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UN peace operations and protection of civilians: Cheap talk or norm implementation?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 50, no 1, 59-73 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Protection of civilians is now at the forefront of the responsibilities of the international community. There is a strong international norm that civilian populations should be protected from violence. But how committed is the United Nations to acting in line with this norm? I argue that the UN Security Council (UNSC) has an interest in demonstrating that it takes violence against civilians seriously. Through a broadened security agenda including human security, the legitimacy and the credibility of the UNSC hinges on its ability to act as a guarantor of civilian protection. As a consequence, the UN is more likely to deploy peace operations in conflicts where the warring parties target the civilian population. The argument is supported by a statistical examination of all internal armed conflicts in 1989-2006. The results show that the likelihood of a UN peace operation is higher in conflicts with high levels of violence against civilians, but this effect is mainly visible after 1999. This year marked a shift in the global security agenda and it was also when the UNSC first issued an explicit mandate to protect civilians. Conflicts with high levels of violence against civilians are also more likely to get operations with robust mandates. This suggests that the UNSC is not just paying lip service to the protection norm, but that it actually acts to implement it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 50, no 1, 59-73 p.
Keyword [en]
civil war, peacekeeping, protection of civilians, UN
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-196757DOI: 10.1177/0022343312461662ISI: 000314240300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-196757DiVA: diva2:611055
Available from: 2013-03-14 Created: 2013-03-13 Last updated: 2013-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Hultman, Lisa
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