Europäische Kulturtage 2014


Dr. Daniel Rezene Mekonnen

Das Horn von Afrika zwischen endlosen Kriegen und ermüdender Anteilnahme


Curriculum Vitae

Daniel R. Mekonnen is a Senior Legal Advisor and Research Professor at the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI), having joined ILPI in August 2013 after working as a Research Fellow at the School of Law in Queen’s University Belfast.

Between 2010 and 2012, Mekonnen has provided expert legal advice to Linklaters LLP, one of the world’s top ten law firms, headquartered in London. He has a proven track record of academic publishing, with a particular emphasis on human rights, international criminal law and transitional justice.

His area of expertise ranges from development cooperation to North-South relations, nonviolent action, democratisation, and peace & conflict studies. He has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at tertiary levels of education. His primary legal education is from the University of Asmara. He earned his LLM in Human Rights and his LLD in Public International Law from the University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Free State, respectively.



The Horn of Africa between Endless Wars and ‘Compassion Fatigue’


The Horn of Africa is a region acutely deprived of ‘non-military solutions’ to the problems that underlie the conflicts of the region. Governments of the region have always sought to solve their problems in wars, making the region unremitting bedrock of armed conflicts and all sorts of humanitarian crises associated with war. In fact, some experts describe the Horn of Africa as ‘the most conflicted corner’ of the world since the end of the Second World War (Shinn 2010). While some wars in the region have been fought for noble causes, many of them have been fought for ignoble reasons. In general terms, wars fought to prevent unnecessary suffering and destruction may be regarded as just wars. On the other hand, there are also wars fought for reprehensible causes, such as to impose one’s ideological or religious values on others. Wars fought to topple the government in a neighbouring country or to sustain one’s illegitimate access to power also fall under this category.

Most of the wars in the Horn of Africa are of the latter type. Conflicts of this nature are also very much related to proxy wars. They are fought by opposing powers using third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly. Somalia and the newly independent nation of South Sudan are best examples in this regard. Using three inter-related theoretical constructs (human development, human security and human rights), this paper aims at addressing contemporary challenge of peace and security in the Greater Horn of Africa.

The analysis is synthesised in the context of a notion of ‘forgotten wars’ of the region, which seem to be giving rise to an unfortunate stance of ‘compassion fatigue’ on the part of the remaining world. In so doing, the paper also aims to promote the overarching objective of the scientific symposium, which is discussing the impact of war from trans-disciplinary perspectives.