n African Security Review - The African Union's evolving role in peace operations : the African Union Mission in Burundi, the African Union Mission in Sudan and the African Union Mission in Somalia : essays

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The African Union has been operational for close to five years now and it is appropriate to reflect on whether its peace and security architecture will achieve its objectives. In 2002, the AU adopted the Protocol on Peace and Security, which launched the creation of the Peace and Security Council, the African Standby Force, the Continental Early Warning Mechanism and the Panel of the Wise. This architecture is designed to oversee the successful implementation of the AU's peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding initiatives. This article assesses the evolving role of the AU in peace operations. It argues that given the youthfulness of its institutions, the AU has made a significant effort to conduct peace operations, notably in Burundi. However, the limitations of its fledgling institutions have been exposed in the complex humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of Sudan and in Somalia. Ultimately, it is too early to pass a definitive judgment on the AU's peace operations since the paradigm shift in attitudes that the AU is attempting to bring about, and the institutions that it has developed to do so, have to be given the opportunity to work.


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