Chapter 5: The Role of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Protecting Civilians
Zambakari, C., Kang, T. K., & Sanders, R. A. (2018). The Role of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Protecting Civilians. In S. C. Roach & D. K. Hudson (Eds.), The Challenge of Governance in South Sudan: Corruption, Peacebuilding, and Foreign Intervention (1 ed.). London, New York: Routledge.
36 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2018 Last revised: 31 Dec 2018
Date Written: June 22, 2018
The protection of civilians (PoC) mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), was established in 2011, coinciding with the country's independence. Since then, the public discourse on UNMISS has called into question the capacity of the mission to fully meet the expectations created by this mandate in practice. In this chapter we explore this issue by investigating the following questions: 1) how can the discrepancy between UNMISS and its mandate be understood within the context of international law? 2) what does the quantitative data available on incidents requiring civilian protection indicate regarding who were the actors involved, the frequency and distribution of events, and the extent of documented fatalities?; 3) what does the public discourse (media accounts, academic publications, as well as UN and third-party investigations) reveal about UNMISS and its PoC mandate? To answer these questions, we first present the international legal context in which the mission operates, and identify key areas of concern. We then analyze incidents that took place in the national capital, Juba, as well as the state capitals of Malakal and Bor, to highlight the challenges facing UNMISS in protecting civilians in South Sudan. We make use of data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), concentrating on incidents that occurred in South Sudan between 2011 and 2016. This data is then traced to the public discourse that exists on UNMISS and its mandate. We find that there remain contradictions between the actions of the peacekeeping force and the mandate of UNMISS, the public expectations of the institution, as well as the resources and personnel provided to support its activities. We conclude by proposing that a path forward be created that involves robust and citizen-centered peacekeeping.
Keywords: protection of civilians (PoC), South Sudan, peacekeeping, UNMISS, Chapter VII, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Civil war
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