Marginalisation of the majority world

A complex interplay of discrimination, global poverty, inequality and deepening socio-economic divisions, together make for key elements of global insecurity. While overall global wealth has increased, the benefits of this economic growth have not been equally shared. The rich-poor divide is actually growing, with a very heavy concentration of growth in relatively few parts of the world, and poverty getting much worse in many other regions. The ‘majority world’ of Asia, Africa and Latin America feel the strongest effects of marginalisation as a result of global elites, concentrated in North America and Europe, striving to maintain political, cultural, economic and military global dominance.

Kenyan Somali Islamist Radicalisation

Africa Briefing N°85 | International Crisis Group | January 2012


International Crisis Group has released a briefing paper illustrating the Islamist radicalisation of ethnic Somalis in Kenya, and the causes behind the trend. Decades of economic marginalisation of the Somali-dominated North Eastern Province border region has combined with government and public suspicion of ethnic Somalis to produce an unpleasant climate where either Somali loyalty is questioned, or Somalis are accused of ‘taking over’ when they move into the cities or succeed in business and politics. On the other hand, this has been compounded by the shift of East African Muslims in general away from Sufism and towards the conservative strand of Wahhabi Islam that posits the Muslim umma against the secular state, thereby enabling Somalia-based Al-Shabaab to capitalise on grievances in Kenya and encourage oppositional and even irredentist tendencies. The response of the government has overwhelmingly been one of force.

Article Source: International Crisis Group

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WEF examines the Risks of Global Marginalisation

World Economic Forum | Global Risks 2012 | January 2012


A new report from the World Economic Forum highlights the increasing importance of marginalisation as a security issue over the coming decades. The seventh edition of the WEF’s Global Risks report describes what they see as the ‘seeds of dystopia’ threatening both social and political stability across the world.

Image source: ectopic (ibandera). 

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Stories of harassment, violence and discrimination: migrant experiences between India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Fiona Samuels, Sanju Wagle, Tahmina Sultana, Mirza Manbira Sultana, Navneet Kaur and Shantamay Chatterjee | Overseas Development Institute | January 2012


A recently published Project Briefing from the Overseas Development Institute reports on the findings of a study examining the experience of Nepalese and Bangladeshi migrants in India. This vulnerable group of people face marginalisation on many different levels, having been compelled to emigrate in the first place because of economic hardship; and facing job-, wage-, and housing-insecurity on arrival because of their ambiguous legal status. Fear of disclosure or of being identified by their accents prevents migrants not only from taking a stand against exploitation, but also from forming networks within the host communities, thereby compounding the other forms of insecurity. In addition, migrants are often marginalised on their return home: "There is a common belief that women who Migrate to india engage voluntarily in commercial sex work once there," while husbands left behind suffer from the stigma surrounding their wives' supposed profession. The briefing concludes with recommendations for mitigating insecurity experienced by this group, who would otherwise be at permanent risk of violence and exploitation.

To read the full briefing, click here

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Land, livelihoods and identities: Inter-community conflicts in East Africa

Laura A. Young and Korir Sing'Oei | Minority Rights Group International | December 2011

Issues:Competition over resources, Marginalisation

In a report published in December 2011, Minority Rights Group International highlights the problems facing minority groups, specifically in an area covering Kenya, Uganda and Jonglei State in South Sudan. Competition over resources has increased the potential for confrontation not only with local dominant ethnic groups, but also with the state and international corporations, thereby increasing the liklihood of different forms of conflict on different levels. Progressive legal protections are often not enforced because of a disconnect at state-level between legislation and law-enforcement, which only exacerbates existing problems caused by long-standing discrimination. Moreover, conflict involving already marginalised people adversely affects the women and children in these groups in particular, which in turn re-impacts on the community because of the traditional roles that women play in family cohesion and as food producers.

Many problems arise not simply because people belonging to minority groups are themselves marginalised, but also their community and governance structures which previously had been successful in mediating conflict such as (in an East African context) cattle raiding. Marginalisation not only discriminates against individuals because of their backgrounds or beliefs but also rides roughshod over communal organisation and mediation, leaving groups unable to adapt to change or protect their interests when threatened by more powerful entities.

To read the full report and press release, click here

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Inequality: What’s the policy narrative?

Andy Sumner | Global Dashboard | December 2011


The following article from Global Dashboard takes on the issue of 'inequality' by attempting to address what exactly is understood by the term, why it is so bad for society, and what can be done about it. While many reports focus on the damage done to economic growth by inequality, or the sheer moral wrong in the existence of extreme poverty, this piece also refers to the security implications of high inequality when combined with other potential social faultlines such as ethnicity. However, the closing list of policy recommendations, tested with success in many Latin American countries, shows that this threat can be alleviated if met with determined cross-societal political will.

Article Source: Global Dashboard
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Boko Haram: Nigeria's growing new headache

Strategic Comments | International Institute for Strategic Studies | November 2011


The International Institute for Strategic Studies  has published an article in Strategic Comments that focuses on the threat posed to Nigerian security by the Boko Haram Islamist group.  By placing Boko Haram in a religious context, both historical and geographical, the author examines its recent emergence as an ideological player in Nigerian society.  However, while articulating its vision through an Islamist framework, the group is largely focused on local issues of economic and religious marginalisation in the north, where 75% of the population live in poverty, compared with 27% in the south. The article also touches on conflict in the Niger Delta over control of resources, in a wider reference to the troubles facing the government in Abuja.

Article Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies

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