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Humanitarian action and peace operations in Africa David Ambrosetti (CNRS – Université Paris Ouest Nanterre). I – Africa, a cradle of the humanitarian action and peace operations II – Effects and stakes of this international interventionism.

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Humanitarian action and peace operations in AfricaDavid Ambrosetti(CNRS – Université Paris Ouest Nanterre)


I – Africa, a cradle of the humanitarian action and peace operations

II – Effects and stakes of this international interventionism


I africa a cradle of the humanitarian action and peace operations
I – operationsAfrica, a cradle of the humanitarian action and peace operations

A) Two founding « episodes » in current humanitarian action: Biafra and Ethiopia

B) UN peace operations and Africa


A 1 biafra 1967 1970
A) 1. Biafra (1967-1970) operations

Nigeria Abuja Ibo

Lieutenant-colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu

Joint Church Aid – 55 000 tons of supplies

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – 22 000 tons

Bernard Kouchner Médecins sans frontières (1971)

Jacques Foccart Nuclear test in Reggane (déc. 1960)

Félix Houphouët-Boigny Léopold Sédar Senghor (Sénégal)

Markpress (Genève)


2 ethiopia 1984 1985
2. Ethiopia (1984-1985) operations

Wollo (nord) charity business Bob Geldof

Band Aid (nov. 1984) Live Aid (juil. 1985)

1 200 000 tons of aid

The Derg Mengistu Haïle-Mariam

Tigrean People’s Liberation Front

Eritrean People’s Liberation Front

Forced displacements of 600 000 persons, 200 000 died


B un peace operations and africa
B) UN peace operations and Africa operations

1. ONUC: a turn

2. The post Cold War renewal (1988-1993)

3. Blazing failures and withdrawal (1993-1999)

4. The current unprecedented rise of UN peace operations (2000 decade, till now)


1 the onuc 1960 1964
1. The ONUC (1960-1964) operations

Congo-Léopoldville / République démocratique du Congo (RDC) / Zaïre (Congo-Kinshasa)

Patrice Lumumba Katanga Moïse Tshombé

Dag Hammarskjöld (†en sept. 1961)

Resolution 143 of the UNSC  withdrawal of Belgian forces

19 500 personals

30 contributor states (Africa and Asia)


2 the end of the cold war and the renewal of peace operations 1988 1993
2. The end of the Cold War and the renewal of peace operations (1988-1993)

Perestroïka

Namibia Angola Mozambique

Somalia : Restore Hope (UNITAF / Dec. 92- March 93) et ONUSOM II (ONU / March 93 – March 95)

28 000 personals

Mohamed Farah Aideed

June 1993 (24 Pakistani blue helmets)

3 October 1993 (18 US Marines and one UN Malaysian)

US Congress (Jesse Helms)

Boutros Boutros-Ghali UN Secretary-General

Kofi Annan Deputy-UNSG Chief of the DPKO


3 blazing failures and withdrawal 1993 1999
3. Blazing failures and withdrawal (1993-1999) operations (1988-1993)

MINUAR in Rwanda (5 October 1993)

General R. Dallaire

Michael Barnett – US delegation to the UN

President J. Habyarimana († 6 April 1994)

Rwandan Patriotic Front (P. Kagamé)

Hutu Power Col. Théoneste Bagosora

Resolution 925 – withdrawal of 2 000 Blue Helmets in the heart of the genocide (« g »-word)

500 000 to one million died

Then Bosnia - Zaïre 1996-1997

Withdrawal: 70 000 UN personals in 1993, 13 000 in February 1998. Budget decline (from 3,6 billion $ to 1 billion $)


4 the current unprecedented rise decade 2000
4. The current unprecedented rise (decade 2000) operations (1988-1993)

Lakhdar Brahimi report (July 2000)

Peace building, even state building

Security Sector Reform

Regionalization (African ownership)

UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone (1999-2005)

UK leader, rescuing the UN in May 2000

Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah


African dossiers = some 70-75 % of the UNSC agenda operations (1988-1993)

In 2010, Africa

= half of the UN operations deployed around the world (8 out of 16)

= three-quarters (73 500) out of the 100 000 personals in uniform deployed around the world

Sudan alone = a third (30 000, 20 000 for Darfur and 10 000 for South Sudan)

