Stimson: Peacekeepers Protecting Civilians: A Decade of Reform
By Alison Giffen and Guy Hammond
March 20, 1010
Ten years ago, the United Nations Security Council began committing its peacekeepers to protect civilians and prevent the sorts of atrocities that occurred in Rwanda and Srebrenica in the mid-1990s. But promising and providing protection are two different things, as peacekeepers have found in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere.
Protection, it turns out, is much harder than it sounds. Peacekeepers cannot be everywhere all the time, are usually too few to protect everybody in a country, a province, or even a city simultaneously, and have had little guidance on goals, doctrine, strategy, or training. Since a dozen different countries may send troops to a given UN operation, the result is a lot of confusion and rather little protection.
A UN-commissioned independent study released in late 2009 (in which the Spotlight authors participated) took a close look at the making, interpreting, and implementing of Security Council mandates for protection of civilians. The study found very little clarity on what protection means to those who are supposed to be offering it and confirmed the dearth of guidance on how to protect.
Read the entire brief on Stimson's site.