Tag Archive | "peacekeeping"


Critical Analysis: Central African Republic Sees International Intervention

On December 5th, the UN Security Council unanimously authorized the deployment of French troops and the African Union Mission in Central Africa (MISCA) with the hopes of stemming the sectarian violence that is plaguing the Central African Republic.  On the 9th, the 1,600 French troops will attempt to begin disarming the fighting groups and restore order.  French Defense Minister is quoted saying that “first we’ll ask nicely, and if they don’t react, we’ll do it by force.” The Security Council also made it clear that the UN should be prepared to further bolster efforts in the CAR.  Provisions included requests that the Secretary-General undertake contingency preparations for the transformation of MISCA into a peacekeeping operation within three months.


French troops will begin efforts to restore order to the Central African Republic caused by violent Seleka rebel fighters. Image: AFP

In March of 2013, the existing government was ousted by the Seleka rebels when they seized the capital and leadership.  Since that time attacks on Christians and those loyal to the former Bozize regime by the predominantly Muslim Seleka forces have increased in number.  In response, self-defense groups known as “anti-balaka” have formed and perpetrated retaliatory violence.  Consequently, an environment of fear prevails throughout the CAR and the populace is divided along religious lines.  In the day preceding the passage of the UNSC resolution, more than 100 were killed in the capital of Bangui alone.  According to the Red Cross, an additional 394 were killed on the following Sunday.

Atrocities committed by both sides of the conflict rise to the level of war crimes according to investigators from the UN and Human Rights Watch. The problems confronted by the Central African Republic are compounded by the absence of stability and central governance.  The African Union Mission MISCA and the potential for an expanded UN peacekeeping mission are directed at building local capacity.  The United States has made a $40 million dollar financial contribution to MISCA because of this concern specifically as seen in a statement from US Secretary of State John Kerry, “The United States sees no evidence that the CAR transitional government has the capacity or political will to end the violence, especially the abuses committed by elements of the Seleka rebel alliance that are affiliated with the government.”

The coming weeks and possibly months will demonstrate whether the French forces can help bring stability to the CAR.  Some of the problems confronted by peacekeepers will be dealing with the religious tensions, the potential for trafficking in conflict minerals, and trying to neutralize largely de-centralized fighting forces.  The UNSC asked that all States take measures to prevent the sale or transfer of weapons, supplies, and funding to fighting groups in the CAR.  Regardless of what manifests in the future for the Central African Republic, a clear international mandate has been expressed with the hopes of restoring order, stopping the ongoing violence, and preventing future conflicts.

Jordan Edmondson is a 2L and a Staff Editor for the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.

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UN Peacekeepers in Darfur

Critical Analysis: UN Peacekeepers Under Attack in Darfur

UN Peacekeepers in Darfur

A United Nations peacekeeper serving in Sudan’s besieged Darfur region was killed, and another injured, in an attack on Sunday. The Bangladeshi peacekeeper, who was a member of Bangladesh’s Formed Police Unit, was fatally shot when an unidentified gang surrounded and fired at the staff in Nyala, the state capital of South Darfur, at the mission’s policing center in a camp for internally displaced persons.

The armed gang surrounded the community and began shooting around 3:15 a.m. The men fled the scene after the police unit began to return fire. A representative for the joint African Union-United Nations Mission (UNAMID)called the attacks cowardly and deplorable, and stressed that the act constituted a war crime under international law. The Sudanese government has been called on to make a serious effort to apprehend the culprits and provide justice for the soldier’s death.

Darfur has been plagued with violence for nearly a decade. International aid workers and UNAMID personnel have been the targets of frequent attacks and kidnappings in recent years. Earlier this year, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s defense minister for over 40 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the region. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is also wanted for similar crimes in connection with the conflict. Earlier this year, the UNAMID reported a drop in civilian casualties in Darfur between 2010 and 2011, but admitted that there has recently been an increase in criminal activity.

The UNAMID is responsible for protecting civilians, promoting an inclusive peace process, and helping ensure safe delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Darfur. Members of the joint mission have been the targets of several deadly attacks and 38 peacekeepers have been killed as a result of the hostility. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has extended the mandate of the UNAMID peacekeeping force in Darfur for one more year. Personnel serving with the mission will be reconfigured to focus on the areas with the highest security threats. As a result, it will include over 16,000 military personnel, 2,000 police personnel, and 17 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon supported the mandate, stating that the new force will be better equipped and more readily available to address emerging threats.

Rebels in Darfur took up arms in 2003, accusing President al-Bashier’s government of neglecting the region. The conflict has led to illness and starvation in the region which has contributed to as many as 300,000 deaths and about 2.7 million people being forced to leave their homes.

Aiden Kramer is a third year law student at DU and the Executive Editor of The View From Above.

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