Passer au contenu

/ Logo du CERIUMFaculté des arts et des sciencesCentre d'études et de recherches internationales

Je donne


Navigation secondaire

Évolution et contestation des normes et pratiques du maintien de la paix onusien

Évolution et contestation des normes et pratiques du maintien de la paix onusien
Norms and Practices in UN Peacekeeping: Evolution and Contestation

8 mai 2019 – 11h30-12h50

Table ronde organisée par le CÉRIUM (UdeM) en partenariat avec la Chaire Raoul-Dandurand (UQÀM)

Avec :
Dr. Georgina Holmes, post-doctorante à l’University of Reading
Dr. Marion Laurence, post-doctorante à l’Université de Toronto
Dr. Lucile Maertens, maître-assistante à l’Université de Lausanne et chercheuse invitée au CERIUM
Prof. Emily Paddon Rhoads, professeure assistante à Swarthmore College

Discussion par Bruno Charbonneau, professeur au Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean et directeur du centre FrancoPaix de la Chaire Raoul-Dandurand

Table ronde présidée par Prof. Jean-Philippe Thérien, professeur au département de science politique de l'Université de Montréal

Cette table ronde porte sur l’évolution et la contestation des normes et pratiques mises en œuvre dans le cadre des opérations de maintien de la paix de l’ONU. Les quatre intervenantes présenteront le résultat de leurs recherches empiriques menées en République démocratique du Congo, au Rwanda, au Soudan du Sud et au siège de l’ONU à New York. Ensemble, ces contributions éclairent de manière complémentaire la constante renégociation des normes qui fixent le cadre des missions de paix onusiennes. À partir de quatre objets différents – les formations en matière de genre, la norme d’impartialité, les droits humains et la protection de l’environnement –, ces différentes études contribuent à une meilleure compréhension des pratiques à travers lesquelles le maintien de la paix s’incarne au quotidien. Ces résultats ont été publiés dans le cadre de quatre articles réunis dans un numéro spécial de la revue International Peacekeeping (vol. 26, n°3, mai 2019) co-supervisé par John Karlsrud et Kseniya Oksamytna et intitulé ‘Norms and Practices in UN Peacekeeping: Evolution and Contestation’.

This roundtable discusses the evolution and contestation of norms and practices in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The four speakers will present the results of their empirical research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and at the UN Headquarters in New York. Together, these contributions complementarily inform on the permanent renegotiation of norms that set the framework for UN peace missions. Based on four different objects – gender training, the norm of impartiality, human rights and environmental protection – these different studies contribute to a better understanding of the practices through which peacekeeping is enacted in the everyday. These results were published in four articles in a special issue of International Peacekeeping (Vol. 26, No. 3, May 2019) co-edited by John Karlsrud and Kseniya Oksamytna and entitled ‘Norms and Practices in UN Peacekeeping: Evolution and Contestation’.

•    Georgina Holmes (Univ. of Reading) – intervention par skype en anglais
Situating Agency, Embodied Practices and Norm Implementation in Peacekeeping Training

Applying a Bourdieusian feminist practice theory approach to the study of norm implementation, this article introduces a fourth level of analysis, the embodied subject who is expected to be governed by peacekeeping norms. It does so by examining the training experiences of Rwandan tactical-level female military peacekeepers deployed in mix-gender contingents to UNAMID. It is argued that the pre-deployment training space is a field of norm contestation and negotiation, wherein gendered peacekeeper subject positions and gendered peacekeeping labouring practices are constructed and performed. The research findings suggest that by partially complying with the UN’s gender mainstreaming norms, the Rwanda Defence Force strengthens the military’s gender protection norms and establishes the sexual division of labour of the mission area. Trained to perform a scripted Rwandan female subject position, some women find they are not adequately prepared for the more challenging situations they find themselves in when working in multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations and devise alternative, informal training practices to better equip themselves prior to deployment. The case study draws on 65 depth-interviews with Rwandan military personnel, trainers and external consultants and non-participatory observations of field exercises.

Dr Georgina Holmes is a a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Reading. She is co-convenor of the BISA Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Working Group and Visiting Research Fellow at the National University of Rwanda. Her research focuses on gender issues and norm implementation dynamics in peacekeeping, and gender and security sector reform in African and European militaries. Georgina has published articles in several peer reviewed academic journals including Millennium: Journal of International Studies; International Peacekeeping, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Journal of Genocide Studies and The RUSI Journal and is the author of Women and War in Rwanda: Gender, Media and the Representation of Genocide (2013, I.B Tauris).

