In contemporary international relations, it is almost impossible to acknowledge the actual situation of armed conflicts without the reports of human rights NGOs. These reports often record detailed data, including the number of civilian casualties, and therefore contribute to the construction of the representation of armed conflicts. While constructivism analyzes the normative power of human rights and NGOs, it misses the struggle over the representation of armed conflicts between human rights NGOs and sovereign states. Applying P. Bourdieu’s theory of fields, this article demonstrates how human rights NGOs have fought against sovereign states and acquired a decisive influence over the representation of armed conflicts. Sovereign states and NGOs have constituted global and local fields in which actors wrangle over legitimacy by making the representation of the armed conflicts.
This article argues that the struggles over the representation of armed conflicts between states and NGOs began in the late 1960s because of several post-colonial conflicts such as the Nigerian Civil War (the Biafran War) and the Northern Yemen Civil War. In these conflicts, traditional neutrality rarely afforded protection from military attack to NGOs; on the contrary, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s policy of avoiding testimony faced severe criticism as this policy seemed to help genocide continue. Until the 1960s, NGOs such as the ICRC had tended to avoid publicly criticizing sovereign states in armed conflicts even when NGOs confronted genocides.
In the 1970s, human rights networks, including local and international NGOs, have been created because of serious human rights violations in Latin American countries. Various NGOs recorded human rights violations and publicly criticized authoritarian states. In the 1980s, when the Salvadoran Civil War occurred, local NGOs tracked civilian casualties and human rights violations by armed forces. With the help of these local NGOs, the newly established Americas Watch published many reports on the Salvadoran Civil War. Thereby, the Americas Watch tried to change the foreign policy of the Reagan administration that strongly supported the Salvadoran government. The data on civilian casualties was the focal point of the struggle between NGOs and the Reagan administration. This struggle contributed to the constitution of the global regime for humanitarian crises and led to the development of the methodology of fact-finding in armed conflicts. In the late 1980s and 1990s this global regime for humanitarian crises expanded as the number of human rights NGOs increased and the UN was involved in fact-finding missions.
This paper discusses how, if at all, Mandarin education affects Uyghur students in terms of the potential correlation between language and identity in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Xinjiang is located in the north-west part of China and it has been experiencing violent incidents against government policies recently. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has applied various social policies with the aim of achieving a “harmonious society” through “ethnic unity” under “Chinese Nation” as a response to those incidents. Mandarin education is one of the ways CPC employs to achieve ethnic unity. In Xinjiang, the importance of acquiring Mandarin language is stressed to ethnic minorities, like Uyghur who are mostly Muslim. Through literature reviews, a site visit, and interviews with Uyghur, this paper reveals influence of Mandarin education on Uyghur-Han ethnic group relations and Uyghur identity. It also explores validity of Mandarin education as means to realize ethnic unity and a so-called harmonious society. Language and identity are closely related to each other. For instance, language determines ethnic identity and identity encourages its holder to learn language. Mandarin education segregates Uyghur and Han Chinese and strengthens Uyghur identity because of this correlation. As this form of education differentiates Uyghur from Han and emphasizes the difference of Uyghur ethnic identity, current education overemphasizing Mandarin is not appropriate as means to achieve CPC’s goal of ethnic unity and a harmonious society. If the CPC wants to realize harmonious society as a multi-ethnic country, it should introduce education which esteems minority languageand culture, and should promote mutual understanding from both the minority side and majority Han side. In harmonious societies and multi-ethnic states, each ethnic group maintains its traditional language and culture. Minorities and Han should seek to understand one another through ongoing interaction and mutual acceptance of cultural difference. Key words: Mandarin education, language and identity, Xinjiang, Uyghur
Despite countless international efforts for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts, why are so many conflicts still observed today? To find an answer to this question, the author seeks to test the following hypothesis; it is difficult to find the root causes of armed conflicts because peace and conflict studies have not paid much attention to research on human emotions. By reviewing previous studies, this hypothesis has been proven true for the following reasons. Firstly, the so-called “rational model” in conflict studies (including the areas of International Law, International Relations and International Politics) does not reflect peoples' felt emotions such as hatred and fear. Secondly, the present international system is not designed to handle politically motivated, aggressive emotions properly. As a conclusion, this essay notes that a pro-social emotion such as empathy does not necessarily prevent conflicts. Interdisciplinary research efforts concerning armed conflicts are needed so that the “vulnerable human model” which indicates a person who can easily switch from victim to aggressor or vice versa will replace the “rational model” in the future research.