It seems like more often than not, peacekeepers around the world have hurt local populations more than they have helped. This article discusses why that happens–usually by peacekeepers being out of touch with the local population–and how that can change. The solutions are simpler than one might think.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
Trouble in Peaceland
By operating from a fortified bubble, dismissing local knowledge, and not speaking the language, peace missions are actually hindering the people they’re trying to help.
Severine Autesserre, Foreign Policy
October 6, 2015
May 2010, in an attempt to bring state authority back to war-torn parts of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) began helping the Congolese police deploy officers to particularly volatile villages. Aided by other international peacebuilding organizations, the U.N. built new police stations and flew in officers from other parts of the country — part of a strategy to avoid corruption by introducing detached and uncompromised ranks. Once the police were established and the area was secured, or so the plan went, other government representatives would soon follow. After the deployment process had finished, U.N. officials in New York claimed that an important step had been accomplished toward fulfilling their mandate to stabilize Congo and return peace.
In reality, however, it only made the situation much, much worse.
To begin with, the new police had to compete with remnants of rebel groups and militias for control. Far from establishing law and order, the introduction of an additional force made the area less stable. And being from far away, the police not only had no support within the community, they had no stake in making it better. When the government refused to pay, feed, and house the officers — it considered them “UNOPS police” and so the U.N.’s responsibility — the police took what they needed from the community. By the end of the disastrous affair, the government, the police, and the community all felt the U.N. was to blame.
Click HERE for the full text.