Revisiting Un Peacekeeping in Rwanda and Sierra Leone

The end of the Cold War witnessed a plethora of new civil wars springing up across the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Marked by ethnic strife and multiple warring parties, many of these so-called “new wars” were accompanied by a mixture of humanitarian emergencies, large-scale human rights violations, the collapse of law and order, and the decay of functioning governments. In response to these challenges, the United Nations (UN) launched a series of new peacekeeping missions during the 1990s and early 2000s. The results of these missions were mixed, at best. Of course, the inability of the UN to bring about sustainable peace across conflict-ridden states was not entirely surprising considering the dire circumstances facing many of these missions. What is more remarkable is not that the UN failed miserably in so many of these missions but that, in a few cases, it actually succeeded in putting an end to violence, thus paving the way for sustainable peace.