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Re-Focusing on Protecting Civilians' Basic Safety and Why We Need to Know Why People Kill: On the Latest Reports of the Secretary-General on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Schmid, Evelyne. (2009) Re-Focusing on Protecting Civilians' Basic Safety and Why We Need to Know Why People Kill: On the Latest Reports of the Secretary-General on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Journal of International Peacekeeping, 13 (3). pp. 356-382.

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Abstract

The concept of protection of civilians in armed conflict and the respective roles of peace operations and other actors have not been conclusively defined. This article considers the Secretary-General’s latest reports on protection, in particular the two most recent ones (29 May 2009 and 28 October 2007). The author argues that the understanding of effective protection strategies should be informed by a diagnosis of the warring parties’ motivations to use deliberate violence against civilians. Analyzing why humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law are disregarded in many conflicts can help to improve protection strategies. An analysis of the warring parties’ motivations may also caution against the belief that there is a system out there that can always protect people in ongoing conflict if only humanitarian actors would improve their modus operandi. Consequently, this article suggests that the notion of protection should remain in close touch with the idea of immediate basic safety. The author recommends that the Secretary-General should insist in future statements and reports that a sound approach to protection requires a diagnosis of why fighting parties chose to attack and threaten civilians. If the diagnosis shows that the armed parties have incentives to disregard basic legal norms and morals; the SC needs to demonstrate real political will to give the concept of protection the meaning it has in conventional language or in the alternative, honestly avoid using it.
Faculties and Departments:02 Faculty of Law > Departement Rechtswissenschaften > Fachbereich Öffentliches Recht > Ordinariat Staats- und Verwaltungsrecht (Schefer)
UniBasel Contributors:Schmid, Evelyne
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Brill
ISSN:1875-4104
e-ISSN:1875-4112
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:12 May 2017 13:07
Deposited On:12 May 2017 13:07

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