Enhancing the protection of Civilians - Background paper

A background paper prepared for the Australian Government’s Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence

The seminal report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the “Brahimi Report”) found that “no failure did more to damage the standing and credibility of United Nations' peacekeeping in the 1990s then its reluctance to distinguish victim from aggressor,” and to protect civilians in conflict and post-conflict environments (United Nations 2000). Recognizing that the protection of civilians was intrinsic to peacekeeping, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) began to explicitly mandate peacekeeping missions to protect civilians in 1999. At the same time, the UNSC began to issue thematic mandates on the protection of civilians (POC) and specific civilian populations, including women and children, which are expected to be implemented (in part) by peacekeeping missions.