Funding to research the question of protecting civilians during peacekeeping operations has been awarded to Dr Walt Kilroy of DCU’s Institute for International Conflict Resolution and Reconstruction (IICRR). The project is supported by the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations scheme, with a grant of almost €10,000.
Protection of civilians is increasingly recognised as an important task for peace support operations (carried out by peacekeeping missions provided by the United Nations, African Union, or other regional body). It is central to some complex crises seen in places such as Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Most casualties in these situations are civilians, who also face challenges such as displacement and loss of livelihoods. This study aims to explore the practices, limitations, and opportunities surrounding civilian protection by peacekeepers, and to share these insights with all actors involved, including humanitarian agencies.
The project is organised in partnership with the Kimmage Development Studies Centre (KDSC), which will host a one-day conference on the topic in the autumn as part of the initiative. Field work for the research takes place during the summer or early autumn, in the DRC and/or South Sudan. Dr Kilroy was recently involved in organising a panel discussion on civilian protection by the Development Studies Association Ireland.
Photo caption: UN peacekeepers deployed in Bunia, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Photo: Walt Kilroy)