DRC = 20 000 Liberia = 11 000 Côte-d’Ivoire = 8500

Pakistan, Bangladesh and India (3 major troop contributors) = 28% of the total

9 African states among the 20 major contributors

Negligible financial contributions: Zambia and Somalia = 0,001% of the UN budget each ; South Africa = 0,29%


Ii effects and stakes of this international interventionism
II – Effects and stakes of this international interventionism

  • Some figures: a call for modesty

  • Strategic learning from African actors

  • The « Africanization » of peace and security matters in Africa: towards a new peace and security architecture in Africa


A some figures a call for modesty
A) interventionismSome figures: a call for modesty

1. The decrease of death tolls due to armed violence in Africa

  • Human Security Center: Death tolls related to armed conflicts regularly increased from 1960 to 1990. Decreasing since then.

  • In 1960, Africa = 68 % of the total of people killed in armed conflicts around the world ;

    13 % in 2005 (African bank for development).

  • Proposed causes : transformations of the forms of violence and improvement of sanitary conditions and humanitarian relief.


2 engaged means remain modest
2. Engaged means remain modest interventionism

Multidimensional operations, very intrusive

 Security Sector Reform (Sierra Leone, RDC, Liberia, Côte-d’Ivoire)

But limited means:

  • UN peace operations = 7,7 billion $ per year around the world; UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone (750 million $ per year in 2002 for 17 500 personals in uniform)

  • Comparison : arms trade around the world = 30 billion $ per year; and the total of state military budgets around the world = 800 billion $ per year.

  • 20 000 personals in uniform to cover the whole Darfur (size of France, very divided habitat, rudimentary or inexistent infrastructures)

    Weak strategic commitment, short-term objectives, improvisation, personal professionalization improved but still insufficient

     scandal of sexual abuses (Sierra Leone, Liberia, DRC)


B strategic learning from african actors
B) Strategic learning from African actors interventionism

  • Commitment of African states in peace operations

    • Access to foreign currencies, opportunities for training (Burundi), “risky” military kept away, multilateral visibility as a regional power

  • Sidelining and direct opposition strategies

    • Political weakness of international forces rapidly analyzed and exploited (Somalia 93, Rwanda 94, Sierra Leone 2000, UA au Darfur 2004-2007)

    • Obstacles, UN (Western) personal expelled (Eritrea and the border commission for Badme 2005 ; Sudan and Jan Pronk 2006 ; Chad et MINURCAT 2010)

  • Medias, humanitarian action and military strategies

    • Kamajors and LURD (Danny Hoffman)


C the africanisation of peace and security in africa
C) The « Africanisation » of peace and security in Africa

1. Context

  • Pan-African Movement  Organization of the African Unity (OAU, May 1963)

  • Bilateral interferences from ex colonial powers  20 French armed operations from 1963 to 1983.

  • First OAU peace operation in Chad in 1981. Withdrawn in June 1982 on a failure.

  • OAU Mechanism for prevention, management and resolution of conflict in 1990 (military observation missions in Rwanda, Burundi, Comoros)

  • Continental integration weakened by a rapid process of sub-regional cooperation  seven regional organizations in Africa today

     ECOMOG by ECOWAS in Liberia (1990-1997) and Sierra Leone (1991-1999)


2 the african union au in 2002
2. The African Union (AU) in 2002 Africa

  • Innovations

    • Inspired by the European Union (Commission) and the UN (PSC)

    • Article 4 of the constitutive Act

    • Department of Peace and Security

  • Operations in Burundi, Darfur and Comoros

  • The African Stand By Force and the Continental Early Warning System (AU and the five Regional Economic Communities): in progress


3 limits
3. Limits Africa

  • External:

    • Strong commitment of foreign partners:

    • Peace Facility of the EU, then the Europe / Africa Partnership in Lisbon, financial support from the G8  « a rush among donors  » in the context of a “new scramble for African mineral resources”

    • Donor conditionality: strong presence of foreign (Western) experts in Addis Ababa surrounding these projects

    • AU used in a ad hoc way, selectivity according to the interests of the foreign powers with important projection forces in Africa (US, France, UK)

    • Reluctance to provide the African forces with better military equipment

  • Internal:

    • Weak political commitment of the African states  only when competition for regional hegemony

    • Military contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda

    • Financial contributors: Ethiopia, Libya, Kenya

  • Difference to make between « Africanization » and « ownership » (Benedikt Franke)


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