Beyond protection of Civilians

A critical analysis of the OCHA/DPKO Report “Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping operations”

December 2009

The concept of Protection of Civilians (POC) can be considered as a legacy of the massacres and genocides of the post cold period. The Rwandan genocide, the Srebrenica massacre and the civil war in Somalia, in between others, forced the UN[1] in re-thinking their role in order to be able to truly reconnect their work with the basic principle of humanitarism:  the desire to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being.[2]

On December 2009 the UN published a study report[3] jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping operations (DPKO) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (OCHA) to further investigate and understand what POC means and how this has changed, or should change, the activities implemented in the field in the context of peacekeeping operations.

This paper wants to look at this report and analyze it using a constructivist approach: the idea is to look at the UN approach to emergencies and POC through the lens of the concept of “humanitarian arena” as opposed to the concept of the “humanitarian space”[4]. This is not however an intellectual exercise, but the idea is to look from a different prospective at the practical implementation of POC presented in the UN report and to take into consideration the relationship and the identities of the actors involved in analyzing their findings and recommendations.

I will first clarify my approach and define the terminology I will use in the paper, from the concept of humanitarian arena to the contextual approach to humanitarian aid. After explaining briefly the story of the concept of POC and the institutional development of the concept inside the UN, I will analyze the reports from different angles. First of all I will look at the starting point of this report, the absence of a definition of POC, and the risks and consequences of speaking and developing a concept without defining it, as well as the risks to close the potentiality of POC inside the boundaries of a univocal definition. As second step I will look at the approach used by the authors of the report, defined as ‘field-up approach’[5] and see how this approach has been developed and in what sense, and how the prospective of this approach is linked to the identity of the observers. As a third step I will look at the recommendations and suggestions proposed in the last part of the report, to link them back to the concept of univocal direction of humanitarian aid integrated in the “humanitarian space” concept, and the residual role of the recipients of aid in the global discussion of POC.

There are basically three approaches to the concept of humanitarian action that can be used to look at the humanitarian field. The first approach is the one that identifies humanitarian action as machinery, leading to the development of the concept of humanitarian space as “a consensual environment where humanitarians can work without hindrance and follow the humanitarian ethic’s principles of neutrality, impartiality and humanity”[6]. This approach, I argue, is the primary one adopted by the UN,[7] but paradoxically the most difficult one to achieve in integrated missions, where humanitarian and military basically are under the same authority. According to this approach, humanitarian crisis are always considered as a state of exception, separated from normality, and the humanitarian aid assume the semblance of the “classical relief”, where the main actors are the international humanitarian agencies and the humanitarian needs are triggered by the crisis.[8]

What it is relevant in the humanitarian space metaphor is that local institutions are seen as both spoilers and causes of crises or as passive actors in need of capacity building by international community. On the other side humanitarian actors are driven by their principles, and case to case evaluation makes their behaviour deviate in the practice, although where the practice deviates from the norm, it can be analyzed, to determine what is wrong, or what should have been done instead. In the humanitarian space the normative dimension of humanitarian action is inspired by different sets of principles and objectives that may be compatible or clash, having as a consequence a forcible interface dimension with other normative frames that prevail in the sites of implementation. This mechanism requires a social negotiation between these different sets of reference, to be able to give meaning to the actions implemented in practice. [9]

A second approach is the one that link humanitarian action to the political environment and interests of all actors involved. In this context humanitarian action is delineated as appendix of the international donors’ interests, which leads to its manipulation by local and international politics.[10] This second approach will not be analyzed in this paper, starting from the personal consideration that interests are always involved, but cannot exhaust the reasons behind the actions implemented. The analysis of interests on the other side is extremely useful in the observation of the decision-making processes behind the implementation of certain actions in the field and the consequent reactions to those actions, and behind the decision to implement or not certain programs in certain places.[11]

