n Conflict Trends - The MONUSCO unmanned aerial vehicles : opportunities and challenges

Volume 2014, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones were introduced to the United Nations (UN) Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - MONUSCO - in December 2013. The procurement reflects the fact that UAVs have become standard equipment for modern militaries and therefore is a natural step for UN peacekeeping operations to take. UN UAVs are useful to provide intelligence and situational awareness and can enable better troop protection and, potentially, improve the ability of the mission to protect civilians. It is worth noting that the UAVs were added to MONUSCO in December 2013, shortly after the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) was deployed in MONUSCO. The FIB was used to "neutralize and disarm" the M23 rebel group, and marks perhaps the high point of authorised use of force in UN peacekeeping. The simultaneous turn towards peace enforcement and the introduction of UAVs in UN missions was coincidental, as UAV procurement efforts have been made over many years, yet combined they add significant changes and pose new challenges for MONUSCO.

This article adds to the discussion on what the newly added UAV capabilities may mean for UN peacekeeping operations. The article does not focus on what the drones can do or how they may and may not be used. Instead, it draws attention to a few less-scrutinised implications of introducing drones to UN peacekeeping - some moral and legal obligations that may be triggered by using UAVs or by having UAVs available, and how the use and availability of UAVs may generate new dilemmas.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error