Past eventResearch Event

UN Peacekeeping and the Protection of Civilians: Lessons from South Sudan

10 May 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Chatham House, London


Michael Arensen, Report Author; Independent Researcher on Sudan and South Sudan
Dr Chaloka Beyani, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Feargal O’Connell, South Sudan Country Director, Concern
Klem Ryan, Armed Group Expert, UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan
Chair: Dame Rosalind Marsden, Associate Fellow, Chatham House



The onset of the war in 2013 required the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to respond rapidly to humanitarian needs. The decision to open UN bases and provide refuge to those fleeing the conflict was unprecedented. By 2016 the mission was protecting over 200,000 displaced people.
The protection of civilian (POC) sites were never intended to provide a long-term arrangement to support so many civilians. Debate has arisen over their sustainability and the resources they demand from the mission. Substantial challenges exist in ensuring security and coordinating humanitarian access inside the bases. UNMISS has been criticised for concentrating its efforts inside the sites, while inadequately delivering protection for civilians outside. In addition, the UN is investigating the failures that led to fighting and several deaths in the Malakal POC base in February 2016.
Speakers at this event will assess the UN’s ability to deliver its protection of civilians mandate and long-term strategies for the POC sites.