The third perspective is the one that leads to the development of the concept of humanitarian work as an arena. This is the approach I will use as point of view in analyzing the UN report on POC, trying to highlight the importance of the social negotiation between the different actors. The central concept here is the notion of agency, as subject that endows actors with the knowledge, the ability and the capability to process social experience.[12] Through their agencies, actors “attempt to solve problems, learn how to intervene in the flow of social events around them, and monitor continuously their own actions, observing how others react to their behaviour and taking note of the various contingent circumstances”.[13] The humanitarian action is therefore as an arena where multiple actors operate and negotiate the conditions and practices of aid, where principles and politics are important, but are being negotiated and defined in the practice.[14] As opposed to the normative perspective of the humanitarian space, the arena paradigm acknowledges continuities and discontinuities between crisis and normality leading to a definition of humanitarian actions that includes the so called developmental relief, where the focus is not the pure delivery of aid but the protection of livelihoods and the sustainability.[15]

In the humanitarian arena there is no a priori distinction between different deliverers of services and all stakeholders contribute to shape the humanitarian action. As a consequence, social actors are multi-faceted and have differentiated interests as well as different sets of values and principles that inform service delivery, including social actors that actively seek survival and co-shape the realities of aid.[16] The arena paradigm does not take norms and policies for granted, but looks on how they are translated into practice, seeking the practice outcomes. The key here is the complex processes by which humanitarian action gets shaped in the everyday practices, in a system where humanitarian action is the outcome of political choices and social interactions of large range of actors, institutions and processes. In this sense humanitarian needs are not a unique condition of emergency, but can be a continuation of normality, for example as related to normal poverty, powerlessness or drought, where the focus is related to on longer time-frame that covers entire crisis as well as prelude and aftermath. [17]

To understand the link between the arena approach and the OCHA/DPKO report I think it is useful to introduce the concept of “society dimension” of humanitarian aid, where the link between the humanitarian arena and the role of peacekeeping missions is extremely relevant.[18] The dimension of social life of humanitarian action concerns the ways in which humanitarian action affects society at large. Especially in areas where crises are protracted and where aid constitutes a large presence in fact, the consideration of this aspect can highlight important outcomes. The idea is that, instead of analysing the humanitarian action for its impact on local dynamics of conflict, we look at it as affecting factor and as ordering process of the whole society at large, focusing on the change in people’s outlooks, alteration of power constellations, and transformation of local institutions. The focus is the interface between recipients and humanitarian aid agencies as a critical point of intersection between different life-worlds, and levels of social organization, based upon discrepancies in values, interests, knowledge and power. “Studies of social interfaces can bring out the dynamics of the interactions taking place and show how the goals, perceptions, interests, and relationships of the various parties may be reshaped as a result of their interaction”[19]. It is primarily using this approach that we can look at the UN report on POC: in the consideration that aid recipients act according to their perceptions, interpretations of what happens around them and their capacities to respond, including for POC related issues.  What we observe is that aid recipients even in an emergency setting try to hold on to normality, and don’t perceive the exceptionality of the emergency as a turning point in the consideration of their priorities. “Disaster victims have important capacities which are not destroyed in a disaster. Outside aid to these victims must be provided in ways that recognise and support these capacities if it is to have a long-term effect. When relief assistance is given without recognition of these capacities, it can undermine and weaken them, leaving those whom it is intended to help even worse off than they were before”[20]. If we consider POC as part of the “aid” delivered, or better exchanged, in the international arena, the role of the local community become crucial. POC is a concept completely based on the humanitarian principle per excellence, the protection of civilians from the effect of the conflict, but seems to be the most difficult one to implement in a setting, the one of the UN peacekeeping operations, where humanitarian is interconnected with military, development, human rights and relief. It is exactly in this context where the relationship between different actors involved becomes fundamental, and yet, in the UN setting, the consideration of any possible role to be played by the receivers is completely absent, as well as any meaningful analysis of the relationship between military and humanitarian.

The same history and elaboration of the concept of protection seems to highlight a considerable monopoly of the concept by the UN, and an apparent absence of NGOs and local actors.

