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A critical study of the ethical challenges to United Nations peacekeeping missions and national sovereignty in Africa with specific reference to Congo, Somalia, Rwanda and Sudan.

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Africa has become the epicentre and experimental laboratory for UN peacekeeping missions. The UN peacekeeping doctrine has evolved through numerous operational experiments in Africa culminating in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine that has been erroneously portrayed as the doctrine of harmony of interests and of international solidarity designed to serve international interests. This thesis concludes that the UN peacekeeping doctrine conceals the fact that it is primarily designed to advance the self-interests of the big powers at the expense of the weak states in conflict situations. This thesis demonstrates that UN peacekeeping missions facilitate the continued looting of Africa’s natural resources by big powers whose international policies are designed to entrench their privileged positions in violation of host state sovereignty and at the expense of the suffering populations. UN peacekeeping missions have been unethically used to facilitate regime change agendas in countries whose leaders would have fallen out of favour with the US and its Western allies. In this regard, humanitarian and other altruistic justifications for peacekeepers’ deployment have been used to camouflage and conceal the true nefarious intentions of the big powers in what is known as “organized hypocrisy” on the part of the main sponsors of UN peacekeeping operations. The study revealed that African countries with greater geo-political and geo-strategic importance receive significantly higher attention and probability for UN peacekeeping deployments and not countries with the highest human suffering requiring the most urgent international attention. The study demonstrated that it is a myth and a fallacy to believe that UN peacekeepers deployed in Africa serve the interests of local populations affected by conflicts. UN peacekeepers were accomplices in the assassinations of national leaders of Congo and Rwanda. In Somalia, the most powerful warlord was targeted for assassination by UN peacekeepers while in Sudan, the sitting head of state was indicted for prosecution at The Hague. The UNSC response to the genocide in Rwanda was morally and ethically reprehensible. In countries of no significant geo-strategic or economic interests, the big powers resort to what has been termed “collective waffling” as part of “organized hypocrisy.” In that regard African leaders must prioritise the protection of their populations as it is their internationally acknowledged responsibility to protect their own civilian populations without relying on foreign peacekeepers to play that vital role.


Doctor of Philosophy in Ethics. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2017.