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Protection of civilians in peace operations [PTP.2013.17E/DPKO]

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Protection of civilians in peace operations [PTP.2013.17E/DPKO]

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Web Based
9 Sep 2013 to 11 Oct 2013
Duration of event:
5 Weeks
Programme Area:
Specific Target Audience:
No Fee
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Systematic violence and mass atrocities against civilians increasingly occur in armed conflicts. Millions of individuals have lost their lives, while tens of millions more have been displaced from their homes. In war-torn societies, civilians – in particular women and children – have suffered from gross violations of human rights and political, psychological and economic repression that have become part of deliberate conflict strategies. In 1999, the UN Peacekeeping Operation in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was mandated “to afford protection to civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.” Today, the majority of the nearly 100,000 uniformed UN peacekeepers deployed worldwide operate under such a mandate.

The goal of the course Protection of Civilians in Peace Operations is to advance a better understanding of the conceptual framework for the protection of civilians in peace operations.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Define protection of civilians in the context of UN peace operations;
  • Identify the legal instruments that discipline the protection of civilians in UN peace operations;
  • Illustrate UN institutional framework for protection of civilians in peace operations;
  • Analyze challenges related to planning and implementation of protection activities;
  • Assess specific issues linked to prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence.

The course is composed of five modules that will be covered over five weeks:

  • Module 1: Overview of the protection of civilians
  • Module 2: International legal dimension of the protection of civilians
  • Module 3: Protection of civilians in the context of UN peacekeeping operations
  • Module 4: Ensuring the protection of civilians
  • Module 5: Prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence

The average workload per week is estimated at 10 hours.

This e-learning course is based on the synergy of theory and practice. The conceptual foundations of protection of civilians are explained through illustrated narratives and interactive lessons. Taking advantage of the opportunities of technology-enhanced learning, the learning materials are presented through various media, such as text, graphs, images and video material, which contribute to better retention and enhance the learning process.
In order to create collective knowledge and to facilitate interaction and experience sharing among participants, working groups and discussion forums are organized. In particular, working groups are the core learning activity. In each module, participants are requested to work in groups on a specific assignment that refers to a real-life situation. The situations are immersive and participants are requested to act according to a specific role assigned to them by the facilitator.
Facilitators guide participants through this process, delivering and conveying information, clarifying doubts and supporting participants through different activities.

Primary audience

The course is designed for national and regional military and police personnel of every rank and function serving or interested in serving in peace operations.
Secondary audience
The course also addresses a broad audience of civilians, from international and regional organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, universities and research centres working or interested in working with peace operations.
Participants are not expected to have prior experience in or knowledge of protection of civilians. However, as this is an advanced course, participants must:
  • Have a sound understanding of the structure and functioning of a peace operation;
  • Have a university degree in a relevant area with proven interest in protection of civilians (BA or equivalent) or the equivalent working experience in a relevant field (2 to 4 years);
  • Have good command of English language (reading and writing);
  • Be computer literate.


Please note that UNITAR PTP fellowships are awarded only to a small numbers of applicants from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and are not differed or transferred to another course. You might wish to refer the UN-OHRLLS list by clicking here.

Technical Requirements

UNITAR recommends the following as a minimum in hardware and software to take our e-Learning courses. Please consult your Network Administrator or Systems person to ensure that you have the following:

  • Platform: Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, XP or superior; MacOS 9 or MacOS X; Linux
  • Hardware: 64 MB of RAM, 1 GB of free disk space
  • Software:
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader (click here to download for free)
    • Adobe Flash Player (click here to download for free)
    • Microsoft Office (Windows or Mac) or Open Office (click here to download for free)
  • Browser: Internet Explorer 7 or higher (click here to download for free); it works better with Firefox 3.6 or higher (click here to download for free) 
  • Note that JavaScript, Cookies and Pop-ups must be enabled
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