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Taking Sides in PeacekeepingImpartiality and the Future of the United Nations$
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Emily Paddon Rhoads

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747246.001.0001

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From Passive to Assertive Impartiality

From Passive to Assertive Impartiality

(p.46) 2 From Passive to Assertive Impartiality
Taking Sides in Peacekeeping

Emily Paddon Rhoads

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the evolution of impartiality over six decades of peacekeeping practice. It explicates the reasons for the reconceptualization of impartiality in the new millennium and situates this change in a broader shift towards a more assertive liberal internationalism. As peacekeepers and other international actors became more heavily engaged in intra-state conflict during the 1990s, in contexts where consent for their operations was tenuous, they confronted difficult questions about the sources of their authority and how to adjudicate between competing local claimants of authority. Assertive impartiality was an attempt to re-ground authority in what was presented as a newfound unity of purpose: the culmination of the internationalization of human rights, and supposed disassociation of rights from a particular political agenda. Crucially, however, institutionalization of the new conception of impartiality did not result in conceptual clarity. The chapter concludes by examining the ways in which the norm is ambiguous and imprecise.

Keywords:   impartiality, peacekeeping, history, United Nations, use of force, consent, protection, humanitarianism, international criminal justice

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