Brussels, November 2007
Larger-scale civilian missions: an introduction
A larger-scale mission is one in which many people are part of a single project intervening to reduce or prevent violence. Many of the examples of civilian intervention are small numbers of people (5-30 people) working with one or two local partners. The only real examples of larger scale civilian missions, intervening to prevent or reduce violent conflict are UN-led complex missions with a strong civilian element. There have been a few larger-scale international missions based on military force
This follows five case studies with different characteristics, leaving aside those UN Monitoring missions that were staffed mainly by military observers, as well as OSCE long-term missions consisting of only a small number of diplomats. (1)
Three of the examples may be considered successes; two were not able to prevent the outbreak of violence.
In South Africa several election monitoring programs were organised by churches (Ecumenical Monitoring Program in South Africa), NGOs and intergovernmental bodies around the first free elections in 1994, and later in preparation for communal elections in KwaZulu/Natal. The various South African NGO monitoring programs are the only examples in this survey of larger-scale civilian missions, where the organisation of the missions lay in the hands of local organisations that co-operated with international sending organisations, and who deployed mixed local-international teams.
In Bougainville (South Pacific) the Truce Monitoring Group/Peace Monitoring Group (TMG/PMG) started working at the end of 1997 to monitor the peace agreements between Papua New Guinea and the warring parties in Bougainville. TMG/PMG are organised by the militaries of four neighbouring countries, but the teams do not carry weapons and include additionally civilians from these countries.
In Kosovo, the Kosovo Verification Mission of the OSCE 1998-99, was deployed to verify a cease-fire agreement between Yugoslavia and the insurgent Kosovo Liberation Army. The KVM was staffed by a mixture of internationals from all OSCE member states and included local staff mainly as interpreters, drivers and aides.
UN missions in El Salvador and East Timor were mandated with both preparation of elections, a referendum and monitoring violence. They were staffed by civilians, police and (unarmed) military observers provided by the United Nations.
(1) : These examples do not exhaust the list of civilian missions. Since 1997, there is, for example, the “Temporary International Presence in Hebron”, a civil observation mission in the West Bank town of Hebron. It consists of members from six countries (Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey), and is the result of negotiations conducted between 1994 and 1997 between Israel and the PLO. Its main task is “to monitor and report the effort to maintain normal life in the city of Hebron and thus creating a feeling of security among the Palestinian residents…” See the Web page of this mission, www.tiph.org/