•    Dr. Marion Laurence (Univ. of Toronto) – intervention en français
Une force ‘impartiale’ ? Ambiguïté normative et changement de pratiques au sein des opérations de paix de l’ONU -
An ‘Impartial’ Force? Normative Ambiguity and Practice Change in UN Peace Operations

Impartiality is a core legitimating norm for United Nations peace operations. Yet beliefs about what that norm requires of UN personnel have shifted dramatically. In 2013, for example, the Security Council created an intervention brigade – composed of infantry battalions, special forces, and an artillery company – to ‘neutralize’ non-state armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to critics, these activities violate core peacekeeping norms, including impartiality. This criticism elicits a puzzling response from many UN officials. They downplay the novelty of new practices, insisting that they are still ‘impartial’. Where does this discursive pattern come from, and what does it tell us about the relationship between day-to-day practices and the norms that ostensibly guide UN peace operations? Drawing on evidence from the DRC, I argue that norms like impartiality may endure – and remain rhetorically powerful – without telling us much about how practices on the ground have evolved. Instead, insisting that new practices are impartial can be a way for UN personnel to stabilize a core part of their identity under conditions of normative ambiguity. It can also be a way of glossing over contestation and pre-empting concerns about partiality in UN peace operations.

Marion Laurence recently completed her doctorate in political science at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include peacekeeping, peacebuilding, global security governance, and the political sociology of international organizations. In 2019-2020 Marion will be a Research Fellow with the Centre for International Policy Studies and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

•    Lucile Maertens (Univ. of Lausanne, CERIUM) – intervention en français
Du Bleu au vert ? Environnementalisation et sécurisation des pratiques des opérations de maintien de la paix de l’ONU
From Blue to Green? Environmentalization and Securitization in UN Peacekeeping Practices

The cholera outbreak brought to Haiti in 2010 as a consequence of wastewater mismanagement in one of the UN Stabilisation Mission’s camps drew attention to the concrete material footprint of UN peace operations. Since the 2000s, UN peacekeeping missions have been increasingly confronted with environmental challenges. Multiple transformations in terms of norms and practices resulted from these environmental concerns. Drawing on data generated through interviews and participant observation, this article explores how environmental concerns are integrated in UN peacekeeping operations and develops a two-fold argument. First, I argue that the inclusion of environmental concerns in UN peacekeeping relies on the environmentalization of peacekeeping practices. It consists of heterogeneous elements – standards, expertise, training, mainstreaming, equipment management – which focus on the ecological footprint of UN peacekeeping. Second, I show that environmentalizing peacekeeping contributes to the securitization of the environment. By understanding the dynamics of inclusion of environmental concerns, this article sheds light on one of the ways through which emerging issues broaden and widen UN peacekeeping practices.

Dr. Lucile Maertens is lecturer in international relations at the University of Lausanne and associate fellow at CERI/Sciences Po in Paris. She is currently a visiting professor at CERIUM. Her research focuses on international organizations’ action at the intersection between security and environmental issues. She is co-director of the University of Lausanne’s Centre of international history and political studies of globalization and co-convenor of the research seminar Environment and International Relations of CERI/Sciences Po. Lucile has published articles in several peer reviewed academic journals including European Journal of International Security, International Peacekeeping, Critique internationale and Études internationales.

•    Emily Paddon Rhoads (Swarthmore College) – intervention en anglais
Putting Human Rights up Front: Implications for Impartiality and the Politics of UN Peacekeeping

This article traces the origins, development and implications of Human Rights Up Front (HRuF), a bold and visionary initiative launched by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in 2013. While HRuF is part of a broader continuum of human rights-related reforms, its scope and focus is distinctive. HRuF puts the imperative to protect people from serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law at the core of the UN’s strategy and operational activities, and obliges staff to speak out about abuses and looming crises. Using the case study of South Sudan and drawing on over 150 interviews conducted in-country, this article considers the implications of HRuF for peacekeeping and, specifically, for impartiality, a norm traditionally regarded as the ‘lifeblood’ and ‘heart and soul’ of the UN Secretariat. I identify three challenges that have hindered the UN’s ability to deliver impartially on its protection and human rights mandate and the consequences thereof for the UN’s perceived legitimacy in South Sudan. Further, I examine how the Organization has tried, with mixed success to manage the dilemmas and tensions that have arisen from the privileging of individual, as opposed to state or government, security, and the implications for the broader functioning of the UN.

Dr. Emily Paddon Rhoads is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College. Her research analyses the impact of the increased prominence of human rights in the theory and practice of armed conflict as well as civilian agency in contemporary conflict. She is the author of “Taking Sides in Peacekeeping: Impartiality and the Future of the United Nations” (Oxford University Press, 2016) and several articles on civilian self-protection, humanitarianism and peacekeeping.


Emplacement : Université de Montréal, 3150 Jean-Brillant, pav. Lionel-Groulx, salle C4145 - 4ème étage