Advocates and policymakers often call for helicopters and boots on the ground to protect civilians, but what role should civilians play in international responses? Some governments have developed civilian response corps that deploy into crises to enable whole of government or comprehensive approaches. Peace operations are expanding their civilian components. This analysis by the Civilians in Conflict project explores how civilian responses can prevent violence against civilians.
Recent Research and Analysis
As a result of the U.S. Presidential Study Directive-10 on Mass Atrocities (PSD-10) and the resulting Atrocities Prevention Board (APB), US government officials are actively reviewing whether and how civilian surge capacity can be deployed to effectively prevent or respond to violence against civilians. Since the Genocide Prevention Task Force’s 2008 report, US policymakers and civil society have increasingly explored this issue; however, PSD-10 was the most extensive review of US capacities to date and the APB provides new opportunities to institutionalize existing civilian tools and identify new ones to prevent violence against civilians.
While the US was implementing PSD-10 and launching the APB, it was also establishing the US Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO), which includes civilian surge capacities. CSO’s mission is to break the cycle of violent conflict and mitigate crises in priority countries. This mission is related to, but not explicitly focused on, widespread or systematic attacks against civilians. The new Bureau has committed to working with the APB and investing equities, including civilian surge capacity. The Civilians in Conflict project is closely following U.S. efforts to develop these capacities to protect civilians.
- Analysis â”‚ Expeditionary Diplomacy Could Save Lives in Sudan by Alison Giffen (February 15, 2011)
- Analysis â”‚ Will the World’s High Risk Investment in Sudan Protect Civilians? by Alison Giffen (January 07, 2011)
Photo credit: UN Photo/David Manyua