As peacekeepers have deployed at unprecedented levels worldwide, the demand for police to serve in such missions has swelled.The United Nations (UN), for example, has increased the use of police from two percent of its peacekeeping forces in 1995 to more than twelve percent today. The mandates for UN missions have also expanded dramatically, with greater attention devoted to police and rule of law activities. This trend reflects a recognition of the need to establish public security, combat lawlessness, and support the rule of law and governance in post-conflict societies.
Over 40 percent of the police deployed in UN missions today are in Africa, with officers working to support and build more effective and accountable rule of law institutions in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia.African countries are also substantial contributors of police to UN missions, with more than a quarter of those deployed coming from the continent.
This Issue Brief explores the current demand for UN police, looks at recent and ongoing reforms undertaken at the United Nations and in the field, and considers additional ways to address shortcomings in the use of police and rule of law teams in peace operations.
This Issue Brief is one of six produced as part of Stimson’s workshop series, A Better Partnership for African Peace Operations, made possible by a generous grant from the United States Institute of Peace. The series examined progress, challenges, and potential steps forward in expanding national, regional, and international capacity to lead and participate in peace operations in Africa. The six issue briefs produced in conjunction with this project provide background and analytical context for the insights gained through the Better Partnership workshops. Each brief also highlights workshop findings and identifies recommendations for the US, UN, regional organizations, and policymakers.