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Kigali Principles and UN Troops

The Kigali Principles is hardly news but it may be of concern to those who have noticed white armored vehicles in their country when there normally aren’t any.

The Kigali Principles are a “non-binding set of eighteen (18) pledges for the effective and thorough implementation of the protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping”, first introduced in 2015. As so-called principles, the wording is high-level. Members states include not merely Rwanda and African countries but also Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, UK, USA, Ukraine, amongst others.

When read in isolation, these “pledges” can be interpreted as harmless. However, given some situations—for example, when there is supposedly a “terrorist attack” or a pandemic—one has to wonder what these pledges truly mean.

To be fair, there is at least one explicit safeguard:

15. To hold our own personnel to the highest standard of conduct, and to vigorously investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute any incidents of abuse.

However, the others are conveniently vague even when treated as a principle. Just to list two examples:

3. To be prepared to use force to protect civilians, as necessary and consistent with the mandate. Such action encompasses making a show of force as a deterrent; interpositioning our forces between armed actors and civilians; and taking direct military action against armed actors with clear hostile intent to harm civilians.
10. To seek to identify, as early as possible, potential threats to civilians and proactively take steps to mitigate such threats and otherwise reduce the vulnerability of the civilian population.

When one considers Executive Order 13603 titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” signed by Obama 16 March 2012 (which can be summarized as “We may take anything and anyone under the guise of ‘national defense’), what DHS considers a “domestic terrorist” and, more generally, how some governments currently treats those who question the mainstream narrative, the Kigali Principles and those white armored vehicles don’t seem as friendly and helpful.

UN vehicles on I-81 near Lexington, VA. (Photo: J. Stern, 2016)
UN vehicles on I-81 near Lexington, VA. (Photo: J. Stern, 2016)

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