Since the failures of missions to provide security in complex crises such as Somalia, and to protect civilians from mass atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia, which tested the fundamental principles and capabilities of UN peacekeeping operations, notable efforts have been done to improve the overall effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations, including their capabilities to protect civilians. The POC concept first arose in the Secretary-General’s report on the Situation in Africa of 13 April 1998,[21] in which he identified protecting civilians in situations of conflict as a “humanitarian imperative”.  For a decade, the UN Security Council has also expressed its resolve to support more effective missions, and to put a greater spotlight on the protection of civilians[22], as seen by its series of statements and resolutions[23], and the request that the Secretary-General issue regular reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. More tangibly, UN peacekeeping mandates have changed, as the Council has shifted peacekeeping well beyond its traditional role of monitoring the implementation of peace agreements over the last decade. Modern peacekeeping missions are multidimensional, addressing the full spectrum of peace-building activities, from providing secure environments to monitoring human rights and rebuilding the capacity of the state.[24] Increasingly, such mandates also instruct peacekeeping missions to put an emphasis on the physical protection of civilians. As part of this evolution, ten UN peacekeeping operations have been explicitly mandated to “protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.”[25] The first mission provided with this explicit mandate language, the UN peacekeeping operation in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, was authorized in 1999 inter alia “to afford protection to civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.” By 2009, the majority of the nearly 100,000 uniformed UN peacekeepers deployed worldwide operate with such mandates.[26] Yet, surprisingly, no definition of POC has been formulated in a complete way, and the meaning of this task is basically left to the personal evaluation and background of the people uncharged in the peacekeeping operations, namely senior military officials and the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator. What we notice here is that POC has been growing as concern for the Security Council and Member States, pushed as part of the very complex political agenda that serve to sustain the credibility of the UN,[27] but on the other side its very significant is obscure for the same actors, and the implementation in the field is as a consequences a collage of different and sometimes clashing interpretations.

The same report starts with a declaration of inability basically stating that the definition of POC cannot be done by the Secretariat or by the different agencies of the UN but has to be done at the “Political Level” meaning Member States and the Security Council.[28] Again, the very object of this protection, the civilians, are not considered as an actor that can influence the process, or even help in the definition of POC, but as a passive, immobile receiver, that doesn’t have much to say about the matter. The same survey done in the analysis of different integrated mission with the mandate to protect civilians is enlightening: the authors of the report spend several pages arguing about the physical protection as something separate and “relatively simple”, and draw an interesting picture of the different interpretations that officials and humanitarian workers give of the POC concept[29], but again, they never mentioned that possibility to even ask what the expectations are and how they will face those expectations among civilians  To frame it according to our metaphor of the humanitarian arena, the very core problem here is that the relationship between the peacekeeping missions and the civilians is only considered as one direction relationship, and the risk of such process as the base for developing a definition of POC is high. On one side the authors of the report want to make things easier in the field, and arrive at a definition that has to be practical, simple, closed in the boundaries of the peacekeeping mandate, and inside it, limited again by the boundaries of the uniformed personnel of the missions. On the other side they see and underline that this is not a “real” definition, and that it more close to an operational side of POC[30]. Again the report run into a paradox, underlining that POC is a concept that has to be considered more as result of the inter-actions between different actors, and then showing that those actors are identified by the same UN, in order to include only the UN/international NGOs humanitarian workers and the UN peace-keepers, considered the only subject of this humanitarian space.  The normative aspect at the base of the structure of the report is indicative of the framework used: the humanitarian space as a close one, limited in time and framework, in actors involved and in meaning. The risk associated is that the process of developing a definition of POC will start from the practical implementation by the peacekeepers and then try to walk back in order to arrive at a theoric definition that will legitimize, post facto, the role eventually taken by the peacekeepers in the field. On the other side the complete absence of any investigations of the effective expectations of the civilians in the field is at the base of an operative definition of POC relying exclusively on the role of military personnel, which is excluding the future possibility to frame POC as a complex long-term strategy outside the presence of the peacekeeping operation.

