Violent conflict is the most visible threat to the achievement of sustainable development in any society. The source of conflict is conventionally the warfare among countries. In the last fifty years, however, the cause for conflict has changed and been mostly related to the process of nation building in the post-colonial states in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the new nations, conflicts on the choice of state's ideology are perhaps the most common, and if unresolved, often lead to the separation or partition of the respected nations. In this case, China vs. Taiwan and India vs. Pakistan are perhaps good examples in history. While ideology plays a critical role, it cannot be isolated from the influence of seemingly non political factors of demography and ethnicity. Majority-minority group conflicts are always related to the demographic composition of the population in which ethnicity, religion and economic classes are politically played out. In the aftermath of the Cold War, ethnic conflicts were unleashed. And they often led to the disintegration of nation-states. The breakdown of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and perhaps Indonesia are illustrative cases. Myron Weiner, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Milica Zarkovic Bookman are among the pioneers in studying the interconnectedness of demography, politics and conflict. Ethno-demographic composition and its influence in the politics of nation building generally has been overlooked in many theories on violent conflicts. This paper is an attempt to contribute to the discourse on the nexus of population and conflict by assessing the existing theoretical knowledge and its empirical evidence from the Southeast Asian region.
demography, migration, ethnic conflict, displaced people, nation-state, violent conflicts, population
The contemporary conflict situation embedded in the social fabric of Mindanao in the southern part of the Philippines is rooted in the historical, systematic, and collective marginalisation and minoritisation of the indigenous Filipino Muslims or Moros and native Lumad peoples. This paper argues that the minoritisation of the erstwhile indigenous and majority Moros as well as the non-Christian and non-Muslim Lumads of Mindanao was the result of a series of deliberate programs to voluntarily resettle or repopulate the area with predominantly Christian migrants from Luzon and the Visayas (i.e., the northern and central parts of the country, respectively). This numerical domination of the indigenous Moro (and Lumad) minorities by nonindigenous (and predominantly Christian) settlers was exacerbated by (and may have in fact produced the conditions for) economic deprivation of the indigenous Moro and Lumad peoples.
The paper also argues that the armed and violent conflict in Mindanao has led to large-scale and involuntary out-migration (particularly from the areas of direct and heavy conflict) mainly in the form of human displacements and movements (primarily involving Moros and Lumads who are non-combatants) out of the conflict zones. This paper illustrates the dynamics of how conflict situations interface with human migratory flows. More specifically, it makes the observation that the conflict in Mindanao is rooted in the voluntary inmigration to the area which eventually led to the minoritisation of the indigenous Moro and Lumad peoples. Moreover, as a consequence of the conflict, there has been a large-scale and involuntary movement outward or away from the conflict areas.
Philippines, Mindanao, migration, armed conflict, population displacements
Changing Ethnic Composition and Potential Violent Conflict in Riau Archipelago, Indonesia: An Early Warning Signal [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Kepulauan Riau (Indonesia) -- Population.
Migration, Internal -- Indonesia -- Kepulauan Riau.
Ethnic conflict -- Indonesia -- Kepulauan Riau.
Ethnic conflict -- Religious aspects.
Compared to locals, migrants are more likely to be risk takers and have a stronger "fighting" spirit. Therefore, migrants tend to win in the competition with the local people. If the migrants win and they come from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, social jealousy may arise and conflicts can be easily provoked by outsiders. Indeed, many conflicts in Indonesia have been provoked by outsiders, utilising the relatively "balanced" ethnic and religious composition as well as socio-economic disparity among them.
Riau Archipelago is one of the richest provinces in Indonesia. It has become a magnet for people within Indonesia. Because of its history, the Malay often claim to be the putra daerah (the son of the land, the "owner" or "stakeholder" of the land) of the province of Riau Archipelago. However, the rising flow of migration to the province has changed the ethnic and religious composition of the province. With only 37.44% of the total population, the Malay no longer constitute the dominant ethnic group.
This paper analyses socio-economic strata of the population by ethnic and religious groups and finds out that difference by ethnicity seems to be stronger than that by religion. Furthermore, the situation of changing ethnic composition is similar to the changing ethnic and religious composition of the population in Maluku in Eastern Indonesia. Maluku used to have an equal number of Christians and Muslims, but the large flow of Muslim migrants has changed the ratio between the numbers of Muslims and Christians. Being provoked by outsiders, Maluku had suffered a prolonged "religious" conflict since 1999. This paper serves as an early warning signal to policymakers in the Riau Archipelago and cautions that the changing ethnic composition in the region may become a fertile ground for violent conflicts.
Riau Archipelago, internal migration, ethnicity-religion, conflicts, Indonesia