United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War

34 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2011 Last revised: 14 Mar 2015

See all articles by Lisa Hultman

Lisa Hultman

Uppsala University

Jacob D. Kathman

University of Mississippi

Megan Shannon

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 19, 2013

Abstract

Does United Nations peacekeeping protect civilians in civil war? Civilian protection is a primary purpose of UN peacekeeping, yet there is little systematic evidence for whether peacekeeping prevents civilian deaths. We propose that UN peacekeeping can protect civilians if missions are adequately composed of military troops and police in large numbers. Using unique monthly data on the number and type of UN personnel contributed to peacekeeping operations, along with monthly data on civilian deaths from 1991 to 2008 in armed conflicts in Africa, we find that as the UN commits more military and police forces to a peacekeeping mission, fewer civilians are targeted with violence. The effect is substantial - the analyses show that, on average, deploying several thousand troops and several hundred police dramatically reduces civilian killings. We conclude that although the UN is often criticized for its failures, UN peacekeeping is an effective mechanism of civilian protection.

Keywords: civil war, UN peacekeeping, United Nations, United Nations peacekeeping, civilian casualties, violence against civilians

Suggested Citation

Hultman, Lisa and Kathman, Jacob D. and Shannon, Megan, United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War (February 19, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1912556 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1912556

Lisa Hultman

Uppsala University ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20
Sweden

Jacob D. Kathman

University of Mississippi ( email )

Oxford, MS 38677
United States

Megan Shannon (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science ( email )

333 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0333
United States

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