In this context it is extremely interesting to see how and where the authors of the report consider the actors involved in the process:

“Of course, UN peacekeeping missions do not and cannot ‘own’ the concept of protection. They bring international civilian, military and police skills and assets to operational arenas in which other protection actors are present, including the host state, mandated UN protection agencies, non-governmental organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is essential that the actions are coherent and mutually reinforcing where possible. Indeed, the challenge of protecting civilians cuts to the core of the UN purpose – ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’”[31] (Cursive added)

What emerged from this paragraph is not a statement that opens the door to the mutual understanding of the relationship involved in the POC concept and the importance of the mutual adjustment to other subject identity and expectations, but it is a rather paternalistic approach which underlines the ability of the humanitarians to bring people together. This is exactly what the authors define as the “field-up approach”[32] where the meaning of “field” is easily explained: in the context of peacekeeping operations the “field” is the UN operation in the country, as opposed to the HQ organs of the UN. There is nothing inclusive in this definition, actually there is an exclusive owning by the peacekeepers of the filed itself. In this context the role of the local actors and the sustainability of POC is completely missing. The consequences are that local people’s capacities and their professional skills are completely ignored, with the risk to undermine social safety nets, the ones that are the base of sustainability outside the UN framework.  What we face is the weakening of the existing, or future, service delivery with the creation of a parallel system where POC is delivered by outside military personnel and where it is much unlikely that the local authority after the peacekeeping operation will leave, will be able to implement it with the same standard. POC in this context is the factor that will contribute to the weakening of the conflict-resolution capacities, undermining local leadership, ignoring the role of women, and overall relegate the local population in the space of the “unable” victims. The main framework coming from the report is that providing relief marks superiority and defines ‘the other’ as victim and the assister as the one who determines what help is in order. The civilians’ sole attribute is found in their suffering, and although POC grants them the right to survival, they are stripped of the capacity to act that would recognise them as fellow human beings.[33] What it is not considered at all here is the process of “destruction” of roles inside the local society: if protection mean literally protect physically women, children and civilians in general then we have to think at whom was responsible for this before. The appropriation of the protective duties by an external actor has in fact important consequences, for example in a context where the identity of certain subject in the society are strongly linked to this role, like in tribal society, where it is the tribe and the man inside it that have this function and responsibility.[34]

If POC is “given” without recognizing local capacities, it can undermine and weaken societies, leaving those whom it is intended to help worse off than they were before. It seems that the UN are still missing a point, which is that often, good relations with partner organizations, displaying confidence in local staff and recipients, respectful behaviour and accountability pay off more in terms of security than the use of heavily armed guards or armies.

This attitude is also reflected in the recommendations given in the report, based on four themes: linking the Security Council to the field; mission-wide strategy and crisis planning; improving the role of uniformed personnel and political follow-up.[35] Nothing is said about the ability for the peacekeepers to link their work with the environment they operate in, even when speaking about the need of more specific training for the uniformed personnel. The cultural context of POC seems simply to disappear, as if the protections issue automatically means that culture and context have no role to play in the humanitarian scenario. Protection in this context is purely a reaction instead of a pro-active action, becoming de facto similar to defense, a concept that military personnel understand more clearly than the protective one. As a consequence the definition of POC is being built as an aseptic concept, one that has its roots in the normative dimension of what activities need to be implemented to achieve the goal more than on the resources available to achieve that goal.

If we look at the good practice examples shown in the report this is even clearer: the use of safe areas for example is suggested as a good practice, without consideration of the consequences that the creation of those areas can have in the dynamic of the conflict and in the context of the peacekeeping missions. The safe areas in fact can be perceived by the people inside it more as a prison than as a safe place where to stay,[36] not mentioning the consideration for the problem of peacekeepers’ violations of human rights, as emerging for example from the Sierra Leone peacekeeping mission.[37] In addition to that the continue accent the authors of the report put on the impossibility to protect everybody is quite critical: again the humanitarian space is a close one, where protection is guarantee in a certain defined space where the criteria for protection is given by the mandate sentence “inside the area of deployment”. The border of POC is not only a space dimension, but also a conceptual one: the POC concept in fact is linked and designed, “inside the framework of the mission mandate”. Apart from the fact that this conceptual limit is unclear, it gives the impression that POC is a negotiable concept inside the peacekeeping missions in between the different agencies of the UN, and the outcome will be decided by the political and power dynamic inside it. In this sense the vision of POC gets narrower and excludes automatically any independence of the concept outside the UN missions.

