- Peacekeepers against ethnic and criminal violence
- Unintended consequences of UN peacekeeping
- Award date
- 24 March 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This dissertation examines the unintended and collateral effects of third-party interventions in war-torn countries. Building on the most recent findings in peacekeeping literature that suggests an overall conflict-reducing effect of military interventions, this thesis explores ways in which this laudatory effect might be compromised by key features of conflict settings. It explores, in particular, four main questions about peacekeeping’s unintended consequences. First, does the presence of armed ethnic groups constrain the effectiveness of peacekeeping efforts? Second, does irregular warfare and lack of demarcated frontlines make armed ethnic groups more likely to kill civilians when peacekeepers are deployed? Third, are peacekeepers as good in reducing criminal violence as they are in reducing political violence? And finally, which interventions are more effective in tackling criminal violence and crime in conflict and post-conflict countries? Given this set of questions, the dissertation distinguishes between ethnic and criminal violence, which exhibit specific dynamics that point toward a more complex relationship between peacekeeping and violence. By adopting a disaggregated approach that focus on the subnational level and by acknowledging that there are different “types” of violence, it unpacks the effect of peacekeeping and reveals two worrisome patterns. First, during ethnic violence, peacekeeping can backfire and lead to escalation of violence against civilians instead of their protection if armed groups cannot be separated and monitored. Second, while peacekeeping can reduce political violence, the collateral effect is the creation of favourable conditions for criminal violence that can be countered by mandates that address crime more explicitly.
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