Effectiveness of the Use of Force to Protect Civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR)


Elijah Mwasi Mwanyika


Use of Force, Protection of Civilians, Central Africa Republic (CAR), MINUSCA, UN Peace Keeping Operations


Though the United Nations (UN) has mandated the use of force, in most missions, innocent civilians continue to be attacked and killed. Focused on the “UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic”, (MINUSCA), the study investigated the effectiveness of the use of force (UoF) in the Protection of Civilians (PoC). The study was anchored on Liberalism theory. This was a library-based research that relied on secondary data. Data was obtained from books, e-books, journals, UN publications and websites. The collected data was analysed thematically. The findings show that the UoF in the PoC has positive impact on the execution of the MINUSCA mandate since early 2017 and has helped to reduce levels of armed violence. Although UoF was perceived as being effective in CAR, it was faced with some challenges. This was due to the fact that it was seen as directly targeting one party to the conflict; an act which is perceived to be against the principles of PKOs. The UoF must be supported by proper conflict analysis prior to the signing of a peace agreement, troops with a capability and training matching the task, and committed to the use of force. Missions with PoC mandate must be matched by an appropriate military capability beyond the normal infantry battalion capability. Troops deployed to PKOs should not be deployed on the basis of just the will of the member state, but the troops must have the capacity and capability to undertake the UN mandate.

Abstract 326 | PDF Downloads 129


Bere, Mathieu. "Armed Rebellion, Violent Extremism, and the Challenges of International Intervention in Mali." African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 7, no. 2 (2017): 60-84. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/africonfpeacrevi.7.2.03.

Bode, Ingvild and Karlsrud, John. Implementation in practice: The use of force to protect civilians in United Nations peacekeeping, European union Journal of International Relations 22 October 2018.

Burton, John, "Conflict: Resolution and Prevention," (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, London: The Macmillan Press, 1990).

Cedric de Coning, "Implications of Stabilization Mandates for the use of force in UN Peace Operations", in Use of force in UN Peacekeeping, Peter Nadin (ed) (London: Routledge, 2018)

Centre for Civilians in Conflict. Central African Republic, https://civiliansinconflict.org/our-work/where-we-work/central-african-republic/

Centre for Civilians in Conflict. The Primacy of Protection: Delivering on the MINUSCA Mandate. United States of America: Centre for Civilians in Conflict. https://civiliansinconflict.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/CIVIC-MINUSCA-Report_WEB.pdf

Gambari, I. Africa's Major Challenges and United Nations Reform Agenda: Implications for United States Policy Address. (2005).https://www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/pdf/gambari/2005-africas-major-challenges.pdf.

Grant, RW. John Locke's Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago press, 1987).

Herbst, Jeffrey. "African Peacekeepers and State Failure", in, Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement in Africa; Methods of Conflict Prevention,' Robert et al (Eds), (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000),

Holt, Victoria, "The Responsibility to Protect: Considering the Operational Capacity for Civilian Protection" (Washington, D.C.: The Henry L. Stimson Centre, 2005).

Horward, Lise. Assessing the Effectiveness of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, IPI Global Observatory, 21 November 2019. https://theglobalobservatory.org/2019/11/assessing-effectiveness-un-mission-central-african-republic/.

Howard, Lise Morjé. "Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, and UN Reform." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 16, no. 2 2015: 6-13. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43773690.

Hultman, L. UN peace operations and protection of civilians: Cheap talk or norm implementation? Journal of Peace Research 50 (1) (2013).

Human Rights Watch, Central African Republic, Events of 2018, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/central-african-republic. Accessed on 4 February 2020.

Human rights Watch, Central African Republic: Civilians Targeted as Violence Surges: UN Peacekeeping Mission Faces Renewal, Needs Expansion, 27 October 2017. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/27/central-african-republic-civilians-targeted-violence-surges. Accessed on 4 February 2020.

International Peace Institute (October 2018.) Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates: The Case of MINUSCA. IPI. https://www.ipinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/1810_The-Case-of-MINUSCA-English.pdf. Accessed on 20 December 2019.

International Peace Institute Report (2016). How Much Force is Necessary to Protect Civilians? 24 September 2019. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/how-much-force-necessary-protect-civilians. Accessed on 20 December 2019.

Lamarche, Alexandra. New MINUSCA Leadership Must Seize Opportunity for Progress in The Central African Republic, 21 March 2019. https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2019/3/21/new-minusca-leadership-must-seize-opportunity-for-progress-in-car. Accessed on 28 January 2020.

Lamy, Steven L. "Contemporary mainstream approaches: Neo-realism and Neo-liberalism", in The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 3rd Edition, edited by John Baylis and Steve Smith (New York: Oxford university Press, 2005).

Oye, Kenneth. Cooperation under Anarchy (Chichester: Princeton University Press, 1986).

Ramsbotham, Oliver et al, "Contemporary Conflict Resolution, the Prevention, Management and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts, Second Edition," (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005).

Report by High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO): Uniting Our Strengths for Peace Politics, Partnerships and People, 16 June 2015. https://peaceoperationsreview.org/wpcontent/uploads/2015/08/HIPPO_Report_1_June_2015.pdf. Accessed on 6 January 2020.

Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.15 June 2015.

Reuters, "UN air operations disperse Central African Republic militia," Reuters Online, 26 February, 2017, accessed 20 March 2017 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-centralafrica-violenceidUSKBN1650VW. Accessed on 20 December 2019.

Sylva, L. The Reality of New Forms of UN Peacekeeping: High Risk Missions and Fatalities Master's Thesis. New York University, 2017.

Tim, Dune. "Liberalism", in The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 3rdEdition, edited by John Baylis and Steve Smith (New York: Oxford university Press, 2005).

UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support, United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines (New York: UN, 2008).

UN Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) on uniting our strengths for peace: Politics, partnership and people. UN Document No. A/70/95S/2015/446.

United Nations Security Council, S/RES/836, 4 June 1993.

United Nations, United Nations Peacekeeping: The Challenges Ahead, (Paper Presented during the Parliamentary hearing from 20th to 21st November, 2008, United Nations, New York).

UNSCR 2387 (2017), UNSC Unanimously Adopting Resolution Security Council Extends Mandate, Increases Troop Levels of Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic (SC/1306815 November 2017). https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sc13068.doc.htm. Accessed on 6 January 2020

UNSCR S/2016/305, 1 April 2016. https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2016_305.pdf. Accessed on 6 September 2019

Van der Lijn, Jair and Smit, Timo. "Peacekeepers under Threat? Fatality Trends in UN Peace Operations," SIPRI Policy Brief (2015).

Waltz, Kenneth. Structural Realism after the Cold War, International Security, Vol. 25, No. 1, Summer 2000.

Wheeler, Nick. Saving Strangers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Zimmermann, L. Same or different? Norm diffusion between resistance, compliance, and localization in post-conflict states. International Studies Perspectives vol. 17, Iss.1 (2016): 98-115.