International Peacekeeping | VOL. 29
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A Shrinking Humanitarian Space: Peacekeeping Stabilization Projects and Violence in Mali

Publication Date Aug 8, 2022

Abstract

ABSTRACT While the peacekeeping mission in Mali is the deadliest active mission, aid workers are not a prominent target. This is puzzling because humanitarians argue that integrated missions aligning political, military and humanitarian goals impede their security. I argue that the fallacy of integrated peacekeeping missions is that the humanitarian space shrinks due to rising insecurity. This takes place when integrated missions blur the lines between civilian and military action and when they politicize humanitarian aid through biased mandates. I test the argument by comparing new data on peacekeeping stabilization projects with other aid projects, using a matched wake analysis that estimates a difference-in-difference model with sliding spatio-temporal windows. I find that peacekeeping stabilization activities increase violence against civilians on the ground in the short term, which ultimately decreases humanitarian access. Paradoxically, the UN names lack of humanitarian access as a key challenge to protecting civilians, but contributes to the access challenge itself.

Concepts

Humanitarian Access Humanitarian Space Aid Projects Aid Workers Peacekeeping Mission Military Action Short Term Political Goals Spatio-temporal Windows Humanitarian Goals

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