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The Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Problems and Prospects

Dr Outside Author
RUSI Journal, 24 January 2015
Defence, Industries and Society
Although the demand for UN peacekeepers shows little sign of abating, a sense of uncertainty and malaise continues to colour discussions about the future of UN peacekeeping. Of the many issues facing the UN High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations that was set up in 2014, the use of force by UN peacekeepers is likely to attract particular attention. It is also likely to prove divisive, both among member states and within the Secretariat. While steps can be taken to strengthen the capacity of the UN to mount and conduct field operations, Mats Berdal and David H Ucko argue that the way forward does not lie simply in entrusting UN forces with ever-more ‘robust’ warfighting mandates. Instead, more systematic attention needs to be given to strategically linking UN peacekeeping activities to political processes aimed at bringing violent conflict to an end. This will require far greater honesty from member states regarding their own responsibility in enabling the UN to do what they ask of it.

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