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This paper examines the relationship between the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) in the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. The paper proposes that we can best understand the AU-UN collaboration for civilian protection from a perspective that takes seriously the value of legitimacy for state actors. The benefits of such an approach are illustrated by reference to the AU’s lead role in the Darfur conflict and its African Mission in Sudan. It concludes that since the AU-UN relationship for civilian protection appears to be ‘the only game in town’, and this state of affairs is becoming more institutionalised, it isnecessary that scholars comment on its political effects in terms of the quality of protection provided. The paper draws on a particular understanding of international legitimacy to increase our understanding of how UNSC has executed its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in Africa.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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