After World War II, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which put on the agenda the “universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion over all territorial disputes and religious conflicts.” The ideal was reinforced in 1999, when Buddhist leaders, Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and many other religions gathered to sign the Geneva Spiritual Appeal. The document asked the political and religious leaders something simple: a guarantee that religion was no longer used to justify violence.
After many years and many other attempts to guarantee religious freedom, much of the conflict that now happening in the world still involves beliefs and doctrines, which are mixed with a complex network of political, economic, racial and ethnic factors. Today, our planet is much suffered from conflicts that have, among their motivations, religious intolerance or any kind of disputed land issues.
Here, we list a top 10 Territorial Disputes & Religious Conflicts between different nations and religious groups. These disputed lands might have a difficult possibility for treaty agreeing peace between conflicted nations.
10 Afghanistan Dispute
Groups in conflict: Radical Muslim Fundamentalists And Non-Muslims
Afghanistan is a battlefield from the time that Alexander the Great passed through there in mid-300 BC Currently, two groups vying for power in the country, in a conflict that has been ongoing for years. On one side is the Taliban, Islamic fundamentalist movement that ruled the country between 1996 and 2001. On the other side is the Northern Alliance, a political-military organization that unites many Afghans demographic groups that seek to combat the Taliban regime.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Northern Alliance began to receive the support of the United States, which invaded Afghanistan in search of the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, establishing a new republic in the country. In 2011, Americans and allies celebrated the capture and death of the leader of the Islamic fundamentalist group responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers, but that has not calmed the internal territorial dispute in the country, which remains constant stage of Taliban attacks.
9 Nigeria Dispute
Groups in conflict: Christians And Muslims
Not only is the Niger River that divides the African country: the Nigerian population of approximately 148 million, is distributed in more than 250 ethnic groups which occupied different parts of the country over the years, encouraging constant territorial disputes.
Divided spatially and ideologically they are also Muslims living in northern Nigeria, and Christians who inhabit the central and southern portions. Since 2002, religious conflicts have been raging in the country, motivated mainly by the adoption of sharia, Islamic law, as the main source of law in the northern states. Violence in the country has killed more than 10,000 people and left thousands of refugees.
8 Iraq Dispute
Groups in conflict: Shiites And Sunnis
Different militia fighters and motivations are mixed in the religious conflict taking place in Iraq. During the years 2006 and 2008, the Iraq War included armed conflicts against the presence of the US army and also violence directed at ethnic groups in the country. But the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011, did not stop the internal tension. Since then, militant groups have led a series of attacks on the Shiite majority in the country. The Iraqi government estimates that between 2004 and 2011, about 70,000 people were killed in religious conflicts.
7 Israel Dispute
Groups in conflict: Jews And Muslims
In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab. A year later, Israel was proclaimed country. The opposition between the Arab nations broke out a war which, with Israel’s territory growth, left Palestinians without a state. In an attempt to end the tension, it was signed in 1993 the Oslo Agreement, which began negotiations for the creation of a future Palestinian state. All went well until the time comes to negotiate on the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – which neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis give up.
In Palestine, the 2006 parliamentary elections put in power the Islamist group Hamas. The group is considered a terrorist organization by Western nations and failed to form a government next to the Fatah – the party that preaches reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.
Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. And Fatah came to the West Bank, in conflicts that lasted until February 2012, when the two groups reached an agreement to form a government. But according to the website of Al Jazeera, the Middle East news network, the feud continues. Parliamentary and presidential elections will be conducted in both territories and international tension remains the possibility of Hamas to win again in the electoral process.
6 Sudan Dispute
Groups in conflict: Muslims And Non-Muslims
The civil war in Sudan has been going on for over 46 years. It is estimated that the conflict, mixing ethnic, racial and religious motives, have already left more than 1 million Sudanese refugees. In May 2006 the government and the main rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement, signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, which provided for the disarmament of Arab militia, Janjaweed calls, and aimed to end the war.
In the same year, however, a new group continued to what was called “the worst humanitarian crisis of the century” and considered genocide by the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2004.
5 Thailand Dispute
Groups in conflict: Buddhists And Muslims
A separatist movement causes constant and violent attacks in southern Thailand and created an atmosphere of suspicion and tension between Muslims and Buddhists. Despite the conflicts reach the two groups, they represent quite unequal portions of the country, according to data from the Thai government, almost 90% of the population is Buddhist and about 10% Muslim.
4 Tibet Dispute
Groups in conflict: Communist Party Of China And Buddhist
The government regulation to Buddhist monasteries began when the Communist Party of China marched toward Tibet, taking control of the territory and annexing it as a province in 1950. More than half a century has passed since the violent invasion, which killed thousands of Tibetans and caused the destruction of nearly six thousand temples, but religious persecution remains.
A peaceful protest by monks started in 2008 began a series of protests in the territory considered autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China.
3 Kashmir Dispute
Groups in conflict: Different Kashmiris Groups Favor India Or Pakistan
Kashmir is one of the most important conflicts of today involving ethnic differences and territorial disputes over national borders division. Until 1947, the period before the independence of India and the fragmentation of Indian territory, its 220,000 km 2 (approximately the area of the Brazilian state of Piauí) were under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh Bahadur, consisting of the territories of Jammu, Kashmir , Ladakh, Aksai Chin, Gilgit, and Baltisan Partition. However, with the changes that occurred after the 2nd World War, the territory was divided between India, Pakistan and China.
India gained control of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Pakistan took control of Gilgit, Baltisan, and the western part of Kashmir. Currently, the Indian state formed of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is officially called Jammu and Kashmir, equating to 141,338 km 2 of the total area. Pakistan has 85,846 km 2 , and China has a relatively smaller area, with 37,555 km2. The term Kashmir is generally used to refer to the entire region containing all three areas.
2 Northern Ireland Dispute
Groups in conflict: Catholics and Protestants
Northern Ireland is a territory marked by the British domination, and especially the religious divide between Catholics and Protestants, who is above all political. This split, which goes beyond a mere dispute related to the belief of the population has become so fierce as to have been a series of clashes between organized forces of both sides.
Given this configuration, with the justification to maintain greater security for the different parts were built the walls of Northern Ireland, which literally started to divide the population according to their religious beliefs, particularly in the city of Belfast, capital of the territory. Although there is a total isolation, 48% of the Protestant population are separated from 45% Catholics through the existence of this wall.
1 Kosovo Dispute
Groups in conflict: Kosovo Liberation Army & Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
During the decline and disappearance of the socialist state in the 1990s, five new states were formed: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia). Yugoslavia also had the autonomous region of Kosovo.
In 1998/1999 a war has been started at the time that the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, decided to fight for independence against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The UN then stood beside Kosovo and helped bombarding Yugoslavia. After the war, Yugoslavia renounced all claims to Kosovo and accepted it as a controlled area of the UN.
Then, in 2006 Yugoslavia was divided into two states, Serbia and Montenegro. On 17 February 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, and adopted as its capital Pristina.
Kosovo is officially recognized by 80 UN member countries as well as Taiwan. He is a member of the IMF and the World Bank, however, technically, it is still a state partially recognized.