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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Terrorism, Civil Conflict, and Conflict Resolution

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Raghuvir Dass
The representation of terrorism in US, UK and Indian newspapers

According to the Global Terrorism Database there has been an unprecedented increase in terrorist attacks, with over 55,000 casualties due to ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and Al-Shabaab. Right-wing terrorism, such as the attacks in El Paso and Christchurch, has quadrupled between 2016 and 2017 in the U.S, and increased 43% in Europe. Yet little research exists on the nature of the newspaper coverage given to these diverse terrorist groups and attacks. This study uses 8,750 coded news articles, the total volume of terrorist news from 2016, from six of the world’s highest circulating newspapers from the U.S, the U.K, and India, to indicate multiple significant biases. Groups are identified as terrorists in North America and Western Europe, but receive the less evocative labels of fighter, militant, and insurgent in South and South East Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Over and under coverage has been identified by region, country, and perpetrator religion/ideology, with only 0.9 percent of studied coverage given to right-wing terror. Early observation indicates that terrorism is seen as a psycho-social problem, less responsibility is accorded to government policies and political and historical factors. This, among other facets of study such as the use of diverse sources and how they change over time, is still under analysis.

Scott Walker 
Colombia: Counterterrorism Policy as a Tool to Defeat Domestic Insurrection

Colombia is a clear example of a country where there has been a long period of government activity primarily directed against groups that are terroristic in nature. Since at least the 1980s, the principal challenger to government authority, the FARC, carried out terroristic attacks in the country that are funded by drug production, hostage taking, and money laundering. The ultimate goal of such activity, hypothetically, was to replace the government with a socialist one. The conflict was an old one, as the FARC’s origin dates back to the mid-1960s. However, before September 11, 2001, this was widely viewed as an intra-state struggle between the government and an organization that sometimes employed terroristic methods.
Immediately following the September 11 attacks. The government’s rationale for fighting the FARC ceased to be political or anti-drug. It was instead designated as a terrorist group. The Colombian government therefore took advantage of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) to not only control, but eliminate its opposition and centralize the use of force in the hands of the military. Thus, the government was given a free hand (and external support) to use counterterrorist policy as a means not only to demolish its political challenger and to control other groups such as the ELN (another left-wing group) and the AUC (a right-wing paramilitary organization), but to also receive international acclaim for being a “model” state on the GWOT. In addition, particularly during the Uribe regime, the government was able to use counterterrorist policy as a means of freeing up land for economic elites, largely by way of removing poor and indigenous groups from the land. While the FARC is now officially deactivated, there is no end in sight to the government’s counterterrorist rationale, as it allows the state to receive international acclaim and support, and to continue to ensure that it does not face direct political challenges.

Dennis Quilala
“Just Doing Our Jobs”: The Role of Local Governments in Conflict Resolution 

Local governments have a role in conflict resolution. The literature has been silent on the role of the local government actors in conflict resolution. Even the “local turn” in conflict resolution theory and practice has failed to put a spotlight on their roles. The local in the “local turn” has been focused on empowering national governments or local community as agents in resolving conflicts. This also means that international actors have to play a minor role. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by looking at cases of local governments in the Philippines. Local governments in the Philippines are empowered by the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991. Most of the basic services were devolved to these local governments but the national government kept its role in external and internal security. In the absence of this security role, some local governments have to innovate in order to manage conflicts and other security concerns within their jurisdictions. By looking at the role of local governments in conflict resolution, this paper would also have implications on the role of local governments in security. "


Jim Ockey

University of Canterbury


Raghuvir Dass

The University of Auckland
avatar for Dennis Quilala

Dennis Quilala

University of Canterbury

Scott Walker

United Arab Emirates University

Friday November 29, 2019 1:30pm - 3:00pm NZDT
E7 Engineering Core

Attendees (6)