Diaspora and peace : a comparative assessment of Somali and Ethiopian communities in Europe
Warnecke, Andrea, ed. ; authors: Matteo Guglielmo... et al. (2010). Diaspora and peace : a comparative assessment of Somali and Ethiopian communities in Europe. University of Jyväskylä , Diaspeace Project, 2010. - (Diaspeace working paper, ISSN 1798-1689 ; No. 2).
Published inDiaspeace working paper
The Horn of Africa is affected by numerous longstanding and protracted conflicts with serious humanitarian, socio-economic and political consequences for the entire region and beyond. In the conflict and peace processes, not only are the states concerned, non-state actors, foreign powers and international actors involved, but increasingly diaspora communities who have emerged as actors actively engaging in the respective countries of origin and neighbouring countries. Conflict is often considered a primary cause of migration but in turn can also fuel violent conflicts. The involvement of individual diaspora members and organisations in conflict resolution is manifold and ranges from financial contributions and social remittances, lobbying activities and direct involvement in political processes to humanitarian and developmental projects. The role of the diaspora in their countries of origin is increasingly acknowledged not only by the research community but also by policy- and decision-makers, both in the countries of origin and in the countries of residence. The African Union officially endorses the active participation of the African diaspora in its affairs. Moreover, various African states have established diaspora departments or ministries to further institutionalise state–diaspora relations. In the countries of residence, governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations are looking for ways to involve diaspora members and organisations in their developmental and integration endeavours. However, these efforts are often hampered by restrictive migration legislations due to fears of security threats and demographic imbalances. Whilst most initiatives focus especially on diaspora engagement in the field of development, researchers and policy-/decision-makers still have to take the potential contribution of diaspora communities to peacebuilding as well as indigenous approaches of the diaspora to peaceful conflict resolution more systematically into account. Research within the DIASPEACE project focuses on the contribution and impact of diaspora actors in peace and conflict processes by carefully studying diaspora organisations from the Horn of Africa in Europe, their interfaces with European civil society and state institutions, and their engagement in the Horn. This brief comprises innovative findings of the DIASPEACE project on Ethiopian and Somali diaspora organisations in five European countries. Based on indepth research in the United Kingdom, Finland, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, this study provides a comparative assessment of diaspora organisations, their activities and the framework conditions determining their interventions in the Horn of Africa. It assesses both the characteristics and own resources of diaspora organisations as well as factors and conditions that shape this engagement, and therefore allows for an analysis of the diaspora organisations’ potential to contribute to peace and development in their countries of origin. In consequence, it allows for a more objective policy and intervention of diaspora actors in the receiving countries of the European Union. Based on comprehensive empirical data, the present study enriches the discourse on diaspora communities from the Horn of Africa and the role of the diaspora in conflict settings in general. It also seeks to provide first entry points to enhancing the co-operation of diaspora actors with other governmental and nongovernmental institutions, thereby improving the integration of diaspora organisations into existing peacebuilding policies and initiatives in the region of origin and the receiving countries. ...