Rethinking the nexus between youth, unemployment and conflict

Perspectives from Sri Lanka

The frequently made argument that ‘youth unemployment causes armed conflict’ lacks nuance, because it fails to reflect both the multiple factors feeding young people’s frustrations and grievances in conflict contexts; and the multiple barriers young people face in entering the job market. It also glosses over the fact that “youth” is a highly heterogeneous group, divided along class, gender, political, and geographic lines. This report calls for more emphasis on country-specific exploration of the links between youth unemployment and other socio-economic and political factors that can contribute to marginalisation and discrimination that engender conflict and violence at a more structural level.