In this sense it is indicative that the the recommendations given in the report are not touching one of the main problematic related with the credibility and the sustainability of peacekeeping operations, which is the relationship between the humanitarian side of the integrated missions and the military side.[38] Despite the fact that the report was commissioned by OCHA in addition to DPKO, the point of view and the outcomes are definitely more looking at the military ability to protect civilians than at the credibility problems due to the co-existence of those two organs under the same umbrella. The report misses the possibility to underline one of the present contradiction in the humanitarian arena: the ambitions for aid have become less robust in abandoning notions of linear development, but at the same time the ambitions of aid are being stretched farther than ever, in seeking increasingly complicated levels of integration[39] and the piling up of disparate objectives, including the development task of state-building, the humanitarian imperative of ensuring service provision and the international demand to preserve security[40], including the Protection of Civilians.

The conclusions to be drawn from this report are that the UN are victims of what we can call the organizational inertia: humanitarian aid inside the UN framework continues to be restricted in its objectives, duration and modalities, with the UN actively creating an image of an institutional and sometimes social void in which they operate. What it is missed here is the recognition that conflicts and disasters are indeed breakpoints of social order, with a considerable degree of chaos and disruption, but they are also marked by processes of continuity and re-ordering, or the creation of new institutions and linkages, even when facing such a difficult issue as the Protection of Civilians. In the UN the discursive assumption regarding the distinction between normality and emergency has become deeply rooted in the response given, leaving no space for an independent re-adjustment of identities and roles in the humanitarian arena.

This problematic is at the base of the inability of the UN to really integrate its approach, meaning integration not between the different agencies but integration in the local context. POC is a very important concept and this report is definitely, despite all the remarks, a good tentative to look into the development of the concept in an operative way. Again, the problem lies in the framework of the humanitarian space as opposed to the humanitarian arena, leading to a situation in which the UN simply cannot see the other side of the barricade, but they pretend to modify it and affect it in an efficient way. The “field-up approach” is not sufficient in analysing POC, as other humanitarian issues, and requires a change of prospective that looks at the effect of certain actions in the field and recognize the mutual influence in between UN personnel, from the peace-keeper to the humanitarian worker, and the civilians in the field, opening the humanitarian space further in order to transform it into an humanitarian arena .

Of course this process is not easy, and the UN are by definition an exclusive organization, based on states’ power and sovereignty, where the constant tensions between the People and the States are translated into a bottom-up approach that will assure to the Member States their position of control. The arena metaphor is not one that preserves the status quo, but actually is the one that shows the impossibility for the sovereignty of the state to be translated into a control of the dynamics in the field. The image of the humanitarian heroes saving the poor victims of war has to leave space to the image of the inter-changeable roles, where the heroes are not so heroic and the victims are not always passive. This is going to be a long process also because it is going to touch the very hardcore of the UN. The humanitarian arena approach does not pretend to explain everything, but it is a good approach to be used to find gaps and fallacies in the current discussion about POC in order to be able to address it in an effective way, especially inside the peacekeeping missions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alain Badiou, An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, Translated by Peter Hallward, London and New York: Verso, 2001.

Anderson M., Woodrow P., Reducing Vulnerability to Drought and Famine: Developmental Approaches to Relief, International Relief/Development Project Graduate School of Education Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts USA, 1993

D. Hilhorst and M. Serrano, The Humanitarian Arena in Angola, 1975-2008, Disasters, forthcoming.

Georg Frerks and Dorothea Hilhorst, Evaluation of humanitarian assistance in emergency situations, February 2002

Giddens, Anthony, The constitution of society: An outline of the theory of structuration, London: Polity Press, 1984

Harrell- Bond, B., The Experience of Refugees as Recipients of Aid. In: A. Ager (ed.) Refugees, Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration 137-168. London: Cassell, 1999

