n Conflict Trends - The protection of civilians : a comparison between United Nations and African Union peace operations

Volume 2012, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Most contemporary wars in Africa have been intrastate conflicts where civilians constitute the overwhelming majority of the victims and targeting them has become a primary objective of the warring parties. Such conflicts are not only theatres of the widespread abuse and violation of human rights; they are often the consequences of these. The security of the population is thus critical to an enduring political agreement between warring parties. This is also important for the broader political goals of creating and preserving the peace. Furthermore, preventing attacks on civilians deters spoilers from creating instability and weakening fragile peace processes. The protection of civilians is thus perceived as essential to the success of a peace mission and therefore to the peacekeepers' legitimacy and credibility.

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