The perception of a socially defined group that it suffers from systematic inequality, exclusion, lack of opportunity to satisfy basic needs, and other disadvantage. Social grievance is often at the root of conflict. When groups mobilise, they may take violent or non-violent action to address social grievance. Conflict transformation and peacebuilding support groups and mobilisers in choosing non-violent means while taking grievances seriously.
Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta provides an example of how inequalities and social grievances can drive people to support violence against the state. Past decades in the Delta have seen an increase in violence and insecurity, fuelled by income inequality, poverty and frustrated expectations. A lack of political rights, the socio-economic discrimination based on religion or ethnicity, and the experience of injustice are examples of vertical and horizontal inequalities. In the Niger Delta, unfair distribution of oil revenue and destroyed livelihood opportunities have resulted in social grievances.