Discussion paper

In the Pacific Islands region, one quarter of all 14 independent countries have experienced rioting from 2006 to end 2021. Yet, despite these incidents of collective violence inflicting major damage in small island states, they are poorly understood, with responses from national, as well as international, actors remaining static.

This discussion paper summarises the common features of riots - defined as episodic disturbances creating threats and violence to people and property - across the Pacific. The analysis is based on a comparative analysis of riot events (as described in literature and media reports) and draws on relevant theory and sources. Subsequently, factors contributing to riot violence are weighed against the effectiveness of possible responses by security and development actors. The final section of the paper provides suggestions and implications for relevant scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers interested in security and peace-building in the Pacific Islands.

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