Stopping the Killing during the 'Peace': Peacekeeping and the Severity of Post-Conflict Civilian Victimization
48 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 12 Sep 2012
Date Written: 2012
Recent research has investigated the relative success of peacekeeping operations and external interventions in stabilizing post-conflict states, preventing the return to armed hostilities between belligerents, and reducing civilian abuse during civil conflict. This research has shed light on important theoretical and policy relevant issues. However, scholars have largely neglected to evaluate the role of peacekeeping in protecting civilians during the notoriously unstable postconflict period. Even after active conflict between belligerents has ended government forces and rebel factions may persist in abusing civilians in order to reinforce conflict gains, shape the postconflict environment, or exact revenge for wartime grievances. This analysis investigates the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions in protecting civilians during the post-conflict 'peace'. Using newly collected data on the number and type of United Nations peacekeeping personnel commitments along with civilian victimization data for all African conflicts between 1990 and 2010, we find that greater numbers of UN peacekeeping troops reduce both rebel and government factions’ use of violence against civilians. By contrast, the commitment of larger numbers of UN observers is positively correlated with violence.
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