Fresh Perspectives on Peacekeeping and Atrocity Prevention

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Global Action has long taken note of the many changes affecting current policies governing UN peacekeeping operations.  Along with many of our Fellows and affiliates, we have often cautioned about more robust, coercive peacekeeping mandates that are insufficiently clear in their objectives, overload peacekeepers with responsibilities ranging from protecting UN country teams to rebuilding national judiciaries, and  increasingly distort the last vestiges of peacekeeper neutrality.  As co-editor David Curran notes in his own chapter, peacekeepers face increasing dangers amidst complex deployments where there is simply “no peace to keep.”

This volume, which includes an introduction by UN Undersecretary-General Adama Dieng, explores aspects of this new peacekeeping terrain, identifying both new stakeholders and emerging dangers.   One such danger is related to the over-reliance of peacekeeping operations as a substitute for robust, preventive, diplomatic and development capacities. The UN’s annual ceremony last month honoring fallen peacekeepers was a moving affair, but the growing number of casualties cited underscored growing threats to peacekeepers placed in highly volatile contexts and asked to work wonders through a complex mix of coercive and non-coercive measures.

While four editors are listed on the cover, completion of this book would not have been possible without our Peace and Security Fellow, Dr. Trudy Fraser.   Trudy, now a new mother, is also a skilled writer, analyst and editor.   More than anyone, Trudy shaped this text and helped us overcome editorial and logistical difficulties that almost always shadow projects of this sort.   The result is a volume that poses provocative questions, suggests new tools and stakeholders, and reminds policymakers that our primary task is to prevent violence rather than finding new and clever ways to respond to violence once it is already raging.

We believe that this volume (and its many recommendations to scholars and policymakers) will make a significant contribution to our understanding of new trends in peacekeeping operations and atrocity crime prevention, all while enhancing our prevention and protection responsibilities.

For more information on this volume, click here.

For more on the work of USG Dieng’s office, click here.