Policy makers, practitioners, and experts alike have increasingly identified the protection of civilians as a priority for United Nations peacekeeping operations and as key to mission success. A 2009 independent study commissioned by the United Nations’ Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) concluded that a failure to protect civilians can undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the mission, and in turn jeopardize the political processes that peacekeepers were originally deployed to support.
Policymakers and practitioners are keen to learn from past operations that faced protection crises. Saving Port-au-Prince: United Nations Efforts to Protect Civilians in Haiti in 2006-2007 explores the analysis, decisions, and actions of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to protect civilians during this time period. It examines why MINUSTAH was relatively successful at protecting civilians; describes its shortcomings; and draws lessons for other contexts.