Humanitarian Action and Peace-keeping Operations: Debriefing and Lessons

Hardback
This is the third work in the series of conferences held in Singapore on various aspects of United Nations Peacekeeping operations, under the auspices of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Institute of Political Studies (IPS) of Singapore and the National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) of Japan. The 1997 Conference focused on humanitarian action and peacekeeping operations and brought together key practitioners and scholars from the Security Council, those interested in government, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), other humanitarian NGOs, academics and military personnel. Since the end of the Cold War, the number and complexity of UN peacekeeping operations have increased dramatically due to profound changes in many areas of the world. The recent trend has seen a shift from inter-state to intra-state conflicts, bringing in its wake a myriad of operational, legal and political questions, such as the very relevance and applicability of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the state. Parties to recent conflicts have no central authority and little or no regard for international humanitarian law. Interested and involved parties on the peacekeeping and humanitarian scene have also changed and multiplied. All these factors render humanitarian action more complex, dangerous and difficult for all parties involved. The book reviews four United Nations peacekeeping operations that have undergone immense difficulties, viz. in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Liberia. It debates the pertinent political framework for humanitarian action in each case. It explores the relationship between humanitarian and military action, of coordination with regional organizations and multinational force, as well as fundamental questions regarding the role and responsibility of the member states of the Security Council. Its findings can provide policy-makers, researchers and analysts of international affairs with a sober and thorough assessment of past experience and lessons for the future.