- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Get Involved
|Greater Expectations: UN Peacekeeping & Civilian Protection||563.8 KB|
The brutal reality of modern day conflict and the recognition of an international responsibility to protect civilians in times of crisis has made peacekeeping more important — and more controversial — than ever. As the nature of peacekeeping has evolved, the recent European Union and United Nations peacekeeping forces in Chad and the Central African Republic illustrate key lessons on how to meet this challenge of peacekeeping and civilian protection. The U.S. should support and promote new developments in peacekeeping operations in order to help create an effective method to protect civilians.
Peacekeepers today are routinely mandated to protect civilians under imminent threat of violence. Yet, there is no clear doctrine to tell military peacekeepers how to make a protection mandate work. Furthermore “peace enforcement” — when one or more parties to the conflict do not consent to the deployment of peacekeepers — is frequently not appropriate for UN peacekeepers to undertake. This requires new tools such as the developing African Union Standby capability or the European Union rapid deployment capacity.
In 2007, the UN Security Council authorized an EU peacekeeping “bridging operation” to protect civilians and displaced people from ongoing insecurity in Chad and the Central African Republic that eventually transferred authority to the UN. Through patrols, successful interventions and one-on-one interaction with the local population, the European Union (EUFOR) peacekeepers built up a body of knowledge about the operating environment and a positive reputation. Their deployment established a strong foundation for the incoming UN peacekeepers, known as MINURCAT.
Nonetheless, the handover faced many challenges that could be avoided in future bridging operations. Three months after the handover, MINURCAT was only deployed to 47% of its full capacity. In order to maximize the benefits of future bridging forces, the UN follow-on force needs to be mandated much earlier to allow the UN adequate time to prepare the mission for a smooth transition. Including senior mission leadership in the planning team at UN headquarters was a success for MINURCAT and should be continued in the future. Finally, when calling for troops and other contingents, the UN system must shift to a capabilities-driven approach to force generation, rather than focusing strictly on numbers of troops deployed.
One particularly unique element of the UN engagement in Chad is the support and training of a Chadian police force called the Détachement Intégré de Securité (DIS). DIS officers were drawn from the existing Chadian gendarmerie and police, and trained by the UN to address ongoing banditry and impunity and keep refugee camps safe. Overall, the DIS officers have performed well and have been positively received by the refugee and humanitarian communities. Although isolated incidents of violence by the DIS have reflected badly on the MINURCAT force, the UN should continue to build on and refine the DIS model for future operations.
There are clear steps the U.S. government can take to increase the overall effectiveness of global peacekeeping forces and to support the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations as it works to improve peacekeeping forces around the world. Some of these steps are relatively simple, such as continuing to pay U.S. peacekeeping dues in full and on time and working with the UN to provide standardized peacekeeping training. However, the U.S. should also be willing to deploy U.S. forces and ‘enabling’ assets such as engineering units, and strategic lift capabilities to help missions deploy quickly and completely.
The world is beginning to understand that we all have a responsibility to protect people from violence, genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Learning from the experiences of EUFOR and MINURCAT will help future missions operate more effectively, and ensure that greater numbers of people are protected from harm.
DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE REPORT