Unarmed Civilian Protection: The Methodology and Its Relevance for Norwegian Church-Based Organizations and Their Partners

Executive Summary Unarmed civilian protection (UCP) is one of the most effective responses there is to one of the greatest, consistent challenges of our time: The killing of civilians in warfare. As opposed to other approaches to reconciliation and peaceful resolution to conflict which indirectly target violence, UCP is directly aimed at stopping violence. Simply through being present, and through using their presence strategically, international civilians deter violence, protect local civilians and support the efforts of the locals to protect themselves and plan for a peaceful future. The most utilized element of UCP is accompaniment. Results from accompaniment and other UCP methods include significant drops in gender based violence, locally facilitated peace agreements or ceasefires, reduced levels of violence in camps for internally displaced people, reduced levels of humiliation of civilians at military check-points, an increase in children’s access to education, an increase in access to health care, accurate and timely information delivered to key humanitarian actors, and multinational companies pulling out of investments that cause breaches of human rights law. The main actors in the accompaniment and UCP field of work utilize a variety of means to protect civilians. The means include protective presence, monitoring and documenting, internationalizing local abuse, building relationships with all stakeholders, building and supporting local civic capacities, and facilitating dialogue. Accompaniers and protection officers create spaces where local actors themselves can find the best approaches to peace. UCP is especially relevant for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. If the excruciating needs in conflict-affected areas are to be met, it is time to spend more energy on the women who suffer from violence...

Views from the Field: Perspective on UN Presence in Côte d’Ivoire

The primary expectation of populations in the countries or regions where UN missions or operations deploy is that they will be afforded appropriate protection. Populations also expect UN peacekeepers to be model citizens that improve the regions to which they are deployed. Côte d’Ivoire makes no exception. Over a decade has passed since the UN began its peace operations in Côte d’Ivoire under the appellation UNOCI (the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire). Its primary objective was to enforce peace and foster hope in the West African nation where a failed 2002 military coup degenerated into a fierce belligerence between government troops, who controlled the south and a rebel group that held the northern part of the country. The mission undertook remarkable actions towards restoring peace in Côte d’Ivoire, but it is evident that some of its actions resulted in negative and unintended consequences upon locals. This contribution brings a local perspective on the presence of the United Nations peacekeepers in Côte d’Ivoire, with emphasis on two main aspects. Firstly, the reasons why the UN presence in the country was requested by the warring factions and the civil society, and secondly, the many challenges the UNOCI has faced since its deployment -challenges ranging from sexual exploitation and abuses to the incapacity to effectively provide protection for civilians. This paper ends with a summary of key lessons to be learned from the UN experience and presence in Côte d’Ivoire.   The failure of the Regional Force and the Request for a UN intervention The first multinational peacekeeping force deployed in Côte d’Ivoire with objectives including monitoring the implementation of the...
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