Hilhorst, D. and N. Schmiemann, Humanitarian Principles and Organizational Culture: the Case of Médecins-sans-Frontières, Holland. In: J. Pettit, L. Roper and D. Eade (eds): Development and the Learning Organisation. Oxford, Development In Practice Readers Series, 316-332, 2003

Ian Christoplos, Humanitarianism, pluralism and ombudsmen: Do the pieces fit? Disasters, 23(2): 125–138, 1999

Kibreab, G. Pulling the Wool over the Eyes of the Strangers: Refugee Deceit and Trickery in Institutionalized Settings. Journal of Refugee Studies 17 (1) 1-26, Oxford University Press, 2004

Leader, N., Humanitarian Principles in a Changing World and Principles and Organisations, In: The Politics of Principle: The Principles of Humanitarian Action in Practice, HPG Report 2, 11-22. London: Overseas Development Institute, 2002

Long, Norman and Ann Long, Battlefields of knowledge: The interlocking of theory and practice in social research and development,  London, New York: Routledge, 1992

Long, Norman, Encounters at the Interface, Wageningen Studies in Sociology, Wageningen, 1989

Sida, L., Challenges to Humanitarian Space. A Review of Humanitarian Issues related to the UN Integrated Mission in Liberia and to the Relationship between Humanitarian and Military Actors in Liberia. Report commissioned by the Monitoring and Steering Group (MSG) in Liberia, 2005

Spearin, Christopher, Private security companies and humanitarians: A corporate solution to securing humanitarian spaces?,  International Peacekeeping, 8: 1, 20 — 43, 2001

Special Representative Rodolphe Adada, Mission Directive on the Protection of Civilians in Darfur, UNAMID

Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations, 2009

Website

http://ochaonline.un.org

http://www.securitycouncilreport.org


[1] http://ochaonline.un.org

[2] International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

[3] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009

[4] Humanitarian Arena Observed, Prof. Hilhorst, Lecture 2, slides.

[5] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009

[6] Spearin, Christopher(2001) ‘Private security companies and humanitarians: A corporate solution to securing humanitarian spaces?’, International Peacekeeping, 8: 1, 20 — 43

[7] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009 “This report deliberately avoids the use of the term ‘humanitarian space’ except when quoting sources or interviewees who have used the expression. This decision was taken early on in the design process, in recognition that the term is understood differently among various communities related to this study. The term was originally used in the context of humanitarian operations. It is generally accepted among humanitarian actors as describing an operating environment made accessible to them on the basis of local acceptance of their neutrality and impartiality. For many in the peacekeeping community, it has come to mean space afforded by an external security presence, where forces facilitate actions by others. While not using this specific term, the research team affirms the importance of humanitarian principles in their relevance to operations of UN humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors, both generally and in the context of UN integrated missions.”

[8] Humanitarian Arena Observed, Prof. Hilhorst, Lecture 2, slides.

[9] Humanitarian Arena Observed, Prof. Hilhorst, Lecture 2, slides.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] D. Hilhorst and M. Serrano, ‘The Humanitarian Arena in Angola. 1975-2008′. Disasters, forthcoming. (pp 20)

[13] Giddens, Anthony, 1984, The constitution of society: An outline of the theory of structuration, London: Polity Press

[14] Giddens, Anthony, 1984, The constitution of society: An outline of the theory of structuration, London: Polity Press and Long, Norman and Ann Long, eds., 1992, Battlefields of knowledge: The interlocking of theory and practice in social research and development, , London, New York: Routledge.

[15] Humanitarian Arena Observed, Prof. Hilhorst, Lecture 2, slides.

[16] Hilhorst, D. and N. Schmiemann (2003) “Humanitarian Principles and Organisational Culture: the Case of Médecins-sans-Frontières, Holland”. In: J. Pettit, L. Roper and D. Eade (eds): Development and the Learning Organisation. Oxford, Development In Practice Readers Series, 316-332 (pp.16)

[17] Ibid. and Humanitarian Arena Observed, Prof. Hilhorst, Lecture 2, slides

[18] Ibid.

