A Blurring of Roles: Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping

Maria do Ceu Pinto Arena


There is a sober paradox involved in the use of oxymoron ‘peace operations’, as these operations, traditionally
anchored on the bedrock principles of UN peacekeeping - consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except
in self-defence -, are being increasingly transformed into enforcement operations. Twenty-seven years after the end of the
Cold War and the rebirth of the United Nations’ (UN) security role, peacekeeping operations are increasingly losing ground
to an emerging pattern of more aggressive, offensive operations. They have an essentially hybrid nature, involving elements
of both peacekeeping and enforcement. Although many see them as alternative, non-reconcilable techniques, politicians and
practitioners do not see a sharp dividing line separating non-coercive and enforcement tasks, permitting an easy transition
from one to the other.

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