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When violent conflict breaks out, the United States and other United Nations member states often call for the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces to create stability and protect people from harm. The UN Security Council has explicitly instructed peacekeepers to protect civilians under “imminent threat of violence” in most UN peacekeeping mandates since 1999. But there is no clarity as to what “protection” means in practice. Which circumstances require action and what level of force should be used? This has resulted in a lack of proper training, guidance and resources for peacekeepers to accomplish protection activities.
Sexual violence defines the conflict in Darfur, but international efforts to prevent and respond to the issue have been insufficient. While this report critiques the international response, the primary obstacles to preventing rape and assisting survivors are the perpetrators and the Sudanese government officials who actively block the work of international agencies.