[19] Long, Norman 1989: Encounters at the Interface. Wageningen Studies in Sociology, Wageningen

[20] Anderson M, Woodrow P, Reducing Vulnerability to Drought and Famine: Developmental Approaches to Relief, International Relief/Development Project Graduate School of Education Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts USA, 1993

[21] S/1998/318 or A/52/871

[22] The Security Council heeded the Secretary-General’s recommendation that more attention must be paid to the monitoring and reporting of respect for human rights during armed conflicts and, by Presidential Statement on 12 February 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6), requested that the Secretary-General prepare a report with recommendations for how the Council could improve the physical and legal protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict (POC).  Since then, the Secretary-General has presented five reports to the Security Council on POC, (S/1999/957, S/2001/331, S/2002/1300, S/2004/431 and S/2005/740) and as well as ‘Protecting the Vulnerable’ and developing a ‘Culture of Protection’ were also identified as priorities in the Secretary-General’s Millennium Declaration of September 2000, which noted the need to ‘expand and strengthen the protection of civilians in complex emergencies in conformity with international humanitarian law.’

[23] The Security Council has expressed its resolve through a series of documents, including four resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict: 1265 (in 1999), 1296 (in 2000), 1674 (in 2006) and 1738 (2006) and six further presidential statements in 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6), 2002 (S/PRST/2002/6), 2002 (S/PRST/2002/41), 2003 (S/PRST/2003/27), 2004 (S/PRST/2004/46) and 2005 (S/PRST/2005/25).  In resolution 1674 the Security Council expressed its intention of ensuring (i) that protection of civilians mandates include clear guidelines as to what missions can and should do to achieve those goals, (ii) that the protection of civilians be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources, including information and intelligence resources, in the implementation of the mandates, and (iii) that protection mandates be implemented. Notwithstanding the clear call for guidance expressed in resolution 1674, none has been forthcoming. In late 2009, eight UN peacekeeping missions were explicitly mandated to protect civilians.

[24] Leader, N. (2002), ‘Humanitarian Principles in a Changing World’, and ‘Principles and Organisations’. In: The Politics of Principle: The Principles of Humanitarian Action in Practice, HPG Report 2, 11-22. London: Overseas Development Institute. (pp 12)

[25] UN-led missions with this mandate include MONUC; UNMIL; MINUSTAH; UNOCI; UNMIS; UNIFIL; UNAMID; and MINURCAT. The Council also used similar language for missions led by others also.

[26] http://ochaonline.un.org and Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009

[27] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009. The Report said in the first chapter: “First, the safety and security of civilians is critical to the legitimacy and credibility of peacekeeping missions. Missions rely upon their legitimacy with the local civilian population and external observers alike to help build peace and maintain political momentum behind the peace process. Moreover, wherever peacekeepers deploy, they raise expectations among the local population and among those who view missions from afar that the reason for their presence is to support people at risk. As seen in Rwanda, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Haiti, DRC and Darfur, among others, peacekeeping operations that are ill-prepared to address large-scale violence directed against civilians will falter and may even collapse. While missions work to manage high expectations, they also need to address the security of civilians to build and maintain the legitimacy and credibility needed to carry out their other mandated tasks to assist with the political and local reconsolidation efforts and peace-building.”

[28] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009. “Both as a broad concept, and in the specific context of peacekeeping, the ‘protection of civilians’ is open to numerous interpretations. This study confirms that there is no unified interpretation of the concept for protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations. Further, the variety of views and understandings had direct implications for this report. The team began by examining a broad range of language from peacekeeping mandates touching on aspects of the protection of civilians. As the study progressed, discussions with those on the Security Council, in the Secretariat, and in the field revealed that the most common association of the concept in the context of peacekeeping centred on the ‘protection of civilians from imminent threat of physical violence.’ Thus, while other critical components of peacekeeping missions contribute to the protection of civilians, the focus here is on the need to understand and support peacekeeping missions’ overall aim to protect civilians and to support better understanding of what that means in the context of physical threats.”

