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date: 25 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyses the relationship between the two related concepts of the responsibility to protect (R2P) and the protection of civilians (POC) with particular emphasis on how their relationship has played out in the context of United Nations peacekeeping operations. It begins by providing an overview of the main similarities and differences between R2P and POC before moving on to examine various attempts to link the two concepts with specific reference to their application within UN peacekeeping operations. The final section analyses some of the main criticisms levelled against their linkage. The chapter concludes that a de-coupling strategy is unlikely to succeed, in part because POC can never be made completely apolitical and uncontroversial. As UN peacekeepers are called upon to operationalize both the R2P and POC agendas, a key policy challenge will be ensuring that the relationship between the two does not become counter-productive.

Keywords: civilian protection, United Nations, responsibility to protect, international humanitarian law, peacekeeping operations

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