
Dr. Angela Muvumba Sellström (Uppsala University, Department of Peace and Conflict Research) will highlight findings from her research with Dr. Lisa Hultman (Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Uppsala University, Department of Peace and Conflict Research). She will focus on mediation, which serves as a proxy for diplomatic intervention in their empirical study.
The presentation is based on a research which uses a mixed methods approach, and which measures the effects of mediation on reducing rebel killings and sexual violence against civilians.
First, their findings suggest that mediation enhances the prospects for reduction in violence when rebel groups have a strong central command, but not otherwise. Second, based on a pathway case study of the Burundian rebel movement the CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy), it is argued that the international community can induce leaders to limit and indeed, to alter their tendencies to commit civilian abuse.
There are important limitations however, in terms of durable shifts in rebel behavior. Direct diplomatic measures only have an impact under certain conditions.
Angela Muvumba-Sellstrom is an Assistant Professor at Uppsala University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Sweden. She is Director of International Training at the Department, also convening the International Training Program in Dialogue and Mediation with the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. She leads the Project on Preventing Sexual Violence, funded by the Swedish Research Council, teaches at the graduate level and contributes to research on international interventions and civil wars.