[29] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009. “Definitions of POC in the first group resemble that of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, around which humanitarian and human rights actors have formed a broad consensus: that protection is a broad concept encompassing international humanitarian law and human rights law. In that context, a relatively small group also included refugee law; this view was largely limited to protection specialists at headquarters and in the field. A second group of views related POC more closely to the concept of ‘physical protection’. These interviewees often associate the concept with crisis response, such as the possibility of intervention in response to a certain (often unspecified) level of violence. The third group defines POC as the inherent goal of peacekeeping and, therefore, redundant as an additional mandated task. In this conception, civilian security is ensured through the building of a durable peace and a functioning state over the long term, rather than through specific action along the way to achieving those objectives. This view was reflected by both civilians and members of the military, some at senior levels. For those who are familiar with POC as a broad rights-based framework, the physical protection of civilians under imminent threat of violence is a relatively simple extension. Overall, however, non-military mission staff and humanitarian actors around missions demonstrate little concrete understanding of the day-to-day functioning of their mission’s military components nor realistic views on their capabilities with respect to POC.”

[30] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009. UNAMID’s operational context for example, generated fundamental challenges regarding the mission’s ability to meet POC-related expectations. UNAMID’s initiative to develop a new operational approach was issued as Mission Directive No. 1 on 23 February 2009; endorsed by Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada, it is entitled Mission Directive on the Protection of Civilians in Darfur (the Mission Directive). It defines the protection of civilians as: ‘[a]ll activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and spirit of the relevant bodies of law (i.e. international humanitarian law; human rights law; refugee law)’ and explains that: “While the principles of POC are based on international human rights law and humanitarian law, which are also reflected in the rules and procedures of the UNAMID Military ROE, it is necessary and timely to operationalise the POC concept and explicitly link the UNAMID Military ROE to the specific security and POC context of Darfur”

[31] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009.

[32] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009 “Although protection requires a ‘field-up approach’, regular consideration of threats and risks for the civilian population must be regularized at the senior leadership level within the mission, as the basis for planning and crisis anticipation and as the foundation for serious dialogue with the humanitarian and human rights community, the host government, the TCCs, and the police-contributing countries. Overall, it is possible to state that the case study missions lacked a holistic framework for analyzing threats of all kinds.

[33] Alain Badiou, An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, Translated by Peter Hallward. London and New York: Verso, 2001.

[34] Harrell- Bond, B. (1999) ‘The Experience of Refugees as Recipients of Aid’. In: A. Ager (ed.) Refugees, Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration 137-168. London: Cassell. (pp 22)

[35] Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor with Max Kelly, Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Independent study jointly commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations 2009

[36] Harrell- Bond, B. (1999) ‘The Experience of Refugees as Recipients of Aid’. In: A. Ager (ed.) Refugees, Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration 137-168. London: Cassell. (pp 22) and Kibreab, G. (2004) ‘Pulling the Wool over the Eyes of the Strangers: Refugee Deceit and Trickery in Institutionalized Settings.’ Journal of Refugee Studies 17 (1) 1-26, Oxford University Press. (pp 26)

[37]http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/site/c.glKWLeMTIsG/b.1429245/k.E83E/update_report_no_3BRsexual_exploitation_and_abuse_by_UN_peacekeeping_personnelBR20_february_2006.htm

[38] See Sida, L. (2005) Challenges to Humanitarian Space. A Review of Humanitarian Issues related to the UN Integrated Mission in Liberia and to the Relationship between Humanitarian and Military Actors in Liberia. Report commissioned by the Monitoring and Steering Group (MSG) in Liberia.

[39] Leader, N. (2002), ‘Humanitarian Principles in a Changing World’, and ‘Principles and Organisations’. In: The Politics of Principle: The Principles of Humanitarian Action in Practice, HPG Report 2, 11-22. London: Overseas Development Institute. (pp 12)

[40] Ian Christoplos, Humanitarianism, pluralism and ombudsmen: Do the pieces fit? Disasters, 23(2): 125–138, 1999 and Georg Frerks and Dorothea Hilhorst, Evaluation of humanitarian assistance in emergency situations, February 2002

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