by Nehginpao Kipgen
November 8, 2018 by Ryan Cummings
In many of the world’s most intransigent conflicts, women are mobilized to address the most urgent issues in their communities. Syrian women are negotiating humanitarian relief at the local level and are in the top ranks of the Syrian opposition negotiating team. Women in Central African Republic mediate between local armed groups. Former Central African Republic head of state Madame Catherine Samba-Panza co-chairs a senior level network of African women mediators.
Engaging non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is an essential tool for the protection of civilians (POC), a priority mandate and core objective for peace operations. Beyond the use of force to prevent or stop armed groups from threatening local populations, multidimensional missions can use a wide range of unarmed strategies, such as dialogue and engagement, to counter hostilities from non-state actors.
In the non-permissive environments where they are often deployed, UN peace operations need to be increasingly creative to implement their mandate to protect civilians. They face particularly acute challenges in contexts marked by violent extremism, such as Mali, where attacks by terrorist groups have greatly constrained the capacity of peacekeepers to protect local populations.