Small Wars Journal

To Serve and Protect: The Role of UN Police in Protecting Civilians

To Serve and Protect: The Role of UN Police in Protecting Civilians by Charles T. Hunt - IPI Global Observatory

Since the emergence of protection of civilian (POC) mandates twenty years ago, there has been significant growth in the number of police deployed in United Nations peace operations. During this time, their tasks have become more complex and their work more central to mission exit strategies. Despite this rise in prominence, UN Police (UNPOL) are often omitted in conversations about how peace operations can and should protect civilians from violence. Should this oversight not be addressed, the risk that the UN will fail to grasp opportunities to improve policing efforts or enhance overall POC outcomes will continue to rise.

UNPOL have been an integral part of all missions authorized with a POC mandate since their inception in 1999. Today, around 10,000 police are deployed in 14 peace operations. More than 95 percent of those are operating under a POC mandate…

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