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Prioritizing the Protection of Civilians in UN Peace Operations

By Lisa Sharland

Despite rhetoric and mandates that identify the protection of civilians as one of the highest priorities for U.N. peace operations, protection is often not treated as a priority on the ground. The report of the High-Level Independent Panel on U.N. Peace Operations (HIPPO), released in June 2015, observed a growing gap between what is expected of peace operations and what they have delivered – particularly in the area of protection.

The Stimson Center’s latest report, Prioritizing the Protection of Civilians in U.N. Peace Operations: Analyzing the Recommendations of the HIPPO Report, identifies and analyzes strategic-level recommendations in the HIPPO report that are critical to create conducive conditions for missions to prioritize the protection of civilians. These include the adoption of phased and sequenced mandates, the development of political strategies, the enhancement of mission planning and analysis, and the timely deployment of military, police, and civilian capacities. The report draws on research at U.N. headquarters and in the field to offer recommendations for the consideration of peace operations stakeholders, including U.N. member states, the U.N. Security Council, and the U.N. Secretariat, in order to prioritize the protection of civilians in peace operations.